In my day, you mailed your bills in

About a month ago, I traded in my Jetta for a Subaru B9 Tribeca. There was a good promotion going on at the time, which meant that the car is financed through Chase as opposed to the bank I ordinarily deal with for car loans.

Two weeks ago I received the paperwork to set up autopayments on the website at chase.com. For the last ten years, we have always used either our bank’s to pay the lender or the lender’s site to auto-debit our bank account. Without fail, it’s been an easy, convenient way to ensure that Emilio Estevez doesn’t show up on my doorstep.

(Remember that word convenience: it shows up again shortly.)

The first payment was due yesterday, and Robin reminded me that it needed to get paid. I’d already logged in at chase.com and just needed to add in the bank’s routing number to complete the setup. I did, and on the confirmation screen, saw a curious line item: “Processing fee: $10.”

Huh? There was a footnote next to the $10; I looked to the bottom of the page. It was helpfully explained: “This is the amount we charge for processing.”

So I called. Surely they weren’t charging me to pay them? Right?

Wrong. They were. I told the guy on the other end of the phone that in more than 10 years of making car payments, I’d never once had to pay a processing fee for paying online. His reply? “Well, this is the year 2006 and we charge for convenience.”

I mailed the payment in. It’s just $10, but I refuse to reward a company trying to charge me to save them money. Talk about backwards.