Why charge convenience fees?
Credit card companies make their money by charging a fee for every credit/debit card transaction. This fee is paid by whoever accepts the credit or debit card. Most merchants just increase the price of everything they sell and pass the cost along to their customers. Tuition and fees for ISU, however, are set by the State Board of Education. It would be unfair to just increase tuition costs for everyone (nor would we) just so that some could pay with their credit/debit cards.
ISU paid over $250,000 in credit/debit card processing fees for accepting student credit card payments for fees, housing, tuition, parking tickets, etc. With our new online fee payment system, ISU expects many more people will begin using credit and debit cards to pay such things, at least doubling the amount of money ISU will have to pay credit card companies.
After careful consideration, ISU felt it was equitable to directly charge the fee to those using credit cards. Money previously spent on credit and debit card processing fees will now be available for other university programs that benefit all ISU students. The entire amount collected for convenience fees goes to the credit/debit card companies—ISU does not keep any of these fees. Also, because the convenience fee is a charge for the individual transaction and is paid to the credit card companies, it is non-refundable.
American Express, MasterCard, Diner’s Club, and Discover credit and debit cards allow us to charge users a 2.75% convenience fee. This means the actual convenience fee varies depending upon how much you are charging. VISA, however, requires us to charge one flat fee—not a percent—regardless of how much is being charged. For example, if we set the fee at $75 (about 2.75% of the in-state tuition amount) that same $75 convenience fee will apply to any VISA charge or debit transaction, including parking or computer account fees. Obviously this is unfair to our students and is not acceptable. This means ISU will not accept VISA for fee payments.
Although we will be charging a convenience fee for using your credit or debit card to pay your fees online, there are three other fee payment options that are free with no additional convenience fees added: