Credit card convenience charge
Athabasca University (AU) converted to a convenience charge model in 2020 through the online payment service provider.
With this model, a convenience charge of 2.25 per cent of the overall total cost of registration or course fees is applicable for learners who choose to pay with a Visa credit card or Mastercard credit card. In the summer of 2020, it was two per cent, and will be increasing to 2.25 per cent on September 1, 2021, due to a change by the credit card companies and the online payment service provider.
This will affect learners who want to pay for their course fees with a Visa credit card or Mastercard credit card through the Office of Registrar’s Online System (OROS). Learners can avoid paying this fee by choosing Interac, Visa debit, or Mastercard debit at the check-out.
These fees go directly to the online payment service provider. By not accepting credt card payments directly, AU is able to save costs related to merchant card fees. These savings will enable the university to repurpose these dollars for serving learners in other priority areas at AU. It also brings AU in line with many other post-secondaries in Alberta and across Canada who already use the convenience charge model.
Frequently asked questions and answers
How can learners avoid the convenience charge?
Most learners can avoid the convenience charge by paying with an Interac or Visa/Mastercard debit card.
I don’t see my bank listed for Interac options. What should I do?
Many banks are moving towards Visa Debit and Mastercard Debit, rather than Interac. You can still avoid the two per cent credit card convenience charge by selecting the Visa Debit or Mastercard Debit options at check out.
Will learners who pay through student loans be affected by the convenience charge?
Learners who pay with student loans will only be affected by the convenience charge if they choose to pay with a Visa or Mastercard credit card.
Will this convenience charge be tax refundable?
No, it will not be because this charge goes directly to the online payment service provider. AU does not collect it. It will show up on your receipt as a separate line item.
Where is this convenience charge going?
This charge goes directly to the online payment service provider.
Can learners still pay with American Express?
No, American Express is no longer accepted under this new convenience charge model, as restricted through the third-party online payment service provider.
Why are there two separate line items on a Visa or Mastercard receipt?
The first line item is the total amount charged by AU for tuition and/or fees. The second line item is the convenience charge, which is two per cent of the overall cost. This charge is separated because it is paid directly to the online payment service provider and not AU.
If learners withdraw from a course, will the convenience charge be fully refunded?
No, if learners choose to pay through a Visa or Mastercard credit card for their course fees through the online payment service provider, this charge will not be refunded because AU is not collecting the charge.
What is the fine print?
Please be aware that when you choose to pay by a Visa or Mastercard credit card, you are agreeing to pay a two per cent convenience charge of the overall cost to the online payment provider (third-party service). This charge will not appear on your student accounts and is NON-REFUNDABLE, even if you cancel courses and registration. This charge is billed directly by the online payment provider and is not remitted to AU.