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Monday, October 5, 2009

Paperwork or Plastic

I rarely use checks anymore. My rent and my car registration are about it. But the Union Leader's Jason Schreriber reports that some towns are taking steps to accept credit cards.
Town clerks around the state say they get asked several times a day whether they accept cards. When they say no, some people become frustrated and stomp off to an ATM to get some cash or head home to find a check.

"The younger generation simply debits everything," said Plaistow Town Clerk Maryellen Pelletier, who's been researching proposals for allowing cards to be used in Plaistow and plans to pitch them to selectmen tonight.
The sticking points appears to be who will pay the credit card processing fee.
One sticking point for some towns is the fee that must be charged for a third party to process the credit or debit card payment. Many clerks said they don't want the town getting stuck paying the fee and insist that it must fall on the card users. The equipment to process the cards also costs money.
If your local merchants tried to charge you an extra 2% or 4% for using a credit card, customers would revolt, or take their business elsewhere. Town Hall has a monopoly on those services it provides. I'm sure many people would be willing to pay a slightly higher fee for the convenience of swiping a card instead of writing a check for local fees. I doubt many would be happy about it, though.

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