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PG & E Will No Longer Accept Credit Cards for Payment

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villager Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-23-08 01:22 PM
Original message
PG & E Will No Longer Accept Credit Cards for Payment
Source: Contra Costa Times

PG & E will no longer accept credit cards
By George Avalos

Pacific Gas & Electric Co. says it will soon halt a nearly two-year-old pilot program that enabled customers to use Visa brand credit cards for monthly utility payments.

Oct. 1 is the last day that PG&E will accept Visa credit cards for recurring or one-time payments of their bills, said Tamar Sarkissian, a spokeswoman for the San Francisco-based utility. The program was available only to residential customers Sarkissian said.

"When we began the program, it was a no-fee pilot program," said Brian Swanson, a PG&E spokesman.

By state regulations, such a program had to be cost-neutral. "We discovered that the savings from the program did not cover the costs," Swanson said.

<snip>


Read more: http://www.contracostatimes.com/ci_10531774
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DUgosh Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-23-08 01:26 PM
Response to Original message
1. While ebay prohibits cash, checks and mo's
Buyers and sellers must use credit as of Oct 1st.
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villager Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-23-08 01:28 PM
Response to Reply #1
2. What? But what about Paypal?
n/t
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queerart Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-23-08 03:55 PM
Response to Reply #1
11. It's Likely....



That the "credit only" is being used to start the process of reporting all income to the IRS for taxes....



(Not to mention everyone's buying habits to multiple government spying programs to root out anyone owning too many Beanie Babies)




http://money.cnn.com/2006/08/23/pf/taxes/online_taxes/i...



http://news.cnet.com/2100-1028_3-6176638.html




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truthisfreedom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-23-08 01:29 PM
Response to Original message
3. Somethinng big is about to erupt with credit card companies. They're about to tank, methinks.
The number of stories I'm reading about companies not accepting them is accelerating.
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Warpy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-23-08 01:37 PM
Response to Reply #3
4. Yes, they are.
People will start to default now that they can no longer use their home as an ATM.

Anybody who goes into debt to pay Plunder, Gouge and Extort needs his head examined, anyway.

PG&E is doing those people a favor.
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SoCalDem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-23-08 01:40 PM
Response to Reply #3
5. People can no longer afford to pay them
Lots of people have been living on credit cards as their houses go unpaid..once they are foreclosed on, and have no "permanent" address, I'm guessing that a lot of bills have come back "undeliverable"..and also unpaid..

As those debts get bigger and bigger, and people can no longer pay them down, and as they reach their credit limit, they just stop paying...

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leftofcool Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-23-08 01:55 PM
Response to Original message
6. Too many electric users defaulting on their credit cards I suspect
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Xithras Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-23-08 06:06 PM
Response to Reply #6
12. No, it's probably the transaction fees.
Visa charges a transaction fee of just under 2% every time someone uses their card to pay a bill. Most retailers counter this fee by adjusting prices up slightly to account for it, but PG&E's fees are set by the state and can't be adjusted on a whim. If someone was paying a $150 gas and electric bill online, Visa might have been charging PG&E as much as $1.75 per transaction.

As I recall, PG&E implemented the Visa payment thing as a cost cutting measure (I remember reading the billing insert when they first implemented it). The assumption was that a dramatic reduction in paper-paid bills would reduce the staff required to process the incoming envelopes. The hope was that the cost of using Visa would be more than offset by the savings involved with eliminating paper billing. If less than 5% of their customers were using Visa for bill payments, I can see where that savings might not have materialized.
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kurt_cagle Donating Member (294 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-23-08 02:00 PM
Response to Original message
7. Gas Stations
I'm seeing more and more gas stations refuse to take credit cards as well. I talked to one gas station manager who told me that the fees that were charged just weren't making the transactions profitable, and that those fees had gone up pretty dramatically in the last year. Many take debit cards exclusively. The gas stations were also seeing a lot of writebacks from fraudulent and stolen cards.

Personally, I'd love to see the credit card industry collapse. When you're talking about something on the order of 30% interest for credit card debt gone bad, combined with loose (and often hidden) credit card limit increases, and its very easy for even a small amount of credit card debt to become onerous if you lose a job or have a medical emergency.

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melm00se Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-23-08 02:01 PM
Response to Original message
8. it makes sense
there is a fee to the merchant (in this case PG&E) to accept the card as payment and that can be anywhere from 1-5%. Note that a debit card can still be used but there is a fee associated with it ($1.40).

Why not just pass the fee onto the cardholder? this is prohibited by the terms and conditions of the merchant agreement.
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jannyk Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-23-08 02:02 PM
Response to Original message
9. Hmmmm.... something not quite accurate there....
I've paid my PG&E bill by phone, using VISA, several times because I was traveling. Each time I was charged a $5 processing fee per account (I have 3).

>>"When we began the program, it was a no-fee pilot program," said Brian Swanson, a PG&E spokesman.<<
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AlCzervik Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-23-08 02:46 PM
Response to Original message
10. i usually pay my pg&e bill online using a visa debit card. my next bill is due 10/3.
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ChoralScholar Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-23-08 07:38 PM
Response to Original message
13. Not that I would encourage people routinely put their utility bills on a credit card
it's nice to be able to use my debit card, and pay all of my bills. That way, there's no checks, no mailing, and the funds come right out immediately, instead of 3-4 days later.

Also, it's nice if you have a frequent flyer card, you can charge the hell out of everything you normally would pay for with cash/check/debit, then pay off the card. I used to do that, but then BoA offered me a US Airways debit card with the same terms (1 mile for every dollar spent)
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