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Frequently Asked Questions

Registering My Account

  1. Who is eligible to use this online service?
  2. All City of Columbia water, solid waste, and parking rental customers are eligible to use Customer Web Access (CWA). This new feature allows customers to manage accounts and pay their bills online. To register for the online service, customers will need Internet access and a copy of their most recent COC bill to retrieve the full account number.

  3. Will I be able to pay other services online?
  4. In the future, Columbia will expand online payment capability to other city services including Drew Wellness Center membership, parking tickets, business license and others.

  5. How do I register my account online?
  6. You will need a copy of your most recent bill to register your account online.

    1. From the log in screen, click REGISTER ACCOUNT link on the left menu bar.
    2. Complete the registration form.
      • Enter your last name or business name and account number (ex: 01-123456789-1234567) exactly as they appear on your most recent bill. Be sure to include all spacing, dashes (-) and capitalizations.
      • Enter a username of your choice (usernames cannot exceed 30 characters).
      • Enter a password of your choice (passwords must be between 8 and 12 characters long and contain at least one number, special character and uppercase letter).
        NOTE: PASSWORDS ARE CASE SENSITIVE.
    3. Upon submitting the registration form, you will be able to view account information and pay online.

  7. Can I register more than one account online?
  8. Yes, you can register more than one account under the same username.

    1. Log into Customer Web Access (CWA).
    2. Under ACCOUNT LIST on the left menu bar, click ADD ACCOUNT.
    3. Enter your last name or business name and account number exactly as they appear on your most recent bill. Be sure to include all spacing, dashes(-) and capitalizations.
    4. The new account information will be viewable immediately after you have registered the additional account.

  9. Where can I find my account number?
  10. Your account number (example: xx-xxxxxxxxx-xxxxxxx) can be found in the upper right side on your most recent bill. It can also be found on the top right of the payment stub found at the bottom of your most recent bill.

  11. Why do I receive the message: "The selected account does not correspond to your last name"?
  12. Your last name or business name and account number must be entered exactly as they appear on your most recent bill. Be sure to include all spacing, dashes (-) and capitalizations.

 

 

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Logging into My Account

  1. What if I forgot my user name or password; how do I reset it?
  2. If you have forgotten your username or password, please complete the forgot password form. Temporary passwords will be sent to the email address on file for your account. Please allow 24 hours for your request to be processed.

    1. From the log in screen, click the FORGOT USERNAME/PASSWORD link located in the Log-In box in the middle of the screen.
    2. Complete the Forgot Password form. NOTE: All fields are required.
      • Enter your last name or business name and account number (ex: xx-xxxxxxxxx-xxxxxxx) exactly as they appear on your most recent bill. Be sure to include all spacing, dashes (-) and capitalizations.
      • Enter the last five digits of your SSN (residential) or TIN (business).
      • Enter a valid contact phone number. A customer service representative may need to contact you concerning this request.
    3. A temporary password will be sent to the email address registered to this account within 24 hours.

  3. What do I do if I'm having trouble accessing my account(s)?
  4. If you are having trouble logging into your account, please check that your username and password are typed correctly. Ensure that your web browser has JavaScript and "cookies" enabled. Please see Computer Settings in the FAQ's to get further information on JavaScript and "cookies".

  5. My account is locked, what should I do?
  6. After six (6) mismatch attempts (Login, Password), the system will automatically lock your account and make it in-accessible. You must contact Customer Care at (803) 545-3300 to unlock your account.

  7. Why did the system automatically log me out?
  8. To protect your account information, Customer Web Access (CWA) will automatically time you out after five (5) minutes of inactivity. You may log back into the system at any time to access your account again.

 

 

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Accessing Customer/Billing Information

  1. Who should I contact to answer additional questions about my COC account?

  2.   Phone Fax Email
  3. Water Customers
  4. (803) 545-3300 (803) 733-8219 cocwater@columbiasc.net
  5. Solid Waste Customers
  6. (803) 545-3832 (803) 733-8648 sanitation@columbiasc.net
  7. Parking Rental Customers
  8. (803) 545-4015 (803) 255-8141 cocservices@columbiasc.net

  9. When will a summary of my monthly statement be available online?
  10. Water, Solid Waste and Parking Garage customers are billed once per month for services provided. Customers can view a summary of their most recent bill and up to 12 months of additional account/billing history online.

  11. Can I update my billing/mailing address online?
  12. Customers may request a change of address by completing, then faxing or mailing the online Request for Address Change form. You will need Adobe PDF reader to download the form.

    1. Under CUSTOMER PROFILE on the left menu bar, click EDIT MAILING ADDRESS.
      You will see all current addresses in CWA. If your service/physical address is the same as your mailing/billing address you may not see any addresses.
    2. Click the REQUEST ADDRESS CHANGE link.
      The editable form will open, allowing you to complete and print the form. The form can then be faxed or mailed using the related contact information.

