As you grow older, you’re also taking on more responsibilities. From managing your bills to saving up for major life milestones, being an adult means managing your finances well. However, there may come a time when you will need financial assistance.
Most Singaporeans turn to the banks for loans, but unfortunately, some may face restrictions. If you need emergency cash, a licensed money lender can help boost your cash flow.
Licensed money lenders in Singapore are an excellent alternative to consider since the loan application process is generally quicker. Plus, the process is less stringent than applying with traditional banks. But first, is a licensed money lender the same as “ah long”?
Who Are Licensed Moneylenders?
All licensed money lenders in Singapore are governed by the Ministry of Law (MinLaw). They are authorized by the government to lend money. Plus, they are obligated to abide by the rules and regulations set by the government. This includes the restriction on the total amount they can lend, the fees they can charge, as well as the acceptable interest rates.
As of April 2022, there are 154 licensed money lenders in Singapore, none of them suspended. Before dealing with any lender, check the list to make sure that the money lender’s license is still valid. You can find the complete list of registered licensed money lenders on the MinLaw website.
Unlicensed money lenders, on the other hand, are referred to as “ah long” or loan sharks. They charge sky-high interest rates and use harassment tactics. So make sure to only deal with licensed money lenders in Singapore.
How To Tell if a Lender Is Unlicensed or Illegal?
Reports regarding scammers and unlicensed moneylenders have become more prevalent over the years. These loan sharks masquerade as legal money lenders to deceive victims. They are also becoming more cunning, using deceptive tactics to reel in their victims. That said, you need to be more vigilant.
Registered Under the Ministry of Law Singapore
Before dealing with any money lender in Singapore, you must verify their credibility and reliability. Check if the money lender is licensed by looking at the list of licensed moneylenders. You can access the complete list here.
Advertising Only Through Permitted Channels
Licensed money lenders are permitted to advertise only through three channels:
- Business or consumer directories – in print and/or online media
- The money lender’s official website
- Within or on the exterior of the money lender’s business premises.
Advertisements on other channels are prohibited.
Unlicensed money lenders use deceptive tactics which include soliciting loans through SMS and WhatsApp text messages. In fact, police said loan sharks are increasingly using text messaging as well as online platforms to send unsolicited loan advertisements.
Additionally, to avoid an online loan scam, verify the website address of the legal loan provider by checking if it is the same as the one registered on the list of licensed money lenders.
Require Face-to-Face Appointments, Paperwork, and Proper Procedures
Licensed money lenders are required to meet the borrower in person at the place of business. That said, when you’re taking out a personal loan from a licensed lender, they will conduct physical face-to-face verification of your identity.
Additionally, a legal money lender will provide you with a filled-in loan contract that states the loan amount, interest rates, tenure, and repayment schedule.
Any loan transaction performed fully online is prohibited. Unlicensed money lenders are known to disburse cash even without doing due diligence. Another red flag to watch out for is if the lender asks you to sign a blank or incomplete loan contract.
Comply With the Code of Ethics Set by the Credit Collection Association of Singapore (CCAS)
All activities of a legal money lender in Singapore are regulated under the Moneylenders Act. This means prioritizing the confidentiality, privacy, and integrity of the borrower.
When legal lenders need to collect a debt, they will usually outsource from debt collection agencies. These agencies will collect debt on behalf of the licensed moneylender. Rest assured that these debt collection agencies comply with the industry’s Code of Ethics set by the Credit Collection Association of Singapore (CCAS).
An unlicensed money lender, on the other hand, will use abusive language and behave in a threatening manner towards you. Last year, there was a report regarding a loan shark allegedly sending S$1,000 worth of food deliveries to harass debtors.
It’s important to note that although the money lender is licensed, you still need to be mindful of a few red flags:
- Asking for your SingPass user ID and/or password
- Keeping your NRIC card or other personal IDs
- Withholding a part of your principal loan amount for any reason
If you encounter any illegal money lenders or errant legal lenders, immediately report them to the Registry of Moneylenders. You may need to provide information, including the business name, license, and contact numbers.
Are There Licensed Moneylenders Open for 24 Hours?
There are no 24-hour money lenders in Singapore. A lender who is open for 24 hours is likely an illegal money lender or one that is masquerading as a legal money lender.
However, licensed money lenders have a website that is accessible 24/7 for online loan applications. That said, you can apply for an urgent personal or emergency loan at any time of the day. Of course, you will need to visit the money lender’s office for face-to-face verification.
The personal or emergency loan will be processed and approved the business day. For example, if you sent your online application on Sunday morning, the earliest your loan can be granted will be on Sunday afternoon.
List of Licensed Moneylenders in Singapore
The best way to verify if a money lender is licensed or not is to refer to this complete list of licensed money lenders in Singapore.
Every month, the Registry of Moneylenders provides an updated licensed money lender list so make sure to check if the lender is still licensed and not blacklisted.
Factors To Consider When Selecting Your Loan Provider
With over a hundred and fifty money lenders in Singapore, choosing the right one for your needs can be overwhelming. Here are a few factors to consider:
After verifying that the money lender is registered under MinLaw, you should also look into the reputation of the company in the market. Aside from checking their license, you should also consider how long they’ve been operating in the industry.
A company with more than 10 years of experience is considered a reflection of the company’s performance. On top of that, it’s also a good idea to look into their client’s reviews. Use Google Reviews or money lending forums to get feedback from previous clients.
2. Interest Rates
If you’re taking out a personal loan from a licensed money lender in Singapore, make sure that the interest rate doesn’t exceed 4% per month. If you encounter a loan provider that charges more than that, you’re not dealing with a legal money lender.
