Written by: Bryan Daly
Fact-checked by: Caitlin Wood
Being a single mom or a single parent can be extremely difficult, expensive and time-consuming. Especially if you don’t have enough savings to cover the costs that come your way. Such as groceries, household supplies, and your child’s education. You may also have more than one child at home, which can add even more costs to your daily budget.
Yes, living on a single income and dealing with your children’s (as well as your own) emotional and financial needs can certainly be a chore. But, there are plenty of ways to pay for all the expenses you encounter. Like applying for a loan or benefits from the government.
Financial Support Available For Single Moms And Parents
There are a few different options that single moms and dads can apply for in Canada, including but not necessarily limited to:
Single moms and dads can also apply for personal loans with an alternative lender. If they can’t qualify with their financial institution or their government benefits are insufficient. Here, approval requirements are less strict and applications can be completed online within a few minutes. You can even borrow against your CCB or provincial/territorial benefits. Additionally, approval times can be faster than those of a financial institution.
However, there are some risks involved with applying for an alternative loan, such as:
- Higher interest rates and fees may apply
- Loans may be smaller and have shorter terms, as well as larger payments
- Private companies are harder for the government to regulate, so there’s more potential for scamming fraud and identity theft
Bank & Credit Union Loans
When they need financing, most people will turn to their financial institution, where large loans, low-interest rates, and long repayment terms are often available to qualified members. Financial institutions also have much better security than other lending sources. On the other hand, banks and credit unions generally have tough borrowing guidelines to surpass, so it can be hard to get approved for a loan if you:
- Have a single household income
- Are only working part-time or living off government benefits
- Have no collateral or other loan security to offer
- Have bad credit or a credit history filled with missed payments
In Canada, single moms and dads can apply for benefits from the federal government, such as the:
Canada Child Benefit (CCB)
Administered by the Canada Revenue Agency, the Canada Child Benefit provides single parents with a monthly tax-free payment, if their child is under 18. Payment sizes can vary based on the parent’s situation, how many children are present and what province/territory the family resides in.
HST/GST Tax Credit
Single parents and families with low incomes can also get a tax-free quarterly payment to help offset most or all of the Goods and Services Taxes and/or Harmonized Sales Taxes they have to pay yearly. When you file your income taxes, the CRA will automatically consider you for this credit.
Provincial/Territorial Credits & Benefits
Depending on where you live, you may be eligible for other government programs. For example, single parents in British Columbia can obtain the
BC Early Childhood Tax Benefit, which offers up a monthly tax-free payment to families raising children under the age of 6.
Types of Loans Single Parents Can Get With Alternative Lenders
Whether you’re a single mom or dad, rest assured that you can find plenty of different alternative loan options in Canada, including but not restricted to:
- Personal Loan – A lump sum of liquid money that gets deposited directly into your bank account and must be repaid in installments. Don’t forget, an alternative personal loan can be easier to qualify for than a bank personal loan.
- No Credit Check Loan – This is a personal loan where the lender doesn’t check your credit report or credit score before approving you. Instead, approval is based on other factors, like your income and unpaid debts.
- CCB Loans – Some lenders can give you a cash advance using your Canada Child Benefit as an alternative form of payment since it can technically qualify as income.
- Bad Credit Loans – If you can’t get approved with a bank because you have a bad credit score of 300 – 600, it’s because you’re considered too risky. Thankfully, there are many bad credit lenders with easier approval requirements in Canada.
- Payday Loans – As a last resort, you can apply for a payday loan, which can have very easy approval requirements. However, payday loans come with extremely high rates, short terms (14 days) and severe defaulting penalties.
What Are the Minimum Requirements to Qualify For a Loan as a Single Mom or Dad?
The specific loan approval requirements you’ll run into can vary depending on which lender you apply with, how much money you’d like to borrow and how strong your finances are. Here are some of the main personal and financial requirements you should have to qualify for a decent loan, interest rate and payment term as a single parent:
A credit score of 650 – 900 means you’ve been good at making payments in the past, so you may be eligible for a favourable loan. If you’re unsure of what your credit score is, you can check it for free on Loan Canada’s Compare Hub.
That said, some lenders don’t check credit and will base your approval on other factors.
The most important element for loan approval is your income and employment status. The best way to qualify for a suitable loan is to apply with a steady full-time job and an income sufficient enough to cover your payments.
The better your household income is, the easier it will be to qualify for a large loan with a decent interest rate and term. Most lenders want you to have a monthly income of at least $1,000 – $2,000 before approving you.
Lenders may also inspect your assets and liabilities, such as your home or vehicle. Since these properties can qualify as huge debts, some lenders may deny your application if you’re still in the middle of paying them down.
The more outstanding debts you have, the harder it is to qualify for an appealing loan, interest rate, and repayment term. So, before you apply, it can be helpful to consolidate as many of your unpaid debts as possible.
How To Increase Your Chances Of Getting A Loan As A Single Mom?
Whether you’re a working mom or a single mom on benefits in Canada, getting a loan can be difficult. Don’t worry, because there are a few ways to help you qualify for an affordable loan.
Research And Compare Quotes
There are tons of online and physical lenders all across Canada, each offering different rates and loan conditions. Any good lender should also give you a free loan quote to factor into your budget. Be warned, the quote you receive may not equal the actual cost of your loan.
Improve Your Finances And Credit
While it can be difficult to maintain a full-time or second job as a single mom or dad, any income and savings you can generate will help make your application stronger. By paying down debt and not using too much credit, you can also gradually increase your credit score.
Find A Cosigner
If your income or credit score isn’t good enough to qualify, a more stable borrower can cosign your loan, which should give you better approval odds. Your cosigner will become responsible for your loan payments if you can’t afford them on your own.
Apply For A Secured Loan
If you’re a single mom or dad, you can lower your risk as a borrower by offering collateral. You may get better approval odds by offering your lender some collateral, such as your vehicle or home. Be careful as a secured loan means your lender has the right to seize your asset if you miss too many payments.
Are You a Single Mom Looking For A Loan in Canada?
While it may seem difficult to get approved for a loan on a single income, it is possible. Even if you’re a single mom on benefits in Canada, there are many alternative lenders who may still qualify you. However, they will usually charge you a higher rate. While expensive, these loans can help you cover an urgent or unexpected expense.