FAQs: Paying student accounts online

Student Accounts & Cashiers’s 2013-2014 customer service survey attracted more than 2,000 respondents.

A special thanks goes out to our student body, fellow staff and perspective students who took the time to respond to our Student Accounts & Cashiers Customer Service online Survey 2013-2014.

As promised, we randomly selected the 3 winners of the $100 gift cards to Campus Store.  Winners were;  Karly Brown from Social Sciences, Natalie Koehler from Kinesiology, both 1st year students and Anastasia Rzjanin, final year Sociology.  Congratulations!

Your feedback is extremely valuable to understand where we’ve met your expectations or need to focus our energies.  We heard kudos for the positive changes, and concerns where you felt we should take another look.  For example, although we see an increase to 82% of students who now pay their accounts using online methods (without the need for an office visit) we were surprised to see that 66% (up from 45% in 2011) did not use our online information services (website, Ask McMaster, etc.) because they prefer to visit to ‘ask a person’.  Even with that increase to in-person visits, the level of satisfaction in our wait times increased to 88% (up from 83% in 2011). In almost all categories surveyed, satisfaction increased from 2011.

There were 5 comments/concerns most often repeated. Three related to Interac ONLINE

  1. Why can’t I use CIBC/President’s Choice?
  2. Why won’t my VISADebit Client Card work?
  3. Why is there a $1000/day limit?

Two related to credit card payments:

  1. Why can I no longer use VISA to pay?
  2. Why is McMaster charging a 1.95% convenience fee and why is it so high?



  1. The answers to 1 & 2 are related. Interac ONLINE is a Canadian not for profit association which handles online debit card payments for MOST Canadian banks. CIBC and President’s Choice do not participate in Interac ONLINE because for business reasons, they offer VISA Debit Cards. Unfortunately VISA Debit cards operate on a completely different payment platform which is not compatible with Interac ONLINE.


  1. The $1000 daily limit is imposed by the Interac ONLINE company as a safety measure for you.  McMaster has asked Interac ONLINE to see if there is a way that students making larger payments can complete with one transaction without safety being compromised.  Interac ONLINE is looking to see if they can provide this better service to our students.


Credit Card Payments

  1. As of December 31, 2013 the university’s credit card processor advised that due to changes in VISA’s regulations the VISA convenience fee program would no longer be available.   MasterCard is still available to use as an online credit card payment method at McMaster.


  1. The cost to the University associated with accepting credit cards for tuition payments was significant.  Because tuition is regulated, McMaster is not able to increase the cost of tuition to recover those costs.  Therefore, a convenience fee of 1.95% (equivalent to the University’s cost) is added and collected directly by Moneris only to students who chose this method.  McMaster is happy to provide the convenience of credit card payments but continues to recommend other online payment methods without a service change.

Thanks again to all who participated.  Please watch for our next online survey for a chance to let us know how we can make things better for you!