Arlington Water Utilities Announces Changes to Credit/Debit Card Payments

As part of its commitment to cost reduction, Arlington Water Utilities recently reviewed payment options it offers to residents. Results were presented to the Arlington City Council in January.

Two payment methods topped all others in terms of expenses – payments at customer care locations and online credit/debit card payments. Arlington Water Utilities currently pays fees to debit/credit card companies for the processing of all debit/credit payments. In 2016, it was a cost of more than $540,000 to the public utility.

As a result of this review of payment options:

  • Arlington Water Utilities’ online billing contractor will add a $3 convenience fee to credit/debit card payments starting June 1, to offset the associated costs.
  • Also starting June 1, credit/debit card payments at Water Utilities customer care locations – 101 W. Abram Street and 1100 SW Green Oaks Boulevard – will be accepted only at electronic customer service kiosks. A convenience fee will apply to kiosk payments. Customer care staff will continue to accept cash, checks and money orders, and handle customer inquiries.
  • In addition, Arlington Water will not accept American Express after June 1 and credit/debit card payments of more than $500 will not be accepted after September 1.

Arlington Water estimates these changes will save Arlington residents as much as $540,000 yearly. The estimated cost savings is the equivalent of a one percent water/sewer rate increase for Arlington residents.

Both customer care locations remain available for walk-in payments. Arlington Water will continue to monitor resident payment patterns and allocate its resources in ways that create value for residents.

“Credit/debit card payments made online or with a customer care representative made up about 25 percent of total payments last year, but fees associated with those transactions have become a significant expense that has been charged to all Arlington residents,” said Arlington Water Utilities Director Buzz Pishkur. “Currently, Arlington Water recovers these expenses through water and sanitary sewer rates. We are making this change to allocate the cost of credit/debit card payments to the customers making them.”

Utility Bill Payment Options

All current methods of payment remain in place for Arlington residents. Online check and credit/debit card payments can be made at www.arlingtontx.gov/water. Arlington Water offers several other ways to pay, including FREE monthly bank drafting. Visit www.arlingtontx.gov/water/bankdrafting to sign up.

Other payment options include:

  • Electronic customer service kiosks at 101 W. Abram Street or 1100 SW Green Oaks Boulevard take utility bill payments by check, credit/debit card or cash 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Kiosk payments include a convenience fee of up to $3. Customer care representatives at the water department locations above will accept cash, check and money order payments.
  • Pay by mail. Please include your bill stub and mail a check or money order to: Arlington Water Utilities, P.O. Box 90020, Arlington, TX  76004-3020. No convenience fee applies.
  • Payments also can be made at Fidelity Express locations throughout Arlington. To find a location nearby, visit arlingtontx.gov/water/payment-locations. A convenience fee applies.
  • To make a payment by phone or for billing questions, call 817-275-5931. A convenience fee applies to phone payments.

 

33 thoughts on “Arlington Water Utilities Announces Changes to Credit/Debit Card Payments”

  1. I find this interesting, you say the cost to the city was $540,000, and as a means of reducing the cost to the residents you are charging them and additional $3.00 convenience fee to pay online. So first of all, how is charging the residents anything additional at all saving them money and secondly, you greedy _______ are charging more than most anyone else for a convenience fee. Lastly, I’ve also noticed you haven’t provided us with any statistic telling us how many residents of the total residents in the city pay online by some means of debit or credit. I suspect it is the vast majority and this is merely another means of you robbing us of more money. Well that goes to show the residents of the City of Arlington that this city has no concept at all in regards to service, but greed, you’ve got that down very well. As I have read some of the comments below, I think paying my bill using the smallest increments of cash I can is a fair means of occupying your personnel at either of these two facilities you are so graciously supplying. By the way, are you sure you don’t want a pint of blood with that or is that yet to come?

  2. Here is a suggestion: Why not include, along with our bills, an envelope that does not require residents to stamp it. The inconvenience of finding a stamp is one of the reasons I have been paying on-line. And my understanding is that, overall, prepaid postage is less than stamps.

  3. Are you going to pass the $540,000 savings on to the customer. No! Since you are going out of your way to make it as hard as possible to pay, I will make it as hard as possible for you to receive, and I will look for ways that will make it more expensive for you.

