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Most colleges still reject credit cards for tuition fees

Most colleges still reject credit cards for tuition fees

Posted March. 03, 2015 07:18,   


A man who was accepted to study at a graduate school in Seoul wanted to pay his semester tuition fees worth 6 million won (5,448 U.S. dollars) with a credit card but was rejected. The school said it doesn`t accept credit cards for tuition fees, asking to pay with cash in installments if necessary. The man complained saying he can use credit card to pay a single bottle of juice and banning its use for tuition fee is absurd. "Installment payment in cash is cumbersome, and I was even rejected when I wanted to apply for flat rate parking tickets."

Another man whose two children are college students paid the elder son`s tuition fees with a credit card for the past two year but had to pay cash for the second child who became a freshman this year. "I use credit cards for most of our living expenses given year-end tax adjustment, tax-free credit card installment payment and credit card points," said the father. "Who decides the criteria? Why one college accepts credit card and the other doesn`t?"

The Education Ministry promised to improve college tuition fee payment methods, and said last year that it would vitalize tuition fee installment payments and credit card payments. However, few colleges are accepting credit cards. Some 34.7 percent of colleges accepted credit card among all colleges nationwide last year, and a 38.8 percent is estimated for this year`s first semester, according to the ministry and credit card companies. Colleges accepting credit card companies are also limiting eligible credit card firms to one or two companies.

While installment payments are allowed for four times per semester from this year, universities` stance is that they will allow installment payments but want to receive tuition fees with cash. This is because of credit card affiliates` fees. Fee rate was 1.37 percent on average last year, but the figure was 2.5 percent or over in some colleges with smaller number of students.

Against this background, critics are urging the government to lower credit card fee rates as a means to reduce tuition fee burden. In October last year, Rep. Shin Sung-bum of the leading Saenuri Party proposed revision to high education law to limit credit card charges for tuition fee to below 1 percent, but legislation is being delayed. Some critics demand that tuition fees be exempted pointing out to the specialized lender financial law, which allows exemption of fees. When credit card payment was introduced for tuition fees in 2002, some credit card companies exempted fees but as the Financial Supervisory Service called it excessive competition, fee exemption was dropped.