In a move that is sure to upset some customers, Verizon has announced on its website that it will start charging a $2 convenience fee "for customers who make single bill payments online or by telephone."
The $2 fee will apply to those who pay with credit or debit cards on a per-statement basis, either through the company's website or by telephone, and the company says that the fee is designed to offset the cost that credit card companies charge Verizon for processing payments.
On its website, Verizon is encouraging its customers to choose one of seven alternative payment options to avoid incurring the fee -- those options include enrolling in an Auto-Pay system on the company's website, paying via check or cash via mail, paying at a Verizon kiosk, or paying with a Verizon gift card.
The new fee goes into effect on January 15.
Here, from the Verizon website, is the complete list of your options to avoid the new $2 fee:
- 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.
Consumer advocacy blog Consumerist, meanwhile, offers an eighth option for avoiding the $2 fee: Switching to another wireless carrier.
Public outrage over the new fee is mounting: A popular post in online message board Reddit's "WTF" section has already attracted dozens of upset commenters, as have the comment sections on stories posted on CNet, Aol sister site Engadget and Geek.com. Typical of the frustration are calls to stop using Verizon, a proposed campaign to get everyone to send in paper checks and money in order to overwhelm Verizon's billing department, and labeling the new fee as "another ridiculous cash grab."
Verizon customers can change their payment options on Verizon's website.