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Payday loans

Make an informed decision when comparing and applying for a payday loan.

⚠️ Warning: Be cautious with payday loans
Payday loans are expensive. If you're experiencing financial hardship and would like to speak to someone for free financial counselling, you can call Credit Counselling Canada from 8:00am to 5:00pm Monday to Friday at +1 866-398-5999. Consider alternatives before applying for a payday loan:
  • Local resources. Government agencies, nonprofits and local charities may offer free financial services and help with food, utilities and rent for those in need.
  • Debt relief companies. These services can help you find a solution to reduce your debt payments and work toward becoming debt-free.
  • Payment extensions. Talk with your bill providers about a longer payment plan or extension on your due date if you're behind on payments.
  • Side jobs. Today's digital marketplace offers the ability to more easily sell unwanted items, sign up for food delivery or drive for rideshare services.

Compare payday loans

Name Product Max. Loan Amount Serviced Provinces Turnaround Time Loan Term Interest Rate
Cash Money Payday Loan
British Columbia
Nova Scotia
In as little as 15 minutes with INTERAC e-Transfer® if approved
14-40 days (varies by province)
Varies by province
Apply for your first $300 payday loan at a $20 borrowing cost (excludes Saskatchewan applicants). Residents of Manitoba and New Brunswick cannot apply for a loan online (must apply in-store).
iCASH Payday Loan
British Columbia
New Brunswick
Nova Scotia
In as little as 2 minutes with INTERAC e-Transfer if approved.
14 - 62 days (varies by province)
Varies by province
Get up to 20% in cash back once your iCASH Payday Loan is fully repaid. Conditions apply.
GoDay Payday Loan
Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Ontario, PEI, Saskatchewan
In as little as 2 minutes with INTERAC e-Transfer if approved.
Up to 62 days
Varies by Province
To apply for a GoDay payday loan, you'll need to be a Canadian resident over the age of 18 with a valid email address, phone number and an open bank account with a Canadian bank or credit union.

Compare up to 4 providers

We compare the following cash lenders

Maximum borrowing costs
You should always refer to your loan agreement for exact repayment amounts and costs as they may vary from our results. The table below shows the maximum allowable cost of borrowing under a payday loan for each province:
ProvinceMaximum allowable cost of borrowing
Alberta$15 per $100 borrowed
British Columbia$15 per $100 borrowed
Manitoba$17 per $100 borrowed
New Brunswick$15 per $100 borrowed
Newfoundland and Labrador$21 per $100 borrowed
Northwest Territories, Nunavut & the Yukon$60 per $100 borrowed
Nova Scotia$19 per $100 borrowed
Ontario$15 per $100 borrowed
Prince Edward Island$25 per $100 borrowed
QuebecLimit of 35% annual interest rate (AIR)
Saskatchewan$17 per $100 borrowed

When the unexpected happens and you have nowhere else to turn, a payday loan might be the solution. But treat it as a last resort — it’s one of the most expensive types of financing. We’ll help you understand how these payday loans work, what to consider before borrowing and how regulations vary between provinces and territories. Plus, we’ll provide you with some alternatives to these high cost loans.

What is a payday loan?

A payday loan is a loan of up to $1,500 provided in the form of credit that is advanced to you when you need some money. It’s generally paid back at the same time you receive your paycheque, hence the term “payday loan”. These loans can also be referred to as “cash advance loans” and “bad credit loans”. In Canada, payday loans are regulated under individual laws and restrictions in each province –but beware: not all provinces have the same legislation, and none of the territories have legislation surrounding these loans.


GoDay Payday Loan

Apply online and get approved for up to $1,500. Receive your funds in as little as 1 hour.
  • Loan amount: $100 - $1,500
  • Loan term: Up to 62 days
  • Borrowing costs: Varies by Province (Between $15-$19 per $100 borrowed)
  • Bad credit borrowers: OK
GoDay Payday Loan
  • Quick online application
  • Fast turnaround time
  • Direct deposit of funds
Go to siteMore info

What options do I have for payday loan lenders?

