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Old 07-02-2009, 04:18 PM
 
Location: Avon, CT
136 posts, read 741,680 times
Reputation: 84

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Can someone please explain to me the CT love affair with personal cheques and cash and the fear of electonic payments/use of debit/credit cards?

We got the bill for the car tax yesterday. Since I was going to be out doing errands today I thought I would go and pay the tax in person at the Avon Town Hall. I called the number on the tax bill to verify some other information and I asked the lady if they accept credit cards for payment at their office. She said that they started taking credit cards.

I went to the town hall and to my surprise at the Tax Collector office they say: Oh no we don't take credit cards, cash or personal cheques only. But you can pay by credit card online.

I came home went on the www.officialpayments.com website and put the code they indicated on the bill. Guess what? Town of Avon is not even in the table of cities on the website. It' already past the time town hall is open.

Isn't it embarrasing that a town like Avon does not take credit/debit cards? Avon, one of the most affluent community in CT where most people's car tax is much higher then my 417 dollars cannot afford a swipe machine for credit cards? Does everybody walk around with cash only or writes cheques until they get carpal tunnel?

I was shocked when I went to my local bank to deposit money about a year ago. They actually asked me to fill out a deposit/withdrawal slip? The last time I filled one out was probably in the early-mid 90's. In Canada at every bank counter they have a swipe machine where you swipe your debit card with a pin number and your profile comes up in front of the bank employee. And if you don't have the debit card it is more hassle until you prove who you are etc. The bank manager at the branch told me that they actually had those machines at another bank and people complained about using them(unbelievable) so they had to remove them.

I went to pay a bill few weeks ago at the New Britain Hospital. The lady actually had one of those manual credit card slips and she had to phone in to get authorization on the credit card. She did not have a swipe machine either.

I am sorry but I had to vent on this one. Ever since we moved here all I see is cash or personal cheques. In Canada, I could pay through my online banking anything from a subscripton to a local paper to income taxes. I have probably not been to my local Canadian branch in 10 years. Even the local corner store has a debit machine.

Is the whole country like this or this is a CT thing?

Thanks
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Old 07-02-2009, 04:34 PM
 
Location: Montreal -> CT -> MA -> Montreal -> Ottawa
17,330 posts, read 31,233,653 times
Reputation: 28832
As a fellow Canadian, I concur. It is truly bizarre. Here -- in West Hartford -- I got our car tax statements a few days ago and was shocked to see that we could pay via check (cheque ), cash, credit card, or electronically BUT the latter two (CC and electronic) -- and maybe that was by cash too, I don't remember (because I wasn't going to drive there anyway) -- would incur a charge. The charge, for CC payments, was incremental based on the amount of the bills. CRAZY.

I wrote my first two checks (cheques ) of the year yesterday and sent them off.

I had a bit of trouble finding my checkbook, though -- I only pay bills electronically and have for years.

So weird...
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Old 07-02-2009, 06:39 PM
 
Location: New England
8,155 posts, read 20,155,521 times
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It comes down to a couple things IMHO.

1. The town is being as efficient as it can by not inccuring CC charges. If you've never run a business of any depth, let me tell you...they add up to a LOT. (36K in a year was one of my gross CC payments.)

2. We are a bit of a oxymoron here in CT. While we say we are "progressive", we are also realistic and/or see the writing on the wall. (Both from a liberal [World bank is evil] and conservative [not interested in a one world currency] standpoint) Many people here have SEEN how government works and have no desire to see it aided. An all electronic money system is IMHO somewhat "evil". I don't want my every move traced and/or called into action.

Remember, we have some veeeeery smart and veeeeery wealthy and influencial people here. They vote at town committees and have "pull" in town.

Speaking for myself...after this years tax ass kicking. (Really - REALLY bad) I'm asking for checks ("Cheques") in a name not to be disclosed and/or offering cash discounts.

You would be surprised HOW MANY people nod at that request and say "I understand" as they go for the sock drawer and pull out cash.
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Old 07-02-2009, 09:18 PM
 
Location: Avon, CT
136 posts, read 741,680 times
Reputation: 84
As my fellow Canadian said above "So weird" and this is the comment I got from few other people(not from CT) and if the government wanted to trace you they have many other ways to follow your moves other than banking electronic transactions.
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Old 07-03-2009, 06:44 AM
 
Location: Connecticut
32,728 posts, read 51,720,760 times
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Why do you consider it weird? Is paying cash for something that unusual? I would guess that this is the norm throughout the US and WAS the norm everywhere not that long ago. It costs the towns money to provide an electronic system of payment to taxpayers and towns need all the money they can get. Town officals have to work within limited budgets so paying a CC fee plus the equipment fees cut into lean budgets. Maybe if a few of the bankrupt businesses did all cash transactions, a couple might still be around. Jay
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Old 07-03-2009, 06:55 AM
 
Location: Montreal -> CT -> MA -> Montreal -> Ottawa
17,330 posts, read 31,233,653 times
Reputation: 28832
Quote:
Originally Posted by JayCT View Post
Why do you consider it weird? Is paying cash for something that unusual? I would guess that this is the norm throughout the US and WAS the norm everywhere not that long ago. It costs the towns money to provide an electronic system of payment to taxpayers and towns need all the money they can get. Town officals have to work within limited budgets so paying a CC fee plus the equipment fees cut into lean budgets. Maybe if a few of the bankrupt businesses did all cash transactions, a couple might still be around. Jay
It's just old-fashioned and behind the times to expect someone to drive to the bank, take out cash, and then drive over to wherever the payment needs to be made... all within business hours.

