Scarborough has stopped accepting credit card payments for property and excise taxes and items like fishing and hunting licenses.

The cost-saving measure was adopted after the town learned of an unanticipated $350,000 shortfall in state revenue, said Town Manager Thomas Hall. Last year, the town paid about $114,000 in credit card fees.

The change, which took effect last week, could save the town about $25,000 this fiscal year, Hall said. The town had accepted credit cards since 2004, and considered the fees a cost of doing business, Hall said.

The town continues to accept debit cards at the municipal building counter. Online credit card payments will also be accepted for Community Services fees, because the amounts are small and registrations for those programs are accepted online.

Residents will be able to use credit cards with the town in the future — for a fee. A state law that took effect in September allows governments to pass transaction fees along to card holders.

Hall expects the new system to be in place by July.

It’s not clear how many local governments are dealing with credit card issues.

South Portland does not accept credit cards for payment but plans to do so in the future, now that the new state law is in place, said Greg L’Heureux, the city’s finance director.

South Portland has joined Portland, which accepts credit cards, in its request for proposals for a vendor to handle credit card functions, including assessing the fees paid by users.


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