Late payment fee definition

Writer and editor - Bryan Robinson | Updated on 2023-01-11

What is a late payment fee?

A late payment fee is a charge assessed by a lending institution when a borrower fails to make a required minimum payment on their loan by the due date. The late payment fee is typically a percentage of the unpaid balance, and is meant to cover the costs associated with processing the late payment. In some cases, the late payment fee may be waived if the borrower can provide evidence that they made a good-faith effort to pay on time but were unable to do so due to extenuating circumstances.
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How is a late payment fee calculated?

A late payment fee is typically charged as a percentage of the amount owed, and the fee is often capped at a maximum dollar amount. For example, a company might charge a 4% late payment fee on any invoice that is not paid within 30 days, with a maximum late payment fee of $40. In this case, if you owed the company $100, you would be charged a $4 late payment fee. If you owed the company $1,000, you would still only be charged a $40 late payment fee.

What are the consequences of paying a late payment fee?

One of the consequences of paying a late payment fee is that it can damage your credit score. This is because the late payment will appear on your credit report and will be factored into your credit score. Having a late payment on your credit report can also make it difficult to get approved for new lines of credit, such as a credit card or loan. In addition, you may be charged higher interest rates on future lines of credit if you have a history of late payments.

See also Origination fee article, and article on Documentation fee.

How can you avoid paying a late payment fee?

There are a few ways you can avoid paying a late payment fee:

  • Pay your bill on time. This seems obvious, but it’s the best way to avoid a late payment fee.
  • Set up automatic payments. Many credit card issuers will waive the late payment fee if you have autopay set up.
  • Use a grace period. If your credit card has a grace period, you won’t be charged a late payment fee as long as you pay off your balance before the grace period ends.
  • Call customer service. If you’re facing financial hardship, give your credit card issuer a call and explain your situation. They may be willing to work with you and waive the fee.
Bryan Robinson

Bryan Robinson
Writer and editor


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