A need to modernize
Kinston, North Carolina is home to over 21,000 people. Though a family-friendly place to live, the city government had limited options for electronically paying utility bills.

Kinston officials wanted to make payments easier for customers, leading them to partner with Forte Payment Systems to expand their payment options.

The challenge

Catherine Gwynn, Assistant City Manager, noted that the city of Kinston was able to accept credit and debit card payments for utility billing over the phone (IVR) and in-person at a kiosk. However, payments could not be made online, and could not be accepted at all for other departments like recreation, police, and fire.

Kinston officials wanted to integrate payment processing into their utility billing software’s web interface to allow customers to pay online, as well as gain the ability to accept payments for other departments in-person or by phone. Kinston turned to Forte for assistance.

forte provides great customer service from beginning stages of planning to final deployment. they definitely still have a personal touch that is missing in so many industires."
Catherine Gwynn
Assistant City Manager, City of Kinston
Why forte
Kinston was introduced to Forte through a new software management system — for which Forte was already a partner — deployed by the Recreation department. City officials learned that Forte was able to develop programming to bridge the gap between their ERP system and a payment interface. Gwynn stated “I was impressed with the service level and product, so when it was time to look for a utilities merchant provider, I sought out our sales rep to see if there was a way to make it work.” Shortly after, Kinston and Forte were integrated.
How forte helped
Forte’s development team worked with the city of Kinston to get their online and IVR utilities billing up and running, allowing residents to make payments online or via phone.

•  Providing value: Kinston utilities customers now have more convenient options for making payments.

•  Saving staff time: Processing payments electronically eliminates much of the need for staff to handle cash and checks, reducing bank fees and freeing up time.

Gwynn has enjoyed Kinston’s partnership with Forte, stating that “from planning to implementation to deployment to ongoing usage, the service we have received from Forte has been efficient and responsive.”
How forte helped

The results

Kinston saw a 41.4% year-over-year growth in the number of transactions processed from 2016 to 2017, with nearly 40,000 transactions in 2017 alone. This data is paired with positive feedback from customers who appreciate how simple it is to make payments after the Forte solution implementation.

Conclusion
Forte was able to provide the city of Kinston with a reliable solution that has proven to be attractive to both city officials and utilities customers.

“Forte provides great customer service from the beginning stages of planning to final deployment. They definitely still have a personal touch that is missing in so many industries,” said Gwynn.
That personal service — alongside our industry-leading solutions — is what sets Forte apart.
Kinston

Summary

The city of Kinston, NC partnered with Forte Payment Systems to expand payment options, primarily for online utilities billing.

Highlights

•  Kinston had limited payment options, none of which were online.
•  Forte integrated a comprehensive, user-friendly solution for online payment processing.
•  Between 2016 and 2017, Kinston saw a 41.4% YoY growth in transactions processed.

Complete flexibility

•  Secure Web Pay
•  IVR payments
•  Convenience fee model

Contact us to learn how we streamline payment processing for governmental agencies.