When I shop online and pay by credit card, I pay for the product and often pay for shipping. I don't pay a service fee because I used a credit card. However, if I were to pay my We Energies bill by credit card, I would get charged $3.95 to use that method. Why is that?
All companies, including We Energies, pay fees whenever they accept credit card or debit card payments. Ultimately, the fee we charge is paid to our payment processor (Bill Matrix), credit card companies, the processing banks and the banks that issued the cards. Our company does not receive any part of the fee.
Most companies increase their product and service prices slightly to recover these credit or debit transaction costs from all their customers, but we can't do that. Utilities are not allowed to subsidize the cost of one-time payment options by spreading the costs across all of their customers. Instead, regulators require that processing fees be paid solely by the customers choosing the one-time credit card, debit card or electronic check payment option.
We have contracted Bill Matrix and negotiated the lowest fee we could -- $3.95 per transaction. Some neighboring utilities charge $4.95 or more, or base the charge on a percent of the payment.
I avoid the fee by paying my energy bill online through My Account, which allows me to pay via my bank account. Paying by mail is free, too, except for postage. You can learn more about all of our payment options on our website.