We recently posted an article entitled “ChargeSmart CTO Explains Why PG&E Doesn’t Accept Credit Cards“, explaining the somewhat confusing card acceptance program employed by a utility provider here in California. Since the initial post, we’ve learned a bit more about the program and wanted to share the findings with our readers.
PG&E’s social media manager Paul Parmley wrote a comment on the aforementioned blog post, ChargeSmart CTO explains why PG&E doesn’t accept credit cards. Paul explains that contrary to our previous understanding, there is some limited support for card payments:
“Our Pay by Phone option enables customers to pay their PG&E bill with their MasterCard or Discover credit cards, or with debit cards with the STAR, Accel, Nyce or Pulse symbols.
Additionally, our Mobile Bill Pay iPhone app allows customers to make payments using their Visa or MasterCard credit or debit cards.
More details can be found at http://www.pge.com/myhome/myaccount/waystopay/phone/.”
So apparently you can pay your PG&E bill with Visa or Mastercard via a third-party iPhone app (too bad for those of you without an iPhone!). We checked out the iPhone app in the app store, and customer reviews were mixed at best. The app received an overall customer rating of 2 out of a possible 5 stars. Regarding their pay-by-phone option – for many, this type of payment option can be easy to use, but here’s the rub. Aside from the pain of maneuvering through a robotic phone system, you still can’t use a Visa card.
We’re glad that Paul reached out to correct our error, and happy to share his response. It’s easy to see why we (and their customers) were confused. PG&E’s own FAQ page doesn’t mention these other options and even states “PG&E does not accept credit cards for payment”
We reached out to Paul for further clarification on why PG&E would not have a uniform set of payment options across all channels, but as of the time of this post have not yet heard back. ChargeSmart’s customers have repeatedly told us that it’s these same confusing messages which are one of the many reasons why they choose to make their PG&E payments with their own online banking services and third-parties like ChargeSmart – the added benefit of additional options, simplicity, and convenience.
Do you have questions about how to pay your PGE bill with a debit or credit card online, or general comments about our service? Feel free to reach out to us in the comments below, or directly by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org.