ICBC ends special credit card payments on monthly plans

Policy change to save auto insurer $1 million a year

ICBC no longer allows customers who are on monthly payment plans to make special lumpsum or early payments by credit card.

There were 55,000 such payments made last year – a small fraction of the 1.4 million customers on monthly payment plans.

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Regular monthly payments have always been required to be by preauthorized debit from a bank account, but early payments in advance of the regular ones or lumpsum payments to end the monthly plan could be made by credit card, said spokesman Adam Grossman.

The move to end that option effective Nov. 1 is expected to save ICBC up to $1 million a year in credit card merchant fees.

Monthly plan users can still make early or lumpsum payments by debit, cheque or cash.

"We as a company have to look at any of the premium costs that we can remove," Grossman said. "And this is one where we definitely thought it was a worthwhile move to make."

About 44% of all motorists use an ICBC payment plan, while the rest pay their annual insurance all at once, many of them by credit card. That option is not affected by the change.

A 5.5% basic auto insurance premium increase announced last month by ICBC took effect Nov. 1. It's still subject to approval by the B.C. Utilities Commission.

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