Indiana broadens online payments

Indiana Gov. Frank O'Bannon has signed into law a provision that gives blanket approval for any state agency to accept online electronic payments for services through accessIndiana, the state's official Web site.

Prior to the law, signed March 26, only seven agencies had been authorized to accept online payments.

"There were certain stipulations in agency codes that didn't necessarily make it easy for them to do business through the Web," said Candy Irven, general manager for accessIndiana. "This new law not only provides the blanket approval for agencies to do that, but it also describes the mechanisms they can use to do it."

The process is made easy for government agencies because Indiana Interactive Inc., which built and operates accessIndiana (www.accessindiana.com) for the state, takes care of all of the contracting that must be done with banks and credit card firms to establish online payments.

After the initial service has been set up, Indiana Interactive collects fees and puts them into a central account that is turned over to the state. The company also provides the transaction reports. Payments can be made with debit cards, credit cards or electronic check transfer.

The only real-time connections that have to be made with agency back-end systems are when data has to be transferred for such things as the personal information that appears on hunting and other types of licenses.

The Indiana Web site was launched in 1995 and currently offers about 175 different interactive services.

Indiana Interactive is a wholly owned subsidiary of e-government firm NIC.

Robinson is a freelance journalist based in Portland, Ore. He can be reached at hullite@mindspring.com.

About the Author

Brian Robinson is a freelance writer based in Portland, Ore.

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