Beginning Jan. 15, Verizon will charge you an extra $2 if you choose to pay your bill online or by phone. In a statement, the largest mobile service provider in the country said the "convenience fee" is "designed to address costs incurred by us for only those customers who choose to make single bill payments in alternate payment channels."
Verizon also lists seven ways that allow you to pay without incurring the fee and it reads a bit like the complex mobile bills you get each month. They are:
- Electronic check online (My Verizon Online, My Verizon Mobile/Handset). Fee waived.
- Electronic check via telephone. Fee waived.
- Enrollment in AutoPay using credit/debit/ATM card or electronic check; fee does not apply
- Online from the customer's home-banking service provider website; fee does not apply.
- Credit/debit/ATM card, electronic check or cash at a Bill Payment Kiosk, Panel or with a representative at a Verizon Wireless Communications Store; fee does not apply.
- Use of a Verizon Wireless Gift Card or Verizon Wireless device Rebate Card to pay a bill in-store, online or by telephone; fee does not apply
- Paper check or money order mailed to the VZW remit address on customer's bill; fee does not apply.
Saying the move is part of a larger trend to get more money out of customers for using certain methods of payment, CNet is already speculating whether the new charge will unleash the kind of public scorn that led Bank of America to walk back from its $5 fee to use debit cards.
The AP reports that other cellphone companies have tried to entice customers to move to auto-pay through other means:
"AT&T offers a $10 gift card for those who set up AutoPay. Sprint Nextel charges subscribers who have caps on the fees they can rack up each month. Those people are charged $5 monthly unless they set up autopay."