In dire need of fast cash loan, many borrowers find themselves vulnerable to loan sharks or unlicensed moneylenders. This path, however, can lead to harassment and illegal debt collection practices.
The key to a safe borrowing experience lies in turning to government-regulated licensed moneylenders, offering protection from threats, and ensuring a fair lending process.
In this comprehensive guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know about licensed money lender in Singapore, including their rights and limitations under the law. We’ll also show you how to spot and avoid scams, ensuring a safe borrowing experience. Additionally, we’ll discuss responsible borrowing practices and what factors to consider when taking out a secured and unsecured loan.
What is a Licensed Money Lender? What they Can and Can’t Do?
A licensed money lender in Singapore is a financial institution or individual who is legally authorized to lend money to individuals and businesses. Governmental bodies regulate them and must adhere to specific laws and regulations within their jurisdiction. Here’s an overview of what licensed moneylenders can and can’t do:
What Licensed Money Lenders Can Do:
- Advertise through only three specific channels:
- Business or Consumer Directories: This includes print and online media, aggregating information about various businesses.
- Websites: Licensed moneylenders can promote their services through their own official websites.
- Advertisements at the Moneylender’s Business Premises: This includes ads placed within or on the exterior of the physical location where the moneylender operates.
- Charge Interest: They can charge interest on the loan, but it must be within the legal limits defined by the regulatory body.
- Enforce Repayment: Utilize legal means to enforce repayment of the loan according to the terms and conditions outlined in the contract.
- Assess Creditworthiness: Conduct a detailed analysis of the borrower’s financial situation to determine their ability to repay the loan.
- Provide Loan Agreements: Furnish a written loan agreement that clearly states the terms and conditions, including interest rates, repayment schedule, and any fees or charges.
What Licensed Money Lenders Can’t Do:
- Advertise through the following channels: Any advertising through other channels, such as flyers, SMS, emails, or other forms of advertisements, is strictly prohibited.
- Charge Excessive Interest or Fees: They can’t charge interest rates or fees that exceed the legal limits set by the governing authorities. Details of the permitted interest rates, charges, and fees are stated here.
- Engage in Unfair Practices: Use deceptive, misleading, or high-pressure tactics to coerce individuals into accepting loans.
- Retain Personal Documents: Hold onto personal identification documents such as NRIC, driver’s license, or passport as collateral.
- Lend Irresponsibly: Grant loans without conducting proper due diligence or assessing the borrower’s ability to repay.
- Violate Privacy: Share or misuse borrowers’ personal information without proper consent.
- Harass or Threaten Borrowers: Engage in harassment, intimidation, or use abusive language towards borrowers.
Reporting Unlicensed Money Lender
If you come across unauthorized advertisements from money lenders, it’s advised not to respond to them. Instead, you should report them to the Registry by calling 1800-2255-529 or via their website.
Similarly, if members of the public suspect or have knowledge of any individuals involved in loansharking activities, there are specific channels to report these activities:
- Calling the Police: You can dial the emergency number ‘999’ to report your suspicions directly to local law enforcement.
- Using the X-Ah Long Hotline: Alternatively, you can contact the specialized X-Ah Long hotline at 1800-924-5664 to report any suspected loansharking activities.
Key Points To Consider Before Borrowing From a Licensed Money Lender in Singapore
When considering borrowing a personal loan from licensed money lenders in Singapore, it’s essential to approach the decision with caution and awareness. From understanding your legal obligations to considering alternative financial aid options, taking out a loan is a serious commitment that requires thoughtful planning and consideration.
Below are some critical points to remember to ensure you make an informed and responsible decision.
1. Explore Government Assistance
Look for financial aid schemes by various Government agencies before approaching a moneylender. The government offers various loans for SMEs, studies, and HDB loans through banks.
2. Verify the Money Lender’s Legitimacy
If you decide to apply for a money lender, check if the money lender is licensed on the Ministry of Law’s database.
Note that licensed money lenders are not allowed to:
- Speak to you using offensive language or act towards you in a way that could be seen as threatening.
- Request your SingPass user ID and/or password.
- Hold onto your NRIC card or other personal identification documents like your driver’s license, passport, work permit, employment pass, or ATM card.
- Require you to sign a loan contract that is either blank or incomplete.
