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Payday loan vs installment loan

Which loan should you get if you have bad credit?

There are key differences between payday loans and installment loans, especially when it comes to annual percentage rates (APRs), loan terms and loan amounts. Overall, an installment loan has lower APRs, longer loan terms and larger loan amounts than a payday loan.

Understanding installment loans

An installment loan is a specific amount of money you borrow and pay back in installments with interest over a period of time. Technically, loans such as mortgages and car loans are installment loans, but in the comparison below, the “installment loan” we are referring to is a personal loan offered by alternative lenders to borrowers with bad credit.

Traditional lenders like banks and credit unions also offer installment loans, but since their loans are for borrowers with good credit, we will not compare them with payday loans here.

Payday loan vs installment loan features

FeaturePayday loanInstallment loan

Loan amount

$100 to $1,500$500 to $15,000
Loan termBy your next payday, up to 62 days6 months to 5 years
Annual percentage rate Over 300% (borrowing fee is $15 to $25 for every $100 borrowed)18% to 47%
Turnaround timeWithin a few hoursWithin 24 to 48 hours
Eligibility requirementsFlexible – accepts bad credit and non-employment incomeLess flexible – has credit score and income requirements

Payday loan vs installment loan: $700 example

Let’s say a borrower in Ontario is debating between a $700 payday loan and $700 installment loan. Here’s how the cost can break down.

FeaturePayday loanInstallment loan

Loan amount

$700$700
Borrowing cost$15 per $100 borrowed = $105 (497.73% APR)46.93% APR
Loan term11 days6 months
Payment amountOne full payment of $805$133.15 monthly for 6 months (98.88 in total interest)
Total loan cost$805$798.88

If you’re looking at the dollar amounts, the installment loan is nearly as expensive as the payday loan. The key difference here is the loan term. An installment loan allows you to spread out your payments over several months. But watch out for longer loan terms, because if the loan term becomes too long, you may end up paying more in interest than a payday loan.

⚠️ Warning: Be cautious with payday loans
High-cost payday loans are unsustainable for borrowing over a continued period of time and are expensive as a means of longer-term borrowing. View payday costs and regulations by province here. If you're experiencing financial hardship call Credit Counselling Canada for free financial counselling (Monday-Friday 8:00am-5:00pm at +1 866-398-5999). You may also want to consider payday loan alternatives.

Compare payday loans

1 - 5 of 5
Name Product Loan Amount Loan Term APR Turnaround Time Serviced Provinces Offer Table description
iCash Payday Loan
$100 - $1,500
7 - 62 days
Varies by province
As little as 2 minutes with Interac e-Transfer
AB, BC, MB, NB, NS, ON, PEI
24/7 instant approval and e-Transfer funding.
Same day cash up to $1,500 for car payments, rent, mortgage, home & appliance repair, and more. Income of at least $800/month required.
GoDay Payday Loan
$100 - $1,500
Up to 62 days
Varies by province
As little as 2 minutes with Interac e-Transfer
AB, BC, MB, NB, NS, ON, PEI, SK
To apply, 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.
Wagepay Wage Advance Loan
$100 - $1,500
Up to 62 days
Varies by province
As little as 2 minutes with Interac e-Transfer
BC, ON
Lower and transparent fees. No late or NSF fees.
Get early access to a portion of your pay. Sign up in less than 3 minutes and receive funds via e-Transfer 24/7.
Money Mart Payday Loan
$120 - $1,500
1 - 62 days
Varies by province
As little as 1 hour after getting approved
AB, BC, MB, NS, NT, ON, SK, YT
To be eligible, you’ll need to be at least 18 years of age with a steady source of income and a chequing account. No credit check required.
More Info
Cash Money Payday Loan
$100 - $1,500
5 - 40 days
Varies by province
As little as 15 minutes with INTERAC e-Transfer
BC, MB, NL, NS, ON, SK
Instant decision and e-Transfer funding. Income of at least $1,000/month required.
More Info
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Maximum borrowing costs of payday loans per province
Always refer to your contract for exact repayment amounts and costs.
Province Max. cost of borrowing a $100 payday loan Cooling off period to cancel loan Max. penalty for returned cheque or pre-authorized debit
Alberta $15 2 business days $25
British Columbia $15 2 business days $20
Manitoba $17 48 hours excluding Sundays and holidays $20
New Brunswick $15 48 hours excluding Sundays and holidays $20
Newfoundland and Labrador $14 2 business days $20
Nova Scotia $15 Next business day (2 days for online loans) $40 (default penalty)
Ontario $15 2 business days $25
Prince Edward Island $15 2 business days N/A
Quebec Limit of 35% AIR N/A N/A
Saskatchewan $17 Next business day $25

