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What Are The Penalties For Late Payments On A Rewards Credit Card?


What are the penalties for late payments on a rewards credit card
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What Are Late Payment Penalties On Rewards Credit Cards?

Late payments can happen to even the most responsible credit card users. Life can get busy, and it’s easy to forget or overlook a payment deadline. When you forget to pay off your credit card balance by an agreed-upon due date, your bank or financial institution will charge a late payment penalty. This is not all, however. There are far-reaching financial consequences if you miss several payments or regularly get penalized.

This article outlines the penalties and long-term consequences you need to look out for if you miss a payment on a rewards credit card.

Article key terms:   

Rewards Credit Card: A Credit Card that offers a rewards system for purchases – such as cashback or rewards points.

Interest Rate: This is the price you pay for borrowing money from your financial institution. This is usually a percentage of the money you borrowed.

Annual Percentage Rate (APR): This is interest specifically for credit cards, expressed as how much interest you pay at a yearly rate.

Late payment penalty: This is the interest you pay for paying your credit card account balance later than the agreed-upon due date.

Credit Score: a numerical representation of your creditworthiness, a measure that rates your reliability at paying back debts.

When And Why Do Late Penalties Occur?

When you receive a credit card statement, it usually includes a due date by which you must make a payment. This due date is typically a few weeks after the statement is issued, allowing you enough time to review your charges and make the necessary payment. Making a late payment means failing to submit the required payment by the specified due date.

Late payments are considered a breach of the agreement between you and the credit card issuer. This typically results in your bank charging you interest on the payment you still owe. The following section discusses this in more detail.

Late Payment Fees And Interest Rates

One of the most immediate consequences of making a late payment on a rewards credit card is the late payment fee. This fee is typically added to your balance and can range from $25 to $40 or even more, depending on the issuer and your card’s terms. The late payment fee is not only an inconvenience but can also quickly add up if you consistently miss payment deadlines.

If you miss two payments in a year, your financial institution may increase your credit card’s interest/APR rate. Many credit card issuers have penalty APRs, which are higher interest rates that apply when you make a late payment or breach other terms of your agreement. Penalty APRs are typically a 30% interest rate on your pending credit balance. This penalty makes it significantly harder to pay off a debt, so be diligent whenever possible.

Besides impacting your APR rates, late payments can impact your reward points and benefits. The following section explores this in more detail.

Impact On Reward Points And Benefits

Rewards credit cards offer enticing perks and benefits, but these rewards are not guaranteed. Late payments can result in the loss of any reward points accumulated during the billing cycle. This means that even if you’ve earned valuable rewards, missing a payment could make them disappear.

Some credit card issuers may also have policies that revoke or suspend certain benefits if you make a late payment. For example, if your rewards credit card offers travel insurance or purchase protection, these benefits may be invalidated if you fail to make timely payments. Losing out on these perks can be frustrating, especially if you’ve been diligently earning and saving your rewards.

Late Payment’s Effect On Credit Score

Perhaps the most significant consequence of late payments on rewards credit cards is the impact on your credit score. Late payments reflect negatively on your credit score, making it harder to access credit in the future that offers good interest rates and better benefits. It also makes it harder to qualify for loans, mortgages, and rental agreements.

When you make a late payment, it is typically reported to the credit bureaus, which track and calculate credit scores. The more late payments you have, the lower your credit score will get.


Late payments can affect your credit score, credit card rewards, and even the interest rates you pay for a remaining bank balance if you surpass the grace period or regularly miss payment due dates. However, there are many steps you can take to avoid these issues, such as setting up automatic payments or finding credit cards with lower payment penalties. While many things may make this difficult, the simplest way to ensure you don’t receive late payment penalties is to ensure you pay your full credit card balance each month.




Author Bio

Mohamed Konate

Mohamed Konate is a personal finance expert, blogger, and marketing consultant based out of Toronto. He is a former financial services professional who worked for many years at major Canadian financial institutions where he managed the marketing strategy around various financial products ranging from credit cards to lines of credit. Mohamed is passionate about personal finance and holds a Bachelor in Business Administration from the University of Quebec (Montreal) and a Master in International Business from the University of Sherbrooke (Quebec).He is also the author of the Canadian Credit Card Guidebook. Read his full author bio

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