If you’re looking to apply for a payday loan, you have a few options when it comes to choosing a lender:

Online payday loan lenders.Applying for a loan online is quick and easy, and the whole process can be handled without needing to visit a physical location. You can find lenders that don’t require you to fax any documents over and can directly deposit the loan into your bank account within one or two business days.
Direct payday loan lenders.These lenders can have both online and physical locations and you apply directly with them for a loan. If you apply online, you still might have an option to pick up your approved loan in person at a store if you wish.
Storefront payday loan lenders.Some lenders have extensive branch networks, and if there’s one located near you that’s convenient, you can apply in person at their store. Just bring along the required documentation and you can have your approved loan within the hour.

How are payday loans different from personal loans?

  • Shorter loan term. Payday loans are designed to be short-term solutions to your financial problems. You generally won’t find a loan that extends beyond six months – with the most common length being just 14 days – although terms will differ between providers.
  • Lenders accept poor credit scores. Payday lenders often do not conduct a credit check – although you may need to provide proof that you can repay the loan, say with proof of a steady income or a bank account in good standing.
  • Higher rates and fees. Due to their short-term nature and accessibility, payday loans come with much higher annual percentage interest rates (APRs) than other forms of credit. All provinces, with the exception of the three territories, regulate how high these APRs can be, but even with regulation, many are still very steep when compared to other types of credit. Be sure to take into account the full cost before you apply.
  • Smaller loan amounts. Again, how much you can borrow may depend on the province or territory you’re in, but you can usually borrow between $100 up to a maximum of $1,500.

Looking for a specific amount?

How much will a payday loan cost?

The annual percentage rate (APR) charged on payday loans is very high, often between 390% and 780%! For comparison, credit card APRs tend to sit around 19%, and personal loans APRs can range from around 9% to 49%. For this reason, interest charges may often be stated in terms of how much you’ll pay for every $100 you borrow.

Depending on the province where you reside, the fees for your loan will differ. For example, in Ontario you’ll pay $15 in fees for every $100 you borrow, while in PEI you can pay up to $25 per $100 borrowed – one of the highest amounts in Canada.

In the case of Ontario, if you borrow $1,000, you’ll pay $150 in fees provided you repay the payments on time. You must pay the full principal amount and fees, which would amount to a total of $1,150. While in PEI, you’d face $250 in fees.

In Saskatchewan, you’ll be charged $17 in fees for every $100 you borrow. So, if you borrow $5,000, you’ll be required to pay $850 in fees. You must pay the full principal amount and fees, which would amount to a total of $5,850.

Repayment example

Here’s an example of repaying a typical payday loan:

  • Loan Amount: $500
  • Loan Term: 30 days
  • APR (Annual Percentage Rate): 450%
  • Total Repayments: $687.50
  • Cost of Loan: $187.50

What other fees are associated with payday loans?

If you’re late or miss a repayment, you may be charged other fees, which can include:

  • Late payment fees. If you’re late with a repayment and don’t notify your lender beforehand, then you’ll likely be charged a fee.
  • Bounced cheque or failed direct debit. If your payment bounces, you will usually be charged a fee.
  • Arrears fees. You’ll be charged a fee if your account goes into arrears.
  • Collection fees. Any loans which are referred to collections or are defaulted on may incur additional fees.
  • Collection letter send out. If you receive a collection letter because you’ve failed to make a repayment and the lender cannot contact you then you may be charged a fee.
  • Statement fee.If you request an account statement from the lender you may be charged a fee.

What are the benefits?

When you apply for a payday loan, some of the benefits include:

  • Easy application. You can usually apply for payday loans online in under 10 minutes, and you won’t have to fax any of your documents over. There’s no need to visit any physical locations, unless you’d rather apply in person.
  • Fast turnaround time. If you’re in need of money quickly, payday loan lenders usually provide almost instantaneous approval. Lenders can have your money to you in one to two business days at the latest, or in as little as a few hours if you apply in person at a store.
  • Compare your options online. There’s a wide range of lenders available and you can compare their fees, features and rates online. Once you find the right lender, you can submit your application online. Alternatively, you can apply in person if the lender has a physical store near you.

How to apply

Although the actual application process will vary based on the lender you choose, these are the typical steps you’ll need to follow to apply for a payday loan.

