DEFINITION of 'Fine Print'

Contract terms and conditions, disclosures or other important information that are not included in the main body of a document, but in footnotes or a supplemental document. Reading and understanding the fine print is essential when entering into an agreement. It often contains information that the issuer does not want to call to the recipient's attention, but that is essential for the recipient to know.


The information in the fine print may be required by law or may be recommended by a company's legal department. For example, the fine print of a credit card agreement might include: the card's introductory APR, the APR after the introductory period ends, the length of the introductory period, the APR for balance transfers and cash advances, the card's annual fee, its late payment fee and other crucial details. As another example, if an investor was reading a public company's financial report, he or she might have to read the fine print to learn about the company's accounting methods, long-term debt, employee stock ownership, pending litigation and other issues.

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