Late fees are assessed on most debt accounts when a scheduled payment is not made on time or within a specified grace period. For example, if your credit card specifies payments must be received by the 15th of each month and your payment arrives on the 16th your credit card account will be charged a late fee. Late fees, like all finance charges, are usually added to the account balance and in subsequent payment cycles accrue interest.
Consumers should be aware that some creditors will voluntarily waive occasional late fees if they are contacted before the fee occurs and provided with a promise to pay within a few days. In other words, if you know you are going to miss a credit card’s payment date by a couple of days, call before you miss the date and request the waiver of the late fee.