British Columbia, Ontario, and Quebec residents with little or bad credit scores can now borrow money. LendingMate is an inclusive online alternative that offers unsecured guarantor loans, comparable to a payday loan up to $10,000, to customers prevented by computer-generated credit scores from having some access to credit.
Trust and reputation matters are at the very core of this sector of the financial services industry. The purpose of credit is to make the surplus resources of some individuals and institutions available to the deficit spenders. The latter borrows money or accesses goods or services with the understanding that he’ll pay later. When the resource is money, a licensed financial institution will act as an intermediary.
In free-market economies, with hundreds or even thousands of creditors and millions of potential borrowers, mainstream lenders rely on computerized credit score algorithms that make assumptions about how likely an applicant is to pay back a loan. This leaves hundreds of thousands of customers out in the cold, without any options when they are in a tight spot and need credit. To make things worse, many of them end up falling into payday loan cycles with extortionate interest rates.
Despite a decade of record low-interest rates, borrowing money from banks can be very difficult for some. Customers prevented by computer-generated scores from obtaining mainstream lenders’ credit are an opportunity for new actors with more human-centered solutions.
What is a Guarantor Loan?
Guarantor loans are associated with the sub-prime finance industry, which provides loans to people who may have difficulty maintaining the repayment schedule, and are sometimes seen as alternatives to payday loans.
In a guarantor loan, a person co-signs the credit agreement promising to honor the debt in case the borrower defaults on repayment. Then, a lump sum of money is transferred to the borrower’s account via direct deposit and is repaid over time through installments.
The guarantor and the borrower shouldn’t be linked financially, but they must know each other and have mutual trust. In addition, the guarantor must have a strong credit score or own property.
There are many reasons why a financially responsible and able person may need a guarantor. For example, guarantor loans are common for young adults and people with no or small credit records. In reality, especially in the mainstream lending industry, it is usually a family member or friend who guarantees to the creditor the willingness and capacity to repay the loan in the event that the borrower is unable.
It is worth noting that, due to the risk to the lender, interest rates for this kind of loans are higher than standard bank loans. Also, these loans are like having a joint account, both the guarantor and the borrower are responsible for it, and both their credit scores are impacted by the loan.
LendingMate Finance Inc. was created as an alternative lender for those left out of mainstream lending institutions. It is an international company providing its services in the U.S and U.K. since 2005. It operates in Canada since 2017 as online lenders LendingMate.ca and PretAmi.ca, and has become one of the fastest-growing internet businesses in the country’s financial sector.
Products Offered By LendingMate.ca And PretAmi.ca
It is evident that LendingMate keeps it simple when it comes to helping people out with their credit. They only offer one type of credit product:
- Personal guarantor loans of $2,000 to $10,000 over terms between 1-5 years.
Their service is targeted at Canadian residents who need help covering expenses such as vehicle repairs, debt consolidation, weddings and unexpected costs, but who have little or bad credit scores. In fact, the company doesn’t even look at credit scores.
LendingMate Interest Rates
As we mentioned before, since LendingMate takes on a higher risk by lending money to people with a bad credit history, or with no credit history at all, it’s interest rates are higher than for regular bank loans. Additionally, the interest rates vary, depending on the province you come from, offering the best deals for residents of Quebec. LendingMate interest rates are an average:
- 43% per-annum in British Columbia and Ontario
- 34.9% in Quebec
To be eligible, the applicant must have a guarantor. Demonstrating that someone trusts that the applicant will make payments on time is worth more to the company than what the credit score tells. Consequent to this idea, 95% of their applicants get approved.
The 1-to-5-year term (12 to 60 months) means that monthly installments are reasonable and LendingMate never charges for late payments, letters, early settlement or anything else. On top of this, the borrower can pay back early with no fees to save on interest costs.
Here’s a LendingMate review that will help you decide if it’s a good option for you.
Who Should Apply?
Guarantor loans, in general, are usually easy to obtain and LendingMate’s online process is very straightforward. However, due to the high-interest rate of this type of loan, those who have good credit and/or own property would be much better off taking other options.
On the other hand, if you have trouble getting approved with traditional lenders, such as banks, due to a low credit score, LendingMate is a good place to go. Actually, anyone with a qualified guarantor can apply, including those who:
- Have bad credit.
- Don’t have a credit score (e.g. students).
- Have low income.
- Are self-employed.
- Have gone through past financial issues such as recent consumer proposal/bankruptcy discharges.
If you fit any one of these categories, chances are you’ll have trouble finding loans from traditional lenders, so LendingMate is definitely worth a shot.
How to Apply for a Loan with LendingMate?
First of all, if you’re thinking about applying with any lender, remember to research their business carefully before giving them any personal or financial information. LendingMate is totally legit, but you’d do well to check their webpage’s Q&A before clicking on the application button.
A would-be borrower must meet some basic requirements:
- Be a Canadian citizen or permanent resident.
- Be of age in your province and up to 75 years old.
- Be a permanent resident of Quebec, Ontario, or British Columbia.
- Be fully discharged from any consumer proposals or bankruptcies.
- Prove that your income will support your upcoming installments and interest rate.
- Have a guarantor who meets the minimum requirements.
For his part, the co-signer who wants to become guarantor must:
- Be between the ages of 19 – 75 and a permanent resident of QC, ON, or BC.
- Demonstrate an ability to repay the loan without financial burden with proof of sufficient monthly/yearly income.
- Be cleared of any consumer proposals or bankruptcies.
- Have a positive credit history and a good credit score.
- Not already a guarantor on another LendingMate loan.
- Not have a current LendingMate loan.
What Documents Should I Submit?
