Online vs in store short term loans

If you're short on cash and need to borrow money quickly, you might consider a short term loan.

Last updated:

There are two ways to get a short term loan: online and in person at a store. While your experience will be similar, they do differ in a few key ways.

Read our guide below to compare the benefits of each option and discover which may be right for you.

⚠️ Warning: be cautious with short-term loans

If you're experiencing financial hardship and would like to speak to someone for free financial counselling, you can call Credit Counselling Canada on 1800 007 007. It's open from 8:00am to 5pm, Monday to Friday. When comparing short-term loans, ensure you take into consideration all fees, charges and interest to understand how much your loan might cost in total.

Alternatives to short-term loans

Consider these alternatives before applying for a payday loan:

  • Use online Government resources. The Financial Consumer Agency of Canada website demonstrates how small amount loans work – and suggests alternative options that may help you.
  • Payment plans. Talk to your electricity, gas, phone or water provider to see if you can work out a payment plan or receive an extension on your due date if you’re behind on payments.
  • Contact your creditors. Speak with creditors about extending the due date of your payment, or working out a new payment plan that works for both of you. Seek personal loans elsewhere. Consider a small personal loan from a bank or a credit union. You may qualify for a loan with much lower interest rates than those offered by payday loan companies.
  • Pay with credit card. Consider paying with your credit card to cover your emergency bills or payments. This is not a long term solution, as you’ll need to pay off the balance as soon as possible, but it’s an alternative to a short term loan with high – and immediate – interest rates.
Promoted

Cash Money Payday Loan

Apply online or in store and get approved for up to $1,500.
  • Minimum loan amount:
  • Maximum loan amount: $1,500
  • Interest Rate: Varies by Province
  • Fees: Up to $17 per $100 borrowed (rounded to nearest dollar)
  • Loan term: 12-14 days. Varies by Province
  • Turnaround time: Within 2 hours with INTERAC e-Transfer® if approved
  • Key requirements: Be 18+ years old, provide proof of recurring income
Cash Money Payday Loan
  • Simple application process
  • Fast turnaround time
  • Extended business hours
Go to site More info

The differences between online lenders and in store lenders

  • Online vs in store support

    When you visit a payday loan store location in person, you can interact with a lender and ask questions or clarify any element of the loan’s terms and conditions. This could be helpful if you don’t know how to interpret the information. Many lenders can even give you your cash that same day if you apply in person.

    An online loan could be an easier way to quickly get the cash you need to catch up on expenses. However, you won’t have the in store one-on-one session to knead out any inquiries. Instead, you’ll want to be sure that the lender’s site clearly explains your responsibilities and charges, and that there’s a helpline if you don’t understand something. You will usually receive your online loan directly into your bank account in one to two business days.

  • Online loan-connection brokers vs direct lenders

    A key factor to consider before applying online for a loan is whether the company you’re borrowing from is a direct lender or a broker. With a direct lender, you apply to and receive funding from one company directly, often with the ability to speak to a representative if you have questions.

    With a loan-connection service, also known as a broker, you apply to a company that then finds you a lender that is willing to work with you and suits your needs. Lending brokers are useful because they can sometimes match you with lenders you may not reach out to otherwise. However, make sure to read the fine print: Illegitimate brokers could sell your information to third parties.

  • Licensed lenders

    When you apply with an online lender, confirm that the lender is licensed to do business in your province. Keep in mind that regulations regarding payday loans vary between provinces and territories.

Compare your options for online short-term loans

Check the websites of any lenders you’re interested in to confirm they operate in your province or territory of residence.

Name Product Max. Loan Amount Serviced Provinces/Territories Turnaround Time Loan Term Interest Rate
Cash Money Payday Loan
$1,500
Nova Scotia
New Brunswick
Ontario
Manitoba
Saskatchewan
Alberta
British Columbia
Within 2 hours with INTERAC e-Transfer® if approved
12-14 days. Varies by Province
Varies by Province
Apply for your first $300 payday loan at a $20 borrowing cost (excludes Alberta, Manitoba, New Brunswick or Saskatchewan applicants).

Compare up to 4 providers

*The products compared on this page are chosen from a range of offers available to us and are not representative of all the products available in the market. There is no perfect order or perfect ranking system for the products we list on our Site, so we provide you with the functionality to self-select, re-order and compare products. The initial display order is influenced by a range of factors including conversion rates, product costs and commercial arrangements, so please don't interpret the listing order as an endorsement or recommendation from us. We're happy to provide you with the tools you need to make better decisions, but we'd like you to make your own decisions and compare and assess products based on your own preferences, circumstances and needs.

Pros and cons of online short term loans

Pros

  • Saves time. The online application process typically takes less than 10 minutes to complete. Once the loan is approved, the funds can be issued within one or two business days.
  • Easy approval. You can usually get approved for a short term loan no matter what your credit score looks like. Lenders are more concerned with your ability to repay your loan.
  • Ability to compare loans. With online lending, you can often compare several loan offers in a short period of time. This can make it easier to search for the best interest rates and terms for your needs.

Cons

  • High costs. Online short term loans can be expensive, which makes it all the more important to compare lending terms and interest rates to get more for your money.
  • No early repayment savings. Although online lenders typically don’t charge early repayment penalties, they also usually don’t offer early repayment savings. If you repay your loan early, you will still owe the same amount of interest and fees most likely.
  • Online scams. There are plenty of untrustworthy lenders in the online space looking to take advantage of those who need access to fast cash.

