City Officials Say Utility Credit Card Fee Likely Here to Stay

3 years 3 months 5 days ago November 22, 2013 Nov 22, 2013 Friday, November 22 2013 Friday, November 22, 2013 6:11:00 PM CST in News
By: Alyssa Caruso, KOMU 8 Reporter
loading

COLUMBIA - Many utility customers have changed their payment methods since the city added a $4.60 credit card processing fee the week of September 16. Despite the dislike voiced by some utility customers, city officials said the fee would likely remain in place.

In October, about nine percent fewer utility customers paid their bills on-line or by phone and more customers paid using other options. Five percent more paid by mail, 2.5 percent more paid using automatic bill pay, and one percent more paid in person.

Austin Kolb is one utility customer who is not happy about the processing fee and now wants to persuade the city council to change it.

"I only pay sewer for the city, so my bill is only between $15 and $20, pretty much almost nothing and I have to pay $4.60 on that bill which is outrageous, that's more than 25 percent of the bill, 30 percent sometimes," Kolb said.

Kolb started an on-line petition against the fee on Change.org. He said once the petition has about 5,000 signatures, he would bring it to a city council meeting and talk to the mayor. He said he does not expect the city to pay for the fee, but that the fee does not need to be as high.

"I think everyone is OK with covering the cost of the transaction by paying on-line, but this is not cost. There's no way this is cost," Kolb said.

But Lynn Cannon, the assistant director of finance, said it is not possible to have different fees set for the different credit card payments.

"When you charge a convenience fee, MasterCard and Visa and the payment card industry dictates that those fees have to be consistent across the board for all payment types that come through that channel," Cannon said. "So you're going to pay the same fee whether it's a credit card, it's a debit card, or it's an e-check. And those are rules that are set and we can't control those."

That means even though the average cost to process a customer's credit card for the month of October was only $1.60, city officials defended the higher fee. City officials said the fee needs to be large enough to cover the costs for cards with higher rates, update and maintain software, and also give a profit to the company that processed the payments.

The city is one year into a two-year contract with the company that processes its credit card transactions. Cannon said the city would pay more if the officials removed the fee.

"There is a cancellation fee that's associated to that. And then, ultimately, we would have to start paying those credit card fees again at the city, which could result in a utility rate increase," Cannon said.

But Kolb still hopes city officials will come around and his petition will make people want to become informed.

"I'm hoping to just bring awareness that this is happening and that people will look into themselves and figure out how they feel about it," Kolb said.

City officials and the processing company will re-evaluate the fee after the current contract ends.

