Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Survey Results: Late Payments
by Scott Bilker
Scott Bilker is the author of the best-selling books, Talk Your Way Out of Credit Card Debt, Credit Card and Debt Management, and How to be more Credit Card and Debt Smart. He's also the founder of DebtSmart.com. More about and DebtSmart can be found in the online media kit.

Scott Bilker This survey originally ran in the 1/29/03 DebtSmart Email Newsletter.
To take the survey click here.

Have you ever paid your credit card bill late?

87.25% of respondents said Yes
12.75% of respondents said No

Were you charged a late fee?

95.51% of respondents who have paid late said Yes

If so, how much was the late fee?

33.75% of respondents who were charged a late fee said between $20 - $25
46.25% of respondents who were charged a late fee said between $26 - $30
17.50% of respondents who were charged a late fee said between $31 - $35
2.50% of respondents who were charged a late fee said greater than $36

Did the bank raise your interest rate?

38.24% of respondents said Yes

If so, how much did the bank increase your rate?

25.00% of respondents who received a penalty rate said between 2% - 5%
30.56% of respondents who received a penalty rate said between 5.01% - 8%
27.78% of respondents who received a penalty rate said between 8.01% - 11%
8.33% of respondents who received a penalty rate said between 11.01% - 15%
8.33% of respondents who received a penalty rate said greater than 15%

Did you ever call the bank to ask them to waive that late fee? 

57.84% of respondents said Yes

If you called, did they waive the fee?

72.88% of respondents who called said Yes

Comments on the Phone Call to Your Bank

"It only happened once and it was when I did not get my statement in the mail and didn't realize it was missing. I got my statement for the next month and there was the late charge. I called and they offered to waive the fee. It definitely helps if you are always on time. They see that it is not a habit with you and want to keep a customer like that happy."

"With Fleet Bank I had two credit cards. On one of them I was considered a good customer since my payments were on time. The other I was a bad risk because I had several payments late. I found this out when I called to have my APR lowered. I told them to check my records and they will see I have tried to change my payment due date 3 times online and twice on the phone and it's never changed. At that point I cancelled the card ignoring their warning, paid off the other card and do not carry it at all."

"When I signed up with this credit card there was a 10 day grace period from the due date. My payment posted 1 day after the due date--when I called I was told that the grace period was cancelled and I had received notification of that by mail (I had never seen the letter). They would not reduce the interest rate until I made 6 "on-time" payments--meaning the payment had to be posted by 2pm on the date it was due. I finally closed the account and paid it off after I mailed the payment 10 days before the due date and it still posted to my account "late". None of the other bills I paid that day were late or took 11 days to reach their destinations!! I believe they were just holding payment to collect late fees."

"If you get really behind, call the company. If you agree to set up electronic checks for a slightly higher amount (if you get straightened out to where you can make a higher payment). They will waive any over the limit fees that you might incur and there will be no late fees as the payments are set up and these fees will not be charged."

"It has been a long time since I have had a late payment on a credit card, but occasionally other bills are late, partly because there is no money when they are due and sometimes because I've made the mistake of trusting my husband to pay something on time. (I know better now - I always write out and mail the bills myself)."

"The smartest thing I did last year was to do online banking through my credit union. That way the payment is already set up and I have not had a late fee since. Should have done that years ago!!"

"I have bad credit to overcome from the past, so I have been shrewd about paying my bills on time to overcome my history. I pay my c.c.'s using online services. This last time I missed the post date to my account by one hour, a late fee was accessed and the min. naturally increased after I had made the min. of 40.00(jumped up to 70.00) I called the company and told the rep. that I paid on the due date but missed the 3:00pm post date by one hour and asked her if she could waive the late fee just this once, she agreed to that-made my day and probably has kept me as a customer for a little while longer. (how many people are at home at 3:00pm anyways, they have everything figured out).

