Product Update: User Profiles Personalize the Civic Experience
By Jason Maeder, Director of Product
We’ve launched new product features that give people the power to personalize how they access city services.
With User Profiles, interacting with your city only requires you to enter a piece of information once. For instance, If you’re a driver living in the United States, you may have had an experience similar to this one: You get a parking ticket. You go online, look up your ticket using your license plate, enter your credit card and billing address, and pay the ticket. Maybe you got that ticket because you let your neighborhood parking permit expire. Now you go to renew the permit, but first, you have to find the appropriate service online, then input all the same information about your car, address, and payment method you just submitted.
By storing a secure profile with your city or county, you no longer have to start from scratch every time you begin an interaction for a necessary service. It makes it more convenient for people trying to access services or make necessary payments, and it enables local government to leverage the information they already have in order to provide better customer service and collect payments more efficiently.
Benefits for residents:
- Spend less time on common transactions by logging into a secure profile and storing information that’s always the same—like a property you own or rent, and recurring bills like water and electricity
- See the status of a pending request—like applying for a permit or contesting a parking ticket, and save your communication preferences for updates
- Make it easier to pay—by making partial payments against a bill rather than one large lump payment
- Make it faster to pay—by securely storing your preferred payment methods like a card or bank account
- Avoid penalties and late fees—by setting notifications about upcoming obligations
- See all your obligations, past and present—set reminders for recurring payments, view past transactions, upcoming bill due dates, and the minimums required to avoid late fees
- View services that matter to you—like city stickers, tax payments and exemptions, event permits, street cleaning schedules, and services near you based on your address
Benefits for local government:
- Provide better, personalized service—by recognizing the specific needs of an individual or household
- Decrease the cost of collecting payments—by reducing the need to hunt down payments or send paper reminders, and by reducing inbound calls for questions about simple transactions
- Increase on-time payments—by providing residents flexible, convenient payment options that work for them
- Improve customer service and government transparency—by keeping residents informed about the services they care about
How It Works
Here are a few examples of how cities and counties can use these features to provide personalized service to their residents.
⇨ Make Partial Payments Toward A Single Bill
Charlie sees that his property tax bill is due in three months. It’s a big expense, and it would be easier for him to make three smaller payments each month leading up to his due date. Using partial payment functionality, he chooses to pay one-third of his bill today, and the rest later. In doing so, he can better budget this larger expense, and still ensure he’s up to date on his taxes by the time it’s due.
⇨ Securely Store Preferred Payment Method
Angela pays a water bill directly to her city each month. She wants to save the credit card she always uses so that she doesn’t have to manually put in payment information every time she pays her bill. After logging in to her city’s secure interface, she chooses to store her credit card information. The functionality is backed by tokenization, which allows the technology to refer to the credit card number by means of a non-sensitive value that identifies it, rather than the full credit card and CVV numbers. Now when Angela returns each month, she can either input new payment information or select her saved card by viewing the last 4 digits listed on her profile.
⇨ Self-Service Fact-Finding + Form Submissions
Janet is a 70-year-old homeowner who resides in the house she owns. She qualifies for both a homestead deduction and a senior citizen exemption on her property tax bill, but she doesn’t know it. She logs in with her city to view her upcoming property tax bill. In the same place where she can view and pay her bill, she is notified that she is eligible for these benefits. Before making the payment, she applies for the benefits from the same simple interface. She sets her notification preferences so that she’s emailed the status of her applications before making her final tax payment on the adjusted amount.
⇨ Business Permit Management
Claudia recently opened a second location for her small business. She knows this will impact her business taxes this year. Rather than making a call to her local government—and in fact, she’s not sure which agency to call—she logs into her city’s secure website to recalculate her taxes based on the new information she has about her business. Now that she’s confident she knows how much she owes, and she’s updated the city’s records by submitting the information, she can make her business tax payment from the same simple interface.