SALT LAKE CITY -- Some Verizon Wireless customers will soon pay a fee to pay their phone bill.
The company announced Thursday that beginning Jan. 15, a $2 "convenience fee" will be charged to customers who make one- time bill payments online or by telephone using either debit or credit cards.
"The fee will help allow us to continue to support these single bill payment options in these channels and is designed to address costs incurred by us for only those customers who choose to make single bill payments in alternate payment channels.
"I will change as soon as my contract is up. Until then I'm mailing the payments to them." -- Jason Brower
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The "alternate payment channels" include online, mobile and telephone payment methods. The company is urging customers to use payment options that do not incur fees.
Customers who pay by electronic check via telephone or the Internet or with an automated payment system through their banking institution will not be charged the fee. The fee will also be waived for customers who enroll in Verizon's AutoPay system.
Customers can also pay by mail, in a Verizon store or at a payment kiosk. Verizon gift cards can be used to pay a bill charge-free, as well. A detailed list of payment options can be viewed at the company's website.
Some customers are reacting negatively to the fee, taking to social networks and threatening to switch to competing service providers. Others pointed out the surprising timing for the change, as companies such as Bank of America came under scrutiny earlier this year for attempting to institute debit card usage fees.
A Verizon spokesperson did not respond to requests for comment on how many of the company's 91 million customers the change is expected to affect.