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The Best Canadian Home Loans

Where Can You Get the Best Home Loans in Canada?

Have you ever wondered if you can apply for a mortgage online? The answer is a resounding yes! In fact, applying for a mortgage online in Canada is not only possible, but also a hassle-free, efficient way to get the best rates and terms.

In the past, only half of Canadians had ever even comparison-shopped for their mortgage online. In recent years, however, those numbers have surged. The days of filling out extensive mortgage application paperwork at a bank are a thing of the past. When it comes to applying for a mortgage online, the process is straightforward and user-friendly.

Thursday, May 23rd

2024 Canadian Home Loan Reviews

Top Consumer Reviews Best-In-Class Blue Ribbon Award Homewise Review 5 Star Rating


5 Star Rating
  • Referral platform that can connect you with 30+ banks and lenders
  • Average savings of $10,000 compared with applying directly
  • Can help with pre-approval, approval, refinance, or switch
  • Available for properties in ON, BC, MB, AB, SK, NL, NS, NB
  • Funded over $16 billion in Canadian mortgages since 2019
Top Consumer Reviews Best-In-Class Blue Ribbon Award

If you'd like a one-stop shop for comparing multiple mortgage options, look no further than Homewise. This cutting-edge mortgage referral service combines technology with a personal touch, making your home-buying experience as stress-free as possible.

Negotiates with lenders on your behalf

Homewise stands out as one of the newest players in the mortgage referral services arena, making its debut in 2019 and yet with a staggering $16+ billion in Canadian mortgages since then. With just one online application, you unleash the power of Homewise's tech-powered mortgage experts. Partnering with over 30 banks, credit unions, and financial institutions across Canada, Homewise acts as your ally in negotiating the best mortgage rates and terms. We love the way they put it: "We negotiate with these lenders so that you don't have to." The list includes big names like Scotiabank and Desjardins, as well as some institutions that may be new to you (like Alterna Savings and WealthONE).

Available to most Canadians

While currently directly available to borrowers in Ontario, British Columbia, Manitoba, and Alberta, Homewise's extensive partner network enables them to co-broker mortgages in Saskatchewan, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick as well.

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Fast and easy for all mortgage types

You can use Homewise for all types of mortgage transactions: preapproval, approval, refinance, or switch at the end of your current term. The entire process is free, it only takes 5 minutes to complete the initial online application, and there's no credit check until you actually choose a lender and move forward with the full application.

You'll be matched with a rep

The application process includes helpful explanations for each question, ensuring you understand and make informed choices. Additionally, an open-answer section allows you to specify any preferences or considerations you'd like to pass along to your Homewise mortgage experts. Upon submitting your application, expect a prompt response: a pop-up confirms your application completion, and within 48 hours, a Homewise representative reaches out to you. Your status page provides an overview of the mortgage features you may qualify for, along with the contact information for your dedicated account representative.

Committed to the greater good

Homewise's commitment to helping Canadians find a home extends beyond its loan services. Through the "Home Karma" program, a portion of their lender revenue on every mortgage is donated to Habitat for Humanity GTA. The team actively volunteers to build Habitat homes, and we can't say enough good things about Homewise's dedication to giving back to the community.

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5-star service

Homewise clients also can't say enough about this service. Although we weren't able to spot a listing for the company with the Better Business Bureau, nearly 400 reviews on Google alone offer plenty of proof that Homewise is a trustworthy partner for home loans in Canada, averaging a noteworthy 4.8 stars out of 5. From first home purchases to renewals on existing mortgages, the representatives here get praise for being helpful, efficient, and getting their clients to the finish line with the least amount of hassle possible. We love to hear that.

#1 pick for home loans in Canada

You can see why Homewise continues to earn our first-place ranking among options for applying for a mortgage online in Canada. They've expanded their accessibility since our previous evaluation, helped new and current homeowners alike to get the home loans they need at the most competitive rates, and continue to share a portion of their profits with people in need. What more could you want? Make Homewise the first site you visit when it's time to get a mortgage.

Nesto Review 4.5 Star Rating


4.5 Star Rating
  • All-online mortgage platform
  • Offers new loans, renewals, refinance
  • Over 300 advisors across Canada
  • Secure your rate for up to 150 days
  • Low rate guaranteed or you get $500
  • Has helped over 400,000 Canadians to get a mortgage
  • Over 1,000 5-star reviews
  • Certified B Corp

As a fully digital mortgage platform, Nesto, backed by Diagram and Portag3, strives to provide the best mortgage deals in an unbiased manner. Celebrating its 5-year anniversary not too long ago, Nesto has evolved from a broker to an end-to-end mortgage platform, originating billions in annual mortgage volume and becoming one of Canada's leading online mortgage platforms. Despite being a relatively new player, Nesto has already saved Canadians thousands on their mortgages.

