Buffalo Grove residents will soon be able to pay certain village bills by credit card, but the convenience could come at a cost.
Village officials discussed this week whether credit card users should incur the surcharge that businesses typically absorb.
If the village covered those fees, Buffalo Grove could be hit with $11,250 in fees for every 5 percent of utility account holders who opt for credit card payments, Finance Director Scott Anderson said during a Feb. 25 committee of the whole meeting.
That cost would total, for instance, $45,000 if 20 percent of the village’s customers opt to pay their utility bills with credit. The cost is based on estimated fees of 2 to 2.5 percent, Anderson said.
Because the village has never accepted credit cards, officials said it’s not known what percentage of customers might opt for that payment method. The prospect of earning credit card rewards might attract more users than expected, officials said, which would generate higher usage fees for the village. But if Buffalo Grove passes those fees on to residents, it might deter credit card payments, they added.
Trustee Steve Trilling suggested that the village should continue to promote automatic debit payments, which will remain a payment option for account holders.
He also said he’d support charging credit card fees back to card users.
“If we did not charge a credit card fee, I’d be one of those people who would move to the credit card [to accumulate rewards], he said. “You have to charge the fees.”
“It’s a convenience we’re giving customers. It makes sense to pass the fee along,” Trustee Jeff Berman agreed.
Water will be the first bill that Buffalo Grove’s customers will have the option of paying online by credit card. Online payment options could later be offered for such fees as pet licenses and liquor licenses.
The village has not yet finalized which expenses will be payable by credit card. Trustees will consider an ordinance regarding credit card convenience fees at an upcoming Village Board meeting.
Would you pay utility bills or other village fees by credit card? Would the inclusion of a convenience fee play a role in your decision? Tell us in the comment section below.