Borrowing money in Singapore can be challenging, especially if you’re a foreigner fresh off the boat. If Singaporeans have difficulties borrowing from their banks, a foreigner can have a much more frustrating time. Thankfully, legitimately licensed money lenders whose activities the Ministry of Law oversees have made it easy and safe to find valuable financial services.
Still, many Singaporeans and foreign workers facing emergency cash situations fall for loan shark offers. These high-risk and unregulated activities allow unscrupulous money lenders to change their terms to enslave struggling borrowers to pay hefty amounts. Additionally, they harass borrowers who fail to pay back their dues, avoid term compliance, or seek help from authorities.
If you plan to borrow from a financial entity, make sure that they are listed in Singapore’s official registry of licensed money lenders in Singapore. You can always visit the Ministry of Law’s website for more information. And read this guide to protect yourself by knowing how to identify licensed money lenders and avoid falling for loan scams.
Who Are Licensed Money Lenders?
Licensed money lenders are legal, financial institutions authorized to lend money for a fee. They are often the answer to individuals who have difficulty qualifying for bank loans. Borrowers like foreigners, students, and those with low credit scores are often attracted to money lenders’ less complicated application process.
All licensed money lenders in Singapore are registered under the Ministry of Law and must abide by rules and regulations set by the government. Click here for the current list of licensed money lenders.
Is It Safe To Borrow From Licensed Moneylenders?
With rules and regulations set to protect licensed moneylender and their borrowers, it is generally safe to borrow from them. Yet, it is always good to be vigilant and watch out for red flags.
Pros And Cons Of Borrowing From Money Lenders
Licensed money lenders offer flexible financing options and easy repayment schedules. Still, it is helpful to know the pros and cons to consider before trying to avail of a loan from any of them:
1. Fewer document requirements
Compared to banks, licensed money lenders are more lenient in asking for financial documents. Typical requirements include proof of income, billing, and personal identification details.
2. Less stringent credit history checking
Many licensed money lenders do not make a big fuss about your credit score. Instead, approval is evaluated based on the credibility to repay according to submitted financial documents.
3. Quicker approval
With banks, you may wait for several weeks to know if your loan is approved or not. On the other hand, most licensed money lenders allow less waiting time. Usually, most loans will only take one to three days for the whole approval process.
4. Fairly reasonable interest rates
In Singapore, private money lenders can only charge up to a 4% monthly interest rate limit. This interest cap helps prevent borrowers from going into deeper debts and an endless cycle of borrowing and repaying.
5. Flexible loan terms
Moneylenders are flexible in terms of approval procedures, but they are also more accommodating in terms of payment terms. They will also guide you through the loan terms and agreements before signing the loan contract.
7. Low to zero margins of hidden costs
As the Ministry of Law regulates them, private lenders are mandated to be transparent with all costs imposed. Below are the only types of charges allowed:
- Late penalty – Maximum of S$60 for every late monthly repayment
- Administrative fees – capped at 10% of the principal loan amount
- Legal fees – for defaulted accounts with an issued court order
8. Confidentiality of borrower information
Licensed money lenders are required to keep borrower information confidential. Should you fail to keep up with monthly repayments, you won’t have to worry about being shamed as they are restricted from publishing borrowers’ information in public.
1. High-Interest Rates
Since unsecured loans come with high credit risk, money lenders may impose higher interest rates than banks. These high rates could potentially make the loan harder to pay.
2. Tend to offer smaller loan amounts
Because of the more significant credit risks, most moneylenders offer small amounts pegged to a borrower’s monthly income. Depending on the borrower’s income, loan offers can be as low as a few hundred or up to S$1500 only.
3. Shorter repayment schedule
Loans from money lenders may range only up to eighteen months or even shorter, depending on the lender’s terms and policies. A shorter period means you’ll be paying higher monthly repayments, which could be difficult for some borrowers.
4. Chances of dealing with loan sharks
Loan scams have been on the rise over the internet. Before making a decision, always check for the moneylender’s credibility. To ensure your protection, always the list of licensed money lenders in Singapore as verified by the Ministry of Law.
Red Flags To Be Mindful of When Transacting With a Money Lender
In search of immediate funds during difficult times, and despite caution, some might end up with an illegal money lender. Thus, it is crucial to identify signs that you are dealing with an illegitimate one.
If you see any red flags below, do not proceed with your transaction. Further, be responsible and report violations to concerned authorities so that others will not fall victim to the same.
- Lack of transparency about fees, charges, and interest rates. The licensed moneylender will always provide a written contract containing relevant information like payment options and repayment schedule.
- Lack of paperwork and credit checking. Licensed moneylenders will always provide all the necessary documents involved in the loan process. They will also conduct credit assessments based on your submitted financial papers.
