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The future of payment transactions

Managing the diversity of payment options – the future of payments in the housing industry

"Bing!" This short digital signal is increasingly being heard at the cash desks of German retail stores, rather than that of coins jingling and paper money rustling. Seamless payments are on the rise, revolutionising payment behaviour in Germany and around the world.

According to a current survey by Bitkom, Germany's digital association, two-thirds of Germans are quite often annoyed that cashless payments are not yet possible everywhere in Germany, a result which clearly shows that the country's population is well on the way to losing its fear of cashless payments.

A wide array of new cashless payment methods has become available in the past years, adding to the traditional bank transfer, direct debit or card payment. The aforementioned technologies are becoming increasingly popular; in fact, payment methods are becoming more and more an expression of a person's individuality. While the paying party benefits from this variety, the complexity increases for service providers, who have to enable a growing number of payment methods, integrating them into their systems whilst avoiding conflicts. The supposedly boring topic of 'payment transactions' has become highly dynamic and challenging for many companies.

Payment diversity as an opportunity for the housing industry

This also applies to the housing industry: according to a representative online survey by Aareal Bank, most tenants still pay their rent via direct debit or bank transfer. A substantial number of tenants even pay in cash. However, surveys show that more and more tenants now prefer innovative payment methods. One can therefore assume that the broad range of different payment methods should also prevail in the housing industry in the coming years.

5.4 percent

Number of German tenants who plan to pay their rent via innovative payment methods in the future.

Source: Whitepaper 'Zukunft des Zahlungsverkehrs’ (in German)

Housing industry companies can benefit from this trend in various ways: for example, handling cash incurs a lot of effort, is time-consuming and harbours security risks. Digital payment methods would materially reduce this effort, rendering manual steps superfluous and lowering the number of errors. Therefore, many companies in the housing industry are recognising opportunities to optimise their processes and improve their customer service as a result of changing payment practices.

Nevertheless, most companies seem reluctant to actually integrate new payment methods. The most frequently cited reason: each new payment method has its own interface. "Individual solutions are theoretically possible, but practically not feasible," is the industry's answer.

Furthermore, integrating new payment methods into accounting processes is complex, and the level of digitalisation in companies' payment processes is often not high enough.

The role of platform solutions

German video with English subtitles

Optimising invoicing processes

With its comprehensive range of services, based on banking services and the BK 01 payment solution, Aareal Bank helps housing industry companies digitalise their payment processes. The best-in-class application BK 01 optimises all typical invoicing processes and digitalises cross-sector cooperation in the area of payment transactions – from electronic invoice solutions for mass payments to tailor-made data transfers within operating cost management.

With its Aareal Exchange & Payment Platform, Aareal Bank provides one universally applicable solution for the housing industry, thus avoiding the necessity for each company to painstakingly develop elaborate individual and interface solutions for the acceptance of different payment methods. The platform transfers incoming payments directly into the company's ERP system without manual effort, no matter which payment method has been used.

The platform even enables tenants to pay their rent at the supermarket cash desk. In future, we would like to offer the integration of further technologies, enabling tenants to settle even minor amounts (for matters regarding their own home) in a simple, comfortable, and individual manner with this technology.

Aareal Exchange & Payments Platform – advantages:

  • Improved customer service due to a broader offer of payment methods
  • Automated and optimised payment processes
  • Resource saving, e.g. when processing cash payments or receivables
  • Increased power to innovate and viability for the future
  • Interesting payment alternatives for additional services related to the topic of housing
  • Showing rent debtors new approaches to receivables management

More information about Aareal Exchange & Payment Platform (in German)

The goal: cross-sector, digital payment transactions

However, Aareal Exchange & Payment Platform users benefit not only from the solving of interface issues with the providers of different payment methods; the platform also automatically triggers payment requests and manages all subsequent processes resulting from the payment request, enabling housing industry companies to offer different payment methods on the one hand, integrating them into their ERP system, and further optimising their payment processes on the other.

In future, we plan to consider the manifold exchange processes between the housing and the energy industry on the platform as well. The goal is to establish a platform which communicates freely with all other existing solutions and enables intelligent data exchange without additional manual effort, thus creating a holistic approach that can lead to considerable efficiency advantages in the housing industry and related sectors.

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