AS MORE RENTERS MIGRATE to electronic payment platforms, they're being helped along by new debitcard fee regulations contained in the Durbin Amendment to the Dodd Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. A last-minute addition to the legislation, the first of three phases to the Durbin Amendment went into effect on Oct. 1 and breaks down transaction fees to a base of 21 cents plus 0.05 percent (plus an additional cent when certain thresholds are crossed). The upshot is a cheaper transaction fee to apartment managers who accept debit as a form of electronic payment.

“The continued growth of electronic/mobile bill payments, combined with recent federal regulation, presents property management companies a favorable environment to consider accepting credit and debit cards for monthly rent payments," says Michelle Shapiro, director of U.S. market development and emerging verticals for Mastercard. “This would be a win/win for both property management companies and their renters. Renters benefit from the convenience of card-based payments, while property managers receive a guaranteed payment with favorable economics."

Still, the Durbin Amendment doesn't include smaller, community banks, and those operators off of the Wells Fargo/Bank of America beaten track might still see typical debit transaction costs. “A key part of Durbin is that they exempted financial institutions with assets of $10 billion or less from that pricing," says Matt Golis, CEO of pay-bytext provider YapStone, which was recently acquired by e-payment service firm PropertyBridge. “We've heard that 30 percent to 40 percent of debit will not actually qualify."