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Best EI Loans In Canada 2024
📅 Last Updated: May 16, 2024
✏️ Written by: Bryan Daly
🕵️ Fact-checked by: Caitlin Wood

Losing your job is stressful, especially financially. Thankfully, there are resources to help you if you need extra cash to cover this month’s rent, groceries or other debts you may have. From Employment Insurance (EI) benefits to EI loans.

In fact, there are plenty of lenders in Canada that offer EI loans to Canadians who qualify for EI or other government benefits. If you’re struggling with debt, you may still be able to qualify for a personal loan, especially if you have good credit.

Best EI Loans In Canada 2024

AmountAPRTerm
(Months)
Types of LoanFunding Time
Lending Mate
Lending Mate
Up to $10,00043%36 – 60 Guarantor loanWith 24 hoursMore Info
Magical Credit
Magical Credit
Up to $20,00019.99% – 46.8%6 – 60Personal loanSame dayMore Info
LendDirect
LendDirect
Up to $15,00019.99% Open-endLine of creditSame dayMore Info
iCash
iCash
Up to $1,50015% – 23%Payday loanWithin 24 hoursMore Info
Captain Cash
Captain Cash
$500 – $75028% – 34.4%3Short-term loanSame dayMore Info
CashMoney
CashMoney
$100 – 10,0006 – 60Line of creditWithin 24 hoursMore Info
Cash 4 You
cash4You
$1,000 – $15,00046.93%12 – 60Personal loanWithin 24 hoursMore Info

Are You Eligible For A Loan On EI?

Obviously, one of the best things about EI loans is that you don’t need a job to qualify for financing, which other credit products may require you to have. That said, there are a few personal and financial criteria that you’ll need to meet, such as:

  • Income – You must still be earning enough money to cover your loan payments. Acceptable forms of basic income include Employment Insurance (EI), social assistance benefits, the Canadian Child Benefit, your pension, or other government benefits. 
  • Decent Credit – A few negative marks on your credit report isn’t always a deal-breaker. However, bad credit, a history of missed payments, or a recent bankruptcy can limit your options, increase your interest rate, or get you denied. Be sure to check your credit score before you apply for a EI loan.

Required Documents For An EI Loan 

requirements for an EI loan will vary by lender, however, here are a few documents you may have to provide:

  • Government photo identification (passport, driver’s license, etc.) 
  • Your latest bank statements of the account where you receive your EI benefits (proof of income & active bank account)
  • Your Social Insurance Number (SIN)
  • A utility bill or other proof of your address
  • A pre-authorized debit form or VOID cheque

Steps On How To Apply For EI Loans? 

If you’re looking for a loan while unemployed, here are a few steps on how to apply for an EI loan.

  • Step 1. Do You Meet The Minimum Requirements – Before applying with any lender, check to see if you meet their minimum requirements. This will save you a lot of time and unnecessary credit checks (if the lender requires it). Moreover, ensure that your lenders accepts alternative forms of income, such as EI benefits.
  • Step 2. Get A Quote – If you do meet the lender’s minimum requirements, check if they offer a free loan quote. This will allow you to see how much you qualify for and help you compare offers without formally applying.   
  • Step 3. Gather Your Documents – Once you know who you want to apply with, get all your documents ready for the formal application. Missing documents and inaccurate information can lead to loan rejections. 
  • Step 4. Wait For Response – Once you apply, it may take a few hours to a few days before you receive a response depending on the lender.
  • Step 5. Get Funded – If approved, you’ll receive the funds via direct deposit or e-transfer.

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Types Of Loans On EI

There are a few types of loans you can get while on government benefits including employment insurance (EI), CCB benefits, social assistance, and disability assistance income.

EI Payday Loans

Payday loans for unemployed individuals on EI benefits can be found in many parts of Canada. In fact, you could find a payday loan while on Employment Insurance (EI) in Ontario, Alberta, BC or any other province for that matter.

However, getting an EI payday loan while on Employment Insurance benefits in Quebec can prove difficult due to their lending laws. In Quebec, payday lenders can only charge an APR of 35%, which is why many payday lenders do not operate in Quebec. 

Regardless, payday loans are one of the easiest loans to qualify for while unemployed. This is because many lenders accept non-traditional sources of income including Employment Insurance (EI), CCB, social assistance, CPP and disability assistance.

