"No bank is going to advertise that they are waiving fees," Hobson said. But the reality is that they often will, but usually on a case-by-case basis.
If you're a good customer who had not paid a bill late until now, absolutely pick up the phone or send an e-mail and ask if the credit card company would consider waiving the fee.
"When you're a good customer, and you're not a serial late payer, you have a much better shot," Hobson said.
Some banks and credit card companies will waive the fee once, especially if you say you'll take your business elsewhere.
"They want to keep the good-paying customer. Always, always ask. And the person on the phone is empowered to make that decision," Hobson said. "You don't have to demand the manager instantly or supervisor."
Mellody Hobson, president of Ariel Investments in Chicago, is "Good Morning America's" personal finance expert. Click here to visit her Web site, www.arielinvestments.com. Amar Parikh, director of corporate affairs for Ariel Investments, contributed to this report..