By Tanna Friday
For The Tribune
SPRINGVILLE — The Springville Council approved a contractual agreement with Birmingham-based company Nexcheck to offer a real-time credit card processing system to Springville’s water and sewerage customers.
Chris Bishop, who was asked by the Council to research such a system, told the Council on Monday that he wanted to make it easier for residents of Springville to pay their water bill.
“This is really where I started my interest because I travel, and the current system is setup for in-person payments only,” said Bishop.
Bishop, whose background is in banking and software of electronic payments, presented his findings to the Council.
“I wanted to give (the City) the ability to pay water and sewer bills online through credit card and electronic check through telephone banking,” said Bishop.
“Customers can call the water department and pay their water and sewage bill over the telephone using an electronic check as also have the ability to come into the office to pay your bill with a check and give the water department the ability to take credit cards over the phone if you were call.”
Over the last three months, Bishop and the city’s attorney, James Hill, have been working to come to a contractual agreement with Nexcheck to provide payment services for Springville’s water and sewer customers. Bishop says he worked not only with Nexcheck, but also the city’s website developer and the current software provider who creates the billing and mailers to the water department customers to create an online link on the city’s website.
“What you will do is log in to the city’s website, click on a banner that says ‘pay your water bill’,” said Bishop. “Customers will then be taken to a city-branded payment center where customers will log in with their water bill username, password and account number.”
Bishop says the payment system will allow customers to pay their bills in several different ways.
“You can pay your bill with just a one-time payment with a credit card, electronic check or debit card or a recurring payment,” he said.
The system will be set up to contact the customer by email to alert them when their water bill is due.
“As soon as the the bill gets dropped, the file will be sent to the site and the customer will get an email saying, for example, ‘Your water bill is due on the first and will be debited from your account, per our agreement, by the 15th or whatever the payment terms are,” said Bishop. “It gives the customer the ability to do each of those payment types individually every month should they not want to be automatically charged.”
Bishop explained that the payment background will be managed by Nexcheck.
“We have been through (Nexcheck’s) certifications and have reviewed their data center requirements,” said Bishop.
The end user fees are different per transaction.
“If a customer walks in to pay their bill with a credit card, there is a $1.50 minimum convenience fee up to a $250 water bill,” said Bishop. “Over that amount, it is a 2.5 percent fee. Payments online are a straight 2.5 percent fee up to $250. Paying online with banking account number or e-check is a $1.50 fee up to $5,000.”
Bishop shared that there is no charge to the city for this Nexcheck service.
“We were able to negotiate not only the rates for payment terms, but also the cost to the city for setting this up, such as the interfaces, file transfers to the online system and the city’s website,” he said. “The only minimal cost would be to post the link to the payment system to the city’s website.”
The Council said that customers will be notified when the payment system will be available via water bill, social media and through the city’s website.