What are Bree Loans? Should You Get One? Read Our Review

With inflation and high interest rates creating the perfect storm for many Canadians, a March 2024 Equifax report highlighted how consumers face mounting financial challenges and struggle to pay their credit card debt. 

Rebecca Oakes, Vice President of Advanced Analytics at Equifax Canada, said, “Factors such as high cost of living, inflation, credit card payments, and mortgage renewal worries are coming at consumers right now. Budgets have been pushed to the limit for some. There’s no doubt Canadians are feeling the financial pinch right now.

Moreover, when challenges arise, Canadians often turn to lenders for personal loans, cash advances, overdraft protection and payday loans. However, with some of these products, interest rates can be very high and cause problems for those that are already dealing with a large debt load. So, with Bree offering interest-free overdraft protection of up to $250, is it a useful product when financial uncertainty strikes?

About the Company

  • URL: www.trybree.com
  • Phone: (650) 451-3910
  • Email: info@trybree.com
  • Company HQ: Vancouver, BC.
  • TrustPilot Reviews: 4.6/5 stars (1,288 reviews)

Bree Pros and Cons Overview

For a quick breakdown of the good and bad about Bree, please see the list below to determine if the product is right for you:

Pros:

  • Up to $250 Loan (Cash Advance) 
  • Zero-interest
  • No credit check
  • Fast approval
  • Highly rated
  • Saves money
  • Safe and secure

Cons:

  • $2.99 platform fee
  • $2.99 to $22.99 express delivery fee
  • May not qualify for $250 immediately 
  • May have to wait three days for funds

What is Bree?

Bree is a Canadian fintech company that aims to be cheaper, friendlier, and faster than traditional short-term lenders. It provides interest-free cash advances, and you can receive funding in as little as five minutes. 

To be clear, Bree does not offer traditional loans. Instead, it provides overdraft protection, which is akin to a cash advance. If you confront an unexpected expense and need to debit your checking account, Bree will cover the charge (up to $250) contingent upon approval. Then, you repay Bree when your next paycheck arrives. 

But, there is no credit check, and the company receives compensation through tips. You can decide the amount, frequency, and there is no obligation to provide gratuity. In addition, using Bree will not impact your credit score because soft and hard pulls are not part of the application process. The only requirement is to verify your identity. 

Is Bree Safe?

Before choosing a loan provider, it’s essential to verify that security protocols are in place to protect your data and prevent identity theft.

Bree uses read-only (your data can’t be modified) 2048-bit encryption to protect users’ privacy. Your password, social insurance number, and other sensitive data are all encrypted. Moreover, your bank details are only used for the verification process and aren’t stored in the company’s database. 

Bree’s platform is also monitored 24/7 by security personnel. The company hires independent, third-party experts to stress test the site for vulnerabilities, and firewalls and other security precautions are utilized for additional protection.

Do I Qualify For a Bree Cash Advance?

To determine if the product is right for you, it’s important to understand the loan requirements. You must have recurring direct deposits into your checking account, and Bree will verify that employment income is received on a consistent basis. In addition, Bree will verify that you have enough excess funds to repay the advance before extending credit.

In a nutshell: the company wants to know if you have the means to repay the loan and your checking account history is used to verify your creditworthiness. Consequently, you should have at least two months of recurring deposits to prove your finances are in good standing. 

From a risk management perspective, Bree likes to see that you have a sufficient checking account balance to pay all your bills after subtracting the value of your requested advance. 

How Do I Apply For a Bree Cash Advance?

Bree makes the process user-friendly, and you can submit your application by following a few simple steps:

  1. Create an account by clicking the “sign up” button located at the top right of the webpage.
  2. Enter your personal information and verify your bank details to connect your account.
  3. Confirm your repayment date and choose from either standard delivery (up to three business days) or express delivery (up to two hours).
  4. Submit your application and Bree will let you know if you’re approved.

Please note that the express delivery option includes a fee that ranges from $2.99 to $22.99, depending on the amount requested. As a result, we recommend sticking to the standard delivery option to avoid unnecessary costs.

Also, there is a $2.99 per month subscription fee that is automatically debited from your bank account. However, you can cancel at any time

How Can Bree Loans Help Me?

When emergencies occur, you may not have the funds to meet the obligation. And if your debit activity exceeds your bank balance, you may be hit with a non-sufficient funds (NSF) fee. The charge can reach upwards of $50.

In late 2023, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland introduced measures to protect Canadians from unfair banking practices. She labeled NSF fees as charges that “disproportionately impact the financial well-being of Canadians who may be living paycheque to paycheque, or do not have access to overdraft protection when their bills come due.”

Thus, if you find yourself in the unenviable position of needing emergency cash, having Bree as a safety net helps mitigate financial stress when your mind is focused on other challenges. 

To that point, the Government of Canada notes how most financial institutions charge $5 per month to obtain overdraft protection. And with Bree offering a similar product for $2.99, it’s a worthwhile endeavor to keep your out-of-pocket costs at a minimum.

What Are Users Saying About Bree?

When you scroll through Bree’s website, there are plenty of reviews from satisfied customers. However, because it’s difficult to determine the authenticity of company-reported testimonials, using an independent third-party site like Trustpilot is more useful. 

When doing a little research, we found that Bree earned 4.6 stars out of a possible 5, with nearly 1,300 reviews. Some of the testimonials read:

  • Very useful friendly. Needed a bit of cash to get me and my family through to payday and although it wasn’t the amount I needed it did help.
  • Was in a jam about a forgotten bill, after the intial ‘getting to know each other’ process, BOOM funds were in my account.
  • Easy and legit. Didn’t work when i didn’t have a pay check, but definitely did once i started receiving one. As long as you pay in time, they help. They loan you 50 to start, then once you pay they offer $10 every time up to 250.
  • I was very pleasantly impressed how little time it took and how easy it was and how LITTLE it cost. Please keep up the great work and keeping the cost down. Sometimes we all just need that helping hand without feeling We are getting robbed in the end thank you.

In contrast, the majority of the complaints centered around not receiving the amount requested. While many were approved and found the process easy, Bree’s algorithm didn’t extend the full $250 right away. As such, keep in mind that you will likely receive lower payouts until the company knows you better.

 

The Verdict

We believe Bree offers a great product for Canadians wanting to avoid NSF fees and the high interest rates that come with traditional loans and payday loans. When a sudden event strikes and your next paycheck is still days away, incurring a fee of up to $50 makes a bad situation even worse. Furthermore, Bree has hundreds of positive reviews and support is available through email at info@trybree.com. The typical response time is within 24 hours. 

On top of that, applying won’t impact your credit score, so you have little to lose by giving Bree a try. Plus, if you have experience with, or are considering a payday loan, Bree is a much better option. When comparing the cost of credit across different products, a chosen tip is much better than a 100%+ APR.  

In summary, Bree isn’t perfect, but it helps fill a void and excels in areas where traditional banks underperform. And with the ability to cancel your subscription at any time, we believe Bree is part of the solution rather than the problem. 

If you want to sign up or learn more, visit: www.trybree.com

Alex Demolitor

Alex Demolitor is a Canadian financial writer hailing from Halifax, NS. Alex has a Bachelors Degree from King's College and passed the CFA Exam Level III. He specializes in fundamental analysis of the stock, bond, commodity, and FX markets. He also covers US & Canadian economic indicators.