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Credit Cards

Credit card late fees can cost up to $40—here are the best cards that don't charge them

Credit card late fees can cost up to $40 if you miss a payment or pay late. Here are some cards that have no penalty, helping you avoid sizable fees.

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If you've ever missed a credit card bill payment, you may worry that a late fee is heading your way. Credit card late fees can cost up to $40 and put a serious dent in your wallet if you make a habit of paying past the due date. The exact time a credit card payment is considered late varies, but payments are due the same day and time every month, usually by 5 p.m. (but sometimes later).

Late fees are completely avoidable if you pay your bill on time, whether it's manually or through autopay. But if you're facing financial hardship due to the coronavirus or sometimes forget to pay your bill, there are credit cards with no late fees. Some cards may have no late fees whatsoever, while other cards may waive your first late fee.

Below, Select breaks down what credit cards have no late fees, so you can have some peace of mind that you won't incur a fee as high as $40 for late payments.

Best credit cards with no late fees

Credit cards that have no late fees whatsoever

The cards listed below have no late fees whatsoever and also do away with many other fees that are characteristic of other credit cards. All of the cards mentioned have no annual fee and some also have no foreign transaction fees and no penalty APR (which means if you pay late, your interest rate won't spike).

Citi Simplicity® Card

On Citi's secure site
  • Rewards

    None

  • Welcome bonus

    None

  • Annual fee

    $0

  • Intro APR

    0% for 21 months on balance transfers; 0% for 12 months on purchases

  • Regular APR

    14.74% to 24.74% variable

  • Balance transfer fee

    5% of each balance transfer; $5 minimum

  • Foreign transaction fee

    3%

  • Credit needed

    Excellent/Good

See our methodology, terms apply.

Pros

  • No annual fee
  • Balances can be transferred within 4 months from account opening
  • One of the longest intro periods for balance transfers

Cons

  • 3% foreign transaction fee
  • No rewards program

Apple Card

Information about the Apple Card has been collected independently by CNBC and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of the card prior to publication.
  • Rewards

    3% cash back on goods or services purchased directly from Apple (including Apple retail stores, the Apple online store, the App Store, iTunes, Apple Music and other Apple-owned properties) on Uber and UberEats, at Walgreens and Duane Reade stores, on the Walgreens app and on Walgreens.com, in T-Mobile stores, at Nike, at Exxon and Mobil stations and at Panera Bread, 2% cash back on Apple Pay purchases and 1% cash back on all other purchases

  • Welcome bonus

    None

  • Annual fee

    $0

  • Intro APR

    None

  • Regular APR

    10.99% to 21.99% variable

  • Balance transfer fee

    None

  • Foreign transaction fee

    None

  • Credit needed

    N/A

See our methodology, terms apply.

Pros

  • No annual fee
  • 3% cash back on goods or services purchased directly from Apple, on Uber and UberEats, at Walgreens and Duane Reade stores, on the Walgreens app and on Walgreens.com and in T-Mobile stores and at Nike
  • No fee charged on purchases made outside the U.S.
  • No late payment fee

Cons

  • Apple Pay isn’t accepted everywhere
  • Purchases with the physical card only earn 1% cash back
  • No special financing offers or welcome bonus
  • Estimated rewards earned after 1 year: $231
  • Estimated rewards earned after 5 years: $1,156

To calculate the rewards you could earn using your Apple Pay card, we assumed that cardholders will use Apple Pay for 70% of their purchases at a rate of 2% cash back, since 70% of all merchants accept Apple Pay, according to an Apple spokesperson. We also assumed the cardholder would use the physical Apple Card for the other 30% of their purchases at a rate of 1% cash back. You may earn a higher or lower return depending on your spending habits.

Petal® 2 "Cash Back, No Fees" Visa® Credit Card

On Petal's secure site
  • Rewards

    1% cash back on eligible purchases right away and up to 1.5% cash back on eligible purchases after making 12 on-time monthly payments; 2% to 10% cash back at select merchants

  • Welcome bonus

    None

  • Annual fee

    $0

  • Intro APR

    None

  • Regular APR

    12.99% - 26.99% variable

  • Balance transfer fee

    None

  • Foreign transaction fee

    None

  • Credit needed

    Fair, Good, No Credit

See our methodology, terms apply.

Pros

  • No credit history required (if you do have a credit history, that does factor into the credit decision)
  • No fees whatsoever
  • 1% cash back on eligible purchases right away and up to 1.5% cash back on eligible purchases after making 12 on-time monthly payments; 2% to 10% cash back at select merchants
  • Credit limits range from $300 to $10,000

Cons

  • Card isn't for rebuilding credit, but it's good for building credit
  • No special financing offers
  • No welcome bonus
  • Estimated rewards earned after 1 year: $249
  • Estimated rewards earned after 5 years: $1,577

Credit cards that waive your first late fee

All Discover credit cards waive your first late fee. This one-time fee waiver is a great safety net and should encourage you to make on-time payments. Consider setting up autopay for at least the minimum payment so you can ensure you don't make the same mistake twice. In addition to waiving your first late fee, all Discover cards have no penalty APR and no foreign transaction fees.

