Improvements to the website of the Nebraska Child Support Payment Center and changes in the fee structure for parents making child support payments by credit and debit card were announced today by Nebraska State Treasurer Don Stenberg. Both will take place March 31.
Parents making child support payments by credit card to the Nebraska Child Support Payment Center will no longer be charged a $15 convenience fee for each payment, but instead will pay a percent surcharge based on the payment amount, resulting in lower charges for many users, Treasurer Stenberg said.
The new surcharge will be 2.49 percent of the payment amount, Stenberg said. Parents paying child support by debit card will no longer pay the $15 convenience fee, nor will their payments include a surcharge.
An estimated 1,150 non-custodial parents currently pay child support by credit card or debit card out of the total 97,703 non-custodial parents obligated to make monthly child support payments in Nebraska. Eighty-five percent of child support payments in the state are remitted by employers on behalf of their employees through income withholding practices.
“While this change affects a small percent of the non-custodial parents paying child support, it is significant because it furthers our goal to make paying child support as convenient as possible and as fair as possible for all. It also allows us to highlight the many convenient options we offer for parents to make their child support payments on time. Furthermore, it is part of our ongoing effort to improve our program so that children receive the financial support they need and deserve,” Treasurer Stenberg said.
Stenberg said the new surcharge is similar to the method used by other state governmental agencies to offset costs incurred when accepting credit card payments. The Nebraska Child Support Payment Center (NCSPC) is a division of the State Treasurer’s Office.
Stenberg also announced improvements to two sections of the payment center’s website at childsupport.nebraska.gov. The sections for non-custodial parents making payments and for custodial parents receiving payments have been rebuilt and redesigned to be more user-friendly and more secure with the use of encrypted passwords. Color and style changes are designed to be appealing to users and to help users find information quickly and easily.
For more than 65 percent of the non-custodial parents who currently pay by credit or debit card, the new fee structure will result in a lower user fee, given the average monthly payment of $475. Those whose fees will go up under this fee structure are being encouraged to switch to another form of payment offered by the Child Support Payment Center. In addition, the payment center is encouraging all non-custodial parents to sign up for electronic billing statements for more efficient service.
“The Nebraska Child Support Payment Center offers more payment options than any other child support office in the country as well as more payment locations than any other payment center,” said Troy Reiners, director of the payment center. “Through partnerships created by the Treasurer’s Office with PayNearMe, MoneyGram, Western Union, and U.S. Payments PaySite Kiosks, the payment center now has more than 100,000 payment locations throughout the country.”
Reiners said the Nebraska payment center is the only child support office that is considered a bill generator in the Master Card RPPS network, which allows parents to make electronic online bill payments through Automated Clearing House (ACH) rather than send paper checks by mail. This also allows non-custodial parents to use their banks’ mobile applications to remit payments quickly.
In addition, Reiners said the payment center soon will introduce two U.S. Bank E-Payment Service Kiosks in the Lincoln payment center, 233 S. 10th St., and at the office of the Douglas County Clerk of the District Court on the third floor of the Hall of Justice, 1701 Farnam St., Omaha. These new kiosks will accept cash, credit card, debit card, and personal checks with no fees attached except for the 2.49 percent surcharge on credit card payments.
The Nebraska Child Support Payment Center has been recognized nationally for its innovative and cost-effective systems and its use of electronic money transfer. Currently, 78 percent of all child support payments are received electronically, with that figure expected to reach 80 percent this year, and 98 percent of all child support payments are distributed electronically, saving money in postage, paper, and processing.
For more information, users may contact the Nebraska Child Support Payment Center’s Customer Service team at 1-877-631-9973, Option 3, or visit childsupport.nebraska.gov.