A guide to installment loans in Canada

January 3, 2024


✔ As you start to build your new life in Canada you may need to borrow money to cover costs like buying furniture for your home, school expenses or unplanned expenses.  

✔ An “installment loan” is one of the most common and convenient ways for permanent residents to borrow money while building their credit. 

✔ There are different types of installment loans so talk to a loan expert who can find the best option to fit within your budget.

Settling into a new country and building a life for you and your family can be exciting, but also overwhelming with added costs that you’re  unprepared for. Things like buying furniture for your home, getting transportation, having proper clothing and covering bills and day-to-day expenses mean that, at some point, you may be thinking about borrowing some money. 

You are not alone. One of the most common ways to borrow money and establish a credit history in Canada is with an “installment loan”. This type of loan is a convenient way to spread the cost of borrowing over time, with payments that suit your income and budget. So, if you’re thinking about borrowing money, here’s everything you need to know about installment loans. 

Would an installment loan be right for you? 

If you’re a permanent resident of Canada, have a specific purpose for a loan and want to pay it off in a set amount of time, an installment loan could be the solution. It has several advantages:

  • Consistent repayment amounts, that help you budget for the payments 
  • At the end of the term, your loan is fully paid off
  • You can choose to pay weekly, bi-weekly, semi-monthly, or monthly to match when you get paid

How do installment loans work?

Installment loans are typically used for a specific need, for example, to pay for:

  • Home furnishings
  • Travel and vacations
  • Major repairs on your home or car
  • Outstanding bills
  • Training and skills development
  • Debt consolidation

Each loan comes with a set of terms and conditions, which usually include:

  • The principal amount of the loan
  • The loan term (the length of time it will take to pay off the debt)
  • The interest rate 
  • Payment options (how frequently the loan payments will be made, such as weekly or monthly)

When you apply for a loan, the lender will consider several aspects of your financial life, such as your income, current debts, and your Canadian credit score. The big banks and credit unions can be strict in their lending practices, and will likely say “no” if you have high debt or a low credit score. However, that doesn’t mean you’re out of options. 

You may still be eligible for an installment loan from an alternative lender that specializes in providing loans for people who are new to Canada and don’t have enough time to establish a high credit score.  

How to repay an installment loan

A key advantage of an installment loan is that it comes with a repayment schedule. Over the loan’s term, you make regular payments of the same, fixed amount until the principal and interest are paid off. 

This is very different from revolving credit loans, such as lines of credit, which have no repayment schedule and could take many years to pay off. Another advantage of installment loans is that each payment is always the same, so it makes budgeting easy. 

Types of installment loans

The various installment loans available are designed for different needs, so it always helps to seek advice from a qualified loan specialist on which type is the best choice for you:

Personal loans:

The money you borrow using a personal loan can be spent any way you choose and amounts can range from $500 to $50,000. You can apply for a secured loan by offering to put up collateral—something the lender can sell to repay the loan if you default on your payments.

Secured loans involve an asset, such as your home or car, which lenders can use as security against the loan. If you default on the loan, lenders could sell the asset to pay off the loan. Secured loans are seen as less risky and therefore usually have lower interest rates. 
Unsecured loans have no such security tied to them and usually have higher interest rates, as they’re considered a bigger risk.

You can also have a co-signer agree to share responsibility for the loan to secure a better interest rate. Once approved, you can negotiate the terms and conditions to make your loan fit your budget and repayment schedule. 

Auto loans 

These are specifically designed to help you pay for a vehicle, which then becomes security for the loan. Rates are often lower than what you’ll get with personal loans. Terms can be as long as seven years. You can get pre-approved for an auto loan, which allows you to shop only for cars you can afford.

Home equity loans

These are secured against your home, and typically have lower interest rates than an unsecured loan. They also usually offer higher loan amounts (upwards of $100,000) and repayment terms of up to 20 years, so you can spread the payments out to make them more affordable. 

Installment loans: frequently asked questions

How do you manage an installment loan? 

They are easy to manage: once you set the terms, you pay the same amount- every pay period, so there are no surprises. To make it even easier, you could set up regular automatic payments from your bank account so you never miss a payment. 

Can an installment loan help your credit score? 

Yes! Each on-time payment helps to improve your score. Here are some more ways to build good credit as a new Canadian

How can I increase my chances of getting approved for an installment loan? 

If your bank or credit union turns you down, consider applying to an alternative lender, such as easyfinancial, where we look at your whole financial picture and there’s no credit history required.

The easyfinancial installment loan

easyfinancial is more than an alternative financial services provider. We offer borrowers lending terms that they’re unlikely to find with their bank or credit union:

  • Apply with no credit history
  • Personalized rates and payment terms to suit your budget
  • Get same-day approval
  • Every on-time payment improves your credit score
  • You can repay your loan early, with no penalties

To find out whether an installment loan might be the right option for you, simply give us a call at 1-888-502-3279, apply online or drop by one of our 400+ branches across Canada.  

Disclaimer: This content is intended for informational purposes only and does not constitute financial advice on any subject matter. 

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