Nonbank personal loans

Find out where to get a personal loan from a lender other than your bank — and what benefits it could bring.

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When your bank doesn’t offer the loan you need — or your bank denies your loan application — it’s worth considering a loan from a financial institution or lender that’s not a bank. These nonbank lenders include independent or private lenders and credit unions who, thanks to their smaller sizes, may provide more personalized services to help with your personal loan.

What is a “nonbank” lender?

A nonbank lender offers loans without the traditional features of a bank. There are a couple of different types of nonbank lenders, including credit unions and online lenders.

  • Credit unions are similar to banks, but often offer more personalized services due to limited regional availability. Credit unions vary between provinces and territories and you’ll need to become a member of a specific credit union in order to apply for and receive a loan. These financial institutions are member-owned nonprofits, meaning any profits earned are put directly back into the products and services on offer. Credit unions typically offer standard financial products that include bank accounts, savings accounts and personal loans.
  • Online lenders, on the other hand, usually don’t have physical stores. The application, approval and repayment processes are usually all completely online. You will typically receive your money directly into your bank account and make your repayments online. If you’re looking to purchase a specific product or service, you can often find lenders who specialize in the loans they offer. Online lender’s specialities include car loans, medical loans, dental loans and many others.

A selection of nonbank personal loans you could apply for

Name Product Interest Rate Max. Loan Amount Loan Term Fees Min. Credit Score
Fairstone Personal Loan (Unsecured)
26.99% - 39.99%
$20,000
6 months - 5 years
None
N/A
Fairstone offers unsecured personal loans up to $20,000
Fairstone Personal Loan (Secured)
19.99% - 23.99%
$35,000
3-10 years
Varies by province
N/A
Fairstone offers secured personal loans up to $35,000.
Ferratum Personal Loan
18.90% - 54.90%
$15,000
6 months - 5 years
None
550
An established online lender with loans up to $15,000. Now accepting applicants on El and Social Assistance.
LendDirect Personal Loan
19.99% - 46.93%
$15,000
No end dates
None
N/A
Borrow up to $15,000, based on your income and credit history, with a personal line of credit from LendDirect.
LendingMate Personal Loan
43% (British Columbia and Ontario) and 34.90% (Quebec)
$10,000
1-5 years
None
N/A
LendingMate offers loans to Canadians with poor credit with no credit checks. Guarantor required for application.
Refresh Financial Cash Secured Savings Loan
9.47% - 20.07%. Varies by loan size.
$25,000
3-5 years
Origination fee: $250 - $2,000 depending on loan size
N/A
No funds are provided by Refresh upfront. Instead, funds are placed into a secured account to be accessed later. Your payments are reported to the credit bureaus, potentially impacting your credit score.
Cash Money Installment Loan
46.93%
$10,000
6 months - 5 years
Vary across provinces/territories
N/A
Cash Money offers installment loans up to $10,000 for AB, MB and NB residents.
Cash Money Line of Credit
46.93%
$10,000
6 months - 5 years
Vary across provinces/territories
N/A
Cash Money offers line of credit loans up to $10,000 fo AB and ON residents.
LoanConnect Personal Loan
4.6%-46.96%
$50,000
3-60 months
No application or origination fees
N/A
LoanConnect is an online broker that matches borrowers to lenders offering loans in amounts from $500 to $50,000. Get approved in as little as 60 seconds with any credit score.
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How does a personal loan with a nonbank lender work?

Personal loans from an independent lender typically offer the same, and sometimes more, features as a bank. These usually include:

In addition, perks offered by nonbank lenders may include access to resources to get out of debt, free credit score monitoring, access to a financial advisor and more.

Benefits nonbank lenders can offer

When you opt for an alternative lending solution, you open yourself up to a new world of features and benefits, including:

  • Innovative lending solutions. Independent lenders can sometimes offer innovations that larger banks take longer to implement — like single-form loan applications and online approval tracking.
  • Bigger savings for customers. Some lenders, such as credit unions, are not run for profit, which means customers of the credit union are considered shareholders. Any profits are put back into the products, which then translate to savings for customers.
  • Personal customer service. Many credit unions have histories rooted in local communities and organizations that can offer a level of personal customer service that’s not always possible for larger financial institutions.

Want to compare lenders? Here’s how

  • The lender’s reputation. No matter which lender you apply with, be sure to check the reviews online to see if they’re legitimate as a company and if the loan product is safe. Read real customer reviews and check the Better Business Bureau (BBB) website.
  • Interest rates. Carefully consider interest rates to confirm they’re in line with what other lenders are offering. You may find lenders that offer fixed-rate personal loans. Although rates may be higher, these loans offer predictable payments with dependable terms, while variable rates can fluctuate over the course of the loan.
  • Origination, early repayment and other fees. Fees weigh heavily in the overall cost of a personal loan. Know whether you’ll pay an application fee or fees for early or additional repayments on your loan. The best way to compare two different loans is to compare the annual percentage rate (ARP) of each.

Are nonbank lenders safe?

There are many safe and legitimate nonbank lenders out there. While it can be more difficult to determine if an online lender is legitimate, credit unions tend to have physical locations which you can visit in person. When looking into a loan from a nonbank lender, you should be wary of the following:

  • Scammers can prey on people looking to borrow money online by posing as a company, asking for an upfront fee and then disappearing.
  • Some lenders will offer you more money than you actually need. Only borrow the amount you need since you’ll be paying interest on the amount borrowed.
  • If you don’t think you can make your repayments on time, avoid taking out a loan in the first place. There may be other financing options better suited to your situation.

How can I apply for a personal loan from a nonbank lender?

Once you’ve compared your loan options and narrowed down your choice to one, head to the lender’s website via the “Go to site” button to apply for your loan. You’ll be redirected to a secure loan application page where you can fill out the necessary information. Keep in mind that most lenders require the following information as you proceed with the application:

  • Contact information. You’ll need to provide your full name, email address, home address, phone number and date of birth.
  • Government-issued ID. Just like with a bank, you’ll need to provide a valid photo ID — for example, a passport or a driver’s license — as part of your personal loan application.
  • Your financial details. In addition to your credit history, a nonbank lender will ask about your current debts, including any other loans you might have and open credit accounts.
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