Oxford City Council is aiming to go cashless across various service areas during this year.
The Council will put in place enhanced systems to accept payment using Direct Debit, BACS and credit and debit cards, though customers will still be able to continue to use cash at PayPoint outlets and post offices across the city.
The move away from paying Council bills by cash and cheques will reduce costs, enhance security, and offer a more convenient, 24-hour method of payment. The scheme is set to save in the region of £45,000 a year in handling charges as well as other efficiency savings arising from streamlining processes.
The City Council has long offered and encouraged cashless payments for many of its services and has consequently seen the number of cash and cheque payments steadily decline. During the COVID 19 lockdowns, the use of cash and cheque payments has reduced even more rapidly. With the Council no longer seeing customers face to face, a temporary system of reduced cash and cheque handling was implemented. It has shown that cash and cheque payments amount to a very small percentage of transactions, a mere 0.52 per cent, but they remain expensive to administer.
“The Council has long advocated using non cash or cheque payment as the most cost effective and most secure method.
“There is now an increasing trend for digital payment in most aspects of life. With so little cash and so few cheques being used now, and with the Council looking to save money in the wake of the pandemic, we feel the time is right to move entirely to this method when in direct contact with the Council.
“Because of the minimal amount of cash and cheque transactions the impact on customers will be small. But there are those who may still need to pay in cash or cheque and it is important that they still can. So the City Council will ensure that they will still be able to pay Council bills, including rent payments, by using any of the well-established 42 PayPoint facilities spread across Oxford, and at post offices”.
Cllr Nigel Chapman, Cabinet Member for Customer Focused Services.
The City Council is also exploring other payment methods such as using apps and pre-paid cards.
City Council services that will now become cashless and cheque-less include:
- garden waste
- parks and cemeteries fees
- legal services
- council tax
- planning fees.
Once the transfer to cashless payments in these services has been introduced, the Council will look at expanding the scheme to cover further services.