Convenience Fees for Use of Credit and Debit Card Services
What is changing with credit/debit card transactions?
As a non-profit power provider, NPPD is continually striving to keep its expenses and costs to our valued customers as low as possible. We take this responsibility just as seriously as our mission to safely generate and deliver reliable, low cost, sustainable energy and provide outstanding customer service. In late 2010, NPPD was required to meet Payment Card Industry (PCI) Compliance where additional fees and bank card security oversight have resulted. Meeting this compliance in addition to increased card usage has increased processing fees from $167,000 in 2010 to a projected $500,000 in 2013. Unfortunately, this expense can no longer be absorbed by NPPD Retail and its customers. Effective August, 2012, customers who pay with a debit/credit card will be required to pay the transaction fee associated with processing the payment directly to the Bill Pay Service provider.
Who is charging the fee?
Due to PCI Compliance, NPPD utilizes a third party Bill Pay Service to provide customers the ability to use credit/debit card for payment and security protection of the customer’s card information. The service provider charges NPPD processing fees and transactions costs associated with handling credit/debit cards. Effective August, 2012, should a customer choose to pay by credit/debit card, the customer will be required to pay the Bill Pay Service provider the convenience fee for use of their service. The fees will not be assessed, collected, or retained by NPPD. Only customers who choose to use this service will be charged the fee.
Why is a fee being charged now when a fee was not charged in the past?
Prior to PCI Regulations, businesses processed and maintained credit card information internal to their organization with internal oversight only. However, due to credit card industry concerns with identify theft, stolen credit card information, etc., the Payment Card Industry had to address the situation. The response was heavy scrutiny for businesses that obtain and maintain credit/debit card information. Because of this oversight and scrutiny, the cost of processing credit/debit cards has gone up dramatically since the regulation went into effect. To address this increase in expenses, the options that NPPD had available were as follows: 1) continue paying the transaction expense, which results in higher overall cost of service impacting retail rates; 2) stop accepting credit cards as a form of payment; or 3) require customers who want to pay with a credit/debit card the ability to do so but pay for the transaction fees associated with the process. NPPD believes that in the best interest of all NPPD Retail customers, option #3 is the best solution.
How many customers utilize credit / debit cards today?
15% percent of NPPD’s Retail customers pay with a debit/credit card while 100% pay for the fees.
How much is the transaction fee?
- Residential accounts will be assessed $3.49 per transaction for payments using a credit/debit card. Visa, MasterCard, and Discover will be accepted.
- Business accounts will be assessed 2.4% of the total amount of the transaction. To stay compliant with credit card company compliance, MasterCard and Discover will be accepted only.
What other changes are being made to stay compliant with Credit Card Company Regulations?
NPPD’s Recurring Credit/Debit Card Payment option will no longer be offered. Due to credit card regulations, a customer choosing to pay with a credit/debit card must be given the option with each transaction to accept the transaction fee OR decline the fee and pay with a different payment method. Therefore, the recurring credit/debit card option must be eliminated as a payment option. NPPD will offer Automatic Bank Draft FREE OF CHARGE. In an effort to provide additional free payment options, NPPD will be offering One-Time Bank Draft free of charge with the completion of Enrollment in our Online Bill Pay System effective August, 2012.
This information is also going to be distributed to our customers in the summer Currents. Read more.