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Personal loans in Nova Scotia: the basics.

There may come a day when you’re short on cash but need to urgently repair the plumbing in your kitchen or replace an old car that suddenly breaks down on you. Or, you might need a way to finance your degree or pay for your dream wedding. These are just some scenarios when you might consider a personal loan: a lump sum of cash you’re able to borrow and then pay back with interest in installments over a predetermined amount of time.

There are many different kinds of loans and they can vary considerably in size and the time required to pay them back. We’ll review what you need to know about loans before you take one out, including how they’re regulated in Nova Scotia, and the importance of borrowing wisely to protect your financial future.

Your questions about personal loans in Nova Scotia, answered.

How do I get a personal loan in Nova Scotia?

Banks were once the primary source of loans and they are still a popular option with borrowers. Applying for a bank loan is very straightforward and you can do it in person, over the phone or online. Each bank’s application process is a bit different, but in general you will be required to provide basic information about yourself including things like your employment and income.

In recent years, however, banks have faced increasing competition from online and alternative lenders. Non-bank lenders usually require the same kind of information as banks, but they may ask for additional details and their application process can sometimes be longer.

If you decide to start a loan application on LowestRates.ca, we will refer you to an online lender.

What types of personal loans can I get in Nova Scotia?

All loans fall into one of two categories — secured and unsecured — and within those categories there are a number of variations.

Secured loans

A secured loan is one that involves providing an asset (which is referred to as ‘collateral’) to guarantee that the loan will be paid back in full. If repayment doesn’t happen, the lender can then take possession of the asset.

Unsecured loans

An unsecured loan is one for which the borrower hasn’t provided any collateral. This kind of loan obviously represents a significantly higher level of risk for the lender — and as a result carries a higher interest rate than a secured one. It takes less time to get approved for an unsecured loan than it does for a secured one. That’s because appraisers have to confirm the value of the underlying asset that’s being offered.

Other loan types:

Fixed-rate loans

This kind of loan establishes the interest rate you will pay on the money you borrow and keeps it at the same level for the entire term. You have the security of knowing exactly how much your payments will be every month.

Variable-rate loans

As its name suggests, the interest rate on this kind of loan changes from time to time. It can often be cheaper overall than a fixed-rate loan, but there is also the risk of your payments increasing interest rates rise substantially.

Debt consolidation loans

People who have outstanding debt from multiple creditors often take out a debt consolidation loan. This will let you convert multiple debts into a single loan with a single payment — typically at a lower interest rate than you were paying before.

Co-signer loans

In cases where you don’t qualify for a loan, you can still obtain one by getting someone else — such as a parent or grandparent — to act as a co-signer. That person will sign the loan contract together with you, and in doing so, they agree to make payments on the loan if you don’t.

Payday loans

Payday loan companies specialize in lending small amounts of cash — sometimes as little as $100 — for very short periods, such as a few weeks. You should think very carefully about before taking out a payday loan, because the interest rates they charge can be astronomical.

When should you apply for a personal loan in Nova Scotia?

Almost two-thirds of Canadians have taken out a loan of some kind during their lifetimes. Nationally, the most popular reason for doing so is to purchase a car, but other reasons include renovating a home, paying for higher education and covering medical expenses. People also take out loans for more fun reasons, too, such as funding a dream vacation. In general, taking out a loan to fund your lifestyle ambitions is a risky move — interest builds up.

Based on applications on our site, these are the most common reasons consumers in Nova Scotia apply for personal loans.

Top 5 reasons Nova Scotians apply for a loan on LowestRates.ca

Purpose of loanPercentage of applications on LR.ca
1. Bills and expenses30%
2. Debt consolidation26%
3. Other11%
4. Pay off credit cards7%
5. Buy a car5%

How are personal loans different from personal lines of credit?

A personal line of credit is a popular alternative to a loan. It is often used for short-term needs, as it is highly flexible. Unlike a loan, a line of credit remains available to you indefinitely and it allows you to borrow as much or as little as you require. One other big difference is you only pay interest on the amount you’ve used, not on the whole amount like you do with a personal loan. Interest rates on personal lines of credit are typically variable, so the bank could make it more expensive to borrow money after the fact.

How are personal loans regulated in Nova Scotia?

In Nova Scotia, lenders such as credit unions, provincially regulated trust companies, and finance companies are overseen by the province through the province’s Consumer Protection Act. This is not the case with banks, which are federally regulated under the Bank Act and the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions.

Payday loan companies merit special mention, since they attract a great deal of scrutiny thanks to their exceptionally high interest rates. If you have concerns about a payday loan provider, or want to know if a provider is licensed to operate in the province, you should contact Service Nova Scotia.

What are the main advantages of a personal loan?

A personal loan lets you achieve things now that you would otherwise have to put off until later, and that can often make sense financially. A good example is education: borrowing now to upgrade your skills can translate into higher earnings for the rest of your life. Similarly, home renovations can add more to the resale value of the home than the total cost of the loan.

What’s important to remember when borrowing money, though, is your ability to pay it back. If you feel that you might not be able to make all your payments, you should reconsider your plans. Failing to meet debt commitments now can cause you serious financial difficulties down the road.