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Kitchener, along with its neighboring cities of Cambridge and Waterloo ranks as Canada’s 10th largest census metropolitan area and, like the rest of Ontario, is an increasingly popular place to call home. The only problem is that, the higher the quality of life in a metropolitan area, the higher the average cost of living will be.
Luckily, there are various credit products available in the area that can help ease a bit of that financial burden. One of the most effective products is known as an installment loan. Keep reading to find out why this might be the solution you’re looking for.
When applying for an installment loan, avoid these common application mistakes.
Short vs. Long Term Installment Loans: Which is Better?
An installment loan is a form of financing where the borrower repays their loan in affordable installments over several months to multiple years. Of course, the actual length of your plan will depend mainly on how much you apply for and how financially stable you are.
While you should keep in mind that every lender has a different way of managing the products they offer, an installment loan can be divided into:
- Monthly payments (12 each year)
- Semi-monthly payments (24 each year)
- Weekly payments (52 each year)
- Bi-weekly payments (26 each year)
Despite the simplicity in dividing your installment loan into equal portions, some lenders will also permit you to repay your balance earlier than originally planned, penalty-free. So, if you theoretically earned a raise on your next paycheck, you may be able to use it to make a larger payment or, if you prefer, more than one payment that month.
Why would you choose this option? Because while a longer repayment term is often easier to afford (since your installments will be smaller and have a lower interest rate), a shorter term means that you’ll be out of debt faster.
That said, not all lenders will offer accelerated installments or adjust your plan, at least without charging a prepayment penalty, so be sure to ask about these factors before you actually apply for an installment loan in Kitchener.
How Can You Qualify for an Installment Loan?
Remember, every lender has a different way of doing business, meaning some have less passable restrictions when you apply for an installment loan, while others are more lenient. Therefore, it’s important to compare a few lenders in your area and prepare your finances properly prior to entering the application process.
In Kitchener, you will generally come across two kinds of installment loan lenders:
Traditional Financial Institutions
Most Canadians are prone to apply with their bank or credit union, where installment loans have the potential to be larger, as well as have more reasonable rates and negotiable repayment plans.
Then again, prime lenders are usually more restrictive with their approval conditions. For instance, you might only qualify for a favorable loan if you have a sizeable income, some collateral to offer, little to no unpaid debt, and a good credit score of 660 – 900.
Those with lesser financial aptitude will have an easier time qualifying with a private, alternative, or bad credit institution. Subprime lenders are often more lenient with their restrictions, in exchange for smaller loans often with higher rates.
Essentially, an alternative financial institution would be the better option when you have a low or unsteady income, current problems with debt, no security of any kind, and/or a bad credit score of 300 – 600. There are even some lenders in this category that will not perform a credit check and will instead judge your creditworthiness based on your income and employment status.
What do bad credit lenders look for when approving borrowers? Check this out.
What All Lenders Look For
As previously mentioned, properly preparing yourself for the application process is an important part of applying for an installment loan in Kitchener, whether you’ve decided to go with a traditional or alternative lender. After all, your chances of approval will rely heavily on your ability to pay your installments as they are designated.
Not only will being prepared help you qualify with the lender of your choosing, but it can also earn you a larger, less expensive, and more adjustable installment loan.
So, it’s a good idea to take the following precautionary measures before you apply:
- Find a stable source of employment (preferably full-time)
- Regularly transfer a portion of your income into an emergency savings fund
- Consolidate any unpaid debts from other lenders/companies
- Gather any relevant financial documents (recent bank statements, etc.)
- Check your credit report for signs of fraud, identity theft, or informational errors
- Get your credit score as high as possible
- Ask a trusted friend or family member to cosign your application
- Offer loan security (collateral)
What is an Unsecured Installment Loan?
When applying for a particularly large installment loan, it may work in your favor to offer up some form of collateral, meaning allow your lender to hold temporary possession over the title to one of your assets, such as your home or vehicle (for more information about how secured loans work, click here).
This will effectively reduce the risk that the lender is taking by approving you because, in the unlikely event that you default, they will have something to sell as a way to recuperate their losses. As a result, you’ll have access to more money at a lower rate. This is commonly known as a ‘secured’ loan.
However, if you don’t own any assets or are uncertain about potentially losing the ones you already have, you can also apply for a much safer unsecured installment loan through most lenders in Kitchener.
Better Financial Strength is Necessary
The only problem with an unsecured installment loan is that it may be accompanied by a higher interest rate and a somewhat less adjustable repayment plan, simply due to the lack of security provided and the increased risk involved for the lender.
All this to say that if you are going to apply for an unsecured installment loan (especially a large one) it’s even more crucial to have strong financial elements, such as a high income, limited outstanding debt, and a credit score of at least 660 – 900.
Who Are Payday Loan Lenders?
Though most Kitchener residents will apply with their local bank or alternative financial establishment, there is actually a third lending option where you can get approved for a short term installment based loan. These are known as payday loan lenders and are common enough in Ontario, as well as in many other parts of Canada.
A payday loan is a small amount of credit, generally $100 – $1,500 maximum and may be appealing because qualifying is very easy. On top of that, any money you’re approved for is usually be deposited into your bank account in as little as 24 hours and no credit check will be performed when you apply.
As a matter of fact, the only approval factors taken into consideration are a steady job, a monthly income, proof of your Ontario residency, and to be at least 19 years of age. Most payday lenders won’t even decline your application if you have outstanding debts or a recent consumer proposal/bankruptcy on your credit report.
The High Risks Involved With Payday Loans
Unfortunately, while payday loans are convenient and easy to get, they are really only best suited for small-scale financial emergencies or when you have extremely unhealthy finances, as there are many negative aspects involved.
For example, the average payday loan term is only 14 days long. Once the due date passes, the full balance, including interest and fees will be automatically debited from your account, and a penalty will apply if you have non-sufficient funds. Not to mention, payday loan interest rates are some of the highest in the country (up to $15 per $100 borrowed, as specified in Ontario).
Because they are catered to those with poor financial health, payday loans also come with a high risk of overcharging, scamming, fraud, and identity theft, as predatory lenders and scam artists like to prey on those who are in need of a solution. If you are going to apply for a payday loan, be sure it’s for a good reason and always research your lender thoroughly to confirm that they are a legitimate company.
What Are the Recommended Uses for an Installment Loan?
Whether you’re applying for a large or small amount of money, always bear in mind that an installment loan is a serious responsibility that can have a significant negative impact on your finances if handled improperly, particularly if collateral is involved. Additionally, every payment you default on will result in a penalty and a decrease in credit score.
Therefore, it’s best to only apply for an installment loan in Kitchener if you are financially sound, good at managing your debts, and only plan to use the funds for expenses that are truly necessary to your lifestyle.
Our recommendations include (but aren’t limited to):
- Consolidating high-interest debts
- Large purchases (new appliances, furniture, etc.)
- Vacations and unexpected travel costs
- Home repairs and improvements
- Vehicle repairs and maintenance
- Car accidents and other emergencies
Find Your Installment Loan Through Us
If you’re looking for an installment loan or other credit product within the Kitchener area, there’s no better network to visit than Loans Canada. We’re ready to set you up with the right lender today. Simply call us or check out our website for more information!