Fairstone Financial is one of many lenders offering medium-sized personal loans in Canada. That alone might not be remarkable, but the way they do things is what sets them apart. Unlike some other lenders that keep things as bare-bones as possible, they offer plenty of resources, contests and more to keep you in the loop and keep things interesting. This can add a lot to your final borrowing experience.
The Basic Framework
Fairstone Financial loans follow many of the same guidelines that govern most personal loans in Canada. You can borrow anywhere between $500 and $30,000, with options for loans backed by home equity standing alongside the standard unsecured ones. Though each customer will be offered a different rate depending on how strong a candidate they are (this is mostly determined by your credit and income), Fairstone has a maximum APR of 39.99%. That’s lower than the high end of what many other lenders charge, despite it still being quite high. The fact that they are more accepting of fair to good credit and still have fairly low rates makes them a good middle ground lender for those who would like to go to the bank to borrow but cannot qualify for a loan there. There are no hidden fees to worry about with Fairstone Financial either – what you see is what you get.
You can apply online in minutes with just a few personal details and hear back almost right away about whether or not you’ve been approved (and if so, for how much). All applications must be finalized at a branch, but this company has over 235 of those around the country at the moment and is opening more every day, so it shouldn’t be very hard for you to find one close to you. As for what you can expect to do there, it will mostly have to do with submitting the proper paperwork. Like most lenders, Fairstone Financial will ask you for some documentation to support any claims you made while you were applying with them. You’ll want to provide copies of your ID, as well as some sort of proof of employment and income (they’ll tell you what will suffice depending on your specific situation).
When it comes to repaying these loans, you’ll have between 6 to 120 months (review the specifics of your offer) to pay back the entire sum and the interest you’ve accrued. You can either mail your payments or make them online (the same way you probably pay most of your bills). If you’re going to take the mail option, though, make sure to account for leave 3-5 business days for delivery so your payment still makes it to the lender on time. You will still be held accountable in all of the usual ways if it does not. What if you come to regret taking the loan out at all, though? If you start to feel as if you might have made a mistake, you can drop your loan at any time in the first 14 days without incurring any cost to yourself.
Taking a Multifaceted Approach
There isn’t just one type of loan out there, and that’s an important thing for a lender to be aware of. On top of offering both secured and unsecured personal loans, Fairstone Financial also offers mortgages to qualified homebuyers at competitive rates. As a sort of lending sideline, they also have retail and auto financing available with certain dealers and retailers. The details of these loans are far harder to pin down in any sort of general way because they are different in each case, however, so there is little to be said about them unless you’ve specifically applied for one already. All of these extra products serve as a further demonstration of their experienced and nuanced approach to lending, though. They understand that different people in different situations have different needs, and they do whatever it takes to offer them a loan that fits those criteria as closely as possible.
Opportunities to Earn and Win
While all lenders charge you for their services, few offer you the chance to make some money with them too, and Fairstone Financial is one of them. Right now, they have a contest going on that allows you to ‘win your loan’ (for a value of up to $10,000 if your loan is larger than that). There are 5 such prizes available for Canadians to win. You can get just one entry per loan, but existing customers are also eligible to enter if they ask. That’s a nice gesture that makes it clear that Fairstone Canada cares about their customer base beyond just wanting to attract more of them to purchase their products. Winning this prize may be a long shot, but if it works out for you, you’ll be happy you chose to borrow from Fairstone Canada.
If you want a slightly trickier but far more dependable way to earn a little extra with this lender, however, you might consider participating in the referral program they run. You’ll get $100 for every borrower you direct their way who successfully obtains a loan and makes their first payment when it comes due. You can repeat this as many times as you can pull it off, so you could potentially pay off quite a bit of your loan this way if you have a wide enough social circle.
