These cities are using federal relief funds to make in-person payments safe and easy with kiosks

Cities and counties across the country are launching technology solutions to better serve their walk-in customers and keep staff and residents safe — because in-person payments still matter in a pandemic. The towns have introduced self-service payment kiosks that allow customers to pay by cash, card, and check 24/7 when it’s convenient for them. Cloud-based software keeps customer records up to date in real time, even for payments made after business hours.

The communities used federal Covid relief funds to implement the kiosks, since they eliminate person-to-person contact during the pandemic. By making it easier for all customers to pay, these local governments are also ensuring crucial revenue continuity even if municipal buildings close or reduce hours.

The kiosks will support locals in the long-term because they:

  • Extend business hours for people to pay in person with cash, check, and credit and debit cards 
  • Provide a low-fee or no-fee way for customers to pay necessary bills
  • Eliminate lines and foot traffic since transaction times are under a minute on average
  • Enable self-service, in-person payments even when municipal buildings are closed, with immediate payment confirmation by printed, texted, or emailed receipts
  • Help town staff support customers and manage revenue with real-time transaction data, even if they work remotely

In a pandemic, no-contact kiosk technology is filling a crucial need to support walk-in customers while keeping both customers and staff safe. Below are several stories of local governments that are using federal Covid relief funding to implement new kiosk technology.

 

City of Lynchburg, VA, introduces three self-service payment kiosks for citywide bills

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The City of Lynchburg is making it easier for residents to pay City bills and has installed three new self-service payment kiosks located at City Hall (900 Church Street, on the 10th Street side), Lynchburg Public Library (2315 Memorial Avenue) and River Ridge Mall (3405 Candlers Mountain Road, near the Regal River Ridge cinema complex).

The kiosks offer a safe and secure way for customers to pay by cash, check, credit and debit cards while eliminating person-to-person contact and reducing lines and foot traffic in City Hall. Customers now have 24/7 access to pay utility bills, business licenses, real estate and personal property taxes and other miscellaneous fees.

According to Chief Financial Officer, Donna Witt, the City had been exploring the possibility of offering payment kiosks for a number of years. “We were able to utilize CARES funding to help pay for this new technology,” said Witt. “We hope the kiosks will allow us to improve customer service by offering residents the opportunity to make payments 24/7 and when it is convenient for them.”

“It is our priority to improve access for customers who need to pay their bills in person, especially those who pay in cash. We also take staff and customer safety extremely seriously and wanted to make it easier for them to do their jobs, receive services and reduce unnecessary person-to-person contact during the pandemic,” said Witt.

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City of Mount Vernon, WA, launches self-service payment kiosk with CityBase and Paymentus

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The City of Mount Vernon, Washington, has introduced a new secure, self-service payment kiosk powered by CityBase and Paymentus to facilitate bill payment.

The new payment kiosk, located outside of City Hall, 910 Cleveland Ave., Mount Vernon, WA., provides 24/7 service for residents to review and pay their water bills using cash, check, and credit and debit cards. The kiosk provides customers a convenient, contactless way to pay their full account balance or another amount, with the option to print their receipt or have it sent via email or SMS text. Payment records are automatically integrated to the city payments system for real-time account updates and continuous service delivery.

“We wanted a way to respond to the needs of our in-person customers, and especially those who pay in cash and face extra hurdles in paying their bills during the pandemic,” said Doug Volesky, Finance Director for the City of Mount Vernon. “The kiosk replaces our after-hours payment dropboxes, vastly improving customer convenience by giving them real-time information about their account and providing assurance that they are connecting directly to the city to satisfy their time-sensitive obligations. We’re working with Paymentus and CityBase for this initiative since their payment experience is intuitive for customers, and their integrated technology gives the city better data about the revenue we’re collecting.”

Mount Vernon was allocated federal Covid-relief funding for the payment kiosk, which is helping to streamline the collection of thousands of monthly water bills. The new outdoor kiosk helps redirect traffic from indoor, enclosed areas and decreases wait times, with average kiosk transaction times of under a minute.

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Portage, IN, transforms the municipal payment experience for City residents and staff with new cloud technology

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The City of Portage, Indiana, is adopting improved payment technology that provides residents with safer, easier ways to pay their bills. An initiative of the Office of the Clerk-Treasurer, new self-service kiosks and online payments will allow people to securely pay their bills 24/7 while eliminating person-to-person contact during the pandemic.

