Financial Matters Managing Your Vacation Rental

Online Payment Options for Vacation Rental Owners

Written by Elizabeth Weedon
4.4/5 - (14 votes)

Updated February 2024

In a previous blog post, I addressed the growing demand from vacationers to be able to pay for their rental homes online rather than by mailing a check.  To meet this demand, many homeowners realize they should provide their tenants with an online payment option but want to do so without risking security, reliability, or revenue.

What are “online or digital payments”?

Before we look at different options available to you, let’s define what an online, digital, or electronic payment is: An electronic payment is any kind of non-cash payment that doesn’t involve a paper check. Methods of electronic payments include credit cards, debit cards and the ACH (Automated Clearing House) network, and others.

Online vs. a mobile app

Remember that some payment options are provided by setting up an online account, i.e., through a website like PayPal. Others, such as Venmo, Apple Pay and Cash App are only accessed on mobile devices. Online accounts may also be accessed through a mobile device, and in some cases, they also have apps to make it easier for you.

Benefits of offering more than one option

It’s also important to note that not all vacationers are going to be familiar with, or set up to use, the same platform or app that you subscribe to. We therefore suggest that you perhaps offer at least two different options, maybe more, especially if they are free and easy to use.

Please note that we are not financial experts, and the digital payment industry is growing and changing rapidly. The goal of this post is to make you aware of some different options that allow you to accept online payments without significant risk or cost to you. But you must do a little research yourself to make sure whatever method you choose is a good fit for you and something your guests would like to use, too.

What are some current online payment options?

Electronic checks (or eChecks) are an electronic payment withdrawn from a customer’s checking account and transferred over the ACH network to another account. They serve the same function as a physical check. They process faster and there are no fees charged to either of you. To make a payment with an eCheck, the following information is required:

  • Your bank routing number
  • Your bank account number
  • The name on your bank account

This service is tied to some leading banks including Bank of America, Capital One, Wells Fargo, as well as local bank, Cape Cod 5. All a user needs is their bank’s mobile app, online banking, or the Zelle app in order to send and receive money.  Zelle can also take payments via email and phone, thereby avoiding having to share bank account info.

  • Sending and receiving payments typically happens within minutes.
  • Debit cards or checking and savings accounts can be used, but not credit cards.

For anyone reluctant to offer their banking info to a third-party app, Zelle is a good, safe alternative. Check with your financial institution to see what fees may apply.

Google Pay

As the biggest online tech player in the world, Google naturally has its own payment solution, and it’s a simple and free way to accept payments.

Advantages of Google Pay

  • Receive money from anyone. They don’t need to have the Wallet app installed, just an email address or phone number. And you just need a Google account and debit card to receive funds.
  • Automatically transfers your received payments into your bank.
  • Vacationers can pay through Google Wallet’s website or through a mobile app on their smartphone.

Visit Google Pay to see their terms, conditions, limits and fees.


Owned by PayPal, Venmo provides a mobile app for you to request and pay money to friends and family. It’s very quick, easy, and safe to use from your smart phone. Friends and recipients of transactions can be found via phone number, Venmo username, or email. You can link your Venmo account to your bank account, debit card, or credit card.

A goods and services fee may apply.

Note: there is a social media component to Venmo, which is why it has been so popular with Millennials, but privacy settings can easily be changed to restrict who can view your transactions.


PayPal was established in 1998 and is one of the world’s largest Internet payment companies.  See our previous post about PayPal.

Advantages of PayPal

  • It’s been around longer than most other online financial instruments.
  • It’s very widely used, so the odds are better that your tenants might already have an account and experience with using it.
  • Like Venmo, it’s very secure and allows credit cards as well as debit cards, which can be more attractive to vacationers.
  • Like Venmo, you do not have to divulge any of your bank account information – all the vacationer needs is your email address or mobile number to submit the payment to you.

