Cricket Wireless is fairly unique in that it's one of the few prepaid operators that pays all taxes for users. Customers on Cricket's $40 plan pay exactly $40 per month even if they are in a state or city like San Francisco or Chicago that imposes 20%+ taxes on prepaid airtime.
Although Cricket is tax-free it's not fee-free. Cricket charges fees for things that most other prepaid providers don't including a $15 fee to change your phone number, a $5 fee for making a payment by calling Cricket, as well as late payment fees. That's right, unlike virtually every other prepaid operator in the world, Cricket charges you a fee to reactivate your service after you miss a payment. Currently there's a $5 charge if you are three to 29 days late renewing your service and a $15 fee if you are 30 to 59 days late. As with most operators if you let service lapse too long (60 days with Cricket) your account will be cancelled and your number lost.
Effective June 16, 2016, Cricket's $5 late fee will apply to payments received more than 24 hours late. In other words, Cricket is shortening the payment grace period from two days to one.
Late fees are basically a tax on being poor or absent minded. I believe the most common reason why customers miss a payment is that they simply don't have the money. Losing phone service because you can't afford to pay is bad enough, but adding a $5 or $15 fee for late payments seems greedy and unnecessary. Sure, there are costs involved with handling account suspension and restoration, I doubt they are anywhere near five, let alone 15 dollars. Cutting off service when an account doesn't have the funds needed to renew and restoring it when a payment is made is surely handled by software, rather than a human. There are costs associated with writing the software code but at $5 per occurrence that that should be covered after 10 thousand or so late charges. After that late fees are pure profit. AT&T, you promote your Cricket on its value and all-in tax-free pricing, but why the sleazy late charges?
For customers who can't afford to make a full payment before their due date, Cricket does offer an option they call BridgePay that lets them keep their service active with a partial payment. It lets you get seven days of service by making a partial payment, plus a $5 BridgePay fee. The partial payment is $10 on the $25 and $40 plans, $15 on the $50 plan, $20 on the $60 plan and $35 on the $70 plan. You must make the rest of your monthly payment within seven days after the first one. BridgePay seems overly complicated and there's still that $5 fee, but it does give cash strapped customers a little more time to come up with their full monthly payment.
Source Cricket Wireless via Howard Forums, Image: Facebook