New WF service fee to apply to in-person utility bill payments

Local News

WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) — City of Wichita Falls officials believe an additional $70,000 a year will be saved through charging a service fee to utility customers who pay at the window.

There is a fee for customers who pay utility bills with a credit or debit card online, through telephone or at a kiosk. They didn’t have to pay that at the window, until now.

This is a move some aren’t finding convenient at all.

For those who are used to paying utillity bill in person with a credit or debit card, there will soon be charged a fee.

“We’ve never charged in the past, now we’re gonna start charging a $2.95 service fee is what we’re calling that,” Wichita Falls utility collection manager Garry Capron said.

The service fee will be $2.95 per $250.

For example, if someone owns a business that averages a $1,000 water bill, another $11.08 will be tacked on if paying with a card.

“Why should I get charged even if I’m still driving myself personally to come pay the bill because nobody else is gonna want to do that,” Wichita Falls residential and commercial painter Jared Boswell said.

Boswell is self-employed and pays in person.

He said avoiding the fee through cash, check or bank draft isn’t feasible for all residents.

“If you don’t have the money in your account to take care of that, then everybody’s gonna go in the negative sooner or later because not everybody has the funds to pay for that, everybody’s life is different,” Boswell said.

The City of Wichita Falls currently absorbs the credit card processing fee.

City officials estimate this change equates to an annual $70,000 in budget savings.

“We use a credit card processor called Paymentus and that’s what they charge us, now if you pay your bill online or through the 877 number, they charge that fee and they keep that fee and they give us the amount of the bill,” Capron said. “We’re not trying to make any money on it, we can’t make any money on it, it’s just to cover our costs for operating here.”

A service fee, that might also make it less convenient for some Wichita Falls residents, but more affordable for the city.

This will go into effect on Dec. 5.

If someone is looking to avoid this fee, folks can pay with cash, a check or by signing up for bank draft.

The city is also offering a $5 credit this month for those who choose to enroll in the bank draft.

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