The Alternative Payments Solution project provides an easier, faster, more efficient and secure way to reimburse Stanford visitors for their expenses. The project replaces the time-consuming payee setup process in Stanford's Supplier Payee and Request tool. The new solution allows visitors to receive faster payment from a nationwide digital payment network governed by U.S. banking regulations.
Phase 1 of the project, Digital Payments, focuses on streamlining domestic, non-tax reportable visitor travel reimbursements through a new Digital Payments form in the Expense Requests System (ERS). Digital Payments launched on June 21, 2021. Visit the Digital Payments Topic Overview to learn about what qualifies for Digital Payments, how to access the form in ERS, and what's different about the Digital Payments reimbursement process. For support and questions, see the section Learn More About Digital Payments on this page.
The Digital Payments form is designed to address feedback received through the FMS client satisfaction survey and calls to the Financial Support Center (FSC) requesting a more efficient process to complete visitor/payee payments. Future project phases may include refining and expanding the program to cover other payment categories and add more robust reporting.
About Procurement Services Strategic Initiatives
The Alternative Payments Solution project is part of a broader Procurement Services transformation initiative. The goals of this transformation initiative are to serve the university community through:
- Engaging with our clients to balance the four-way scale and deliver value-add programs, products and services.
- Building a dynamic and highly-skilled workforce that serves as trusted advisors to our clients.
- Streamlining systems and processes that enable and empower our clients.
Alternative Payments Solution Project Goals
- Reduce risk by limiting use of the Secure Portal for collecting/storing sensitive data of visitors/payees
- Increase visitor/payee satisfaction by significantly reducing payment processing times
- Gain efficiencies for central staff and campus clients by reducing unnecessary steps to onboard and maintain individual visitor/ payee records
Estimated Project Engagement Timeline
As part of the project engagement process, the project team is working with user groups to develop a process and tool that meets the needs of end users and to develop change readiness toolkits to ensure a smooth transition for all impacted users.
- Nini Cruz and Isabel Alvarez-Valdez, Business Owners, Business Expense, Travel, and Payment Services
- Lori Snow and George Hopkins, Subject Matter Experts, Office of the Treasurer
- Elizabeth Ibrahem, Laura Cabrera and Judy Feron, Payment Services
- Satarupa Banerjee, Business Implementation Lead, FMS Business Architecture and Delivery
- Jay Virk, Business Expense Management
- Helen Duong, Change Management and Engagement Lead, FMS Marketing and Communications
- Laurie Bouck, Communications Lead, FMS Marketing and Communications
- Jayne Bell, Learning and Support Lead, FMS Financial Learning Solutions
Questions and Comments
Please contact Nini Cruz for more information about this project.
Subscribe to Expense Request System (ERS) Updates to receive email news and announcements.
Learn More About Digital Payments
- Review the Change Readiness Toolkit to find the resources that preparers and approvers need to complete a Digital Payments transaction
- Review Digital Payments Learning Supplements for just-in-time support
- Read the Digital Payments Topic Overview and learn how to use the form in ERS
- Follow the dedicated Slack channel, digital-payments-campus-users, where you can read project updates and ask questions
Frequently Asked Questions About the Digital Payments Form
Review frequently asked questions about Phase 1 of the Alternative Payments Solutions project, the new Digital Payments form in the Expense Request System.
Do Stanford's travel policies still apply to domestic travel processed through the Digital Payments form?
Yes, Stanford's travel policies still apply.
Do I still need to set up the payee in Stanford's Supplier and Payee Request Portal (Secure Portal)?
If the visitor/payee meets the criteria to use the Digital Payments form, they can be reimbursed with a digital payment through this form. If the visitor/payee wants to be reimbursed by check, preparers must set up the visitor/payee in the Secure Portal.
Can I use the Digital Payments form to pay an honorarium?
Honorarium payments are out of scope for Phase 1 of the project.
Can I split a visitor reimbursement across several Digital Payments forms?
Digital Payments may be used to reimburse for specific expense types: airfare, ancillary airfare fee, car rental, conference registration, lodging, other transportation, and meals. Multiple expense types may be processed in one transaction. The total trip expenses should be processed in one transaction and may not be split across multiple reimbursement requests.
Note that Digital Payments may be processed for reimbursements of travel expenses that total $1,000 or less per individual for a single trip. If expenses for an individual total more than $1,000 for one trip, the reimbursement must be processed as an Expense Report for Non-SU Payee in the Expense Requests system.
One of our visitors will return later this year. Can I use a Digital Payments form for each of her visits?
Yes, preparers may submit multiple digital payment reimbursements for one individual if the Business Purpose and Expense Dates are different, and the total is still $1,000 or less per trip.
What information do I need to request from a visitor to fill out a Digital Payments form?
To reimburse a visitor for travel expenses using the Digital Payments form, your visitor must have a bank account in the U.S. and provide:
- Their full legal name
- The email address associated with the bank account
- The cell phone number associated with the bank account
- The mailing address associated with the bank account
The name, email address, and cell phone number are used to find the visitor in Zelle (if they are registered with Zelle).
Are there shortcuts for the buttons at the top of the Digital Payments form?
Press the following keys for shortcuts to the buttons to Cancel, Attach/View Receipts, Save and finish later, and Submit:
- Firefox: press shift+alt+key
- Chrome: press alt+key
- Internet Explorer: press alt+key
Which browser works best with the Digital Payments form?
Firefox is the preferred browser to use when accessing the Digital Payments form.
In the Digital Payments form, why didn't the Expenditure Type copy when I copied the line?
If you change the Expense Type in a line, the Expenditure Type has to be added.
Digital Payments travel reimbursements are capped at $1,000 per person, per trip. Will this amount increase in the future?
The limit may be increased in a future enhancement.
Post-Launch Monitoring and Improvement
Each Digital Payments transaction is reviewed by an automated verification system that validates the visitor’s full legal name, email address, cell phone, and mailing address. This validation reduces the risk that payments would be delayed due to data entry errors or misdirected to unintended or unauthorized individuals.
For the first few months after launch, the project team will closely monitor how transactions are validated in real time and may adjust the automated system and process to ensure they are operating as intended and are appropriately managing risk. The team will also identify any opportunities to improve business efficiency or customer experience.
As the team monitors and operationalizes this new service, they anticipate initial processing times for some transactions may be slightly delayed from the typical processing time of one business day to between 3-5 business days.
Known Issues with Digital Payments
This section tracks known issues reported by users, the status of each issue, and the steps users can take to address the issue until a permanent fix is available.
|Issue||Status (In Progress or Resolved)||How to Address the Issue||Notes|
|Automated verification system may delay processing time||In progress||The project team is monitoring the system and will make adjustments as needed to resolve the issue.|