Keeping Things Clear For You
Fairstone Financial goes the extra mile to make things convenient and easy-to-understand for their customers, which is an excellent gesture of good will. One of the more useful things they offer are debt consolidation loans arranged for you by a representative upon request. This will involve taking all of your existing debts and paying them off with the money that Fairstone lends you, then paying off that new Fairstone loan gradually over time instead. If you do this right, you will end up with a much simpler and probably less expensive loan burden, and this company’s workers are here to help you make sure that everything is in order.
Aside from this, Fairstone Financial also provides extra content to help their clients and visitors educate themselves on the subject of their loans. Their website includes a comprehensive breakdown of all the factors that go into their interest rates, from personal income and job security to inflation and the overall state of the markets. This can help you to wrap your head around why your interest rate is what it is and to understand any changes you might observe in it over time if you borrow from them again.
To make it even easier to understand what you’ll be paying and how it will break down month by month, Fairstone Canada has created a set of calculators that they make available to the public through their website. These calculators each work for a different variation of their loan products and allow you to input your information into an easy-to-understand layout and get useful information back instantly. You don’t have to apply for a loan or commit to any obligation with them to use these tools, so they’re great for helping you decide if you really want to pursue these loans in particular or if another lenders’ products might suit you better. The fact that Fairstone makes that kind of transparency possible is very impressive and is a good reason to consider them all on its own. They aren’t interested in promoting their products to the point of obscuring their costs for unwitting applicants – your financial well-being matters to them.
The Importance of Being Personable
Fairstone also understands the importance of a friendly face in the lending business. With their jovial fairy mascot apparent on almost every page of their website, Fairstone Financial projects a more affable image than many lenders like this usually do. They want you to trust them and feel comfortable with them almost as much as they want you to give them your business, and that says a lot about how they handle their affairs. They don’t want to offer you a loan and then disappear until you’ve paid them back their money – they want to offer you a full and well-rounded lending experience that might feel closer to borrowing from a neighbour than from a big-name financial institution.
Whether or not they succeed at that goal is a matter of opinion, but according to the testimonials they proudly display on their website, they have served many customers over the years who would say that they have indeed met that high standard. These stories from customers add a personal touch and more detail to the possibilities that a loan provides you. Fairstone Canada admits that these tales are slightly embellished, but they are still ostensibly based on real experiences from actual customers they have served. As we’ll find out below, sentiments toward this lender really are quite positive overall.
What Do People Really Think of This Lender?
When you’re taking out a large loan, you want to know you’re making the right decision. The best way to do that is to find out how happy previous customers have been with the loans you’re looking at getting now. With Fairstone Finance, that comparison is easy to make. They make a point of repeatedly surveying their customer base to find out how well they are doing with their customer service practices and other policies in any given year. According to this practice, they boasted a 93% customer satisfaction rate throughout all of 2018. That’s a good high number, even if it isn’t perfect. Furthermore, it has been higher in previous years according to Fairstone’s own admission, which is a good indication that it is based in fact and not completely made up for promotional purposes. If it was, the numbers would likely be more consistent as well as generally higher.
With so many people genuinely pleased with these loans, it’s a safe bet to assume that you probably will be too. However, it’s important to remember those last 7% of people who were not satisfied with what they got. This is especially important with the additional context of Fairstone Financial’s recent name change. This is in fact the same company that used to go by CitiFinancial several years ago, and the things that are said online and in the news about that company are very different from what is currently being said about Fairstone; it’s largely very negative press. This may indicate a legitimate change of direction for the better, but some may feel it is an attempt to camouflage a tarnished past with a new name. There is no telling which is truly correct. For that reason, it’s best to be slightly cautious when dealing with this lender.
Should You Borrow From Fairstone Financial?
Although only you can decide what is right for you in terms of how you prefer to borrow, we’re confident in saying that Fairstone Financial is a decent bet for fair rates and good service. Despite a slightly checkered past, they seem to have made a sincere effort to reform their ways in the present. You’ll get a fair deal and several extra perks for borrowing with them, which is reason enough for most people to consider giving it a try. The fact that you can cancel your loan completely within 14 days is just the icing on the cake, ensuring that there’s no risk to you if you act quickly enough.