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Can we make rental payment better: Expat app survey

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keithwang
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Can we make rental payment better: Expat app survey

Postby keithwang » Sat, 17 Oct 2015 11:58 am

Hey guys,

My friend and I had been renting in Singapore for a while now and think rental payment could be a better experience and perhaps, more rewarding (e.g. greater convenience for frequent travelers or the ability to use credit card for payment)

We created a 5 mins short survey to crowdsource opinions about your possible pain points so we can potentially build an app to improve your rental payment method and experience. As fellow expats and home renters, we want to create something useful/relevant for the community.

We'd publish results here in 2 weeks time, respondents will be anonymous. Here is the Google Form survey link.
Thank you!
Last edited by keithwang on Sun, 18 Oct 2015 12:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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x9200
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Re: Understanding rental payment behaviours in SG

Postby x9200 » Sat, 17 Oct 2015 12:25 pm

So what are your pain points regarding the rental payment?

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Re: Understanding rental payment behaviours in SG

Postby curiousgeorge » Sat, 17 Oct 2015 1:17 pm

How do you make paying rent "rewarding"? Either the landlord is paying, or the tenant is paying. Either way you have a party that is out of pocket on account of the "rewards".

Sign contract > get landlord account details > set up monthly transfer > forget about it until you move out. Simples.
How are you going to make that a "better experience"?

Sounds to me like you're planning a solution to a problem that doesn't exist...

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Re: Understanding rental payment behaviours in SG

Postby keithwang » Sat, 17 Oct 2015 3:40 pm

x9200 wrote:So what are your pain points regarding the rental payment?


Rent is my single largest expense every month, an expense that cannot be charged to a credit card for rewards. My motivation is to make every penny work for me.

My friend pays his rent in cash and wants convenience on-the-go, especially when he travels for work. So we are thinking of combining these features (and maybe more) into one app that's better than what banks typically offer.

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Re: Understanding rental payment behaviours in SG

Postby keithwang » Sat, 17 Oct 2015 3:46 pm

curiousgeorge wrote:How do you make paying rent "rewarding"? Either the landlord is paying, or the tenant is paying. Either way you have a party that is out of pocket on account of the "rewards".

Sign contract > get landlord account details > set up monthly transfer > forget about it until you move out. Simples.
How are you going to make that a "better experience"?

Sounds to me like you're planning a solution to a problem that doesn't exist...


Hi George, you might be right. Or maybe the problem(s) we face personally aren't mainstream enough to warrant a solution. I guess that's the whole idea of the survey, to validate and ensure we aren't wasting time finding a non-existent/non-critical problem to solve.

If you could contribute via the survey, we would appreciate it :D

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Re: Understanding rental payment behaviours in SG

Postby x9200 » Sat, 17 Oct 2015 4:38 pm

keithwang wrote:
x9200 wrote:So what are your pain points regarding the rental payment?


Rent is my single largest expense every month, an expense that cannot be charged to a credit card for rewards. My motivation is to make every penny work for me.


How your app is going to help you with this?

keithwang wrote:My friend pays his rent in cash and wants convenience on-the-go, especially when he travels for work. So we are thinking of combining these features (and maybe more) into one app that's better than what banks typically offer.

How your app is going to help your friend who pays in cash? For some reason you mentioned it so I assumed there would be some connection. What is the connection?

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Re: Understanding rental payment behaviours in SG

Postby keithwang » Sun, 18 Oct 2015 12:55 pm

x9200 wrote:
keithwang wrote:
x9200 wrote:So what are your pain points regarding the rental payment?


Rent is my single largest expense every month, an expense that cannot be charged to a credit card for rewards. My motivation is to make every penny work for me.


How your app is going to help you with this?

keithwang wrote:My friend pays his rent in cash and wants convenience on-the-go, especially when he travels for work. So we are thinking of combining these features (and maybe more) into one app that's better than what banks typically offer.

How your app is going to help your friend who pays in cash? For some reason you mentioned it so I assumed there would be some connection. What is the connection?


Good questions. Firstly, we think we can build an app that allows credit card payments (from the tenant to the landlord). The infrastructure is unconventional but not impossible.

Secondly, we envision the app to be more convenient than bank apps. Instead of paying cash, a user can pay their landlord with their smartphone; on-the-go. This could have a similar impact to those that travels a lot as we are also thinking of eliminating the typical 2FA SMS-verification process (inhibiting for local data card users).

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Re: Can we make rental payment better: Expat app survey

Postby kaseyma » Sun, 18 Oct 2015 1:34 pm

Don't need an app for this.

Can just use online banking to set up a periodic payment (transfer), or if you still want to have control, set-up the landlord's account as a payee for future payments.

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Re: Can we make rental payment better: Expat app survey

Postby keithwang » Mon, 19 Oct 2015 7:11 pm

kaseyma wrote:Don't need an app for this.

Can just use online banking to set up a periodic payment (transfer), or if you still want to have control, set-up the landlord's account as a payee for future payments.


I presume you do online bank transfer via your laptop more than on mobile. That's fair enough, thanks for your feedback.

