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Credit, Debit Cards Temporarily Off the Table for Santa Barbara County Tax Payments

County's new online payment processing company is having problems and residents will have to pay property taxes by check, money order or cash until the system is fixed

Residents have noticed that Santa Barbara County’s online tax-collector system has temporarily stopped accepting credit and debit cards — a common form of property tax payment.

The payment-processing system has some kinks that need to be worked out before taxpayers can reliably use it, according to the Treasurer–Tax Collector–Public Administrator office.

The system went offline Oct. 28 and is tentatively scheduled to be working again Dec. 13, the county said.

The system was previously operated by Hewlett Packard’s Electronic Data Systems, and was recently taken over by financial-services tech company Fiserv, said Harry Hagen, the county treasurer, tax collector and public administrator.

As Fiserv began transitioning over the payment system, Hagen told Noozhawk, the system stopped processing collections correctly, charging cards at rates six to seven times higher than it was supposed to.

The problem appeared to be fixed at first, he said, but the issues returned, and the county stopped accepting cards after 30 to 35 people were affected. Those people’s cases, he added, have been resolved.

Until Fiserv completes the system’s transition over to its own shop — expected to be early or mid-December — cards will have to be turned down as a form of payment, Hagen said.

Given what’s happened so far, he said, “we don’t have a high level of confidence at this point.”

The inconvenience was necessary to protect taxpayers, he added. Checks, money orders and cash paid at the counter are still acceptable forms of payment.

The rest of the website, the office said, remains in normal working order.                   

The office has locations in Santa Barbara, at 105 E. Anapamu St., Room 109 in the County Administration Building, and in Santa Maria, at 511 E. Lakeside Pkwy in the Betteravia Government Center.

Noozhawk staff writer Sam Goldman can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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