  4. Apparently the city doesn’t want people to tell the ugly truth on this website seeing as my valid post was deleted when I voiced a solid argument against this horrible policy change.

  5. A convenience fee? I would think you would like to get your money by any means possible. All this does is enrage the people you service. I am glad you still accept cash, and pennies are still legal tender.

  6. I am another one of those water conservationists that is going to see a nearly 10% increase in my water bill month over month thanks to this highly objectionable and downright inconvenient new fee. Why the city keeps punishing those who already conserve water is a mystery to me and only serves to encourage me to use more because the cost goes way down per gallon as I increase my usage. This essentially adds sales tax to my water bill and only gives me the option to avoid it if I take up both mine and city personal time by driving to the office to speak with a customer service rep and count out cash. By paying online I am saving the city from having to pay employees to man the desk so the city is being either incredibly daft or shortsighted with this new “cost saving measure”. The city claims I could pay by online bill pay with my bank but most if not all banks charge $5 a month to use that service so it is even more expensive. I know the city is just doing this to hide behind a legal loophole to raise rates but it is not raising rates fairly amount citizens and they would never get a 10% increase pushed through without playing this game and they know it. Shame on you Arlington Water!

    I argue that this fee should be illegal because according to state law it is forbidden for any business in Texas to penalize forms of payment like credit cards and only government agencies have an exception which is absurd. It is one thing to offer a cash discount but this is pure and simple extortion.

    1. Thank you for your response. Our residential rate structure promotes efficient water use because rates per 1,000 gallons increase as water use increases. For example, residents pay $2.79 per thousand gallons for 3,000 to 10,000 gallons of water. For more than 11,000, that rates goes up to $4.02 per thousand gallons. Our residents can pay online without a convenience fee using an automatic draft form their checking account. To set this up, http://www.arlington-tx.gov/water/webconnect-online-payment/. A listing of all of our payment options is available here: http://www.arlington-tx.gov/water/wp-content/uploads/sites/3/2017/04/ArlingtonWaterwaystopay2017.pdf.

      1. Susan, Your response makes no sense at all. Fellow citizens it is time to put the irritating issue on the ballot.

  7. Its just another way to cuisse the little Man a penny. this is ridicules, if I don’t paid a penny to the bank using credit card or debit… Why should I paid water Utility company ? I guaranty somebody is Banking on as. I’m moving out Arlington soon Let speak out People…..

  8. I pay through online services and have switched from paying by credit card to my bank account number/routing number and I was wondering if the fee is included if I pay using my bank account? Thank you. I work for a city government and understand the cost/budget that most cities are faced with.

  9. I totally agree with all the comments below. For example, the bill I just paid is $97.69 for a household of 2 people. Not a lot of flushing or washing anything daily. Most of water is for a green lawn because I like it. So this bill would not be sitting on $100.00 and this before the summer heat even gets started. I think this is criminal of a government agency to be able to do this to the public. Especially because WE HAVE NO OTHER OPTIONS! I’m sure you could have made plenty of extra money if you incurred a $1.00 fee instead. The principle would be the same, but at least people could afford it! I can only assume that this rollercoster will continue in the future….because as we all now, nothing ever goes down!
    Once you get, you just get more greedy! I am very unhappy.

    1. The new convenience fee is expected to eliminate a significant cost that is currently being recovered from all water users. Several payment options with no convenience fee remain, including paying by mail, online check or bank drafting. A full list is available on our website at http://www.arlingtontx.gov/water. Click on Authorized Payment Options.

  10. With all the savings, $504,000! Six Figures!?!??? I’m sure none of the savings will be passed along to the residents of Arlington. If I’m incorrect, please explain it to me and where I will see the savings on my statement in July. Thank you! P. S. I agree with several of the comments listed before me.

  11. How long does it take for you to process payments made by mail? If your payment processors are behind I will be charged a late fee due to the incompetence of your employees.

  12. The Arlington Water Utilities just want more money though they already earn a lot of money—see how much they had already increased the water/sewage price in recent years. Does anybody know that any candidate of the mayor will eliminate the “convenient fee”. I would like to vote for him/her!

  13. This is a joke all you want is to line you pockets! Ill being mailing my payment from now on. Wii this also be charged a 3.00 so called convenience fee?

