On September 16, 2022, Telus customers outside of Quebec found out that they will soon be charged a 1.5% service fee when they pay their bill by credit card. To avoid these fees, you can use one-time or automated bank payments, or pay with a Visa Debit, Visa Prepaid or Mastercard Prepaid card.
This move by Telus follows a 2018 class action lawsuit against Visa and Mastercard, where it was decided that such action could be done starting October 6. So far, among the telecom giants, Telus is the only telecom company to charge these additional fees.
For now, this new requirement does not apply to its subsidiary Koodo, but we cannot predict whether or not this will change in the future.
For now, Bell, Rogers and Videotron have not made any announcement similar to Telus’.
However, we will have to remain vigilant; there is always a risk that this new practice becomes standardized if other companies follow in Telus’ footsteps and decide to adopt the same approach to billing. Of course, they will not be able to do so in Quebec as long as the Consumer Protection Law continues to classify this practice as illegal.
This new measure does not affect Quebec customers, as they are protected by the Consumer Protection Law.
It prohibits charging more than the advertised amount, and states that paying a bill by credit card is not a separate service but rather simply a method of payment. As such, these fees charged to Telus customers are considered illegal in Quebec under the Consumer Protection Law.
If we are not Telus customers or live in Quebec, our first instinct is to think that we have been spared. For the moment, yes. But let’s hope that this practice will not be adopted by other companies.
From a points and benefits perspective, this type of announcement encourages us to purchase our mobile device directly from the manufacturer (Apple, Samsung, etc.) rather than from the mobile network operators for two reasons: to maximize the rewards we can get, and to be able to take advantage of a mobile device insurance and avoid paying 1.5% in service fees (for customers outside Quebec).
Fortunately, many credit cards offer discounts of up to 4% on cellular and internet subscriptions. The Scotia Momentum® VISA Infinite* Card offers a 4% return while the TD Cash Back Visa Infinite* Card offers a 3% return. This way, if you are affected by this news from Telus, it will still be to your advantage to use one of these credit cards to pay your phone bills.
If we compare ourselves to other countries, we know that Canadian telecommunication companies are far from being the most affordable in the world, so this news is not likely to please Telus customers who use their credit cards to collect points, for cash back or simply for habit.
This announcement by Telus for its customers outside Quebec is a first in the Canadian telecommunications world. So far, the other telecom giants have not followed suit, but this will definitely be something to watch out for in the future.