Improving planning. Payments are an incomparable source of insight on residents’ ways of living, commuting and consuming. Through analysis of payment data, city governments can adapt city infrastructures and services to citizens’ preferences while decreasing inefficient spending. For instance: Putting a new post office at the best location possible to maximize its use, based on insights gained from shopping patterns. Similarly, cities can tailor transportation and other public services based on shopping data.
Supporting public policies. Environmental challenges increase the need for innovative solutions to reduce waste, reduce emissions, save energy and foster green transportation. Payment is central to making solutions accessible. Here are a few examples: NFC-enabled public charging stations that enable electric vehicle users to easily pay and recharge; freeway and bridge tolling payment solutions with automatic detection of car registration plates; city parking payment solutions; smart payment devices connected to household energy consumption to help citizens make the most of their solar panels.
Saving resources. The flow of out-bound and in-bound paper checks, paper invoices, envelopes, etc. alone can add up quickly – especially when you consider how many city agencies around the world are still paper-based. Automating processes to enable electronic invoicing and pay-by-phone, pay-by-portal and related technologies can make a huge dent in the number of trees lost to old-fashioned practices.
Smart finance systems and payment targets
The best practices and targets listed below will help cities foster smarter approaches to financial management. Several targets are specifically related to smart finance and payment systems and this next section will focus on them. We will also address several targets from the Universal chapter and how they apply here as well. If we fail to mention a Universal target below, it does not mean that it does not apply to city finance and payments. Rather, we simply felt it did not require additional explanation.