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EFTS Successes and Growing Pains

One short year ago, MLA agreed to develop a new Electronic Fund Transfer System (EFTS) platform to ensure continuity of service for the many libraries that used EFTS for their online billing for interlibrary loan (ILL) transactions. MLA launched EFTS, powered by MLA, in August 2020 and has been adding features monthly.

To date, 867 users have signed up with EFTS (750 was our minimum objective), with more than 200,000 ILL transactions already processed.

While the new EFTS platform is powerful, secure, and fully integrated into the National Library of Medicine’s (NLM’s) DOCLINE, it is a significant change from the prior platform designed twenty-five years ago, with COVID-19 adding its set of challenges to a smooth launch.

What’s new?

The integration of EFTS with DOCLINE means that EFTS now:

  • provides significantly more information than had been uploaded by libraries in the past (for some, too much information)
  • eliminates duplicate billing and other errors
  • allows lenders to simply approve transactions for billing rather than upload or manually enter them (which takes getting used to and is a real time saver)
  • allows borrowers to view upcoming transactions as they occur in DOCLINE
  • allows NLM to perform monthly billing (versus quarterly) and do so very efficiently

The use of the latest technology means that EFTS now:

  • provides high-level security for all financial transactions
  • allows libraries to self-manage their fund transfers, resulting in less administrative time

What’s frustrating?

Lots of change and the time needed for all libraries to properly configure their parameters and adapt to new work flows for the whole community to operate smoothly can be frustrating.

MLA is also late in finalizing the platform and providing up-to-date documentation and training. We are nearly ready, as we still need to release the full reporting features and the ability for borrowers to request refunds.

Delays in US mail and check processing have been exacerbated by COVID-19. This has caused significant delays for libraries to make payments and for those payments to be posted to EFTS accounts. This cascades into delays for payments of ILLs, because the EFTS platform no longer advances funds to lenders.

Thank you

We appreciate the support and value the feedback of the EFTS community and the wonderful collaboration with NLM’s DOCLINE team. The EFTS, powered by MLA, platform is getting better by the day thanks to you.

For more information, visit MLANET.

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