Saturday, September 27, 2008

State Commission Tries E-Pay

Posted by Mark Brousseau

PGC starts 'point-of-sale'

The pilot phase for electronic hunting license sales has outlets in York County.
Daily Record/Sunday News

The Pennsylvania Game Commission launched a pilot electronic license sale system -- commonly referred to as "point-of-sale" -- earlier this week, and two of the trial sites are located in York County.

"The new point-of-sale license system is ready to go," PGC executive director Carl G. Roe stated in a news release. "Over the next several weeks and months, we will offer most classes of (hunting) licenses for sale through 15 issuing agent venues. Clearing this pilot phase will be a huge step forward for the point-of-sale system, and our expectation to fully transition to it for the 2009-10 license year."

The trial sites located in York County are the York Country Treasurer's Office, 28 E. Market St., and Artistic Edges, 385 Leaders Heights Road.

To ensure that license buyers are not inconvenienced during the pilot phase, the PGC said that each agent is equipped to automatically switch back to selling paper licenses if necessary.

Point-of-sale, when fully implemented, will enable hunters to swipe their Pennsylvania driver's license through a magnetic reader and all of their personal information will be filled in on the application automatically. Hunters then will be able to select the licenses and stamps they want to purchase.

Nonresidents will have to key-enter the data.

After the first time a hunter purchases a license this way, he or she will be assigned a permanent customer identification number that will be stored in an electronic file. In subsequent years, they will only need to enter changes in the types of licenses or stamps wanted.

"This will not only speed up the license buying process, but it also will remove the burden of having to worry about identify theft," Roe stated. "Once someone purchases a license through point-of-sale, we will no longer ask them for their Social Security number or Hunter-Trapper Education certification, because that data will already be part of the database. Senior lifetime license holders will no longer need to carry the lifetime license ID cards with them."

According to the PGC, the new licenses will be printed on sturdy, weather-resistant yellow material. The harvest tags, which are required for all big game, have perforated holes in them to make it easier to attach the tag to the animal.

Additionally, all personal information on the harvest tags will be completed, so all the hunter will need to do is enter the time, date and place of harvest.

However, during this pilot phase, hunters will not receive harvest report cards, which will continue to be mailed into the agency for the current license year. Instead, they will need to use the replacement harvest report card that appears on page 33 of the 2008-09 Digest that all license buyers receive.

"If the pilot project is a success, we plan to fully implement the electronic license sale system for the 2009-10 license year, which will make license buying easier for our customers, issuing agents and the Game Commission, and will -- for the first time in our history -- provide the agency with a database of its license buyers that will enable us to better communicate with them," Roe stated.

The point-of-sale system is produced by Automated Licensing Systems, a Nashville-based company that is also handling electronic license sales for the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission.

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