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Legislature Authorizes Finance Department to Accept Credit and Debit Card Payments

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Legislature Authorizes Finance Department to Accept Credit and Debit Card Payments

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

The Legislature, by a vote of 11-2 (Legislators Carol Chock and Dooley Kiefer voted no) authorized the County Finance Department to enter into an arrangement with Systems East, Inc., of Cortland, NY, its current tax collection software provider, to provide the Department to accept online payments—the ability to accept payments via credit or debit card. There will be no cost for Tompkins County, and any transaction fees will be paid by the customer. The new “Xpress-pay” service will provide a means to accept credit and debit card payments in person and by computer or mobile device.

Payments by credit or debit card will now be accepted for taxes, fees, and charges such as real estate taxes; retiree health insurance premiums; occupancy taxes; and tax searches and copies. The resolution also notes that information will be provided to taxpayers regarding service charges and fees associated with payment by credit card.

Legislator Chock called the option a bad idea, since she said it subjects people to extra fees and interest charges from credit card companies if they carry a balance. Legislator Anna Kelles noted the payment method is only a voluntary option, and said she sees it as a bit arrogant for the Legislature to assume that people are unable to balance their own finances or making their own intelligent decisions if they use credit cards. “It should not be up to us to dictate or limit options because we think we know the best way to handle their finances,” she said