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Is There a January Late-Fee Spike?

If I am someone who profits from other people paying their bills late — a big landlord, perhaps, who charges a 5 percent late fee on rents — I would have to think that January is my favorite month.

Why? So many people are traveling during late December, or having their schedules otherwise interrupted, or are perhaps afraid to open the mail at all since they’ve built up such large credit card bills, that they don’t get around to making their January payments on time. (And this is to say nothing of “breakage,” the unredeemed amount of gift cards, which also spikes this time of year; here’s what we wrote on the subject last year.)

I tend to be pretty prompt with bills myself, but January is always a tough deadline. Perhaps August is even worse, when people are also traveling?

I haven’t run across any data on late-fee monthly surges; have you? And has anyone else noticed the January (or August) problem?