Each year, hundreds of thousands of Canadians spend over half a billion dollars on cosmetic surgery. Despite the fact that cosmetic surgery can be costly and usually isn’t covered by insurance, it’s becoming increasingly common in Canada.
If you have been looking at getting a cosmetic procedure but don’t have all the cash on hand, you may want to consider a getting a loan.
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People looking to finance cosmetic surgery procedures sometimes take out personal loans to do so. Personal loans allow you to borrow money either using an asset as security or with an unsecured loan, and you can sometimes choose a variable or fixed rate option. Depending on the loan you choose, you may be able to borrow between $3,000 and $100,000, for a term of between 1 and 7 years.
This is one option people sometimes overlook, but it may be worthwhile to consider. Depending on your credit limit, you may be able to finance part of your procedure or even the entire thing. If you plan on using an existing card, confirm the interest rate you will be charged and whether you will be able to manage the repayments without incurring a bunch of interest. If you decide to get a new card, you may want to opt for one with a 0% interest rate introductory period on purchases so it can save you money on interest. Some cards offer interest-free introductory periods for as long as 12 months.
Some lenders specialize in providing financing options for people looking to get medical treatments and procedures. The benefit in dealing with these lenders is that they are most likely familiar with the type of procedures you are looking to finance and the costs that may be involved. Be sure to check the interest rates that are charged with medical loans as they can be considerably higher than that of other loan types.
Putting up your home for collateral can often get you a more competitive interest rate on a personal loan than if you go with an unsecured option. With a home equity loan, you can usually borrow up to around 65% of your home’s value. On the down side, however, you risk losing your home if you default.
One last-resort option is to borrow against your retirement savings plan. These typically have low rates and are easy to qualify for, but come with several risks. Touching your retirement savings is not a good idea if you aren’t confident that you can regain the money or if you’re close to retiring and don’t have a lot of funds to fall back on. If you have airtight job security, however, you could potentially look into this option. Be sure to speak to a financial advisor beforehand to better understand your options and what you can afford to spend.
What's the different between cosmetic and plastic surgery?
It’s common to use cosmetic and plastic surgery to mean the same thing. But there’s actually a slight difference that can affect your financing options.
Cosmetic surgery is an elective procedure you undergo to improve your appearance.
Plastic surgery is a restorative procedure: It repairs damage or defects and help your body function normally.
What’s usually covered by insurance?
Most insurance companies cover plastic surgery but not cosmetic surgery. Want breast implants? That’s probably not covered. Need breast reduction for health reasons? That might be covered.
Below are a list of procedures that may be covered by insurance if performed for health reasons and not strictly for beautification. Note that coverage differs among insurance companies, so check with your provider to find out what’s covered under your plan.
Rhinoplasty (“a nose job”) to fix nasal problems, breathing issues or a deviated septum.
Mole removal if a mole is cancerous or interfering with an important physical function, like a mole that’s blocking your vision.
Breast reduction or breast implant removal if it’s required to reduce back pain or fight infection.
Gynecomastia (male breast reduction) if required for medical reasons.
Bariatric (weight loss) surgery if your BMI is above a certain point and other weight loss treatments have failed.
Liposuction to remove tumors beneath the skin or for other medical reasons. Liposuction done simply to remove fat is virtually never covered.
Blepharoplasty (eyelid surgery) if your vision is severely impaired.
Otoplasty (ear reshaping) is often covered for children.
Keloid surgery, which treats wounds that have abnormally healed after an injury. These types of scars are usually thick, hardened and reddish (or occasionally flesh-coloured). Insurance may limit coverage for this to certain areas of the body, like the face.
Ganglion cyst removal to remove small sacs of fluid that have formed where muscles connect to bones (joints and tendons).
Compare personal loans for cosmetic surgery
Representative example: Paul gets cosmetic surgery
Paul is an athlete and has broken his nose multiple times throughout the last decade. He has retired from playing contact sports and has decided it’s time to get cosmetic surgery to fix his nose. His rhinoplasty will cost $12,000.00 – but Paul only has $7,000.00 saved up. He decides to look at his loan options. After comparing both traditional and online lenders, Paul heads to his bank and is able to get approved for a $5,000.00 personal loan with a competitive interest rate of 5%. Although it will take a few days to get the money, the interest rate his bank is offering is lower than he can qualify for elsewhere.