More News

Grid
List
COLUMBIA - "Not enough time" is one of the most frequently-used reasons to not exercise. What if I told you... More >>
1 hour ago February 27, 2017 Feb 27, 2017 Monday, February 27 2017 Monday, February 27, 2017 12:59:00 PM CST in News
ST. JAMES (AP) — An elderly husband and wife are dead after a head-on crash in central Missouri. The... More >>
4 hours ago February 27, 2017 Feb 27, 2017 Monday, February 27 2017 Monday, February 27, 2017 9:46:22 AM CST in News
ST. LOUIS (AP) — A 32-year-old St. Louis native is a key player in President Donald Trump's White House. ... More >>
4 hours ago February 27, 2017 Feb 27, 2017 Monday, February 27 2017 Monday, February 27, 2017 9:43:50 AM CST in News
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Kansas City police say one of the victims of a double shooting has died. ... More >>
7 hours ago February 27, 2017 Feb 27, 2017 Monday, February 27 2017 Monday, February 27, 2017 7:07:00 AM CST in News
JEFFERSON CITY- Republican lawmakers continue at odds over the Real ID Act . One side of the argument seeks to... More >>
14 hours ago February 26, 2017 Feb 26, 2017 Sunday, February 26 2017 Sunday, February 26, 2017 11:30:00 PM CST in Top Stories
COLUMBIA - As President Donald Trump prepares an alternate version of a temporary travel ban on refugees and members of... More >>
20 hours ago February 26, 2017 Feb 26, 2017 Sunday, February 26 2017 Sunday, February 26, 2017 6:00:00 PM CST in News
COLUMBIA - Planned Parenthood opponents are planning a month of protests after a march that drew between 50 and 100... More >>
20 hours ago February 26, 2017 Feb 26, 2017 Sunday, February 26 2017 Sunday, February 26, 2017 5:57:00 PM CST in Continuous News
ST. CHARLES (AP) — A Missouri woman has pleaded guilty to neglect after authorities say she left her 2-year-old boy... More >>
20 hours ago February 26, 2017 Feb 26, 2017 Sunday, February 26 2017 Sunday, February 26, 2017 5:30:30 PM CST in News
COLUMBIA- Local dog boarding facilities are amping up their luxury of care for your pet. Several big city boarding... More >>
1 day ago February 26, 2017 Feb 26, 2017 Sunday, February 26 2017 Sunday, February 26, 2017 11:23:11 AM CST in News
HOUSE SPRINGS, Mo. (AP) — Authorities say they've arrested a suspect in connection with a weekend shooting death south of... More >>
1 day ago February 26, 2017 Feb 26, 2017 Sunday, February 26 2017 Sunday, February 26, 2017 9:37:00 AM CST in News
COLUMBIA - Residents of older homes in Columbia could be eligible for free water testing for lead. The My... More >>
1 day ago February 26, 2017 Feb 26, 2017 Sunday, February 26 2017 Sunday, February 26, 2017 8:58:00 AM CST in News
LACLEDE COUNTY — A man accused of assaulting and sexually abusing his 5-month-old daughter nearly eight years ago finally has... More >>
1 day ago February 25, 2017 Feb 25, 2017 Saturday, February 25 2017 Saturday, February 25, 2017 11:02:00 PM CST in News
COLUMBIA — United Airlines flight schedules posted to its website Saturday night showed two new flights out of Columbia Regional... More >>
1 day ago February 25, 2017 Feb 25, 2017 Saturday, February 25 2017 Saturday, February 25, 2017 9:48:00 PM CST in News
COLUMBIA — U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., announced Saturday that his local office space will be relocated from its current... More >>
1 day ago February 25, 2017 Feb 25, 2017 Saturday, February 25 2017 Saturday, February 25, 2017 9:11:00 PM CST in News
COLUMBIA — This weekend Missourians came together to give the Loos family a home makeover. Rhyan Loos, 7, was... More >>
1 day ago February 25, 2017 Feb 25, 2017 Saturday, February 25 2017 Saturday, February 25, 2017 7:21:00 PM CST in News
COLUMBIA — There is a significant "values gap" between employers and the millennials who work for them, according to a... More >>
1 day ago February 25, 2017 Feb 25, 2017 Saturday, February 25 2017 Saturday, February 25, 2017 7:05:00 PM CST in News
COLUMBIA — Boone County experienced at least a dozen fires Feb. 18, a number that did not surprise fire officials.... More >>
1 day ago February 25, 2017 Feb 25, 2017 Saturday, February 25 2017 Saturday, February 25, 2017 5:00:00 PM CST in News
JEFFERSON CITY — People from all over mid-Missouri gathered at the Miller Performing Arts Center Saturday to listen to local... More >>
1 day ago February 25, 2017 Feb 25, 2017 Saturday, February 25 2017 Saturday, February 25, 2017 4:00:00 PM CST in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 62°
3pm 64°
4pm 64°
5pm 61°
6pm 59°

Select a station to view its upcoming schedule:

Coming Up Next

2:00p
The Dr. Oz Show
3:00p
Dr. Phil
4:00p
Jeopardy!
2:00p
Judge Alex
2:30p
Judge Alex
3:00p
The Robert Irvine Show

Tonight's Schedule

7:00p
The Voice
9:00p
Taken
7:00p
Supergirl
8:00p
Jane the Virgin
9:00p
KOMU 8 News @ Nine on The CW
9:30p
Seinfeld