Blog Post
Feb 28, 2023

Still collecting the lion’s share of bill payments by drop box? There may be a reason for it.

Having just concluded Winter property tax collection season here in Michigan, placing envelopes in bill payment drop boxes and hoping for the best has never been more top-of-mind. For most of us, quickly navigating to our municipality’s website and submitting a payment for our property taxes (although not necessarily pleasant) is easy and it’s become a habit. For other billpayers, however, it’s not that simple. In fact, while most of us pay recurring essential bills like property taxes or water payments online or even from our phone, for about a quarter of the U.S. population, and even some business owners, paying in-person with cash or paying by costly money order is the only option.
Nearly 25% of the U.S. population is classified as unbanked or underbanked, meaning they have no access to traditional banking or credit, and may use of costly check cashing or “pay-day-advance” services.
In fact, even for some rural residents who have access to a checking account and credit or debit cards to pay bills, paying taxes by mail or drop box (some of which are located at their local township treasurer’s home address) is still the only way to pay. 20230214 182104 003 What most municipalities, and indeed this rural outpost in a mid-Michigan township may not know, is that providing residents and consumers with more ways to pay increases on-time bill collections and helps to improve interactions with billpayers. Selecting the right vendor partner can reduce the time it takes to reconcile payments. Best of all, these online self-service options are more affordable than ever. In fact, adding multiple payment channels to existing collections methods (like drop boxes), when supported by the right payments partner, is easier than making no change at all. Here’s how to get started:
  1. Determine what percentage of your payments are coming from cash, money order or certified check, personal or business checks, as well as from debit and credit cards
    • This will help you determine what types of self-service payment channels will be best suited to your specific consumers.
    • Large volumes of in-person cash payments, and money orders or cashiers checks by drop box often go hand in hand with high poverty rates of residents and local area consumers
  2. Be able to clearly size your annual collection volumes, and be able to pinpoint when the busiest collections times of the year or month are for your department, on a calendar-year basis.
    • Being able to plan for cyclical increases in collections can help vendor partners to focus on building appropriate process automation to eliminate redundancies when your staff is at their busiest.
  3. Gather feedback from your treasury department and customer support teams and understand if there any obstacles in the way of adding more payment pathways
    • Sometimes a new accounting or CIS implementation might be a first-step priority for your municipality, department, or utility. Successful implementations start with consulting internal IT resources, business, and revenue teams to get their feedback and buy-in, ahead of any technology change.
  4. Reach out to schedule a 15-minute demo with our team to learn more about implementing bill payment kiosks for billers with a high ratio of cash-paying consumers, or lightweight self-service payment channels, such as web payment portals and mobile bill payment apps like DivDat’s for customers who tend to pay by card.
    • These technologies make self-service on-time bill payments possible for essential billers of all types.
Take customer satisfaction into your own hands, and out of the drop box by considering additional self-service payment channels like DivDat’s that post in real-time, provide immediate official receipts, and help drive down reconciliation timelines and corresponding processing costs. Learn more about DivDat’s self-service SaaS-based payment channels by visiting