Electronic Commerce Program Overview

What are the Statewide Electronic Commerce Programs (SECP) used by State agencies?
There are three types of ECPs used to facilitate "electronic payments." The term is defined in G.S. 147-87.20(2a):
  • Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) Programs
  • Merchant Cards Programs (Credit cards and debit cards)
  • Inter/Intra Governmental Solutions
Do the SECPs accommodate both outbound and inbound electronic payments?
  • Merchant card programs accommodate inbound payments only
  • EFT programs accommodate both inbound and outbound payments
  • Inter/Intra Governmental Solutions accommodate transfers within accounts at DST
What are the two SECP services available through the Office of the State Controller (OSC)?
  • There is one MSA for EFT Financial Services
  • There is one MSA for the Merchant Card Program
What are the Inter/Intra Governmental Solutions?
There are two Inter/Intra Governmental Solutions available to agencies:
  • Inter/Intra Governmental Transactions Program available through NCAS and CMCS
  • Electronic Warrant feature available through DST's Core Banking System that accommodates contribution payments to the Retirement System and Tax Withholding payments to the Department of Revenue (available to certain payroll centers).
Who are the current OSC Master Services Agreement vendors?
  • EFT - Bank of America(New MSA effective June 24, 2013)
  • Merchant Cards - SunTrust Merchant Services (New MSA effective February 01, 2015)
Who can be participants in the MSAs?
  • State agencies and universities - Required to participate, unless a business case for exemption is provided to OSC.
  • Community Colleges - May participate on a voluntary basis. In the case of payroll, arrangements can be made for DST to pay the bank service fees.
  • Local Education Agencies - May participate on a voluntary basis. In the case of payroll, arrangements can be made for DST to pay the bank service fees.
  • Clerks of Court - May participate on a voluntary basis.
  • Local Units of Government - May participate on a voluntary basis.
Who pays for the cost of services for the SECPs?
  • ACH Origination Services (For EFT)
    • Payroll and NCAS Related Payments - Fees are billed to and paid for by the Department of State Treasurer (DST).
    • Vendor Payments - Fees are billed to and paid for by the respective agency
    • EFT Collections (ACH Debits) - Fees are billed to and paid for by the respective agency
  • Merchant Card Program - Fees are billed to and paid for by the respective agency
Does an agency have to execute anything in order to participate in one of OSC's MSAs?
  • An eligible participant must execute an Agency Participant Agreement (APA).
  • The APA allows the participant to subscribe to any or all of the services provided by the MSA.
  • There is an APA for the EFT program and separate APA for the Merchant Card program.
Are there any ECPs administered outside of OSC?
  • Some State Agencies have presented business cases for operating EFT programs and Merchant Card programs under separate agreements.
  • DHHS operates its own Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) program for food stamps.
  • The Department of Administration (DOA) administers the E-Procurement Card program for State agencies.
  • The Employment Security Commission administers both an electronic payments program and a corporate debit card program.
  • The Retirement System utilizes the ACH origination services of First Citizens Bank for the direct deposit of retirement benefits.
  • Some universities operate a student debit card program.
Who has the responsibility for the State's SECPs?
  • Senate Bill 222 passed in the 1999 session directed the OSC, with consultation with DST, to develop policies for a comprehensive statewide electronic payments program.
  • G.S. 143B-426.39(5) specifies that the State Controller shall have the responsibility to "prescribe the manner in which disbursements of the State agencies shall be made, in accordance with G.S. 143-3," which includes electronic funds transfer.
What role does OSC play in the SECPs?
  • Developing policies for e-commerce.
  • Establishing and administering the Master Services Agreements (MSAs) with the ECP providers (EFT and Merchant Cards)
  • Facilitating the enrollment of participants in the MSAs.
  • Providing security maintenance for Wells Fargo CEO agency users.
  • Providing a help desk for e-commerce.
  • Acquiring any services required for security compliance (e.g., PCI Security Standards)
What role does the Department of State Treasurer play in the SECPs?
  • Providing guidance and concurrence in the development of e-commerce policies.
  • Establishing bank settlement accounts for both EFT and merchant cards programs.
What responsibilities do agencies have regarding the SECPs?
  • The agency's chief fiscal officer is responsible for ensuring that all policies promulgated by OSC are adhered to.
  • Some of the policies apply to agencies even though they do not participate in an OSC MSA.
When did the State of NC first begin utilizing SECP?
  • EFT- In 1977 the Retirement System began to offer ACH direct deposit for retiree benefit payments. Central Payroll began in 1979. OSC established the Master Services Agreement (MSA) arrangement with a central ACH Originator in 2002, with Wachovia Bank (New MSA with Bank of America June 2013).
  • Merchant Cards - In 1980 the NC Wildlife Resources Commission began to accept credit cards for lifetime hunting licenses. In 2000 OSC established the Master Services Agreement with a central merchant card processor, SunTrust Merchant Services (new MSA February 2015).  The DMV and the State Fair were the first agencies to use the merchant card MSA in 2000.