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Re: Understanding rental payment behaviours in SG

Postby nakatago » Tue, 20 Oct 2015 10:00 am

keithwang wrote:Secondly, we envision the app to be more convenient than bank apps. Instead of paying cash, a user can pay their landlord with their smartphone; on-the-go. This could have a similar impact to those that travels a lot as we are also thinking of eliminating the typical 2FA SMS-verification process (inhibiting for local data card users).


Now, I'm curious.

How are you gonna guarantee safety and follow financial regulations?

What will separate you from PayPal/Square/Apple Pay/Google Pay/Samsung Pay/Pay Pay? Or even just a well designed banking app? What encryption will you use? Will you store any user information data into your own server or are you gonna use a third party (e.g. AWS, Google)?

Who will hold liability?

Who will shoulder credit card processing costs?

2FA/SMS/OTP codes are there for a reason.

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Re: Can we make rental payment better: Expat app survey

Postby x9200 » Tue, 20 Oct 2015 10:05 am

The only way I could see it happen is via cooperation with the players like MC or Visa similar way they do it for the merchants, but they will unlikely be willing to do this. Any other option (e.g. charging cc to a Paypal acc. and transferring it to the bank account) will incur some extra costs.

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Re: Can we make rental payment better: Expat app survey

Postby nakatago » Tue, 20 Oct 2015 10:11 am

x9200 wrote:The only way I could see it happen is via cooperation with the players like MC or Visa similar way they do it for the merchants, but they will unlikely be willing to do this. Any other option (e.g. charging cc to a Paypal acc. and transferring it to the bank account) will incur some extra costs.


Exactly my thoughts.

MC/Visa/Banks not wanting to play ball was one of the reasons Google Wallet didn't take off as it should the first time.

The only way OP could even remotely pull something off is having some identity accounts which adds a cost to operate and would take a lot of bulletproofing to even just convince people to use.

Culturally, in Singapore, some people are still adverse to not using cash (bank transfers are counted as cash)...and that's already taking the big players into account.

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Re: Can we make rental payment better: Expat app survey

Postby PNGMK » Tue, 20 Oct 2015 11:24 am

You might be onto something if this included an escrow of the deposits. However that would almost certainly require legislative support or a significant reward to the landlord.

I think I can see how this works.

You get the LL to sign up. They are promised an additional $50 per month 'free' on the basis that they must allow the deposit to be held in escrow . You get agents to rent out the apartments you have signed up for $50 more per month than what you're paying the LL. You take the $100 in between as profit and pay your reward points or whatever out of it. You manage the deposit situation contractually.

Actually a decent estate agent could do this AND, given how Singapore LL's are becoming the Ali Baba's we all know, this could be a significant marketing win for a large estate agent (i.e. RayWhite etc).
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Re: Can we make rental payment better: Expat app survey

Postby keithwang » Tue, 20 Oct 2015 4:05 pm

nakatago wrote:
x9200 wrote:The only way I could see it happen is via cooperation with the players like MC or Visa similar way they do it for the merchants, but they will unlikely be willing to do this. Any other option (e.g. charging cc to a Paypal acc. and transferring it to the bank account) will incur some extra costs.


Exactly my thoughts.

MC/Visa/Banks not wanting to play ball was one of the reasons Google Wallet didn't take off as it should the first time.

The only way OP could even remotely pull something off is having some identity accounts which adds a cost to operate and would take a lot of bulletproofing to even just convince people to use.

Culturally, in Singapore, some people are still adverse to not using cash (bank transfers are counted as cash)...and that's already taking the big players into account.


You made several salient observations :)

I agree these are long-standing blockers (cost, barrier to entry, consumer mindset etc) to advancing digital payments. But I see an opportunity to create a more cost-agile and direct payment ecosystem (no mobile wallets, social media payments or intermediaries etc).

The technology to enable this isn't impossible and what's really important to me behind this concept, is to keep the product/service as lean but effective as possible. With regard to the technology stack, I briefly gave hints in the survey about the possible use of biometrics and Cloud analytics.

For a start, I'd keep user acceptance testing to a small group first. I think if we can't get 100 users to enjoy using a new service, it would be pointless to further develop for a 1000.

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Re: Can we make rental payment better: Expat app survey

Postby keithwang » Tue, 20 Oct 2015 4:14 pm

PNGMK wrote:You might be onto something if this included an escrow of the deposits. However that would almost certainly require legislative support or a significant reward to the landlord.

I think I can see how this works.

You get the LL to sign up. They are promised an additional $50 per month 'free' on the basis that they must allow the deposit to be held in escrow . You get agents to rent out the apartments you have signed up for $50 more per month than what you're paying the LL. You take the $100 in between as profit and pay your reward points or whatever out of it. You manage the deposit situation contractually.

Actually a decent estate agent could do this AND, given how Singapore LL's are becoming the Ali Baba's we all know, this could be a significant marketing win for a large estate agent (i.e. RayWhite etc).


This is really creative but I'm not sure what are the incentives to the LL/agent for maintaining an escrow deposit with me :-k


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