My husband and I each have a corporation -- I pay those state taxes online. I pay all of our bills online. None have a penalty for doing so; in fact, it's encouraged because, I suppose, on the other end, the transaction is seamless.

It's no big deal, really, it's mostly just surprising that, in 2009, online payments aren't actively sought out by every "business."
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Old 07-03-2009, 01:47 PM
 
Location: New England
8,155 posts, read 20,155,521 times
Reputation: 3330
Quote:
Originally Posted by canuckexpat View Post
As my fellow Canadian said above "So weird" and this is the comment I got from few other people(not from CT) and if the government wanted to trace you they have many other ways to follow your moves other than banking electronic transactions.
That's because you've never seen what's behind the scenes.

I'll give you a couple examples.

I come in and blamo 6 grand missing from the account. CC chargback? What? Never heard boo from the customer...they just did a chargeback. No one called me, no one investigated. The cash is just "gone".

Okay, now what. Well, I have to file an appeal with the processing company...ahem, I mean the company that *I* do business that is really a third party dealer to some unknown entity that processes through Visa/MC.

They have to appeal my case before a board of people that represent no one company. Huh?

Furthermore, the customer doesn't have the money during this process, nor do I. It's in no bank. It's just "floating" around somewhere.

Everything is very cryptic, very "held back" regarding information and then some.

This went on for almost 6 months.

How about this one:

My old company, I ship a product worth about $4500.00 to AU. Well, the person does a chargeback claiming they never got it. I HAVE the DHL report his his signature and showing it was delivered.

Sorry. I have NO recourse for international CC transactions so says the Visa/MC policy. WHAT? The guy who purchased my old company will only take wire transfers now for international orders as he got smoked once too.

Yea it's easy for you to just swipe the card. BUT the only people getting rich are the processing companies and in the end, it makes the cost of the item more expensive. There is a LOT that goes on behind the scenes - trust me. It's not as sanitary as you would think where you swipe the card, they (Who is "they" BTW - it's not your bank I can assure you.) take money from your bank account and deposit in the other persons. Way way more complicated then that.

Did you know there is even what amounts to "day trading" on "floating" electronic money that is between accounts? It can take days before things are processed and the money that comes out of your account "now" ends up in the sellers account. Oh yea...there's more going on behind the scenes then you think.

I want no part it anymore and will not take CC for as long as possible.
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Old 07-03-2009, 02:45 PM
 
Location: Avon, CT
136 posts, read 741,680 times
Reputation: 84
I am sorry that you have gone through that JViello. Fraud can happen in many other ways other than electronic/cc banking. Someone could give you fake cheque, fake cash too. Two years ago I had someone take $1000 from my chequing account(via some gas station in Toronto after the bank investigated) and when I reported that to my bank I had the money back in less than 5 days. What you are describing can happen to everyone and everyone should be careful how they deal with cash or a card no matter whether you are running a business or you are just a regular person. But that does not mean we have to go back to the stone age and not see progress.

By the way, when I moved to CT they told me to buy a shredder the first week we were here. Apparently a lot of identity theft happening around here. Since most mailboxes do not have a key, if I can have something sent to me via email I do it rather than in the mail. TD bank is just now coming up with a choice of getting your statement via regular mail or via email.
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Old 07-03-2009, 02:54 PM
 
Location: New England
8,155 posts, read 20,155,521 times
Reputation: 3330
Quote:
Originally Posted by canuckexpat View Post
I am sorry that you have gone through that JViello. Fraud can happen in many other ways other than electronic/cc banking. Someone could give you fake cheque, fake cash too. Two years ago I had someone take $1000 from my chequing account(via some gas station in Toronto after the bank investigated) and when I reported that to my bank I had the money back in less than 5 days. What you are describing can happen to everyone and everyone should be careful how they deal with cash or a card no matter whether you are running a business or you are just a regular person. But that does not mean we have to go back to the stone age and not see progress.

By the way, when I moved to CT they told me to buy a shredder the first week we were here. Apparently a lot of identity theft happening around here. Since most mailboxes do not have a key, if I can have something sent to me via email I do it rather than in the mail. TD bank is just now coming up with a choice of getting your statement via regular mail or via email.
Well, I appreciate the kind words, but it wasn't fraud and that's not what my problem was with.

What I'm trying to tell you is there is a "big brother" situation going on with CC processing and it's not a very good feeling to have some unknown, faceless, contactless, entity deciding if you should get your money back and/or have direct access to your bank account and/or the abilty to have your cash in "limbo". They can just take your cash as a businessman, and say "sorry" if they deem you "not worthy" to have it back. Scary.

I'm serious. Do a little research on the subject and I think you'll be shocked to see how much crap goes on behind the scenes.

Again, it's not about fraud. (Well maybe in the AU case, but it was certainly not helped by V/MC policy) It's about seeing a system that has people you have no tied to in utter control of your buying and spending habits taking shape behind the scenes while being sold that it's "better and easier for you".

If I'm really honest, I'd prefer to be paid in gold shillings as cash isn't so solid these days either. lol
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Old 07-03-2009, 05:28 PM
 
Location: Farmington Valley, CT
502 posts, read 1,327,182 times
Reputation: 336
My circle of friends consists of many software engineers. If you only knew how easy it still is for someone to hack your online "checquing" account. Among other things.

There are many affluent people in the Farmington Valley who realize this... and probably take comfort in the fact that some things are still done the old fashioned way.

Part of the New England "charm" is that a lot of things are still done the "old fashioned way".

Just another view to consider. Not saying it's necessarily always better.
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