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Common Types of Installment Loans in Canada

 Published on August 25, 2023

Common Types of Installment Loans in Canada

In today's fast-paced world, financial flexibility is an important part of managing the variety of expenses that life throws at you, from education and housing to unexpected emergencies. Personal installment loans have become a common financial tool to help Canadians meet their financial needs while spreading the repayment over a defined period. These loans may offer a structured approach to borrowing, allowing individuals to access funds while managing their budgets effectively.

In Canada, there are a few common types of installment loans that cater to different financial requirements and circumstances. Today, we’re going to go over some of the general benefits of installment loans and then break down some of the more common types of this kind of personal loan.

What is an Installment Loan?

An installment loan is a type of loan where a borrower receives a specific amount of money from a lender and agrees to repay it over time through a series of regular payments, or installments. Unlike a revolving credit line, like a credit card or line of credit, where the available credit replenishes as payments are made, installment loans have a fixed repayment schedule and a defined end date.

Each installment will generally include a portion of the principal amount borrowed, as well as interest and any applicable fees. Depending on the type of installment loan, the total loan amount, interest rate, and repayment term are agreed upon at the outset of the loan. This structure allows borrowers to plan their budgets effectively, as they know exactly how much they need to pay each month and when the loan will be fully repaid.

Installment loans come in different shapes and sizes, each tailored to specific needs and circumstances. They can be secured, which means they’re backed by collateral like your car or some kind of property, or unsecured, relying solely on the borrower's creditworthiness. The repayment terms can range from a few months to several years, depending on the loan type and amount.

8 Potential Benefits of Installment Loans

So, we understand what an installment loan is and the basics of how they’re usually structured, but why would you opt for one in the first place? Let’s take a look at some of the potential benefits of this type of loan.

1. Predictable Payments

One of the primary benefits of installment loans is the predictability they bring to your financial life. Unlike credit cards or lines of credit with potentially fluctuating minimum payments, installment loans have fixed repayment schedules. Keep in mind that this applies to fixed-rate loans, which means that the interest rate does not change during the term of the loan. This means you’ll know exactly how much you need to pay at each due date and for how long, making it easier to budget and plan for other expenses.

2. Flexibility in Loan Purpose

Installment loans can be versatile and can be used for a wide range of purposes. Whether it's making a large purchase like a home or car, making home repairs, or covering emergency medical expenses, borrowers generally have the flexibility to allocate the loan amount based on their specific needs, or at least look for an installment loan geared for their specific purpose.

Two people stretching in their living room.

3. Access to Higher Amounts

Compared to certain kinds of short-term loans, installment loans may provide access to higher loan amounts. This can be especially useful when facing big expenses, like when you’re trying to buy a car or financing your education. The potential availability of larger amounts can help you address major financial goals without causing too much disruption to your overall financial stability, in some cases.

4. Impacting your Credit History

A positive credit history can be important for qualifying for loans and financial products. With some lenders, installment loans may present an opportunity for you to demonstrate responsible financial behavior by making consistent, on-time payments. This can contribute to building your credit history and could impact your credit score (assuming your payments are being reported to a credit bureau), which can have far-reaching benefits for future borrowing opportunities and potentially interest rates.

Just keep in mind that there are all sorts of factors that contribute to your credit score, so there’s no guarantee that one particular action is going to impact your score. That’s why it’s important to keep up with healthy financial habits across the board.

5. Gradual Repayment

Installment loans break down the repayment of a loan into installments over a set period. This can help align your payments with your income streams and your budget in general, potentially making it less likely for you to be overwhelmed by a single lump-sum payment. This is especially valuable for anyone who may not have the financial capacity to repay a loan all at once.

6. Enhanced Financial Planning

Knowing the exact timeline for loan repayment empowers borrowers to engage in effective financial planning. They can allocate funds for loan payments without compromising their ability to cover essential living expenses or other financial goals. The structured nature of installment loans encourages responsible financial management.

7. Wide Range of Options

Canada's financial landscape is filled with a variety of installment loan options that are meant to suit different needs. Whether it's a short-term personal loan, auto loan, mortgage, or small business loan, borrowers may be able to find a loan to help with their specific circumstances. This variety can help you access the right financing solution for whatever your specific needs are.

8. Financial Confidence

Ultimately, the benefits of installment loans can help to contribute to your overall financial confidence and stability. Being able to implement a clear plan for repayment can help to give you peace of mind and to make it easier to navigate unexpected financial challenges more effectively.

6 Common Types of Installment Loans in Canada

Now that we’ve taken a look at some of the potential benefits of installment loans, let’s go over some of the more common types of them that you might come across depending on your financial needs.

1. Short-Term Personal Installment Loans

These types of installment loans are one of the most versatile types of installment loans in Canada. In general, they’re usually meant to be used for emergency situations, like essential home repairs, medical expenses, or dealing with a broken-down car. What constitutes an emergency is going to be specific to you.

Lenders may assess the borrower's creditworthiness and income to determine the loan amount and interest rate. The borrower then repays the loan in regular installments, over a fixed period.

2. Auto Loans

Buying a car is a big financial commitment for many Canadians. Auto loans are a common form of installment loan specifically designed for this purpose. Borrowers can secure financing for new or used cars, trucks, or other vehicles. The loan amount, interest rate, and repayment term are generally influenced by factors like the borrower's credit score, down payment, and the vehicle's price.

3. Mortgages

For many Canadians, buying a home is going to be the most significant investment they'll make in their lifetime. Mortgages are long-term installment loans tailored for this purpose. They help people to buy property without paying the full purchase price upfront. The terms of mortgages can vary widely with repayment periods that can span several decades.

4. Student Loans

Education is a valuable asset, but the cost of higher education can be a financial burden. Student loans provide a solution by offering funds to cover tuition, books, and living expenses. In Canada, the federal and provincial governments, and sometimes financial institutions, offer student loans with terms such as low interest rates and deferred payment options until after graduation.

5. Home Equity Loans

Home equity loans allow homeowners to borrow against the equity they have built in their property. This type of installment loan can be used for different purposes, including home improvements or other big expenses. Home equity loans usually have lower interest rates compared to unsecured loans because they’re secured by the property. However, borrowers should be aware that their home is at risk if they fail to make payments.

6. Medical Loans

Healthcare expenses can sometimes strain your finances, especially if medical procedures or treatments are needed. Medical loans are designed to cover medical costs not covered by insurance. These loans provide a way for individuals to access necessary medical care without depleting their savings or compromising their financial stability.

Doctor crossing their arms.


In the end, installment loans can play a big role in helping Canadians manage different financial needs, from everyday expenses to major life events. By offering structured repayment plans and variety, these loans can give you the means to access funds while maintaining control over your budgets.

Having said that, it's important for you to carefully consider your financial situation and needs before taking on any type of installment loan. Understanding the terms, interest rates, and repayment schedules is essential to make informed borrowing decisions and ensure a positive financial outcome.

Disclaimer: This page provides general information only and does not constitute financial, legal or other professional advice. For full details, see Fora’s Terms of Use.