Fully online mortgage company

Nesto distinguishes itself with a unique approach, employing salaried advisors rewarded based on client satisfaction, ensuring their commitment to your goals without commission-driven motivations. The platform offers the best rates upfront, eliminating the need for negotiation, and the 100% digital mortgage application process streamlines the entire experience, reflecting today's modern era of online mortgage-shopping. Furthermore, Nesto provides a 150-day rate hold option, surpassing industry standards and offering flexibility for potential homebuyers.

Committed to you and to the planet

One standout feature is Nesto's certification as a B Corp in 2022, showcasing its commitment to better processes, a sustainable planet, and an improved work environment. This overall commitment to going above and beyond is also reflected in the platform's time- and money-saving features, including a low-rate guarantee (to the tune of $500), a 1% cashback option on all mortgage solutions, and accredited mortgage professionals across multiple provinces.

Best Canadian Home Loans

Check out the rates for yourself

We encourage you to dive in and see for yourself. In our area, we were offered an extremely competitive rate of 5.04% on a 5-year fixed mortgage. The question-and-answer process here feels really smooth; you won't have any pull on your credit until you're ready to move forward, but you can still see the entire dashboard, start entering information/documents, and speak with a Nesto representative at any time.

Making a name for itself early on

While Nesto is not yet rated by the Better Business Bureau, its Trustpilot ratings average 4.3 stars across 200+ reviews, indicating positive overall customer experiences. That average jumps even higher on Google, at 4.5/5 stars from more than 1,000 reviews. Clients praise Nesto for offering better rates than competitors, fast and thorough service, effective communication, and the convenience of a fully online process.

Highly recommended

Nesto is a relative newcomer who earns an excellent rating in our review. We believe in this service's potential for continued success and positive feedback going forward. With its innovative approach, commitment to transparency, and substantial savings for clients, Nesto stands as a compelling option in the Canadian mortgage landscape.

RatesDotCA Review 4 Star Rating


4 Star Rating
  • Matches you with rates from 15+ trusted mortgage providers
  • Can be used to buy a home, refinance an existing mortgage, or switch
  • Mortgage must be at least $100,000 plus 5% down payment
  • Available for properties in Alberta, British Columbia, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Ontario, and Saskatchewan
  • "A-" rated by the BBB

For over two decades, RatesDotCA has been a go-to source for making informed decisions about insurance and finances. If you've ever shopped around for personal loans, car insurance, or credit cards, you might already be familiar with RatesDotCA, formerly known as Kanetix and RateSupermarket. This service partners with at least a dozen well-known lenders (like Desjardins, HSBC, RBC, and more) to get you the most competitive home loan rates in just a few clicks.

Offers rates and terms upfront

When it comes to Canadian mortgage sites, RatesDotCA takes the lead in thoroughness. Unlike many services that demand extensive information before providing rate quotes, RatesDotCA lays it all out upfront on their main mortgage page. With simple dropdown boxes to specify your province and type of mortgage (purchase, refinance, or renewal), you get instant rate quotes with a variety of terms (and even the date as of when those rates were current).

A few eligibility requirements to be aware of

To find the specific mortgage offers you qualify for, click on the "Get Started" button. As you work your way through the questionnaire, you'll find out important details about RatesDotCA's requirements, like having a mortgage of at least $100,000 and a down payment (or existing equity) of at least 5%. While we filled out the form most recently, we were asked to choose between fixed and variable rates for terms of either 3 or 5 years.

Not available in all provinces/territories

By the way, one of those eligibility requirements is that the property be in Alberta, British Columbia, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Ontario, or Saskatchewan. That makes RatesDotCA slightly more limited than we'd like to see, but it still meets the needs of many Canadians.

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Don't be fooled by the zero

We had to chuckle on the "Contact Info" page: RatesDotCA had a little lock image that proudly proclaimed that "0 Canadians have compared rates in the last 24 hours" (and that was what it showed no matter when we visited the site (by the way, we think that's a glitch and not accurate information about who's using this referral platform).

Good preview of your matched lenders and home loans

We absolutely love that while prospective users do have to enter contact information to proceed to the rate quotes page on RatesDotCA, there's no requirement to verify that information first: the next screen shows you what you'd qualify for, based on the details you entered during the questionnaire (like your credit score range, income). Of course, all of that will need to be confirmed by the lender you select, and the rate quotes aren't guaranteed, but at least you can get a solid ballpark of which lenders are likely to offer you a mortgage and at what rates/terms.

Very competitive rates

In our case, we were offered a match with Innovation Credit Union and invited to reach out to them via phone to complete the home loan application and secure a quoted rate of 4.87% on a 5-year fixed mortgage. We liked that RatesDotCA had a "More Details" section that let us learn more about the lender before making that phone call.

