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The Ultimate Guide to Car Title Loans in Vancouver

By Heidi Unrau | Published on 08 Nov 2023

Car title loan calculator image showing fields for loan amount, interest rate, and repayment period.

    Car title loans in Vancouver can give you immediate cash by using your vehicle as collateral to secure the loan. That’s great news if you have bad credit but own a car that’s paid off. Of course, there are serious downsides to consider, like high interest rates and the risk of repossession (to name a few). Here’s what to know about car title loans in Vancouver, including how they work, benefits, drawbacks, eligibility criteria, local regulations, and how to apply for one.

    At a Glance: Where to Find Car Title Loans in Vancouver

    CompanyBest For
    Loans CanadaFinding the Best Rates
    Instant Auto LoansFast Application Processing
    C.A.I. FinancialNegotiating Rates & Terms
    Equity Loans CanadaNo Job Requirements & Longer Loan Terms

    What is a Car Title?

    A car title is a government-issued document that proves you legally own your vehicle, much like a deed shows you own your house. It is essential for various reasons, such as:

    Proof of Ownership: It’s the definitive legal evidence that you own the car.

    Selling or Buying: You need it to transfer ownership if you sell your car or to register your car with the appropriate provincial or territorial authority if you buy one.

    Registration and Insurance: It’s required for vehicle registration and to obtain or renew auto insurance.
    Financing and Loans: If you want to use your car as collateral for a loan, lenders will require seeing the car title.

    Legal Protection: It protects you legally if there are disputes about ownership or if the vehicle is stolen and recovered.

    What is a Car Title Loan?

    A car title loan is a type of secured loan where a borrower uses their vehicle’s title as collateral to secure a loan. The lender holds onto the title until the loan is repaid in full, at which point the borrower regains full ownership of their vehicle’s title.

    The lender will also register a lien on the title, which secures the loan amount against your car. During the term of the loan, you can still drive the car but you no longer have possession of the physical car title document.

    Car title loans are typically short-term loans, with repayment periods ranging from a few weeks to a few months. The loan amount is determined by the value of your car, with lenders typically offering up to 50% of the appraised value.

    How Do Car Title Loans in Vancouver Work?

    Car title loans work just like a regular loan, but are almost exclusively offered by private, subprime lenders and come with extremely high interest rates. That means you cannot get car title loans from traditional lenders like the big banks and credit unions. Here’s how car title loans work in Vancouver:

    The Basics

    Loan Against Car Equity: In most cases, you must own your vehicle outright.

    Loan Amount: The lender will give you a percentage of the vehicle’s assessed value

    Short-Term with High Interest: Car title loans are usually for 30 days but can be longer, with interest rates exceeding traditional loans.

    Repayment: Must make regular installment payments until the loan is paid off.

    Keep the Car: You get to keep using your car while paying off the loan, though the lender holds onto the title document and places a lien on it.

    Applying for the Loan

    Vehicle Assessment: The lender appraises the car’s value to determine the loan amount.

    Required Documentation: The borrower must provide the car title, a valid driver’s license, and proof of insurance. Additional documents, such as proof of income, may also be required.

    Approval Process: If the loan is approved, the lender outlines the terms, including the loan amount, interest rate, fees, and repayment schedule.

    Interest Rates & Fees

    Maximum Interest Rates: In BC, the interest rate for car title loans can be quite high but should not exceed the 60% annual interest rate set by the Criminal Code of Canada.

    Additional Fees: There might be administrative fees, loan origination fees, and others that contribute to the cost of borrowing.


    Short-Term Nature: The loan term can be as short as 30 days but might extend to several months or more, depending on the agreement.

    Repossession: Failure to repay the loan can result in the lender seizing the car.

    Benefits of Car Title Loans in Vancouver

    Car title loans cater to people who are unlikely to qualify for traditional lending, which can provide a financial safety net in the event of a money emergency. But they come with a few other benefits too. Here are several upsides of car title loans in Vancouver, where the high cost of living can present many challenges:

    Ideal for Bad Credit: One of the main advantages of a car title loan is that it is accessible to people with bad credit scores. Since the loan is secured against the vehicle, lenders are willing to offer loans to people who may not qualify for other types of credit.

    No Credit Checks: Car title loans typically do not require a credit check. This is a significant benefit for individuals with poor credit or no credit history at all. Instead of focusing on your credit history, car title lenders consider the value of your vehicle as the main factor in determining your eligibility.

    Use of Funds: Car title loans also offer the advantage of flexibility. Unlike some other types of loans that have strict usage restrictions, car title loans typically allow you to use the funds for various purposes. Whether you need to cover medical expenses, make car repairs, or pay off outstanding debts, a car title loan in Vancouver can provide the financial support you need.

