The Digital Payment Takeover: Why Local municipalities Can't Afford to Fall Behind
As we move further and further into the digital age, it's becoming increasingly clear that local municipalities must adapt to keep up with the changing times. One area of particular importance is digital payments. After all, these days, everything from groceries to mortgages can be paid for online, and residents expect the same level of convenience when interacting with their local municipal municipalities as what they are getting from Amazon.
In this post, we'll talk about why local municipalities can't afford to fall behind when it comes to digital payments and give some examples of municipalities who are leading the way.
Why Digital Payments Matter
We live in an age of convenience: food is ordered online and delivered to our doorstep, Doctor’s consultations are available virtually and the entire process of buying a house can be done online. In fact, we've become so accustomed to the ease of online transactions that any lengthy process can feel like a hassle. Think about it: the last time you paid a bill online, how long did it take? And, how did you feel if the process was anything less than seamless?
Your local municipality may not be the first place you think of when it comes to fast and frictionless transactions, but that doesn't mean it should be left behind.
The Risks of Falling Behind
There are real risks for municipalities that don't embrace digital payments. For one, they risk losing their residents to more tech-savvy competitors. If someone can easily pay their taxes online with a neighboring municipality, they may decide to move there instead. Secondly, having easy municipal payments may mean business and investors would like to invest in the community. But the risks to local municipalities go beyond mere competition. By not embracing digital payments, these municipalities are in danger of losing touch with the people they serve. People expect their municipalities to be accessible and accommodating, and that means providing easy, digital payment options.
Examples of Municipalities That Are Leading the Way
Some municipalities are already paving the way for digital payment options. For example, the Town of Spider Lake, Wisconsin took it’s land use permit (also known as a building permit) online late in 2022. This complex form required citizens to complete it correctly, and hand in the application together with supporting documentation and the correct fee. Traditionally this was quite a long process, with many calls to the town hall. Using the HeyGov citizens payment portal, this complex form is done entirely online - including the signature and payment, and applicants are prompted to upload support documentation, where needed.
Meanwhile, the City of Nekoosa, Wisconsin approached it from a different angle. A high volume payment form in their town, dog licenses, are charged differently depending on when it is renewed. Making it available online meant residents can fill it out at their convenience, attach the required rabies certificate and pay - without a call to town hall to enquire about the fee or the process. Residents that completed their dog licenses online with the citizens payment portal, also receives an automatic reminder before the licenses expires, prompting the renewal.
Steps to Getting Ahead
If your municipality is lagging behind when it comes to digital payments, the good news is that you can catch up. First and foremost, you need to identify the digital payment methods that will work best for your residents. This could mean anything from online bill pay to mobile credit card readers. Next, you'll need to work with a trusted payments provider, like HeyGov, to set up your new payment options. Your provider will help you navigate any regulatory issues and ensure that your systems are secure and up-to-date.
Finally, it's important to actively share information about your new digital payment options with the community. If they don't know you've made the investment in modernizing your payment options, they won't use it!
In conclusion, we're living in a digital age, and municipal municipalities need to adapt if they want to keep up. By offering easy and convenient digital payment options, local municipalities can serve their residents more efficiently and increase compliance within the municipality.
Don't let your municipality fall behind - take action today to modernize your payment systems, by booking a discovery session with Meagan!