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Lots of lenders (but you may have to reach out on your own)

But, RatesDotCA didn't stop there. We were also given a long list of other financial institutions and what they could potentially offer us. That included some familiar names on our list (like Tangerine and BMO) and some that were newer to us (like Rapport Credit Union and Peace Hills Trust). The only downside was that none of those offers were linked to anything, leaving us to reach out to any of those alternate lenders on our own instead of through the RatesDotCA site. That made the online mortgage application experience a little less seamless than we had anticipated: there was no way to click through and finalize our interest in any of the lenders that we were shown.

Fantastic reputation

And reputation? RatesDotCA still has an "A-" rating from the Better Business Bureau, with just five complaints filed there over the last 8 years. Great start, right? It keeps getting better: on Trustpilot, RatesDotCA has earned a 4.2-star average across nearly 6,000 reviews, with 80% of users giving the service a 4- or 5-star score (and almost 4,000 5-star ratings alone). Time and again, clients say that this platform is efficient, the customer reps are friendly, and that best of all, it helps them connect with rates that beat what they've been offered elsewhere: that goes for home loans, car insurance, travel insurance, you name it.

Still a terrific option, even with a snag or two

We've dropped RatesDotCA by a half-star since our previous evaluation, because it didn't give us the click-through-and-get-started-on-a-mortgage process that we've come to expect from online home loan options in Canada. It's still an excellent service and a solid way to get an idea of what you might qualify for in a home loan, but you'll have to take a couple extra steps on your own that you might not be anticipating when using an online referral platform.

Tangerine Review 3.5 Star Rating


3.5 Star Rating
  • Fixed and variable rate home loans available throughout Canada
  • 120-day rate hold, no application required
  • Increase your payments by 25% or make a lump sum prepayment up to that amount to pay down your balance sooner
  • Mortgage is portable, penalty-free

Tangerine Bank, with its forward-thinking approach and commitment to simplicity, has become a noteworthy player in the Canadian banking landscape. As a wholly-owned subsidiary of The Bank of Nova Scotia (and formerly known as ING Bank or just ING), Tangerine brings innovation to the forefront, aiming to meet the unique needs and goals of its clients. With no daily banking fees, a transparent approach, and a reputation for client satisfaction, Tangerine has positioned itself as a reliable home loan option for Canadians. However, like any major financial institution, it faces both praise and criticism.

120-day rate hold plus other benefits

Let's take a look at what you can expect with mortgages here. One of the appealing aspects of Tangerine's home loans is the competitive interest rates disclosed upfront, guaranteed for 120 days. Whether you're a new or existing client, the process is designed to be hassle-free, requiring a simple request for a Mortgage Rate Hold (no credit check or full application required). This helps you get the rate you want, providing peace of mind during your crucial decision-making period. Tangerine also offers flexibility with fixed and variable rate options, allowing you to choose what aligns best with your financial strategy.

No rates until you become a Client

When you're ready to get some specifics, you'll have to create a Tangerine account; they call it "becoming a Client" if you're not a banking customer there already. This is a full-on bank account that you'll have to verify with 2-step authentication and identity confirmation: that's a lot more than many of the home loan options in our review ask for, before showing some preliminary mortgage options.

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Prepayment and portability perks

On the positive side, Tangerine provides hands-on support for mortgage applicants, offering a dedicated Mortgage Account Manager to guide you through the entire process. The flexibility of prepayment options, allowing lump sum payments or increased regular payments (up to 25% for either one), adds another layer of benefit as you pay down your balance sooner (but only if you want to). Additionally, Tangerine's portable mortgage feature is beneficial for those planning a move, enabling you to take your mortgage at your current rate and term with you penalty-free.

Feedback from customers is mixed

Despite these advantages, Tangerine faces criticism, primarily reflected in its Better Business Bureau rating of "F." The BBB reports 108 complaints filed over the last three years, and the BBB points out Tangerine's failure to respond to some complaints and resolve issues. Trustpilot reviews, with an average rating of 1.3 stars from almost 1,500 entries, echo customer dissatisfaction, particularly in the mortgage domain. Complaints reference difficulties in communication, mortgage term disputes, and mistakes made by Tangerine, leading to a lack of trust among some customers.

Good overall but has room to improve

Examining the rates and terms as of this review, Tangerine offers a range of fixed and variable mortgage terms. While the rates are competitive, customer feedback suggests that the overall mortgage experience could be improved. Tangerine falls into a middle ground in the Canadian mortgage industry - not the best, but not the worst. You should weigh the competitive rates and innovative features against the reported challenges in communication and dispute resolution and decide for yourself. Tangerine has some competition as a mortgage provider in Canada, leaving this bank with a bit of room for improvement.

