Nebraska State Treasurer Don Stenberg today announced his office has partnered with PayNearMe to become the first state to offer an innovative electronic cash-payment option for child support payments.
This new service provided by the Nebraska Child Support Payment Center, a division of the Nebraska State Treasurer’s Office, and PayNearMe, an electronic cash transaction network, makes it possible for non-custodial parents to pay child support with cash at more than 17,000 participating locations nationwide. Among these locations are 7-Eleven, Family Dollar and ACE Cash Express stores. Many of these locations are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
More than 50 participating payment locations are in Nebraska and in communities on Nebraska’s borders with neighboring states.
“The addition of this new electronic cash payment option is part of our ongoing effort to improve efficiency and make the child support payment system easier for all,” said State Treasurer Stenberg. “This new service not only makes cash payments more convenient for parents, it also reduces our administrative costs. The electronic cash payment option is a significant development for families and for Nebraska.”
Stenberg noted that Nebraska has been recognized nationally for its use of electronic payment methods. Nebraska is ranked third in the nation for the percent of child support payments received electronically and is in the top 10 states for the percent of payments made to custodial parents electronically. Seventy-six percent of Nebraska’s child support payments are received electronically, while 97 percent of payments to custodial parents are made electronically.
In total, the Nebraska Child Support Payment Center receives payments from more than 52,000 non-custodial parents or their employers. While 85 percent of the payments made to the Nebraska Child Support Payment Center are made by employers on behalf of their employees, a significant number of non-custodial parents still pay on their own and have no other choice than cash or money orders because their past financial histories prevent them from securing checking accounts, debit cards, or credit cards.
With PayNearMe, non-custodial parents who choose to make their child support payments with cash will be able to complete their transactions in less than a minute at cashiers’ counters in participating stores. To make a payment, a parent will go to the Nebraska Child Support Center website at www.nebraskachildsupport.com/ncp/ncphome.asp. From this page, by selecting the PayNearMe payment option, the parent will print a payment code or send it to his or her smartphone and then take it to a participating payment location where the cashier will scan the payment code and accept the cash payment. A small fee of $3.99 will be charged.
The Child Support Payment Center will receive instant notification of a payment, and the non-custodial parent’s online payment record will be updated automatically. A payment made by midnight Pacific time will be transferred to the custodial parent’s account the next banking day in accordance with state law.
“Families depend on child support payments, so it is vital that all funds are received on time,” said Michael Darnaud, Vice President of Business Development for Government Services at PayNearMe. “We want to make it easier for non-custodial parents to make their child support payments by giving them access to convenient payment locations that allow them to make payments during extended hours.”
Before the PayNearMe option, non-custodial parents could only make cash payments at the walk-up customer service window of the Child Support Payment Center at 233 S. 10th St. in Lincoln. Or, they could purchase money orders, which they then mailed, sent by overnight delivery, or sometimes dropped off at county offices closer to their homes. The county offices then forwarded the money orders to the Child Support Payment Center. The new electronic cash payment option streamlines this.
Troy Reiners, Director of the Nebraska Child Support Payment Center, noted that 501 cash payments totaling $147,975 were received in March 2014, mostly through the center’s walk-up window in Lincoln. In addition, 2,326 money orders totaling $447,357 and 79 cashier’s checks totaling $70,666 were received in March. Reiners pointed out that while many non-custodial parents pay once month, some make multiple payments in a month.
“To fully serve the families in Nebraska, we needed to find another option,” Reiners said. “What better way to help them than by offering many payment locations spread across Nebraska and the United States? PayNearMe turns cash into an electronic payment, which saves us time for data entry, reduces the likelihood of errors, and allows us to be more efficient.”
By making it easier for non-custodial parents who pay by cash to make payments, the Nebraska Child Support Payment Center hopes to increase the number of parents who fulfill their child support obligations, ensuring that more children get the support they need, and to reduce administrative costs by decreasing the number of paper checks and money orders received for child support.
Nebraska Child Support Payment Center officials who worked on implementing this new electronic cash payment option are advising other states on implementation of the service.
PayNearMe is the electronic cash-transaction network that enables consumers to pay rent and utility bills, repay loans, buy tickets, make online purchases and do much more with cash. Consumers can conveniently make payments on their own schedule and in their own neighborhood in less than a minute at one of over 17,000 trusted locations including 7-Eleven®, Family Dollar® and ACE Cash Express® stores across the United States. For more information, please visit www.PayNearMe.com.
The Nebraska Child Support Payment Center, a division of the Nebraska State Treasurer’s Office, is located at 233 S. 10th St. in Lincoln, Neb. It began operations Dec. 21, 2001, in compliance with a 1996 federal law that required states to establish state disbursement units for child support. It disbursed the first payment on Dec. 26, 2001. The center became a division of the State Treasurer’s Office in 2000, based on an interagency agreement between the Treasurer’s Office and the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services. Laws passed by the Legislature in 1999 and 2000 laid the foundation for the centralized system. Before then, child support payments were collected and distributed by district court clerks throughout the state. An average of more than $1 million in child support payments is processed daily at the center.