Self-payment kiosks soon at State Courts

Self-payment kiosks soon at State Courts
In a tender put up last week, the State Courts called for a supplier to design, develop and install three collection kiosks for people to pay fines, instead of going to cashier counters.
PHOTO: The Straits Times

PEOPLE will soon be able to pay court fines, fees or bail money at automated kiosks within the State Courts, instead of going to cashier counters.

In a tender put up last week, the State Courts called for a supplier to design, develop and install three collection kiosks.

Currently, people can make court-related payments only at five cashier counters.

There are about 100 transactions a day, and the State Courts collect between $80,000 and $100,000 in cash alone each day.

A State Courts spokesman told The Straits Times that the kiosks will make it more convenient for people to make court payments and save them time.

"This is part of our efforts to enhance court users' experience... The automated payment kiosks are targeted to be rolled out in 2016," she said.

According to documents obtained by The Straits Times, each kiosk will come with a touch-screen display and allow people to make payment in various ways, including by cash, credit or debit card, and cheque.

Those making payments can retrieve their records by scanning barcodes or manually keying in details such as their identity card number or case number.

The kiosks will have security features, such as an alarm to prevent break-ins and a surveillance camera to record activities.

In addition, the machine should be "intuitive and user- friendly such that it requires no or minimal assistance from State Courts staff".

There will also be an intercom system for those who need help.

Receipts or acknowledgement slips will be printed after money is collected successfully.

The plan to install the machines was first announced in the State Courts' annual workplan in April.

Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon had said then that the kiosks will be "more efficient than the current system of deploying officers at multiple counters".

This is also one of a slew of initiatives by the State Courts to make use of technology.

In February, it officially launched an online integrated filing and management system for criminal cases.

Some said the kiosks could be more fuss-free for users.

Lawyer Chia Boon Teck said: "In some cases, you need a court officer to issue a slip with the details of the case, which you have to present to the cashier before she can process your payment.

"This administrative process often causes delay. If the proposed kiosk does away with this (process), then the kiosk would be very much welcome."

But others voiced concerns that it may be confusing to use.

A 26-year-old contractor, who paid a fine of $700 for littering and declined to be named, said: "Some of the older people may not know how to use the machine and you have to get someone there to teach them how to use it. That will be even more inconvenient."

This article was first published on June 15, 2015.
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