This survey originally ran in
the 1/29/03 DebtSmart
To take the survey click here.
Have you ever paid your credit card bill
of respondents said Yes
of respondents said No
Were you charged a late fee?
of respondents who have paid late said Yes
If so, how much was the late fee?
of respondents who were charged a late fee said between $20 -
of respondents who were charged a late fee said between $26 -
of respondents who were charged a late fee said between $31 -
of respondents who were charged a late fee said greater than
Did the bank raise your interest rate?
of respondents said Yes
If so, how much did the bank increase
of respondents who received a penalty rate said between 2% -
of respondents who received a penalty rate said between 5.01%
of respondents who received a penalty rate said between 8.01%
of respondents who received a penalty rate said between 11.01%
of respondents who received a penalty rate said greater than
Did you ever call the bank to ask them
to waive that late fee?
of respondents said Yes
If you called, did they waive the
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
"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
"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
"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
"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
"It happened a long time ago. I
punished them (Capital One) by transferring my balance to another
"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
"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
"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."
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full of good advice and ideas."
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it to try to keep in mind the perspective of paying off debt."