FAQ Guide: Terms and Acronyms for Discussing Lending Products in Canada


In this FAQ guide, we aim to provide you with a clear understanding of the terms and acronyms frequently used in discussions about lending products in Canada. By familiarizing yourself with these terms, you’ll be better equipped to make informed financial decisions and engage in meaningful conversations about loans, mortgages, and other lending options.

Understanding Lending Products

What are lending products?

Lending products refer to the various financial instruments and services offered by financial institutions to provide individuals and businesses with access to borrowed funds. These products typically include loans, mortgages, credit cards, lines of credit, and more.

Types of lending products

The Canadian lending market offers a wide range of products tailored to different borrowing needs. Some common types of lending products include personal loans, mortgages, auto loans, student loans, and small business loans.

Key players in the lending industry

When discussing lending products, it’s essential to be familiar with the key players in the industry. These may include banks, credit unions, mortgage brokers, online lenders, and private lenders. Understanding their roles can help you navigate the lending landscape more effectively.

Common Terms and Acronyms


APR stands for Annual Percentage Rate. It represents the annual cost of borrowing, including both the interest rate and any applicable fees. The APR provides a standardized way to compare the costs of different lending products.

Credit score

A credit score is a numerical representation of an individual’s creditworthiness. Lenders use credit scores to assess the likelihood of a borrower repaying their debts. In Canada, credit scores typically range from 300 to 900, with higher scores indicating lower credit risk.


Collateral refers to an asset that a borrower pledges to secure a loan. If the borrower fails to repay the loan, the lender can seize the collateral as a form of repayment. Common examples of collateral include real estate, vehicles, or other valuable possessions.

Debt-to-income ratio (DTI)

The debt-to-income ratio is a financial metric that compares an individual’s monthly debt payments to their gross monthly income. It helps lenders assess an applicant’s ability to manage additional debt responsibly. A lower DTI ratio indicates a lower risk for lenders.

LTV ratio

The loan-to-value ratio compares the loan amount to the appraised value of the asset being financed. For example, in the case of a mortgage, the LTV ratio represents the loan amount divided by the property’s appraised value. A lower LTV ratio often leads to better loan terms.


Amortization refers to the process of gradually paying off a loan through regular payments over a specified period. Each payment typically covers both the principal amount borrowed and the interest charged. Longer amortization periods result in lower monthly payments but higher overall interest costs.


Pre-approval is a preliminary evaluation conducted by lenders to determine the amount they are willing to lend to a borrower. It provides borrowers with a better understanding of their borrowing capacity and streamlines the homebuying process.

Down payment

A down payment is the initial payment made by a borrower when purchasing a property or asset. In Canada, a down payment of at least 5% of the property’s purchase price is typically required for a mortgage.

Mortgage Insurance

Mortgage insurance is a type of insurance that protects the lender in case the borrower defaults on their mortgage payments. It is often required for high-ratio mortgages where the down payment is less than 20% of the property’s purchase price.


HELOC stands for Home Equity Line of Credit. It is a revolving line of credit secured by the borrower’s home equity. With a HELOC, borrowers can access funds as needed, up to a predetermined limit, and repay the borrowed amount over time.


Refinancing involves replacing an existing loan with a new loan, often with different terms. Borrowers refinance to secure a lower interest rate, adjust their loan term, or access equity in their property.

Secured vs. unsecured loans

Secured loans are backed by collateral, while unsecured loans do not require collateral. Secured loans often have lower interest rates and higher borrowing limits, while unsecured loans typically have higher interest rates and stricter qualification criteria.

Origination fee

An origination fee is a fee charged by lenders to cover the costs of processing a loan application. It is usually calculated as a percentage of the loan amount and is paid upfront or added to the loan balance.


A co-signer is a person who agrees to take joint responsibility for a loan with the primary borrower. The co-signer’s creditworthiness and income can help the borrower qualify for a loan or secure better terms. However, the co-signer is equally liable for the loan repayment.

Debt consolidation

Debt consolidation involves combining multiple debts into a single loan or credit line. This can simplify repayment and potentially reduce overall interest costs. It’s often used to manage high-interest debts and streamline monthly payments.


Understanding the essential terms and acronyms related to lending products in Canada is crucial for anyone exploring borrowing options. This FAQ guide has provided you with a solid foundation to discuss and navigate the Canadian lending landscape confidently.

Remember, when discussing lending products, it’s essential to consider your financial goals, assess your borrowing capacity, and compare different options to make informed decisions. If you’re unsure about any term or acronym, don’t hesitate to seek guidance from financial professionals or reputable sources.


