by Coy Holcombe.
Tuesday, the EISD Board of Trustees approved using Certified Payments as the credit card vendor for tax payments for the 09-10 school year. Last year, we had these payments set up through PaySchools. Changes in PaySchools fee assessments made it uneconomical for EISD to continue to use that company for credit card payments for taxes.
PaySchools charges EISD 3.5% of the total amount charged through its system during a given month. For example, if there was $3,000 of charges through PaySchools for September, then the district would be assessed a service charge of $3,000 x 3.5% or $105. At the beginning of the 08-09 school year, PaySchools was set up to so that a graduated service charge was in place: the more the charge amount, the more the service charge. In this way, the district could at least break even each month on the service fees. We were not looking to make any profit from the service fees.
During the 08-09 school year, PaySchools changed the way they allowed service fees to be assessed to users. Instead of a sliding scale, PaySchools went to a flat charge for all orders regardless of the amount. While most of the charges through PaySchools were for lunch accounts, we did have several taxpayers take advantage of the service and pay their tax bills through PaySchools. Since most of the payments through PaySchools are small (less than $100), the district decided on a flat service charge of $1.50 per transaction. Because of the change in service charges, we had to take tax payments off of the PaySchools account. The reason is as follows:
A tax payer makes a $5,000 payment through PaySchools. The district will be charged $5,000 x 3.5% = $175.00 from PaySchools for this transaction. Our service fee for this transaction is $1.50. So, the district lost $173.50 on this transaction. Through PaySchools it would be impossible for the district to break even on large transactions.
Certified Payments takes care of this situation by including the service charge in their transaction. EISD does not have to worry about assessing a service fee that is too small or too large. Instead the service fee is built into the overall transaction. Certified Payments will charge 2.5% of the amount charged. The minimum service fee will be $2.00 through Certified Payments. Instructions for using Certified Payments will be included in tax bills received by residents of the district. If you have any questions regarding Certified Payments, please contact our tax collector, Debbie Myers, at 903-425-5232.