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Verizon will charge fee for paying bill

Shades of Bank of America or Netflix: Verizon's new $2 fee for paying a bill with a credit card has customers fuming.

By Karen Datko Dec 29, 2011 6:23PM

Could Verizon Wireless be following the likes of airlines and big banks -- nickel-and-diming customers with new fees for things that used to be free?

 

Starting Jan. 15, Verizon will charge customers at $2 fee if they pay their bill with a credit card online or over the phone. There are lots of ways to avoid the fee -- and Verizon users should take advantage of them -- but the backlash is already building.  Post continues below.

Mashable reader "Ryan Smith" wrote, "I think they missed Bank of America (and other banks) and Netflix's bad PR with trying to implement new fees. Don't companies learn from others' mistakes?"

 

Verizon offered some justification for the fee, but Paul Miller on The Verge isn't buying it:

Verizon claims that the fee covers its ability to "continue to support these bill payment options" (you know, because all your regular bill dollars are being used entirely to improve your wireless service) but there's no way it's more costly for Verizon than processing the old fashioned, handwritten paper checks we used to pluck out of furrowed fields and send to Big Red on the Pony Express.

At least you can avoid the fee, by:

  • Yes! Paying the old-fashioned way, with a check in the mail.
  • Enrolling in Verizon's AutoPay, allowing the company to tap a credit, debit or ATM card or bank account on file. This appears to be Verizon's preferred option.
  • Paying by electronic check at a Verizon website.
  • Using your bank's online bill pay.
  • Paying at a kiosk or Verizon store.
  • Paying with a Verizon gift card or rebate.

Before you're assessed the $2 "convenience fee," you'll be offered other free options, a Verizon memo says. (You can find the company's press release on Engadget.)

 

Don't you hate this stuff? Did processing your single online bill payment suddenly increase in cost? We deserve more explanation from the company.

 

Marguerite Reardon offered some speculations at CNET:

My guess is that the company that clears these payments is charging Verizon a fee that Verizon is passing on to customers. Still, it seems ridiculous that paying a bill online or by phone could cost Verizon more than processing a hand-written check or money order that is sent to the company through the regular mail.

Mashable says AT&T charges a fee if you call a customer service rep to pay your bill. Sprint charges some customers an extra $4.99 if they don't use its autoplay plan. 

 

A comment by "Mo Bile" at Mashable summed up customers' frustrations:

Paying a fee to pay the bill online?? Have these companies completely gone off their rockers?? ATMs were brought in to save money from tellers and the next thing you know there are ATM fees. Online bill payment was brought in to save processing costs for paper bills and now they want to charge for that??? Someone wants their online presence to have a bill pay "revenue" stream apparently. Unbelievable.

What do you think. Tempest in a teapot, or is this another tone-deaf company taking unfair advantage of customers?

 

More on MSN Money:

880Comments
Dec 30, 2011 10:42AM
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I have been with Verizon for over three years and I have no idea why. Customer support sux out loud, its VERY EXPENSIVE, and trying to upgrade,(wouldn't you want someone to upgrade?) was a very big hassle.  The only reason I use them is because I travel a lot and have to admit the coverage is very rarely a problem. A 2$ tack on for paying my already sky-high bill might just push me over the edge, I hope they back the f off.
Dec 30, 2011 10:40AM
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Next you will have to pay a fee to pay your fee to pay your bill.
Dec 30, 2011 10:38AM
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Large corporations have set profit margins they have grown accustomed to.  They are attempting to maintain these profit margins regardless of current economic conditions.  Consumers are naive to think that many of the largest corporations in the US are automatically reducing expectations of profits merely because the economy is relatively poor and people are spending less.

 

The solution, as many responses in this forum has alluded to, is to not purchase the particular goods and services being provided.  As long as consumers have a sense of entitlement and expectation for specific products (i.e., cell phone service), large corporations will continue to have an expectation of specific profit margins.  Banks, cell phone companies, insurance providers, airlines, and others can continue to operate in an environment where their products have become expected, rather than optional.

Dec 30, 2011 10:38AM
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Color me crazy but doesn't auto-pay by credit, debit, or ATM card cost the company the same as going online and using the credit, debit, or ATM card?  It does.  I process credit cards daily.  It is a convenience for them to let us use these methods of payment so we should not be charged a fee.  They get their money faster most times and once it is approved it's guaranteed money. 
Dec 30, 2011 10:38AM
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Screw Verizon and their typical corporate greed.  It's not the $2, it's principal and ethics both of which they clearly have none.       
Dec 30, 2011 10:37AM
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I've been with AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint, and now Verizon. In my own personal experience, Verizon has the best coverage, customer service, plan choices, and most reasonable prices. Businesses who accept credit cards pay high fees to credit card processing companies for their services. Some of those businesses have already calculated those fees into the prices they charge. Others who have not included those fees in their prices have a choice to either increase their fees to everyone who subscribe to their service OR pass the fees on to only their customers who pay by credit card. Verizon has obviously chosen the latter. Of course there is another option and that would be to stop accepting payment by credit card.

 

Most people who have posted don't understand this because they have never been in business for themselves. I will always pay all of my bills through bill pay because it is the least expensive way to pay them AND it's also the safest. The bank sends out the checks for me (I pay for no checks or postage), payment is guaranteed to be received by a certain date, I always have a record of when and how much was paid if a dispute arises,  AND none of my personal financial information transfers through the mail or is received on the other end. 

