Save a Stamp, PAY Online

USA First Class forever stampAt the end of each month I gather my bills, break out the checkbook, sit down at the table, and begin writing checks to everyone asking for money. In recent years many of the services I use began offering online bill pay. I just set up an account and the money is automatically debited from my account. More recently I’ve noticed other services adding “Save a Stamp! Pay online!” to their return envelopes.

Sounds like a great idea. Until I do the math.

The current cost of a USPS First Class postage stamp is 44¢. If I remove that cost and pay online I am usually hit with a convenience fee that is at least $1 and sometimes upwards in the $6 range. I’m sorry what? Exactly. Charging me more to forgo postage in favor of an outlandish convenience fee is ridiculous. You could go paperless? I could, and when I do I’m making the company more money since they are neither paying for postage or the credit card processing fee.

Save a stamp, pay online

I understand that credit cards charge merchants a processing fee for every transaction. I also understand that merchants have two options: pay for the charge or pass it on to the consumer. When I go out to eat, buy clothes, pay for gas the processing fee is paid by the merchant. But, when I go online to pay a bill, buy a concert ticket, or sign up for a road race I end up picking up the merchant’s tab as well.

To the merchants pushing their fee onto me I say, “Suck it!” I have no problem with putting myself through the trouble of writing a check, placing it in a 2¢ envelope, applying a 44¢ stamp, and putting the envelope in my mailbox. It’s inconvenient, I know.