PayProp offers rental agents trusted security

PayProp offers rental agents trusted security



The Covid-19 pandemic has brought about something of a
digital gold rush, with businesses moving swiftly to meet the escalating
demand from customers to browse, shop, meet and pay online.

Unfortunately, in the rush to get online payment systems set up, security has taken a back seat in many cases.

A survey from consulting firm Oliver Wyman found that online fraud has risen by up to 700% since March 2020 – a sure sign that the businesses that have only just begun taking online payments often don’t have the security systems in place to stop fraud.

For rental agents it’s incredibly important to get it right – there’s no room for trial and error when you’re dealing with clients’ money.

With 17 years of experience in South Africa, PayProp has processed more than R73.3 billion in trust money – and not once has the company been involved in any loss of trust funds.

This is down to a number of factors, but one of the most important is the company’s partnership with leading banks in each of its territories. In SA, PayProp processes funds on behalf of rental agents with Absa, offering its clients bank-grade payment security that is further augmented with leading information security.

With data security being top of mind for both agents and clients, PayProp ensures that data is stored safely, backed up in multiple locations and encrypted at rest and when transferred – a necessity with the increase of cybercrime.

In addition, PayProp’s client bank accounts are designated trust accounts in terms of Section 32 of the Estate Agency Affairs Act (112 of 1976) – meaning that neither the bank nor any third-party creditors have any right of offset against the funds contained in them.

And security is just one of the benefits of using bank-integrated trust accounts. “The trust account is the cornerstone of so much of what we do here at PayProp, not just payment security,” says Jan Davel, CEO of PayProp South Africa. “Automated payment reconciliation, rapid distribution of rent payments to landlords, reports generated in real time – so many of the features that our clients rely upon with their PayProp trust accounts are made possible by our level of bank integration.”

And it’s not about to change anytime soon.

PayProp already meets the stringent upcoming requirements of operating as a ‘payment processing agent’ for estate agencies, as envisaged in Regulation 4.4 of the draft Property Practitioners Regulations of 2020. Among other things, the company is itself a fully accredited property practitioner that operates a trust environment in the prescribed way, meeting all the requirements of operating separately auditable client accounts and the mandatory segregation of trust funds – not only by estate agency, but also by individual consumers (landlords or tenants).

Although the protection of client money is the primary focus of the above regulations which will bring the Property Practitioners Act (22 of 2019) into operation, it also introduces a significant benefit and cost saving opportunity for property practitioners who are otherwise compliant and use an accredited payment processing agent such as PayProp, in that they can apply for the exemption of keeping (and auditing) their own trust accounts.

Another factor that plays a part in PayProp’s incredible safety record are its strategies to stop any ‘phishing’ attempts by criminals who aim to exploit agency employees. Phishing often takes the form of a legitimate-looking e-mail or message with a link that automatically downloads malware onto the system.

At PayProp, all banking transactions are made based on rules set by the client, which means no employee can manually make payment from the trust account into a non-approved beneficiary account without an indelible audit trail of what was done or attempted by whom and when.

In addition, duties are split between teams so that no one employee can carry out a transaction from start to finish (segregation of duties), and bank account activity requires sign-off by two people.

Daily recons of the transactions in and out of the trust accounts are overseen by PayProp’s client money reconciliation team, who also receive alerts of money movements via e-mail and SMS. Lastly, all trust accounts are audited annually and checked for compliance by the real estate regulator.

PayProp’s security systems don’t just offer peace of mind to you – they also offer it to your clients.
To be able to show that landlord and tenant monies are safely held in a trust account – separate from business funds and other consumer funds and with all the aforementioned safeguards and daily reconciliation – is a huge weight off their shoulders.

Another assurance for landlords and tenants is PayProp’s absolute visibility and transparency. The PayProp Owner app enables landlords to see if the rent has been paid, as well as income on their portfolio, third-party payment status and much more. And because PayProp is bank-integrated, the transactions and totals on the app reflect bank data 100% accurately and in real time.

In the same vein, the PayProp Tenant portal lets tenants see their current and historic invoices and statements, providing complete visibility and transparency.

But despite a stellar record and iron-clad security architecture, PayProp isn’t resting on its laurels and continues to invest in its security strategies, Davel says.

“We’re very proud of our security record at PayProp, but no-one can afford to become complacent when it comes to handling client funds. Keeping clients’ money secure requires constant innovation – both to see the potential of new security technologies and to be aware of new regulatory requirements and threats.”

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