Other things to consider

  • There are no fees charged to you (technically, the “vendor”) as long as the vacationer agrees to processing the transaction as a “Friends and Family” option. This option, however, does not provide the vacationer with PayPal Purchase Protection should they wish to cancel the payment, which is one reason why vacationers choose to use a credit card in the first place. For you, on the other hand, using the “Friends and Family” option protects you as they cannot take up a dispute with PayPal or request a charge back.
  • If your vacationer will not accept using the “Friends and Family” option, YOU are responsible for the additional service fee, plus a fixed fee based on the currency you’re receiving.
  • PayPal Business accounts no longer accept “Friends and Family” payments.
  • The funds are not directly transferred to your financial institution but are held in your PayPal account. You can transfer them from there, which, of course, may take some time. Or you can leave them there and use PayPal to pay for goods or services yourself.

Visit PayPal to see their terms, conditions, limits and fees.


The Amazon Payments system isn’t just limited to buying or selling on Amazon. You can integrate the Amazon Payments system in many different ways and let people pay for services with their stored Amazon account details. Even domestic transactions require you, the recipient, to pay a transaction fee, similar to PayPal though.

Advantages of Amazon Payments

  • Branding: Strong Amazon branding creates trust with your tenants.
  • Payment details are already available: Due to the huge number of Amazon customers, their payment details are already stored, making payments quick and easy.
  • One-click payments: Customers can order and pay for goods with one click.

Visit Amazon to see their terms, conditions, limits, and fees.

Facebook Messenger Payments

Facebook Payments enables you to send or receive money in Messages after you add a US bank debit card or a PayPal account.  Naturally, you would have to connect with your tenant as friends on Facebook first. While in Messenger, they would select you for a chat, click the icon with a “$” to pull up the Payments feature, and follow the instructions to make a payment from the debit card or PayPal account that they have set up on Facebook. If you already have a debit card or PayPal account linked, or have received money through Messenger before, the money is transferred right away to the card or account on file, but your bank or PayPal may take up to 3-5 business days to make it available to you.

Visit Facebook to see Payments in Messenger terms, conditions, limits, and fees.


A focus entirely on international payments. They’re a great choice if you have international customers and want to keep fees down.

Advantages of Wise 

  • It lets you accept payments from clients from anywhere in the world. 
  • You can receive payment into your bank account within 2 – 3 days of being paid. 
  • It is simple, fast, and easy to use. 
  • All transfers are based on real-time exchange rates. 

Visit Wise to see terms, conditions, limits, and fees.


A payment platform that also has a strong focus on international transactions and payments.

Advantages of Payoneer

  • Fast payments. Receive funds within minutes of getting paid.
  • Send payment requests. Multiple options for invoicing, billing, and getting paid.
  • Easy to make payments. If you need to send money to others, Payoneer makes it easy to send bulk payments to multiple recipients.
  • Global payment services. Set up a “virtual bank account” so you can receive payments in multiple currencies. You can withdraw funds to your local bank account at any time.

Visit Payoneer to see terms, conditions, limits, and fees.

Some things to keep in mind

A general rule of thumb is that any platform that provides protection for the consumer/vacationer (e.g., the ability to cancel the payment or submit a chargeback) usually requires an extra fee – paid by you. Conversely, most of the free options outlined above do not provide much, if any, protections for vacationers.  Thus, you may encounter some push back from tenants who prefer the protection.

There may be a limit to the amount you can receive in one day or one week. So, you may need to receive the payments in installments.

If you do decide to provide vacationers with an online option, don’t forget to promote this advantage on your listing and be sure to update your Payment Methods in the Calendar and Pricing section of the Homeowner Center!

May you receive many payments – in any way you choose!

About the author

Elizabeth Weedon

Elizabeth Weedon - Although I’ve worked for since 2008, I’ve been a loyal homeowner on the site since early 1998, just a few months after the website was launched by the Talmadges. I grew up summering on the Vineyard and managed my family's rental home there since the mid-1980’s. I’m passionately devoted to the Vineyard – and to WeNeedaVacation, which I credit with enabling me to hold onto the special property that has been in our family for nearly a century. An enthusiastic member of the WNAV Homeowner Support Team, I endeavor to keep my finger on the pulse of the Cape and Islands vacation rental industry so that I can provide homeowners advice about how to ensure their booking success with us. With owner Joan Talmadge, I am also responsible for editing and writing much of the text on our website, our monthly newsletters, and Homeowner Blog posts.

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