The Department of Agriculture’s Farm Service Agency is expanding its payment options to now accept debit cards and Automated Clearing House or AHC, debit.
FSA says paperless payment options allow customers to pay farm loan payments, measurement service fees, farm program debt repayments and administrative service fees, as well as to purchase aerial maps. Previously, only cash, check, money orders and wires were accepted.
By using debit cards and ACH debit, FSA says transactions are securely processed from the customer’s bank through Pay.gov, the U.S. Treasury’s online payment hub. While traditional collection methods like cash and paper checks will continue, offering the new alternatives will “improve effectiveness and convenience to customers while being more cost-effective.”
In 2017, the average cost to manually process checks cost USDA more than $4.6 million. The expanded payment options will cut the time employees take processing payments by 75 percent.
The announcement, USDA says, marks the beginning of a multi-phased roll-out of new payment options for USDA customers.