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Concord City utilities to charge $2.50 for payment via card

Starting next month, the City of Concord will assess a service fee to residents who pay for city utilities with credit or debit cards. WFAE's Simone Orendain reports: Over the past five years Concord residents have had the option to pay city utility bills with a card. Right now, about 18 percent of residents use a card to pay utilities. And Concord officials say in this last year alone the city absorbed more than $200,000 in service fees to credit and debit card companies. Concord City Manager Brian Hiatt says the tough economy prompted the city to tack on the $2.50 charge on card payments. He says, "Of course it has to come from somewhere. So when you have the majority of your customers paying extra to cover the cost of transactions caused by another, there's a fairness issue we felt we had to address." Still, Hiatt says utility customers won't see their bills go down as a result of the fee. Instead, he says the city will avoid raising utility rates. Hiatt says the fee will be permanent, regardless of the economic situation. The City of Charlotte charges $1.95 for residents who pay for utility service by credit or debit. Duke Energy hires a collection company that charges a fee for credit and debit card use.