JAY — Selectpersons voted 4-1 Monday to let the Town Office staff decide which credit card option they would like to use to accept money from customers paying bills.
The vote also requires staff to develop a policy on credit card use and bring it back to the board for approval.
Vice Chairman Justin Merrill said prior to the vote, he would oppose moving forward on credit card acceptance at the Town Office.
A lot of people have asked that the town accept credit cards to pay for town services, including tax bills, according to staff.
Selectpersons requested more information on the use of credit cards in January.
Town Finance Director Lisa Bryant said that there are a lot of options out there, but she chose the two most popular ones to bring forward for consideration.
The options she presented are InforMe/PayPort and AndroPay.
The InforMe option would have no setup fee and an optional annual maintenance fee of $75 a year. If the town went with a swipe machine for credit cards, which is also optional, the cost would be $85 for each machine and a yearly fee of $15, Bryant said.
The fees for the customers would be $1 for charges less than $40 and 2.5 percent for charges more than $40, she said.
The town would not receive these fees, she said.
If the process is not connected to an interface for the town’s Trio accounting software, staff will have to manually enter each transaction into Trio, she said.
If the town went with an optional Trio Interface, the cost would be an initial setup fee of $700 to $1,000 and a $175 annual maintenance fee.
The customer would have to come to the office to use their credit card, Bryant said.
The other option is AndroPay, offered through Androscoggin Bank. There would be no setup fee or annual maintenance fee. The bank would waive the $65 fee for each swipe machine because the town is a good customer, Bryant said.
The cost to the customer, if paying from a bank account for charges less than $40, is $1. Charges more than $40 would be 2.95 percent. If the customer uses a Visa debit card, there would be a flat fee of $3.95, she said.
This option would be more time-intensive for staff than InforMe/PayPort, as data has to uploaded almost daily for taxes if the customer goes online to pay, otherwise the town may forfeit some interest, she said. This option also requires staff to enter information twice.
It would eliminate some traffic through the Town Office.
Customers could pay for real estate and personal property/sewer taxes online, but not the registration of cars or dogs, vital records and other services.
For either option, the town would need to put up posters so the customer knows the fees upfront and understands that the town does not benefit from them using a credit card, Bryant said.
The InforMe could be the least expensive option for the town with the least amount of manual work for employees, while giving the customers the ability to use cards, she said.
She checked with a variety of towns, and there were no complaints about either service, she said.
The benefit of AndroPay is that citizens can log in from home to pay, or the town can use the system only at the counter, if that is what selectpersons decide. The AndroPay website would be a link on the town’s website and can be customized with prominent fee notices, instructions and more.
It is up to the customer if they want to pay the additional fee in order to use a credit card, Bryant said.
It is all about customer service, Deputy Town Clerk Lori Simpson said.