IDAHO FALLS — City residents will be charged a $3.95 convenience fee to pay their utility bills with a debit or credit card starting Oct. 1.
The fees, which originate from Paymentus, the city’s credit card processing vendor, aren’t new. Idaho Falls city spokesman Bud Cranor said the fees have always been there, but the city has always picked them up and paid them directly — at a tune of about $450,000 per year.
In August, the city voted to stop paying the fee, and pass the expense directly on to the ratepayers that use debit or credit cards.
Cranor said the savings resulting from the city not covering the fee will help it keep utility rates from going up this year. The city’s savings, however, are not sufficient to result in a rate decrease.
“In order to save ratepayers that money, the city elected to stop paying those fees, but to still allow consumers to use their credit/debit cards if they desired. They would just be responsible for the processing fee from their credit card company,” Cranor said in an emailed statement. “So we are not charging them the fee — it is the fee they are charged from their credit/debit card company.”
City officials stress the fee will only be charged to those using debit or credit cards, and will not be used for those that sign up for automated bank payments. Those that opt to do e-billing will actually get a $1 credit per month on their bill.
Additionally, the City Treasurer’s Office will no longer accept credit/debit card payments at the counter. All credit/debit card payments will need to be completed at designated kiosks, online at www.idahofallsidaho.gov, or over the phone at (844) 235-2019. Cash or check payments can still be made at the counter. Payment kiosks are at the City of Idaho Falls Utility Office and Idaho Falls Power.
For more information about the convenience fee, call (208) 612-8280.
This article was formerly published at East Idaho News