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Grand Rapids, MI Modernizes Citizen Experience for Utilities, Refuse, Courts, and Tax

Grand Rapids, MI

Grand Rapids launched a “Digital First” project to deliver services right where citizens are: smart phone, tablet, laptop, or desktop. The City knew that 86% of citizen web hits were bill payment/inquiry so focused on improving the experience, by providing more ways to pay, and ensuring payments post in real-time.

Topics Covered

Open Data
Civic Technology
Digital Divide


General Fund/Existing Public Funds

Project Status

Operational since 2017

Gov Champion

City Treasurer

Problem Addressed

Grand Rapids recognized they were having a problem with residents paying utility bills on time and wanted to increase electronic payments - including auto-pay and auto-reload enrollment - to solve the problem. The city did a citizen survey and learned that 86% of citizen web hits were related to bill payment or bill inquiries, but there were lots of pain points keeping residents from easily getting the answers they needed.

Solutions Used

Based on the results of the survey, Grand Rapids prioritized reaching citizens right where they are - smart phone, tablet, laptop, or desktop.

This mobile first effort focused on a good user experience, and building a a solution that could quickly scale from water and refuse payments, to income tax collection, permitting inquiries, and Community Development Block Grant loans. In addition, the PayIt team helped support Grand Rapids to increase adoption, making the app available on the city website but also in app stores on mobile devices.



150,000 eWallets


+278% automated water payments


+326% automated refuse payments


+82% ePayments over previous provider


-25,000 paper checks processed

Something Unique

The app can be deployed at no cost to the city, in the case of Grand Rapids the city chose to cover the cost of the convenience fee for their residents and pay a monthly fee based on usage.

Who Should Consider

Cities, utilities and citizens across the US can benefit from a modern, mobile digital platform to manage services and make payments. Triple digit increases in digital adoption helps everyone.

Last Updated

Nov 21st, 2019
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