Cost of rhinoplasty
Interest rate (APR)
Origination fee of 1% ($50.00)
Total loan cost
*The information in this example, including rates, fees and terms, is provided as a representative transaction. The actual cost of the product may vary depending on the retailer, the product specs and other factors.
Can I get a cosmetic surgery loan with bad credit?
Sadly, bad credit is a reality for many people, but it doesn’t have to stop you from getting the surgery or procedure you deserve. Before comparing your options, you can ask yourself the following questions:
Are you sure you want the procedure? Cosmetic surgery is a serious medical procedure that can be irreversible. Before you apply for finance, make sure you’ve thought very carefully about it.
Have you researched the risks? There are various risks associated with different surgeries. Research these risks before you consider your finance options to ensure you understand what you’re getting into.
How much will the surgery cost? This includes the surgery, travel costs and any unpaid time you may have to take off from work. Calculate your repayments and make sure you will be able to afford the loan.
Can you save up the money or wait until your credit has improved? With bad credit, your options for a personal loan may be limited. If you can wait until your credit score has improved, you may be able to qualify for a lender who can provide the financing needed for your cosmetic surgery. If not, there are alternative lenders who offer installment loans and short-term loans with more lenient eligibility criteria.
What should I consider when looking for a loan?
Loan amount. Before signing up for the loan you can check that you will be able to borrow the full amount of money you want to. Some lenders have set minimum and maximum amounts, while the amount you will be approved for is also dependent on your credit history.
Fixed or variable rate.Fixed rate loans have a set rate for the life of the loan, allowing you to plan your repayments. Variable rate loans may have a fluctuating rate, but you may also be able to take advantage of good market conditions that afford you a lower rate. Remember, though, that you need to consider the rate alongside other costs, such as fees, to get an idea of the real cost of the loan.
Fees. Before you sign up for the loan you should check all applicable fees that you might incur. You should look for fees that you will be charged for the loan to be set up, ongoing loan administration fees, plus fees you may be charged for closing the loan early or for making additional repayments.
Repayment period. You can try and determine a realistic length of time that you may need to pay back the loan in full, then check that these terms are offered by the lender. The length of time you borrow for may affect the amount of interest you pay over the life of the loan and the cost of your repayments.
Repayment options. Most personal loans will come with monthly repayments. You may be able to align the repayment dates with your budget, but some lenders may be more restrictive. You should also see if you are able to make additional repayments without incurring fees as this option can help you save money on interest.
Restrictions. Depending on the lender you go with, there may be certain restrictions placed on the loan. For instance, you may not be able to make additional repayments or be able to pay back the loan early. Make sure you are familiar with all aspects of the loan before you apply.
How to apply for a cosmetic surgery loan
To apply for a personal loan to finance a cosmetic procedure, compare your options and visit your chosen lender’s website. There you’ll fill out an online application form. Eligibility requirements will differ between lenders, but generally you will need to have good to excellent credit, be 18 or older and a permanent Canadian resident or citizen. You will also need to provide the following details when you apply:
Personal details including your name, age and proof of your identification
Financial details including your assets, debts and liabilities
Your income and pay frequency, which may require pay stubs or tax returns
Your employment information
Cost and recovery time estimates of different cosmetic surgery procedures
Here are some general estimates of how much different cosmetic surgery procedures costs and typical recovery times. Be sure to discuss your personal situation with the surgeon you’re considering before undergoing any procedure.
There are a number of cosmetic issues that can be resolved with general cosmetic surgery. Cosmetic enhancements include procedures such as a face lift or breast lift. The cost of these types of cosmetic surgeries varies widely based on your geographic location and the surgeon’s reputation but can range from $4,000 to over $10,000. The procedures can require 1-2 weeks off from work depending on which body part you are enhancing and the extent of the surgery.
