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  #101  
Old 11 February 2018, 09:01 PM
UrbanLegends101 UrbanLegends101 is offline
 
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Originally Posted by thorny locust View Post
UL, I guess I don't understand what your argument, or your question, is.
Didn't all this start with a post from ChasFink?


My favorite instance of this is something I heard years ago about New York State - I think it's still true: a seller is not allowed to charge extra for accepting a credit card, but can give a discount for cash. In practice, this means you can charge different prices for cash or credit, but can't call it a credit card fee.




Quote:
Originally Posted by thorny locust View Post
You were charged a transaction fee, by a government agency, for using an online payment method. You weren't charged a transaction fee, by some private companies and by some other government agencies, for using online payment methods, or for using credit cards when you weren't using online payment methods.
In the case of the real property tax payment, the government agency probably gets none of the convenience fee charged by Official Payments, which I understand to be a private company which appears to have numerous agreements with agencies to accept payments on behalf of these agencies for a moderate fee. (Granted, I don't know that to be a fact, as I would probably not be privy to the financial terms between Official Payments and the organizations they represent.)

In the case of the real property tax payment, my other options would be to mail in a check, use my bank's bill pay service or drive to the county tax collectors office and pay, perhaps in cash, all to avoid the convenience fee.

It appears to relieve these organizations from having their own credit card processing operations.

Quote:
Originally Posted by thorny locust View Post
What does any of this have to do with whether you can be charged a fee that's specifically stated to be a fee for using a credit card?
It appears that if an outside organization, as Official Payments is involved, they can charge the convenience fee. It appears up until the point where the merchants could add on a credit fee, per the below link, a merchant could not add a charge.


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Originally Posted by thorny locust View Post
I don't think anyone's mentioned a law either requiring or forbidding any company or agency to charge a fee, or to not charge a fee, for paying online. But a fee for paying online is not the same thing as a fee for using a card.
Perhaps the distinction might be paying on-line? At one time, perhaps up until 2013, it was my understanding that merchants could not add a fee for the use of a credit card, however, they could offer a cash discount. I realize in the grand scheme of things, probably little difference, but perhaps related to the posted price, unless noted it was the cash price, the merchant could not add the credit card charges.


https://www.creditcards.com/credit-c...lowed-1281.php
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  #102  
Old 11 February 2018, 10:00 PM
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thorny locust thorny locust is offline
 
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Originally Posted by UrbanLegends101 View Post
Didn't all this start with a post from ChasFink?


My favorite instance of this is something I heard years ago about New York State - I think it's still true: a seller is not allowed to charge extra for accepting a credit card, but can give a discount for cash. In practice, this means you can charge different prices for cash or credit, but can't call it a credit card fee.
Yes, that's where it started; which is why I'm puzzled that you seem to be talking about a charge for on-line payment as if it were the same thing. It's not.

Doing it that way may increase the chances that people will mail or bring in a check instead of paying on a card, yes. But it's not phrased as a fee for paying with a card. And the law only prohibited phrasing it as a fee for paying with a card -- if there had been a prohibition on doing something else that might have similar effects, it would have had to be also illegal to give a discount for cash.

(My municipality just doesn't take cards. No law against that, either; for either public or private organizations.)

Thanks for the link, by the way; sounds like they changed the law in 2013, but by then it had become so ingrained in customers' heads that one doesn't need to pay extra for using a card that few merchants thought they could pull off the change.

If it had been legal to charge customers a fee for use of cards when they were first coming into really common use, I suspect a lot of merchants would have done that -- they'd have been being hit with a new expense, after all -- and the adoption of cards as a way to pay for nearly everything would probably have been considerably slowed down, if it had happened at all. And even slowing it down would have made a difference to the long-term profits of credit card companies, of course.
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  #103  
Old 12 February 2018, 12:57 AM
UrbanLegends101 UrbanLegends101 is offline
 
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Originally Posted by thorny locust View Post
Yes, that's where it started; which is why I'm puzzled that you seem to be talking about a charge for on-line payment as if it were the same thing. It's not.

Doing it that way may increase the chances that people will mail or bring in a check instead of paying on a card, yes. But it's not phrased as a fee for paying with a card. And the law only prohibited phrasing it as a fee for paying with a card -- if there had been a prohibition on doing something else that might have similar effects, it would have had to be also illegal to give a discount for cash.

(My municipality just doesn't take cards. No law against that, either; for either public or private organizations.)
I'd suggest the credit acceptance via a third party is probably more popular on both sides. The government agency gets their monies with less hassle and the tax payer can either pay off the credit card in full or installments on the card, yes, with the resultant interest.

I personally use the card route, as I use one of my credit cards which gives me airline points, and the convenience fee, in my case, is an adjustment against the rental income and even it gets me airline points.

