Owed vendors receive payment

The University has paid back $800,000 to more than 200 GWorld vendors after missing ten days of payments at the beginning of September, University spokeswoman Michelle Sherrard said this week.

Matthew Maurer, director of public relations at BbOne, said all withstanding payments were credited to the vendors’ accounts as of this Monday. BbOne manages the contracts GW holds with its GWorld vendors.

“By Monday, September 21, vendor accounts at GW and nationwide will be completely up to date,” Maurer said in an e-mail. “Over the last week, BbOne has been processing 2-4 days worth of payments in a single day to help bring vendor accounts current.”

Although Ken Pimentel, the University’s managing director of the GWorld program, said earlier this month the missed payments were due to a software glitch during a planned upgrade by BbOne, Maurer said that an increase of rejected payments – sales that cannot be approved by the Federal Reserve – caused the national hold on BbOne transactions.

“In August, as students nationwide went back to school and the number of transactions increased dramatically, the Fed put a hold on BbOne transactions at all BbOne schools nationwide,” Maurer said. “The Fed imposed this hold because of a high number of rejected transactions (which occurred for such reasons as vendors in bankruptcy, vendors having gone out of business) which exceeded the Fed’s guidelines.”

The Fed must approve all of BbOne’s transactions before the payments are fully processed, Maurer said. This is not unique to BbOne and is a process that happens with purchases on debit and credit cards too, he added.

Pimentel did not comment on the discrepancy between explanations for the missed payments, but said last week the University is committed to paying vendors in a timely fashion.

“The University is committed to making sure all GWorld vendors receive timely payment and to continuing to provide seamless service for students, faculty, and staff using the GWorld card,” Pimentel said in an e-mail. “The GWorld Office is working closely with BbOne to resolve any outstanding issues and all vendors are now being paid on a current basis.”

Students who used their GWorld card from late August, when the payments were held, to September 11, when the Fed approved BbOne’s transactions, would have noticed that money was being deducted from their GWorld accounts. Maurer said that was because the vendors approved the sales and student accounts reflected the money spent. Money, however, was not taken from GW.

“While the payments were delayed, students were still able to use their card and see real-time views of their account,” Maurer said. “Transactions go through several steps, starting with the point of sale, and transaction balances reflected that.”

Vendors said they are grateful the payments are being processed, but were annoyed by the delay.

“I’ve had to keep track of all the money that’s owed to me, which is very tedious,” said Richard Kim, manager of Sizzling Express.

Mino Sarano, owner of Café Tu-o-Tu, said the incoming payments “were hard to keep track” of, but the restaurant received payments throughout last week.

Samuel Johnson contributed to this report.

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