Moreover, EI payday loans do not require credit checks. This makes payday loans a good option for those who are looking for quick cash and have poor credit. However, it’s important to remember that there are numerous risks associated with payday loans including high-interest rates, short-terms and the possibility of getting trapped in a payday loan cycle.

Maximum Cost Of A $100 Payday Loan By Province

ProvinceMax cost per $100 borrowed Max Penalty for Returned ChequeCooling Off PeriodLoan Rollover or Extension
Ontario$15n/a2 business daysNot allowed
British Columbia$15$202 business daysNot allowed
Alberta$15$252 business daysNot allowed
New Brunswick$15$2048 hours (not including Sundays and holidays)Not allowed
Manitoba$17$2048 hours (not including Sundays and holidays)Allowed
Saskatchewan$17$25Next business dayNot allowed
Nova Scotia$17$40 (default penalty)Next business day (or 2 days for online payday lenders)Not allowed
Newfoundland and Labrador$14$202 business daysAllowed
Prince Edward Island$15n/a2 business daysAllowed
Quebec35% AIRn/a10 daysNot allowed

EI Installment Loans

There are lenders in Canada who offer EI installment loans to those who are unemployed whether due to a disability, an injury, pregnancy or simply because their work had to let them go. Generally, these installment loans will have higher rates and lower term lengths and amounts due to the added risk they take by lending to someone who is considered risky.

However, installment loans are typically a better choice than payday loans as they have longer terms and lower rates, making them a more affordable option. 

EI Auto Title Loans

Vehicle title loans are another form of credit that may not require employment verification. So long as you have a source of income (ex: Employment Insurance), you should be able to qualify for an auto title loan. The requirements are a lot more flexible with an auto title loan because your car title acts as collateral for the loan.

As such, if you miss a payment, the lender can use your vehicle as collateral.  

EI Lines Of Credit

Another loan you can get without employment verification is a line of credit. Lines of credit are great for unexpected expenses, as you’ll have a reserve of cash you can use whenever you need it. You only need to pay interest on the amount you use and like a credit card, you regain access to the funds as you repay the amount you use. 

How To Increase Your Chances Of Qualifying For An EI Loan?

Essentially, getting approved for the best EI loan is all about your creditworthiness. While it can be embarrassing to declare your lack of employment, your lender simply wants to know you’ll be able to pay off your debt without issue. As long as you’re a permanent Canadian resident with decent credit, are past the age of majority in your province or territory, and have an income large enough to cover your payments, then you shouldn’t have too much problem qualifying for an EI loan.   

In addition, there are a few things you can do to increase your chances of approval for a favourable loan amount, interest rate, and repayment plan, including but not restricted to:

Complete Your Application Honestly

Although every lender has different requirements for their potential clients, filling out any questions or details they request is the first step to any good loan application. Doing this allows them to check your financial health and lets them know you’re a serious borrower.   

Increase Your Credit Score

Not every lender checks credit. However, many do because it tells them how you’ve handled debt in the past. You can gradually improve your credit score by paying down your existing credit products, disputing errors on your credit report, and other simple tactics. 

Consolidate Existing Debts

The more debt you have, the less likely you are to get approved for the loan you want, This is because a lender will see that whatever income you have coming is already being used to cover the preexisting debt payment.

Provide Security

Some lenders will accept collateral, such as your vehicle, home, or another asset. This can both increase your approval odds and help you secure better loan conditions. Be careful. If you default on too many payments, your lender will have the right to seize your asset and sell it to cover your debt. 

Get A Cosigner

Otherwise known as a guarantor, you can also increase your approval chances by getting a stronger candidate to cosign your application. Make sure they’re fully aware that your loan payments will fall to them if you cannot afford them. 

How To Choose The Right Lender? 

Remember, there are plenty of lenders across Canada that can offer you an unemployment loan. However, you might have to look outside of banks and credit unions, where requirements can be tougher, meaning you usually need a job to qualify. 

Instead, you may need to apply with an alternative lending company, such as a private lender, no-credit-check lender, or payday lender. These institutions are usually much more lenient with their restrictions, as long as you can afford your loan payments. They can also have faster approval times and more adjustable repayment plans.

Do Your Research And Watch Out For Scams

It’s important to do research and compare a few different lenders before giving away any personal or financial information. After all, one of the main risks associated with EI loans is the higher interest rates and fees.  

