Paying taxes and bills to
Californian state departments has become easier thanks to an
electronic funds transfer solution provided by US banking group
Citi’s Global Transaction Services (GTS) unit.
GTS was awarded a “multi-year” contract by the
California State Treasurer’s Office to operate what constitutes the
largest electronic state tax collection platform in the US.
To address what Citi described as the “diverse
and complex needs” of state agencies participating in the
initiative, Citi partnered with US payments processing systems
vendor Fidelity National Information Services (FIS) to develop a
customised end-to-end payments solution.
The solution is based on FIS’ Pay Direct
platform, used by 6,000 financial institutions. FIS is also
responsible for the provision of internet-based and call centre
operator-assisted customer support which is available 24 hours a
day, seven days a week.
GTS’ payments platform, which enables
businesses and individuals to pay tax and bills via their own
bank’s website or the State of California website, is providing
services for 11 state departments.
These include the Department of Motor Vehicles
which handles licence payments on some 31 million vehicles; the
Department of Justice; the Department of Veterans Affairs; the
Employment Development Department; the Franchise Tax Board; and the
California Public Employees Retirement System, the largest public
pension fund in the US.
The California State Treasurer’s Office
anticipates the solution will yield “significant operational cost
savings” for the departments.
The participating departments currently
receive up to 3 million automated clearing house and wire transfer
payments every month.
Providing a payments solution to California
could also be likened to addressing the needs of a large country.
With 37 million inhabitants, California is the most populous state
in the US and was also the largest in terms of its gross state
product of $1.85 trillion in 2008, according to the Central
Intelligence Agency (CIA).
The CIA notes that, as an independent country,
California would rank as the world’s 10th largest economy.