- Take on hold your possessions. Licensed moneylenders will never take on hold personal items like passports, ATM cards, or bankbooks as a form of payment guarantee.
- Failure to explain clearly all terms and conditions. You should always ask for anything about the loan contract that is unclear to you to avoid future problems.
- Advertising through emails, SMS, or flyers. Licensed money lenders can only promote through their website, business directories, and within their business premises only.
What Type Of Loans Can I Borrow?
Typically, licensed moneylenders offer many types of unsecured loans. Unlike secured loans, which banks provide, these are loans that do not involve lower amounts and no collateral.
These loans carry a higher interest since they present a higher risk to the lender. It is backed only by a creditor’s promise to pay and creditworthiness based on annual income, credit history, and financial standing.
Common examples are
1. Personal loans
Personal loans may assist with significant or unexpected expenses beyond your current financial resources. These funds may be used for home improvement and special life events like weddings or having a baby.
You can borrow from S$500 to up to six times your monthly salary and repay between six to twelve months.
2. Bridging loans
A borrower may use a bridging loan to fund a new property or bridge the financial gap while awaiting the sale of your old property.
You can borrow up to six times your monthly income with flexible payment terms until the completion.
3. Foreigner loans
These are personal loans available for foreign workers or ex-pats living in Singapore. Funds may help them settle in the new environment, like paying for rental deposits or used as emergency funds.
4. Small business loans
Small business loans or start-up loans may be used to expand your current business or finance a dream business. You may also use it to finance rental downpayment or purchase necessary pieces of equipment to run your business.
Borrow up to as high as S$200,000 with a flexible repayment period of six months to two years.
5. Payday loans
This type is helpful for freelancers, real-estate or insurance agents, taxi drivers, and others whose income may be delayed or insufficient at a certain period.
Get up to one month’s salary and pay within a month from loan collection.
Licensed moneylenders are restricted by the amount they can lend and the interest rates they can charge. The loan types mentioned above and the loan amounts and repayment terms are based on the current offerings of A1 Credit SG Pte Ltd.
Loan Offers of A1 Credit
|Loan Type||Interest Rate Per Month||Repayment Terms|
|Personal Loan||1 to 4%||6 to 12 months|
|Bridging Loan||1 to 4%||1 month to completion date|
|Foreigner Loan||1 to 4%||6 to 12 months|
|Business Loan||5 50 15%||6 to 24 months|
|Payday Loan||1 to 4%||1 month|
Factors to Consider When Choosing a Licensed Money Lender
If you work with a licensed money lender who complies with all the Ministry of Law’s requirements, you can trust that you’ll have an excellent time with your loan application. Additionally, you can expect them to honor all the terms and conditions and make it easy for new borrowers to apply for a loan.
Licensed By The Ministry of Law
The Ministry of Law has every prospective licensed money lender go through examinations. As the money lenders Act and Rules state, all would-be licensed money lenders must pass their initial assessments. These include personality and experiential reviews. Furthermore, any money lender will undergo seminars illustrating the lender and borrower’s liabilities and rights.
Once they satisfy all technical and certification requirements, the moneylender will earn their place in the Registry of money lenders. MinLaw oversees and manages the Registry that contains a list of all the licensed moneylender services borrowers can trust. With proper vetting, certification, and licensing, borrowers can be confident they’re working with a respectful and customer service-oriented establishment.
Tailor-Made Personal Loan Plans for All Borrowers
A personal loan is the primary financial service of any legitimate moneylender. While a legal money lender might have other loan products, such as debt consolidation services, this short-term personal Singaporean or foreigner loan has a low fixed-interest rate.
Most moneylender services advertise their estimated minimum and maximum interest rates and loan amounts on their website. Because these are only estimates, a licensed moneylender can change its features to suit the borrower’s needs.
The minimum and maximum amounts and interests serve as limitation references, allowing borrowers to calculate the possible loan amount and final interest fees they will deal with by using their services.
Thankfully, dependable lenders always have friendly staff who can explain these details and the differences between payday loans, fast cash loans, and foreigner loans against personal loans.
Capped Interest Rates
According to the Moneylender Act, all foreigner loans, personal loans, and payday loans can only have 4% interest as their ceiling cost. This cap prevents borrowers from incurring deep debt that takes a lifetime to resolve.
A licensed moneylender’s cap interest rate is manageable if you compare it to the high-interest rates loans from banks have. Having a fixed ceiling interest rate makes your installment calculator results reliable too.
Truthfully, ah longs had used high-interest rates to subdue borrowers before the money lenders Act materialized. During this period, poor borrowers had to go through the harassment of changing terms and conditions, continuously trapping them in an inescapable debt circle, hindering their ability to recover and recoup their spending.
