Online Resources Corp. has launched a program to offer utility companies a lower-cost card-acceptance option when their customers pay their bills with a Visa-branded card, the financial-services provider reported Oct. 5.

The program is available through Online Resources’ eCom Advantage program, which is a suite of electronic-billing services that includes payments, presentment and receivables. ECom Advantage enables utilities to accept payments online, by e-mail, and through interactive voice response systems and call centers, the Chantilly, Va.-based company noted in a news release.

The new program enables utility companies to pay lower merchant discount rates for Visa card payments as long as they do not impose a convenience fee, the company said in the release.

“By lower cost, we mean a reduction in interchange rates from about 2% (of the bill amount) to 75 cents for consumer payments, which means a savings of 80% on a $200 utility bill,” Beth Halloran, Online Resources spokesperson, noted in a statement. “We believe this new program finally relieves utilities from having to make the choice between offering Visa payments to their customers or maintaining lower payment processing costs.”


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