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Ripon soon taking debit & credit cards

Making payments at city hall or the police department is about to get some added conveniences.

On Tuesday, the Ripon City Council approved a plan in which customers can use their credit cards or debit cards at the payment counter.

"Right now, it's cash or check," said City Clerk Lisa Roos, who noted that credit or debit card payments are only accepted online or at the computer kiosk in the lobby of city hall.

For that, Ripon uses the services of Billing Document Specialists (BDS).

Payments for the recreation programs since 2017 are handled primarily online, using a customer's credit card. Roos noted that this service is handled by Vantiv via the Blue Sombrero website.

In order to provide the services requested to process over-the-counter payments, the City would need to remain in compliance with the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards through the services provided by BDS.

Ripon, in the past, has opted for a revenue neutral method of credit card processing. In this case, the customer pays a convenience fee in order to pay using credit or debit.

The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard is a set of security standards designed to ensure that all companies that accept, process, store or transmit credit card information maintain a secure environment.

Staff, meanwhile, recommended that the City continue to pass on this fee to the customer because the card reader machines are there for their convenience.

Councilman Jake Parks made the request last August that staff evaluate expanding credit card services to include the Ripon Police Department. Staff, in turn, discovered it would be convenient to add city hall to the mix.

Total cost to the City for offering this new service is a $900 one-time fee followed by $300 per year thereafter. Included are the purchase card readers for both the lobby of Ripon City Hall and the Ripon Police Department.

A $25 per month maintenance fee is also part of the cost.

Customers will continue to incur a fee of the greater of $2 or 3 percent of their payment, according to Roos.