Thanks to MinLaw’s intervention, microlending has become a heavily regulated industry that benefits legitimate borrowers and lenders.
Flexible Payment Options
Any lender with a license to provide monetary services in Singapore possesses competitive products and services to the borrower’s benefit. Their flexibility extends to borrowers with poor credit scores, allowing anyone in the country to have decent financial services. Their exceptional pay flexibility will enable lenders to provide top-notch debt consolidation services.
Furthermore, legitimate Singapore lenders do not focus on the available personal loan and payday loan products alone. You can apply for a loan to start your new business. It’s easy to apply for a business loan with different guidelines because the lender’s loan officers explain the details thoroughly and assist borrowers.
Excellent Reviews on Google Singapore and Dedicated Comparison Websites
Word of mouth isn’t the only source of moneylender reviews. Singapore-oriented loan comparison websites, such as Loan Advisor, have authentic borrower reviews about a moneylender’s specific services. Using a tiny bit of averaging and observations, you can adequately judge your prospect moneylender’s nature and objectives.
Many previous customers will note a customer service team member’s name due to their helpfulness in accomplishing a specific task. Some may talk about the payment plan’s convenience, which the moneylender formulated on their behalf. To help you know if a review is qualitative, don’t hesitate to message the borrower and hear about their experience firsthand.
What Should You Do When You Accidentally Borrowed From Ah Long?
The government has put laws to protect you from a loan shark or Ah Long. So, if you have become prey and find yourself being a victim of one of these Ah Longs, here’s what you can do:
1. Do not make any further payments. Cease all your scheduled payments to avoid being charged further with high-interest rates and fees.
2. Report the loan shark and its illegal activities to the proper authority. Reporting them to the police will protect you from being harassed or assaulted, especially when you have stopped paying them.
3. Be prepared to deal with other abusive actions from Ah Longs. Loan sharks employ an endless list of tactics to intimidate delinquent borrowers. Some wise things to do are cooperating with authorities and installing CCTVs in your area for added protection.
An unpleasant experience with Ah Long will make you think better when dealing with money lenders. Should you need help in dealing with your debts, agencies and organizations in Singapore provide free credit counseling and assistance. They could also offer you a debt consolidation plan that will not put you into deeper debt.
How Can You Protect Yourself From Illegal Lenders?
Singapore’s Police Force has a dedicated department fighting against ah longs and scammers across Singapore. If you know someone involved in illegal lending or need immediate police protection against harassing loan sharks, you can dial 999. You can report all suspicious activities to the police force’s loan shark reporting hotline at 1800-924-5664. The country’s police and anti-scam departments treat illicit moneylender activities seriously.
How to Find The Best Licensed money lenders in Singapore
The Registry of money lenders guarantees only the safest moneylending service choices in the country. However, if you’re looking for the best deals, you’ll need more research. Financial products change their offers periodically, and keeping tabs on them is crucial if you’d like to find the best deals. Thankfully, you have the following to help you find the best ones.
Use Loan Calculator
Most licensed moneylenders have their loan calculators available on their websites. You can use this feature to determine how much your monthly repayments could be depending on your preferred loan amount.
Use Loan Comparison Websites
Dependable comparison sites, such as Loan Advisor, are helpful because they track the latest deals and financial product updates available from virtually every Singaporean bank, moneylender, and financial institution.
If you register a borrower’s account, you can receive email notifications containing the best loan comparison interest rates.
Always Find The Nearest Trustworthy Lenders
If you reside near ClarkeQuay station and are near the Chinatown Heritage Center, you can always count on A1 Credit to provide you with the best legitimate money lending service. We update our rates frequently and are transparent in our services.
Plus, you can apply to us through our website. Visit us today to learn more about our services!
We highly advise working with their local money lenders for anyone living a reasonable distance away. However, we understand and are highly advisable to always go for moneylender rates to give you the best value-for-money service.
Licensed money lenders guarantee a safe and fruitful borrowing experience. Thanks to government efforts, all Singaporeans can enjoy an excellent experience working with reliable money lenders in Singapore.
- Always do market research and review all available options before making your final decision.
- Always check for your prospect lender’s license number and terms and conditions.
- Consult a financial expert to avoid future financial setbacks if you plan to avail of high loan amounts.
- No legitimate lender will ever charge you upfront for loan processing fees before the application approval and change their terms and conditions after loan contract signing.
- Lastly, research your lender’s products and services in-depth to get the best deals!
Have a financial emergency? Contact A1 Credit, among Singapore’s best licensed personal loan money lenders. You can get up to 6x your monthly salary on the same day with fair interest rates and manageable repayment terms. Fill out the quick form to get started!