Boston residents who dread parking tickets almost as much as the annual collapse of their beloved Red Sox may now draw solace from a small silver lining.

Visa U.S.A. has announced it will make a donation to the City of Boston's Scholarship Fund each time a fine is paid with one of its credit cards.

The San Francisco-based association pledged a maximum cumulative contribution of $10,000 for the promotion, which began May 1 and runs through April 30, 1996.

Boston's "Automated Pay-by-Phone" parking fine program enables parking violators to pay their fines with credit cards. They are assessed a $3 fee for using the service.

Visa has indicated that debit cards will likely be accepted for such payments sometime soon. Only 10,000 of the estimated 1.7 million parking tickets issued yearly in Boston are paid in person, according to statistics Visa released.

The scholarship fund helps Bostonians pursue education past the secondary school level at a college, trade school, or other institution approved by its governing committee.

"This endeavor (will) improve education experiences and opportunities for Boston's students (and) develop public and private partnerships that benefit Boston's residents as well as companies conducting business in Boston," said Mayor Thomas M. Menino.

Armen Khachadourian, a senior vice president at Visa, praised the initiative for the "helping hand" it gives students.

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