Dec 30, 2011 10:36AM
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Hay what's 2 bucks anyway? Let the rich pay it! If you can afford a smart phone with a data plan than you can afford the cost of paying the bill. Quit crying! It kills me how taxes can rise along with government fees and budgets and no one cares. Now you let a private company raise a fee and look out. Why? Because millions pay No taxes and only take from the government but do not pay their share. Thus they could not care less about such issues. Now when it comes to cell phone bills or ATM fees that hits even the under class. Yes I did say under class. The cell phone bill will become at some point the cash cow for state and local governments. See everyone has one and no one wants to give them up. They will tax and spend the cell user to death and for some it will be their first taste of getting screwed over with a tax. The rest of us are used to it!
Dec 30, 2011 10:35AM
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slugman1165, are you sure that extra charge is for writing a check, and not paying in installments?
Dec 30, 2011 10:35AM
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At least you can avoid the fee, by:

  • Yes! Paying the old-fashioned way, with a check in the mail.
  • Enrolling in Verizon's AutoPay, allowing the company to tap a credit, debit or ATM card or bank account on file. This appears to be Verizon's preferred option.
  • Paying by electronic check at a Verizon website.
  • Using your bank's online bill pay.
  • Paying at a kiosk or Verizon store.
  • Paying with a Verizon gift card or rebate.
Dec 30, 2011 10:34AM
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This is just another rip off like the big banks have done… When Wells Fargo charged me one dollar for calling the bank to question a charge on my checking account, I cancel all my accounts and transferred to a local bank…

I guess these rich big business guys don’t get it… The general public are tired of being ripped off….

Now I know better NOT to buy Verizon products…

Dec 30, 2011 10:34AM
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I know a guy(ceo of sorts) that has worked at Verizon for over 20 years. He is a millionairre twice over. No degree. I congratulate him for being one of the lucky ones and then he goes on to tell me that his bosses are giving him a $10,000 a month bonus for the next year to arrange the fees with corporate sponsers. hmmmm. I guess I know where that money is coming from... The problem really is regulating the shady business practices that go on every day in every company. If business have absolute no control over and how they run a business they will continue to screw the consumer. Because they get away with it. I mean wasn't the huge and ongoing tax-breaks the 99% gave to these corporate giants enough!!!! And they still have to do this? Everyone who has verizon and is pissed about this should dump em. Oh dont forget to pull out your shares of stock with this because it WILL plounge.
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Pay as you go is the way folks. There are several out there for 50 dollars or less a month. I went this way when I got fed up with my carrier several years ago have never regretted that decision on bit. Money in my pocket  plus unlimited that I can afford.
Dec 30, 2011 10:34AM
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My average bill for one month is $130.00 for 3 phones a month.  If I drop one phone that would take care of the fee or I could drop my service for one month at the end of my contract not pay a disconnect fee and the $130.00 they loose for one month would take care of the $2.00 fee for five years!
Dec 30, 2011 10:33AM
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The difference between Verizon and the Bank of America is Verizon has you in a contract.  So pille on the greese and take it like a man.  It never ends.
Dec 30, 2011 10:32AM
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This is unfortunate. Although, there are many bills that I pay that charge a fee if I try to pay with some type of card. Just like all businesses, there is a credit/debit card fee for swiping everytime for a customer. Ameren, for example, charges me $2.75 whether I call in to them to pay it, or go to their website. If I pay with my checking account, it doesn't cost me anything.

 

If you have a debit card, then you have a checking account. It's not the end of the world if you have to pull out the ol' dreaded checkbook.

Dec 30, 2011 10:30AM
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Verizon is a joke...I quickly realized when shopping phone rates and data plans that Verizon was near the bottom of the list...I've been with AT&T for a long time and they have never given me a reason to leave...even my data plan for my iPad 2 64GB 3G is $10 a month cheaper for the same 2GB data plan that my buddy has through Verizon...LOL
Dec 30, 2011 10:27AM
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Looks like that Dodd-Frank bill to punish banks are coming back to bite us. The credit card processing fees are skyrocketing. Businesses absorbed as much as they can, but now it is passed on to consumers.
Dec 30, 2011 10:27AM
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Let's see. Two dollars versus using the old style check and U.S. mail for 44 cents. Hmmm,
It'll cost Verizon more to process the old style check than it would to process the online payments. Hmmmm.
Seems to me that the consumer would be better off to send in a check and cost Verizon a lot more money. that might get the point across to them. Hmmm.

Want to really make the point? For the next three to four month or until they drop this stupid idea, all of the 90 million Verizon customers send multiple real paper checks totaling up to their billed amount. Bury their accounts receivable with a volume of checks that they just can't process quickly.
This will put a hitch in their get-along!!   
 
Dec 30, 2011 10:27AM
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Atm Fees, baggage fees, "convenience" fees it's all BS. They are just as bad as legal drug pushers - once your hooked they start charging whatever they want. Anyone old enough to remember the original concept of cable TV? Network TV was funded by "sponsers" and thus there were tons of commercials. By paying for cable TV - we were going to be the sponsers and there were going to be no commercials ... yeah right - Now we pay to watch commercials!!

Here in Illinois they started a "7 year program" in the early 60's called the tollroad. When they started it 50 years ago, the promise was that in 7 years it would be paid and the become free ... since then they have added dozens of tool booths and the fees are DOUBLING again Jan. 1 ...

Dec 30, 2011 10:26AM
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I thought we were trying to save the environment by going paperless and paying on-line.  I refuse to link anybody to my bank account to avoid charges, so they can take what they want before I review the charges.  If they think they're getting $2.00 more from me they are crazy.  I will pay with a paper check mailed to them,and sealed with ten layers of tape as to be difficult to open (for um "security reasons") Then they gottta pay someone to open it and process it. Maybe then they'll remember what a time (and money) saver the on-line pay really is.  P.S. in 5 months when my contract is up I will be looking for a new provider for all three phones and internet (Wifi).  VERIZON YOU HAVE LOST A $200.00 A MONTH CUSTOMER hope you're happy.....
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