Verizon Wireless plans to charge subscribers a new $2 fee every time they pay their wireless bills online or directly over the phone.
A leaked memo from the company first reported by Engadget, showed some of the details of the new plan. And the blog Phone Scoop got confirmation from a Verizon representative on Thursday of the change.
The new fee will go into effect starting January 15 and doesn't apply to customers paying their bills with an electronic check or who enroll in autopay using a credit, debit, or AT&T cards, according to the memo posted on Endgadget. Customers using Verizon Wireless gift cards or Verizon Wireless device rebate cards and customers using standard paper check and money orders made payable directly to Verizon Wireless will also not be charged a fee, Phone Scoop reported.
Verizon said that customers making single payments online will be notified of the fee before they complete their transactions.
The fee associated with paying your bill online is part of a larger trend by companies to extract more money from customers to access certain forms of payment. Bank of America was criticized earlier this year for its plans to charge customers a $5 fee to use debit cards.
Verizon's plan seems to make little sense, given that the company offers several ways to avoid the fee. Verizon didn't elaborate on why it's charging this fee. 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.
Verizon has not yet responded to CNET's request for more information on this topic. So stay tuned for updates.