July 20, 2021

What you need to know about SB280: Online payments required in West Virginia soon

The state of West Virginia recently passed a law that facilitates online payments for state and local government operations. This is wonderful news! Congrats to Governor Jim Justice and State Treasurer Riley Moore for modernizing and streamlining government operations.

The law requires local governments in West Virginia to offer online payment options for permits, licenses, taxes, and other fees by 2023 (unless they receive a waiver from the Treasurer). It also allows them to collect reasonable transaction fees to support any costs associated with credit card processing. With CityGrows there's no reason why every government in West Virginia won't be able to be online long before 2023!

While many government leaders think that any technology or payments upgrade will necessarily mean lots of time spent writing RFPs and evaluating vendors, low-cost permitting and licensing tools like CityGrows that feature built-in payment processing options make bringing government operations online easy and accessible to any local government.

Here are a few recommendations for city and town managers and county officials in West Virginia to help reduce any anxiety you may have about moving to online payments:

  • Ensure that any payment processor you choose is PCI Level 1 compliant and doesn't put your residents and businesses' financial information at risk. Here's more on PCI compliance from Stripe, CityGrows' integrated payment processor.
  • Look for fully cloud-based software-as-a-service payment options. No payment data should be stored on local government servers.
  • Don't think about payment processing as a stand-alone service. You may end up using multiple payment processors and payment options depending on your needs. For example the software that's best for water bill payments probably isn't the same one you should use for building permits.
  • Explore multiple cost options. While some traditional credit card processors offer very low transaction fees, other companies may charge slightly higher per-transaction fees but be much more cost-effective over all.
  • Look for integrated payment processors - for example permitting and licensing software that comes with payments already integrated without you having to procure both a software tool and a payment processor and then pay a consultant to connect the two systems.

Here's the good news: offering online payments generally increases revenue for governments. Our CityGrows customers generally see a 30-150% increase in revenue and compliance when they move from paper forms and cash/check payments to CityGrows and online processing.

While the new law gives local governments two years to bring payments online, it's likely that most will begin offering these options much sooner. CityGrows clients have launched new online permits that include fee payments in under two weeks! Please book time with our team. We're happy to show you how other local governments are bringing their operations online quickly and efficiently.

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