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After applying for a line of credit and agreeing to your bill cycle, the last thing you want is an unexpected item on your statement. Unfortunately, hidden fees or surcharges take many borrowers by complete surprise.

These fees are your responsibility if you have already accepted a line of credit online. But the good news is that you can avoid these extra charges entirely if you read your contract carefully before you sign along the dotted line.

What Are Hidden Fees?

Despite their name, hidden fees aren’t written in invisible ink or size 1 font. You can find these charges alongside all the other fees you expect to see applied to your loan.

They earn their sneaky name because some online lenders don’t disclose these fees upfront with the typical interest rates, APR, or origination charge. Instead, they drop them into your contract without fanfare, using complicated language or “legalese” to make it harder for you to identify these charges and how they affect the cost of borrowing.

Are All Lines of Credit Chock-Full of Hidden Fees?

You can expect all lines of credit to come with certain fees. Interest and finance charges applied to your outstanding balance are by far the most common, but many others are normal when borrowing money online or in-person.

Legitimate lenders won’t charge anything else beyond these typical fees. Take, for example, Fora Credit. If you successfully get your next loan online through Fora, you will only pay interest on the draws you make against your loan limit. You won’t have to worry about hidden fees that bloat your borrowing costs.

How Can You Avoid Accepting an Online Personal Loan with Hidden Fees?

If disaster strikes at a time when you’re short on funds, you rush to find a line of credit online. Speed is an underrated quality in banking services in an emergency. You don’t want to have to wait for ages to learn whether you qualify, let alone to finally get your funds. Any delay in this process means you can’t pay an unexpected yet essential expense.

Given the pressure surrounding your emergency, it’s easy to rush through the borrowing process and gloss over the important black-and-white terms of your contract. But this is exactly what some lenders hope you do.

You have a better chance of catching hidden fees in your contract by allowing yourself the time to read your online loan contract. Don’t treat this like the last cookie agreement you accepted without opening the terms of service. You need to read every line of your contract to understand your rights and responsibilities.

When reading your contract, keep your eyes peeled for the following fees:

  • Advance payment fees
  • Annual fees
  • Draw fees
  • Late fees
  • Origination fees

If you have any questions about what your contract means, get a second opinion from a loved one you trust. Next, talk to your lender to confirm that you understand all the fees that may apply to your line of credit.

It may not seem like you have the time to do all this in an emergency, but you do. The perk of using online loans is that the rest of the process is fast, so you can take the time to read over everything carefully without worrying about delays.