T-Mobile is Ruining Its Autopay Discount and It Could Cost You
Ever since I switched to T-Mobile a few years ago, I’ve become a fan and have chronicled many of their interesting offerings. This includes things like their weekly giveaway feature T-Mobile Tuesdays as well their banking account T-Mobile Money and, most recently, the cashback T-Mobile Dining platform. That’s why it brings me a bit of sadness to report that the company is taking what I think is a wrong turn — or at least one that negatively impacts me.
Beginning in August (the specific date may vary based on your billing date), T-Mobile will be updating its Autopay Discount policy. Previously, customers who opted into Autopay could receive a $5 per line discount. Well, in actuality, this discount would often be factored into the advertised price for plans, but it was technically a “discount” nonetheless.
In any case, with this update, credit cards will no longer be included in the Autopay Discount. While they can still be used to pay your service bill, credit card customers won’t receive their Autopay Discount. Instead, they’ll need to use either a debit card or a bank account via Autopay in order to save.
While the $5 fee might not be a big deal for those who prefer to earn credit card rewards, retain the cell phone insurance that many cards offer, etc., it’s important to remember that the Autopay Discount is actually per line. In my case, this means that my bill will increase by $15 a month (we have a third line we don’t really need because it was free at the time) if we don’t move our payments to a debit card or bank account. That fee is almost assuredly not worth any benefit we’d get from our credit card point/coverage. Even the 3% that I get from my Apple Card wouldn’t even cover the fee for one line!
Personally, I have yet to figure out exactly what I’m going to do in regard to this change. I know for damn sure I’m not going to pay an extra $15 a month just to pay my bill with a credit card, but I haven’t yet devised my plan. On the one hand, I could use something like my Discover Checking or Mana debit cards to get 1% back on my monthly bill. However, this would mean funding those accounts each month. This means that the easiest option is just to link my bank account — although that would mean no rewards and, given T-Mobile’s breach history, doesn’t seem like a great route either.
Needless to say, I find this Autopay update to be truly disappointing. And, unlike in some cases where I can at least sympathize with why a company needs to make certain changes, I don’t really see a reason for this one. In fact, this move makes the aforementioned 3% benefit T-Mobile has with Apple Card seem ponderous, leading me to wonder whether that might be going away in the future. But, the bottom line is that, if you’re a T-Mobile customer, make sure to update your payment info by the end of the month so you aren’t surprised with a higher bill.