Thinking About Your Billing Fees?
Online payments through the website are handled through a third-party company. A few years ago, Think Utility Services switched to an online billing software in order to provide better services to our properties and residents. One of the requested items was the ability for residents to pay online. With every resident that uses their credit card for payment, the third-party company charges TUS a fee. As such, it is necessary for TUS to pass a Convenience Fee to any resident that uses the online payment option. In sub-metering, we cannot hide any fees. Think Utility Services billing fee does not reflect online payments.
The billing fee is for individual meter reading, invoice process and mailing, and customer service support. Online payments through our website or credit card payments over the phone with a customer service rep are considered alternative payment options. As such, there is a Convenience Fee for those payment methods. In each instance, residents are advised upfront about the charge and are asked if they desire to proceed.
An inexpensive payment option is scheduling arrangements through your bank to submit a payment to Think Utility Services. Typically, most banks do not charge for online payments. As consumers ourselves, this is our chosen method of payment. Also, the traditional method of mailing a check or money order still applies.
*** Very Important ***
In utility submetering, we cannot hide any costs. Typically, a company offering a “free” service can hide the operating costs in with the product or admin fee. It is illegal to add monies to water/sewer rates. We have to charge the exact rates by the municipal water provider. Every company that runs a credit card is charged… there is no exception. Small businesses will require a minimum purchase amount before a credit card is run – due to the credit card charge.
With that, we can provide information on the various payment methods that can be done.
- Mail check/money order: Free
- Pay online using tenant bank: Free (Note: Bank will mail a physical check. Please give them 2 business days to mail a check).
- Pay online using Think Utility website: $3.95 then 3% would be charged for anything over
- Pay over the phone with a Think Utility CSR: $4.95 for charges of up to $150.00. For anything over $150.00 it will be 3%, which is exactly what we are charged by the bank for the transaction.
- Pay using ACH each month: $2.95
We do offer alternative methods of payment outside the traditional mailing of checks/money orders. Please know that folks have the power to choose their preferred payment option. If we had to absorb the cost of the alternative payment methods, we wouldn’t be able to stay in business. Our billing fee is how we get paid. We do charge late fees, but that is on the resident if they pay late, don’t pay, or make a partial payment on their balance.
Water submetering is a cost recovery program. We are collecting monies for the property in order to send one reimbursement check to the property for water/sewer reimbursement (minus our monies).
Below is an explanation breakdown on the alternative payment methods.
We use a third party that handles the online payments. We are charged for the service. This charge is passed to the residents. The website clearly states the convenience charge before the resident proceeds with the payment.
Over the phone Payments
We use a live person the cost is to cover the labor to handle the processing and running the credit card on the machine.
The bank charges us for the service, we pass the cost to the resident. This is an automatic payment option for a resident or condo owner.
I always encourage folks that are budget conscious to pay online using their bank. Banks do not charge for online payments. The bank could take a couple of days before they cut a check and mail it to us, the payment is not sent electronically. So, if a resident goes online and makes their payment, while the amount is deducted from their account right away, the check still has to be cut, mailed, and received by our Billing Department.