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If you’re looking into personal loans, there are a range of fees and charges that you might not understand. You might have seen a credit guide with a list of possible fees and charges on a loan, but what do the fees actually represent? From interest charges to establishment fees, it can be overwhelming and confusing to know what you are actually paying for.

In this guide, we explain common personal loan fees and charges, what they are for, and how much you might expect to pay for them.

What are the common fees and charges?

Generally, personal loans can come with a range of additional fees and charges, which can include:

  • Establishment fees;
  • Ongoing fees (monthly, annual, or other);
  • Early repayment fees;
  • Missed repayment fees;
  • Documentation fees;
  • Encumbrance/REVV check fees;
  • Interest charges;
  • Early exit fees.
A personal loan might come with many or few of these fees. This will depend on the individual lender and any other influencing factors (i.e. if you miss a repayment, a fee could apply).

Establishment fees

An establishment fee (or application fee), is the upfront fee a lender charges for submitting your application. This fee can come as a standard rate, or as a percentage of how much you are applying for. Typically, the reason for this fee is to cover the costs involved in assessing your application and paying the staff to do so.

Ongoing fees

Typically, the two main types of ongoing fees are monthly fees or annual fees. However, there are other ongoing fees that are uncommon but still possible: semi-annual and quarterly fees.

Ongoing fees are all charged to cover the administration costs involved in managing your loan. The most common ongoing fee is a monthly fee, with around one quarter of personal loans accompanying this fee. Though there are some lenders that don’t charge any ongoing fees whatsoever.

Early repayment fees

While paying off a loan can be advantageous for you, some lenders will charge early repayment fees to try to make up for some of the lost fees and charges they would have earned. Many lenders won’t charge this fee, but there are some lenders who do. It could be helpful to find a lender that doesn’t charge this fee so that in the case you can make a repayment early, you won’t get charged for doing so.

Missed repayment fees

Missed repayment fees are avoidable if you make all of your repayments on time. In the case you miss a repayment, it can often result in a fee. Missed repayment fees are quite common for personal loans. While there are some lenders that don’t charge late fees, it is still important to prioritise making loan payments on time.

Documentation fees

Often, when applying for a loan, you can get charged a documentation fee. This fee represents the cost of preparing your loan documents for your application, which include:

  • Sufficient identification (e.g. driver’s licence, passport);
  • Your bank statements;
  • A current version of your credit report;
  • Any other specific information based on what you are borrowing (e.g. a car loan will require registration details and vehicle details including the make and model).

While some lenders charge a documentation fee, many will encompass this fee into the one application/establishment fee. Meaning, these costs are covered without being charged two seperate fees.

Encumbrance/REVV check fees

This fee is typically only applicable to car loans, as used cars need to be checked for encumbrances (meaning there is existing finance owing on the vehicle). This is an important cost to verify because if the previous owner hasn’t paid off their car loan in full before selling to you, the lender could repossess the car from you if they default on their loan.

Again, most lenders don’t charge this fee. Plus, you can easily check the encumbrance status of a vehicle yourself for just $2 through the Personal Property Securities Register, so there’s no need to pay a lot of money for this fee.

Interest charges

In general, the most common and expensive charge you can expect on a personal loan is the interest charge. Interest is calculated as a percentage of the loan balance, and is essentially the cost of borrowing the lender’s money. A difference in an interest rate can often save you hundreds, if not thousands of dollars, which is why it is weighted with such importance. Often, the interest rate is used as a baseline to estimate how much extra in fees you will pay on a loan. However, the annual percentage rate (APR) is an actual indication of all fees and interest charges on a personal loan product.

The comparison rate, often referred to as the APR, is an actual estimation of the fees and charges associated with the loan. However, it does not factor in some fees like early repayment fees.

To give you an idea of how much interest can make a difference to overall prices, information provided by has been used to generate the following table with interest rates represented per annum (p.a):

Interest rate $20,000 loan $30,000 loan $50,000 loan
6% p.a $23,199 $34,799 $57,998
10% p.a $25,496 $38,245 $63,741
15% p.a $28,548 $42,822 $71,370

Early exit fees

Early exit fees were banned on personal loans with variable interest rates, but are still common with fixed interest rate loans. Early exit fees, also known as break fees, are charged to represent an amount equal to the lender’s estimate of its losses incurred from you paying off your loan before your agreed loan term.

These costs can vary greatly from lender to lender, depending on how much you had already paid off and how long the agreed loan term was. Not all lenders charge this fee, so it is best to do your research before you settle on a lender.

An estimation of prices

As mentioned above, you can expect to pay any combination of these fees or charges on a personal loan. The prices of fees charged will vary greatly depending on the individual lender. However, to give you a general estimation of how much you might expect to pay, the average, minimum and maximum amount of these fees is provided in the table below:

Fee Average Minimum Maximum
Establishment fee $270 $0 $600
Annual fees $1 $0 $110
Monthly fees $2 $0 $15
Other ongoing fees $5 $0 $400
Early repayment fees $100 $0 $1,000
Missed repayment fees $25 $0 $50
Documentation fees $5 $0 $125
Encumbrance/RVV check fees $5 $0 $100

Information sourced from

Written by: Jacaranda team