Pay.gov is an offering of the Bureau of the Fiscal Service that provides agencies with a secure government-wide portal for collection funds electronically. Launched in October 2000, Pay.gov offers a suite of online and offline services to process collections electronically using Internet technologies. It satisfies the demands of agencies and consumers for electronic alternatives by providing the ability to complete forms, make payments, and submit queries 24 hours a day electronically.
Architecture and Security of Pay.gov environment
Pay.gov resides within the Treasury Web Applications Infrastructure (TWAI) - a highly secure environment provided by the Federal Reserve Information Technology (FRIT) to support several enterprise-wide Treasury applications. The TWAI is compliant with the Federal Information Processing Standard (FIPS) 140-2. All communications between Pay.gov and agencies is conducted via dedicated lines, virtual private networks, or 128-bit, hardware-based (on Pay.gov's side), Transport Layer Security (TLS) 1.2 encryption. The scripts used for invocation of the collections services require encryption, can provide for authentication of the agency, allow the agency to authenticate Pay.gov, and facilitate the handling of collection and reporting information.
Pay.gov has two locations within the TWAI - a production environment and a fully redundant, replicated secondary site for contingency purposes. A test environment is available for agencies to test their interface to Pay.gov, or their forms or bills, if hosted by Pay.gov. All connectivity to and from the TWAI is supported by TWAI system administrators. Pay.gov is supported by technicians and system administrators at TWAI.
Pay.gov provides the following suite of services, enabling an agency to gather information from their customers to initiate and process their collections:
Pay.gov processes ACH (Automated Clearing House) debits and plastic card collections, and allows payments using alternative payment services such as PayPal. After payments are processed the resulting deposits are forwarded to the CIR. Deferred and recurring payment options are available for some payment methods. The following credit cards are supported: American Express, Discover and Discover-branded, JCB and UnionPay, MasterCard and Visa. Only MasterCard- or Visa-branded debit cards are supported.
Collections may be initiated in several ways:
- An agency redirects an end-user from their website to a collection page hosted by Pay.gov
- An agency sends a batch file to collections for processing through Pay.gov using Pay.gov's secure batch interface
- An end-user fills out an online form hosted by Pay.gov is directed to a collections page upon completing the form
- An end-user receives an electronic bill, sent by Pay.gov on behalf of an agency requesting payment, which directs them to a collections page
An extensive range of reports are provided, allowing for transaction reconciliation with reports from other financial applications such as CIR or settlement agents. The reporting service delivers transaction details by two mechanisms - online reports and activity files. Online reports display the transaction details as webpages while activity files provide the transaction details in electronic format, allowing the agency to download and incorporate the information directly into their own systems.
This service allows agencies to send electronic billing notifications of payment due. The notifications are sent to the user by email and includes instructions on how to view the bill and make a payment.
Pay.gov can host agency forms online. The forms can be configured to mirror (to the extent practical) their paper counterparts, including OMB and agency control numbers, Paperwork Reduction Act and Privacy Act notices, agency logos, and instructions. Forms can be used to either gather information for administration purposes such as production reporting, or to initiate an associated collection.
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