Need to borrow a small amount of money quickly? Consider small personal loans from online lenders, banks and credit unions. Online personal loans typically start between $200 and $1,000, while bank and credit union personal loans typically start between $3,000 and $5,000.
Another option is small payday loans, but payday loans are expensive and should only be a last resort.
Where can I find small personal loans?
You have a few places to turn to for small loans, including online lenders, credit unions and banks.
- Low minimum loan amounts. Minimum loan amounts vary among lenders and range from $200 to $1,000.
- Fast turnaround. You can get a small personal loan within 1 to 3 business days.
- Flexible criteria. Online lenders have a less involved application process than banks and credit unions and tend to be more lenient. However, you may find a more competitive interest rate with a bank or credit union.
- Bad credit is considered. Some online lenders can approve you for a small loan with bad credit.
- Fixed rates. Online lenders offer fixed interest rates, which means your repayments will stay consistent throughout the term.
- Loan term. The loan term ranges from 3 months to 5 years.
Compare small personal loans
- Competitive interest rates. Banks can offer some of the lowest interest rates.
- Good to excellent credit is required. Your credit score needs to be above 660 in order to be eligible.
- Higher minimum loan amounts. The minimum loan amount for banks typically starts at $3,000.
- Slower turnaround. A small personal loan from a bank takes around 1 to 4 weeks.
- Fixed or variable rates. You can choose between a fixed or variable rate. A variable rate means your interest rate will fluctuate with the markets.
- Loan term. Loan term ranges from 6 months to 5 years, sometimes longer.
- Competitive interest rates. Just like banks, credit unions can offer some of the lowest rates around.
- Good to excellent credit is required. You need a credit score above 660 in order to qualify for a personal loan.
- Small personal loans may be offered. Although you have better chances of getting a small personal loan from an online lender, some credit unions can offer low loan amounts. Desjardins, for example, says that it has small personal loans starting at $500. But just like banks, $3,000 is a more common minimum.
- Membership may be required. Credit unions typically require you to be a member to access their products.
- Slower turnaround. Getting a small personal loan from a credit union takes around 1 to 4 weeks.
- Fixed or variable rates. Just like banks, you can choose between a fixed or variable rate, which affects how much you pay monthly.
- Loan term. Loan term ranges from 6 months to 5 years, sometimes longer. Desjardins, for example, can offer a loan term up to 10 years.
How to compare small loans
Consider the following features when comparing small personal loans:
- Loan amount. Check the lender’s minimum borrowing amount to ensure it can offer the funds you need.
- Loan terms. Some lenders offer shorter loan terms than others, which can affect your monthly repayment amount. A shorter term will mean higher repayments but a cheaper loan cost overall.
- Type of interest rate. Your small personal loan can either be fixed or variable, and both of these rates will come with different features and benefits.
- Fees. Check if the lender charges any fees in addition to the interest rate, which can affect the cost of your loan. For example, some lenders may charge an origination fee, which is an admin fee to process your application.
- APR. The annual percentage rate is a combination of your interest rate and fees. It shows you the true cost of the personal loan.
- Repayment flexibility. Check whether you’ll be able to make additional repayments or pay off the entire loan amount early without facing extra fees.
Can I afford the repayments on a small loan?
Use this calculator to find out your potential monthly payment based on the loan amount, interest rate and loan term.
Calculate your personal loan monthly paymentCalculate how much you could expect to pay each month
|Loan terms (in years)|
Eligibility criteria can differ among lenders, but you’ll usually need to meet the following requirements:
- Be at least 18 years of age, or the age of majority in your province or territory
- Be a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident with a valid Canadian address
- Have a regular source of income
- Meet any credit score requirements
- Meet any minimum income requirements
Documents and details
You’ll typically need to submit the following information in order to apply:
- Your personal information (including a SIN number)
- Provide proof of identification
- Details of employment history
- Banking details
Can you get a small loan with bad credit?
If you’re searching for a small loan with bad credit (below 560), online lenders are a solid option since banks and credit unions primarily work with borrowers who have good to excellent credit. There are online lenders with a minimum credit score requirement of 300.
To increase your chances of approval, check the lender’s additional requirements, such as minimum income or stable employment. Requirements vary from lender to lender and some are more flexible than others, so be sure to compare your options. Compare small loans for bad credit.
Where can I get small payday loans?
You can get small payday loans from a physical payday store or an online payday lender.
Payday loans from stores and online payday lenders
- Low minimum loan amounts. Payday loans by design are small loans. You can get a payday loan starting at $100. The maximum loan amount is $1,500, but how much you can borrow can depend on your net income.
- Rapid turnaround. Get a decision on your online application within minutes of submitting, and get your small payday loan less than an hour after approval. If you visit a store, you can walk out with your funds after approval.
- High cost of borrowing. Payday loans, even if they’re small payday loans, are extremely expensive. The borrowing fee is $15 to $25 for every $100 borrowed, depending on your province.
- Predatory lenders. The payday loan space tends to have predatory lenders, so be sure to go with a legitimate lender when searching for small payday loans. A legitimate lender abides by provincial regulations and properly evaluates your application to make sure you can repay the loan.
⚠️ Warning: Be cautious with payday loansPayday loans are expensive. 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). Consider alternatives instead of a payday loan:
- Local resources. Government programs and nonprofits offer free financial services and help with food, utilities and rent.
- Debt relief companies. There are services to help you reduce your debt payments.
- Payment extensions. Talk with bill providers about longer payment plans or due-date extensions.
- Side jobs. Sell unwanted items online, sign up for food delivery and more.
Compare legit small payday loans
Maximum borrowing costs per provinceAlways refer to your contract for exact repayment amounts and costs as they may vary from our results.
|Province||Maximum allowable cost of borrowing|
|Alberta, British Columbia, New Brunswick, Ontario & Prince Edward Island||$15 per $100 borrowed|
|Manitoba & Saskatchewan||$17 per $100 borrowed|
|Nova Scotia||$19 per $100 borrowed|
|Newfoundland and Labrador||$21 per $100 borrowed|
|Northwest Territories, Nunavut & the Yukon||$60 per $100 borrowed|
|Quebec||Limit of 35% annual interest rate (AIR)|
How to compare small payday loans
With so many payday lenders to choose from, you can choose a small payday loan based on these factors:
Is there anything to avoid with small loans?
While both small personal loans and small payday loans can help you get out of a sticky financial situation, they can do more harm than good if you don’t repay them on time.
Figure out how you’ll repay the loan before you apply. If your budget will be strained when you factor in your loan repayments, then you should probably reconsider applying for it in the first place. You’ll have to pay additional fees and charges for late or defaulted payments and late payments can also affect your credit score. Not all lenders will report late or missing payments to the credit bureaus, but it is a possibility.
Make sure you thoroughly review the loan’s terms and conditions before accepting the loan and signing the contract, because those tell you just how much the loan might end up costing you across different scenarios.
If you’re searching for small personal loans, consider online lenders, banks and credit unions. Online lenders have lower borrowing amounts and faster turnaround times, but banks and credit unions can offer more competitive interest rates. Small payday loans are also an option if you need funds urgently, but they should only be a last resort. Compare small personal loans and payday loans.
Frequently asked questions
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