- Provide you with a loan without supplying a copy of the contract or without thoroughly explaining all the terms and conditions to you.
- Approve a loan without taking proper precautions, such as approving it via phone, text, or email before having your completed loan application form and necessary documents like income tax assessments and payslips.
- Deduct any portion of the principal loan amount for any reason.
3. Borrow Responsibly
Only borrow what you need and can repay, considering the potential strain of late fees and interest on you and your family.
If you need a secured loan, there’s no specific limit on the amount you can borrow. For unsecured loans, the total maximum amount you can borrow from most licensed money lenders in Singapore depends on your annual income. Here’s a summary:
|Borrower’s annual income||Singapore Citizens and Permanent Residents||Foreigners residing in Singapore|
|Less than $10,000||
|At least $10,000and less than $20,000||$3,000|
|At least $20,000||6 times monthly income||6 times monthly income|
4. Read the Fine Print
Ensure you understand the contract terms, including the repayment schedule, interest rate, and applicable fees before signing the contract.
Legal money lenders can charge a maximum interest rate of 4% per month, irrespective of income and loan type (secured or unsecured). If the loan is not paid on time, the late interest can’t exceed 4% per month for each late month.
The interest calculation should be based on the remaining principal after subtracting total payments made towards the principal. For example, if a $10,000 loan has $4,000 repaid, interest is computed on the remaining $6,000.
Late interest applies only to the amount that is paid late, not on amounts not yet due. For example, if a $10,000 loan has a missed $2,000 installment, late interest applies to the $2,000 only, not the entire outstanding amount.
Legal money lender in Singapore may only charge:
- Late payment fees up to $60 for each month.
- Administrative fees up to 10% of the principal at the time the loan is granted.
- Court-ordered legal costs if the licensed money lender successfully recovers the loan.
The total charges, including interest, late interest, upfront administrative, and late fee, must not exceed the principal amount. For example, on a $10,000 loan, the total charges can’t be more than $10,000.
5. Not All Money Lenders Are Equal: Shop For Options
Compare money lenders and shop around for the most favorable terms, and don’t rush into a loan until you find a term that would suit your personal needs.
Here are some of the things you should look for aside from the money lender’s license and loan terms mentioned above:
- Reputation & Customer Service: Research the moneylender’s reputation by reading online reviews, asking for references, or seeking recommendations from friends or family who have borrowed from them. Positive feedback from previous borrowers is a good sign.
- Transparency: Assess how the money lender conducts business. Are they transparent and open about their procedures? Are they willing to answer your questions and provide you with all the information you need? Their professionalism can be a significant indicator of their reliability.
- Personalize Approach: Evaluate how well the loan offer aligns with your specific needs and financial situation. A responsible money lender will assess your loan repayment ability and won’t push you to borrow more than you can afford.
Types of Loans You Can Apply From Licensed Money Lenders
Whether for personal use, foreign workers, emergency payday solutions, starting a business, or needing monthly installments, a wide range of licensed money lending products have emerged to meet these demands.
Anyone can use a personal loan that gives them up to six months of their salary in an instant. A general purpose loan, personal loans can be released on the same day you submit all your requirements and receive loan application approval.
Foreign workers in Singapore have extremely few financing options in the country. Thankfully, private money lender can give them up to six months of their salary in a single day. Now, they have financial aid during emergency situations that anyone can encounter in the country.
It’s rare for Singaporean employers to pay delayed salaries. However, system malfunctions, supplier issues, and other problems can happen any time. Payday loans became famous because it helped many Singaporeans avoid delays paying their bills. Salaries workers in Singapore find payday loans a convenient service.
You need huge capital to start a business. You and your business partners can always ask your friends and family for financial backing. Alternatively, you can wait for a few more years to save money from your existing occupation. However, your third option is to use either a bank or licensed moneylender business loan, and you’ll get much more flexible terms with the latter.
Monthly installment loans work like bank bridging loans. However, you can use monthly installments for virtually any product, service, or property you need. Licensed moneylenders have limited monthly installment funding, but they can function just as well as bank-issued lines of credit or credit cards
Consider renovating your home to match modern lifestyles and preferences, but finances can be a challenge. A renovation loan can provide the funds needed for your project, whether from banks or licensed moneylenders.
