The V.I. Public Service Commission ruled this month to require Innovative to reinstate customer payment at its business offices, and Innovative announced this week it would soon accept payments on a limited basis.
Innovative discontinued operation of the payment windows in 2015, but customers had several other ways to pay. Many customers and several V.I. senators argued the change created a hardship for seniors and those who do no use banks but pay in cash.
At an April 19 hearing, Sens. Justin Harrigan and Nereida “Nellie” Rivera-O’Reilly, along with all the PSC commissioners present, urged Innovative Chief Executive Officer Shawn O’Donnell to reestablish the acceptance of cash payments at their offices. Rivera-O’Reilly is an ex-officio member of the PSC, representing the Legislature. Harrigan purportedly suggested that Innovative place electronic kiosks at their locations to allow for these payments, according to a statement from Harrigan’s office.
“After much deliberation on the different suggested options,” Harrigan said O’Donnell informed the Senate that Innovative “has elected to provide cashier services three days a week.”
According to a statement from the company, Innovative is planning to deploy cash kiosks at each of its business offices to accept payments over the next four to six months. It will temporarily resume accepting cash payments on a limited basis at one payment window in each office to accommodate customers who pay in cash.
Hours of operation for the cash window will be Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 1 to 4 p.m.
Customers will be able to pay in cash at the business officers within the next 30 days and Innovative will make an official announcement on the effective date within the coming weeks.
Sen. Jean Forde drafted a measure last year that sought to force Innovative to reinstate its payment windows. Forde argued that the move to shutter the payment windows affected the territory’s senior citizens, who he said would be in most need of the option.
“As I have said from the outset, I recognize that technology is moving forward at a tremendous pace, but we must take care to ensure that our seniors and those who do not have access to the latest technology are not left behind,” Forde said in a statement Wednesday.
“For our elders, the ability to manage their own affairs is extremely important and over 5,000 people in our community depend on being able to make their payments in person. I commend the Public Service Commission for also recognizing this reality and, as a representative of all Virgin Islanders, I am proud to play a part in making sure that the needs and interests of all our people are being considered.”
The Innovative business offices are located at Estate Diamond on St. Croix, Tutu Park Mall on St. Thomas and The Market Place on St. John. The company currently offers the following methods of payment:
– pay-by-phone – Call 340-774-2PAY (2729) 24 hours a day from anywhere at any time.
– pay online – Use a computer, tablet or cell phone to set up an account and pay bills online 24 hours a day at www.innovative.vi.
– pay at a bank – Pay at any Banco Popular, FirstBank, Scotia Bank or Bank of St. Croix branches in the territory.
– pay by mail – Mail the payment to the address indicated on the statement stub.
– pay by drop box – Drop a check or money order in the night deposit box along the outside wall of Innovative business offices.
– auto pay – Set up to have monthly bills automatically charged to a credit card.