U doesn’t accept Visa credit cards for tuition payment

Visa: ItâÄôs not everywhere you want to be. In 2007, the University of Minnesota began accepting American Express, Discover and Master Card credit cards for tuition payment, but never reached an agreement with credit giant Visa. This may inconvenience students and parents looking to pay by the Oct. 29 tuition deadline with the most common card in the Twin Cities and the world . Visa said in a statement that the company does not allow surcharges by any merchant or service provider and that it does not want customers to pay a fee for using its credit service. But Kristine Wright , interim director of the Office of Student Finance, said a contract with Visa would have forced all students to pay fees for every Visa credit transaction at the University, including bookstore purchases. âÄúThe University would have to make that fee so high it would not be a good situation for students and parents,âÄù she said. The UniversityâÄôs online payment program âÄî similar to those at Indiana University and Northwestern University âÄî is run by a third party, Nelnet , a finance company specializing in student loans. It charges a 2.75 percent fee for credit card tuition payments . The process works like this: -The University contracts with the credit companies like any other business and agrees to pay a fee for the option to accept credit card payments. -The University contracts Nelnet to process all online student payments. -Nelnet assesses a 2.75 percent fee to students on all the credit card transactions, which covers the credit companyâÄôs fees. On $10,000 in tuition, this is an extra $275. -Nelnet then pays off the credit company and gives the University its tuition money. Before the Nelnet contract, credit card service charges cost the University $2 million annually. Now, students using credit cards are paying for the convenience. But a statement issued by Visa said the credit company doesnâÄôt allow surcharges by any merchant or service provider . Ricardo Suares , a business and management senior, said his human resources development class discussed the Visa credit dilemma. Suares said his friends have been âÄúfrustratedâÄù by the absence of a contract in the past, and if available, he would pay his tuition with his Visa card, though he doesnâÄôt approve of the extra fee. Wright said the majority of tuition payments are processed online and most of those payments are with electronic checks. During the last fiscal year, the Twin Cities campus collected $158 million in eChecks and $10 million in bank card payments. The University keeps the credit card option available to provide students with choices. But students who pay with an electronic check are making a better choice because it is both secure and fee-free, Wright said. The credit cards the University accepts arenâÄôt supported by TCF Bank , Wells Fargo or U.S. Banks in the metro area. Area Wells Fargo and U.S. Bank locations only offer Visa credit cards and TCF Bank doesnâÄôt offer any credit card programs, Jason Korstang e, TCF Bank spokesman, said.