Quote:
Originally Posted by thorny locust View Post
Thanks for the link, by the way; sounds like they changed the law in 2013, but by then it had become so ingrained in customers' heads that one doesn't need to pay extra for using a card that few merchants thought they could pull off the change.

You are welcome. It does appear that most merchants have not decided to pass the credit card transactions fees directly to the customer.


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Originally Posted by thorny locust View Post
If it had been legal to charge customers a fee for use of cards when they were first coming into really common use, I suspect a lot of merchants would have done that -- they'd have been being hit with a new expense, after all -- and the adoption of cards as a way to pay for nearly everything would probably have been considerably slowed down, if it had happened at all. And even slowing it down would have made a difference to the long-term profits of credit card companies, of course.
Totally agree.
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  #104  
Old 12 February 2018, 03:13 PM
Sooeygun Sooeygun is offline
 
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Originally Posted by damian View Post
I don't mind a pizza every now and then and my local store adds $7 to the cost of the first pizza in any order. I feel like I'm already paying for delivery, so don't usually tip.
I never consider the 'delivery fee' that places add on when deciding my tip. Those fees don't go to the delivery person (well, maybe toward the crappy wages they make), so I feel they still deserve the tip. I find at the places where we get the same delivery guy all the time, we get great service (food so hot that they must make our place #1 stop on a run).
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  #105  
Old 12 February 2018, 06:36 PM
overyonder overyonder is offline
 
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Originally Posted by UrbanLegends101 View Post
I'd suggest the credit acceptance via a third party is probably more popular on both sides. The government agency gets their monies with less hassle and the tax payer can either pay off the credit card in full or installments on the card, yes, with the resultant interest.
I work for a state agency in SC, we've gone the external credit card payment route as it relieves us of a lot of problems, mainly, we don't keep any of the transaction data (except the transaction number and the amount), and therefore the risk greatly lowered in the event of a data breach. The vendors have to be approved at the state level first, mind you.

They also take care of their own equipment.

And the line "You will now be charged 2% (e.g.) which is NOT collected by the agency but collected by the payment processing company" is (somewhat) more palatable then just straight up charging 2%.

OY
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  #106  
Old 12 February 2018, 07:59 PM
UrbanLegends101 UrbanLegends101 is offline
 
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Originally Posted by overyonder View Post

And the line "You will now be charged 2% (e.g.) which is NOT collected by the agency but collected by the payment processing company" is (somewhat) more palatable then just straight up charging 2%.

OY
I like that disclaimer. Thanks.

The Clay County tax collector's office, which also runs the DMV operations in the county, does the credit card transactions in-house, and they add on a small fee.

I am comfortable with it either way.
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  #107  
Old 12 February 2018, 08:59 PM
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WildaBeast WildaBeast is offline
 
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Originally Posted by Esprise Me View Post
I agree it's a bit slippery, but I do think there's a difference between saying "here's the price--oh, wait, you're paying by credit card? Then it's more" and saying "here's the price--oh, hey, do you want a discount?"
All the vending machines at work accept credit cards. The prices used to be the same no matter how you paid, but several months ago notices went up on all the machines stating something like "The posted prices are the cash prices and reflect a 10 cent cash discount." Which kind of sounds like "Here's the price. You get a discount for paying in cash, but that discount is already included in this price." And that really just seems like a backwards way of saying "We'll charge you 10 cents more if you pay with a card" while still trying to claim it's a discount.

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Originally Posted by overyonder View Post
I work for a state agency in SC, we've gone the external credit card payment route as it relieves us of a lot of problems, mainly, we don't keep any of the transaction data (except the transaction number and the amount), and therefore the risk greatly lowered in the event of a data breach. The vendors have to be approved at the state level first, mind you.
When I looked into paying my electric bill with a credit card after I'd moved into my first apartment many years ago, the explanation the company gave for the transaction fee was that unlike a typical business that can simply raise their prices slightly to pass the cost of processing credit card transactions on to their customers, as a public utility they can't raise their rates without first getting approval from the appropriate government regulators. Therefore it's easier for them to contract out the processing of credit card payments to a third party which charges a fee for their service.

In the case of property tax payments, I would guess the same would apply. They can't legally raise everyone's property taxes to cover the cost of processing the transactions, at least not without passing a law first. And they'd probably have to budget for them every year if they were going to handle the payments themselves. It probably saves a lot of trouble to have a third party do it for them.

Although with utilities it seems to vary. I can pay my electric bill with a credit card without an additional fee now that I live in California. But the gas company charges a fee for credit card payments. And now that I think about it, I can pay my water/sewer/garbage bill with a credit card with no extra fee, and that one goes to the city. And now that I think about it some more I can pay the DMV with a credit card and they don't charge an extra fee, either.
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