Payday loans in Alberta
You'll pay a maximum of $15 in fees for every $100 you borrow.
If you’re facing a financial emergency, you might find yourself in need of some fast cash. One solution is getting a payday loan – a quick and easy way to get your hands on emergency money before your next paycheque. But while payday loans are quick and convenient, they’re expensive and risky.
We’ve designed this guide to help you navigate the ins and outs of cash advance payday loans in Alberta, so that you have as much information as possible to make an informed decision before you sign on the dotted line.
Can I get a payday loan in Alberta?
Yes, payday loans are legal in Alberta. Each province has its own regulations that govern payday loan costs and conditions. In Alberta, the Payday Loans Regulation and the Act to End Predatory Lending help protect people who take out payday loans.
Here are the regulations surrounding payday loans in Alberta:
- The maximum fee a payday lender can charge is $15 per $100 borrowed.
- A lender can charge additional fees if the payday loan isn’t paid on time.
- The maximum amount you can borrow is $1,500.
- The maximum term of the loan is 62 days.
- You can only take out one payday loan at a time from one lender.
- Lenders cannot ask you to sign a form that transfers your wages directly to them.
- Roll-over loans are not allowed. This means you can’t roll over what you owe into a second payday loan.
- Should you change your mind and want to cancel your payday loan, you have two days to do so without facing a penalty. You also don’t have to provide a reason for cancelling.
⚠️ 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.
Cash Money Payday Loan
- 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
Fast facts about payday loans in Alberta
- Maximum loan amount: $1,500
- Minimum loan term: 42 days
- Maximum loan term: 62 days
- Maximum interest: $15 for every $100 that you borrow
Compare payday loans in Alberta
Check the websites of any lenders you’re interested in to confirm they operate in your province or territory of residence.
What fees will I have to pay?
Although Alberta has laws in place to protect consumers from predatory lending, you’ll still need to pay a maximum of $15 for every $100 that you borrow. You have two business days to cancel a contract – known as the “cooling-off period” – for a payday loan without having to pay a fee.
The table below shows the fees you will pay for a payday loan versus a credit card.
|Loan Amount (over 2 weeks)||Payday loan fee||Credit card fee (23%)|
Can I get a no credit check loan in Alberta?
Most lenders won’t do a credit check when issuing a payday loan. Instead, they’ll be more interested in you having:
- An active chequing account
- A permanent address (and proof of it)
- Three months of continuous employment (and proof of it)
This lenient criteria can be easy to meet – with the added bonus of not having to prove you’re a responsible borrower. However, some lenders who don’t do credit checks might be more likely to be predatory and illegitimate. This is why it’s important to do your research and use a reputable lender – whether they do a credit check or not.
What should I keep in mind before applying?
If you have your heart set on a payday loan, it’s important to shop around for the best deal. That being said, it’s also a good idea to think about other short-term loan alternatives since payday loans are usually the most expensive solution for your short-term financial problems. You could save big if you think about other ways to solve your money issues.
If you do decide to take out a payday loan, it’s important to borrow only as much as you’ll be able to repay and to budget your repayments accordingly. If you default on your loan or the loan goes into collections, you’ll receive a negative mark on your credit report that can stay there for up to six years. Make sure to budget for the amount of money you plan to take out, and use a licensed lender.
How can I tell if a lender in Alberta is legit?
Look for the following signs to make sure you’re working with a legit lender.
- The lender displays an Alberta licence number. While your lender should display their licence number, you can cross-check with the Service Alberta Consumer Contact Centre by calling 1-877-427-4088 or search their online database to make sure that your lender is licensed.
- It doesn’t allow roll-overs or multiple loans. Alberta law doesn’t allow payday lenders to give out multiple loans.
- It provides contracts in the language you use to speak with your lender. This means that if you and your lender communicate in English, your contract must be in English. If it’s French, your contract must also be in French.
- It follows rate and fee regulations. Stay away from lenders who charge more than $15 per $100 borrowed.
Watch out for unlicensed lenders
If you’re looking for a quick and easy way to get your hands on some fast cash, you might be tempted to take out a payday loan online. But it’s important to note that this puts you at risk of borrowing from an unlicensed lender. Unlicensed lenders can be problematic for a number of reasons.
- Charging illegally high interest rates or fees. You may end up paying more than $15 per $100 borrowed, or be faced with hidden charges and fees.
- Identity theft. Unlicensed lenders sometimes sell customer information to third parties, which could lead to identity theft or a hacked bank account.
- Funds taken from your bank account without your permission. Unlicensed lenders have been known to illegally withdraw money from customer’s bank accounts if they’re unable to make repayments.
Unlicensed lenders can operate outside of Alberta or even outside of Canada, making it difficult for the province to prosecute them. That’s why it’s so important to make sure your lender is licensed to operate in Alberta before you borrow money.
How to file a complaint against a lender
The Consumer Investigations Unit (CIU) at Service Alberta investigates complaints about consumer transactions where a payday loan business has breached Alberta’s consumer protection laws. You can contact the Service Alberta Consumer Contact Centre toll-free at 1-877-427-4088 to discuss your options for filing a complaint.
If Service Alberta finds that your lender violated provincial law, it could take legal action against the business. This includes revoking its license, slapping it with a penalty and even filing a civil action to get a settlement for customers if the lender is facing numerous complaints.
Payday loan alternatives in Alberta
If you’re not sure you want to take out a payday loan, you have other options. Here are some programs and lenders you might want to check out.
Alberta assistance programs
Alberta has some programs that can help lower the costs of everyday expenses for some residents and newcomers who are struggling to make ends meet.
- Income support provides low-income individuals with financial assistance to cover expenses like food, clothing and rent.
- Alberta Affordable Housing provides subsidized rental housing to low-income families, seniors and individuals who cannot afford other housing options due to circumstance.
- Alberta ALIS may be able to provide you with money and help to find a job during temporary financial difficulties.
- Assured Income for Severely Handicapped (AISH) helps people with disabilities who are in financial need pay for living expenses, like food and housing.
Local financial institutions
Some credit unions and local banks offer lower cost short-term loans. You might also want ask about credit builder programs, which offer loans in small amounts that can help you build your credit score by reporting every on-time repayment you make to the credit bureaus. This can set you up for the future, where you will be eligible for more competitive interest rates and terms.
If you’re struggling with your personal finances, you might want to also consider enrolling in a credit counselling program. These can help you make a budget and manage or consolidate your debts.
How can I apply for a payday loan?
If you’re interested in applying for a payday loan in Alberta, you’ll need to meet the following eligibility criteria:
- Be at least 18 years old
- Provide proof of 3 months of continuous employment
- Give proof of address (e.g., they can ask to see a utility bill)
- Have an active chequing account
To complete your application successfully, prepare to submit some basic information:
- Personal details, such as your name, date of birth, Social Insurance Number and a valid form of ID
- Contact details, such as your residential address, email address and phone number
- Details about your employment and income
If you’re considering taking out a payday loan, familiarize yourself with the laws in Alberta to make sure you’re getting the best terms for your loan. Be wary of unlicensed lenders and make sure to pay back your loan on time to avoid paying interest. Remember that there are better short-term financing alternatives than a payday loan, so compare your options before signing on the dotted line.