Columbia to Charge New Fee to Utility Customers
COLUMBIA - A $4.60 convenience fee is now in effect for citizens who choose to pay their utility bills with a credit card online.
The fee will be asessed to each bill up to $1000 for customers who pay by online by credit card or e-check via telephone or Internet.
For example, a $230 bill will only be charged the fee once, but a customer with a $2,500 bill will be charged three times, twice for each thousand dollars and a third time for the remaining five hundred.
Assistant Finance Director Lynn Cannon said having customers pay a convenience fee will help relieve the city of the high merchant fees for customers to pay with their credit cards.
Until now, the city had paid the fee for customers. But after merchant fee costs increased to just over $462,000 in fiscal year 2011, a $177,000 increase from 2010, charging the convenience fee seemed to be a necessary change.
By making the change, the city will save thousands of dollars.
Cannon said the city has no specific plans at this point for the money it will save, but the money will likely be used for future projects and to help balance the budget.