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Using a credit card for city services, programs? Expect a fee

'This additional fee will not be retained by the city but will be used to offset the credit card processing fees being incurred,' notes report of fee of up to 2.4%
Credit cards

Editor's Note: This article has been modified to clarify some of the information that was included from a staff report.

The city will soon provide the option to pay for more of its services via credit card online, and these payments will have a convenience fee tacked onto the bill.

Council committee approved a fee of up to 2.4 per cent on Monday evening, which was brought forward to counter service fees from credit card providers.

“This rate of 2.4 per cent would cover most credit cards, but some credit cards have merchant fees up to 5 per cent,” noted a staff report. “Levying a 2.4 per cent convenience fee … is estimated to reduce the costs of providing this service to less than $10,000 (annually).”

“This additional fee will not be retained by the city but will be used to offset the credit card processing fees being incurred to provide this additional convenience to the service recipients.”

Some of the services that residents will soon be able to pay online include:

  • Dog tag licences
  • Garbage tags 
  • Marriage licences
  • Parking permits
  • Tax certificates

For services that residents can currently pay online, fee structures will remain unchanged. Opera House ticket sales, recreation program registration, and parking tickets, among others, will stay at their current rates. Paying for a parking ticket online, for example, will still incur third-party vendor fees of 1.75 per cent of the ticket, to a maximum of $3.

According to the report, the city receives roughly 9,580 credit card transactions per year, with 9,750 of those transactions coming in at $200 or less.

“Online payments using credit cards is an expected norm by our clients and would also contribute further to our operation's resilience during disruptive times such as a pandemic, when manual transactions were not possible, and cash handling was problematic,” the report states. 

“The premise of this recommendation is that taxpayers who choose to pay for online services using a credit card should bear the cost for the convenience.”

On the suggestion of Coun. Jay Fallis, general manager of corporate services Amanpreet Sidhu said the city will ensure that all residents are made aware of the convenience fee, and of ways to avoid incurring it.

“The suggestion was around two things – one was to ensure that all of our residents are aware that there are options available to make those payments without having to incur the convenience fee,” Sidhu said. “The city will also share that anybody using the portal to make online payments will be charged a 2.4 per cent convenience fee … we will make sure that our residents are fully aware of all the options available, both with the convenience fee and without the convenience fee.”

Decisions made at Monday’s council committee meeting will need to be ratified at the next council meeting.


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Greg McGrath-Goudie

About the Author: Greg McGrath-Goudie

Greg has been with Village Media since 2021, where he has worked as an LJI reporter for CollingwoodToday, and now as a city hall/general assignment reporter for OrilliaMatters
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