Alternative lenders are harder for the government to regulate, leading to a larger probability of scamming, fraud, and illegal rates. These scammers look to sell you a terrible loan for an unreasonable cost. In some cases, they may try to steal your identity, money, and financial information.

Be Careful Of Payday Loans For Unemployed On Benefits In Canada

For example, a payday loan is a small lump sum ($100 – $1,500) that gets deposited directly into your bank account. These loans are tempting because there are very few requirements and approval times are only one or two days. Plus, some payday lenders will approve you without a job, provided you have some sort of monthly income. 

Nonetheless, payday loans are risky because they have very high-interest rates (300% – 500% APR) and short repayment terms of 14 days. While they can be a viable option during an emergency, there are also many fees and possible penalties. All of this can make a payday loan far more expensive than a traditional EI loan.

Prior to applying, be sure your lender has legitimate credentials. This can include a long history of satisfied customers and a good rating from the Better Business Bureau.

Warnings To Look Out For EI Loans

Don’t forget, that there are a few risks that you must consider before you apply for an EI loan in Canada. Although you shouldn’t have trouble finding a loan that suits your preferences, these dangers can definitely affect your credit and finances. 

Here are a few warning signs to look out for with EI loans: 

  • The financial burden of your payments – While a loan can help you deal with your expenses, the rates and fees involved cause debt. So you must be careful and not apply for more money than you can handle.
  • Higher APR (Annual Percentage Rate) – Alternative lenders can take on riskier clients because they balance out the equation with higher interest rates than some banks or credit unions. Extra interest may also apply if you miss payments
  • Fees – While interest will likely make up the main portion of your final loan balance, there may be several administrative fees associated with your unemployment loan, like loan origination, cheque cashing, etc.
  • Automatic debits – Most lenders will automatically withdraw your loan payments from your bank account. They may charge you a non-sufficient fund (NSF) or overdraft penalty if you don’t have enough money in the account on the due date. 
  • Short terms – Although conditions vary from lender to lender, many will only offer you a short repayment term to minimize the risk involved. If you can’t afford to pay all your loan costs by the end of your term, bad debt problems can occur.
  • Scamming and predatory rates – As mentioned, predatory lenders and scam artists can use your desperation to trick you out of your money. If the deal looks too good to be true or they claim to approve 100% of their clients, walk away. 

Why Do Consumers Need Loans On EI? 

Obviously, it can be difficult to cover your daily expenses when you don’t have a job or you’re self-employed with an inconsistent income. It can also be tough when you’re retired or something is preventing you from working, such as a criminal record, a medical issue, or an unexpected event.

Overall, an employment loan can be a more affordable way of dealing with those issues because you can pay off all your most important expenses at once, leaving you with a single (often adjustable) repayment plan to follow. 

Because the loan is liquid cash in your bank account, you can use it for almost any expense. That said since you could be in debt for some time, it’s best if you only use your EI loan to cover your essential costs, such as:

  • Groceries and household supplies
  • Home maintenance or repairs
  • Vehicle maintenance or repairs
  • High-interest debt consolidation
  • Medications or other health costs
  • Utilities and other household bills

EI Loans FAQs

Can I qualify for a loan if I’m unemployed?

Yes, you can still qualify for a loan even if you’re unemployed, given that you receive income through a non-traditional source. This includes income received through investments, rental property, pension, disability benefits, and other government benefits such as the Canada Child Benefit (CCB).

How much money can I borrow if I’m on EI?

The amount you can borrow depends on the lender you apply with and the stability and level of your alternative income. In general, you can borrow as little as $100 to $35,000.

What documents do I need to provide to qualify for an EI loan?

When applying for an unemployment loan, you’ll need to provide certain documents to prove your identity, address, and income. This includes a government-issued photo ID, bank statements, SIN number, and utility bills. In addition, you will need to provide your pre-authorized debit information or a void cheque to authorize payments.

Searching For The Best EI Loan?

No matter the reason for your unemployment, there are sure to be some lenders in your area that can offer you a loan with favourable conditions. If you’d like to be connected with those financing sources, there’s no better referral network than Loans Canada. 

Bryan Daly avatar on Loans Canada
Bryan Daly

Bryan is a graduate of Dawson College and Concordia University. He has been writing for Loans Canada for five years, covering all things related to personal finance, and aims to pursue the craft of professional writing for many years to come. In his spare time, he maintains a passion for editing, writing screenplays, staying fit, and travelling the world in search of the coolest sights our planet has to offer.

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