Written by: Bryan Daly
Fact-checked by: Caitlin Wood
Personal loans are one of the most popular financial tools among Canadian consumers. They offer the opportunity to cover a wide variety of debt and expenses, from unexpected travel to unfortunate car issues.
While finding a personal loan that best meets your unique needs may seem like a difficult task, there’s a huge selection of lenders for you to choose from. For everything you need to know about the best personal loan options in Canada and how to choose the best fit for your finances, keep reading.
Where Can You Get The Best Personal Loans In Canada
- Up to $50,000
- Prime to 46.96%
- 3-60 months
- $1,000 - $10,000
- $5,000 - $50,000
- 6.99% - 22.99%
- Up to 84 Months
- Up to $35,000
- 9.99% - 46.96%
- 6 - 60 Months
- $1,000 - $25,000
- 7.5% - 31.5%
- 36 - 60 months
- $5,000 - $35,000
- Starting at 9.99%
- 6 - 60 Months
- $500 - $1000+
- 28% to 32%
- 3 Months
- $500 - $12,500
- 19.99% to 34.99%
- No minimum term
- $500 - $100,000
- 9.99% - 46.96%
- $300 – $35,000
- 9.9% - 47.72%
- 3 - 60 Months
- Up to $50,000
- 19.99% - 39.99%
- 6 - 120
What Do You Need To Get A Personal Loan?
Every lender’s application process will vary slightly, however, most personal loan lenders examine a few key factors when it comes to approving a borrower. Some areas that the majority of lenders look include, but aren’t limited to:
- Gross Monthly Or Yearly Income: Lenders typically have a minimum income threshold you’ll need to be eligible for a loan. You’ll need to provide proof of income when applying which may include pay stubs or your T4.
- Debt-To-Income Ratio – A debt-to-income ratio of 35% – 45% is the highest lenders want to see in an applicant. Those with higher ratios generally have a lower chance of approval. Lenders may assess this information by asking for your bank statements.
- Employment History – Job stability is another factor lenders consider when assessing your creditworthiness. Usually, lenders like to see you’ve been employed for at least 3-6 months with your current employer. You may need to provide an employment letter as proof of employment.
- Credit Report And Credit Score – As part of your application process, your lender may ask your permission to do a credit check. Your credit history can greatly affect your ability to qualify for a loan and secure a low-interest rate. Some lenders may have a minimum credit score that borrowers must meet to be eligible.
Documents Required To Apply For A Personal Loan
- Personal Identification Documents – You’ll need to provide and prove your name, date of birth, and address. You can use 1 or 2 government-issued IDs (1 photo) such as a driver’s license or passport.
- Social Insurance Number (SIN) – Some lenders may request your SIN.
- Employment Documents – You’ll need to provide proof of employment by either providing pay stubs, tax forms or employment letters.
- Financial Documents – Most lenders will require 3 months’ worth of bank statements
- Bank Account Details – You may need to provide a void cheque for direct deposit and other bank details for withdrawal of payments.
How To Apply For A Personal Loan
When it comes to applying for a loan, keep in mind that every lender’s process is different. That being said, these are the general steps you should take when applying for a personal loan:
- Find the right lender by comparing features, amounts, interest rates, terms, consumer reviews, etc.
- Choose the lender that best fits your needs.
- Submit an application. You’ll be required to provide information such as:
- Contact information (address, phone number, email)
- Employment information (where you work, your job title)
- Income information (pay stubs, or bank statements to prove direct deposit amounts)
- Wait to hear back from the lender. This can take anywhere from a couple of hours to a couple of days.
- Submit any additional information or documents needed.
- Receive your loan agreement, read through it carefully, and sign on the dotted line.
- Wait to receive your funds via e-Transfer or direct deposit.
Borrow Up To $50,000
Types Of Personal Loans You Can Apply For
There are several different types of personal loans you can apply for. Each type has its own advantages and disadvantages, so one may be better suited for you than the others.
