"If you own a credit card, you know by now that if you're late with a payment the credit card company will charge you a late fee in addition to raising your interest rate. But did you know that they can raise your interest rate if you've made a late payment on any of your other cards, including those issued by other companies? Not only that, but your interest rates can skyrocket to 30 percent or more if you make a late payment on your car loan, mortgage, or even your phone bill! ?How can that be legal?? you may ask. The answer is found in the fine print of your credit card agreement, and it's called a universal default clause. According to the Institute of Consumer Financial Education , currently almost 40 percent of credit card issuers apply this policy to their customers." Caveat emptor!