- Chicago's Department of Finance is expanding and upgrading online municipal services' payment options for residents, and establishing a centralized online platform for residents and businesses to manage all of the fees they owe, according to an emailed press release. The city is also adding up to 50 more payment kiosks in Chicago's buildings.
- The new online payment website can be used on mobile devices, and the number of services, fees and fines that can be paid online is also increasing.
- The first phase of the mobile payment site rollout and upgrades will be available this summer, covering payments for parking, red light camera and speed camera violations. Later this year, utility payments will be accepted through the portal.
For residents, especially those in large cities, trying to pay municipal fees sometimes can be a hassle. Not every citizen has the luxury of being able to trek to city hall during business hours. Plus, online payment portals sometimes are clunky and take more time to navigate than just paying in person. That can create barriers to paying bills, especially on time, which leads to frustrating late fees as well.
Adding or modernizing payment systems for services and fees that nearly all residents use is one of the most widespread and visible ways to improve government for all citizens. Chicago's system, powered by CityBase, will offer residents the convenience of paying right from their cell phones — and increased convenience tends to make citizens happier with their local governments.
Although some forms of payments previously could be made online, others required mailing a check or visiting a payment center. With personal checks losing favor as more systems turn high-tech, Chicago's beefed up system will provide residents with more modern payment options.
Adding more payment kiosks in city buildings, such as police stations and libraries, is one way Chicago is working toward equitably installing technological advances. The kiosks will be positioned in neighborhoods throughout the city, but especially those where residents would be extra challenged to make check payments by mail or in-person payments at city hall. The kiosks are particularly beneficial for people who do not own a cell phone or have secure online access to accounts. The devices also will accept cash, which helps residents who do not have credit or debit cards or who might not even have access to a traditional bank account.