BMO Review 3 Star Rating


3 Star Rating
  • Buy, refinance, switch, or renew your mortgage
  • Fixed and variable rate home loans available
  • Mortgage + line of credit available
  • Available for a home you plan to live in (not a rental or investment)
  • Longest rate guarantee of any Canadian bank (up to 130 days)
  • Over 900 in-person branches
  • Founded in 1817

BMO is one of Canada's largest financial institutions, with over 900 branch locations nationwide. It should come as no surprise, then, that they can help you with any type of mortgage you may need, from your first home to an investment property, switching your mortgage once your term is complete on your current home loan, and so forth.

In-person, online, or both? You decide

That combination of in-person options plus online convenience is a reason why many Canadians prefer BMO for their mortgage. You can talk to an expert anytime, get your questions answered, and see what rates they can offer you. Just visit your local branch, or better yet, click on the "talk to an expert" button on the Mortgage homepage.

130-day rate hold + options to increase your payments penalty-free

Besides the hybrid style that BMO offers, there are other perks you might not find elsewhere. First, BMO offers a 130-day mortgage rate guarantee: the longest of any major bank in Canada. You've also got accelerated payment options: if you choose, you can increase your payments once a year by up to 20%, or make a lump sum payment without any prepayment charge (again, up to 20%).

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Get pre-qualified or pre-approved ASAP

Ready to apply? After you hit the "Apply Online" button, you'll choose whether you want to get pre-qualified (no impact to your credit score; find out how much you can afford) or pre-approved (so that you're "bid ready" for your house shopping). Naturally, the path you choose will mostly depend on where you are in the process: ready to refinance or buy a home, or just looking? Either way, you'll answer a few questions, find out some preliminary rates, and have those rate quotes locked in for 130 days.

Extra requirements on pre-qualifications

Be aware that to pre-qualify with BMO, you'll need to be a Canadian resident, be applying for a home you plan to live in (not an investment or rental property), and have been employed for at least two years. Have your gross annual income amount and your SIN (if you want to speed up the approval process) handy if you go this route.

See today's rates, no account needed

The good news is that you don't have to do either of those things to see today's posted rates with BMO. On the Rates page, you can see exactly what this bank is offering for fixed rate closed, variable rate, convertible fixed rate, and open fixed rate mortgages. BMO's rates were a little higher than what we were seeing with some competitors' at the time, but given that it always depends on the individual's credit profile, we're not worried that you're getting a bad deal here.

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Big bank with big complaints

As one of Canada's oldest (and biggest) banks, how does BMO measure up reputation-wise? What we found left us a little confused when we went to get the Better Business Bureau's perspective. BMO Bank of Montreal? "F" . BMO Bank N.A.? "A+" and accredited. Hmmmm... Turning to Trustpilot, there is a mix of feedback from both Canadian and American customers of the bank... and out of nearly 900 ratings, 93% give BMO a single star out of five. We filtered those comments to just look at those that mentioned "mortgage" and found comments from Canadian customers that said "5 years of terrible service" , "we had to chase mortgage broker for weeks" , and "dropping the ball on everything I do; my bank never called me back to discuss my new mortgage" . So no, people aren't lining up to sing BMO's praises, but they are coming out of the woodwork to leave extremely frustrated complaints.

Not bad, but don't expect top-rate customer service

Bottom line? You can expect the big-bank experience from BMO's mortgage department. That comes with some perks that smaller lenders may not offer, like the extended rate lock, but it also means that they probably won't be competing to get you the best possible interest rate or term either. They know they've got you locked in with your chequing and other accounts, so there's no need to win you over. If you like the all-in-one convenience of having your money all in one place, BMO isn't the worst option. Otherwise, we'd definitely recommend checking out the higher-rated services for Canadian home loans.

Breezeful Review 3 Star Rating


3 Star Rating
  • Mortgage broker service connects you with a network of 30+ lenders
  • Can be used to shop all kinds of mortgages, from traditional new purchases, refinancing, and renewals, to second mortgages, property investments, and more
  • Matches you with an online mortgage expert who offers unbiased advice and lender negotiation
  • Licensed across Canada

Breezeful got its start in 2019 with the backing of Y Combinator. This online mortgage broker is available throughout Canada and aims to help you get the absolute best rates and terms for your home loan, but there aren't any upfront numbers you can browse without creating a Breezeful account.

Best for new purchases or refinancing

When you click on the "Apply Now" button, you'll answer a series of questions. Do you want to buy a home or refinance? We're not sure where switch/renew falls in terms of Breezeful's two categories, so take your best guess if that applies to you. We opted for "new purchase" and were then asked where we were in the process: finding out how much we qualify for, ready for a pre-approval, making offers, offer accepted, or shopping for a better rate.

Lots of specifics asked for

We don't love that, like the last time we evaluated Breezeful, prospective customers still have to enter at least a city where they're thinking of buying; if you don't have a specific home in mind yet, just enter a town you're considering. Ditto that for property value (since you probably have at least a range in mind). You'll also provide information about your employment, contact details, and so forth.

