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Legislative Memo

Darren Suarez
Director of Government Affairs
T 518.465.7511
www.bcnys.org

BILL:

S.2432-A (Klein)/A.370-B (Dinowitz)

Support

SUBJECT:

Prohibition of Fees for Alternative Payment Methods

 

DATE:

March 31, 2014

 

The Business Council opposes this legislation which would prohibit a business entity from charging an additional rate or fee associated with payment of an account regardless of how the account is paid. The bill specifically prohibits any charges when a consumer elects to make a payment by mail, electronic transfer, a live customer service representative, or telephone voice response system authorization. The only exception would be in cases when a consumer utilizes an “expedited" means of payment.

This legislation could punish third-party payment processors as well as businesses that currently utilize those services to handle their customers' payments. When consumers choose to make a one-time payment over the phone, many companies will refer the customer to a third-party payment processor. This is done to prevent call centers from being inundated with calls from consumers who need to provide lengthy information to complete the payment transaction. For the sake of efficiency and cost savings companies rely on third-party payment processors who in turn assess a fee to the consumer to process a one-time payment transaction.

This bill would effectively put these third-party payment processors out of business in New York while imposing additional costs on the creditor companies who must now handle these one-time credit card payment transactions internally. This will impose an unnecessary and undue financial burden on these businesses, impairing their ability to maintain and improve customer service, control costs, and manage employees. It will also reduce consumer payment choice, as the one-time credit card payment option may be lost.

New York should be welcoming the business community by reducing taxes and the regulatory burdens on businesses to spur growth and job creation, not enacting laws that inhibit companies from making necessary business decisions. For these reasons the Business Council urges the legislature to defeat this bill.