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7/11/2013 1:15:00 PM
City considering accepting electronic payments
Brian King
Staff Writer

The City of Greenwood is considering accepting credit card and debit card payments for a wide range of services they provide to the public.

“It’s something we are receiving as a demand from the customer,” Said Charlie Barrineau, the City of Greenwood city manager. “Today, more and more people are using those payment methods and we are looking into making the debit card and credit card option available.”

Barrineau said citizens would be able to pay for a wide range of services if the city implements such a system. Some of those services include traffic tickets, hospitality tax payments, business licenses and court fees.

“We have people coming in pretty much almost daily asking if we accept debit cards or credit cards,” said Steffanie Dorn, finance director for the City of Greenwood. “There are two main reasons we have not initiated it in the city. One is the fees, which vary based on the type of credit card and the presentation type. The second is security. If we take credit cards then the data is housed in our system and we would have to be PCI compliant, which can get expensive.”

Dorn told council that the city is considering using a third party vendor for the service. The vendor would provide all the necessary equipment for physical transactions and visitors to the city website would be taken to the vendor’s website to make the payments. Dorn said that the fees associated with the transaction would be passed on to the customer. The city would not have to enter into any contracts with vendors.

Dorn said she had evaluated two companies. One charges a 7 percent fee on court fines and 3 percent on all other transactions. The second company charges fees on a tiered schedule based on the amount of the transaction. Those fees range from 3 percent to 5 percent, Dorn said.

“Even though it does cost the citizen and does not cost the city, we still believe that we have a responsibility to find the lowest cost for the citizen,” Dorn said. “We’re trying to offer them a convenience, but we don’t want it to be expensive and unfair.”

Dorn said there are a lot of other municipalities taking advantage of these types of services and increasing revenue, particularly from out-of-town guests.  

Dorn said she would be speaking to a third company next week and hopes to have the system in place sometime between the end of July and the middle of August.

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