Before choosing a loan provider, it’s best to compare interest rates. There are loan comparison tools that will help you compare loans quickly and easily.
In Singapore, licensed money lenders are only allowed to charge the following fees:
- An administrative fee of not more than 10% upon loan disbursement
- Late payment fee of not more than S$60 for each month the loan is repaid late.
- Other legal costs ordered by the court, should the money lender take legal actions to recover the loan.
Choose a legal loan provider who will not only follow the stipulated caps but also keep fees to a minimum. Additionally, the money lender must clearly disclose all the fees you’ll be charged with.
4. Repayment Schedule
You must be able to repay your debt on time. Failing to repay your loan can lead to late interest and late fees which can snowball your debt. That said, it’s best to talk to your loan provider about your loan repayment plan.
There are loan providers who offer flexible repayment plans. The right plan will help you keep up with the loan payments so you’ll never have to miss one.
How Do Lenders Calculate Interest Rate?
The maximum interest rate that licensed money lenders can charge is 4% per month. This cap applies regardless of your income or whether you’re applying for a secured or unsecured loan.
However, the exact interest rate you’ll be charged will depend on your earnings, credit score, citizenship, and other factors. So how does a licensed money lender calculate your interest?
For example, you’re getting a S$3,000 loan with a 3% interest and S$300/month installments. Your first-month interest will be S$90 (S$3,000 x 0.03), while the S$210 (S$300 – S$90) goes towards your principal loan amount. That said, your outstanding balance will be S$2,790.
The second month’s interest is 3% of S$2,790 outstanding balance, meaning S$83.70.
What if you fail to make a repayment? How will the loan provider calculate the late repayments?
The late interest is also capped at 4% per month. Plus, the late fee is capped at S$60. So, if you’re late with the second month’s repayment, the money lender will ask you for:
- 4% out of S$300 = S$12
- S$60 late fee
Note: The money lender cannot ask you to pay 4% out of your principal loan amount as late interest.
How To Apply?
- Age: 18 years old and above
- Minimum Monthly Income:
- Singaporean: S$1,500
- Foreigner: S$2,000
Singaporean and Permanent Residents
- Identity card/NRIC
- Proof of residence such as utility bill, tenancy agreements, or letter addressed to you
- Proof of employment, such as 3 months recent payslip or certificate of employment
- SingPass to log into CPF, HDB, IRAS website
- Work Permit/S-Pass/Employment Pass
- Proof of residence as a utility bill, tenancy agreements, or letter addressed to you
- Proof of employment, such as 3 months recent payslip or certificate of employment
- Proof of income, such as bank or account statement
- SingPass to log into the IRAS website
Step-by-Step Guide To Apply for a Loan
- Apply for the loan. Send a loan application online. You may need to provide your personal details and the loan amount you wish to borrow.
- Visit the moneylender’s office. Once your loan application is assessed, a loan agent will ask you to visit the office where they will explain the terms and conditions of the loan.
- Sign the loan contract. If you agree to the loan amount and repayment terms, the loan agent will provide you with a printout of the loan contract for you to sign.
- Get your instant cash loan. Once the contract is signed, the cash will be transferred into your bank account or given to you in-person, whichever you prefer.
What Should You Do Once Your Loan Has Been Approved?
Keep Important Documents
- A copy of the loan contract
- Receipts of all the repayments you’ve made towards the loan
- A statement of account for all your outstanding loans
- Copies of all receipts, accounts, and other necessary documents
Pay Your Repayments On Time
Make sure to follow your repayment schedule. Failing to do so will only lead to your monthly installments accumulating. Plus, you’ll also be incurring late fees and late interest.
How Much Can I Borrow From Licensed Money Lenders?
If you’re taking out a secured loan, you can borrow any loan amount. However, for unsecured personal loans, the amount you can borrow will depend on your annual income.
|Borrower’s annual income||Singapore Citizens and Permanent Residents||Foreigners residing in Singapore|
|Less than $10,000||$3,000||$500|
|At least $10,000 |
and less than $20,000
|At least $20,000||6 times monthly income||6 times monthly income|
Based on the table above, you can see why legal money lenders are ideal for small, urgent cash loans. You can use the cash for getting your car fixed, paying for emergency hospital bills, or boosting your cash flow for the month.
Can I Trust the Advertisements From a Licensed Money Lender?
First, make sure that the advertisements are posted on permitted channels. Secondly, it’s best to seek clarifications on specific terms of the loan contract. The licensed money lender is required to clearly explain the terms and conditions of the loan in a language you understand.
Don’t rely solely on the content of advertisements from the moneylenders.
What If I Am Facing Financial Difficulties And Can’t Repay The Licensed Money Lender?
If you are unable to repay your loan, it’s best to reach out to the loan provider. You may be able to renegotiate the loan tenure. Some lenders may also extend your repayment deadline. However, this may lead to extra fees or late interest charges.
Remember, the Registry of Moneylenders cannot assist you in negotiating with the loan provider. That said, you can also approach social service agencies to help you recover from serious debt problems. These agencies can provide general credit management information, credit counseling, and assistance in negotiating a debt repayment plan.
Financial emergencies can happen without any warning. If you find yourself strapped for cash, you can always consider taking out a personal loan from a legal money lender. However, make sure to avoid dealing with illegal money lenders by verifying the lender’s license through MinLaw’s website.
- All licensed money lenders in Singapore are governed by the Ministry of Law (MinLaw).
- You can find the complete list of registered licensed money lenders on the MinLaw website.
- There are no 24-hour money lenders in Singapore. However, licensed money lenders have a website that is accessible 24/7 for online loan applications.
- The maximum interest rate that licensed money lenders can charge is 4% per month.
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