If you are searching for any kind of loan in Canada, your credit history will be one of the factors that lenders will look at in order to decide if you are approved. This can be a significant challenge for both personal and commercial loans. Bad credit loans however are not uncommon in Canada. In fact, there are many reputable companies that may be able to help you, even if you don’t have perfect credit.
Below you will find a list of our most trusted lending companies that work with bad credit situations. Bad credit personal and business loans in Canada can be obtained by filling out a quick online application.
Take a look at the options below and click “Apply Now” next to one of the companies, to submit a request to them directly. You can also choose to Pre-Apply with Smarter Loans and will find the most suitable bad credit loan provider in your province, and connect you with them.
You can pre-apply here at Smarter Loans and we will find a suitable lender for you.
When seeking a personal loan to fund a variety of expenditures, whether it be a mortgage, a medical bill or a car, most lenders will ask for a credit history. The rate that the lender issues the loan at is then contingent on the strength of that credit history (amongst other variables). This credit history can be distilled into a three-digit number known as the credit score, which provides a relative evaluation of the borrower’s spending patterns and historical ability to repay debt.
Borrowers with higher credit scores are deemed to be more credit-worthy and therefore enjoy privileges like lower rates and easier approvals for loans. However, what happens when a borrower does not have a solid credit score? While securing a personal loan from a banking institution at that point is an uphill task, there are special debt instruments known as bad credit loans offered by alternative lenders that fulfill this purpose.
In Canada, there are two main credit reporting agencies: TransUnion and Equifax. While these are both separate companies with their own algorithms used to determine the credit scores of borrowers, the variables used can broadly be distilled into the following categories:
1. Payment History: This is arguably the single most important factor affecting credit scores as lenders ideally want to see a history of full outstanding repayments promptly. If the borrower has ever missed credit card payments or made late loan payments, the credit score gets negatively impacted.
2. Debt Outstanding: Most people carry some forms of debt, such as mortgages, student loans, credit cards, car loans etc. While having outstanding debt is normal, it is the volume of debt and length of time that it is held for that is gauged by reporting agencies i.e. borrowers with a large amount of debt month to month and/or use more than 30% to 40% of available credit limits will likely see lower scores.
3. Time: Simply put, lenders want to see a demonstrable history of credit use and timely repayment. The longer the borrower has had an open debt account and has been using it responsibly, the better the credit score.
4. Types of Debt: Borrowers who have just a credit card or a singular type of debt will likely have lower credit scores than borrowers who have multiple types of debt such as a credit card with a personal loan. This is attributable to lenders favouring borrowers who are responsible with multiple different types of credit.
5. New Inquiries: When lenders or credit card companies complete a hard credit pull, credit scores are adversely impacted. Hard pulls are when a company brings in the borrower’s entire credit report to evaluate and validate their creditworthiness. Therefore, applying for multiple different types of credit and/or loans within a short period of time is not favourable as it signals that the borrower is either being rejected or is using too much credit.
Once these variables are synthesized, a credit score is provided to the borrower. A credit score between 300 to 550 is generally considered to be poor wherein it becomes difficult to obtain certain types of debt, especially the ones that are issued by banks.
The bad credit loan itself is therefore debt that is provided to a person with a score that falls short of the desired range of conventional banking institutions and loan providers. These are typically provided in a lump sum amount to borrowers with terms that can vary from a few months to up to 3 to 5 years. The amounts offered under these loans tend to be relatively smaller than personal loans, however. This is largely due to the increased risk that lenders face with these types of loans. This risk is driven through two factors: (i) bad credit loans are unsecured i.e. not backed by a tangible asset such as a house in a mortgage or a car in an auto loan, (ii) when lending to borrowers of lower credit quality, there is an added risk of non-repayment as compared to other types of borrowers. To compensate for these risks, lenders charge a premium rate.
It is also pertinent to note that the lending parameters for these types of loans are significantly simpler than other types of conventional loans. Lenders of bad credit loans do not do a hard credit pull and simply require ID, existing debt, and income verifications in most cases. This ensures that consumers that have a history of consumer proposals, credit counselling, restructuring, bankruptcies or other delinquencies can still apply and be successful in obtaining a bad credit loan. In Canada, the main requirements of bad credit loans are:
1. Proof of address and age: These documents serve to verify that the borrower is above 18 years of age and is a resident of Canada.
2. Existing Mortgages and Number of Dependents: This is to gain visibility into the borrower’s existing obligations. In most cases, mortgages are senior to all other types of debt meaning that if the borrower declares bankruptcy, mortgage providers get paid out first when assets are liquidated.
3. Proof of employment: Since bad credit loans largely tend to be unsecured, they are provided on the basis of the borrower’s cash flows. This means that it is important to provide employment information such as salary and length of time spent at the job.
Once the information has been provided, the lender will assess the overall credit profile and come up with a maximum lending amount, rate and loan term. If this proposed loan structure is agreeable to the borrower, he/she then has to sign the documentation and the loan principal amount will be deposited into their personal bank account. Thereafter, the borrower has to repay the principal and interest at periodic intervals as per the stipulated contract.
Simply put, bad credit is a function of one or more of the following:
To avoid detrimental hits to credit scores, it is important to be prudent with credit by only taking out loans that can be afforded based on monthly income. It is also critical to repay these loans on time to avoid late fees, which are an added consequence beyond the credit score impact.
When seeking bad credit loans, borrowers do not have to worry about their credit histories as lenders of these loans do not perform hard credit checks. Bad credit loans are mainly lent out as a function of monthly income.
While most personal loans offered by financial institutions require the borrower to come in and visit a specialist loan office, bad credit loans are available online and can be accessed by any 18+ Canadian with a Wi-Fi connection.
Conventional loan providers are generally slower to issue loans as they have to undertake a greater level of due diligence on financial and credit profiles before extending a loan. On the other hand, bad credit loans can be approved within a few minutes and funds can be deposited within hours.
Bad credit loans can actually be used to improve credit scores. Once the loan is taken out, if borrowers show a consistent record of timely repayment, it can help boost the credit score, which then provides access to cheaper loans later down the line.
Unlike personal loans which have to have a rationale provided by the borrower, bad credit loans can be used for any type of expense as the borrower deems fit.
There are, however, certain considerations that need to be evaluated before selecting the bad credit loan as a financing option. These include:
As a result of the loan being unsecured and largely lent out to borrowers with poor credit histories, bad credit loans have higher interest rates attached to them, making them a potentially expensive proposition.
Although the regulatory landscape for bad credit loans has tightened in recent years, there is still potential for unsuspecting borrowers to obtain loans from predatory lenders who may not have the borrower’s best interests at heart by charging hidden fees and associated costs.
Although bad credit loans are meant to be paid back at the end of the loan’s term, their higher interest rates mean that borrowers may not be able to afford full payments and subsequently, have to get their debt rolled over into a new loan (which comes with its own fees).
The chart below shows that nearly 50% of Canadians fall within the 700-799 credit score range. Also, over 25% of Canadians have a credit score below 699.
1. What level can I get approved for?
The funds received from bad credit loans are a function of the borrower’s income. Based on that, capacity to repay is calculated and a pre-approval amount is calculated.
2. Can I apply with a previous bankruptcy on my record?
Yes, most bad credit loan providers offer financing even to borrowers with previous delinquencies and/or bankruptcies.
3. Do I need a down payment?
No, bad credit loan providers do not require any money to be put up front.
4. What are the consequences for non-repayment?
Most bad credit loan providers have financial penalties in place, which can add up quickly. Therefore, it is important to stay prudent with borrowing amounts and repay loans on time.