Secured vs. Unsecured Personal Loans
- Secured Personal Loan – When you want a relatively large amount of loan money, your lender will need more reassurance that you’ll pay them back. One way of reassuring them is by offering up one or more assets as compensation in the event that you default on your payments for too long. While doing this often gives you a better chance of being approved for a large loan and a lower interest rate to go with it, be extremely cautious. If your debt grows too large and you can’t make your payments, your lender has the right to seize your asset
- Unsecured Personal Loan – It’s called “unsecured” because it involves no collateral, only money. Meaning if you default on the loan, the lender may charge you fees or sell your debt to a collection agency, but it cannot seize any of your assets to recoup payment. Since unsecured loans don’t involve collateral, the interest rate you get is likely to be higher than that of a secured loan. Depending on the size of the loan, you may also need to have a better income, healthier credit, and even a co-signer before you’ll be approved.
Co-Signed Personal Loans
If you have bad credit or poor finances and are unable to qualify for a personal loan, then you should consider getting a cosigner. A co-signer is an individual who agrees to take responsibility for the loan in the event you default. A co-signer is typically someone you know such as a family member or friend, however, they must have good credit and finances to be accepted by the lender. Having someone co-sign your loan not only reduces the risk for the lender but also gives you a higher chance of approval and the ability to secure a lower interest rate.
Bad Credit Personal Loans
If you have bad credit, you can apply with an alternative lender. These lenders have flexible requirements compared to more traditional financial institutions like banks. In fact, some personal loan lenders don’t require credit checks, they simply base your eligibility on your overall financial health. However, it’s important to note, that these lenders often charge higher interest rates, making them a more expensive option.
Fixed vs. Variable Rate Personal Loans
- Fixed Rate Personal Loan – With a fixed rate, your loan’s interest rate will be calculated in advance. Once it’s been approved, you’ll pay that same interest rate, meaning it won’t increase or decrease for the duration of the loan term. This type of rate can be beneficial because it never fluctuates, making it easier to budget.
- Variable Rate Personal Loan – A variable rate, on the other hand, is going to fluctuate in accordance with the current market premium, otherwise known as the “prime rate”. This can sometimes be beneficial because if the prime rate goes down, you could save a decent amount of money over time. Then again, if the prime rate goes up during your payment schedule, the rate you’re currently paying will rise.
How To Choose The Best Personal Loan?
When it comes to choosing the best personal loan for your needs, it’s important to compare all the main features, these include:
- Loan Amount – How much money do you want to borrow and which lenders offer loans that match your needs?
- Loan Term – Your loan term will depend on how much your borrow, just keep in find that longer terms mean lower payments but the total cost of your loan will be higher.
- APR – APR is the cost of both the interest rate and fees you’ll pay to borrow a certain amount of money. This is important to compare as it illustrates the real cost of a loan.
- Fees – Most personal loans come with a variety of fees including, origination fees, NSF fees, early payment fees, administrative fees, loans insurance, etc.
- Repayment Options – Depending on the lender you’ll have the option to choose between weekly, bi-weekly, semi-monthly, or monthly payments. Choose whichever works best for your pay schedule.
How To Calculate Your Personal Loan Payments?
Your personal loan payments will be affected by a number of factors. To calculate your personal loan payments, you’ll need to consider the following factors:
Loan Amount – Depending on the size of the loan, it may take a number of months or even years to pay back in full.
Loan Term – The longer your loan term, the smaller your payments will be, however, it also leads to more interest paid over the life of the loan. Similarly, shorter terms mean higher payments but lower interest over the course of the loan.
Interest Rate – The interest rate you’re charged will also impact your personal loan payments. The higher the interest rates, the more you’ll need to pay back.
