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Verizon Adds $2 Charge For Paying Your Bill Online 562

An anonymous reader writes with this excerpt from (based on a report at Droid Life) that makes me consider quitting or at least suspending the very expensive service 3G data service I get from Verizon: "With 2012 about to start, it seems Verizon has decided paying your bill online or over the phone is now worthy of an extra charge. So, from January 15, anyone choosing to pay their monthly bill using either method will incur a $2 charge. Verizon is classing the charge as a 'convenience fee' which translates into them deciding allowing you to pay either online or over the phone is a convenience. They also explain in the FAQ above that the fee allows them, 'to continue to support these bill payment options.' Really, Verizon? When did offering online payments or accepting phone calls from customers get so much more expensive?"
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Verizon Adds $2 Charge For Paying Your Bill Online

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  • Ah, America! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by InterestingFella ( 2537066 ) on Thursday December 29, 2011 @09:49AM (#38524984)
    This is completely reverse to what companies in my country have started doing. For a long time companies have started pushing people to use internet billing, and if you still want paper bill then that costs extra (because it really does, with printing and mailing). Sending invoice or auto-billing via internet saves them a lot, so I'm not sure I understand why Verizon would want to do thi.. oh right, more $$$.
  • Re:Ah, America! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Aladrin ( 926209 ) on Thursday December 29, 2011 @09:51AM (#38525008)

    It's probably a wash, actually. Credit card charges will probably cost them as much as mailing that paper, which would be paid by check instead of credit card, usually.

    I think it's wrong and anti-customer, but there are actually reasons and it's not just a money-grab.

  • by berashith ( 222128 ) on Thursday December 29, 2011 @09:55AM (#38525050)

    of course it is cheaper for them, that has nothing to do with the fee. Paying online or over the phone is quicker, easier, and cheaper for the consumer, therefore more convenient. If Verizon can leverage that convenience as a premium service, then they will bill for it. There are plenty of colleges and utilities that do this same thing. Pisses me off, but at least with Verizon there is some chance of moving to another company ( in some locations) as opposed to my water bill, which I pretty much just have to suck it up.

    These are the things that made AT&T swallowing T-mobile such a bad deal. More competition actually removes this kind of crap. Fewer companies makes collusion easier, and these fees will pop up everywhere.

  • Because of autopay (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 29, 2011 @09:59AM (#38525110)

    It says in the full article that they won't charge $2 if you use an electronic check or autopay. These are probably handled entirely by bank computers. This means that they get your money perfectly on time, Hope you don't notice when your bills go up, and they don't need to pay to keep so many servers going.

  • by jbeaupre ( 752124 ) on Thursday December 29, 2011 @10:02AM (#38525140)

    For now.

  • Re:Ah, America! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Hatta ( 162192 ) on Thursday December 29, 2011 @10:02AM (#38525142) Journal

    Because the American financial system is deliberately inefficient in order to extract as much wealth from us as possible.

  • Re:Ah, America! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by CaptBubba ( 696284 ) on Thursday December 29, 2011 @10:05AM (#38525192)

    They really want you to set up an automatic funds transfer for the account instead of approving each payment individually. This is great for them and horrible for you because the funds are whisked out of your checking account regardless of if the billing is correct or not. It has the added benefit that most people will forget about it and then miss any rate increases.

  • by schwit1 ( 797399 ) on Thursday December 29, 2011 @10:05AM (#38525196)

    If a dispute occurs they have your money and you have little recourse. With a credit card payments you can do a chargeback if they take too much. Using your bank's online bill pay gives you positive control, which means you decide how much to pay as opposed to Verizon deciding how much to take.

    Never EVER give a creditor access to your bank account. This includes Paypal.

  • Re:Ah, America! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by razorh ( 853659 ) on Thursday December 29, 2011 @10:09AM (#38525232)
    Nobody said anything about living on credit. I do the same thing InterestingFella does. I use my credit card for everything bills/gas/food/etc. and then when it's time to pay my credit card off at the end of the month I do a direct one time transfer from my bank account. I'm not living on credit even the least little bit. I don't spend what I don't have and in fact keep a decent 'cushion' in the bank at all times. I haven't lived paycheck to paycheck in a LONG time. If you pay your credit card off every month there is no interest to pay, no fees, AND you get points/miles/extra cash/cheaper gas. I would say NOT doing this is stupid.
  • by dnahelicase ( 1594971 ) on Thursday December 29, 2011 @10:16AM (#38525322)

    The fee is waived if you pay by electronic check or auto pay. This only effects last minute payments.

