Section 11-47-25

Acceptance of credit card payments in Class 1 municipalities.

(a) This section shall apply only in a Class 1 municipality.

(b) Notwithstanding any other provision of law to the contrary, any office or unit of a Class 1 municipality government required or authorized to receive or collect any payments to the municipality or to state or local government may, upon approval of the mayor, accept a credit card payment of the amount.

(c) This section shall be broadly construed to authorize acceptance of credit card payments by:

(1) All departments, agencies, boards, bureaus, commissions, authorities, and other units of the municipality.

(2) All officers, officials, employees, and agents of the municipal units of the municipality.

(d) This section shall be broadly construed to authorize acceptance of credit card payments of all types of amounts payable to or collected by the municipality, including, but not limited to, taxes, license and registration fees, fines, and penalties.

(e) For purposes of this section, the term "credit card" shall include any credit cards, charge cards, and other debit cards issued by any bank, foreign lender, domestic lender, or credit card bank as defined in Section 5-20-3.

(f) The governing body of the municipality may establish procedures, rules, and regulations for the acceptance of credit card payments for the matters and amounts payable covered by this section.

(g) Whether to accept credit card payments for any type of payment including, but not limited to, payments for building permits, traffic citations, licenses, and taxes shall be made by the mayor after consultation with the office, board, or other body accepting payments. If credit card payments are to be accepted, the office, board, or other body shall do so in accordance with the procedures, rules, and regulations established by the governing body. The procedures, rules, and regulations may provide for appropriate agreements with credit card issuers or other appropriate parties as needed to facilitate the acceptance of credit card payments. Without limiting the generality of the foregoing, the agreements, if authorized by the municipal governing body, may provide for the acceptance of credit card payments at a discount from their face amount of the payment and may make any payment of discount or administrative fees by paying an invoice or by allowing withholding of discounts or administrative fees from the face amount of the credit card payments. The discount or administrative fees may be authorized when the officer, board, or other body determines that any reduction of revenue resulting from the discount or fees will be in the best interest of the municipality. Factors which may be considered in making that determination may include, but are not limited to, improved governmental finance, security, or a combination of one or more of the foregoing together with the benefit of increased public convenience. Any agreement shall provide that it may be canceled at any time by the affected officer or unit of government, but the agreement shall provide for a reasonable period of notice of cancellation.

(h) An office, board, or other body authorizing acceptance of credit card payments may impose a surcharge upon the person making a payment by credit card. When a party elects to make a payment by credit card and a surcharge is imposed, the payment of the surcharge shall be deemed voluntary by the party and shall not be refundable.

(i) No person making any payment by credit card shall be relieved from liability for the underlying obligation only to the extent the municipality realizes final payment of the underlying obligation in cash or the equivalent. If final payment is not made by the credit card issuer or other guarantor of payment in the credit card transaction, then the underlying obligation shall survive and the municipality shall retain all remedies for enforcement which would have applied if the credit card transaction had not occurred. No contract may modify the provisions of this subsection. This subsection shall not make the underlying obligor liable for any discount or administrative fees paid to a credit card issuer or other party by the municipality.

(j) A municipal government officer or employee of the municipality who accepts a credit card payment in accordance with this section and any applicable procedures, rules, or regulations of the governing body shall not thereby incur any personal liability for the final collection of the payments.

(Act 2000-377, p. 593, §1.)