NEW YORK (MainStreet) -- Banks and credit-card companies are in a giving mood this holiday season, which means only that they'll put a little less coal in everyone's stocking.
Folks who fall behind in credit-card payments face an average penalty rate of 28.45%, according to a CreditCards.com survey of 100 U.S. credit cards. The good news is that the penalty is down slightly from a 28.60% APR in 2012. For those fortunate enough to be blissfully unaware, penalty rates are the ridiculous APRs a bank charges a cardholder for making a big mistake. Typically, cardholder have to be 60 days or more late with a payment for those rates to kick in.
Watch the video below for holiday shopping tips that will keep your credit score in tact:
If you're a cardholder whose finances rely heavily on revolving credit and the balance it allows you to carry, those penalty rates can be substantial. If you're carrying a $4,000 balance on a card charging 11.82% -- the average rate for those carrying a balance, according to the Federal Reserve -- a boost up to the 28.45% percent average penalty rate would cost an extra $665.20 in interest alone each year.