Starting this month, Hargray, a South Carolina-based utility company, will charge customers $3 for each time they pay their bills with a debit or credit card because of fees incurred from the Dodd-Frank act.
Andrew Rein, Hargray's vice president of sales and marketing, cited mounting costs for debit and credit card transactions and said the measure will not affect consumers who pay by bank account electronic billing or personal check, Island Packet reports.
"We're doing this because of increasing fees we have to pay to credit card companies," Rein said, according to Island Packet. "It's become quite expensive for us."
Hargray will also no longer accept American Express card payments. Customers have received advance notice of the fee, both in a note printed on their most recent billing statement and at the company's retail stores. Rein didn't anticipate a reaction similar to that of Verizon customers to the company's plan to implement a $2 fee for paying bills online or over the phone. Verizon later scrapped the plans after widespread public protest.
"Certainly a few of them have been upset," Rein said, according to Island Packet. "But most understand why we're doing this."
Other utility companies in South Carolina, such as Charter Communications in Beaufort and SCE&G, are also charging similar transaction fees. Charter Communications charges a $1.99 transaction fee for paying with debit and credit cards if an agent takes the charge over the phone. SCE&G charges $3.50 for debit and credit card payments, though there are ways that customers can avoid paying the fee.