Oct 192003
Authors: Amy Resseguie

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.”




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