Studies and Reports

The CPLA regularly commissions research to improve public knowledge about our customers who use our convenience products and the economics of the payday lending industry. Links to commissioned studies are provided below. Links to non-commisioned studies of relevance are also provided. Learn more about CPLA research by contacting President Stan Keyes at or (905) 522-2752

Consumer Council of Canada News

Study Shows Risks Consumers Face With Unlicensed Online Payday Lenders

Jul 31, 2015

TORONTO – Canadians seeking to find sources of payday loans or arrange a payday loan online over the Internet are more likely to encounter unlicensed lenders than a licensed compliant lender, according to a research study by the Consumers Council of Canada.

A number of unlicensed lenders request that borrowers provide personal banking information -- account numbers, online passwords and answers to security questions -- that would provide direct access to the borrower's bank account. Many also claim to be compliant with all the requirements of legislation, but clearly are not in compliance.

The study evaluated payday loans websites from the consumer perspective in each of Canada's provinces and the Yukon Territory. Researchers used common searches to identify providers, and completed applications up to the point of acceptance. Sites were evaluated on more than 50 different criteria, most importantly whether they were licensed to provide payday loans to residents of that specific province. (Six Canadian provinces have functioning laws that govern the industry; two others have passed laws that have yet to take effect.) The growing threat posed by unlicensed lenders has been the focus of recent provincial reviews in Manitoba, Ontario and Nova Scotia.

Other key findings from the Consumers Council of Canada study:

  • To the extent the research could determine, licensed lenders show a high level of compliance with regulations, while unlicensed lenders show virtually no compliance with regulations.
  • In provinces without regulation, consumers who seek a payday loan online are likely to encounter only the least compliant and least consumer-friendly lenders.
  • For consumers in most provinces, unlicensed lenders have the dominant presence in the online marketplace. Consumers are much more likely to encounter unlicensed lenders, and until they encounter a licensed one, may not even be aware of their province’s licensing requirements.
  • Many unlicensed lenders use paid search advertising to promote their services to online consumers.

"As the payday loan industry increasingly moves online, consumers need to avoid additional risks that come from contracting with unlicensed lenders, particularly those that seek direct access to a borrower's bank account," said Consumers Council of Canada President Aubrey LeBlanc: "Payday loan customers take on new, extraordinarily high costs to meet short-term financial needs. A consumer who finds themselves repeatedly using a payday loan within a year should consider this a signal to obtain good quality, trusted credit counselling and other advice about how to manage their financial future."

Consumer Council of Canada - July 2015 (PDF)

Consumer Experiences in Online Payday Loans

Policis – 2015 (PDF)

Emerging Findings on Illegal Lending - Online, unregulated and coming soon to a market near you?

Thinkwell Research – December 2014 (PDF)

Payday Loan Customer Study, PEI, NB and NS

Environics Research Group - May 2013 (PDF 269KB)

Payday Loan Users Study Manitoba

Environics Research Group - April 2013 (PDF 244KB)

Payday Loan Users Study British Columbia

Environics Research Group - April 2013 (PDF 249KB)

Payday Loan Users Study Ontario

Environics Research Group - April 2013 (PDF 250KB)

Payday Loan Users Study Alberta

Thinkwell Research - September 2010 (PDF 2.2MB)

Payday Loan Customer Study - Nova Scotia, New Brunswick & Prince Edward Island

Mustel Group – October, 2008 (PDF 139KB)

Canadian Payday Loan Association - Qualitative Research

Pollara – September 2008 (PDF 376KB)

First-Ever Pollara Survey on Payday Loan Consumers in Alberta

Deloitte & Touche – June 27 2008 (PDF 733KB)

Cost of Providing Payday Loans in British Columbia

Deloitte & Touche - November 14, 2007 (PDF 2.2MB)

Transactional data report on Payday Loan Providers in Nova Scotia

Pollara – November 2007 (PDF 2.8MB)

First-Ever Survey of Payday Loan Customer Survey in Ontario Conducted by Pollara

Pollara - October 2007 (PPT 760KB)

First-Ever Survey of Payday Loan Consumers in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia Conducted by Pollara

Pollara - October 2007 (PDF 3MB)

First-Ever Survey of Payday Loan Consumers in British Columbia Conducted by Pollara

Pollara – September 2007 (PPT 801KB)

First-Ever Survey of Payday Loan Customer Survey in Saskatchewan Conducted by Pollara

Pollara - September 2007 (PDF 349KB)

First-Ever Survey of Payday Loan Customer Survey in Manitoba Conducted by Pollara

Deloitte – September 2007 (PDF 268KB)

Cost of Providing Payday Loans in Manitoba

Manitoba - September 2007 (PDF 278KB)

Determining the Maximum Allowable Fee for Payday Loans, Lawrence L. Gould

Environics Research Group Consumer Payday Industry Awareness Survey (PowerPoint 4MB)

Environics Research Group, Toronto, Ontario (June 2005)

The Cost of Providing Payday Loans in Canada: A report prepared for the Canadian Association of Community Financial Service Providers (PDF 750kb)

Ernst & Young Tax Policy Services Group, Toronto, Ontario (October 2004)