The best installment loans should be packed with features that serve you, not the lender. You’ll quickly discover once you start looking around that many companies claim to offer the best product, but do they really?
Let’s take a look at some of the most important features you’ll definitely want to see in your chosen installment loan.
1. Online Application Process
The best installment loans aren’t necessarily those offered by banks and credit unions. That’s because these institutions are stuck in the past and haven’t embraced the digital age.
Chances are you will need to take time out of your busy schedule for an in-person appointment if you work with a traditional lender. They will probably ask you to fill out a lengthy application form too. This form may include information on your permanent residence, employers, and banks over at least three years, or more. Of course, they’ll also want you to provide proof of income. The silly thing about all this is that it is absolutely unnecessary.
The best installment loans do not involve office visits, complicated forms, or proof of income. They’re handled completely online.
Good lenders are less concerned about your work, home, and banking stability too. They use their own assessment process to determine where you are in life. Plus, they verify your income through your bank so you don’t have to dig up pay stubs or request an employer letter.
2. Clear Expectations
Have you ever tried to determine whether you should bother applying for a loan through a bank or credit union? Do they provide their requirements so you can look elsewhere if you can’t possibly qualify? Probably not.
They may start by asking you a lot of personal questions online. Once they have your personal information, they will either direct you to an agent or a branch to complete the process.
Of course, this takes time and there’s no guarantee they’ll even consider your application. Even if you do go this route, they still won’t tell you anything until they’ve had a chance to review your application.
Fortunately, the best installment loans don’t work this way. A good lender will tell you what they expect. If you can’t be bothered asking, no problem. The process is so quick that you’ll get an answer one way or the other within minutes. Their artificial intelligence assessment eliminates excruciatingly long waits that can drive an applicant crazy.
3. No Fees or Penalties
The best installment loans eliminate unnecessary fees. Consumers should not have to pay these, but many lenders still charge them.
For instance, it is a common practice of many lenders to levy an origination fee just for setting up your loan account. This fee can range between 0.5 – 8% of your total loan cost. This amount comes straight off your loan funds, so receive less than you borrowed.
Many lenders also penalize you if you want to make extra payments. You may also pay a penalty if you want to pay your loan off early. This is because these lenders want to recoup some of the interest you would pay if you continued to make regular payments.
Fortunately, a good lender does not charge these fees or penalties. They won’t charge you extra for opening an account. They’re also more than happy to accept extra payments or payment in-full at any time.
4. Great Customer Service
There may be a time when you need help or a clear explanation regarding your installment loan. Even if you don’t anticipate any issues, no one can predict the future.
So, what happens if the company you borrow from turns out to be outside of Canada? They may have a website and email address, but what about other options?
Can you talk to a real person during Canadian business hours? Do they know about our country and our challenges?
The best installment loans are delivered by Canadian companies. They offer a great website with many resources, including an in-depth FAQ section. Most importantly, they also provide a toll-free number, email, and website support.
A good lender wants to make it easy for you to work with them. They depend on good reviews and word-of-mouth for more business. If they don’t offer multiple contact options, it is best to look elsewhere.
5. No Minimum Credit Score
Even though mainstream lenders seldom reveal their lending criteria, you can bet your credit plays a major role.
Equifax, one of Canada’s two credit reporting agencies, is more forthright when it comes to what lenders expect. They state “lenders generally see those with credit scores of 660 and up as acceptable borrowers”. These are people with “good” credit. However, Transunion a good score with TransUnion is between 720 and 780.
Regrettably, many people do not meet these minimums and can’t borrow through traditional lenders. Fortunately, the best installment loans don’t make a snap decision based on these numbers. Instead, their artificial intelligence assessment considers many factors for a more well-rounded overview.
6. Soft Credit Inquiry
This is a feature that the best installment loans always include. This is because it does not appear on your credit file, whether you decide to borrow or not.
Conversely, a “hard inquiry” does appear on your credit file and it negatively impacts it slightly too. This may not be an issue if you have a long, reasonably good credit history. However, it can be an issue if you’re just building credit or your payment history is short.
If you decide not to borrow from a lender that performs a hard inquiry, another lender could see it as a red flag. They may think that you’re trying to take on more debt than you can afford.
7. Wide Range of Loan Options
Every company decides on how much or how little they’re willing to lend. Most banks and credit unions don’t bother with small loans. They believe these needs are best handled through credit cards or a line of credit.
Of course, there are two problems with this mindset. First, many people don’t have access to these financial products. Second, they don’t offer regular payments.
On the other hand, many lenders set very low maximum amounts if you have less than pristine credit. For instance, it is not unusual to see a maximum loan amount of $3,000 or $5,000.
Fortunately, the best installment loans offer a wide range of loan options to suit your needs. Plus, they provide you with payment choices that suit your life. You shouldn’t be forced to make your payment at the beginning of the month, unless that’s what you want.
8. Competitive Interest Rates
Don’t use a comparison website when you’re trying to find the best installment loans. These websites include referral links that pay the website owners a small sum every time someone clicks through one of their recommendations. This does not mean that these are the best installment loans and they certainly aren’t the only ones available either.
Don’t be enticed by the lowest interest rate offered on these comparison sites either. Low rates are reserved for borrowers in the best financial situations. If you don’t fit that bill, you’ll probably pay interest on the higher end of the scale.
The lowest installment loan interest rates should at least rival a credit card. This is generally around 19.99%. If you see a range of 34.9% to 60%, these are not the best installment loans.
Luckily, a reputable lender normally uses a pre-approval process and soft credit inquiry. This allows you to see the interest rate they’re offering, with zero impact on your credit file.
9. Fast Decision
The best installment loans don’t leave you dangling while the lender slowly reviews your application. You should get a decision within minutes.
This certainly isn’t the case when you apply through most brick-and-mortar lenders. They may leave you twiddling your thumbs while their representative works their way through their in-basket. They could still turn you down after waiting patiently for days.
10. Quick Funds Release
Even if you’re approved through a traditional lender, you will probably wait for your loan funds. This could take at least a few more days, if not more.
Luckily, the best installment loans have money in bank account within 24 hours. It’s all handled efficiently and electronically.
FlexMoney Offers the Best Installment Loans
If you’re looking for an installment loan, FlexMoney can help. The following is what we can offer you:
- 100% online, including signing your loan documents
- No minimum credit score requirement
- Soft credit inquiry that does not negatively impact your credit
- Loans as low as $500 and as high as $15,000
- Multiple payment options including weekly, bi-weekly, semi-monthly, and monthly
- Take from 6 months to 5 years to repay
- No unnecessary fees
- Competitive interest rates
- Quick decision and funds release
- Excellent customer service options.
We want you to know what we expect from you too. There’s no sense in wasting your time if we can’t help.
We Need You to Be…
- A Canadian citizen who is at least 20 years old
- Working with the same employer for at least the last 3 months
- Earning at least $2,000 per month for at least the last three months
- Equipped with a mobile phone, email address, and active Canadian bank account with at least three months of transaction and banking history.
Sorry, We Can’t Help If…
- You are currently enrolled in an active bankruptcy, consumer proposal, or credit counselling program.
- Your income is based on Employment Insurance, the Disability Tax Credit, and government benefits related to COVID-19.
- You supply false information in your application.