Compare installment loans

1 - 7 of 7
Name Product Ratings APR Range Loan Amount Loan Term Broker Compliance Requirements
Spring Financial Installment Loan
Finder Score:
★★★★★
Customer Survey:
★★★★★
9.99% - 46.96%
$500 - $35,000
9 - 84 months
Requirements: min. income $2,000/month, 3+ months employed, min. credit score 550
Loans Canada Installment Loan
Finder Score:
★★★★★
Customer Survey:
★★★★★
8.00% - 46.96%
$500 - $50,000
4 - 60 months
Loans Canada is a loan search platform with access to multiple lenders. Applicants will be matched with a suitable lender based on credit history and borrowing requirements.
Requirements: min. credit score 300
LoanConnect Installment Loan
Finder Score:
★★★★★
Customer Survey:
★★★★★
8.99% - 46.96%
$500 - $2,500
3 - 6 months
LoanConnect is a loan search platform with access to multiple lenders. Applicants will be matched with a suitable lender based on credit history and borrowing requirements.
Requirements: min. credit score 300
easyfinancial Personal Loan
Finder Score:
★★★★★
Customer Survey:
★★★★★
9.99% - 46.96%
$500 - $100,000
9 - 120 months
Requirements: min. income $1,200/month
MDG Financial Installment Loan
Not yet rated
29.78% - 44.80%
Up to $1,600
Up to 36 months
Requirements: no min. income, min. credit score 560
LoansLoans.ca Installment Loan
Finder Score:
★★★★★
28.00% - 32.00% + broker fee
$500 - $1,000
3 months
Requirements: min. income $1,200, 2+ months employed. No credit check required.

Note: You may be charged a broker fee up to $300.
Fat Cat Loans Personal Loan
Finder Score:
★★★★★
4.84% - 35.99%
$300 - $50,000
3 - 84 months
Requirements: min. income $1,000/month, min. credit score 300
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How to choose between a payday loan and installment loan

Both are high-interest loans. Generally, a payday loan should only be a last resort because of its extremely high interest rates and short repayment terms. When making a decision, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Can I afford to repay the loan within the loan term? Payments for both payday loans and installment loans will be automatically deducted from your bank account. If you don’t have enough money in it on the due date, you will be charged fees. Make sure you have an exit strategy before taking out a payday loan or installment loan.
  • How much do I need? Payday loans max out at $1,500 (or less depending on your net income).
  • Do you want to pay off the loan in 1 lump sum? Some people prefer to pay off the loan in 1 lump sum rather than stretching it out over months. Payday loans offer that option.
  • How fast do you need the funds? It’s possible to get a payday loan within a few hours. Installment loans take around 1 to 2 business days.

What do I need to apply for a payday loan vs installment loan?

Payday loans

  • Be the age of majority. You need to be at least 18 years old (19 in some provinces and territories).
  • Steady source of income. Many payday lenders can accept non-employment income such as Canada child benefit, employment insurance, disability and social assistance. Learn more about payday loans for government benefits.
  • Valid bank account. You’ll need to provide a voided cheque or fill out a pre-authorized debit form.

Before taking out a payday loan, become familiar with the payday loan regulations of your province.

Installment loans

  • Be the age of majority. You need to be at least 18 years old (19 in some provinces and territories).
  • Steady source of employment income. Although there are some lenders that accept non-employment income, many require employment income.
  • Meet the minimum credit score. This varies widely among lenders. Some lenders accept a credit score in the 300s or 400s, while others start in the 500s.
  • Valid bank account. You’ll need to provide a voided cheque or fill out a pre-authorized debit form.

Bottom line

Payday loans and installment loans from alternative lenders are both high-cost loans that are accessible to borrowers who don’t qualify for traditional loans from banks and credit unions. Before taking out a payday loan or installment loan, compare your options, understand the true cost of the loan and have a concrete plan to repay it.

Frequently asked questions

Leanne Escobal's headshot
Written by

Publisher

Leanne Escobal is a publisher for Finder. She has spent over 11 years working with financial products and services, specializing in content and marketing. Leanne has completed the Canadian securities course (CSC®) as well as the personal lending and mortgages course by the Canadian Securities Institute. She has a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in English literature and creative writing from Western University. See full bio

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Co-written by

Producer

Emma Balmforth is a producer at Finder. She is passionate about helping people make financial decisions that will benefit them now and in the future. She has written for a variety of publications including World Nomads, Trek Effect and Uncharted. Emma has a degree in Business and Psychology from the University of Waterloo. She enjoys backpacking, reading and taking long hikes and road trips with her adventurous dog. See full bio

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