Automated Payment Option Goes Live in Elgin, Ill.

This is the city’s second run at a phone-in bill payment system, after the first attempt failed to meet the security standards outlined by credit card companies.

by Mike Danahey, The Courier-News / November 1, 2018
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(TNS) —  Residents in Elgin, Ill., can now securely pay their water, sewer and garbage bill by phone.

The new automated system, available at any time of day, can be accessed by calling 311 from within the city or 847-931-6001 outside the city, 311 Citizen Services Manager Jennifer Phillips said.

“Be sure to have your account numbers handy — the account you have with the city and the credit card you will be using to pay the bill,” Phillips said. “If you don’t have your utility bill account number, you can call the 311 center during business hours, press ‘0’ and a citizen advocate will assist you.”

About 730 people used the phone-in option during the first seven days it was available. The city is testing a version in Spanish that could launch in about three weeks, Elgin Communications Specialist Molly Center said.

This is Elgin’s second attempt at a phone-in payment service, Phillips said. The city was forced to take the system down more than two years ago because it was not in compliance with security measures required by credit card companies, she said.

Since many people call the city’s 311 center to ask to pay their utility bills, the new setup should free up the time of citizen advocates so they can answer questions about other issues and reduce wait times on the phone, Phillips said.

“Having the phone-in system is a way to have options for all our constituents. We want to meet as many needs as we can,” she said.

In addition to paying by phone, residents can also pay their utility bills in person at city hall, by mail or online at cityofelgin.org/waterbilling, Center said.

The city is upgrading the online payment system for utility bills, too, Center said, as well as setting up an online system to pay for other things, such as residential permit fees. Right now, permits must be obtained in person in a process that requires stops at multiple offices in city hall, Center said.

“The new online experience will be out before the end of the year,” Chief Technology Officer Jeff Massey said.

©2018 The Courier-News (Elgin, Ill.).  Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.