BELLEFONTE — The Centre County government offices are moving into the 21st century as the recorder of deeds will soon accept credit card payments on site at its office. This is the first county office that will be able to accept credit card payments on site.
The County Board of Commissioners agreed to put the issue on next week's consent agenda. The agreement will allow the service through Worldpay LLC and Government Payment Services Inc. to provide GovPay.net Payment Network to accept payments on the county’s behalf by credit and debit card beginning May 7. Cardholders will be charged for the service, but the county will take no additional fees.
“This is just another method that people can use to pay for services at the Centre County Recorder of Deeds office,” said Joe Davidson, Centre County recorder of deeds. The office's primary mission is to record, protect, preserve and reproduce legal documents that relate to real estate in Centre County and act as an agent for Real Estate Transfer Tax.
Davidson said credit cards have been accepted by the county through its Webia service, which provides online access to records; but this will be the first office to accept credit cards in-house.
Board Chairman Michael Pipe said he wanted to make sure the county would not be subject to fraud claims and Davidson said it would be up to the county to make sure that the people who use the credit cards are authorized to use it. He said the county carefully reviewed the agreement.
“Govpay.net is certainly not a stranger to government. Peers around the state have reported very good relationships and reliable service. And I understand that they have a significant presence in several of the correctional facilities around the state as well, and their expertise is in government services,” said Davidson.
Commissioner Steven Dershem said other county offices may want to follow the initiative.
“I would see this having value at the registrar's office and maybe the prothonotary offices,” said Dershem. Davidson added that probation might be a potential user as well. The county would be free to choose another provider for the service if it chooses to do so in the future.
Davidson said he was surprised that people wanted to have the credit card option after a survey was conducted about the matter over the past few months. He said that it would be helpful for smaller transactions at the office because people don’t carry that amount of cash anymore.
“My peers in other offices across the state that have implemented this say that if you have it they will come. So, once you get it your utilization of credit cards increases sometimes exponentially,” said Davidson.