  13. How do I request activation or transfer of water services for my account online?
  14. To arrange for new or transfer services, please visit our Water Customer Service Department at 1339 Main Street between 8:30 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. Activation or transfer of service requires a signed application which can be downloaded and completed prior to visiting our office. Please request service at least one (1) business day before the water is to be turned on or transferred to another address.


  15. How do I request termination of services for my water account online?
  16. Residential customers may request termination of services for an account by completing and returning a Request for Service Disconnect form. You will need Adobe PDF to download the form.

 

 

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Using the Electronic Billing (E-Bill) Function

  1. Can I retrieve/view my monthly bill online?
  2. Yes, electronic bills are now available to customers who opt to receive paperless bills online. Email notifications will be sent monthly to notify customers when your electronic bill is available online for viewing.

    LOG IN today and SIGN UP to be an E-BILL CUSTOMER!!!

  3. How do I sign-up for electronic billing?
  4. To sign up for electronic billing, you will need to be a registered Customer Web Access (CWA) user and have a valid email address on file. Please see Registering My Account in the FAQ's for more information.

    Once you have registered and selected your account, simply submit "I want to receive my electronic Bills through Email ONLY" from the Customer Profile. It's that easy!!! Remember to verify the accuracy of your email address to ensure prompt delivery of e-bill notifications.

  5. When will my monthly electronic statement be available online?
  6. Water, Solid Waste and Parking Garage customers are billed once per month for services provided. Customers can view the most recent bill and up to 12 months of additional account/billing history online.

  7. Will I receive an email notification when my electronic bill is ready?
  8. Yes, customers who sign up for electronic billing will be sent automatic email notifications monthly following each billing.

  9. Will I receive a printed bill in the mail if I am signed up for electronic billing?
  10. Columbia's eco-friendly, electronic billing service saves time, money and our environment! No more paper, no more stamps, and no more waiting days to receive bills by postal mail! E-bill customers will receive email notification that their electronic bill is available online after each monthly billing. To support Go-Green initiatives, customers who sign up for electronic billing will not receive a paper bill in the mail.

  11. Can I choose to receive paper bills in the mail if I am an E-bill customer?
  12. As an E-bill customer, you are taking a green step forward by opting-out of receiving paper bills in the mail. However, if the need arises to receive paper bills in the mail, you can discontinue e-billing by updating your Bill Delivery Preference to "I want to receive my paper BILLS through POSTAL MAIL".

  13. I can not see my electronic bill online; what should I do?
  14. If you are a registered CWA user and you can not see your electronic bill:

    1. Make sure you have selected to receive your bills through email only
      • From within CWA, go to the Customer Profile.
        Under Bill Delivery Preferences, select "I want to receive my electronic bill through EMAIL ONLY" and click submit.
        Return to Account Information or Bill History to retrieve your bill.
      • If you see, "I want to receive my paper bills through POSTAL MAIL" under Bill Delivery Preferences, you have already signed up for E-billing.
    2. Ensure that you have Adobe PDF on your computer.
      You will need Adobe PDF to download your electronic bills.
    3. Ensure that downloading your bill is not being blocked by your browser.

    If you have checked items 1, 2 and 3, please contact:

      Phone Fax Email
  15. Water Customers
  16. (803) 545-3300 (803) 733-8219 cocwater@columbiasc.net
  17. Solid Waste Customers
  18. (803) 545-3832 (803) 733-8648 sanitation@columbiasc.net
  19. Parking Rental Customers
  20. (803) 545-4015 (803) 255-8141 cocservices@columbiasc.net

 

 

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Making Online Payments

  1. What type of payment methods may I use to pay my bill online?
  2. Customers may pay their service bills online using a valid Visa, MasterCard, Discover or American Express debit/credit card. Effective December 1, 2010, customers also have the option of paying by electronic check (E-Check). Using your bank’s routing number and your account number, funds can withdrawn from your checking or savings account.