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Set an appointment if you like

On the next screen, you'll be invited to set an online appointment with a Breezeful home loan specialist, to discuss your mortgage application. Click the "view calendar" button and see what's available; in our case, we were able to get an appointment within just a few hours from when we created our account, all the way until about a week into the future. You can continue with your application without scheduling an appointment, if you prefer. On subsequent screens, you'll be told which documents you need to upload (like government-issued ID, pay stub).

Extra questions (with no easy exit)

You also have the chance to answer additional questions prior to your appointment (current address, length of time at that location, amount in savings, and so forth): that will make it easier for your home loan expert to match you with the most competitive rates for your circumstances. But don't start that process unless you intend to answer every question, because there's no easy way out.

No rates until you talk to a rep

But, no matter which route you take, you won't get any idea of your mortgage options until you speak with the Breezeful rep assigned to your application. That makes this a lot less "online" than many of the Canadian home loan companies we evaluated.

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Customer feedback has all but dried up

And, that splash we were expecting Breezeful to make when we looked at them several years ago, when they were really new on the scene? It doesn't seem to have materialized. There's still no listing for Breezeful with the Better Business Bureau, and not on Trustpilot either. Yes, Breezeful will point you to its handful of reviews on their Google listing (some of which are featured on their own site), but out of the 30-ish comments there, none of them were newer than a year ago (and most came from at least 2-3 years in the past). It doesn't look like Breezeful has made the impact they (or we) were hoping for.

Not a bad option but not quite competitive with top mortgage options

Breezeful could be a really great option if you want to comparison shop for the best rates (though they don't tell you which lenders are in their network these days, until you talk with their rep). It's also a solid option if you prefer to work with a live person instead of relying on the computers to do the legwork for you. But, with most of its competitors offering both (namely, online quotes and then the choice of completing the application online or working with an adviser), Breezeful doesn't really rank among our favorites these days.

Mogo Review 2.5 Star Rating


2.5 Star Rating
  • Exclusively online brokerage service matches you with a lender network
  • Additional tools for helping you monitor your financial health
  • Requirements: minimum credit score of 640, 5% minimum down payment, income verification
  • Available to residents of BC, AB, MB, ON, NB, NS, PE, and NL
  • "A-" rating from the BBB

Emerging on the financial scene in Canada in 2003, Mogo is a Vancouver-based fintech company, with offices in Winnipeg and Toronto. Offering a suite of financial products, from free credit score monitoring to personal loans, mortgages, and even a bitcoin exchange, Mogo operates as your intermediary, connecting you with various financial partners in their network.

Mortgages funded through undisclosed lenders

While they keep the specifics of these partners under wraps, you'll manage your home loan seamlessly through the MogoMortgage dashboard. We do wish that Mogo wouldn't keep that information so secret, though: most lender referral platforms on our list are more than happy to pull back the curtain and show you who they work with.

Do you qualify?

To secure a MogoMortgage, you must meet certain criteria. For instance, you need a credit score of at least 640 and the ability to make a minimum 5% down payment. A recent expansion of Mogo's eligibility requirements means you're no longer confined to a 20% cap on equity or down payment. However, be aware of Mogo's ongoing geographic limitations: MogoMortgage is available only to residents of specific provinces - BC, AB, MB, ON, NB, NS, PE, or NL.

More than just mortgages (whether you like it or not)

If you decide to see what MogoMortgage can do for you, your journey will begin by signing up for a free Mogo account. This not only enrolls you in their free services, such as credit score reports and financial management tools but also puts you in the driver's seat if you need help with credit cards, improving your credit score, or gaining a clearer understanding of your financial situation. However, if your focus is solely on obtaining a mortgage or you prefer managing your finances without a smartphone app, Mogo might be more than what you're looking for (and not in a positive way).

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Slight drop in BBB rating

Since our last review, Mogo's reputation has dropped from an "A+" to an "A-" with the Better Business Bureau, mostly due to the 60 or so complaints filed there over the last three years. That's not a huge number when you consider that millions of Canadians use Mogo on a regular basis.

Too many Mogo users give it 1 star

But, when we looked for feedback regarding MogoMortgage, there wasn't any to speak of. So, we took a peek at comments from Mogo clients who used the service for other kinds of loans, and they weren't great. You can see for yourself if you look at Mogo's reputation on Trustpilot, with 78% of ratings at the rock-bottom 1-star score.

Doesn't compete with higher-ranking services

While Mogo gets points for providing complimentary credit scores and offers an option for those seeking a mortgage, it may not be your go-to choice for extensive home loan brokering. The lack of transparency about their partner banks or credit unions, coupled with rather mixed customer reviews, suggests that Mogo might not be fully equipped for large-scale mortgage offerings at this time. With so many well-established alternatives available to residents of all provinces, Mogo might not take the lead when you're on the hunt for a home loan in Canada.