Although LendingMate aims to pay out every loan within 24 hours of the guarantor being accepted, this can take longer when the application is filled outside of business hours or if the bank transfer takes some extra time to complete. So, it is very important to have all the documents ready before starting the application process.
First, both you, as the applicant (borrower) and the prospective guarantor will have to send application forms. You must fill an online application form at the LendingMate website, and then you will receive a link to guide the prospective guarantor to his own portion of the application form.
These forms contain personal information including name, current address, mobile number, email, any government-issued identification number, the amount of money requested and the desired length of the repayment plan. The prospective guarantor must provide details such as bank account numbers, title deeds, annual mortgage statement and debit card information.
To make the LendingMate loan process as quick as possible, we recommend that you have all of your personal and financial details at hand, and to make sure your guarantor can be easily contacted.
After this, you will have to provide the following documents:
- Your Government-issued ID
- Your bank statements (if required)
- Guarantor’s government-issued ID
- Guarantor’s Bank statements (if required)
- Guarantor’s proof of property ownership documents (if applicable)
Up to this point, the process is entirely online. Before the final decision and pay-out, a LendingMate representative will call you and your prospective guarantor to confirm all the information and make sure you both know your obligations. So, it is very important to make sure that both can be easily contacted.
In this fast and sometimes cold computer-driven era, this procedure is consistent with the company’s claim of human-orientation in its operation, which is stated as a promise to base their decisions on simple common sense.
After the approval, the funds are deposited directly into the guarantor’s bank account, who can then transfer or pay you the money in cash.
Repayment Of A LendingMate Loan
To repay the loan, LendingMate takes monthly installments directly from the borrower’s bank account. They will set up a pre-authorized debit, and since the guarantor has agreed to take over the payments in case the borrower fails to make them in a timely manner, he will be responsible for the repayments.
In case one payment is missed, LendingMate will start sending notifications to the guarantor the very next day after the monthly due date. This is to prevent any debt collection procedures that may follow which could include various legal actions such as lawsuits, wage garnishments, etc.
One advantage of LendingMate is that it allows the borrower or the guarantor to pay back the loan early for no additional fee. Considering the high-interest rate and the minimum loan term of 12 months, this can be a big money saver.
What’s the Real Cost of LendingMate’s loans?
The application for a LendingMate Personal Loan is free. There are no additional fees for payments, letters, or late payment, or early debt repayment. This means that the overall cost of the loan is based solely on the interest rate, which, in turn, depends on the borrower’s place of residence, the amount borrowed and the term of the loan.
For example: A $2,000 loan for 12-month at 24% would cost you around $2,500; and at the average 43% rate it would cost you $2,860. That’s it. No additional costs or fees, just the interest.
LendingMate’s online calculator can help you figure out how much you’ll be paying for your loan. You can try it here.
Some of the disadvantages of LendingMate are quite obvious and related to the company’s business model.
- First is the fact that guarantor loans, being bad credit loans, are often more expensive, requiring relatively high-interest rates.
- Second, LendingMate’s loans are not available in all provinces/territories (Quebec, Ontario, British Columbia only) and the rates differ depending on the borrower’s province of residence.
In addition to this, LendingMate doesn’t give any grace period after missing a payment, so the collection process starts immediately after the due date. They access the guarantor’s account for payment and start communicating with him by email and text, with messages about how this can potentially hurt their credit and the possibility of taking them to court in case the situation occurs too often. Naturally, some find this policy threatening.
Finally, some disadvantages are related to the company’s shortcomings in operations. One worth mentioning is the time they actually take to make the loan payout, which can be more than the promised 24 hours and, sometimes, as much as one week, not counting the time it may take to gather all the documents and talk to the guarantor. Also, occasionally, when a payment is deposited late in a borrower’s account, LendingMate just takes money from both accounts… and a refund claim can take multiple calls and several days.
Alternatives To LendingMate
If you feel LendingMate is not for you, there are other options for those seeking loans outside the traditional banking system. Here are two other great choices:
In case you are trying to exit a consumer proposal, Marble can provide you with a guarantor loan from $2,500 to $15,000 with rates from 18.99% to 24.99% and payable in 36 months or less. They promise a fast-track approval, however, they charge $295-$1,500 in legal and administrative fees depending on the size of the loan.
LoanConnect is an online platform that will allow you to find an unsecured personal loan or installment loan matching your needs, at a reasonable cost, and in 5 minutes or less. This option will allow you to compare alternatives, and you might be surprised by the options available for you.
The Bottom Line
People may find themselves in situations that leave them with very few options. Usually, these are not optimal, but it is important to understand how to really make them work in their favor. Guarantor loans are a good example. They allow you to have quick access to money, but the interest rate is very high and a third person, usually a loved and/or respected one, is involved. This tends to put some extra pressure on you as the borrower.
LendingMate has easy approval standards and can be really fast when the application is well made and the guarantor has a solid financial situation. Also, loans are unsecured, so no assets will be seized in case of default. The fact that LendingMate is a regular lender also means that no loan brokerage fees are involved and they charge no fees for late payments, letters, or early debt repayment.
Assuming that you don’t have access to lower-interest loans but do have people who trust you, LendingMate will allow you to obtain money that will be easy to pay following a simple plan. It is actually a fairly good option for people without assets, or who are either unemployed, living off benefits or have bad or little credit, as long as they have a reasonable expectation of improving their financial situation in the short- to mid-term.
Share with us your experience with LendingMate and/or guarantor loans. What advice would you give to others in such a situation? How did you find a good guarantor? How much did it improve your credit record?
In case you’re thinking about getting a guarantor loan, tell us what do you think about the alternatives in the market or simply share your doubts or concerns and let’s try to find an answer together.