Effective January 1, 2022, a convenience fee of 2.85% will be charged on all credit and debit card payments to the City of Alcoa.
That’s according to an announcement from the Alcoa city finance department on Monday.
These charges will be processed on all credit or debit card charges, regardless of online or in-person payments, and will appear as a separate charge on the customer’s credit or debit card statement.
According to the release, the fees go directly to a third-party provider to pay for the processing services.
These charges will not apply to payments by bank draft, cash or check.
City of Alcoa Finance Director Brittany Spence discussed the move by phone on Monday.
“We have always paid the costs ourselves,” Spence said. “But they’ve actually gotten pretty out of hand over the years.”
This came to about $ 265,000 in credit card fees, or about $ 22,000 per month.
“What I found out talking to other municipalities is that we were really in the minority,” said Spence. “Most municipalities had already done this and they were quite surprised that we were still paying these fees. “
Spence said city leaders spoke to about 10 other municipalities before making the decision.
This move will save the city hundreds of thousands of people as it will take a little more money out of residents’ wallets.
But, Spence pointed out, regular bill payers have the option of paying by other means, including bank draft, a system that connects bank accounts for automatic payments that bill directly rather than by debit or credit card. .
As to where the money goes, Spence explained, it’s up to the credit card vendors themselves, not Alcoa.
“The city will never collect these charges and we will never see these charges,” she said, noting that these charges will now appear as a separate item on credit and debit card statements.
The decision to charge billpayers for these convenience fees did not have to go through the City of Alcoa Commission, but it is a decision that has far-reaching implications.
When the money has been donated in the past, it withdraws funds that could be invested in the community, Spence said.
The city wanted to announce the change two months in advance to prepare billpayers who might have questions or concerns.
Officials announced the decision on social media on Monday, and Spence said residents would see more reminders at the bottom of their paper bills.
“We wanted to start a few months earlier so that we could educate people,” Spence said.
For more information, residents can call the city offices at 865-380-4700.
Follow @arjonesreports on Facebook and Twitter for more from municipal government reporter Andrew Jones.