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5 small loans in Canada

Get fast access to the money you need with a small loan, even if you have bad credit.

Need a small loan to help you cover essential expenses and get through to your next paycheque? From personal and payday loans to pay advances and credit card cash advances, there are several options to choose from.

In this guide, we’ll take a look at the features of different small loans in Canada to help you find the option that’s right for you.

Compare small loans

These providers offer Canadians various types of small loans and cash advances.

⚠️ 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.
Loan providerInterest rateLoan amountLoan termKey features

Credit Line

0% interest, but there is a $4.99 - $7.99/month membership fee$30 – $150FlexibleInstant approval and funding within 30 minutes for a small fee, no credit check


Early Pay

0%$20 – $250Next pay cycleApproval is based on zero NSF fees in your bank account

Overdraft Protection

0%$0–$250FlexibleEasy application, Fast funding

Loans Loans

Installment Loan

28.00% - 32.00% + broker fee$500–$1,0003 monthsFunding within 24 hours of approval, no credit check

Payday Loan

Varies by province$100 – $1,5007 - 62 days24/7 approval and e-Transfer, accepts bad credit

Spring Financial

Installment Loan

9.99% - 46.96%$500–$35,0006 - 60 monthsFast application, same-day funding
Loans Canada

Installment Loan

6.99% - 46.96%$300–$50,0003 - 60 monthsLoan broker, largest lender network

Installment Loan

8.00% - 46.96%$500–$50,0003 - 120 monthsLoan broker, pre-approval in 5 minutes
Fat Cat Loans

Installment Loan

4.84% - 35.99%$300–$50,0003 - 120 months84% chance of approval even with bad credit
SkyCap Financial

Installment Loan

19.99% - 39.99%$500–$10,0009 - 60 monthsExcellent service, fast approvals

Personal Loan

9.99% - 46.96%$500–$100,0009 - 120 monthsInterac e-Transfer, possible 2% rate reduction with a co-applicant

Magical Credit

Installment Loan

19.99% - 46.80%$1,500 – $20,00012 - 60 monthsApproval in 24 hours, funding in 24 hours, accepts many types of income and bad credit
Money Mart

Payday Loan

Varies by province$120 – $1,5001 - 62 daysDeposited in as soon as 24 hours (excluding weekends)

Cash Money

Payday Loan

Varies by province$100 – $1,5005 - 40 daysInstant approval, e-Transfer in as little as 15 mins, accepts bad credit

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 $17 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

1. Small pay advances

Pay advance services allow you to gain early access to a portion of your next paycheque. There’s no credit check required and no interest to pay, and your repayment is automatically deducted from your bank account on your next payday.

Features of small pay advances

  • Loan amounts: Starts at $20.
  • Loan terms: By your next paycheque.
  • Interest rates: No interest, but you may pay a subscription fee and small fee for express service.
  • Where to get it: Online lenders and apps.
  • How to get it: Sign up for an account by providing your personal information and contact details. You’ll also need to provide your bank account details so the pay advance service can verify your income.
  • How long it takes: Same-day funding available (usually for a fee), but it can take up to three business days.

Pros and cons of small pay advances


  • No credit check required
  • No interest or late penalties
  • Easy application process


  • Very new option in Canada
  • Same-day funding typically only available for a fee
  • Watch out for late payment fees

Eligibility requirements of small pay advances

  • At least 18 years old (or the age of majority in your province)
  • Canadian citizen or permanent resident with a valid Canadian address
  • Meet minimum income requirements
  • Have an active Canadian bank account

2. Small personal loans

If you’re looking for a small personal loan, you won’t be able to get it from a bank – most banks have a minimum loan amount of $3,000 or more. And while you may be able to access loan amounts as low as $500 from some credit unions, in most cases you’ll need to apply to an online lender.

Features of small personal loans

  • Loan amounts: Starts at $100.
  • Loan terms: Starts at three months.
  • Interest rates: From 18%.
  • Where to get it: Online lenders and some credit unions.
  • How to get it: Fill out an online application form with your personal details, contact information and proof of income. You’ll also need to verify your ID, while many lenders offer online bank account verification to speed up the application process.
  • How long it takes: Same-day funding available.

