• Success Story

Ahead of the curve: How the Shelby County Trustee’s Office uses technology to serve their residents

Solutions deployed

Property Tax

A history of meeting County residents where they are

The Shelby County Trustee’s Office has always prided themselves on innovative, out-of-the-box approaches for collecting property tax revenue.

Shelby County Trustee Regina Morrison Newman has continued the county’s  mission to leverage technology to meet their residents wherever they are, through their preferred method of interaction. The county was an early adopter of self-service kiosk payment systems, setting up dozens of kiosks in popular areas that enabled citizens to make credit card and ACH payments. In addition to these kiosks, Shelby County deployed “mobile cashiers” into the community, equipped with laptops and a card processing device that would take payments and print out receipts. Newman recalled, “We really thought we’d get two or three people a day, but the first day at the library there was a line when we opened.” This initiative would win the county the 2010 National Association of Counties (NACo) Achievement Award.

Part of being at the forefront of technology is understanding when to adapt. As the years went by, the kiosks became challenging to maintain. Dispatching a member of the Trustee’s office to service kiosks was not an effective use of resources, and credit card and PCI compliance measures made mobile cashiering challenging. The County was soon faced with a full hardware and software rebuild to maintain compliance. The County knew more of its residents were paying online and began to seek ways to improve its existing site, which was not user-friendly or mobile-optimized. This prompted the Trustee’s Office to forge a partnership with PayIt.

PayIt901 results…

Collected ACH payments at
the rate of credit cards
Grew online revenue capture by
from 2021-2022
in online revenue (launch-2022)

Accelerating revenue collection and disbursement

Launched in 2017, PayIt901 allowed Shelby County to create an all-in-one platform for property tax collection. Available on web, mobile, and native Apple and Android apps, residents are able to interact with the Trustee’s Office in the way they see fit.

With a population of nearly one million people, Shelby County is the largest of Tennessee’s 95 counties, both in population and geographical area. Tax revenue supports the Shelby County Education Fund, which is used for all public school operations within the county. In fiscal year 2018, the education fund accounted for 34% of total county-wide expenditures, making tax revenue collection a vital component of serving the residents of Shelby County.

Collecting and disbursing this revenue in a timely manner is critical to the success of Shelby County. payit901 allows the county to receive monies faster, distribute them quicker and free up resources in the process.

A fully integrated and scalable platform for Shelby County

The Shelby County Trustee’s Office again found themselves ahead of the curve by implementing a composable SaaS platform to serve their residents.

Collecting property tax for a county the size of Shelby is filled with nuances. Providing residents with a consolidated way to pay both city and county property taxes means integrating into several back-office systems of record. Because PayIt’s modern data platform supports both API and flat-file data integration, payit901 is able to collect city and county taxes for Arlington, Millington, and Lakeland; city property taxes for Memphis, and delinquent property taxes for Germantown, Bartlett, Memphis, and Collierville. This all lives in one solution, with one consolidated admin and reporting portal that ensures the individual systems of record are updated accurately.

Leveraging the PayIt platform allows the Trustee’s Office to continually add new features and functionality to payit901. With a successful first year in tax revenue collection, payit901 was expanded to include scheduled payments in 2018, City of Memphis property taxes in 2019, and property tax eBills in 2019. In 2020, the County added PayIt’s Point of Sale (POS) solution for contactless walk-in payment acceptance, and Interactive Voice Response (IVR) in 2021 to round out the County’s multi-channel payment acceptance methods.

Shifting transactions to online channels benefits the County and residents alike.

Awareness and adoption drive users online – which frees up resources during the busiest months of tax season. The Trustee’s mission of meeting residents where they are has led to steady increases in online user adoption every year. PayIt has supported the County with a multi-pronged communication strategy, which includes emails, flyers, brochures, postcards, and social media campaigns. These campaigns have been key to the platform’s steady annual growth. 

The County has long made it their mission to give residents the flexibility to pay how and where they want. PayIt makes it possible for the County to fulfill this mission, accepting credit and debit cards across all channels and offering electronic check acceptance (ACH) online. ACH accounts for nearly 80% of resident transactions. While the County still receives mailed checks which must be manually processed, offering ACH payments online has reduced the volume of checks by thousands of pieces of mail. This frees up valuable resources during the busiest months of tax season.

By partnering with PayIt, Shelby County has ensured that as payment methods and people’s expectations evolve, their digital government experiences are continuously enhanced for accuracy, usability, and user experience – guaranteeing the solution never goes out of date.