Electronic Payments and Municipal Services: Citizens Are Ready

What isn’t digitally accessible today? Amazon can pretty much ship you anything under the sun in two days or less after a couple clicks. Govtech recently wrote an article describing how the retailer, and tastemaker of instant gratification in online transactions, has altered how the public perceives basic services in the digital age and, consequently, the difficulty municipalities face to meet their electronic payment expectations. “[Amazon is to blame] for high expectations from the average citizen. If they can order dog booties online with one click and have it shipped to their house in two days, with what measure of rage might they react when they must physically appear at the Department of Motor Vehicles for a driver’s license?”.

Govtech isn’t saying that is a bad thing and neither are we. Simply put, the average citizen in 2018 is thinking: “why isn’t everything as streamlined as Amazon’s services?” It’s a totally legitimate question! Rather than get in the car and stand in line at the courthouse to pay a citation or their property taxes, they want payment capabilities that reflect today’s technology and match how they otherwise transact with people and businesses.

It’s Not Easy

We know what you’re thinking, though – what municipality has the budget, staff capacity, and scheduling flexibility to pull together an electronic payment experience that resembles a product built by a dedicated team at one of today’s tech giants? You’re right; not many.

The process to coordinate the creation of a payment platform from its nuts-and-bolts to seamless front-end execution requires UI and UX experts, software developers, graphic designers, security technicians…you can feel the bottom line shrinking.  Without these dedicated assets, however, it is simply not feasible to create a quality platform.

However, in each niche, including municipal government, there is a player who provides the content in an appealing, cohesive, and responsive package.

There’s a Great Alternative

As Govtech points out, there are specialized companies that enable government to be “a bit more Amazon-like” today without investing all of the necessary resources on its own. That’s why more and more organizations are turning to established SaaS enterprises to build, operate, and maintain their payment infrastructure.

Govtech was was kind enough to mention Paymentus and our text payment capabilities as an example of 3rd party vendors providing high-quality electronic payment services. We wrote about text payments being the next big thing in 2014; in 2018 they’re expected. Text payments are just a part of a full scope, all-in-one payment platform, but it also represents a convenient service that is being requested and would otherwise be impossible to provide proprietarily without depleting your expenses for the year.

Citizens aren’t thinking about your budget. All they are wondering is: why aren’t these payment options available? Why isn’t this as easy as I think it should be? Why isn’t this transaction process as polished as Amazon? Luckily, there are companies out there that can be your government’s Amazon. Not only are hundreds of thousands saved and years of development shaved, but the end result can be vetted beforehand and is more likely to meet the qualifications required to survive the modern critique of digital experiences.

Parker Schweer

Senior Marketing Associate