The following table outlines the loan details that you need to know when borrowing from Singapore’s licensed moneylenders.
|Loan Type||Loan Amount||Interest Rate||Processing Fees||Loan Term|
|Personal Loan||Up to six months of your salary||1-4% per month||Not more than 10% of loan principal||12 Months|
|Foreigner Loan||Up to six months of your salary||1-4% per month||Not more than 10% of loan principal||12 Months|
|Payday Loan||Up to six months of your salary||1-4% per month||Not more than 10% of loan principal||1 month|
|Business Loan||Up to S$200,000||5-15% per month||Not applicable||24 Months|
|Monthly Loan||Up to six months of your monthly salary||1-4% monthly||Not more than 10% of loan principal||12 Months|
|Renovation Loan||Up to six months of your monthly salary||1-4% monthly||Not more than 10% of loan principal||12 Months|
How to Apply for a Loan?
If you follow the steps we’ve listed below, you can conveniently apply for a loan and receive your cash within the same day. However, make sure you’re eligible and possess all the necessary requirements to get your loan within a few hours. Here are some eligibility requirements you need to meet and documents to submit with your loan application.
- You are of 21 years of age and above
- Singapore and PR minimum: S$2,000 (for foreigners, S$3,000)
Prepare the Necessary Documents
Gather all the required documents depending on your residency status:
- Identity card / NRIC
- Proof of residence (utility bill, a letter addressed to you, and/or tenancy agreement)
- Proof of employment (certificate of employment or 3 months recent payslip)
- Work Permit / S-Pass / Employment Pass
- Proof of residence (utility bill or tenancy agreement)
- Proof of employment (certificate of employment or 3 months recent payslip)
- Proof of income (bank or account statement)
Steps To Apply For a Personal Loan From Licensed Money Lenders In Singapore
Applying with legal money lenders is a straightforward process with short waiting periods. Here is the usual 3-step process:
1. Visit their branch or Apply Online: If you’re nearby, you can visit the licensed money lender’s office and inquire about their loans. However, in light of recent events, many lenders have significantly stepped up their online loan application process.
2. Attend In-Person Consultation: Once your application has been received, a loan officer will schedule an appointment with you to discuss the terms and conditions of your loan plan in detail. This consultation ensures that you fully understand the agreement and have the opportunity to ask any questions.
3. Get Your Money: After the agreement has been thoroughly reviewed and signed, you’ll receive your money in cash right away. The efficient process enables quick access to funds when you need them.
1. What Should I Do When My Loan Has Been Approved?
It’s essential to maintain proper records when dealing with financial transactions such as loans. Here is a summary of the documents you should retain for your reference, as they could be critical in the event of misunderstandings, disputes, or for your own personal record-keeping:
Documents to Keep:
- A Copy of the Loan Contract: This document details the terms and conditions of the loan, including interest rates, repayment schedule, and any other specific agreements. Keeping a copy ensures you can always refer to the original agreement.
- Receipts for Every Payment Made: Keep all receipts for payments made towards the loan. These receipts serve as proof of payment and should include details like the amount paid, date of payment, and to whom the payment was made.
- A Statement of Account for All Your Loans: This document summarizes the status of your loan, including outstanding balances, payment history, and any other relevant information. Regularly checking this can help you stay on track with repayments.
- Copies of All Accounts, Receipts, and Any Other Relevant Documents: Retaining additional documentation that might be relevant to your loan agreement ensures you have a comprehensive record. This might include communications with the lender, additional agreements, or any other pertinent information.
2. What if I Couldn’t Repay the Loan?
Facing an inability to pay back a loan is undoubtedly a stressful and challenging situation, but there are legal options available for borrowers who find themselves in such a predicament.
Here’s a summary of the options available:
Understanding Your Rights with Debt Collectors
Licensed money lenders may hire debt collection agencies to collect debts, but they must adhere to the ethical standards set by the Credit Collection Association of Singapore. Any violence, harassment, or intimidation can and should be reported to the police. Make sure to acquaint yourself with the limitations of what debt collectors can do.
Request for Extension
If you’re struggling to meet the repayment terms, openly communicate with your money lender and negotiate for an extension on your loan. Transparency and proactive communication can lead to a mutually agreeable solution. Additionally, seeking help from social services for credit counseling and debt management may provide you with the guidance you need to navigate the situation.