“This is a win-win solution for citizen experience and operational efficiency,” said Nina Rivas, Clerk-Treasurer for the City of Portage. “We’re resolving an immediate need to make payments safer in a pandemic for both residents and City employees. And we’re making long-term improvements to our payment system that will streamline revenue management for the City and promote convenience for our residents. We partnered with CityBase because their technology makes payments easier for everyone.”

The new technology includes intuitive online payments and two self-service payment kiosks that will be accessible 24/7, located at Portage City Hall. Online, customers can securely store preferred payment methods and schedule recurring auto-payments. The payment technology includes a back-office revenue management system that drastically simplifies the research, reporting, and reconciliation process.

City utility bills including trash, sewer, and stormwater are the first payments that will be compatible with the new technology. The City is providing a free way for people to pay their utility bills by eliminating service fees for cash, check, and recurring credit card payments.

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Marshfield, MA, residents can pay for property taxes, water bills, parking tickets, and more on no-contact kiosk

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The Town of Marshfield, MA, offers its residents and visitors the opportunity to pay bills in person using new secure, self-service kiosk technology. The outdoor kiosk provides 24/7 service at Marshfield Town Hall, where people can pay by cash, check, and credit and debit cards.

“We’re always looking for new ways to make our services more convenient for Marshfield residents, especially in these unique times,” said Patrick Dello Russo Jr., director of finance of the town of Marshfield. “We chose CityBase because their payment technology is fast and intuitive for residents to use, and it streamlines back-office processes so our staff can focus on supporting the people of Marshfield.”

Marshfield customers can use the kiosk to pay for parking tickets, personal property taxes, water/sewer/trash utility bills, real estate taxes, marriage licenses, birth certificates, dog licenses, beach stickers, mooring fees, liquor licenses, excise and boat excise taxes, and other fees. 

Marshfield customers can easily look up their bill to pay their full balance or another amount. Kiosk payments are enabled by a cloud-based solution that integrates to Zobrio, the Town’s underlying financial management platform, and Softright, the Town’s billing system. The integrated technology allows Marshfield to have a completely automated reconciliation process with the Treasury and all underlying departments.

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Andover, MA, introduces walk-in card payments, free check and cash 

The Town of Andover, MA, is introducing a new indoor payment kiosk for customers to pay property taxes and utility bills.

The technology will introduce the option for customers to pay in person using credit and debit cards, which are currently not accepted for walk-in customers paying with a cashier. Customers will also be able to pay on the kiosk using cash and check for free, with no service fees. The kiosk will be located at the Andover Town House (Old Town Hall).

“As we gear up for property tax season, we wanted a solution that would enable customers to safely pay their bills in person,” said Michael Morse, Treasurer/Collector for the Town of Andover. “The CityBase kiosk technology will alleviate foot traffic by offering people a fast way to pay straightforward bills without waiting for a cashier, and still get a receipt for their records. It’s also allowing us to take credit cards in person for the first time and eliminating Andover’s PCI security scope for card payments.” 

 

Volusia County and Edgewater, FL, support walk-in utility customers

Volusia County implemented two kiosks for utility services, and the City of Edgewater, FL, implemented one outdoor kiosk for customers to pay their water bills 24/7. 

“It was important to us to continue serving our in-person customers in a way that was safe and convenient,” said Bridgette Vaissiere, Finance Director for the City of Edgewater. “We chose to work with CityBase because they were already partnering successfully with other cities in the state of Florida. Their kiosk technology will make it easier for our customers to pay and easier for our staff to continue supporting those customers with up-to-the-minute information about those payments.”

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Lancaster, SC, introduces free way for customers to pay utility bills

The City of Lancaster, South Carolina, is partnering with CityBase to introduce a self-service payment kiosk that provides a free way for customers to pay their utility bills. The outdoor kiosk will provide 24/7 access for customers to pay their city water and sewer bills in person using cash, check, and credit and debit cards — all without incurring any service fees.

Lancaster was allocated CARES Act funding for the payment kiosk as a Covid-related expense, because the self-service kiosk eliminates person-to-person contact. The cloud-based kiosk software provides real-time transaction data, so city staff can manage revenue and support customers using up-to-the-minute data, even staff still working remotely.

“It’s important to make our customers comfortable paying in person, and this no-contact payment option does just that. In the long-term, the payment kiosk will ensure there’s a convenient and safe option for customers to pay their bills outside of regular business hours regardless of payment type. The CityBase kiosk technology is very user-friendly; customers can come by, quickly pay their bill on the outdoor kiosk, and be on their way,” said Dana Pinkert, Finance Director for the City of Lancaster.

Lancaster Utility Services manages monthly water, sewer, and solid waste billing and collections for some 5,800 customers who live both in and outside the City of Lancaster corporate limits.

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