Instarent initially needed an integrated recurring payment processing solution to manage rental collection on behalf of the self-managing landlords that use their SaaS application. After comparing a wide range of solutions on the market, they opted to integrate with Ezypay for their capability to move and track money behind the scenes, and their desire to innovate in the PropTech industry.
As a result, Instarent was able to deliver an end-to-end solution for property management through a fully integrated billing system. With their sights set on offering their solution to other markets in the real estate eco-system, Ezypay would continue to play a role in powering the future of real estate payments.
Instarent is a PropTech company specialising in building property management technology. The Instarent platform acts as a virtual property manager for landlords, tenants, trades and agents, to make it easy to manage properties through an app. Whilst the app was originally designed for self-managing landlords, it is expanding to cover commercial management as well.
With 3.3 million rental properties in Australia, 32% of the market is self-managed by landlords, yet there was no technology available to help them manage their properties. Instarent took on the challenge to bring new technology to the sector and bridge the gap for landlords.
“These days you can have everything on your phone, there’s an app for everything,” says AJ Chand, founder of Instarent. “It didn’t make sense that for your biggest asset, there wasn’t an app to track or manage it with efficiency and transparency.”
“From the start, we knew a crucial part of Instarent was going to be the accounts side. We needed something that would create an efficient solution for rental payments.”
Initially, Instarent tested some of the other payment processors, including PayPal, to see if integrated payments would work.
This experience gave AJ enough insight to see that beta users were willing to use the service to bill tenants, so they started comparing various alternate solutions to partner with.
While exploring options, Instarent found that many solutions had high fees and limited flexibility to tailor the solution to meet their needs.
“Although most of the cookie-cutter payments technology had the documentation and tools to get it right, when it came to changing and amending their solution to what we wanted, they couldn’t do it”, says AJ.
A lot of the larger providers weren’t willing to work with Instarent. The ones that were, charged high upfront fees and had unreasonable demands.
As a startup business, AJ discovered that a lot of the larger providers weren’t willing to work with him. The ones that were, charged high upfront fees and had unreasonable demands.
While exploring different solutions, AJ mentioned “we were sandboxing with a lot of the players and there were unreasonable demands on what we needed to do to integrate with them. For some providers, we had to show them that we were VC backed and had major funding behind us to cover the risk that they were taking for backing a startup.”
Choosing the right partner
Finding the right partner was becoming more and more difficult for Instarent. They were trying to do something that had never been done before and AJ was having trouble sharing his vision with potential billing partners.
AJ noted that “at the time, we were looking at a solution trying to get people’s heads around what my vision for replacing the traditional trust account based approach would have looked like, but we weren’t getting much traction.”
When AJ met with Ezypay, he sat them down and explained what he was trying to do. With decades of payments experience and plans to innovate in the Real Estate space, Ezypay was determined to support Instarent in achieving their vision.
Commenting on their initial discussions, AJ said “I saw Ezypay as having a startup mentality because they were willing to innovate payments in the Real Estate sector and look at ways to make them more digital. They were just as hungry as we were to make it work, which the big guys were not.”
After the initial discussions, there were still a lot of variables to consider when choosing the right partner. Not only were there specific features Instarent was looking for, but they also wanted to create a true partnership which both parties would benefit from.
“Ezypay also had the ability to tailor the fees based on each customer. So, if a big account came on with 50 or 100 properties, we could offer better rates.”
“A specific feature that was very important to us was on the disbursement side. Instarent is dissimilar to a regular e-commerce site where you would just get paid directly. For us it’s a lot more complex. We were able to move money behind the scenes so we could help landlords pay for additional services such as trades or utilities, all before we settled the final amount to them. The technology Ezypay offered gave us the control to make sure everyone got paid.”
“Ezypay also had the ability to tailor the fees based on each customer. So, if a big account came on with 50 or 100 properties, we could offer better rates. Having the revenue share built-in and the ability to dictate our own mark-up on top of it played a massive part in our decision,” AJ commented.
With the payments side taken care of, it was important to look at how the companies would work together when it came down to the technical execution.
“You always look at the synergies across the platforms that both of us use. Hubspot and AWS were the obvious ones. If it wasn’t hosted through AWS, it would make me question the security of the cloud environment, especially when PCI compliance was at risk as well.”
"As part of our partnership, Ezypay would continue to learn, we would continue to learn, and we could both grow in these shared learnings.”
Payment data security was an important focus for AJ when comparing solutions. The cost and resources required for PCI DSS (Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard) compliance was too great to manage on his own, so finding a solution that was able to support the regulated compliance requirements was a great benefit.
After extensive discussions exploring potential solutions and partnership options, AJ knew that he would have to invest in a long-term relationship to achieve the amendments and level of flexibility he needed, and he was ready to capitalise on the opportunity.