    Quick Approval Process: Car title loans often have a faster approval process compared to traditional bank loans. In many cases, you can receive approval and funding within a day or two, which can be crucial if you’re in urgent need of funds.

    No Disruption to Use of Vehicle: Even though the vehicle is used as collateral, you can continue to use your car while you repay the loan. This means there is no interruption to your daily transportation needs.

    Loan Amount Based on Vehicle Value: The amount you can borrow is typically based on the value of the car, not solely on credit and income. This can potentially allow for a larger loan amount than might be available with other bad credit loan options.

    Flexible Repayment Terms: Lenders may offer various repayment plans, and some might provide the flexibility to tailor the repayment schedule according to your income and paydays.

    Major Drawbacks to Consider Before Getting a Car Title Loan

    Before you sign on the dotted line for a car title loan in Vancouver, it’s important to steer through the potential potholes associated with this kind of borrowing. While the immediate influx of cash may seem appealing, there are several major drawbacks that could jeopardize your financial wellness, such as:

    Sky-High Interest Rates: Rates can vary wildly, with some reaching as high as 49%. Legally, they can charge up to 60%! Over time, the cost of the loan could exceed the value of the car itself. It’s worth shopping around or considering other personal loan options that might have a lower cost over the long haul.

    The Full Cost in the Fine Print: The advertised rate doesn’t always include all the fees. The APR of a car title loan reveals the real expense beyond the interest rate. This number includes various fees, which could range from vehicle inspection charges to administrative costs to set up the loan. These can significantly inflate the cost and strain your budget.

    Late and Hidden Fees: Miss a payment, and you might face late fees – think of these like parking tickets, small but frustrating additional costs. Additionally, NSF (non-sufficient funds) fees could apply if your payment method doesn’t go through, further driving up the cost.

    GPS Trackers & Immobilizers: Some car title loan providers install GPS trackers and immobilizers on your vehicle. The GPS tracker helps the lender know where your vehicle is at all times. Meanwhile, the immobilizer gives the lender the power to remotely prevent your car from starting. This enables them to locate and take back your vehicle in the event you miss a payment or default on the loan.

    Risk of Repossession: Defaulting on a car title loan could see your vehicle repossessed, or you could be sued for the unpaid balance. If you get sued, this could be reported on your credit file and damage your credit score.

    Ownership Is Key: If you still owe money on the car, you generally can’t use it as collateral for a car title loan until it’s completely paid off and free of any other loans or liens.

    The Lender’s Reputation: Research any lender thoroughly to ensure they’re registered and legitimate in BC. If the lender is not licensed or you get a bad vibe, walk away – it’s not worth the risk. Car title loans are often associated with predatory lending practices. It’s essential to research and choose a reputable lender.

    Financial Regulations & Car Title Loans in Vancouver

    Car title loans in Vancouver, as well as the rest of British Columbia, are subject to provincial financial regulations. These regulations are designed to protect you and ensure fair lending practices. If you’re thinking of getting a car title loan in Vancouver, here are a few important things to know:

    Maximum Interest Rates: The Criminal Code of Canada sets the maximum annual interest rate for any loans at 60%, including car title loans.

    High-Cost Credit Product Regulations: In BC, any credit product with an APR of more than 32% is considered a high-cost credit product and must obtain a license from Consumer Protection BC. Lenders offering high-cost credit products must abide by additional disclosure and practice requirements.

    Specific Disclosure Requirements: Lenders are required to provide you with a clear and understandable loan agreement that must spell out the total cost of borrowing, the interest rate, fees, the term of the loan, the APR, and the rights of the borrower under the Consumer Protection Act. You must also be provided with a copy of the loan agreement at the time of signing.

    Seize or Sue Laws: In BC, the Personal Property Security Act allows for a “seize or sue” provision, meaning a lender can either seize the asset used as collateral for a loan (in this case, the vehicle) or sue the borrower to repay the loan, but not both.

    How to make sure the lien is removed on your car after you pay off the car title loan 

    It’s your responsibility to ensure that the lien is removed from your car title after paying off a car title loan. Once all of your loan payments are complete, request a payoff statement and/or a lien release document from your lender. 

    Then, to confirm that the lender has transferred the lien back to you, head to the Government of BC’s personal property liens and searches website to confirm the lien. 

    How to file a complaint against a car title lender in BC

    To file a complaint against a car title lender in British Columbia, get in touch with Consumer Protection BC. Their details can be found here.  

    It’s important to carefully consider the terms and conditions of a car title loan before proceeding, keeping in mind that they usually have very unfavourable terms and rates. Make sure you understand the repayment schedule, interest rate, and any additional fees associated with the loan. If possible, explore alternative options such as personal loans or borrowing from friends and family, as these may offer more favourable terms.

    Am I eligible for a Car Title Loan in Vancouver?

