BATON ROUGE – At the urging of Louisiana State Treasurer John M. Schroder, the Louisiana Cash Management Review Board (CMRB) will craft a comprehensive plan with implementation deadlines for all state agencies to accept electronic payment options such as Venmo and Paypal.
“I’ve been asking for it and we’ve been talking about it for too long. It’s time we take action and make it happen. If this were a business decision, we would have made it in an instant because it’s about efficiency and customer service,” Schroder said.
The state’s current merchant services contract provides the option of accepting digital payments with a cost similar to the cost of accepting credit cards, according to Lindsay Schexnayder, Treasury’s chief financial officer. However, there may be upfront costs related to changing an agency’s integrated software so that when payments are received electronically, the payment activates the agency’s network to process, for example, the fishing license that was purchased. She added that after a request from the agency and a recommendation from the Treasurer, the House and Senate must approve any convenience fees before agencies can charge them to citizens.
“I’m tired of hearing all the reasons it can’t be done or how much it’s going to cost,” Schroder said. “This isn’t about what’s convenient for government to do. It’s about doing what’s best for taxpayers.”
Schroder has long been an advocate for technology utilization and has consistently stressed the need for electronic payment options across the state. By law, the state treasurer can make the electronic payment process available to state agencies, but cannot require them to use it.
“There is no doubt that in the long run, this will save time and state resources. There is less risk when you go from handling cash to electronic transfer. And, it’s one way we can make life simpler for our citizens. It should be a no-brainer,” he stated.
A meeting to include the financial institution that works with the state will be held within the next week in order to craft a plan for shifting to statewide agency electronic payment acceptance. The plan will be presented to the full board within 60 days.