Piñata app – is it right for your company? Let's look at alternatives

Last updated
May 2, 2024
Start exploring alternatives to Piñata's renter rewards app. Learn how the Piñata app works and discover five compelling options to meet your property management needs.

The Piñata platform rewards tenants for timely rent payments with points and rewards, and it helps tenants build credit by reporting on-time rent payments to major credit bureaus.

Pinata doesn't mention its cost to property managers on the website, though it's relatively safe to assume there is some kind of monthly fee based on number of users, since pulling credit reports can cost between $0.10 and $5 depending on their contract with the credit bureaus.

Tenants get the benefits of the credit reporting and access to offers and deals that brands pay sponsorships for. Property managers get the benefit of increased on-time rent payments.

Is Pinata legit?

Pinata claims that it works to retain the best kind of renters – ones that pay on time.

As of this writing, user feedback varies significantly between platforms: the App Store ratings average a high 4.7 out of 5, indicating many users enjoy the app's functionality and rewards.

Trustpilot reviews show a lower rating of 2.6 out of 5, where some tenants have experienced issues with credit reporting and concerns about privacy and unauthorized credit activities.

Pinata app store images

Piñata alternative #1: Paylode

Paylode is a customer engagement platform that focuses on improving the overall tenant experience, increasing overall engagement, in addition to rent rewards. You may even pay less with Paylode, as there is no point system to manage or fund. With Paylode, the perks integrate directly into your existing communications

It offers an extensive Marketplace with hundreds of offers and deals for your customers, integrating into your existing tenant portals like Entrada or Appfolio, and eliminating the need for a third-party app.

Paylode’s build-your-own system comes with a robust perks API, enhances the tenant experience by delivering rewards through the communication channels you already use. This eliminates the need to share any Personally Identifiable Information with the platform – ie. your customers' data stays safe, and you get more flexibility of how to show perks to them.

For example, create move-in bundles that can save renters hundreds on moving costs, and deliver them right in your confirmation email – what a solid first impression.

This means unlimited ways to apply perks into your customer experience, strengthening the relationship between tenants and property managers. Paylode works with your team to help you design custom programs for your company and goals.

Paylode is a competitive alternative to Pinata for renter rewards, incentives, and tenant perks
Paylode renter perks centers

Piñata alternative #2: Livly

Livly is a complete property management platform for the modern landlord. It handles mail, surveys, tenant onboarding, smartkeys and "Livly Rewards", which enables landlords to give giftcards to tenants through the portal. A competitor to other tenant management systems like Entrada and Appfolio, it's more of a property management tool than a rewards tool.

Livly is another example of an app that can work with Paylode to deliver perks that motivate users to act on communications.

Livly app

My Rent Rewards is just for tenants

For the cash strapped tenant eager to save money on their monthly rent, My Rent Rewards works like many cashback platforms. My Rent Rewards lets tenants earn rebates when they shop that they can then apply to their rent. It's basically like applying cash back rewards to your rent.

Tenants can download it on their own and make payments directly to the landlord, but it's not exactly clear how that works. For tenants more than property managers, this is another example of a 3rd party app, like Pinata, that won't be able to customize the perks experience, and instead just gives tenants access to the deals when they open this app or Pinata.

My Rent Rewards
Photo: My Rent Rewards

Bilt Rewards is point based and favors the Alliance

Bilt Rewards is a program for renters to earn points with each rent payment. It allows users to manage payments, redeem points, and handle the Bilt Mastercard. Tenants can redeem points for travel, future rents, fitness classes, and more, making it an attractive option for property managers who want to get the benefits of joining the Bilt Alliance.

Bilt claims that "Bilt Points have consistently been ranked the highest value point currency by leading publications, including The Points Guy and Bankrate."

It's clearly tied to selling their credit card, so don't be entirely fooled by the value for the tenant. Does it help you, the property manager?

There is not much on their website in terms of information on the Bilt Alliance, except that you must fill out a form and be contacted in order to qualify for a demo and inclusion.

Bilt Rewards
Photo: Bilt Rewards

So Pinata, or something else?

Overall there are 3 types of options – a totally customizable and portable perks program like Paylode, property management software with "gifts" as a feature like Livly, and 3rd party reward apps like Pinata and Bilt.

Choosing a platform that works for your company goals depends on what you already have in place – for instance, if you already have a credit reporting service for tenants, you'd likely benefit more from Paylode than Pinata. If you are launching a new building and ready to install smartkeys across the board, Livly might be the way to go. But if you just want tenants to have the option to manage this amenity themselves and benefit less from the engagement aspect, then a Bilt could work.

While there's no "perfect" tool, if you're seeking alternatives to Pinata then it means you're expecting something better for your tenants, and we commend that.

Read the full guide on resident perks

About the author
Adrienne Kmetz
Adrienne is a marketing expert with a career history of working in startups of all sizes, from early stage to series A. She has 17+ years of experience writing about business, finance, and entrepreneurship. She went to Colorado College where she majored in skiing.
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