|Online payments coming this fall|
UND is pleased to announce that effective fall semester 2007 all NDUS institutions will offer e-payment services. Students will have the convenience of paying their bills online seven days a week from anywhere in the world. Payments may be made online through Campus Connection using e-Check or specific credit cards. The e-Check option is a fast, free, and convenient method to pay the bill directly by debiting your bank account.
In addition to online payment capability, the NDUS is also in the process of implementing functionality that includes online e-bill presentment, e-mail notification, and payment plans with online enrollment. This functionality will also enable students to set up authorized user access to parents/others to view their UND account information and make payments on their behalf.
Credit Card Processing Changes
In conjunction with implementation of online payment, UND will be outsourcing credit card processing for student payments to a third party (TouchNet PayPath). This will ensure compliance with online credit card processing security requirements as well as eliminate credit card merchant fees on online credit card payments on student accounts.
In FY 2006, UND incurred almost $800,000 in credit card processing fees, $660,339 of which was for payments on student accounts. Credit card utilization and the resulting processing fees had increased to the point that the viability of continuing to accept credit cards was seriously questioned. Due in part to these escalating costs, many colleges and universities have discontinued accepting credit cards instead of covering these costs with student fee increases. Eliminating the credit card merchant fee will better enable UND to hold down the cost of education for its students while still maintaining the high level of quality and customer service that our campus has come to expect.
UND recognizes that many students and their families appreciate the convenience and awards programs associated with using a credit card. To avoid credit card merchant fees that cannot be controlled while still offering the option of payment by credit card, UND has outsourced credit card processing for payments on student accounts to a third party provider. Individuals who choose to pay using a credit card will be assessed a non-refundable fee by TouchNet of 2.75% ($3 minimum) of the balance paid. Credit cards accepted are MasterCard, Discover, and American Express. As a result, the direct cost of the convenience of using a credit card for payment will be passed along to those who choose that convenience rather than forcing students who do not make that choice to share in the cost. Credit card payment options will only be available online through Campus Connection. To maintain compliance with credit card processing security requirements, credit cards will not be accepted at the business office teller windows.
A simple, no-cost online alternative to a credit card will be e-Check (electronic check). Students using e-Check will have a secure, 24/7 electronic payment method and will not be assessed additional fees.
Other fee-free payment options are payment via check by mail or in person at the business office, or payment by cash in person at the business office.
Unfortunately, Visa is not a payment option through the third party provider because Visa’s requirements will not permit a company/vendor to charge a percentage service charge. Visa requires utilization of a flat fee and also requires a fee be assessed for acceptance of payments via e-Check.
This move is not unprecedented. Many colleges and universities nationally have chosen to discontinue the acceptance of credit cards for student payments because of the major expense and the need to direct scarce resources to preserve academic programming and services. The University of Minnesota, University of Wisconsin, and University of South Dakota have recently implemented online payment systems with service fees similar to that of UND. Other universities not accepting VISA include Indiana University, University of Illinois, Syracuse University, University of Nebraska and University of Texas. A number of colleges and universities are not accepting credit cards at all.
We are very excited about providing this new online service to students. Additional information regarding the e-payment system is available on the business office web site.
-- Peggy Lucke, associate vice president for finance and operations.