T-Mobile, AT&T, Spectrum & More Are Making Autopay More Expensive. Here’s How to Avoid Overpaying





Man stressed over piece of paper

A growing number of companies are no longer accepting honoring autopay discounts when customers use credit cards. This change is due to the high fees companies accrue from processing such payments.

Credit card companies charge a fee for every transaction. This fee is why some businesses won’t allow debit or credit card payments for small purchases, and why big companies are making the same changes for online payments.   

This is a trend sweeping through multiple industries, and is something you need to look out for. Because autopay is designed so you can set it and forget it, the elimination of those discounts can slip by quietly and you end up overpaying. That’s why it’s important that you regularly check on these services to make sure you’ve linked the right accounts for payment.

Consumers Energy is one such company changing its autopay policy. The company cites “changes in credit card company policies” as the reason behind the change, reports 13 On Your Side. Customers can keep autopay by linking their bank account to the autopay feature by October 1. After this date, customers still paying via card will be unenrolled and must manually pay monthly.

T-Mobile and AT&T joined Consumers Energy in altering their autopay policies this year as well.

AT&T customers can keep half of their autopay discount. Starting October 2, customers paying by credit card will get $5 off instead of $10. Changing your payment method to a debit or bank account will continue the total discount.

Although T-Mobile still offers autopay discounts, customers won’t see the $5 per line discount if paying by credit card, Google Pay, or Apple Pay. The change went into effect on July 25.

Customers aren’t thrilled with the change. People are wary of linking their bank information to such accounts, especially after T-Mobile’s security breach in January. The personal data of 37 million customers was swiped by a “bad actor,” snagging names, billing addresses, emails, phone numbers, birthdays, and T-Mobile account numbers, reports CNN.

Spectrum has also recently hiked its internet service by $5, but if you sign-up for autopay, Spectrum will add a new $5 discount, negating the change.

Credit cards offer more protection in the case of fraud. Depending on your bank, a hacked debit card and bank account can be challenging to remedy. And if a scammer gets access to your bank account, they could drain everything in it, which can take weeks or months to reverse.

For some, a small discount is not much reward for risking the security of your bank account.

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