Program Overview

The ePayments component of the Massachusetts E-Government initiative is a centralized service for the Commonwealth to process electronic payments. Departmental applications that have a payment collection component can plug into a standard interface with minimal work for the business application programmer. The processing of electronic payments over the web is offered as a service by EDS (Electronic Data Systems Corporation). This service includes support for accepting the following types of payments:
  • Credit Card (Visa, Mastercard, Discover, American Express)
  • Debit Card (with the Visa or Mastercard logo)
  • ACH Debit or customer driven direct debit (not currently implemented)
In addition to accepting these payments through a web application, the contract with EDS also supports Interactive Voice Response (IVR) and Point of Sale Terminals.

Interface Options

EDS offers the following options that departments can use to authorize and collect payments electronically:

Web Services

With the Web Services option, the customer never leaves the Department's web site and all communication to the customer regarding the payment is done by the Department's application. The processing of electronic payment information with EDS is handled through a direct link to a web service that provides a real-time response from EDS on whether or not the payment has been authorized.

Select this option when:

  • The Department's application needs to know (in real-time) whether or not the payment has been authorized. Applications may have a requirement to record whether or not the payment has been made before allowing the customer to continue to another process in the application.

  • The Department's application needs to update a database (in real-time) and record the authorization number (generated by EDS) as soon as the payment has been authorized.

  • The Department does not want the customer to leave the Department's application throughout the payment process.

  • The Department wants EDS to automatically generate a corresponding Cash Transfer (CT) document to MMARS.

To use this option, Department applications create an XML SOAP message, using a pre-defined WSDL (web services definition file) that contains basic information such as Credit Card Number, Expiration Date, etc.

The development effort for this option requires a full integration with the Department application that includes all error handling of real-time responses from EDS.

Paybutton with Post

With the Pay Button with Post option, Departments add a "pay button" on their web application that links the customer from the Department's web site to the EDS web site at the point in the transaction where the electronic payment information is required. EDS will provide a department-specific payment page that manages processing of the electronic payment and controls all interactions pertaining to the payment. Results of the payment transactions are emailed back to Departments daily in a batch settlement/remittance file.

Select this option when:

  • It is not a requirement that the Department's application know in real-time whether or not payment has been authorized. Departments do not need to communicate to the customer (within the application) that they will be receiving the good or service.

  • Customers do not need to return to the Department's web site following the payment process.

  • The Department will use the daily settlement/remittance file to know whether or not the customer has made the payment.

  • The Department wants EDS to automatically generate a corresponding Cash Transfer (CT) document to MMARS.

The development effort for this option requires formatting of data and web page scripting as well as developing a process to update the Department's database using the daily settlement/remittance file.

Paybutton Without Post

With the Pay Button without Post option, Departments add a "pay button" on their web site that links the customer to the EDS web site. EDS controls all interactions pertaining to the payment. Results of the payment transactions are emailed back to Departments daily in a batch settlement/remittance file.

At the EDS web site the customer enters all of the identifying information (customer name, customer number, etc.), amount due, and credit card information.

Select this option when:

  • There is no integration with the Department's application - the Department's web site may or may not have a corresponding database to record whether or not payment has been made. (e.g. registration for a conference where the Department simply wants a list of registrants).

  • If applicable, the Department will use the daily settlement/remittance file to update the Department's database on whether or not the payment has been made by the customer.

  • The automatically generated MMARS Cash Transfer (CT) document is not required or will be created manually by the Department.

  • This option requires almost no development effort except to create the actual link to EDS and, if applicable, developing a process to update the Department's database using the daily remittance file.

Interactive Voice Response

With the IVR option, Departments advertise a telephone number for customers to call. The customer "keys in" or via voice recognition gives identifying information (customer number, invoice number, etc.), amount due and credit card information. Results of the payment transactions are emailed back to Departments daily in a batch settlement/remittance file.

This option is similar to the Pay Button Without Post option except that it is done via telephone rather than the Internet.

How to Enroll

The Office of the State Comptroller (OSC) will provide departments with an enrollment package as well as additional information that will help them get started with the ePayments Shared Service. The enrollment package and related information is available by contacting:

Susan.Tribble@state.ma.us
Telephone: 617-973-2422