Oakland County is committed to enabling as much technology sharing among governments as possible, and has provided enterprise payment transaction processing services to its 62 local municipalities for many years. The County's philosophy is that government agencies can work together to create a sustainable model for digital government by sharing and leveraging technology for mutual benefit. The next evolution of the County's enterprise payment service offering is the new Over the Counter Payments service, which takes transaction processing to the cloud. With this approach, Oakland County is opening access to advanced payment processing systems beyond its geographic borders. The new Over the Counter Payments system, offered through the County's G2G Cloud Solutions, transforms workflow and business processes associated with in-office, point-of-service payment collection and processing. Over the Counter Payments allows government agencies to take credit card payments in person at government offices and service centers. Over the Counter Payments helps government agencies of any size, in any jurisdiction, to collect any type of payment. The streamlined business processes achieved with Over the Counter Payments enables governments to contain or reduce operating costs while improving customer service for those who do business with government. The Over the Counter Payments service is a sustainable, self-funding system that includes automated transaction processing for a range of government business functions. Government agencies can accept payments for any type of bill or fee, with fast receipt of funds and real-time reporting and transaction monitoring. Customizable payment options support any service, fee or payment type, and participating governments are able to fully configure custom data fields for collection of payment information. Over the Counter Payments is innovative in its provision of secure transaction processing and compliance with the Payment Card Industry (PCI) Security Standards Council, a set of strict, comprehensive requirements for enhancing credit card payment account security. This compliance is difficult to achieve, even for large credit card payment processors, and as a result few government agencies are able to attain it on their own. Over the Counter Payments is also innovative in its unique self-funding, revenue-sharing model. Governments pay no fees to use the Over the Counter Payments service, and no credit card processing fees are charged to governments. Participating governments have the opportunity to benefit from revenue-sharing from the collection of Enhanced Access fees, as allowed under the Michigan Enhanced Access Act (P.A. 462, 1996). The revenue produced by the collection of Enhanced Access fees is used to pay for credit card payment processing fees and to help recover application development costs. Any excess revenue is then shared back with participating governments. Oakland County is not in the position to profit from this initiative, but rather seeks to recover the costs associated with the technology development, maintenance and support, as well as to drive down the cost of conducting government business for all participants. Over the Counter Payments is an example of successful and sustainable shared technology services for government. New business processes and additional payment options enable participating agencies to operate more efficiently. Without Oakland County's G2G Cloud Solutions, this technology would have been unavailable to some participating agencies due to resource and budget constraints. By providing improved business process models, end-to-end credit card payment processing service, and ongoing training and support for participating agencies, Oakland County is demonstrating the benefits of cross-jurisdictional collaboration and technology sharing. The ongoing effects of the national economic recession mean that many local governments and smaller agencies continue to operate under cash shortages. Some governments are struggling to maintain existing services in an environment of sharply declining revenues. Many local governments, particularly smaller municipalities, lack the means or the funding to implement technology solutions that could help relieve pressure on operational budgets. Through G2G Cloud Solutions, Oakland County is extending a helping hand by sharing the Over the Counter Payments solution. Over the Counter Payments includes many benefits to participating governments and the people they serve. Chief among these is the opportunity for governments to use advanced enterprise technology in a shared services model. The private cloud computing architecture of the Over the Counter Payments service supports reduced operating costs and increased reliability, security, and privacy protection for government data. Over the Counter Payments also helps participating governments achieve bottom-line successes through the streamlined implementation and maintenance of advanced technology solutions. With the cloud-based Over the Counter Payments service, governments are not required to purchase costly hardware or software in order to provide credit card payment collection. Because Oakland County provides training and ongoing support for governments using the Over the Counter Payments service, participating governments have no need to hire additional specialized technical staff to administer IT systems and applications. Payments are automatically transferred directly to each government's account, with all payment funds going directly to the collecting government agency. Participating governments pay no fees to use the Over the Counter Payments service. Credit card processing fees are paid through the collection of Enhanced Access Fees, instead of by governments. In this way, governments using Over the Counter Payments receive 100% of their collected payment funds. The Over the Counter Payments service is a sustainable, self-funding initiative that can be used by any government regardless of size or available budget resources. Benefits to constituents include increased accessibility to government and improved customer service through the use of advanced cloud-based enterprise technology. People doing business with government benefit from a more positive customer experience through the provision of convenient payment options that are secure and easy to use.
Over the Counter Payments also helps governments to streamline business processes while collecting a greater number of payments. With a reduction in the amount of time that is required to collect and process payments, governments gain new flexibility in task assignment as well as increased employee productivity. Employees who are no longer occupied with time-consuming payment processing tasks become available to perform other duties. Over the Counter Payments has a proven record of success in transaction automation, operational savings, revenue generation,
citizen service, and employee satisfaction.