Telstra increases credit card payment fee for paying bills

Telco giant Telstra announced yet another hike for its customers when they introduced a range of new – steep – credit card payment fees yesterday. It seems that the major aim of many companies these days is to herd consumers to online BPAY payments in order to eliminate on-site staff costs.

The art of consumer face-to-face service has died a slow death in Australia and this latest move by Telstra only seals the saddening fact even more.

Hefty new credit card payment fees

Starting from September 14, Telstra will charge you a hefty $2.20 administration fee if you pay your bill in person at a shop or by mail. The only exemption to this new rule will be elderly people who can produce a disability card or a pensioner card.
Telstra hopes this move will save them several hundred million dollars a year. For those consumers who already pay their bill with a credit card, their credit card payment fee will rise to 1 per cent for Visa, Mastercard and American Express cardholders, and a whopping 2 per cent for Diners Club card holders.

Besides the elderly and the disabled, customers who pay their bills via an online cheque or savings account will be exempt from the fees.

Telstra Consumer Executive Director Jenny Young said:

"Every year we spend hundreds of millions of dollars on billing, which includes processing bill payments, paying third-party billing service providers, answering customers' questions about their bills and operating systems to support billing."

"We're introducing or changing our fees for some payment options which incur higher administration costs. However, Telstra will always be conscious of customers who are experiencing hardship."

Ms Young also said consumers who were holding more than one customer account were given a chance to combine those accounts to a single bill now, avoiding excessive costs.

Telstra is already well aware of their less than desirable image in the eye of the Australian public but they also said they didn't fear this latest move would further erode their public confidence.

One thing is clear to all, if we want to avoid paying a hefty credit card payment fee we are now forced to pay our bill online.

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