Payment Frequency – The frequency of your regular payments is another factor that can impact your loan payments. Every lender is different, however, most lenders offer the following general payment options:
- Monthly (12 payments per year)
- Weekly (52 payments per year)
- Bi-weekly (26 payments per year)
Compare Personal Loan Payments
Assuming you take a $10,000 loan that is being paid over 3 years, find out how much your personal loan payments will be at different interest rates and payment frequencies.
|Monthly Payment||Bi-Weekly Payment||Weekly Payment|
How Do Credit Scores Affect Personal Loan Interest Rates?
Along with your income, current debts, and your credit is one of the main factors that many lenders use to determine both your creditworthiness and interest rate. The higher your credit scores are, the less of a borrowing risk they’ll consider you and you’ll likely receive a lower rate because of it. However, the lower your credit scores are, the more of a borrowing risk you’ll be considered and you’ll likely receive a higher interest rate.
Cost Of A Loan For Different Credit Ranges
In this example, we used a $5,000 loan paid monthly with a two-year term to illustrate how credit scores can affect the total cost.
|Estimated Interest Rate Based On Credit Score||Total Interest Based On Lowest Estimated Rate||Total Interest Based On Highest Estimated Rate|
|Poor Credit Score (300 - 559)||18% to 46.96%||$11,981.78||$15,601.48|
|Fair Credit Score (560 - 659)||15% to 35%||$11,636.80||$14,044.47|
|Good Credit Score (660 - 724)||5% to 29.99%||$10,529.13||$13,417.84|
|Very Good Score (725 - 759)||3% to 17%||$10,315.49||$11,866.14|
|Excellent Credit Score (760 - 900)||1.5% to 10%||$10,157.00||$11,074.78|
Improving Your Credit To Apply For A Personal Loan
Working to improve your credit is a great step to take before applying for a personal loan. True, even if your credit health is low, there are subprime lenders out there who can grant you the personal loan you need. However, as we said, your interest rate can end up being extremely high, costing you hundreds, even thousands of dollars extra. So, if the present state of your creditworthiness is not where you’d like it to be, you can try to improve it gradually by:
- Pay your bills on time and in full, whenever possible.
- Avoid maxing out your credit cards or paying them off twice a month to keep your utilization ratio low.
- Get a free annual copy of your credit report and review it for errors and dispute any errors you find.
- If you can’t afford the full payment, at least make the minimum balance payment.
- Pay off any other debts you may have, starting with the largest.
How To Reduce Your Personal Loan Interest?
If you’re looking for a low-interest personal loan in Canada, there are a few things you can do to get one. Loan interest loans can be acquired by doing one or more of the following:
- Add Collateral – As previously mentioned, collateral reduces the lenders’ lending risk. As such, they are more willing to provide a low-interest loan when you offer an asset as collateral.
- Get A Cosigner – A cosigner is someone who takes responsibility for your loan in the event you’re unable to make your loan payments. Like collateral, this provides your lender with additional security. As such, you can get a low-interest loan in Canada, if you get a cosigner for your loan.
- Improve Your Credit Score – Your credit score can greatly impact the interest rate you get on your loan. The higher your credit score, the more likely you’ll qualify for a low-interest loan in Canada.
What Is A Guarantor Loan And How Can It Help Me?
If you’ve applied for a personal loan in the past but your application was denied due to your bad credit, there is another loan option that might work out better for you. It’s known as a “guarantor loan” and involves finding a cosigner prior to applying. Your own bad credit will no longer be an issue during the application process. Instead, your approval will hinge on your cosigner’s credit health. Ideally, your cosigner would need to have good credit and a decent income. They would also have to agree to take on the responsibility of your loan payments in the event that you default (you can no longer make your payments on time for some reason).
Personal Loan FAQs
Can I get a personal loan without a credit check?
What documents do I need to apply for a personal loan?
What interest rate can I get with a personal loan?
How do I increase my odds of qualifying for a personal loan?
How do I get a 100% guarantee approval for my personal loan?
Get The Loan You Want
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