Many people, especially men, turn to surgery to replace lost hair. This involves removing hair bearing skin from one area of the body and transplanting it onto the scalp. Afterwards the patient may feel pain or throbbing in the area, making it necessary to take a few days off from work until fully recovered. How much the procedure costs will vary depending on the extent of hair loss, but can start from $3,000 to over $5,000.
Bariatric surgery is used as a weight loss method that helps the patient to control their appetite. This is done using a variety of methods including having a band placed around the upper portion of the stomach. These types of procedures start at around $3,000, but can be as high as $14,000. Many of these procedures are now done with laser treatments, making recovery time around 10 to 14 days.
Dental surgery requires the removal of teeth and/or the reconstruction of the jaw bone to position them better. Dental implants can cost up to $3,000 for a single tooth and range from $24,000 to $110,000 if you want your entire mouth cosmetically enhanced.You may be in pain for a few days following the procedure, so be prepared to take up to 5 days off from work.
Cosmetic dentistry is used to repair what is considered to be an abnormality with the mouth or teeth. Teeth whitening is a common procedure that averages about $650 a visit, and should not require any time off from work. Veneers, which are placed over the teeth to improve their appearance, can start at $450 per tooth. Overall, the cost of replacing 8-10 teeth can range from $3,000 to $18,000 in total.
Laser eye surgery, or Lasik, corrects a person’s vision without the use of glasses or contact lenses. Instead, a laser is used to restore vision to the ideal 20/20. These types of laser treatments can range from $1,800 to $2,000 per eye. As this is an outpatient procedure, you will need someone to bring you home afterwards. Expect that your vision will not be fully restored for up to 5 days following the procedure.
In vitro fertilization (IVF) programs
For couples who are struggling to have a baby, IVF programs are often the only solution. These types of fertility treatments assist the couple with getting pregnant by using donor and implantation techniques. This procedure doesn’t always work the first time, and each treatment can cost $10,000 to $15,000 per cycle. It can therefore become very costly for the couple.
ENT is a specialty in the ear, nose and throat. One of the most common procedures related to ENT surgery is rhinoplasty, which is a reshaping of the nose. These cosmetic procedures can start around $7,500 to $8,500, and you’ll also need 10 to 14 days afterwards to recover before being able to return to work.
Getting cosmetic surgery overseas
To save money, some people go overseas to places like the Dominican Republic, where cosmetic procedures are cheaper. It’s important to fully research the surgeon before having them perform any procedure on you. Although you may save some money in the short term, you could expose yourself to some serious health risks.
Surgeons in other countries may not be as regulated as they are in Canada. Thus, some procedures in other countries may not be as hygienic or safe. If you are considering an overseas procedure, you may want to seek professional advice in order to understand the risks involved.
Although it’s easier to fund surgeries performed for health-related reasons, you still have funding options even if you want to undergo a procedure simply to improve your appearance. If you want to dig into your savings to pay for cosmetic surgery, be sure to consider the long-term impact this will have on your finances, carefully weighing both the benefits with the risks before you commit to any treatments.
As an alternative to dipping into your savings, you may be able to get a personal loan to cover a treatment as long as your credit is in good shape. Check out our guide on some of the best personal loan options in Canada to compare options and find the right financing for your needs.
Frequently asked questions about cosmetic surgery loans
Monthly payments will depend on the loan amount, the loan term and what interest rate you’re charged.
Most likely, yes. Lenders may have different criteria when it comes to approving loans for cosmetic procedures. Be sure to check with the lender you’re interested in before applying.
Many surgeons and medical facilities accept credit cards a form of payment. You may be charged a small percentage of the transaction as a processing fee. Be sure to understand the interest that’ll be charged on your balance if you don’t plan on paying the credit card balance in full right away.
Aliyyah Camp is a writer and personal finance blogger who helps readers compare personal, student, car and business loans. Aliyyah earned a BA in communication from the University of Pennsylvania and is based in New York, where she enjoys movies and running outdoors.
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