The Mastercard maximum late fee ranges between $29-$40. It's crucial to note that Mastercard is a credit card network, not an issuer. Issuers are the ones servicing cardholders' accounts and imposing late fees, among other things. There are CARD Act regulations that limit late fees, but issuers don't always charge you the maximum.
It also 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 $40. However, late fees cannot exceed your minimum payment. And 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
Falling behind on your credit card payments is expensive. In addition to any late fees you might owe, 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 pay your balance in full and on time, before each due date. You could make this easier by setting up an automatic payment from your bank account.
If you need to finance a bigger purchase, consider opting for a 0% APR credit card that offers an interest-free period. But keep in mind that you'll still have to make the minimum payment to avoid any late fees. And once the promotional period is over, any remaining balance will accrue interest at the card's regular APR.
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