File for Bankruptcy
If the debt is substantial (at least S$15,000) and insurmountable despite restructuring efforts, filing for bankruptcy may be a last resort. While a serious legal process, bankruptcy stops the accumulation of interest and prevents legal proceedings against you by the moneylenders.
3. How to Avoid Loan Sharks and Scams?
Here are some essential guidelines to help you recognize and steer clear of illegal money lenders and potential scams.
First things first, verify the legitimacy of the lender by checking the list of licensed money lenders on the Ministry of Law’s website.
Recognize the Warning Signs:
- Abusive Language or Threats: Licensed money lenders maintain professional conduct and adhere to legal regulations.
- Requesting SingPass Credentials: Never share your SingPass user ID and/or password with anyone.
- Retention of Personal Documents: No legal money lender should retain your NRIC card, passport, driver’s license, or other personal ID documents.
- Blank or Incomplete Contracts: Be wary if asked to sign a blank or incomplete contract; always ensure all terms are detailed and understood.
- Lack of Due Diligence: Licensed money lenders will request proper documentation and review your application thoroughly.
- Withholding Principal Amount: Any withholding of part of your principal loan amount is a red flag.
- Remote Approval of Loans: Be skeptical of loans approved over the phone, SMS, or email without proper application and supporting documents.
- Unreasonable Interest Rates: Extremely high or hidden interest rates can signal an illegal money lender.
- Vague Loan Amounts: Licensed money lenders will clearly outline the loan amounts and how they are determined. If you are offered more than 6X your monthly salary, that’s probably an illegal money lender or loan shark.
Read to know how can you deal with a loan shark harrestmrnt
4. Who are the Best Licensed Moneylenders in Singapore?
With hundreds of licensed money lenders in Singapore, finding the best provider can be challenging. Here’s how you can find the best licensed moneylender near you.
You may also consider the following when applying for a loan:
- Location: Consider a licensed moneylender close to your home or workplace for convenience in managing your loan.
- Compare Loan Options: Using loan calculators and loan comparison websites can help you find the best interest rates, terms, and conditions that suit your needs.
- Read Reviews: Check customer reviews, testimonials, and ratings to gauge the quality of service and customer satisfaction.
5. What are the differences between a licensed vs. unlicensed money lenders?
Dealing with unlicensed money lenders exposes borrowers to the risk of harassment and illegal debt collection methods. While borrowing from licensed money lenders ensures protection from such practices and a regulated borrowing experience.
|Criteria||Licensed Money Lenders||Unlicensed Money Lenders|
|Legal Authorization||Operate under government regulations and guidelines, authorized by relevant authorities||Operate illegally and are not authorized by any regulatory body|
|Capped Interest Rates||Maximum interest rate capped at 4% per month||Charge exorbitant and unregulated interest rates, usually as high as 20%|
|Transparency and Fair Practices||Obligated to provide clear and understandable loan terms, promoting transparency and fair practices||Employ aggressive tactics, hidden fees, and unclear terms|
|Borrowing Limits||Bound by law on maximum loan amount, depending on borrower’s income. Typically up to 6x the borrower’s monthly salary||May offer loans beyond borrower’s ability to repay|
|Harassment of Borrowers||Do not engage in harassment or illegal debt collection practices||Known to employ harassment tactics, including threats, abuse, and intimidation, towards borrowers who fail to repay on time|
Navigating the world of loans and moneylending can be complex, but with the right information and guidance, it’s possible to find a solution that fits your individual needs. Here are three key takeaways to remember:
- Choose Wisely: From personal loans to business loans, ensure that you select the loan product that aligns with your financial goals and needs. Compare options, read reviews, and understand the terms before committing.
- Avoid Scams and Loan Sharks: Always verify the legitimacy of the money lender. Check for proper licensing and avoid any practices that seem dubious or unprofessional.
- Consider Trusted Options: Choose reliable licensed money lenders who have proven their commitment to providing responsible, efficient, and customer-oriented services.
If you’re seeking fast cash personal loan in Singapore, consider 1 Fullerton Credit, a licensed money lender that can provide you with a loan even if you don’t have high credit scores. With over a decade of experience in offering high-quality financing services, you can always rely on us to provide you with financial products of the highest quality, tailored to meet all your needs.