NEW YORK (MainStreet) —  The new year has yet to officially begin, but 2012 has already got a stupid fee on the books.

Verizon Wireless (Stock Quote: VZ) announced Thursday that it will be instituting a $2 convenience fee when customers pay individual cellphone bills online or over the telephone.

“The fee will help allow us to continue to support these single bill payment options in these channels,” Verizon said in a written statement.

The fee is slated to go into effect Jan. 15.

However, Verizon is providing customers with payment options that allow them to bypass the fee, such as paying by electronic check or enrolling in Auto Pay. The fee will also be waived when customers pay with a Verizon Wireless gift card or a Verizon Wireless device rebate card in-store, online or by telephone, or by mailing a paper check or money order to the remit address on their bill.

—Jeanine Skowronski is staff reporter for MainStreet. You can reach her by email at, or follow her on Twitter at @JeanineSko.