Discover it® Cash Back

On Discover's secure site
  • Rewards

    Earn 5% cash back on everyday purchases at different places each quarter like Amazon.com, grocery stores, restaurants, gas stations and when you pay using PayPal, up to the quarterly maximum when you activate.

  • Welcome bonus

    Discover will match all the cash back you've earned at the end of your first year.

  • Annual fee

    $0

  • Intro APR

    0% for 14 months on purchases

  • Regular APR

    11.99% - 22.99% Variable

  • Balance transfer fee

    3% intro balance transfer fee, up to 5% fee on future balance transfers (see terms)*

  • Foreign transaction fee

    None

  • Credit needed

    Good / Excellent

Pros

  • Cash-back program
  • Generous welcome bonus

Cons

  • Cash-back categories must be activated each quarter
  • Cash-back program limits earnings: Enroll every quarter to earn 5% cash back in various categories on up to $1,500 in quarterly purchases, then 1%
  • Estimated rewards earned after 1 year: $707
  • Estimated rewards earned after 5 years: $2,120

Rewards totals incorporate the cash back earned from the welcome bonus

Discover it® Miles

On Discover's secure site
  • Rewards

    Automatically earn unlimited 1.5x Miles on every dollar of every purchase - with no annual fee.

  • Welcome bonus

    Discover will match all the Miles you've earned at the end of your first year.

  • Annual fee

    $0

  • Intro APR

    0% Intro APR for14 months on purchases and 10.99% Intro APR for 14 months on balance transfers

  • Regular APR

    11.99% - 22.99% Variable

  • Balance transfer fee

    3% intro balance transfer fee, up to 5% fee on future balance transfers (see terms)*

  • Foreign transaction fee

    None

  • Credit needed

    Good / Excellent

Pros

  • Miles program
  • Generous welcome bonus
  • No blackout dates
  • No limit to the amount of miles you can earn and miles never expire

Cons

  • No Global Entry or TSA PreCheck statement credit offerings
  • Travel spending does not receive additional rewards
  • No airport lounge access
  • Estimated rewards earned after 1 year: $664
  • Estimated rewards earned after 5 years: $1,991

Rewards totals incorporate the points earned from the welcome bonus

Discover it® Student Cash Back

On Discover's secure site
  • Rewards

    Earn 5% cash back on everyday purchases at different places each quarter like Amazon.com, grocery stores, restaurants, gas stations and when you pay using PayPal, up to the quarterly maximum when you activate. Plus, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases – automatically.

  • Welcome bonus

    Discover will match all the cash back you've earned at the end of your first year

  • Annual fee

    $0

  • Intro APR

    0% for 6 months on purchases

  • Regular APR

    12.99% - 21.99% Variable

  • Balance transfer fee

    3% intro balance transfer fee, up to 5% fee on future balance transfers (see terms)*

  • Foreign transaction fee

    None

  • Credit needed

    Fair / New to Credit

Pros

  • Cash-back program
  • Generous welcome bonus

Cons

  • Cash-back categories must be activated each quarter
  • Cash-back program limits earnings: Enroll every quarter to earn 5% cash back in various categories on up to $1,500 in quarterly purchases, then 1%
  • You must be a U.S. citizen and college student to apply for this card

Our methodology

To determine which credit cards offer the best value, Select analyzed popular credit cards available in the U.S. We compared each card on a range of features, including rewards, welcome bonus, introductory and standard APR, balance transfer fee and foreign transaction fees, as well as factors such as required credit and customer reviews when available. We also considered additional perks, the application process and how easy it is for the consumer to redeem points.

Select teamed up with location intelligence firm Esri. The company's data development team provided the most up-to-date and comprehensive consumer spending data based on the 2019 Consumer Expenditure Surveys from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. You can read more about their methodology here.

Esri's data team created a sample annual budget of approximately $22,126 in retail spending. The budget includes six main categories: groceries ($5,174), gas ($2,218), dining out ($3,675), travel ($2,244), utilities ($4,862) and general purchases ($3,953). General purchases include items such as housekeeping supplies, clothing, personal care products, prescription drugs and vitamins, and other vehicle expenses.

Select used this budget to estimate how much the average consumer would save over the course of a year, two years and five years, assuming they would attempt to maximize their rewards potential by earning all welcome bonuses offered and using the card for all applicable purchases. All rewards total estimations are net the annual fee.

While the five-year estimates we've included are derived from a budget similar to the average American's spending, you may earn a higher or lower return depending on your shopping habits.

Don't miss: 8 common credit card fees and how to avoid them

Information about the Apple Card has been collected independently by Select and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuers of the cards prior to publication.

Petal 2 Visa Credit Card issued by WebBank, Member FDIC.

For rates and fees of the Discover it® Cash Back, click here.

For rates and fees of the Discover it® Miles, click here.

For rates and fees of the Discover it® Student Cash Back, click here.

Editorial Note: Opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the Select editorial staff’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any third party.