UCLA to Start Charging Fees on Credit Card Payments

by Mercator Advisory Group 0

Credit card surcharging is again coming in to view, as UCLA institutes a 2.75 percent surcharge for tuition payments using credit cards. The reason is a familiar one:

Steven Olsen, vice chancellor for finance, budget and capital programs for UCLA, said in an interview that the university couldn’t justify paying credit card companies millions of dollars a year anymore.

He views the move as a way to spare academic programs from further cuts, and he hopes students will simply stop using credit cards to pay their school bills. Students who use cash, check or direct deposit to pay their BruinBills will not have to pay any extra fees.

“Our hope is that none of them will pay it – that what they will do is make use of the e-check facility, which will be a no-fee option, and if they don’t want to do that, they can send in a check,” Olsen said.

UCLA estimates its annual card acceptance costs at $6.5 million, an expense that will now be passed along to students, should they continue to use credit cards. Student objections, on the other hand, are worth noting:

UC President Mark Yudof said last week that the latest round of budget cuts would result in a double-digit tuition increase for UC students – on top of the 8 percent tuition increase already approved for next year.

“If you don’t have the money in your account, you can’t use a check,” said Adam Swart, chief of staff in the office of the student body president. “This unfairly disadvantages people at the lower-income levels. This is not the time to put another cost on the table.”

By comparison, Stanford University used to charge a 2.75 percent fee, but no longer accepts cards, USC does not charge for online card payments, and the CSU system is moving from a 2.9 percent to a 2.75 percent surcharge.

Surcharging for credit card acceptance is highly restricted under U.S. card network rules and under some state laws.

Click here to read more: http://californiawatch.org/dailyreport/ucla-start-charging-fee-credit-card-payments-11005

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