The origination costs of personal loans

All loans have 3 components: loan origination, loan servicing, and investing in the loan. Sometimes the lender wears all 3 hats; originating, servicing and funding the loan. Thats not always the case, as many mortgage borrowers have learned when their servicing is sold to another firm.

Its not a charity, its a business

Loan origination isnt free, even when there are no upfront fees. When you take out a personal loan youre paying the expense involved with loan origination. The loan originator isnt doing it for charity.

With some personal loans, the expense is baked into the interest rate and there are no upfront costs. For others, the borrower is expected to pay the expense at closing. Knowing which approach your lender uses can influence several important decisions about your loan.

Better credit means lower fees

If youre paying the loan origination fees upfront, then you may need to borrow more money to cover that cost. If youre trying to consolidate $10,000 in credit card debt, and the origination costs are $500, you may want to borrow $10,500.

Origination fees can vary by borrower. Higher credit scores and higher income levels should mean lower origination fees and definitely lower interest rates.

Does it matter how you pay?

Should borrowers care whether they pay the origination fee upfront, or its paid over time in the interest rate? In comparing quotes on personal loans, the borrower should compare the annual percentage rates (APRs) on the loans.

The APR calculations arent perfect but the intent is to let borrowers compare loan offers among lenders on an apples-to-apples basis.

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