Accela, Forte Partner on Payment Processing In the Cloud

Continuing to invest in the online future of state and local government, the cloud software giant has integrated with a well-known payment processor to handle debit and credit card transactions.

Accela headquarters in San Ramon, Calif.
As many state and local governments make the inexorable shift into digital services, the digital payment company Forte Payment Systems has partnered with Accela, one of the largest domestic providers of licensing and permitting software, to improve payment processing on Accela’s software-as-a-service (SaaS) products.

According to a news release this week, the strategic partnership will integrate Forte’s payment processing engine with Accela’s software to help Accela’s government clients handle service and convenience fees — fees paid by citizens for business and professional licenses, recreational permits and other interactions managed by Accela’s products. This integration will accommodate online and in-office payments from any devices that handle EMV (Europay, MasterCard, Visa) chip transactions, and it will give government staff some real-time insights about those transactions.

Forte and Accela are framing the integration as a proactive step to make credit and debit card payments as flexible, secure and as low-cost as possible to receive and supervise. The news release points out that online payments will only get more important over time as paper and in-person payments become less common, and as digital services and online interactions become the norm.

“Today’s customers are demanding more secure, compliant digital payment and card processing capabilities as more transactions take place online,” said Accela Chief Operating Officer Tom Nieto in a statement. “Forte has a deep understanding of the vast complexities and nuances of the government payment landscape as the leading expert in the space. With this partnership, we’re proud to offer our customers an end-to-end solution with a dedicated government support team and robust APIs to help better meet their needs.”

The trend toward fully digital government services is bread and butter for Accela, which has spent the past several years rolling out new software tools that help with digitizing manual, paper-based processes. Licensing and permitting has become a particularly competitive space for gov tech, already dominated by giant companies such as Accela, CentralSquare Technologies, NIC and Tyler Technologies, with Salesforce throwing its hat in the ring last month. Accela also branched out last month by partnering with OpenCities on a no-code platform for governments to build their own websites, something a lot of clients had to do in a hurry when COVID-19 shuttered offices and necessitated the virtual delivery of services and information.