    It appears this affects online payments, even if you make them early. Last minute has nothing to do with it. It's whether or not you give Verizon the ability to take money from you every month with blanket consent.

    It's not about saving transaction fees, it's about getting consumers to stop thinking about and analyzing their bill every month. That 1.99 data fee that was pissing everyone off? Now it's just a number on your statement that's pretty close to last month. Want to call an complain about it? They already have your money. Good luck getting it back. Most people are going to sit on the phone for 30 minutes to get back $1.99. However, many people will shortpay a bill when they are sure they aren't responsible for something. If you are a person that logs in to the website every month and views your bill and schedules a payment, you are probably looking at the details. If you are an autopay person, you probably aren't - and don't even remember your online password.

  • by v1 ( 525388 ) on Thursday December 29, 2011 @10:19AM (#38525370) Homepage Journal

    This has nothing to do with how much it costs verizon. Businesses do not charge you based on what their costs are. They charge you based on what you are willing to pay.

    Quit arguing over whether or not the charge is justified. It doesn't HAVE to be justified. Either you're willing to pay it or you're not. Somewhere some verizon bean counters ran all the hard math that factors in their actual costs, in terms of providing the service, loss of business, handling angry phonecalls,bad press, etc, and figured this was a net-win, and so they did it. That's all there is to it. You're totally missing the point if you're trying to figure out why verizon is "justified" in making a change to their charges. If you're willing to pay for it, they're justified in charging for it. Nothing else matters in the business world.

  • Re:Ah, America! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Kelbear ( 870538 ) on Thursday December 29, 2011 @10:19AM (#38525374)

    Every time someone mentions using a credit card on the internet, somebody will reply that using credit cards is stupid, because they simply could not imagine that a credit card user could have his account set to automatically pay-off in full from a flush bank account.

    Then you have posts like these, where a flood of users reply to point out the obvious.

    Sounds like classic trolling to me.

  • Re:Ah, America! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jaymz666 ( 34050 ) on Thursday December 29, 2011 @10:28AM (#38525480)

    Giving every company access to your bank account is stupid. With a credit card I can call the card and dispute a charge and have that money back while the card company and the billing company duke it out. If VZW or anyone else takes money directly from my bank account I have to fight with the bank and VZW until they refund my money, if ever.

  • Re:Ah, America! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Theaetetus ( 590071 ) <> on Thursday December 29, 2011 @10:29AM (#38525492) Homepage Journal

    It's still credit even if you pay it off once a month. How quickly you pay it off doesn't matter. You're buying things and paying them off later, that's the definition of credit.

    Oh, then if that's your definition, "living on credit is stupid" is entirely wrong. Living with interest charges is stupid, but living on credit without interest is incredibly smart.

  • Re:Ah, America! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by g0bshiTe ( 596213 ) on Thursday December 29, 2011 @10:30AM (#38525508)
    CC or debit charges cost them more really? So instead of saving them man hours by using an automated system to pay my bill, you reason that the extra cc or debit charges are costing them the same amount and that is the justification for charging a "convenience fee", yet I can walk into any Verizon store and pay my bill with the same CC or debit card and not pay that $2 fee, but they are still paying the same amount to run the card.

    I disagree, this is sure looks like a money grab.

    I'd be more likely to believe the $2 fees they collect from people paying by phone or online are put into a trust in the event of a data breach. Sort of a "ok the bad news, there was a data breach and we are getting fined, the good news we set aside a trust fund by charging phone pay and online pay customers a $2 fee, so the fine is covered".
  • Re:Ah, America! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by LordKronos ( 470910 ) on Thursday December 29, 2011 @10:30AM (#38525512)

    You get convenience with banking too. I only watch over my bank account. I use visa/mastercard debit card too, so it is instantly removed from my account. Living on credit is stupid.

    Wrong. You are apparently too stupid to see the advantage of credit cards, even when someone directly points it out to you. Using credit card cash back, I make hundreds of dollars a year, and I don't pay 1 cent of interest or fees to the credit card companies. Most debit cards offer no cashback. There are a handful that offer up to 1% cash back, but none that offer more, wherase credit card companies often offer more. There are some that offer 2% on everything, and some up to 5% on various items. And occasionally there are even offers >5% .

