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Credit Card Late Fees Average $34.09, Over-the-Limit Fees Average $36.53

by IndexCreditCards.com

October 6, 2009

Our latest survey of credit card fees finds the average credit card late fee at $34.35, while the average over-the-limit fee is $36.74. Using data from a cross-section of major and minor card issuers, IndexCreditCards.com found that late and over-the-limit fees ranged from $0 to $39. However, most nationwide issuers charged between $29 and $39 in both categories, with certain smaller issuers a bit more lenient.

As a frame of reference, a $34.35 average late fee is roughly equivalent to the monthly finance charge you'd pay if you carried a $2,900 balance at 14% interest.

Over-the-limit fees are even higher, and the many cardholders who find them especially galling are in luck -- the recently passed Credit Card Act will force issuers to stop letting customers exceed their credit limits unless those customers "opt in" by asking for that feature. In other words, starting in February of 2010, card companies won't be able to charge over-the-limit fees to most customers -- because those customers won't be allowed to go over their limits.

Many credit issuers use a "tier" system in assessing fees. For example, your late fee may be $15 if you have a balance of less than $100, $29 if the balance is less than $250, and $39 for balances beyond that. IndexCreditCards.com attempts to take into consideration these fee tiers when calculating the average fees listed here.

IndexCreditCards.com surveys the terms and conditions of a cross-section of cards every six months to determine these average fees.

Published 09/07/10 (Modified 12/09/10)

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