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.

 

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Thomas
Guest
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.… Read more »
Make Arlington Great Again!
Guest
Make Arlington Great Again!

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.

Jim
Guest

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.

Resident getting screwed
Guest
Resident getting screwed

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.

Dave
Guest

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.

Resident getting screwed
Guest
Resident getting screwed
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… Read more »
Susan Schrock
Admin

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.

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

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…..

Linda
Guest

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.

Susan Schrock
Admin

Only credit and debit card payments will be charged the convenience fee.

susan adams
Guest
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… Read more »
Susan Schrock
Admin

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.

Debra
Guest

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.

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