  1. Click the green “Go to site” button above or visit a lender’s website.
  2. Provide information about yourself, including your contact details and Social Insurance Number.
  3. Fill in your employment details or benefits information if you’re receiving government benefits such as a pension, EI or welfare.
  4. Provide additional information about your income, including how frequently you’re paid and how much.
  5. Enter your bank account details and agree to electronic transfers. Confirm the website is secure before providing this information.

You’ll need to read over a lender’s terms of service and privacy policy before submitting your application. The best payday loan providers will always have a secure online application and outline your loan’s final amount so you know exactly how much it will cost to borrow. Payday lenders are not allowed to charge more than the amount capped by the province or territory.

Eligibility criteria

The eligibility criteria can differ between lenders and provinces, however the following minimum criteria will usually need to be met:

  • Age. You must be 18 years of age, or the age of majority in your province or territory.
  • Residency. You’ll need to be a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident, and have a valid Canadian address.
  • Income. You’ll need proof that you have some form of income, whether it’s employment income, investment income, welfare or government benefits.
  • Employment. Some lenders require you to be employed, however some will accept you if you are self employed or have another form of income like government benefits or welfare.
  • Bank account. Most lenders will require you to have a working bank account. If you apply in person at a store, you may not need a bank account.

Note: Remember that meeting the eligibility requirements does not guarantee the approval of your payday loan.

Required documents

  • Valid ID with name and address
  • Valid phone number
  • Proof of income with employer’s name, address and phone number or government benefits or investment income
  • Net and gross income amounts
  • Bank account information (chequing account, routing and institution numbers)

Compare loans and apply securely today

What happens after I apply for a payday loan?

Most lenders will notify you of a decision a few minutes after you submit your application. If you’re applying online, lenders can typically deposit the funds into your bank account within 1 to 2 business days. If you apply in store, you may be able to receive your funds before you leave via cash or cheque.

When it comes time to repay, your lender will deduct the principal amount and any fees you owe from your bank account — or cash the cheque you left. Make sure you have enough money in your bank account on your due date. Otherwise, you could face steep nonsufficient funds (NSF) fees and overdraft fees from your bank.

Reasons why you might have been rejected

While your lender should provide a reason you weren’t approved for a payday loan, these are 4 of the most likely reasons:

  • You aren’t employed or your income is too low.
  • You already have a payday loan or recently borrowed one.
  • You have too many current debts.
  • You had errors on your application.

Are payday loans a bad idea?

Payday loans are not viewed positively as they usually come with excruciatingly high fees. Many customers who desperately need financing turn to payday loans as they are easy to get and provide quick financial relief – but they also throw many people into an endless cycle of debt with their high costs.

You can also be penalized for not sticking to the repayment requirements. If you default on the loan or the loan goes into collections, you’ll receive a negative mark on your credit score that can stay there for up to six years. It’s important to only borrow as much as you’ll be able to repay and to budget your repayments accordingly. If you have any doubts about your ability to meet your repayments, then you may want to consider other credit options.

Before applying for a payday loan, consider the following:

  • Are you eligible for any lower cost loans? Find the cheapest source of financing that works for your needs.
  • Will the repayments be manageable by you? Most lenders outline the APR that will be charged before you apply for a loan. Work out if this will be manageable with your current budget. If you don’t think you can make your repayments on time, don’t apply for the loan in the first place.
  • What are you using the loan for? Payday loans are not designed to fix long-term financial problems, but rather to help you get by in the short term. If you have substantial financial problems, consider seeking counselling.

Must read: A warning about payday loans

Payday loans are heavily regulated in provinces – but not the territories – and for good reason: Payday lending is one of the single most predatory forms of credit available and can easily ruin your finances when you’re already in a pinch.

When APRs can reach well over 400%, it’s glaringly clear that these seemingly quick fix-it loans are anything but. Provincial regulations are put in place in order to protect consumers – but rules and regulations vary dramatically between each province. But ultimately, these protections are put in place to help borrowers avoid a debt spiral that payday lenders set them up for.

