Are Mortgage Convenience Fees Legal?

You may question why you have to pay “convenience fees” when paying for certain things, such as your mortgage, over the phone or online. You may have questions about exactly what those fees cover. Are they even legal? 

Per the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the bureau has issued warnings against a number of companies, including many mortgage providers, about tricking customers into paying fees when paying bills over the phone or online. Pay-by-phone fees may be illegal when a mortgage provider does one of two things. 

When the company misleads you about fees

Mortgage companies have to be upfront with you when it comes to the fees they charge you. For example, a company may not tell you there is a $12 processing charge or convenience fee to process your payment if the fee is really an avoidable same-day payment fee. 

When the company fails to tell you about alternative options

Did you believe that the payment option with fees was the only one available to you? Some of the allegations made against many mortgage providers claim that these companies failed to inform consumers about the existence of cheaper payment options. If the mortgage company in the example above neglects to tell you that you could pay the same bill tomorrow and not suffer any penalty because of it, it may be breaking the law in doing so. 

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau continues to monitor the mortgage industry and others to help identify violators who unlawfully charge pay-by-phone and pay-online convenience fees. 

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