AT&T plans to reduce the AutoPay and paperless billing discount it offers wireless customers who pay with a credit card from $10 per line, to $5 per line, starting Oct. 2.
“Our customers on AutoPay and paperless billing with a bank account or debit card will keep their $10 discount, the largest discount currently offered in the industry,” an AT&T spokesperson told Kiplinger in a statement. The company began notifying customers via email and SMS on July 18, she said.
The move follows similar actions taken by telecom rivals T-Mobile and Verizon in trying to incentivize AutoPay customers to switch from using credit cards to using bank accounts or debit cards for payments, according to a report in Payments Dive.
According to a T-Mobile support page, payments must be made with a debit card or linked bank account to be eligible for its free AutoPay service.
Streamlining payment methods
A T-Mobile spokesperson told Kiplinger the company has made changes to its AutoPay discount eligibility as it streamlines its payment methods.
“The majority of our customers use their bank account or debit card for AutoPay and will continue to get a discount,” the T-Mobile spokesperson said in a statement. “Customers who use AutoPay with a credit card can update their payment method to bank transfer or debit card to keep the discount.”
T-Mobile began notifying customers in May to update their payment method, she added.
Verizon did not respond to requests for comment.
According to its website, $5 or $10 per month AutoPay and paper-free discounts are available for those who sign up online or by phone using their bank account, debit card or Verizon Visa Card.
The push to incentivize customers to move away from credit card transactions is seen as a response to the credit card processing fees paid by vendors.
As Kiplinger recently reported, a bipartisan bill is making its way through Congress that seeks to lower those processing fees by increasing competition in the Visa- and Mastercard-dominated processing network by requiring major banks to add other credit card network platforms.
Esther D’Amico is Kiplinger’s senior news editor. A long-time regulatory journalist, Esther has covered a range of industries including antitrust and congressional affairs, infrastructure, transportation, climate change and the industrial chemicals sector. She holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism and in English.
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