Student pays tuition with 230 pounds of coins

Devin DeFraine rolls in boxes of coins in protest after his university added a new fee for credit-card payments.

By Kim Peterson Nov 29, 2012 4:49PM
Image: Coins (Steve Cole/Photodisc Red/Getty Images)OK, it's kind of fun to pay your parking ticket in coins -- or at least dream of it, anyway -- but to pay an entire college tuition?

That's what one Canadian college student did recently, wheeling in boxes filled with 230 pounds of coins to protest a new fee at Mount Royal University. Devin DeFraine was so upset by the new fee, which reportedly amounts to an extra $57 for a five-course semester, that he decided to pay his entire $3,000 tuition in rolled-up dimes and nickels.

"If they're gonna nickel and dime us, I'll nickel and dime them," he told CBC News in this video.

In the past, the university picked up the fees of up to 1.89% for students paying tuition with a Visa or MasterCard, CBC reports. But now the school is passing on the fees to students. About 90% of the students at the university pay by credit card.

DeFraine got quite a workout wheeling in those coins. The protest obviously involved much more work on his part than the university's. Still, school officials had to contend with boxes filled with dimes and nickels, and DeFraine got a little bit of satisfaction that his statement was heard.

But Mount Royal University probably won't change its policies anytime soon. Sure, it's got some cranky students now, but it saves an estimated $500,000 by passing on the costs.

But please, students, don't look to the actions of Michael Lynch as any guide. The 47-year-old resident of Bellevue, Wash., was so angry about a traffic ticket in 2009 that he emptied $206 in coins into a plastic bag and poured urine on top, The Oregonian reported. He mailed it to the county courthouse, which promptly handed the package to a sheriff's sergeant. The sergeant mailed the package back.

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Nov 29, 2012 11:12PM

Let's see. When Visa was threatened (Durbin Amendment) with an interchange fee lowered to 12 cents from the 44 cents that they were charging, the stock dropped down to about $90 dollars. Visa cried foul, talked about how they won't make any money, gnashed their teeth and suggested that they might not even be able to survive.

Eventually they were told they can only charge 21 cents, less than half of what they were charging before, and now their stock is trading at over $148 dollars a share. I guess Wall Street didn't believe the same sob story that they were shoveling us.

Nov 29, 2012 10:25PM
All he did was make a couple of clerks at the bank (not even the college counts it all) work really hard counting it all up.  The people who increased the tuition will never see or handle those coins. Those who count them have no power to change the tuition rate.

Good try - but totally missed the target. 

When you protest something like this, you need to make sure that you are protesting against those who upset you (more directly), and not just make the jobs of people harder who have no power to change what you're upset about.  

Nov 29, 2012 9:46PM
Nov 29, 2012 9:45PM

The W.A.State Dept of Revenue says that mechants can charge a "fee" for credit card payments.

Most important is that the merchant pay the taxes from the total amount collected.

Im a store owner and the credit card fees exceed 3% per month. If you dont support small businesses and  usually shop at Lowes and Home depot , dont worry about it but if you do support the small guy expect a fee when using a credit card.   

Nov 29, 2012 9:35PM
Coins are legal tender and must be accepted. You don't have to have the bank roll your coins for you. They sell rolls of coins. If you have the credit limit on your credit card that will let you pay your tuition, go for it. You can make payments while attending school. If you can possibly pay off the card before the start of the next semester that's even better. When you get your degree, cut that card. I attended school and worked full time. The day I graduated, I cut that card so I wouldn't be tempted to use it again and paid off the balance in 24-months. Do what you have to do to get that education under your belt.
Nov 29, 2012 9:06PM

People/students to be if you can pay with credit cards not student loans you can default on credit cards YOU bailed out the banks back in 2008 and secretly continue to bail them out now it is your turn to get a bail out the fall of the United Staes is coming & a dollar collaspe.

