Avoid hidden banking fees

Requesting an "advance" loan from a bank might sound wiser than going to the corner payday lender, but the fine print shows you’ll be nailed with exorbitant fees.

While paying a $10 fee to borrow $100 for 10 days from your bank might not sound outrageous, it actually means you’re paying 365% APR.

A bank will gladly lend you the money, then pay itself back when your next paycheck is direct-deposited into your account.

Because of the high fees charged for such a short length of time, customers may end up borrowing repeatedly to meet their obligations. The loans "are a debt trap," says Kathleen Day, spokeswoman for the Center for Responsible Lending.

Smart move: Although experts typically caution against taking a credit card cash advance, it's a better option than a bank payday loan.

You’ll typically pay an interest rate that’s a few percentage points higher than the standard credit card APR, plus a fee, which is usually about 3% to 5% of the cash advance amount.

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