Editor, the Gauntlet,
Re: "U of C: credit card free zone?" Jan. 22, 2004,
Eliminating credit card payments for tuition fees--if the University of Calgary can't get a better deal on service fees, then I totally agree.
I'm sure by now everyone has heard the argument that ending the use of credit cards to pay tuition fees will create a huge inconvenience for students, but don't let that stop the worthy initiative of increasing net revenues at U of C by eliminating an estimated one million dollars in service fees. The U of C should at least try to get a better deal on the service fees.
One option to consider is putting the campus credit card service out to bid, requiring the selected company (Visa or MasterCard) to minimize or eliminate service fees for U of C-related purchases. Like the Olympic Games, only one credit card would be honoured on campus. The selected credit card company would benefit by having exclusive access to the next generation of spenders and the potential of a "lifetime" of service fees as their reward.
Like Coke or Pepsi, it doesn't matter to most people which card is chosen provided they have an option to use one of the major credit cards. For students that don't want to pick up the new card, they can still use direct debit or Internet banking.
If neither credit card company is willing to reduce their service charge to an acceptable level then the U of C should add a fee premium to tuition payments made by credit card. The Students' Union might complain but it is really in their best interests that the U of C stays focused on cost-saving initiatives and not cater to the few students or parents who can't be bothered to support the worthy goal of increasing net revenues to the school.