In-person payments still matter during a pandemic. Here’s why kiosks are the best solution.
As stay-at-home orders continue, local government buildings and utility payment centers remain closed. It’s important to make services and payment technology available online. But it’s equally important to provide safe in-person payment options for people paying bills like property taxes or water, heat, and electricity bills. Here’s why payment kiosks are the right solution for utility providers and state and local governments.
Despite payment center closures, people are still paying in person
Some of our clients have seen more customers pay by kiosk than ever before. One CityBase utility client closed all of its payment centers in March amid the spread of COVID-19, but they maintained access to its network of self-service payment kiosks. Their monthly average kiosk payment volume increased 19% in April from the previous three months — this April spike included 19,700 first-time kiosk users.
Payment kiosks eliminate person-to-person contact
CityBase payment kiosks are self-service and easy to use, enabling people to pay in person without putting your staff or customers at risk. The average transaction time on a CityBase kiosk is under a minute, keeping people moving quickly and eliminating lines. Our kiosk software is cloud-based and posts payments in real-time to underlying data sources. This enables your staff to manage revenue and billing questions remotely.
No-fee cash payments
CityBase never charges your cash-paying customers a processing fee. On average, 60% of in-person payments are made using cash. Many customers pay in cash because of preference or need. Some are underbanked and have limited access to banking services like credit cards and checking.
Alternatives like check-cashing stores charge a steep fee, making them costly for customers who must pay bills in cash. Money orders require multiple steps, putting customer health at risk as they must enter multiple buildings and interact with pay agents. No-fee cash payments reduce the burden for customers to pay their bills, especially as they may be struggling financially during COVID-19.
It’s time to drop the drop box
Payment drop boxes are a poor alternative to cashiers or kiosks for several reasons. They don’t allow people to pay in cash, while the majority of in-person payments are made in cash. They require a staff member to manually enter data. This requires more frequent in-person staffing and delays payment posting and revenue. When credit card and check payments are manually handled by staff, this compromises customer security of their personal identifying information (PII). Alternatively, kiosk hardware connects to CityBase through a secure cellular network, keeping you out of PCI scope. Customer information stays secure, since no information is stored on kiosk devices.
You can use CARES Act funding to pay for kiosks
Some utilities and local governments are using CARES Act funding to purchase outdoor payment kiosks that allow residents to make contactless, in-person payments 24/7. According to guidance released by the U.S. Department of the Treasury, “any COVID-19-related expenses reasonably necessary to the function of government that satisfy the Fund’s eligibility criteria” is an eligible expenditure for reimbursement under the CARES Act.
CityBase can implement kiosks quickly
We have kiosks available and ready to implement. Indoor and outdoor kiosk models have the ability to process payments 24/7, providing more flexibility and convenience for customers. CityBase can work with you to get kiosks live on a timeline that meets your needs.
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