Wednesday, July 8, 2015

E-payments on the rise

Online tax payments to the City of Decatur have increased by about 175 percent since Decatur began accepting electronic checks during the 2nd installment property tax billing of 2014. Decatur previously accepted only credit card payments with a convenience fee charged by a third-party payment processor. From July 2014 through June 2015, the city received 945 web payments (credit card or e-check) for taxes totaling $2 million.  The year before that, the city received 345 web payments for $500,000 in taxes. The city has also experienced a doubling in the number of businesses renewing their license and paying their occupation taxes electronically with over 10 percent of businesses now choosing to pay that way.

Paying online at has several advantages over sending checks through the mail or using an online bill paying service through a personal bank account.  If you currently pay your taxes online through your personal bank account, we encourage you to consider switching to pay with an e-check directly through our website. At, you can access a full copy of your tax bill, while most major online banking services do not provide detailed bills. Secondly, using an online bill paying feature through your personal bank account may not allow you to include your property ID and tax year with your payment, which are the two essential pieces of information we need to post your payment to your account in a timely and accurate fashion. (Paying with an e-check through our website automatically provides the city with the property ID and tax year information.) Lastly, the e-check service we use is truly electronic, and no paper checks are generated or printed during the process, but with your online bill pay checks, we actually receive those checks as paper.

Taxpayers should be aware that e-checks, like paper checks, generally take three to five days to clear the bank. It is not an immediate debit like online credit card transactions. Considering the clearing period, e-check payers are encouraged to pay at least five days prior to any formal payment deadline to help prevent any last-minute stress over whether your payment was received on time.


  1. Is there a "convenience fee" for e-check payments, like there is for credit cards?