Sparks City Council Meeting 10/14/2019 2:00:00 PMMonday, October 14, 2019 2:00 PM
Council Chambers, Legislative Bldg, 745 4th Street, Sparks, NV
General Business: 9.7
A Business Impact Statement is not required because this is not a rule.
Staff is recommending the City Council approve this request to join onto an existing contract between the City of Reno and NCR Payment Solutions, FL, LLC for the provision of payment processing services at a rate of 25 cents per credit or debit card transaction plus 2.0% of the total transaction amount, and a rate of 50 cents per eCheck transaction.
The City of Sparks currently offers customers the ability to pay for their sewer service billing, passport applications, business license applications and renewals, permitting fees, and miscellaneous invoices with a credit or debit card at the city’s Customer Service counter.
In October of 2016, the city also began accepting online payments for business license and permit applications through the introduction of Accela Citizen Access (ACA). Today, customers can also pay any code enforcement fees, fire inspection fees, and environmental control permits online through ACA.
Currently, the city contracts with two separate payment processing providers, one processes payments at the Customer Service counter and the other processes online payments through ACA. Neither of the city’s current processors are able to effectively provide the services for all transaction types at an acceptable rate. Additionally, the current payment processor for the city’s ACA transactions utilizes software that is no longer compatible with the ACA regional platform, resulting in inaccuracies when payments are processed. The current contracts for both payment processors expire on October 31, 2019.
The current rates charged by each of the city’s providers range between 1.8% and 2.9% per transaction with an additional 15 to 50 cents per transaction flat fee. Fees are based on contracted rates the payment processor has with each credit card type. A standard Visa credit card transaction may cost the city a 15 cent transaction fee plus 1.8% of the total transaction amount, but a Visa Business or Visa Preferred fee may increase as high as a 50 cent transaction fee plus 2.9% of the total amount of the transaction, for an identical transaction. This is a common business model in the industry that is based on the contracts the payment processors have with the credit card companies. NCR Payment Solutions, FL, LLC (NCR) offers a flat rate of 25 cents per credit or debit card transaction plus 2.0% of the total transaction amount, regardless of the type of card a customer uses, as well as a flat rate of 50 cents per eCheck transaction.
Staff proposes using the joinder provision allowed under Nevada Revised Statute (NRS) 332.195 to gain the benefit of an existing NCR contract which will allow NCR to process all City of Sparks Customer Service counter and online ACA credit or debit card transactions at a flat rate of 25 cents per transaction plus 2.0% of the total transaction amount, regardless of the type of card a customer uses.
The city has paid a total of $209,191.52 in payment processing fees for ACA and Customer Service counter transactions over the last 12 months. Comparing the same transactions with the rates of the proposed payment processor, the city would have saved approximately $10,000 on Customer Service counter transactions and approximately $25,000 on Accela online transactions. The amount the city pays for payment processing is anticipated to continue growing as customers increasingly prefer paying for services online with their credit or debit cards. However, the flat percentage rate charged by NCR will result in an overall savings per transaction on fees paid by the city related to accepting credit, debit, and eCheck payments.
The addition of NCR as the city’s new payment processor will not only provide cost savings, but will also simplify operations by having a single payment processor for both ACA and Customer Service counter transactions. NCR will provide significantly improved compatibility and reliability within our ACA regional platform, better reporting functionality, and will allow the city to also accept a broader range of payment methods including Apple Pay, Android Pay, Tap to Pay and EMV chip payments, which have increasingly been requested by customers in recent years.
1. City Council may approve the request to joinder as presented
2. City Council could reject the joinder and direct the City Manager to have staff competitively bid the service.
I move to approve joining the existing contract (AC-5613) between the City of Reno and NCR Payment Solutions, FL, LLC for the provision of payment processing services at a rate of 25 cents per credit or debit card transaction plus 2.0% of the total transaction amount, and a rate of 50 cents per eCheck transaction and authorize the City Manager to execute the agreement.