Before you dive into a product marketed as a one-stop financial Band-Aid, consider your alternatives. Though they aren’t significantly better, installment loans can come with slightly less egregious terms and more manageable payments. And while it may require a level of humility and openness, asking to borrow money from friends or family could be another possibility.

You can also look into alternatives to borrowing. Services may be available in your area to those in need. Even if you aren’t sure if you qualify, it’s worth researching local assistance programs for food, housing and other necessities. These services may also be able to help you identify and address any structural issues that can keep you in debt, such as a lack of budgeting or overspending.

Though you may not have a lot of extra time, a side gig could also be an option. Ideas include driving with a ride share service like Uber, walking dogs, participating in research studies or even taking online surveys to earn more cash. If you find yourself regularly needing small amounts of money to last you through the week, consider exploring ongoing freelance opportunities in your area of expertise — Upwork and Fiverr are a few websites that connect freelancers and clients.

Payday loans have both a high rate of default and repeat borrowing, which could trap you in a debt cycle and even more financial distress than when you started. By researching your many options, you may be able to avoid getting caught in dangerous lending, while still getting the money you need.

Am I eligible for a payday loan if…

  • I receive a pension?

If you’re retired or physically unable to work, you can still access a line of credit, personal loan or a payday loan. Some lenders consider your pension as income, so you may still be eligible depending on your financial situation and why you need the loan.

  • I receive welfare payments?

Some payday lenders and institutions do consider welfare payments as income, so you may be eligible for a payday loan. It generally depends on how much you earn, what kind of financial situation you’re in and what kind of payments you receive. Contact a lender to find out if you’re eligible.

  • I have bad credit?

While payday lenders offer flexible eligibility criteria that often results in accepting those with less-than-perfect credit, there are some payday lenders out there that won’t check your credit report at all.

  • You can consider a payday loan with no credit check. Having bad credit shouldn’t stop you from getting a loan. Find out which companies will lend you money.
  • Find a personal lender who doesn’t check your credit report. Why should what you earn now be affected by what you did in the past? Find a lender who will assess you on your financial situation as it stands today.

How do I repay my payday loan?

There are a few options available when it comes to repaying your loan. Depending on the lender and the type of loan you apply for, you may be able to use any of the following options to repay your loan:

  • Direct debit repayments. This is the most common way to make repayments. You will need to provide your bank account details in order for the lender to automatically withdraw your repayments from your bank account. Before you authorize this, make sure you know what dates the repayments are due to come out so that you can make sure you have enough money in your account, and also know how to end the authorization.
  • Post-dated cheque. This option is also offered by some lenders, usually by those who have physical stores. This method involves you giving the lender a cheque that it can cash on the day your repayment is due. Remember to still make note of the payment date since you will need to have the cash in your bank account.

Rolling over a payday loan

If you can’t repay your payday loan when it’s due, some payday lenders offer the option to renew or roll over your loan. When you renew a loan, you typically have to pay the same fees or interest that would come with taking out a new loan.

Renewing your loan just once can double its cost and make it even more difficult to pay it off in the future. Many borrowers get trapped in a cycle of debt by rolling over their loans. For this reason, most provinces have made direct rollovers illegal.

How do I stay on top of my repayments?

Having a plan to pay off your loan before you take it out is key to paying off your loan on time.

Know how much you can afford

What’s affordable when it comes to a payday loan? There’s no definitive percentage that can be given to say that if 20% of your income is left after bills are taken out and your repayment is made, it will be enough to live off of. Ask yourself these questions to make sure your payday loan is affordable:

  • How much are my monthly bills? Write down and add up your rent or mortgage repayments, utilities and other monthly expenses.
  • How much are my living expenses? Consider how much you need for groceries each week, gas for your car, a few dollars for that morning coffee and other living expenses.
  • How much of my paycheck do I have left? Subtract your monthly costs from your monthly salary after taxes. If you have enough left to cover your payday loan repayment, your loan is affordable.

Organize a budget

Having a budget is an often overlooked step when it comes to payday loans. This might be because of the nature of payday loans. They’re designed as a solution for people who need quick access to funds, so you’re likely more interested in seeing if you can actually get the money rather than working out if you can afford it first. Here’s how to make sure your loan fits into your budget:

  • Look at the repayment terms and fees offered by the lender.
  • Work out how much your repayments will be based on how much you’re looking to borrow.
  • Consider your monthly expenses and weigh where you can cut back to make your repayments comfortably affordable.