Pros and cons of small personal loans


  • Quick and easy to apply online
  • Fast loan approval
  • Bad credit options available
  • Low minimum loan amounts available


  • The lower the amount, the less selection you have in lenders
  • Watch out for high rates
  • Watch out for prepayment penalties

Eligibility requirements of small personal loans

  • 18 years old or older (or the age of majority in your province)
  • Canadian citizen or permanent resident with a valid Canadian address
  • Have a regular source of income
  • Meet any credit score requirements
  • Meet any minimum income requirements

3. Small payday loans

Payday loans are short-term loans of up to $1,500. You can apply online or in-store and get instant approval, but high APRs mean this is an extremely expensive way to borrow.

Features of small payday loans

  • Loan amounts: Starts at $100.
  • Loan terms: Up to 62 days.
  • Interest rates: $14 to $17 for every $100 borrowed.
  • Where to get it: Online and storefront lenders.
  • How to get it: Fill out an application form with your name and contact details. You’ll need to provide proof of ID and income, and many lenders offer instant bank verification online.
  • How long it takes: Typically one hour.

Pros and cons of small payday loans


  • Easy to apply
  • Fast access to funds
  • Bad credit accepted


  • Extremely high APRs
  • Short repayment terms
  • Easy to get into a cycle of debt
  • Watch out for sketchy lenders

Eligibility requirements of small payday loans

  • 18 years old (or the age of majority in your province) or older
  • Canadian citizen or permanent resident with a valid Canadian address
  • Meet minimum income requirements
  • Have an active Canadian bank account

4. Small credit card cash advances

With a credit card cash advance, you can access funds from your card balance. It’s a quick and convenient option that allows you to get your cash from your bank or an ATM, but a cash advance fee applies.

Features of small credit card cash advances

  • Loan amounts: No minimum.
  • Loan terms: No due date, but interest accrues daily.
  • Interest rates: Around 23% plus fee.
  • Where to get it: Credit card providers.
  • How to get it: Use your existing credit card or apply for a new card by providing your name and contact details and then completing a credit check.
  • How long it takes: If you already have a credit card, you can access your money straight away.

Pros and cons of small credit card cash advances


  • Easy and convenient
  • Fast access to funds
  • No minimum amount limit


  • Cash advance fee applies
  • High interest rates and cash advances aren’t eligible for interest-free days
  • Daily, weekly and monthly limits may apply

Eligibility requirements of small credit card cash advances

The cash advance amount must be smaller than the remaining credit limit on your card. The card provider may also impose daily, weekly and monthly cash advance limits, so check your card’s terms and conditions.

5. Small overdrafts

The next option is to choose overdraft protection on your chequing account. This allows you to cover the cost of small purchases even if there are insufficient funds in your account, which means you can avoid NSF fees, but keep in mind that overdraft fees and interest apply.

Features of small overdrafts

  • Loan amounts: No minimum.
  • Loan terms: You must bring your account into a positive balance every 90 days.
  • Interest rates: Around 21% plus a $5 monthly fee or 21% plus a $5 fee per use.
  • Where to get it: Banks and credit unions.
  • How to get it: Fill out an application form to get overdraft protection on your account. You’ll need to provide details of your income and expenses and submit to a credit check.
  • How long it takes: Automatically applies to eligible transactions.

Pros and cons of small overdrafts


  • Convenient option
  • Lets you avoid applying for a loan from another provider
  • Your transaction goes through as per normal


  • Overdraft fees apply (and may apply even if your account isn’t overdrawn)
  • High interest rate applies to the overdraft amount
  • Can lure you into the trap of over-spending

Eligibility requirements of small overdrafts

  • 18 years old or older (or the age of majority in your province)
  • Canadian citizen or permanent resident with a valid Canadian address
  • Meet minimum income requirements and have your income deposited directly into your account
  • Have a good credit rating
  • Have an eligible account with the bank (or be eligible to open one)

Can you get a small loan with no credit check?

