Paddy Sullivan, WalletHub Credit Card Advisor
The Mastercard late fee could be anywhere from $0 to $41, depending on the card. However, late fees are determined by the issuing bank, not by the card network. The CARD Act regulations include a limit for late fees, but the issuers don't always charge you the maximum.
What you should know about the Mastercard late fees:
- When you are charged a late fee, it makes a difference if you are a first-time offender or if you've been constantly missing your due dates.
- The late fee for a first-time violation cannot exceed $29, while subsequent violations are capped at $41.
- Late fees cannot exceed your minimum payment.
- Some credit card issuers waive late fees on your first offence.
There are some credit cards that charge no late fees at all. The Citi Simplicity® Card, for instance, belongs to the Mastercard network and benefits from a $0 late fee. But cards with no late fees are few and far between.
How to avoid late fees and other extra costs:
When you fall behind on your credit card payments, you won’t only be charged with late fees. Your balance will also accrue interest and you might wind up with unmanageable debt. So, the best course of action is to pay at least your minimum amount owed before your due date. If you want to avoid interest, try to always pay your balance in full and on time. You could make this easier by setting up autopay from your bank account.
If you need to finance a bigger purchase, consider opting for a 0% APR credit card. But keep in mind that you'll still have to make the minimum payment to avoid any late fees. Note that once the promotional period is over, any remaining balance will accrue interest at the card's regular APR.
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