  3. How do I make a debit/credit card or E-Check payment online?

    1. Register and Logon to Customer Web Access
    2. Select the account you want to pay
    3. Select PAYMENTS on the left menu bar
    4. Select the one-time payment amount you would like to pay.
    5. Current Balance:
    6. The balance that appeared on your most recent bill.
    7. Account Balance:
    8. Your balance since your most recent bill, including recent charges and payments.
    9. Past Due Amount:
    10. You will not be able to pay less than your past due balance.
    11. Other Amount:
    12. Any amount greater or equal to $10.00 or greater or equal to your past due balance (if applicable).
      NOTE:
      • If your account is past due, you must pay at least the past due amount to be able to pay your bill online.
      • Customers disconnected for non-payment must include the disconnection fee to restore service.
    13. Upon selecting your payment amount and clicking the SUBMIT button, you will be directed to the City of Columbia's payment partner, SC.gov to process your online payment.
    14. Select your payment method. For debit/credit cards (Visa, MasterCard, Discover or American Express), please select credit card. To use a personal checking or savings account (E-Check), please select check.
    15. Verify your billing/mailing information then CONTINUE.
    16. Have your debit/credit card (Visa, Discover, MasterCard or American Express) or personal check handy and complete the payment form. For debit/credit card payments, you will need your credit card number, expiration date, and security pin. For E-Check payments, you will need your bank’s routing number along with your checking or savings account number.
    17. Confirm your information/payment amount.
    18. Make your payment.
      Effective September 1, 2010, a convenience fee will be charged for processing electronic payments.

  4. Where can I find my bank routing number and/or account number?
  5. Your bank routing number along with your checking or savings account number is printed on the bottom of your personal check. View Sample Check

  6. What do I do if I'm having trouble paying my bill online after I click the submit button on the one-time payment screen?
  7. If you are having trouble viewing the external one-time payment screen, please ensure that your web browser allows pop-ups from this site. Please see Computer Settings in the FAQ's to get further information on Pop-ups.

  8. Will I receive a receipt after making my online payment?
  9. Once your online payment is successfully processed, a payment receipt should display on your computer screen. You can print the receipt or record the receipt number for your records. If you entered a valid email address when entering your payment, you will also receive an email confirmation on your electronic payment transaction.

  10. Can I set up automatic bill payment for my account?
  11. Yes, you can use your checking or savings account to set up automatic bill payment for your account(s) through the City's EasyPay Program. Easy Pay is a complimentary service that allows you to pay Columbia bill each month directly from your checking or savings account without having to worry about remembering due dates or dealing with late fees.


  12. Can I set up recurring credit card payments for my account?
  13. No. Recurring credit card payments are not available, however; you may sign up for the City's EasyPay Program (Automatic Bill Payment) which will draft your checking or savings account monthly.


  14. Is there a fee for returned E-Check payment that has been made online?
  15. The City of Columbia will charge a $30.00 returned payment fee for all returned E-Check payments.

  16. What if I need to stop a credit card or E-Check payment that has been made online?
  17. If you would like to cancel a payment, please contact your credit card company or banking institute to find out how the payment can be stopped. The City of Columbia will charge a $30.00 returned payment fee for all stopped credit card or E-Check payments.

  18. I am being sent to sc.gov to pay my bill online; should this be happening?
  19. Yes. The City of Columbia has collaborated with sc.gov to bring both account/billing information and bill payment to our customers. After selecting your payment amount and clicking the continue button, you will be directed to sc.gov to submit your Columbia services payment through the sc.gov payment engine.

  20. When will my payment be charged to my credit card?
  21. Your payment will be charged to your credit card the same day. Since the City of Columbia is partnering with sc.gov to allow online bill payment, sc.gov will appear on your monthly credit card statement instead of City of Columbia.

  22. Why does a charge from sc.gov appear on my credit card and/or banking statement?
  23. Since the City of Columbia is partnering with sc.gov to allow online bill payment, sc.gov will appear on your monthly credit card and/or banking statement instead of City of Columbia.

  24. What are my other payment options?
  25. For your convenience, the City of Columbia offers many ways to pay for City of Columbia services.

    Mail-in Payments (Check)
    (Water & Sewer, Solid Waste, Parking Rentals/Tickets, Business License)
    Location Address Fee for Customer Phone Number
    PO Box PO Box 7997, Columbia SC $ 0.00 (803) 545-3361
    Washington Street 1339 Main Street, Columbia SC    
           
    Walk-in Payments (Cash, Check, Credit Card)
    (Water & Sewer, Solid Waste, Parking Rentals/Tickets, Business License)
    Location Address Fee for Customer Hours of Operation
    Eau Claire Office 3905 Ensor Ave, Columbia SC $ 0.00 8:30 - 5:00 M-F
    Washington Street 1339 Main Street, Columbia SC $ 0.00 8:30 - 5:00 M-F
    The Mailroom 1505 Charleston Hwy., W. Columbia $ 0.00 9:00 - 6:00 M-F
    (Water & Sewer - must bring bill and account must be current
                                   Note: No credit card payments)
    9:00 - 2:00 Sat
           
    Automatic Bank Draft (EasyPay)
    (Water & Sewer, Solid Waste)
    Download EasyPay Application Fee for Customer Hours of Operation
    or Contact the Collections Department at (803) 545-3489 $ 0.00 8:30- 5:00 M-F
           
