East Ayrshire Council and Girobank, Alliance & Leicester's commercial banking arm, have launched an online bill payment service which will allow residents to pay their council tax over the Internet.
Using Girobank's Internet BillPay customers can pay bills over the Internet using their own debit card, without the need for an online bank account. The service uses the latest encryption technology and unlike some sites, does not retain debit card details on any Internet server, says the bank.
The council joins 130 organisations that already accept payments via Internet Billpay, including other councils, utility companies and the Inland Revenue.
Councillor Drew McIntyre, leader of East Ayrshire Council, says: "This means we are off to a flying start to reach the Government's target of 100% of transactions with local councils being possible through electronic means by 2005."
Girobank is donating £1 to the Wildlife Trust for every person who registers to use Internet BillPay (up to a maximum of £6,000).