Obtaining your credit score in Canada used to be fairly expensive, costing $20 or so every time you needed to take a peek at it. In June of 2016, Borrowell, a leading Canadian fintech company changed all of that when they teamed up with Equifax to offer Canadians free access to their credit score for the very first time ever! More recently in 2018, they also started providing free credit reports to Canadians.

In addition to providing a free credit score and report, Borrowell are a digital lending platform for unsecured loans of up to $35,000.

 

About Borrowell

Borrowell is a Canadian digital (online) lender that provides low-interest personal loans to individuals who are in the market for a general loan or those who need a loan for debt consolidation purposes.

The company has been in business since 2014. In addition to a management team of well-versed and experienced people, Borrowell also has the backing and partnership of several well-known brands including CIBC, BMO, EQ Bank, Scotiabank, National Bank of Canada, Capital One, Wealthsimple, and MBNA.

Product Offerings by Borrowell

While Borrowell is mainly known for their one-stop shop for personal loans, that’s not all they offer. Their product offerings include:

1. Free Credit Score and Credit Report

In 2016, Borrowell (Borrowell.com) led the way to become the first company to offer Canadians access to their credit score free of charge. More recently, they have also started to provide free credit reports, making it easier for you to access your credit report and score through the same portal.

The free credit score provided by Borrowell is the Equifax Risk Score 2.0 and ranges from 300 to 900. The free credit report you see is also your full Equifax credit report. Since they started to offer this free service, over 400,000 Canadians have used Borrowell to access their credit score.

Credit Monitoring: Since Borrowell update your credit score and report on a monthly basis, you can easily monitor your credit profile for any errors or fraudulent activity, saving money you would otherwise have to pay for this service when provided by a credit bureau such as TransUnion.

How to Obtain Your Free Credit Score and Report

It is pretty easy and should take you less than 3 minutes:

  • Open an account with Borrowell and complete the online form (name, email, address, date of birth, etc.)
  • Verify your identity by answering a few questions. You will not need to enter your SIN or credit card number.
  • Get your free credit score!

Will Checking My Score Affect it? No, checking your credit score does not affect it one way or the other. When you look at your score, it is considered a “soft inquiry” and does not impact your score or show up on your credit report.

Is Borrowell Secure? Yes, Borrowell is just as secure as your traditional bank since they use similar technology to protect your personal information.

Are They Going to Spam and Pester Me? Not in my experience. They send me one email every month to check my updated credit score and report. You may also get occasional emails with personalized loan and credit card offers, but are not obliged to take them up on their offers. In almost 2 years of signing up with Borrowell, I have never received a telephone call from them.

How Do They Make Money? If you obtain a loan or credit card through Borrowell, they are paid a “referral fee” or “origination” fee. If all you use them for is to get a free credit score, no fees are applicable.

2. Competitive Fixed-Rate Personal Loans

Borrowell offer a “low-interest” personal loan to Canadians who want quick access to an unsecured loan, or who need to source loans from alternative lenders for debt consolidation purposes.

Interest rates on Borrowell loans are based on your creditworthiness (credit score and history). You can borrow up to $35,000, with fixed rates from 5.6% to 29.19%. Loan terms are either 3 or 5 years, however, you can pay off your loan balance at anytime without incurring pre-payment fees.

In general, they offer loans to individuals who:

  • Are Canadian citizens or residents
  • Have a credit score above 660
  • Are not bankrupt, in collections, or have filed for a consumer proposal
  • Have a credit history of at least 1 year
  • Have a bank account in Canada

How To Obtain a Personal Loan

Obtaining a personal loan through Borrowell is easy and fast.

  • Open an account (skip this step if you already have an account to check your credit score)
  • Request a quote: you can do this from your account dashboard and it takes less than 2 minutes. The free quote does not affect your credit score.
  • Verify your identity (proof of income and bank account)
  • Have money deposited in your account in about 2 days, if eligible.

Is Their Average Interest Rate Too High?

It depends on your options. Borrowell state that their average annual percentage rate is 11-12%. Many borrowers who approach alternative lenders like Borrowell do so because they have other high-interest debt (credit cards) and are unable to obtain “unsecured” loans from a bank.

Compared to rates as high as 29.99% on some credit cards, a lower rate obtained through Borrowell can be used to pay off credit card debt and consolidate other high-interest debt (e.g. payday loans), without having to put up any collateral.

As per their website, the typical borrower saves $4,812 compared to using a credit card.

borrowell

Are There Any Other Fees?

You will pay Borrowell an origination fee of 1-5% of your loan amount. This amount is included in the annual percentage rate (APR) quoted for your loan.

Also, if your payments bounce, a $25 NSF fee applies.

3. Credit Card

Borrowell also offer a portal to compare different kinds of credit cards including:

  • Cash-Back Cards
  • Travel Cards
  • Low-Interest Cards
  • Rewards Cards
  • Balance Transfer Cards

On their comparison site, you can compare credit card annual fees, interest rates, card features, etc.

In addition to these 3 product offerings, they also have a robust blog/resources section and a “Free 7-Week Email Course” on how to improve your credit score.

Conclusion

While Borrowell is a leader in the online lending space, they are not alone. Their competitors include Mogo and Grow. The free credit score and report offered by Borrowell can save you hundreds of dollars per year in credit monitoring fees. Knowing where your credit profile stands is not only good for your overall financial health, but it can also save you from falling victim to fraudulent activities, including identity theft.

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