    Additionally, if someone gets my visa card number and makes some fraudulent purchases, I simply dispute the charge, and since my credit limit is about 10 times what I actually use, my credit limit is slightly reduced but I never notice the difference. Meanwhile, my mortgage and car payments (deducted directly from my bank account) is completely unaffected. But for you, if someone gets your debit number, you certainly can disputed it, but your money will be missing for your account for up to 10 days. Meanwhile, you may incur overdraft fees, and your mortgage/car/other payments may bounce incurring fees. You may be able to get these fees reversed, but it's not going to be a painless process. You are going to have to spend time making calls/writing letters, sending documentation, etc. You can eliminate some of the overdraft fees by leaving a large buffer of cash in your checking account, but I generally consider that dumb since most checking accounts earn no interest, and the few that do only give you a tiny fraction of what you can get in a savings account.

    Finally, credit cards offer many additional benefits like extended warranties, replacement if items are lost/stolen. I know of no debit cards that offer these types of benefits.

  • Re:Ah, America! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by thejaq ( 2495514 ) on Thursday December 29, 2011 @10:37AM (#38525582)
    I wouldn't consider it credit until there is a cost to the debt or the credit liabilities exceed cash on hand. Otherwise it's not much different than organizing your check deposits and withdrawals. There is never any net liability. IMO bonuses offer absurd incentives. The +5%, +3%, +1% discount/cash back are serious discount to realize when you can simply direct all spending through the card, which dwarfs savings account interest for me. Also it yields a very nice credit score/available credit balance in the absence of secured credit/mortgage/ interest payments. It's a game, better to play it right than just sit out!
  • Re:Ah, America! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by RulerOf ( 975607 ) on Thursday December 29, 2011 @10:44AM (#38525668)
    You may be technically correct, but "living on credit," has the connotation of accruing interest on debt. The GP is using the same tools and methods as those who do, but netting the opposite effect, much to his own benefit.
  • Re:Ah, America! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Runaway1956 ( 1322357 ) on Thursday December 29, 2011 @11:03AM (#38525868) Homepage Journal

    Even a very good point can be stretched a bit far.

    I think that it's safe to say that millions of Americans have overextended their credit balances, in the past few years. Overextended to the point that they months of wages to the credit card companies.

    A revolving credit scheme, which is managed properly, paid on time, and incurs no interest, no penalties, and no fees is hardly in the same class as the millions of people who will never dig themselves out of debt.

  • Re:Ah, America! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Garybaldy ( 1233166 ) on Thursday December 29, 2011 @11:34AM (#38526254)
    You can't beat this guy. It is like trying to destroy a tank with a baseball bat. His definition of living on credit is different then every other persons. He is just credit card hater.
  • by assertation ( 1255714 ) on Thursday December 29, 2011 @12:01PM (#38526596)

    Ever try to pay a parking ticket or some other municipal fee online? They will charge you a "convenience fee". My guess is because they have to pay the credit card companies something.

    My guess is that will eventually change when an older generation dies off or gets online. An efficiency expert will notice that they are employing staff to handle paper based payments........for very few payments. At that point they will encourage people to pay electronically. Probably by charging a fee for paper based payments.......the way my car insurance company does.

  • Re:Ah, America! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Shatrat ( 855151 ) on Thursday December 29, 2011 @12:04PM (#38526644)

    Miles/points and other gimmicks mean nothing to me. The big advantage to paying for things the way you do, and the way I do as well incidentally, is that if you have to dispute something through Visa, Mastercard, and Discover it's like having a best friend in the mafia. They get results. On the other hand, if the money has already left your bank account you're probably boned.

    I will say that NOT doing it this way is a little "belt and suspenders" in terms of financial responsibility, but for some people that's what it takes to stay out of trouble.
    There are plenty of people with self-control problems that are better served by just removing the ability to overspend.

  • Re:Ah, America! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by LordKronos ( 470910 ) on Thursday December 29, 2011 @01:14PM (#38527762)

    I have no illusions that the cost isn't eventually figured right back into the prices I pay. But what alternative do I have? Sure, if we could get NEARLY EVERYBODY to stop using credit cards, then perhaps we could start getting lower prices at the store to make paying cash/debit worthwhile (yeah, I know...laugh at the notion that the retailers wouldn't just gladly pocket the extra money). But the case is essentially the old prisoners dilemma [] taken to an enormous scale. If everyone (or even nearly everyone) made the optimal decision, then everyone would be better off. But the way things stand, it's in my best interest to get what I can, since there's pretty much no chance of things changing even if I take a stand.

