Direct Payment tops $27 million mark
Since the Motor Carrier Transportation Division (MCTD) began offering Direct Payment in March 2009, a total of 1326 Trucking Online users have signed up for it and chosen that method for 22,522 online payments totaling over $27 million as of May 17, 2013. They've saved approximately $559,117 that MCTD would otherwise have spent on banking fees if they had used credit cards.
“We've seen steady growth in the use of this payment option,” said Motor Carrier Services Manager Ric Listella. “Our goal is to make Direct Payment the preferred way to pay for online transactions so we can reduce credit card transaction fees and keep taxpayer dollars in the Oregon Highway Fund for use on our roads and bridges.”
Accepting credit card payments can be a costly part of running a business. MCTD pays a bank "merchant" fee equivalent to about 2.0% of each credit card payment whenever customers use credit cards for transactions by phone, over the counter, or online. That means it costs $2.00 for every $100 in truck-related transactions charged to a credit card. It costs $20 for every $1,000 charged to a card, $200 for every $10,000 charged, $2,000 for every $100,000 charged, $4,000 for every $200,000 charged, and so on. The transaction fees for 2011 totaled over $1.7 million.
Direct Payment allows for electronic payments directly from a checking or savings account. It’s simply the electronic way to write a check, the way many people routinely pay household bills these days. When a customer completes a transaction and authorizes payment, the customer’s bank transfers the approved amount directly from the customer’s account.
Dramatic savings are within reach for motor carrier taxpayers because Direct Payment is an extremely low cost alternative to credit cards. Regardless of the transaction amount, MCTD pays just $0.06 for each Direct Payment. For example, instead of paying $8,800 in fees for a $400,000 credit card payment, MCTD pays 6 cents!
Any carrier with an established MCTD account and a Trucking Online PIN can sign up for Direct Payment by providing their checking or savings account and routing number for an account in any bank registered in the United States. Banks need 7-10 days to complete their verification process the first time an account is established. But then Direct Payment is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, just like all Trucking Online services.
Usage of both Direct Payment and Direct Deposit has grown substantially in recent years. Surveys reveal that two of three American workers (66%) use Direct Deposit to receive their paychecks. More than half of households use Direct Payment for one or more recurring payments.
In the banking industry, Direct Payment and Direct Deposit are known as Automated Clearing House (ACH) products. According to the Electronic Payments Association, a not-for-profit association that oversees the ACH Network, a total of 20.2 billion ACH payments were made in 2011. That activity includes Internet debit payments, e-checks, business-to-business payments, and federal government payments.
For more information about Direct Payment, please e-mail MCTD staff — TruckingOnline@odot.state.or.us — or call 503-378-6699.
Trucking Online activity
From January 30, 2003, through March 26, 2012, trucking companies and members of the public have used a home or office computer to complete 3,701,738 transactions or record inquiries that formerly required a phone call, fax, mail delivery or field office visit. The Motor Carrier Transportation Division is counting on trucking companies to shift as much business as possible to the Internet so it can improve its service to those who still must complete transactions by phone, mail, or in person.
14,199 companies have signed up for Trucking Online, including 4,249 based in Oregon. There are about 20,000 companies with trucks registered in Oregon, including 12,000 based in another state or Canada and 8,000 based in Oregon, so well over half of them are doing business online. Want to join them? Go to http://www.OregonTruckingOnline.com/ to apply for a PIN and get started.
Heavy Truck Rental Passes available online
One Trucking Online service allows a rental agency to issue the weight-mile tax credentials that motor carriers need when they rent heavy trucks. The service makes it easy to get credentials and meet the requirement that trucks with a combined weight over 26,000 pounds must pay a weight-mile tax for road use in Oregon.
A rental agency gets started by setting up a Trucking Online account and applying for its own password, called a Rental Identification Number (RIN). The agency can then conduct business for motor carriers that have used Trucking Online to specifically authorize transactions by the agency. When a carrier selects an agency to issue rental passes on its behalf, the carrier is authorizing the agency to create a billing for the carrier's account for Oregon taxable miles and related fees.