    Drive Thru Payments (Cash, Check)
    (Water & Sewer - must bring bill to bank drive thru and account must be current)
    Location Address Fee for Customer
    First Citizens Bank 1301 Park Street $ 0.00  
      7366 Garners Ferry Road $ 0.00  
      2621 North Main Street $ 0.00  
      615 Knox Abbott Drive $ 0.00  
      2600 Rosewood Drive $ 0.00  
      1612 Saint Julian Place $ 0.00  
      2638 Two Notch Road $ 0.00  
      9800 Two Notch Road $ 0.00  
      7039 Parklane Road $ 0.00  
      949 Lake Murray Boulevard $ 0.00  
      1311 Dutch Fork Road $ 0.00  
      131 Forum Drive (Sandhills) $ 0.00  
           
    Note: All branches are open 9:00 - 5:00 on Monday thru Thursday and 9:00 - 6:00 on Fridays
           
    Online Payments (Customer Web Access - CWA)
    (Water & Sewer, Solid Waste, Parking Rentals)
    Web Address Convenience Fee for Customer
    https://cwa.columbiasc.gov/cwa $ 1.00 plus 1.7% of transaction for debit/credit card payments
      $ 2.50 for E-Check payments from checking or savings account
           
    Phone Payments (Interactive Voice Recognition - IVR)
    (Water & Sewer, Solid Waste, Parking Rentals)
    Phone Number Convenience Fee for Customer
    1-866-942-6729 $ 4.00 per transaction

    For all questions, please call the Customer Care Department at (803) 545-3300

 

 

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Online Security

  1. What precautions does the City of Columbia have in place to protect customer information online?
  2. The City of Columbia's Department of Information Technology (DoIT), as developer and manager of columbiasc.gov, has taken several steps to safeguard the integrity of its telecommunications and computing infrastructure, including but not limited to authentication, monitoring, auditing, and encryption. Security measures have been integrated into the design, implementation and day-to-day practices of the entire DoIT operating environment as part of its continuing commitment to risk management.

    This information should not be construed in any way as giving business, legal, or other advice. This information should not be construed as warranting as fail-proof the security of information provided through DoIT supported web sites.

  3. What can I do to further protect my information in the online system?
  4. To ensure security of your online account,

    • Do not share your username or password with anyone.
    • Remember to LOG OFF after each CWA logon session.
    • Do not share your Social Security number with unauthorized users.

 

 

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Computer Settings

  1. Why did I receive the message: "Your computer must allow pop-ups"?
  2. Since the City of Columbia is partnering with sc.gov to allow online bill payment, a pop-up window is used to direct you to the online payment engine. In order for this new window to display on your computer, pop-ups must be enabled. You can configure your browser to allow pop-ups always or temporarily. (Each browser is different, so check the "Help" menu of your browser to learn how to change your blocking preferences.)

    You may enable pop-up blockers again at any time by going back into the menu to turn on the pop-up blocker. NOTE: Pop-ups must be allowed whenever you are attempting to pay your City of Columbia services bill on-line through the online payment engine.

  3. What is a "Cookie"?
  4. A cookie is a small amount of data, which may include an anonymous unique identifier, that is sent to your browser from a web site's computers and may either be used only during your session (a "session" cookie) or may be stored on your computer's hard drive (a "persistent" cookie). Cookies can contain data about user movement during the visit to the website. If your browser software is set to allow cookies, a web site can send its own cookie to you. A web site that has set a cookie can only access those cookies it has sent to you, it cannot access cookies sent to you by other sites.

    Cookies are one mechanism for maintaining continuity during a user's visit to a web site. They allow data to be maintained for users' benefit as they navigate a site. This is referred to as "session" or "state management" cookie. These cookies go away when you terminate your visit to the website as they are maintained only in your browser's active memory during your session. Cookies may also be stored on your computer to so that you can be recognized by a website on subsequent visits. They can be read by the website that set them whenever you enter the website. They are often used on websites that require you to log in to save you entering all of your log-in information. They may store information on your unique identifier and the areas of the website you have visited before. These cookies are stored on your computer's hard drive after you have left your website visit and consequently are often referred to as "persistent" cookies.

    To better provide our customers with online services, the City of Columbia uses "cookies" to assist in performing various online transactions. Cookies created while using the City's websites do not contain personal information nor comprise privacy and security. These cookies store randomly generated identifiers to distinguish your computer as you complete an online transaction. Visitors do have the option of turning off cookies while visiting the City's website; however, this may impact our ability to provide certain online services to you.

  5. What is "JavaScript"?
  6. JavaScript is a dynamic programming language for web pages.  HTML (a static code) provides code for the webpage itself, and JavaScript can make dynamic changes so you can see your account information without reloading the page.  A page created in HTML is static, meaning it won't change ‘on-the-fly'.  JavaScript, however, is dynamic and therefore makes it easier and more convenient for you to retrieve your account information and use the features of our site.  Today, JavaScript is used on most web sites.