App for Grand Rapids bills: ‘any time, anywhere, any device’

Grand Rapids

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — The City of Grand Rapids is getting a new app that will make paying your bills easier and less expensive.

The change means the elimination of annoying processing fees for most online credit card payments. And you will be able to link all of your bills together, so you can pay them in seconds.

“We want to make it so that you can do business with the city at any time, anywhere and on any device,” John Globensky, Grand Rapids’ treasurer, told 24 Hour News 8 on Monday.

Places like St. Louis and Kansas City are already using the system. All you will need is an email and password to log on. Your credit card and bank information will be linked to your account.

Currently, Grand Rapids residents who pay bills online are charged a fee that can range from a few bucks to more than $100. With the app, that will no longer be the case for everything except income and property taxes.

The app will give users notifications though text, email or the app about due dates and new bills, among other things.

“Our parking tickets double after 10 days. If I’ve provided a notification for you on day nine or day 10 that says your ticket is due and you can easily click ‘pay it’ and click on your credit card or bank account and get that paid,” Globensky explained. “You’ve just avoided that $20 steep in penalty.”

All of these convinces come at a cost. The city has approved spending up to $825,000 for a one-year contract with the company PayIt for the system. And those credit card processing fees aren’t vanishing; they are being absorbed by the city.

“It sounds like you’re spending money to save money — and in a sense you are — but we are going to save more than we spent,” Globensky said.

The city expects a 20 percent increase in electronic payments, meaning the city will actually break even.

“It’s an investment in our infrastructure,” Globensky added.

You can’t use the app just yet. The city hopes to have it running by August.

If you are not ready to go digital, don’t worry — you will still be able to pay in person. But Globensky says with less people paying at City Hall, employees can spend time working on other duties, which may mean people who retire won’t need to be replaced because there will be less work.

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