Do you automatically pay your cellphone bill every month? If so, you were likely getting a discount for it.
The key word there is “were.”
Major phone carriers are in the process of changing the way auto-pay discounts work, according to The Wall Street Journal. That includes Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile.
The discount is shrinking or going away for those paying by credit card. Wireless carriers will now demand a debit card or directly linked bank account to qualify for an auto-pay discount.
The move is likely in response to rising credit card fees, the Journal says. And it might have an added consequence you might not expect: “Customers might also find it harder to protest charges” in the future, the newspaper reports.
AT&T will halve its auto-pay discount for credit card users on many types of plans in October, from $10 to $5 per line. That is true even if you use AT&T’s own credit card.
In contrast, Verizon does give its discount to users of the Verizon Visa Card, but not to users of other credit cards.
T-Mobile gives no auto-pay discount to users of credit cards or digital wallets like Apple Pay or Google Pay.
You can still automatically pay by credit card and may wish to for other reasons — such as the “set it and forget it” convenience, credit card perks like cash back and cellphone insurance, and standard credit card protections. Just be prepared to see your auto-pay discount shrink or disappear.
Phone companies may not be the only ones making this sort of change, the Journal warns. If it’s time to reassess the value of your credit card, check out “The 3 Best Rewards Credit Cards With No Fees, According to Shoppers.”