What is the minimum credit score required for a mortgage in Canada?

The minimum credit score required for a mortgage in Canada can vary depending on the lender and the type of mortgage. Generally, a credit score of 600 or higher is considered favorable for mortgage approval, but higher scores may qualify for better interest rates and terms.

Are there any restrictions on prepayment penalties for loans?

Yes, Canadian regulations have restrictions on prepayment penalties for loans. Lenders must provide clear information about prepayment penalties and limitations on penalty amounts. In some cases, certain types of mortgages, such as open mortgages, allow borrowers to make prepayments without penalties.

What factors affect my debt-to-income ratio?

Several factors can impact your debt-to-income ratio. These include your monthly income, existing debts, monthly debt payments, and the type of loan you’re applying for. Lenders typically prefer borrowers with a lower debt-to-income ratio, as it demonstrates a higher ability to manage additional debt responsibly.

How does mortgage insurance work in Canada?

In Canada, mortgage insurance is required for high-ratio mortgages, where the down payment is less than 20% of the property’s purchase price. Mortgage insurance protects the lender against borrower defaults. The cost of mortgage insurance is usually added to the mortgage amount and paid over time along with regular mortgage payments.

Can I refinance my mortgage to consolidate debt?

Yes, refinancing your mortgage can be an effective strategy to consolidate debt. By refinancing, you can access the equity in your property and use it to pay off high-interest debts. It’s important to evaluate the costs and benefits of refinancing and seek professional advice to ensure it aligns with your financial goals.

Questions when dealing with a Lending Specialist

  1. What lending products do you offer, and what are their key features? This question allows you to understand the range of lending products available from the specialist and their unique features. It helps you explore options that align with your specific needs and financial goals.
  2. What are the eligibility requirements for the lending product I’m interested in? Understanding the eligibility criteria helps you assess whether you meet the requirements for the lending product. It allows you to determine if you’re a suitable candidate and saves time by focusing on products that are within your reach.
  3. What documents and information will I need to provide for the application process? Asking about the required documentation ensures you come prepared and can gather all the necessary paperwork ahead of time. It streamlines the application process and minimizes potential delays.
  4. How long does the application and approval process typically take? Knowing the expected timeframe provides you with realistic expectations. It helps you plan your finances and any associated timelines, such as property purchases or other financial commitments.
  5. What is the interest rate for the lending product, and is it fixed or variable? Understanding the interest rate structure and whether it’s fixed or variable allows you to evaluate the long-term affordability of the lending product. It helps you assess potential risks and plan for potential changes in interest rates.
  6. Are there any fees or charges associated with the lending product? Inquiring about fees and charges helps you assess the overall cost of the lending product. It ensures transparency and allows you to compare different options accurately.
  7. What is the repayment term, and what are the repayment options available? Understanding the repayment term and options helps you assess the affordability of the lending product and plan your budget accordingly. It allows you to choose repayment terms that align with your financial capabilities.
  8. Can you provide an estimate of the monthly payments based on my desired loan amount? Requesting an estimate of monthly payments helps you assess whether the lending product fits comfortably within your budget. It allows you to evaluate the affordability and determine if it aligns with your financial goals.
  9. Are there any prepayment penalties or restrictions on making additional payments? Inquiring about prepayment penalties or restrictions allows you to understand the flexibility of the lending product. It helps you assess whether you can make additional payments or pay off the loan early without incurring significant fees.
  10. What happens if I miss a payment or face financial difficulties during the repayment period? Asking about the consequences of missed payments or financial hardships helps you understand the lender’s policies and procedures. It allows you to plan for unforeseen circumstances and assess the potential impact on your financial well-being.

Remember, these questions serve as a starting point, and you should tailor them to your specific situation and priorities. Engaging in open and transparent communication with the lending specialist helps you make informed decisions and choose the lending product that best suits your needs.

Additional Resources

Ratehub – Ratehub is an online financial resource that compares mortgage rates, credit cards, and other lending products in Canada. Their website features calculators, guides, and educational articles to help consumers make informed decisions about borrowing. Website: www.ratehub.ca

Wealth Solutions Hub – We offer a category dedicated to lending and provide valuable information on various lending products. You can read more about Different Types of Lending Available in Canada in our blog here: https://www.wealthsolutionshub.com/everything-finance/lending-options/

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11 months ago

Great helpful article. Everyone should read this and learn about financial terminology

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