T-Mobile’s Autopay Update Adds Complexity to My Preferred Credit Card Benefit
August 21, 2023

T-Mobile’s Autopay Update Adds Complexity to My Preferred Credit Card Benefit

T-Mobile Changes Auto Pay Discount Policy

T-Mobile has announced changes to its auto pay discount policy, requiring customers to pay their bills using a linked bank account or debit card in order to receive a $5 per line discount on their service. This means that customers who have set up auto pay with a credit card will no longer receive the discount, effectively resulting in a price increase. This policy change has prompted customers to evaluate whether the $5 per line cost is worth the convenience and perks that come with paying through credit cards. Additionally, customers have raised concerns about the security of giving T-Mobile their bank account details, considering the company's poor track record in data security.

As a personal example, I rely on cellphone insurance provided by a World Elite Mastercard, which I use to pay my family's cell phone bill. This benefit allows me to skip paying for AppleCare or my carrier's phone insurance and provides reimbursement for cellphone repairs, up to $1,000 per year. However, with the new policy, I am facing a $15 monthly increase on my rate if I continue to pay with my credit card using auto pay. To determine the best course of action, I have been calculating whether it would be worth absorbing the price increase, forgoing the credit card benefit entirely, or considering a third-party phone insurance option.

One potential option I explored was joining T-Mobile's Protection 360, which offers phone service through AppleCare. However, T-Mobile's Protection 360 is currently unavailable, as enrollment periods open intermittently. Another option I considered was paying the price increase to maintain a level of phone insurance. While this would be cost-effective, I believe there are better ways to utilize that money, such as creating a fund to cover future repair costs or putting it towards my next phone purchase.

Alternatively, I looked into third-party insurance options like SquareTrade, which offers plans for phones and other electronics. SquareTrade provides reimbursement for repair costs at Apple's Genius Bar, but has a high deductible for all phone claims. Although it does not cover theft or loss like my credit card benefit or T-Mobile's Protection 360, it remains a flexible option that I can consider at a later time.

Despite my dissatisfaction with T-Mobile's policy change, I have found a workaround that allows me to retain the autopay discount while paying with my credit card. I manually pay my bill using my credit card before the autopay date, ensuring that the discounts remain on my bill. This may require some additional effort, but it is worth it to keep the free cell phone insurance benefit.

In conclusion, I will continue linking my bank account to pay for my bill for now, as I evaluate my options. I will also start a new phone slush fund with the money saved from paying off my phone, with the goal of using the savings towards my next device. Additionally, I will keep an eye out for opportunities to switch back to credit card autopay, consider a SquareTrade plan, or enroll in T-Mobile's Protection 360 when it becomes available again.