    1. Thank you for your feedback. Cost recovery for operating expenses and necessary infrastructure projects drives utility rates. The new convenience fee is expected to eliminate a significant cost that is currently being recovered from all water users. Several payment options with no convenience fee remain, including paying by mail, online check or bank drafting. A full list is available on our website at http://www.arlingtontx.gov/water. Click on Authorized Payment Options.

  14. The water bill I paid for April was $31.67. So a $3 “convenience fee” would be 9.47%. That is a lot of money. It is difficult to wrap my head around the idea that the City wants to charge me extra to accept my payment. I can afford to play this game; however, people on a fixed income may not realize that the amount charged each month is penalizing the thrifty and people that use water sparingly. You would think that the City would encourage conservatism. Maybe you could re-evaluate the $3 fee for customers that spend over $100 a month.

  15. Are you kidding? Watch how many people start mailing in their payments. Now you will have to hire some full time people to process. $3 a month extra is $36 a year more. That is a lot of money just to pay my water bill.

    1. Thank you for your feedback. Our Customer Care division has analyzed payment options and online credit/debit card payments and in-person payments were by far the highest cost in terms of operating expenses for the utility. Arlington Water Utilities continues to offer several ways to pay your bill with no convenience fee. In addition to paying in person with cash, cashier’s check or check, residents can pay online by check or sign up for automatic bank drafting with no convenience fees. Bank programs that allow customers to set up bill pay installments directly to Arlington Water and mailing payments also include no convenience fee from the utility. All of our payment options are listed here: http://www.arlington-tx.gov/water/wp-content/uploads/sites/3/2017/04/ArlingtonWaterwaystopay2017.pdf

  16. What Convenience? Not for the customer, when you try to make a payment there is always an issues with system.. It is just Ridiculous that I have to pay to give you money. Its just another way to make revenue off of the public..

    1. Thank you for your feedback. If you have had issues with our online payment system’s functionality, we want to hear about it. Please call our Customer Care hotline at 817-275-5931 or email water@arlingtontx.gov. Arlington Water Utilities continues to offer several ways to pay your bill with no convenience fee. In addition to paying in person with cash, cashier’s check or check, residents can pay online by check or sign up for automatic bank drafting with no convenience fees. Bank programs that allow customers to set up bill pay installments directly to Arlington Water and mailing payments also include no convenience fee from the utility. All of our payment options are listed here: http://www.arlington-tx.gov/water/wp-content/uploads/sites/3/2017/04/ArlingtonWaterwaystopay2017.pdf

  17. you are making it almost impossible to pay utilities bill without being chrgd a fee!!This is wrong because you started charging a fee last year for phone pymts which forced me to start paying online now your charging to pay online. Some people prefer the old fashioned way and this is sooooo wrong !

    1. Thank you for your feedback. All of Arlington Water Utilities’ payment options are listed here: http://www.arlington-tx.gov/water/wp-content/uploads/sites/3/2017/04/ArlingtonWaterwaystopay2017.pdf
      Several free options for paying utilities bills remain for Arlington residents. In addition to paying in person with cash, cashier’s check or check, residents can pay online by check or sign up for automatic bank drafting with no convenience fees. Bank programs that allow customers to set up bill pay installments directly to Arlington Water also include no convenience fee from the utility. There is also no convenience fee for mailing a utility bill payment.

  18. Another way to rip off YOUR customers. Arlington has no public transit, with over a quarter of a million people. And now this messed up fee to off set charges incurred by the rich city.

    1. Thanks for your feedback. Arlington Water Utilities sets fees based on the cost needed to recover operating expenses and necessary capital investments. Reducing the public utilities’ operating costs by reducing the fees it pays on behalf of credit/debit card users helps all its residents by mitigating future rate increases.

  19. Time is a huge deal when paying bills! We are now told that unless we pay by check or walk-in with cash, you will punish us with a $3.00 fee. Why don’t you negotiate a better deal with the debit/credit company?

  20. I don’t believe it is correct to charge residents to pay their bill to a utility company! Water, septic and sewage is a basic need when living in any city! It’s not like we have a choice between water providers like we do with Electric and Gas Utilities!

  21. Like we have lots of choices. I’m already saving you money by having my bill sent electronically. So much for that!

Comments are closed.