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Peer-to-peer loans in Canada
Borrow money from average Canadian investors by using an online peer-to-peer lending platform.
Peer-to-peer loans let you borrow money from average Canadian investors, without the need for a bank. These loans typically come with lower interest rates and less strict eligibility criteria to qualify. The main downside is that you’ll typically still need to submit to a credit check to get started, and you may have to pay an origination fee based on which platform you use.
What is peer-to-peer lending?
Peer-to-peer lending in Canada involves borrowing money from anonymous lenders through an online platform. The platform connects you to average Canadian investors – just like you or me – who want to earn money on interest by loaning out their savings. All you need to do as a borrower is submit an online application with your personal information to get started.
From there, lenders can peruse your application and decide how much financing they might want to offer you. Sometimes, they’ll give you 25% of what you need and other times, they may give you the full amount. Once you receive your financing, you repay your loan with interest through the P2P platform (along with an origination fee in some cases).
Peer-to-peer loans in Canada: How they work
Getting peer-to-peer loans in Canada is a fairly simple process if you’re comfortable with applying online. You just need to follow these steps to get started:
- Apply for a loan. Complete an online application with a reputable P2P platform and submit detailed information about your credit score and financial situation.
- Wait for approval. The platform will assess your creditworthiness based on information such as your credit score and debt-to-income ratio.
- Get assigned an interest rate. You’ll be assigned an appropriate interest rate (based on your credit) and then your loan request will go live.
- Start receiving loan offers. You’ll receive loan offers from potential lenders. After looking at the offers, you’ll need to decide which one is the best fit for you.
- Choose an offer and get paid. Once you’ve accepted an offer, you’ll get your money deposited into your bank account.
- Begin to repay your loan. Start making regular repayments based on the terms of your loan contract.
What sets peer-to-peer lending apart from other financing options?
P2P loans have a number of unique features that set them apart from other types of financing. Unlike more traditional loans, you sign up to an online platform to borrow money from average Canadian investors. This makes it easier to get approved and you may even get more competitive interest rates than you would with the bank.
Another unique advantage of peer-to-peer lending is that you can usually prepay your loan whenever you want without penalty. This means you can borrow funds immediately, and save money on interest by paying them back in a couple of weeks or months without having to pay any extra fees.
What are the types of P2P loans in Canada?
There are a number of different forms of P2P loans available in Canada:
- Unsecured personal loans. Unsecured P2P loans rely heavily on your credit score for approval, and you don’t need to put up an asset to qualify.
- Secured personal loans. Secured loans require you to put up an asset such as your car or home to secure your loan, and in return, they usually come with lower rates.
- Debt consolidation loans. These loans let you borrow a lump sum of money to pay off all of your debts so that you just have to worry about one low-interest monthly payment.
- Business loans. Business P2P loans can help you start or grow your business with low-interest financing (which can be hard to find with other loans, especially for startups).
Pros and cons of P2P loans
- Quick online application. You can usually apply in a couple of minutes online and get approved for financing on the same day.
- No need for the bank. You can apply from the comfort of your own home and help grow the savings of average Canadian investors instead of the big banks.
- Lower rates. Your rates can be as low as 5% if you have excellent credit, but they can also climb as high as 30% if your credit score isn’t in the best shape.
- Easy to qualify. You can typically get approved for financing even if your credit score is in rough shape, though your rates may be higher and you’ll usually get fewer loan offers.
- Pre-approval process. You can apply to find out your interest rate without getting a hard pull on your credit and without having to commit to borrowing.
- No prepayment penalty. In most cases, you won’t be charged a fee if you decide to repay your loan early.
- Bad credit may not be accepted. You could struggle to get approved with some platforms if your credit score is low (or you might have to pay exorbitant interest rates).
- Additional fees. You may have to pay a loan origination fee or set-up fee when you sign up with a P2P platform you choose as a finder’s fee for matching you with a lender.
- Low amounts. It may not be possible to borrow more than $25,000 at one time, depending on which platform you choose.
- Fewer regulations. Peer-to-peer lending in Canada is a relatively new industry, which means it’s not subject to the same regulatory oversight as traditional lending institutions.