How to prevent being scammed online

Loan scammers are known to set up websites that offer short term loans with quick and easy approval, low interest rates and a guaranteed right to cancel. These sites can make a loan sound like your best option by far, however this is how they successfully find victims who fall for the scam.

Even if the loan and website appear legitimate, it’s essential to research the company you’re looking to apply with.

Know the warning signs

Here are a few warning signs that should raise red flags about an online lender:

  • Ungrammatical, unclear writing on the website. If the lender can’t clearly describe the loans and conditions of what they’re offering, look elsewhere.
  • Requires advance fees or taxes. Never transfer any funds before you are approved for a loan, even if the lender insists.
  • Incredibly low interest rates. If a lender offers an interest rate that’s much lower than you find elsewhere, it could be a scam.
  • Quick decision deadlines. If you’re pressured to make a decision quickly, go with another lender.

Tips to avoid getting scammed

  • Do your research. A quick online search may bring up reviews and articles about the lender written by real customers, which can give you a general idea of their legitimacy.
  • Ask questions. Ask for the lender’s full business name, address, licensing information and registration in order to hold the lender accountable. If these questions are avoided or ignored, this should raise red flags and you should choose a different lender.
  • Don’t email private information. Never email your Social Insurance Number, credit card or bank account details. Enter this information into a secure website only. If a lender asks you to email them, go with another lender.

Learn how to protect yourself from a payday loan scam

Compare your options for in store short-term loans

Check the websites of any lenders you’re interested in to confirm they operate in your province or territory of residence.

Name Product Max. Loan Amount Serviced Provinces/Territories Turnaround Time Loan Term Interest Rate
Cash Money Payday Loan
$1,500
Nova Scotia
New Brunswick
Ontario
Manitoba
Saskatchewan
Alberta
British Columbia
Within 2 hours with INTERAC e-Transfer® if approved
12-14 days. Varies by Province
Varies by Province
Apply for your first $300 payday loan at a $20 borrowing cost (excludes Alberta, Manitoba, New Brunswick or Saskatchewan applicants).

Compare up to 4 providers

Pros and cons of in store short term loans

Here are the pros and cons of applying for a short term loan in person at a store:

Pros

  • Physical storefront. Visiting a physical store will provide you with a fair idea of the kind of business a lender runs. Additionally, you will know where to go if you have any questions or problems.
  • In store support. Having an in store specialist to speak to can make it easier to address any issues you have with your loan.
  • Application assistance. Loan applications can be confusing. An in store lender will help you work through the application which could be helpful.
  • Access to money quicker. Applying in store usually means you can leave with your loan the same day you apply.

Cons

  • Longer process. Unlike an online loan that requires only a few clicks, in store loans typically take more time to apply for. If you’re comparing loans, you’ll also need to visit various lender locations in person.
  • Fewer options. Unlike getting an online loan, in store loans limit your options to your geographic area. If you live in a small town, this could be problematic, as you may have to travel to another city to find a variety of lenders.

How to decide which loan option is best for you

When looking for a short term loan, it’s not enough to look for a low monthly payment plan or the cheapest interest rate. Before signing on the dotted line, here are a few things to take into consideration:

  • APR and fees. The annual percentage interest rate (APR) represents the true cost of a short term loan and tends to be around 400% APR or more.
  • Required creditworthiness. While banks and credit unions usually require that you have a good credit score, short term loan lenders typically approve people with less than good credit. These lenders are more concerned with your ability to repay your loan.
  • Repayment terms. When signing a short term loan contract, read the repayment terms carefully. The loan will need to be repaid within a specific period of time, often the day after your payday. Terms generally extend from 7 to 31 days. In addition, be aware of any fees you will have to pay if you make a late repayment.
  • Provincial regulations. Confirm that your lender is abiding by any provincial regulations in place. These regulations tend to determine the maximum amount that can be charged in fees per $100 borrowed. Some provinces regulate the amount of loans you can take out at one time as well.

Can you get a short term loan without having a bank account?

Yes, you can, although only some lenders will offer this option. There are two ways to receive your loan without having a bank account:

  • Prepaid debit card. Lenders will either mail the card to you or let you pick it up at a nearby location after your loan has been approved.
  • In store cash pickup. After applying for the loan in person and being approved, you’ll receive cash for your loan.

Bottom line

A short term loan can be helpful when you need money in an emergency. Both online and in store loans are easily accessible, assuming you meet the basic requirements and you have the necessary information on hand. However, before you settle on a lender and a loan, be sure to do your research and compare your short term loan options to ensure you find the best loan for your needs.

Back to top
Are payday loans available in my province or territory?

Payday loans are available in all provinces and territories across Canada. You should be aware that payday loans are regulated by individual provinces, which means costs and fees can vary. Ensure that any lender you choose abides by the laws of the place you live.

At the time of writing in January 2019, the Yukon, Nunavut and the Northwest Territories do not have legislation regulating payday loans at the territorial level. Payday loans are regulated in these territories at the federal level only.

Find out how much lenders can charge across Canada

Frequently asked questions

Go to site