T-Mobile has confirmed that customers using a credit card for AutoPay are no longer eligible for AutoPay discounts. That means some customers have already started seeing a $5 increase on their monthly bill.
While Clark typically advises against giving companies access to your debit card or bank account, T-Mobile’s AutoPay discount is worth keeping. Fortunately, there’s one other Clark-approved way to continue getting your AutoPay discount at T-Mobile. In this article, I’ll share what we know about T-Mobile’s decision and how you can safely continue saving on your bill each month.
T-Mobile Has Eliminated AutoPay Discounts for Credit Card Users
T-Mobile offers $5 off monthly phone and internet bills per line (up to 8 lines depending on the plan) for users who have linked a credit or debit card. Then, T-Mobile automatically charges them when the bill is due. However, these discounts are no longer available to users paying with a credit card or digital wallet (Apply Pay/Google Pay).
When T-Mobile originally announced the change, the company did not give a firm date for when the switch would take place or when customers might be notified. However, as of August 2023, this change is effective for new and existing customers.
While paying with your credit card is still an option, you’ll no longer see the $5 monthly discount per line from AutoPay. Instead, T-Mobile is prompting users to link a debit card or checking account number.
“You know how I don’t like for you to use debit card or allow access to a checking account to pay a bill,” says money expert Clark Howard. “I think it’s worth it to get the discount in this case because you know what your plan costs, and there’s no additional junk fees you pay with your plan with T-Mobile.”
If you don’t want to give T-Mobile access to your primary checking account, Clark knows a way that you can continue to get your AutoPay discount from T-Mobile.
How You Can Continue Saving on Your Monthly Phone Bill
If you aren’t ready to start paying an additional $5 per line per month for losing your AutoPay discounts, you do have options.
T-Mobile’s preferred option is to link your bank account or debit card. If you do, you’ll be eligible for the same AutoPay discounts you’ve been used to. Clark typically does not recommend giving companies access to your primary checking account, but if you’re happy with your T-Mobile service, it’s okay to use your debit card on one of its fixed-price cell phone or internet plans.
If you don’t want automatic payments coming out of your primary checking account, Clark offers another solution to keep your AutoPay discounts:
“You can open a new account at an online bank and just put in enough money to cover your bill over time. Then it’s safe to give your checking account number. The only money at risk is what you have in that account.”
While opening a second checking account may take a little bit of time to set up initially, it will definitely pay off in the long run.
With this option, when you give companies access to draft money from your secondary account, you aren’t giving them access to all of your hard-earned cash. This way, you’re still in control, and you still get your AutoPay discounts!
If you prefer to keep paying for your cell phone bill with a credit card, the only way to avoid the price increase from losing your monthly AutoPay discount with T-Mobile is to find a different cell phone service provider. Depending on your family’s needs, there are several cheaper cell phone service providers that offer plans at significantly lower prices than T-Mobile. Switching to one of these low-cost service providers is another excellent way to save. Plus, most of them will allow you to prepay for service with a credit card.
“For internet service, you may not do better than the T-Mobile Home Internet. It’s a very well-priced product,” says Clark. “But for your cell phone service, you can do substantially better now than the $60/month you’re paying, and we have cell phone services on Clark.com that are a lot cheaper.”
There are several cheap cell phone service providers that run on T-Mobile’s network, which means you’ll still have access to the same signal for a fraction of the price.
For example, Tello Mobile (Review) offers plans beginning as low as $10 per month per line on T-Mobile’s network. Mint Mobile (Review) is owned by T-Mobile, and it offers an unlimited plan with 40GB of high-speed data that’s typically $30 per month per line. However, for a limited time, you can get the same Mint Mobile plan for $15 monthly, which is a great deal for unlimited service on T-Mobile’s network!
For more options, be sure to check out all of our top picks for the best cell phone plans.
If you’re a T-Mobile customer with a postpaid wireless plan or home internet plan, AutoPay discounts are a great way to save over time. For one line, you may only be saving $5 monthly, but that adds up to $60 each year that’s back in your pocket. For accounts with multiple lines, these savings quickly grow to $300 annually for five lines.
“I think what T-Mobile did was something that was a complete violation of the spirit of the agreement they made with the federal government in order to buy Sprint,” says Clark. “It is a clear, not even hidden, price increase and I think it was an unethical, dishonest move by T-Mobile.”
If you are otherwise happy with your service from T-Mobile, Clark says it’s safe to link your bank account or debit card to pay for one of its fixed-price phone or home internet plans. If you don’t want to give the company access to your primary account, it’s worth taking a few extra steps to ensure you’ll continue getting your AutoPay discount from T-Mobile.
Here’s the safest Clark-recommended option:
- Open a free checking account just for AutoPay
- Add enough funds to cover your T-Mobile bill. You may add funds to this account every month, every three months, etc. Just ensure you keep it funded enough to cover your bills before they’re automatically paid but don’t add more than what you need!
- Switch your T-Mobile AutoPay account from your credit card to your new checking account. If you aren’t already getting AutoPay discounts from T-Mobile, sign up with your new account to start saving safely.
You can learn more about how automatic bill pay works and how to do it safely on our website.
Are you a T-Mobile customer being affected by this change? Let us know in the Clark.com Community.