How to get a peer-to-peer personal loan in Canada
To borrow money with a P2P lending institution, you’ll usually need to complete the steps below:
- Compare P2P platforms. You’ll want to find a platform that offers the right size of loan with interest rates you can afford and eligibility criteria you can meet.
- Submit an application. Submit your application to be a borrower, which includes submitting personal information such as your name, address and financial history.
- Agree to a credit check. Allow the P2P lending platform to do a hard pull on your credit to make sure that you meet the minimum credit score required to borrow.
- Provide necessary documentation. Submit proof that you make enough income to pay off your P2P loan in addition to your other debts.
- Agree to your assigned interest rate. Accept the interest rate you’re assigned according to how risky a borrower you are deemed to be by the P2P platform.
- Choose an offer. Start receiving offers from Canadian investors in your inbox and accept the one that makes the most sense for your circumstances.
Loan eligibility requirements
To qualify for a peer-to-peer loan, you may need to meet the following eligibility requirements:
- Be at least 18 years old or the age of majority in your province or territory.
- Be a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident with a valid Canadian address and two valid pieces of identification.
- Show proof that you can pay off your loan by showing pay stubs, bank account statements and other relevant financial documents.
- Have a credit score of at least 550 (and submit to a credit check).
Can I get a peer-to-peer loan for bad credit?
It can be more difficult to get peer-to-peer loans for bad credit since many P2P platforms require you to meet a minimum credit score to qualify. For example, some platforms may need you to have a minimum score of 550, while others will expect at least 600 to 650. This is to protect the lenders on the site from borrowers defaulting on their loans.
If you have a credit score below 550, peer-to-peer lending might not be a good fit for you. This is because even if you can get approved, it’s very unlikely that your interest rates will be affordable. In some cases, they can reach as high as 30%, which can make your loan very difficult to pay back on time.
When to consider other financing options
There are a couple of situations where you might want to avoid peer-to-peer lending in Canada as a source of financing. These include the following:
- You have bad credit. Typically, you’ll need to have a good to excellent credit score in order to qualify for a competitive interest rate with a P2P lender.
- You need money as fast as possible. With P2P lending, you might have to wait as long as a week or more for investors to fund your loan. If you have an emergency and need money as soon as possible, you may want to look elsewhere.
- You’re in serious debt. Debt consolidation is one of the most common uses for a P2P loan, but it can’t help if you’re already struggling to make debt repayments. Instead, you might want to look into getting a financial counsellor who can help you get to the root of your financial issues.
- You don’t want to pay fees. Most P2P lenders charge set-up or administrative fees, so you might want to look elsewhere for a no-fee personal loan.
How to choose the right P2P platform for your needs
You’ll want to think about the following questions when deciding which P2P platform is the right fit for you:
- How much will I pay in fees? You’ll want to aim for a P2P platform with no fees wherever possible – or at least only a small origination fee.
- Am I eligible? You’ll need to check the minimum income and credit score criteria for the P2P platform of your choice to make sure you can qualify.
- What happens if I default? It’s important to know how your loan will be handled if you default as well as what legal or administrative costs you might incur if you fail to make your payments on time.
What are some alternatives to a peer-to-peer loan?
There are a few other types of loans you may be interested in pursuing if P2P lending doesn’t seem like the best fit for you:
- Personal loans. Personal loans are traditional installment loans that you can borrow from banks or online lenders.
- Bad credit loans. Bad credit loans are offered to people who have bad credit, but they typically come with very high interest rates.
- Business loans. Business loans are designed for small business owners and may give you lower interest financing if you need to cover business expenses.
- Credit cards. If all else fails, you may be able to put your expenses on a low-interest credit card in the short term.
- Borrowing from family or friends. If you’re struggling to get financing from a traditional lender, it could help to turn to your friends and family for financial assistance.
Compare personal loans
If you’re thinking a personal loan may suit your needs better, below are some online lenders to consider.
Peer-to-peer lending in Canada lets you borrow money from average investors. This type of financing is growing in popularity because it is easier to qualify for and still comes with fairly low interest rates. Find out more about how P2P loans work and learn whether this type of financing could be a good fit for you.
Frequently asked questions about peer-to-peer lending in Canada
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