Yes, some online and payday lenders offer small no credit check loans. Instead of looking at your credit history, they assess your income to work out whether you’ll be able to afford loan repayments.

However, be very wary of any lender that promises guaranteed loan approval. A reputable lender will always examine your ability to repay a loan before providing approval, so keep this in mind when comparing your options.

Can you get a small loan with bad credit?

Yes, you can. Many online lenders are willing to provide loans to borrowers with bad credit. In fact, lenders are actually more likely to approve you for a small loan amount than a large one, so you’ll find plenty of options to choose from.

Rather than focusing on your credit score, these lenders will consider your income and your ability to repay what you borrow. However, be aware that you’ll be offered higher interest rates than borrowers who have good to excellent credit.

What is the quickest way to get a small loan online?

The fastest way to get instant small loans in Canada is to apply for a small payday loan. Some online lenders offer 24/7 applications and approvals, and with the funds deposited into your account via Interac e-Transfer, it’s possible to get cash within minutes. Alternatively, you can apply through a storefront lender and collect cash in person.

However, payday loans are a very expensive borrowing option and commonly have APRs of 300% or more. So if you need an instant small loan and you’re looking for something more affordable, a fast personal loan from an online lender could be the answer. With fast approvals and e-Transfers available, it’s possible to access your loan amount within 24 hours.

What to consider before getting a small loan

Thinking of applying for a small loan? Consider the following factors first:

Is it essential?

First and foremost, ask yourself whether you really need to take out a loan. Is the expense you need to cover absolutely essential? Are there any other options you could consider before applying for credit?

How much can I afford to borrow?

If taking out a loan is the best option, sit down to calculate how much you can afford to repay. Once you’ve made your monthly repayment, will you still have enough of your income left over to cover all your regular expenses?

Compare a range of options.

Don’t fall into the trap of choosing the quickest or most convenient small loan option available to you. Remember to compare a variety of options to find the loan that is the best fit for your financial situation.

Consider the APR and any extra fees.

Don’t just look at the interest rate when comparing your small loan options. Check out the annual percentage rate, which combines the interest rate and loan fees to show you the true cost of borrowing. Also, don’t forget to check the fine print for any other fees that may apply, such as late payment fees or prepayment penalties.

Watch out for disreputable lenders.

Do your research to make sure you only deal with legitimate and properly licensed lenders. If a lender makes promises that sound too good to be true or there are other red flags that could indicate a personal loan scam, look elsewhere.

Read the loan contract carefully.

Make sure you thoroughly review the loan’s terms and conditions before accepting the loan and signing the contract. This will ensure that you understand the full cost of the loan and help you avoid any nasty surprises.

Other ways to borrow a small amount of money

There are a few other options to consider if you need fast access to a small loan:

  • Get a line of credit. A line of credit provides access to funds you can use when you need. You only pay interest on the money you use, not the full credit limit, and line of credit rates are often better than credit card interest rates.
  • Reach out to friends and family. Another option is to ask a close friend or family member for a short-term loan. Doing so can be awkward and it can put a strain on your relationship, but it can offer a simple way to get your finances back on track without taking on an interest-accruing debt.
  • Ask your employer for an advance. You could also consider asking your employer for an advance on your next paycheque. If you’re a long-term employee with a reputation for reliability, they may help you out.

Alternatives to taking on more debt

If you’re stuck in a financial bind, there are a host of other options you might like to consider before getting deeper into debt:

  • Sell unwanted items. Got a few items lying around the house that you no longer use, such as your old TV or maybe that treadmill you bought during lockdown? List them for sale on popular sites like Kijiji or Facebook Marketplace to get some cash in your pocket.
  • Negotiate with your creditor. If you haven’t done so yet, talk to your creditor first. They may be willing to offer you an extension or partial payment plan.
  • Credit counselling. Some credit counselling agencies offer free counselling services to help you get out of debt. A counsellor can take the time to assess your situation and help you come up with a plan to get your finances back on track.
  • Visit This free and completely confidential service connects you to government or community-based support for your financial needs.

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