Loans Canada Review 2.5 Star Rating

Loans Canada

2.5 Star Rating
  • Referral platform available to Canadians nationwide
  • Can connect you with all home loan types
  • In operation since 2012
  • "A+" rated and accredited by the BBB

If you're brand-new to the home loan scene in Canada, drop by the Loans Canada website. With no commitment required, you can learn just about everything you could be wondering about mortgages: credit score requirements, down payment rules, advice for working with a bank vs. a broker, and much more. We love that, for more than a decade, Loans Canada has been trying to help everyone have a clear understanding of everything related to home loans (and personal loans, car loans, and so forth).

Lender network for mortgages and other loans

And, when you feel like you know enough to be ready for a mortgage, Loans Canada stands at the ready to connect you with the lenders in their database. You can start by clicking the "Apply Now" button at the top right corner of the page; selecting the type of mortgage you need on that initial page (new, second, refinancing) won't really get you anywhere (which is a little confusing).

Options for most Canadians

Once you get into the application stage, you'll select whether you want a new mortgage, a renewal, a commercial mortgage, or refinancing, along with several less-common types of home-related loans. Enter your postal code and then Loans Canada will tell you if they have a mortgage specialist in your area; fortunately, on the average home loan types, Loans Canada is an option for residents of all provinces and territories.

One match and that's all?

But, from there, we're not big fans of the Loans Canada process. We were matched with a company we'd never heard of, and then told we should prepare to get a phone call from the lender. We weren't offered any sample rates we might have qualified for, any mortgage terms, or even a background on the lender itself. And what if we wanted to see our options with additional financial institutions? We didn't see any options for that, just the "here's your one match" and that's it.

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Pushy when it comes to (un)related services

And then, Loans Canada went to great lengths to offer us lots of semi-related services. Did we want to get a credit report? A cash advance? Credit building? There was nothing in our application to indicate that we needed any of that; it left us feeling like Loans Canada was trying to grab some referral cash for passing us along, not necessarily giving us something specific to our situation.

Not many reviews

We guess we're not so surprised that Loans Canada doesn't have a ton of feedback. True, they have an "A+" rating and accreditation from the Better Business Bureau, so there's little chance that they're doing anything truly shady. But when you look for the Google Reviews averaging 4.4 stars that are proudly referenced on the Loans Canada site, you won't find them. It seems that some of the reason that this platform gets a solid grade from the BBB is because there's no one using it (at least, not enough to where anyone would have a reason to complain).

Good for info-gathering and not much beyond that

We don't rank Loans Canada as a site to absolutely avoid when learning about home loans. You could spend some time reading through the articles and wrapping your head around the mortgage process, and it wouldn't be time wasted. But, when it comes to actually getting down to finding a lender, we recommend using one of Loans Canada's higher-ranked rivals to get the job done.

Scotiabank Review 2 Star Rating


2 Star Rating
  • Bank with nearly 200 years of history in Canada
  • Can work with an adviser in person or complete an application online
  • Minimum mortgage amount of $100,000
  • New home purchases can get up to $300 waived on an appraisal
  • Mortgages switches may get $500 cashback

Scotiabank stands out as a prominent player in the financial landscape, not only in Canada but across the Americas. With a workforce of over 90,000 employees and assets exceeding $1 trillion, it's evident why this mortgage lender enjoys popularity among Canadian homeowners.

Big bank options with fully-online convenience

Imagine a seamless big-bank mortgage experience entirely online - that's precisely what Scotiabank offers with its eHOME online mortgage hub. You can move from preapproval to home search, mortgage approval, and finally, holding the keys - all without stepping into a bank branch. The only in-person requirement is meeting the lawyer handling your home purchase for document signing and key collection. Of course, if you prefer to work with an adviser in person, Scotiabank can do that for you too; you can use their website to set up your first appointment.

Not many surprises with the application questions

But, let's focus on the online option. To embark on this digital journey, start by reviewing Scotiabank's privacy agreement and answering the provided questions about your property's intended use, guarantor status, bankruptcy history, and more.

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Online glitches may prevent you from getting quotes

If it's determined that you qualify to work with this platform, you can then create an account to access personalized rate quotes and compare them with other mortgage offers you may have. Be aware that you'll need to provide your mobile number and verify the security code you'll receive via text in order to complete your eHOME account. Unfortunately, we never received the security code (even after requesting a new one several times), which left us unable to continue on the eHOME platform. That's really too bad, because in our previous evaluation we appreciated being able to compare rates and home loan terms with just a few clicks. This didn't turn out to be as "seamless" and "online" as Scotiabank promised.

