Verizon Announces Payment Transaction Fee: What Investors Need to Know

What's happening in the headlines can affect you as an investor. Here's what's going on, what you need to know, and what you can expect next.

The headline
Marketplace is reporting that wireless giant Verizon (NYS: VZ) will now start charging a $2 fee every time customers pay their bill over the phone or make a one-time payment with a credit card. The new fee will go into effect starting Jan. 15.

The details
It won't apply to customers paying their bills with an electronic check or those who enroll in autopay using a credit or debit card. Customers using Verizon Wireless gift cards or Verizon Wireless device rebate cards, and customers using standard paper check and money orders made payable directly to Verizon Wireless also won't be charged a fee.

Wireless peers AT&T (NYS: T) and Sprint (NYS: S) are already saying they won't be charging their customers a similar transaction fee.

Now what?
While Verizon remained tight-lipped on the topic, it seems it costs more to process the aforementioned types of payments, and it very well may, but to the consumer it comes across as having to pay extra for the privilege of paying one's bill on time. Look out, Verizon. Get ready for the customer backlash. Remember when Bank of America tried to implement a similar type of customer transaction fee earlier this year? According to Maggie Reardon, a writer for the online technology magazine CNET, she's already hearing from outraged Verizon customers.

Perhaps in anticipation of greater incoming revenue, the market pushed the company's stock up on the news this morning, but it's almost certain that the public relations bloodbath has only just begun --something never good for a stock in the long term. In the age of Occupy Wall Street and socially responsible investing, and with other carriers happy to take in aggrieved customers, people feel they don't have to take it anymore.

I've already written my email to the company. Keep track of what's happening with this developing story by adding Verizon to My Watchlist, a free service of The Motley Fool that lets you easily keep up with everything on your investing radar. To add Verizon, simply click here.

At the time this article was published Fool contributor John Grgurich loves his Twitter newsfeed so much he wants to marry it, but he owns no shares of the companies mentioned above. The Motley Fool owns shares of Bank of America. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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