“There’s making decisions with your head and making decisions with your heart. I knew they ticked the boxes for us, but it was definitely a heart moment. I decided to choose Ezypay based on the stage that they were at; after so many years of successful business, their focus is now on innovation in a variety of different sectors. As part of our partnership, Ezypay would continue to learn, we would continue to learn, and we could both grow in these shared learnings.”
Developing a solution
With a partner chosen, the focus changed to planning and strategising what the solution would look like and how it would function. Ezypay’s dedicated integration team met with AJ and his development team to start mapping out a solution.
The process started with a design flow to see exactly how the integration was going to run. The solution changed between revisions but provided both parties with a well thought-out infrastructure plan.
Daily technical development meetings were held to update each other on progress, and to discuss the roadblocks the teams had come across and the possible solutions. As expected, many challenges had to be overcome when trying to achieve something that hadn’t been done before. “It was a major challenge”, noted AJ. “We had to rethink the whole ecosystem, the user experience, the impact and the trust account model. But there were no major hurdles in the integration itself. We could pick up the code, integrate it and it was easy to understand.”
Key to the integration were Ezypay’s virtual wallet capabilities - the ability to move funds based on the needs of both Instarent and the landlords. The features allowed Instarent to collect funds on behalf of the landlord, collect their own subscription fees and then settle the remaining amount to the landlord. The virtual wallet also has capability to assist with paying the landlords bills, paying council rates, strata fees and other bills before settlement.
With the main challenges overcome and the bulk of the integration complete, it came time to start testing in a live environment. Starting with a small number of willing test participants, the teams worked together to test different scenarios and to resolve any issues that came up. The teams looked at the amount of critical errors month-on-month and week-on-week to further reduce the number of errors to a manageable level before introducing the solution to the rest of Instarent’s users.
“They’ve got all the recipes to get things done and we received all the help we needed to keep the integration going.”
Having worked on the development alongside the Ezypay teams, AJ stated “in the end, the Ezypay product and brand is great. Whilst some areas can be improved on, they’ve got all the recipes to get things done and we received all the help we needed to keep the integration going.”
With testing completed and the final solution in place, Instarent could see the full benefit of the integration. By using Ezypay, Instarent was able to take away the burden of PCI compliance whilst also offering local support for their customers. Ezypay’s virtual wallet automated Instarent’s settlement and allowed them to collect their fees before settling to the landlord`s account. The feature also had the potential to be used for tradesman, council rates, strata and other bills. Since integrating with Ezypay, Instarent has seen the growth of their user base, who are receiving the full benefits of the Ezypay platform.
Ezypay takes care of the accounts side of the Instarent app to process payments without the need for a traditional trust account and they continue to innovate their payments ecosystem and infrastructure. Paired with the ability to support Instarent’s obligations for PCI compliance and offer a local Australian support team, AJ said that “it’s incredibly beneficial to have the partnership in place.”
Instarent needed a recurring payments processing partner to integrate with their solution in order to manage rent collection. Ezypay was the only payment processor willing to offer the flexibility needed to remove the hassle of traditional trust accounting and work closely with Instarent to complete their end-to-end property management solution.
"Ezypay was the only payment processor willing to work closely with Instarent to remove the hassle of traditional trust accounting."
By choosing Ezypay, Instarent found a true business partner to manage and process their payment collection, split revenue to monetise their business model, easily manage payment movements before disbursement to the landlord, reduce their risk of PCI compliance, all while delivering excellent customer service to their users.
“Our relationship with Instarent is a shining example of our ongoing focus, and why we have placed integrations and partnerships at our very core.
Ezypay's Chief Executive Officer, James Foster commented on the partnership with Instarent. “Our relationship with Instarent is a shining example of our ongoing focus, and why we have placed integrations and partnerships at our very core. Instarent are proving that our experience and innovation in subscription payments can help bring positive disruption to a number of industries, such as Real Estate. I look forward to helping power Instarent’s growth as they continue on their bold vision for the future.”
Want to see how Ezypay can partner with your business? Ezypay offers a suite of APIs to power subscription billing for businesses of all sizes. View our Developer Hub or setup a free Sandbox test account. You can also book a consultation with one of our Pre-Sales Managers who will work with you to understand your business mission and develop a solution that suits your needs.
Ezypay is a multi-award winning fintech company and one of Australia’s leading subscription payment providers. They are committed to making it easy for Australian, New Zealand and international businesses to realise their full potential and generate revenue with a single standalone or more advanced integrated solution.
Ezypay’s in-house integration and development team make it easy to introduce payment automation to your business or SaaS solution. This makes Ezypay a best-in-class partner for businesses looking to provide a richer solution for their customers. Learn more about the value we provide integrators and partners.