With the closure of offices from the COVID-19 pandemic around the world, government agencies have moved in-person services online. It has been a long time coming and it will likely transform the way they do business permanently.
But what if you have to pay something in cash? Government, as it is often said, cannot only serve the most convenient of its constituents – it must serve them all. This includes people who do not have a bank account, credit card, or debit card.
For example, NIC, which has grown into a successful business helping government deliver online services, now offers its public sector clients a way to accept cash payments even when their offices are closed.
They did this with a partnership with CheckFreePay, a payment option offered by the Fiserv company. CheckFreePay operates more than 30,000 payment centers nationwide, often located within shopping destinations such as grocery stores.
In short, governments that use the NIC can now set up capabilities to accept in-person cash payments from bill payers at these CheckFreePay locations.
In Pulaski County, Ark., Bentley Hovis, the deputy head of the treasurer’s office, said these are inside Walmarts, Krogers and Edwards stores scattered around the area – some 30 locations.
“Obviously, due to the COVID situation, we don’t have a place open to the public, so that provided us with a way (to take these payments),” Hovis said.
The “unbanked” population does not only include individuals who have to pay taxes. They can also be businesses that operate primarily on cash. Marijuana companies, for example, often cannot open bank accounts because banks fear working with clients whose proceeds are considered illegal under federal law, even in states that have legalized it.
Hovis said CheckFreePay centers are usually located at the customer service office, which a person can go to if they want to wire money. If someone is paying their property tax, bringing an invoice or their parcel number will be helpful in streamlining the interaction. The centers are also useful for people who wish to pay utility bills.
“Not all consumers have the means or the desire to pay electronically, and when they have the option to pay in cash and in person, an important community need is met,” said Jose Garcia, vice -Senior president of government solutions at Fiserv, in a statement. declaration. “These consumers also have the ease and convenience of one-stop payment options, as they have the ability to pay at well-known points of sale – places where they already shop.”