  • Re:Ah, America! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by swb ( 14022 ) on Thursday December 29, 2011 @01:55PM (#38528310)

    I agree that properly used, credit cards seem to make a ton of sense. In 6 months, I think I made nearly $400 off my Costco card (this is in addition to the money I made back on the Costco rebate itself).

    But, I have read that these cash-back/benefits programs are all subsidized by us. In effect, we pay more for goods and services overall to accommodate the merchant fees that subsidize the benefit programs. Although I've also read that the group that REALLY pays are people who pay cash, which is surprise, surprise, a lot of low-income people who don't have or can't get a credit card. I like to taunt my friends that pay only cash that they're putting money in my pocket.

  • Re:Ah, America! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by daem0n1x ( 748565 ) on Thursday December 29, 2011 @02:25PM (#38528722)

    And it will CONTINUE until the EU gets off its ass and invades the USA.

    • Third world-level health-care system
    • Morbid obesity
    • Creationists and other bible-thumping nutjobs
    • The Republican Party
    • The Tea Party
    • Ultra-paranoid dudes can buy assault rifles and form Nazi militias
    • An absurd measurement system, stubbornly different from the one used in the rest of the world
    • Third world-level crime rates
    • Sex-hating puritans everywhere
    • Extremely corrupt political system (at least here corruption is illegal)
    • Horrible coffee in Styrofoam cups
    • TV with more commercials than shows
    • Fox News
    • Magnetic stripe-only banking cards

    Why the FUCK would we want to invade you?

    But you people won't do that, you're too placid and too cowardly

    Not cowardly, just smart. G.W. Bush's boldness is not a quality, just a consequence of unconscience and stupidity.

    we'll be taking over your countries soon enough, just like we did Iraq.

    Yeah, because it has been such a huge fucking success! Don't you have enough problems, already?

  • Re:Ah, America! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Genda ( 560240 ) <> on Thursday December 29, 2011 @11:33PM (#38535104) Journal

    For every person out there who "carelessly" over-spends and digs themselves into debt, then glibly declares bankruptcy, we have several thousand people out there who've seen virtually no increase in pay over the last decade. Been repeatedly laid off, only to endure extended periods of unemployment. Get's hit with a medical bill of catastrophic proportions while having their health insurance eliminated by their employer. All the while sinking slowing into credit card debt just paying for the necessities of life. The average American, lost 15% of their real net wealth over the last 10 years, while the top 1% saw their personal wealth explode in value.

    In fact this is the standard picture for America's new vanishing middle class. The situation is grim, and these are not lazy irresponsible people. Many of these people have always been able to pay their bills in the past and are only now facing a situation where working even two jobs is insufficient to make ends meet. Sixty years ago, a man could go to virtually any school in the country with a GI loan, get a good job, buy a home, raise a family and put his kids through college. Today both parents work because they must. If they want college, they have to pick the one they can afford, and run up incredible debt (hoping that they've chosen a major which will allow them to pay off their debt within ten years of graduation.) The only places in the U.S that have houses that are affordable are in depressed economic communities. So one is forced to balance cost of living with ability to generate income. Families now simply slide into debt doing the things our parents took for granted. Now a young couple must live a lean spartan existence and work like dogs just to establish the possibility of a stable footing. The chances that any young couple just starting are going to be able to send their kids to college grows ever more remote.

    By the way, that bankruptcy affords little protection these days. In the face of economic collapse, many banks saw wisely to have Congress pass laws that ensure that you pay the lions share of your debt even if you file bankruptcy. So the consumer is naked, unprotected in a wilderness of ravening financial institutions, and when they raise their rates, its because they simply want more of your money for doing the same old thing. If the banks are issuing credit cards 6 months after a bankruptcy, its because they won't stop bleeding you until your dead. Its the consumer that has to live with the repercussions of bad credit for 7 years. The bank just keep bleeding the livestock.

    How's the old joke go? What's the difference between a tick and a banker? When you die a tick falls off, the banker just keeps sucking.

No problem is so large it can't be fit in somewhere.