"I would make two or more payments a month on this card. One particular month, I wasn't paying attention and missed the payment by a day or two. I get paid on the 15th and I believe this card's "due date" was the 14th. That fact escaped me. I am positive many credit card companies set that date on purpose. Yes they got my $35 and I did not put up a fight (my mistake), however, they will never get my business again."

"If the payment arrives a little bit late 1 or 2 days. I usually pay on time, I will call them and ask to have the late fee removed. They have always done it."

"I've heard too many horror stories about what creditors do to you when you're late --- that's why I make sure my payments get there in plenty of time before the due date! I also mail my utility payments one week prior to the due date so they're not late, too! Allowing a week is always a good idea, but paying any sooner than that is like giving them an "interest-free" loan with money that you could have possibly made a little interest on."

"I was late once with a company I had been with for many years and they upped my interest rate for being 4 days late. I eventually changed companies and cut that card up."

"Bank was very cooperative. When I called to inquire about a lower interest rate, they said they had nothing available and I'd have to keep calling back to check periodically."

"I've had a couple of late payments (3-4) during the last 10 years for various reasons, misplace bill, moved. 1-2 card companies waived the fee, the others had a zero tolerance policy, it all depends."

"I had mailed a payment that should have made it long before the due date. They asked me to make a payment over the phone, and they would waive the fee. The payment I mailed took three weeks to be posted to my account!"

"When they charged me the late fee, it put me over my limit. So every month, even though I would pay 200% of my minimum payment I couldn't seem to get my balance back down, so they kept charging me over limit fees. I had to call them so I could catch up. They were kind enough to delete enough of the charges so that when I made my next payment it would help me rather than hurt me."

"I called the credit card company after they raised the interest rate and told them I would take my business elsewhere if they did not lower it. They did. Oh, yeah--that felt good!"

"Automatic online bill payment systems are a lifesaver. Since I've gotten setup with them, I've never been late."

"Long time ago, don't remember the details, but I do remember the feeling of desperation, thinking I could never get out from under it (newly divorced, two small kids). They also charged an over-limit fee of $29, which I thought was crazy, since the reason I was over-limit was because they added a late fee of $50. I finally used all of my savings (my security blanket) to pay them off and will never get into this situation again."

"It happened a long time ago. I punished them (Capital One) by transferring my balance to another card."

"The one time I got a late fee with my credit card, I called Capital One and got it waived, their website had been a bit "temperamental" and didn't tell me if my payment had been received. After calling to verify that it had been, I was outrageously surprised that they had slammed me with a late fee--their website continued to give them problems over the next several days, so they could not withdraw the funds electronically from my account for a few days. Needless to say--I called and had it waived. But, most of the time, it is my own fault if I get a late fee--since I have been paying my bills online, however, I rarely get a late fee anymore."

"The first month I was late they waived it and informed me that to keep the preferred rate I could not be late on two payments. I went out of town on a family emergency and forgot to pay the bill again. In 20 years this was the only two late payments. They said it did not matter. I transferred the account to another charge at a lower rate and closed the account. They then sent me a letter indicating they would like to reinstate the card, increased my limit by $5,000.00 and offered me a rate of 6.99% for the life of the loan. I caved and transferred the amount back with a negotiated rate of 5.99%. I then set up my payment through checkfree so I am notified via e-mail of all bills and when due. I now pay everything on-line except my mortgage. I do move money from one card to another, am in the process of paying off my credit card debt. Hope this helps some and you are right, if you do not pay your bills late, you do have some power, but unfortunately, length means nothing unless you move your account"

"I will not be late again as I need all of my money to get out of debt."

"I learned my lesson quickly. Now I never have a late payment."

"We have just refinanced our house and paid off all of our debt. We will NEVER apply for a credit card again...EVER."

"They also lowered my interest rate back to what it was originally after I explained it was the first time I had a late payment. I also reminded them that I had been a customer for a long time."

What do you Think?
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