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Kitchener, like most of Ontario, has a great but expensive quality of living and sometimes your daily expenses can be too cumbersome to manage with only your credit cards and savings. Don’t worry, because you can always try this third payment option, which is known as a personal loan.
Not sure what this credit product is or how it can provide you with some financial relief? Keep reading to find out.
How to Get Approved For the Right Personal Loan
Essentially, acquiring a favourable personal loan is all about timing and financial aptitude. In other words, the more qualified you are to handle the money that’s involved, the easier it will be to get approved for a large loan with a low-interest rate and an affordable repayment plan.
That said, every lender has a different process for approving or denying potential clients, which is why it’s important to take these measures before applying:
- Look for a legitimate lender that has good customer reviews and rates
- Find a full-time job and work there for at least a few months
- Open a bank account that has direct deposit and automatic payments
- Save up as much income as possible
- Check your credit report for any mistakes or signs of identity theft
- Increase your credit score so it’s in the good-to-excellent range (660-900)
- Gather any necessary personal or financial information (bank statements, etc.)
If you fill out your application correctly and your lender concludes that you have a strong chance of paying your final loan balance on schedule, they should approve you and deposit the funds as a lump sum into your bank account within a few business days.
You’ll then repay the borrowed funds through several months, possibly several years worth of divided installments, including interest and possible fees.
Cosigners and Loan Security
If you don’t have stellar finances and credit or you’re applying for a particularly large personal loan, it might be smart to offer your lender some reassurance that you can make payments as planned. As a result, you could have a better shot at approval for favourable rates and loan conditions:
A cosigner is a stronger borrower that agrees to take over your repayment plan if you can’t manage it, thereby helping you avoid any defaulting penalties. To qualify, they must be financially stable and well aware of the liability they’re about to take on.
Collateral is when you offer up one of your assets in exchange for a ‘secured’ loan (not offered by all lenders). The more value your security holds the larger and more affordable your loan would be. However, this can be very risky because the lender will retain temporary ownership over your asset until you’ve fully paid back your loan and may decide to sell it if you miss too many payments.
How Best to Use Your Personal Loan Funds
No matter where you acquire your personal loan in Kitchener, it’s best to be aware of how much of a responsibility this type of product can be. You must also keep your current and future financial health in mind. After all, any missing payments or late payments could have a hefty toll on your savings and credit.
Due to these risks, you should only apply for a personal loan if you can afford every cost involved and plan to use the funds for things that are worth it, such as:
- Planned or unexpected travel costs (flights, hotels, etc.)
- Educational necessities (tuition, books, etc.)
- Vehicle-related costs (gas, repairs, etc.)
- Household costs (utilities, groceries, etc.)
- Large purchases (appliances, big gifts, etc.)
- Medical expenses (elective surgeries, medications, etc.)
- Consolidating high-interest debt
- Financial emergencies
When Personal Loans Are Better Than Credit Cards (and Vice Versa)
Although personal loans and credit cards are sometimes offered by the same lenders, there are definitely certain situations where one is a better option over the other.
While this product comes with its own risks, it’s more common among credit users in Kitchener and maybe a better choice than a personal loan because:
- There are many different types of cards you can access
- Getting approved is faster and easier than with most loan products
- You’re allowed to make minimum or partial monthly balance payments
- You can also make more than one payment per month
- Some cards come with rewards (travel points, insurance, etc.)
- If you’re unsatisfied, you can simply pay your balance and cancel the card
- Defaulting does slightly less harm to your finances and credit
- You won’t have to use up actual cash until your monthly payments are due
Overall, a credit card is a somewhat safer option when paying for smaller and less necessary expenses, such as your cell phone plan, subscriptions, clothes, and other consumer goods/services. It can also be a more efficient way of building your credit history and improving your credit score.
With a personal loan, however, full payments are mandatory and can result in debt collection penalties if you default too often. It’s also harder to get approved and requires more financial attention to avoid any problems.
Nonetheless, there are plenty of reasons why a credit card would be a less effective and riskier tool than a personal loan, such as:
- You may not be able to access as much credit
- It can be easy to max out your credit limit and rack up unmanageable debt
- Interest rates are often higher and harder to calculate (variable rather than fixed)
- You have to pay interest on your unpaid balances
- Carrying too much debt can slowly decrease your credit score
- Constantly applying for and cancelling new cards can also damage your credit
In the end, a personal loan is probably a better way to pay for larger, more important expenses. Under the right circumstances, it can also diversify your credit report and make you more creditworthy when you apply for credit products in the future.
Using Your Personal Loan to Improve Your Credit
Speaking of credit products, let’s talk about one of the most significant benefits that can come about once you’re approved for a personal loan in Kitchener. Although some lenders don’t do this, most report their clients’ activity to at least one of Canada’s major credit bureaus; Equifax or TransUnion.
Here’s what could happen when you apply and after you get approved:
- First, a hard inquiry will be added to your credit history and decrease your credit score by a few points (temporarily).
- For the next few years, the loan will appear on your credit report and affect your credit score, as well as the credit rating associated with the account.
- If you make all your payments on time and in full until the completion of your plan, your credit will gradually improve.
- Once that score is within the good to excellent range, you should have no problem getting approved for favourable credit products down the line.
- However, if you consistently default on payments, all these elements will decline until your credit score falls to the bad range (300-600)
- If that happens, it will become very difficult to get approved with any lender, especially a prime source like a bank or credit union
- If you don’t work to improve things, you may only be accepted with bad credit lenders, where loans will be much smaller and have far higher rates.
- That type of credit damage can be very troublesome to reverse and could remain on your report for years at a time.
All this is why it’s so important to apply when you have good credit, a solid income, and the overall ability to manage your loan payments responsibly. When all is said and done, good credit is one of the best ways to maintain healthy finances later in life.
Looking For a Personal Loan?
Loans Canada can set you up with the most effective personal loans in Kitchener and the rest of Ontario. Submit an application to get matched with a lender that meets your needs.