Let’s take a look at an example of how to calculate costs. Say you were looking to borrow $1,000 with a 3-month term at a 300% APR. Since it has a 3-month term, you would pay it off in three installments. With interest, this works out to $452.77 per month.

Zoe's payday loan

Say a woman named Zoe wanted a payday loan of $350. She compared her options and found a lender she could qualify with that offers a month-long term with repayments automatically deducted from her bank account.

Being paid biweekly, this meant on each pay date, $217 was direct debited out of her account to repay her total loan amount of $434.

Since Zoe was paid $500 every two weeks, this only left her with just over half of her usual pay to manage her day-to-day expenses. This was a big jump in what she usually had to spend, and so she found it difficult to manage without a plan. She decided to be more organized and make a budget if she had to take out a loan again.

Tips to manage your loan on any income

Whether you’re earning $30,000 or $130,000, there’s a way to manage your budget and repayments on your income. Keep the following in mind when it comes to managing your loan:

  • Make your repayments on time. Not doing this will see late repayment and default fees added onto the amount you owe. This can send you further into debt.
  • Get in contact with your lender if you’re having trouble making repayments. This can help you avoid the fees mentioned above that you’ll be charged for paying late. Lenders are usually willing to help and able to sort out payment plans with you if you run into trouble, so they should be your first point of call.
  • Only apply for a loan amount you can afford. Before you submit your desired loan amount, work out the minimum income you can get by on after your loan repayments. Consider the fees you’ll need to pay and how even a slightly higher loan amount will increase your repayments.
  • Don’t take out several payday loans at once. If you already have a payday loan and have not completely repaid it, do not apply for another loan. This can make your repayments unmanageable and send you into a debt spiral that can be difficult to get out of.

By working out a budget, organizing your finances and only applying for as much of a loan as you need, you’re on the way to managing your loan and getting it repaid on time, comfortably.

How are payday loans different from other loans and types of credit?

Payday loans are infamously known for their excruciatingly high fees. They continue to be applied for, however, because payday lenders have more flexible eligibility criteria than other mainstream lenders. This allows people on welfare benefits, with bad credit or on lower incomes to access loans.

Other differences include the repayment terms which tend to be much shorter than for other loans and forms of credit. You can expect terms of anywhere between 7 and 31 days, although sometimes longer terms are offered. The turnaround time is also much quicker with payday loans, as you can access your approved funds in one to two business days at the latest, or sometimes in as little as 15 minutes of being approved.

4 alternatives to taking out a payday loan

A payday loan can be an expensive way to get emergency financing. Consider these payday loan alternatives before you borrow:

  • Provincial or federal aid. If you find yourself in need of consistent financial assistance, you might want to look into provincial or federal programs. Housing assistance and other aid could help reduce your bills so you can avoid payday loans.
  • Pay advance apps. A pay advance app lets you borrow against your upcoming paycheque. It’s not always the cheapest solution, but you may not pay as much as you would with a traditional payday loan.
  • Friends and family. If you’re in a financial pinch, your friends and family may be willing to help. And it doesn’t necessarily have to be a loan — giving you a ride while your car is in the shop or babysitting could help take the stress off your budget.
  • Installment loans. These types of loans are for small amounts of money, however you pay back your repayments over time in installments as opposed to one lump sum like a payday loan. Terms can last anywhere from a few months to five years. You can learn more about installment loans here.
  • Credit union loans. Credit unions and other small banks sometimes offer small loans to their existing customers. Salary advances and other loans can be applied for and repaid on your next payday, often for more reasonable rates than offered by payday loan lenders.
  • Bank overdraft. If your bank account is in good standing, you may be eligible for a small, personal loan or overdraft. Contact your current bank to discuss your eligibility.

Bottom line

A payday loan is best saved as a last resort when you’re facing an emergency financial situation. If you’ve weighed the alternatives and believe a payday loan is right for you, you can compare your payday loan options to find the best deal available to you.

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