    If you’re considering a car title loan in Vancouver, it’s essential to understand the most common eligibility criteria set by lenders in the region.

    Vehicle Ownership

    In order to qualify for a car title loan, you must own the vehicle outright. This means that you should not have any outstanding liens or financial obligations on the vehicle. Having said that, some lenders may still give you a car title loan even if you haven’t paid off the car depending on their policies. To be sure, call the lender and ask before you submit an application.

    Age, Residency & Income Requirements

    To be eligible for a car title loan in Vancouver, you need to be at least 19 years old and a Canadian citizen or permanent resident. You also need to have a reliable source of income. While some lenders may have specific income requirements, there are car title loan options available for individuals with various income levels.

    Where to Get Car Title Loans in Vancouver 

    If you’re sure about applying for a car title loan in Vancouver, BC, check out these popular options. 

    Loans Canada 

    Logo for Loans Canada. The best place to find car title loans in Vancouver and compare rates.

    Loans Canada is a financial platform connecting borrowers with various lending options, facilitating access to loans and financial solutions. This comparison site helps you find the best rate for your situation. It’s a great tool for any Canadian looking to leverage their car for some cash, including those in Vancouver. 

    Instant Auto Loans

    Logo for Instant Auto Loans: The best car title loans in Vancouver for fast application processing.

    Instant Auto Loans is a financial company situated in Vancouver, British Columbia. The company provides accessible short-term car title loans and can process your application in as little as 15 minutes. They also provide car title loans on eligible trucks, boats, motorcycles, and RV’s. They are an experienced firm delivering services since 1986 and have locations in Burnaby and Surrey. 

    C.A.I. Financial 

    Logo for CAI Financial. The best car title loans in Vancouver with negotiable rates.

    C.A.I. Financial provides a diverse range of financial services, including mortgages, vehicle financing, title loans, cheque cashing, and collateral loans. What makes this car loan title provider stand out is the ability to negotiate your interest rate terms. If you do not own your car or don’t qualify for a car title loan, C.A.I. Financial also offers loans using other valuable items, such as laptops, jewellery, and cell phones. The company has 11 locations in British Columbia, 9 of which are in the Greater Vancouver area. 

    Equity Loans Canada

    Logo for Equity Loans Canada: The best car title loans in Canada for terms up to 6 years.

    Equity Loans Canada has dozens of locations across Canada, including several in British Columbia. When it comes to car title loans, they separate from the pack by offering long loan terms to their customers (as long as 6 years.) If this is valuable to you, consider checking them out. 

    How to Apply for a Car Title Loan in Vancouver

    Now that you have a good understanding of car title loans and where to get them, let’s walk through the step-by-step process of applying for one in Vancouver.

    Step-by-Step Application Process

    1. Research Lenders: Begin by researching reputable lenders in Vancouver that offer car title loans. Look for lenders with positive reviews and competitive interest rates.

    2. Gather Required Documents: Typically, lenders will require proof of vehicle ownership, a valid driver’s license, proof of income, and proof of residency. Gather these documents before starting the application process.

    3. Fill Out the Application: Complete the lender’s application form. Provide accurate information about yourself, your vehicle, and your financial situation.

    4. Vehicle Inspection and Appraisal: The lender may require an in-person vehicle inspection to determine its value. This can usually be done at their office or a location convenient for both parties.

    5. Review Loan Agreement: Carefully review the loan agreement before signing it. Pay close attention to the terms, interest rates, repayment schedule, and any additional fees.

    Required Documents for Application

    When applying for a car title loan, you will typically need the following documents:

    • Government-issued photo ID
    • Proof of address (utility bill, bank statement, etc)
    • Proof of income (paystubs, letter of employment, T4, etc)
    • Car title
    • Proof of registration
    • Proof of insurance
    • Vehicle inspection report
    • Appraisal

    With this ultimate guide to car title loans in Vancouver, you now have a comprehensive understanding of the concept, benefits, drawbacks, eligibility criteria, and application process. Before proceeding, carefully consider your own financial situation and whether a car title loan aligns with your needs and capabilities. Remember, borrowing should always be done with careful consideration and responsible financial planning.

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    Heidi Unrau is a senior finance journalist at Hardbacon. She studied Economics at the University of Winnipeg, where she fell in love with all-things-finance. At 25, she kicked-off her financial career in retail banking as a teller. She quickly progressed to become a Credit Analyst and then Private Lender. This hands-on industry experience uniquely positions her to provide expert insight on loans, credit scores, credit cards, debt, and banking services. She has been featured in publications such as WealthRocket, Scary Mommy, Credello, and Plooto. When she's not chasing after her two little boys, you'll find her hiding in the car listening to the Freakonomics podcast, or binge-watching financial crime documentaries with a bowl of ice cream. Fun Fact: Heidi has lived in five different provinces across Canada and her blood type is coffee.