Rental agencies may issue a permanent Oregon Weight Receipt and Tax Identifier for each vehicle& or a temporary rental pass. Rental passes are vehicle specific and good for 10 days. An agency issues a pass by entering details about the rental, including the beginning odometer reading. Then within 14 days of the pass expiration date, the agency completes an online settlement process that reports the ending odometer reading and the total Oregon miles traveled. Motor carriers are notified by e-mail whenever a Rental Pass is issued on their behalf. They're also notified about each rental settlement and they receive a monthly billing statement showing total weight-mile taxes due.
Transponder application now online
It's easier than ever for a trucker to get started in the Green Light weigh station preclearance program. The Green Light transponder application is one of the many transactions or records inquiry functions of Oregon Trucking Online. Since the online application is part of the Public Access Menu, a company does not need a Trucking Online password to access it. They just enter their U.S. DOT number and Oregon account number, along with carrier and vehicle information. They then receive an e-mail confirmation that the application has been submitted for approval.
A company qualifies for a Green Light transponder if its truck has permanent Oregon registration credentials, three axles or more, and a minimum declared weight of 34,001 pounds. The truck must have been stopping at Oregon Green Light weigh stations an average of at least once per month. Also, the company may not have an "Unsatisfactory" safety fitness rating.
Online service includes IFTA capabilities
Oregon-based trucking companies can go online to conduct most business related to the International Fuel Tax Agreement (IFTA), including filing their quarterly IFTA returns. Users can file their tax returns and verify that returns were received, make payments, view IFTA account status and balance, including information regarding return entries and computations, reprint a copy of their IFTA license,order IFTA decals for new vehicles or order replacement decals for existing vehicles, complete the annual license renewal and check renewal status, and make address changes.
Oregon companies who participate in IFTA are required to file quarterly fuel tax returns detailing their travel in other states and Canada. Each return separates miles traveled according to the type of fuel used by their trucks. The companies compute how much fuel tax is owed to other jurisdictions, or how much tax credit other jurisdictions owe them. The tax computations are based on each motor carrier's miles per gallon for each fuel type, the number of miles traveled in a jurisdiction, and the amount of fuel purchased in that jurisdiction. Trucking Online lets companies check whether a particular IFTA tax return has been received. They can see whether the return has been checked for errors, amended to correct for any errors, and accepted as "completed." If it's been accepted, companies can use this online feature to view all the details on the return -- total miles by fuel type, gallons by fuel type, miles per gallon, etc.
Over-dimension permit-related features added
Trucking Online has several over-dimension permit features, including the ability to report and pay road use assessment fees. These fees are paid by trucks with non-divisible loads in excess of 98,000 pounds combined weight. The online application allows users to enter and pay all outstanding single-trip permits that have unreported mileage.
Another feature available lets trucking companies analyze the weight of a certain combination, including divisible loads operating under Permit Weight Table 1 or 2, non-divisible loads operating under Permit Weight Table 3 or 4, and non-divisible loads with bonus weights operating under Permit Weight Table 5. This lets companies determine what's allowable under the permits, eliminating the need to call Motor Carrier Division staff for help analyzing weights. Companies can even bank their time savings because the program lets them save their calculations. The weight analysis program is also available to the public and it's expected that enforcement officers will find it especially helpful.
More do-it-yourself features in development include the ability to submit permit applications directly to the mainframe permits system for processing by a permit analyst. This eliminates the need for carriers to speak person-to-person with staff. Trucking Online will also soon streamline the Self-Issue Permit Program so qualified carriers can submit permits and have them automatically entered into the permits system. These online features promise speedy, error-free permitting service.
Early in 2006, Trucking Online introduced the first over-dimension permit-related feature that lets companies look up a list of permits issued in the past two years. They can call up a list of single trip permits, continuous operation permits, or both kinds and the list can be accessed by permit number or date range. This helps companies check what permits they currently have and when a specific permit expires. They can determine if a truck has the right permit for a specific load and look up permit details that may help them reapply for another like it.