A new wave of financial companies is turning traditional banking on its head by leveraging technology to offer customers low-cost banking, lending, and investing solutions.

At the forefront of the fintech revolution are three online lending companies that are carving out a niche by targeting borrowers who want instant loan approval without visiting a branch. Loans are often funded within a day or two at interest rates that are lower than you’d find with a typical credit card.

Here’s a look at what online lenders Borrowell, Grow, and Mogo have to offer:

Borrowell

Founded in 2014, Borrowell has provided free credit scores and loan quotes to tens of thousands of Canadians.

Borrowell online lending

Offer three- and five-year loans of between $1,000 and $35,000. Loans are fully amortizing, which means they have the same monthly payment every month; at the end, the loan is fully paid off, similar to a mortgage.

Some customers choose to pay back early, which they can do at any time without penalty.

Interest rates start at 5.6 percent. A typical borrower would pay about 11 percent.

An application form takes about a minute to fill out, so you can find out instantly if you qualify, how much you qualify for and what your interest rate would be. If you proceed, your funds are typically deposited into your account within a day or so.

Loan offers include an interest rate and an origination fee.

Borrowell is the only company in Canada offering credit scores for free without applying for credit. You’ll get your Equifax credit score for free.

Grow

Founded in 2014 and formerly known as Grouplend, Grow has customers in the multiple thousands.

Grow online lenders

It offers loans from $1,000 to $30,000 for a maximum of five-year terms. There are no constraints around fixed yearly terms, so if the best loan for you means paying $300 per month for 38 months then Grow can offer that term.

Many borrowers pay off their loans off ahead of schedule, with the average loan term being just over 51 months.

Interest rates are between 4.8 percent and 18.9 percent. A typical borrower would pay about 10.2 percent.

The initial quote triggers an instant decision and approximately 60 percent of borrowers are funded on the same day. The remaining 40 percent are funded the next day.

There are no fees associated with personal loans.

Grow also offers RateTracker – a free service that monitors your personal credit metrics and sends you an updated personalized interest rate every month.

Mogo

Founded over 10 years ago, Mogo has more than 200,000 members and more than 1 million loans originated.

Mogo online lender

Mogo is considered a full-spectrum lender and offers loans up to $35,000 at interest rates as low as 5.9 percent to consumers with good credit scores, as well as loans to consumers with poor credit whom other lenders would typically turn down.

The average time for borrowers to pay back a loan is three years.

Interest rates vary depending on the credit product for which the customer is approved. The average rate for a customer with the same credit score would be similar to other online lenders.

MogoLiquid personal loan rates range from 5.9 percent to 45.9 percent.

It takes three minutes to sign up and get pre-approved for credit as well as the other benefits with no impact to your credit score (through a soft credit check). The pre-approval decision on credit is instant once the application has been filled out. Funding can be as fast as the same day, but typically happens the next business day.

Borrowers can purchase optional loan protection. Loan customers get a free quarterly credit score update, plus tips on how to improve their credit score.

Mogo also offers a “level up” program that enables its customers to work towards a lower rate simply by making payments on time and improving your credit history.

The verdict:

Online lenders are primarily targeting the millions of Canadians that are carrying high-interest consumer debt such as credit card debt, consumer finance loans, and even payday loans.

Related: Debt avalanche vs. Debt snowball

It won’t impact your credit score to get a personalized quote online at any of the three online lenders. That’s because Borrowell, Grow, and Mogo all do what is called a “soft inquiry” into your credit report to determine your interest rate.

If you’re mired in high-interest debt and looking to dig your way out and save on interest charges, you’d be smart to check out an online lender and get a personalized quote.


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