What’s up with the $51 payment fee? Don’t use a card!

Posted on February 5, 2018

If you see a $51 fee in the portal, this is for card processing. Don’t pay it, use e-check instead! (Or just pay with a check).

SUMMARY: Effective Q2 2019, you may no longer make Credit and Debit Card payments through your portal account. These are handled solely by RPPS, have a fixed fee of $51, and we do not control the service (or the fee!). All support is through RPPS. If you have a need, feel free to use your card, although its a lot more cost effective to pay by ACH.

Why? Well… see below… we had more than a few customers complain about the $51 fee that the provider charged, even though we had no control over it — and it was pretty clear in the payment process. So, both to avoid those issues and to protect those who might have signed up for payments and were basically giving away $51 with each payment, we have discontinued offering credit cards. Read below for posterity….

How do you avoid this fee? Simple, don’t pay with a card!

Credit cards are not a normal payment channel for us. Your lease specifically requires payment via check or equivalent. By choosing to pay with a credit or debit card, you agree to a $51 fee. We try very hard to inform you of this because we do not want you to waste money, but many tenants asked for an option to pay with a card, even if it costs them, so we allow this.

What about debit cards? I don’t want to use a credit card, just a debit card….

When you use a debit card in most systems it is still processed through card processing networks. If you are trying to pay with a bank account, via “ACH” or “EFT” or “E-Check” (all things that means the same thing), then you set it up as an e-Check using your bank account number (NOT usually the number on a debit card) and the bank routing number. This is on your checks (and may be obtained from your bank).

We relay this… a lot!

We send multiple emails with subject lines like “EA FAQ: What’s this about a $51 processing fee? Save money, read this! Don’t pay it!” AND the processing steps involve telling you about the fee, you ADDING the fee yourself, and you approving the fee.

Sheesh people, just don’t do it.

I did pay $51, or I want to complain, or I want a refund…

  1. Card-based transactions are handled solely by a third party processor RealPage Payments Services.
  2. RPPS imposes a $51 fee per transaction. We do not control nor receive any part of this fee. RPPS charges this transaction fee recoup their costs and the percentages charged by card companies, and is calculated based on averages of all transactions. Again, we have no control over this fee. In fact, it will not even show up on your ledger and is charged directly to you.
  3. We do not provide support for, nor recommend (or not recommend), these services and provide them simply as an option for those with a special need or desire to use a credit card for a payment.
  4. RealPage Payments Services provides all support for these transactions.
    Consumer support toll free telephone number: 1-844-530-5785
    Consumer support email: RealPagePaymentsServices@RealPage.com

Please understand that if you contact Elkins Apartments (as opposed to RPPS) about the fee you are basically saying:

Yeah, I know you sent me multiple messages not to do this, and yes, I went ahead and set it up and paid it despite having to explicitly approve the fee during the transaction, and, no, I didn’t ask you any questions before hand, and yes I understand that you don’t get any of the $51.00 fee and have nothing to do with the processing, but would you go ahead and eat $51 because, well, I don’t listen very well and I want someone else to be responsible for my actions…

Its true that it generally doesn’t hurt to ask, but given the above, you might want to ask nicely and start with a giant mea culpa, right?!

Use checks or e-check instead!


Or just pay with a check, right?