Students trying to pay their CSU bills now have another option,
in the form of a debit card processing system.
In addition to cash and check payments, students may pay online
via electronic check or credit card, and in person with a debit
A debit card, which is issued by a bank and charges one’s
checking account directly, can be processed either as a credit card
or debit card transaction. When treated as a credit card, the
merchant, in this case the university, has to pay a merchant fee
determined by the transaction amount.
When using a debit card system, the university saves thousands
of dollars in merchant fees, which is especially helpful in the
face of this year’s budget cuts, said Dan Littler, bursar for
He said that a true debit card transaction occurs when one uses
his/her Personal Identification Number. When one signs a receipt,
it is a credit card transaction.
“With the debit card network, the customer has to come in with
their card … and they have to enter their PIN number,” Littler
said. “It goes directly to their checking account and (CSU) gets
the money in about 48 hours, with a fee of only about 50 cents per
Because individual banks issue debit cards, the networks are
smaller than credit card networks.
“Because of the limits on debit cards, students must come into
the office to use them,” Littler said. “It’s actually the safest
transaction, because the student has to physically be there with
their card, and they have to use their PIN.”
Nicole Bryant, a freshman political science major, said her
parents pay her CSU bills, but that she would use the new debit
card payment system.
“That would definitely interest me. I use my debit card all the
time,” she said.
Also new this year is the new Web Cashier,
http://bursar.colostate.edu, which allows students to pay bills
online via an electronic check. By providing a check number,
account number and bank routing number, a student’s checking
account can be billed directly.
Students wishing to pay with a credit card can no longer pay in
person, but must pay online or over the phone. The university is
accepting credit card payments through a third-party service
provider, CASHNet SmartPay, a secure Web site that receives account
information from CSU and allows students to make payments, which
are then sent to the university.
“When a payment is made (to SmartPay), funds are transferred to
the university about 48 hours later, but we credit students’
accounts right away,” Littler said.
SmartPay accepts American Express, Discover and MasterCard
credit cards, but not Visa. A 2.9 percent service fee is assessed
to every transaction.
If students would like their parents to be able to pay their
university bills, they can sign up online for a parent personal
access code (PAC) number, which allows their parents to access
their financial information without also gaining access to the
student’s other university records and registration.
Marni Dowdell, a junior marketing major, said she has work-study
and that her parents pay the rest of her university bills. When she
does make payments, she prefers to write a check and is not
interested in using a credit or debit card.
“For paying tuition I think it’s good to have a record,” Dowdell
said. “I prefer to pay by check – it’s something tangible.”