Some attractive perks you won't see elsewhere

We wish we had been able to continue, because Scotiabank offers a few perks that caught our attention. First, on new mortgages, they'll waive up to $300 in appraisal fees. Second, on online mortgage switches, Scotiabank offers $500 cashback (but this isn't offered to residents of Quebec). You can use Scotiabank for a switch if you live in Quebec, but you'll need to reach out to an adviser instead of using the platform directly.

"F" from the BBB

However, our inability to continue our home loan application isn't the only problem with Scotiabank. They still have an "F" rating from the Better Business Bureau, for failing to respond to over 5 dozen complaints. For such a big financial institution (with tens of thousands of employees), it shouldn't be that hard to assign someone to respond to each and every complaint.

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Mortgage experience isn't smooth for some

And, unfortunately, some of those complaints relate to mortgages. One customer was upset that despite paying their taxes to Scotiabank, the bank never passed the funds along to the city where they live. Another accused Scotiabank reps of not sending the appropriate documents along to a new lender in time to make a switch, renewing the mortgage at Scotiabank at a much higher rate for six months.

Not recommended for Canadian mortgages

Scotiabank fails to earn our recommendation once again, when it comes to big banks with online options for mortgages in Canada. Their eHOME site doesn't get the job done, and apparently the bank isn't doing well in that regard either. We recommend working with a different bank or using one of the lender referral services on our list instead.

Meridian Credit Union Review 2 Star Rating

Meridian Credit Union

2 Star Rating
  • Many different mortgage types available
  • Can skip a payment once every 12 months with no penalty
  • Cash advance of up to 5% on the day your mortgage is advanced
  • Unique "friends and family" mortgage option
  • 90 branches across Ontario (not available in other provinces/territories)
  • "A-" rated by the BBB

Meridian is Ontario's largest credit union, with over 90 branches and 365,000 members across the province. You, too, will need to be a member in order to qualify for a home loan (whether you apply online or in person). But, first let's look at what Meridian Credit Union has to offer, so you'll know whether or not you want to sign up.

Quiz can help you get started

If you're not sure what your best option is for a mortgage, start with Meridian's quiz. Answer a few questions about your situation and where you are on your "home ownership journey" , and you'll get a personalized recommendation.

Wide range of mortgage types

Of all of the Canadian home loan options we evaluated, Meridian has the widest variety of mortgage products (including several that we didn't see anywhere else). You'll find the traditional fixed rate and variable rate loans, but also high ratio (if you're putting down less than 20%), a flex line (that combines a mortgage with a line of credit), construction home loans (for new construction or major renovation), and mortgages specifically for those who are self-employed.

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Unique "Friends and Family" home loan option

But, the most novel mortgage structure that Meridian Credit Union has is the "Friends and Family" home loan. It allows up to four people to get a mortgage together: that could be a multi-generational family living together, a group of people who aren't a traditional two-income family, and so on. The only requirement is that at least one person on the mortgage has to live in the house; this loan structure can't be used to purchase a rental property. Any of Meridian's mortgages (fixed, variable) can have the "Friends and Family" setup.

Flexible, attractive benefits

Meridian has some extra perks that really got our attention. If you'd like to pay your mortgage monthly, that's fine - but you could also choose weekly, bi-weekly, or bi-monthly payments too. Accelerated payments are also a-ok if you'd like to be mortgage-free even sooner. Need to skip a payment? Meridian lets you do that once every 12 months with no penalty. How about some extra cash? Meridian can advance you up to 5% of your mortgage principal; you can use it to help with immediate expenses like renovations or even the closing costs on the home loan itself. Amazing!

Rates clearly displayed, no account necessary

We also appreciate that the credit union displays their current rate offers right on their main Mortgages page. You don't have to create an account or jump through any hoops to get a sense of what you might be looking at for your home loan.

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Client feedback on mortgages isn't stellar

While we wanted to maintain our enthusiasm for Meridian Credit Union as an option for mortgages, we weren't so thrilled by what we found in customer feedback. Although Meridian CU has a good "A-" rating from the Better Business Bureau, with just a handful of complaints filed there, client reviews in places like Trustpilot are not nearly so positive. While some of those complaints are about products like credit cards, more than a few refer specifically to problems with home loans: payments not going through, property taxes not being added to the mortgage, no customer service during the application process or afterwards, you get the idea.

Only in Ontario

And, of course, another huge limitation is that Meridian Credit Union is only available to people living in Ontario. Because the credit union's membership terms require you to be a resident, you'll be unable to apply for a mortgage here (in person or online) if you live in a different province or territory.

Too limited to rank higher

All of the perks in the world can't compensate for lacklustre customer service, and we're not sure you can count on Meridian's to be on point over the course of your mortgage application or your homeownership. Plus, unless you live in Ontario, Meridian Credit Union won't even be an option for you.

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Continued from above...

