Fairfax expands e-pay services

Several Fairfax County agencies will adopt the back-end electronic payment system of Govolution, boosting usage of the enterprise product to more than 30 applications in the Virginia county government.

Agencies that will go live this year with some applications include the Fairfax County Circuit Court's land records division, the Public Works Department, the Community and Recreation Services Department's athletic services division and the Administration for Human Services Department's alcohol safety action program.

"The benefit is obviously that you can manage those [applications] and you can enforce the fiduciary rules across the county in a very specific way," said Chris Flaesch, president and chief executive officer of Govolution, based in Arlington, Va.

The company's Velocity Payment System, the payment engine being used in Fairfax, can be integrated with an agency's back-end system, regardless of the system’s technical capability and infrastructure, Flaesch said. All transactions are recorded and reconciled uniformly, whether they are made online, by interactive voice response or by point of sale.

"When I say we deal with the legacy environment on the ground, it also includes their financial institutions," Flaesch said. "For example, they use Bank of America, and so these monies get deposited right in their Bank of America account. The benefit to the county is if they ever want to change banks, they don't have any proprietary bank-specific technology."

Despite Fairfax County's use of a uniform back-end payment engine, Flaesch said, the public sector is traditionally slower to implement such applications than the private sector because it lacks technical expertise. He said implementation usually starts in one department or agency and then spreads.

He said citizens are pressuring governments to adopt such applications that would allow citizens to see, for example, electronic versions of their bills.

Flaesch said government officials understand the concerns. "I know it's a stereotype, [but] the private sector is driven by opportunity, while public-sector decision making is driven by fear. They're being pushed into these in many cases by their citizens."

Govolution, which also has several federal customers, makes its money through licensing and maintenance fees, revenues from consulting and integration services, and transaction or convenience fees.

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