UNCG takes a step backward.

I am taking classes at UNCG again this fall, and the bill needed to be paid by August 1st. And so, on July 31st, Mike logged into my account to pay so that I can continue to take classes so that I can keep my job so that we can continue to eat. Simple enough, right?

We couldn’t find the button to pay, so, clever people that we are, we did a little search and found the area we needed and tried to pay. But our payment was rejected. I called the cashier’s office and the woman I spoke to said, oh, they have been trying to get that taken down from the website (well, it is down, unless you know how to search for it) and she informed me that you can no longer pay your bill with a credit card at UNCG. Unless you want to pay a 2.75% service fee. (In fact, you cannot pay with a credit card at all if you actually go to the cashier’s office. But that is another story.) (And, yes, it said that on the actual bill I got, but it didn’t say it in the emailed bill I got, which was what I paid attention to.)

Now, 2.75% is one thing when it’s, say, the tax on the food that I buy at the grocery store. UNCG tuition and fees are considerably more than what I spend at the grocery store, though. This 2.75% is, therefore, also more than a couple of dollars. On my bill, for example, we would have paid approximately $45 at that rate. Apparently the costs of processing credit card payments have become so great that UNCG has outsourced its credit card processing. Maybe that is so, maybe the costs of credit card processing are too much, but I can’t help but feel that UNCG has taken a step backward. If students must register online and can take classes online, surely they ought to be able to pay online in the standard way. That is, with a credit card. (You can pay online with a “web check.” Which just seems silly. Plus, it would have been nice to get the credit card points.)

I hope this, along with the requirement that students are insured, makes the university the money it has been losing on credit card bills. As for me, I would prefer that they take my athletics fee or the fee for the Rec Center (that I use only a handful of times per semester) or even perhaps the registration fee and apply it to credit card processing so that I can pay online with a credit card without a fee and without a hassle.

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