Today, most big banks and even smaller credit unions allow you to apply and be approved for a home loan without setting foot in a local branch. There are also online-only platforms that can match you with even more competitive rates and terms than their big-name rivals, by matching you with vetted financial institutions in their network.

The journey of applying for a mortgage online begins with choosing a lender and submitting an initial application. Next, the lender may request additional documents to support your application prior to preapproval (or final approval). These could include such things as your ID, a credit report, proof of income, latest Notice of Assessment, and proof of assets. Having these documents handy will help to make sure there are no delays in the approval process.

But let's backtrack a bit. How do you know which lender to use for your mortgage? There are a lot to choose from. Here are a few tips for narrowing down the options:

  • Website functionality. How easy is it to find the information you need, complete your application online, and submit any required documents? Can you see some initial rate quotes and mortgage terms before creating an account? The online experience should leave you feeling like you're working with a knowledgeable, trusted advisor, not having to fend for yourself and hope you get it right.
  • Referral platform or directly funded. Are you looking to do a comparison of mortgage options across a wide variety of lenders? Or do you prefer to go directly to a well-known financial institution? There are pros and cons to either approach, but you may already have a preference for one over the other.
  • Reputation. What do other homeowners say about their experience with the referral service or the bank? Has it been evaluated favorably by the Better Business Bureau? Trustworthiness is of the utmost importance when making such a huge financial decision, so take the time to make sure you feel confident in the lender you ultimately select.

Applying for a mortgage online is the modern and efficient way to navigate the homebuying process, and the experts at Top Consumer Reviews have done the work to analyze today's most popular options for home loans in Canada. With 24/7 access to lenders, quick approval times, and the ability to skip bank trips, taking this process online offers unparalleled convenience. If you've got a decent credit score and the essential documentation at the ready, it's time to start your journey towards homeownership!

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Canadian Home Loan FAQ

You may feel unsure about applying for a mortgage online. The majority of Canadians still go the traditional route: going to their local bank for a home loan. But, there are many reasons you should consider being part of the newest trend and getting your home loan through an online lender. Your local bank will rarely give you multiple options for your mortgage, and they have little motivation to compete for your business. On the other hand, online mortgage providers in Canada can match you with multiple lenders who are very eager to work with you - and who will offer better rates and terms to earn your commitment. While it may seem unfamiliar or even a little scary, you can rest assured that there are many reputable, established Canadian lenders who can help you get the right mortgage for your home purchase - online!
It's not a requirement, but it gives you a big advantage when you're ready to make an offer. Getting pre-approval means that a lender has said that they'd be willing to give you a home loan, based on the information you gave them about your income and other particulars. Pre-approval helps you know how much house you can afford, and it communicates to the sellers that you're serious and qualified when you make an offer.
Most Canadians -80% to 84% - go with fixed-rate mortgages. Why are they so popular? They're stable, predictable, and you never get surprised with a higher interest rate (and higher payments). With variable-rate home loans, your rates could go up (or down) at any time. If you know you're not going to stay in your home for a long time, a variable-rate mortgage may save you money - if you're willing to take the risk that it could cost you more, too.
Closed mortgages can't be repaid in full before the end of the loan term without incurring a penalty. Open mortgages can. Why would anyone choose a closed home loan, then? Simple: they have much lower interest rates. You would probably choose an open mortgage only if you're planning on flipping a house or if you know you're going to be able to pay it off in full in the near future (e.g. you're getting an inheritance or other influx of cash).
Canadian law says that you have to put down at least 5% when taking out a mortgage. Also, if your down payment is below 20%, you'll have to pay for mortgage insurance: a monthly fee added to your mortgage payment. Those payments can be removed in the future once you've built up enough equity in your home.
If you have a portable home loan, it allows you to transfer it to a different home in the future with no penalties. Unless you plan on staying in your home for the entire length of your loan (10, 15, 20 years), it's a good idea to look for a lender offering portable mortgages. Just be aware that some lenders don't allow you to move your mortgage across provinces.
Your pre-approval can usually be completed in 24-72 hours, but that's just the first step. Once you've made an offer on a home and been accepted by the seller, most of the timing depends on a variety of factors. How quickly is the seller trying to close? Are you selling another home and making your purchase contingent on that sale? How fast can the required inspections and appraisals be completed? Work closely with your realtor and your lender to keep things progressing, and don't hesitate to ask for updates if you're feeling anxious about how fast (or slow) your process seems to be moving.
That's a smart question to ask. Buying a home costs more than just your down payment and the mortgage itself. Your purchase could also include an appraisal fee, home inspection, land transfer taxes, property insurance (paid monthly or annually), title insurance, and fees for real estate lawyers. Ask your realtor about typical closing costs for homes in the price range you're considering, and make sure to factor that estimate in when you're calculating how much you can afford.
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