3 Security Considerations for Bill Payment Kiosks

Security is top of mind for clients and their customers, and with good reason. When sensitive payment information is exchanged or cash is handled to pay important bills, customers want assurances that their information and payments are handled with the highest of security measures in place.

Self-service payment kiosks have come a long way but there are still many out on the market that fall short on security measures. Being mindful of security considerations when choosing a kiosk is essential, including where to place kiosks, what security measures go into the payment process, and how cash payments are safely deposited and retrieved.


Strategic Kiosk Placement that Leverages Security Best Practices

Accessibility for customers starts with creating a welcoming space to perform transactions. And selecting a secure location for a payment kiosk is a critical step in the process. William Kennedy, Service and Support Manager for CityBase, describes the three main considerations when identifying the best location for a kiosk. 

“When we assist clients in selecting the best location to place a kiosk, we take three things into account: overall customer convenience, security, and easy access to perform any standard maintenance on the kiosk.”

The physical security of the location is also very important for users. CityBase recommends the following pieces be in place:

  • Security cameras around the area of the kiosk 
  • A well-lit, visible location (at the front of your building by the entrance, for example)

Ultimately, the goal is easy access for customers, and that is true whether you are placing kiosks in a government center the way the City of Lawrence did or as the City of Tacoma did at both government buildings and local stores.

Customer safety is paramount and ensuring a safe payment process is every local government and utility company’s primary focus. With that in mind, all CityBase kiosks come equipped with a mount for a camera and CityBase provides specific camera model recommendations to clients. In addition, kiosks are placed to maximize the benefits of security measures clients already have in place, including lighting, external surveillance, enclosures, shelters, secure lobbies, and clear sightlines. And should clients opt to install additional security measures, CityBase assists in re-evaluating the kiosk placement to optimize the new security features.


Photos of people paying at CityBase kiosks


Data Security that Keeps Customers Extra Protected

Security at the kiosk is not limited to what is happening on the outside. Traditionally, local governments bear the costly and cumbersome responsibility of undertaking and maintaining PCI security compliance. This demands significant financial resources and human hours to monitor, maintain, and update critical infrastructure. This undertaking can be overwhelming and warrants an extremely thorough approach to ensure no inconsistencies leave customer systems vulnerable to data breaches.

As a cloud-based software platform, CityBase kiosks are a PCI Level 1 compliant payment option that assumes PCI scope and removes the burden of PCI compliance from the shoulders of our clients. Unlike most payment vendors, all CityBase products are entirely cloud-based and transactions are processed on a separate secure cellular network, creating an even more secure ecosystem for clients and customers. Outsourcing PCI compliance frees up valuable time and resources that clients can then reinvest into improving customer service or other initiatives to enhance customer experiences. 


“We selected CityBase because we wanted a single reliable solution for both online and in-person payments that would also help realize efficiencies and reduce costs by transferring much of the burden of PCI compliance,”Christine Binnicker, Deputy Chief Information Officer for the City and County of Denver.


Superior Hardware Ensures Secure Cash Payments and Collection

Multiple steps are required to access the cash safe within the kiosk to ensure only authorized users are handling money. These steps include:

  • Locks on the kiosks
  • Administrative access with unique usernames and passwords for each individual that will open the safe
  • One time security codes provided for each instance of opening the safe


“We’ve recognized a lot of benefits with the introduction of the payment kiosks. One of those is added security. We don’t handle money at the window anymore,” says Vandaveer. “Prior to that, we would have to empty the cash drawers out in front of customers, and I really felt like that was a security risk, someone watching us take all that money out of the drawers.” – Lisa Vandaveer, Supervisor of Customer Services for City Utilities of Springfield


The logistics of retrieving and transporting cash held within the safe of the kiosk can be best handled by hiring armored car cash handling services. Hiring a good service is well worth it. Using an armored car service helps in many respects including:

  • Relieving clients of the responsibility of purchasing insurance to protect themselves from any theft while retrieving, transporting, and depositing cash from the kiosk
  • Saving clients valuable resources from the local government or utility
  • Improving overall safety for staff and customers

CityBase also leverages top of the line hardware to ensure a secure payment experience. Every kiosk is outfitted with a casino-grade cash acceptor that ensures authentic cash payments are made by every cash-paying user. As serious a reputation as casinos have about getting their money, these cash acceptors can spot counterfeit notes a mile away. And every kiosk also has a top of the line safe which requires multiple steps to access once it is time to empty and collect cash and checks. 


A Swiftly Changing Landscape

Implementing new technology always comes with important security considerations, and these three areas provide an excellent foundation for security in the GovTech space. Customers will find it indispensable to work with products and companies that truly value security and not just provide it as an add-on. It is imperative that local governments and utilities engage in a thorough approach when evaluating vendors and their products to ensure they maintain and innovate cutting edge security measures that protect customers.


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