Nov 29, 2012 8:30PM
coins are legal tender so i dont see the problem there at least he didnt use pennies, and i have one credit card  just in case something bad happens like an emergency  and will never get another one f__k the credit card companies for all i care they can all go out of business if i dont have money to pay for something i want its simple i dont get it, so if i want something bad enough I will save up for it. and its funny because since i paid off my car every dealer in town has been sending me mail saying come on down we have the right car for ya your pre approved blah blah, same with credit card offers here take this card 5x a week its getting old.
Nov 29, 2012 8:18PM

I had a service business for twenty years.  I accepted credit cards for about a year (the bank charged me 4%).  They said the only way to get a better rate was to increase my volume.  I cured the problem by refusing to take credit cards.  When a customer wanted to pay by charge card, I sent them to the bank for a cash advance!  It worked and without costing me a cent.  I can't ever remember losing a customer because of it.


After my little local bank realized I did not accept cards any longer they offered me a 3% deal.  I told them to stick their 3% where the sun does not shine.  Instead of charging all people, merchants should offer discounts to those who pay cash.  That way, only those who rely on them get zapped. 

Nov 29, 2012 7:35PM
There is a fee called interchange that the banks charge the merchants - a percentage of the sale between 1.5 - 3.5% or so depending on --- plus they charge the merchant a whole mess of other fees for this, that and the other ....and yes they tell the small merchants you CANNOT charge extra for credit cards ......I have a small business  and started using Square is SO MUCH BETTER than paying BofA and also a lot cheaper ....once other merchants realise how good square and some of the other direct processing companies are the scuzzo banks will have to lower their fees.
Nov 29, 2012 7:25PM
They dont want us to use cash because cash equals freedom, get with the program 
Nov 29, 2012 7:17PM

Don't count on this working very often. At least in the U.S., the requirement can be made that any roll(s) of coins presented for payment of a debt be stamped as rolled by a financial institution, with the institution's telco and address on each roll.


Have you priced a bank rolling your coins for you? This isn't quite like sending in to the IRA your Form 1040 printed in blood (not just unaccepted, now; also illegal). But it's getting there.

Nov 29, 2012 6:43PM
Ddivs, as long as you pay back the loans, good job.  Thank you.
Nov 29, 2012 6:40PM
Whether you're paying that fee via a line item or via slightly higher price you're still paying that fee no matter what. It's the cost of doing business. 3% transaction fees are common from all the majors and can be as high as 7% from some.

Whether you pay for it via line item or via slightly higher prices you're still paying for it. Running plastic isn't free and the merchant isn't footing the bill guaranteed. Even if state laws (like Oklahoma, for example) prohibit stations for charging a few pennies extra per gallon for credit purchases they are collecting the transaction fees by raising prices on other items in order to collect the difference.

Where line item charges for swipe fees appear is usually where they are not legally allowed to figure the cost into the prices. For example, when you tag your vehicle in Wyoming, if you use plastic you are charged a fee because state law prohibits the County Clerk's office from increasing the registration fee to make up for swipe charges. It leaves them the choice to eat the fees or charge them, and as you can guess they charge them.
Nov 29, 2012 6:34PM
I plan to pay all my student loans back with coin, they can count them all, or use coinstar, I don't care, I just want to be a dick
Nov 29, 2012 6:08PM
If everybody would just pay in cash there would even be an issue, but nooo! nobody knows how to save for the future. The credit card  companies take  the risk that you are going to pay them back, and they guarantee that the institutions who accept the credit cards for services rendered, get their money. Don't live outside you budget and you don't owe the credit cards anything.
Nov 29, 2012 6:05PM

He's only "nickel and diming" the poor cashier at his school...So wtg "making a point" by griefing the lady making slightly above minimum wage.  Also this whole pay with coins thing is old, it's been done numerous times at banks/other establishments..


So he's an unoriginal jerk.  I'm sure he'll be top management material whereever he decides to go after school is done.

Nov 29, 2012 5:46PM
What happened to the consumer protection law that says merchant can't pass on those fees to the consumers/cardholders?  First they let Gas stations set one price for cash and another for credit which is the same as passing on the fees, and now this?  Visa, Mastercard, American Express, etc are raking in billions in fees and processing discounts by making it impossible for merchants to operate without accepting cards and continuing to offer bigger and bigger rewards and incentives and passing the costs of these programs along to the merchants.  These credit card companies keep all of the interest they earn from the financing of the carried-over balances and pass all of the processing costs on to the merchants.  I don't understand how and when this is going to stop.  There is no protection for anyone involved except for themselves.
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