IRVINE : Credit Cards OKd for Permit, License Fees

Need a business license or a building permit? Just put it on the plastic.

The City Council last week approved a plan to accept Visa and MasterCard credit cards for all city permit and licensing fees. City officials estimate that it will take 60 days to get the program running.

"We're just trying to increase our business-friendly service," said Bob Storchheim, city building and safety administrator. "People come in and they don't have enough money in their checking accounts--this way, we'll save them a trip to the bank."

Storchheim said that Irvine is one of the first cities in the county to accept credit cards for fees. But only Visa and MasterCard will be accepted.

The city will charge credit card users a small fee to cover the amount charged to the city for credit card transactions. But city officials are negotiating with the bank for lower fees for the service.

Council members also approved a plan that will allow fax machine applications for city permits. A onetime $25 fee will be charged to cover the cost of establishing a computer file for the applicant.

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