Let’s face it. There will be times when you find yourself needing some cash to pay off an emergency medical bill, or your phone needs immediate replacement and you’re weeks away from your next payday and you’ve used up your savings.
While there are options such as borrowing from family and friends, you can also turn to licensed moneylenders in Singapore for a personal loan.
However, as a first-time borrower, you might not know where to start or how to check if a moneylender is licensed. In this article, we share with you invaluable tips on how to review licensed moneylenders in Singapore before applying for loans.
What are licensed moneylenders?
The Moneylender Act denotes a moneylender as a person, be it a principal or agent, who provides the business of moneylending. Under Singapore law, no individuals are allowed to be a moneylender unless they are registered and approved with a license, or they are “excluded or exempt moneylenders” as detailed under the Moneylenders Act.
Essentially, Singapore licensed moneylenders are people or businesses who are recognised by the Singapore government to lend you money. Being a licensed business means that they will have to abide by the rules and regulations (e.g. maximum interest rate, late payment fees) set by the law.
Why is it important to review licensed moneylenders before applying for loans?
Numerous legal moneylenders in Singapore provide various loans with attractive rates to suit different needs.
It is important that you first research the different kinds of loans available before making a choice. For example, if you need cash to pay for your home renovation’s downpayment, should you take up a fast cash loan or an actual home renovation loan?
Once you have identified the specific loan needed, you can then compare across the different Singapore moneylenders using these factors:
Singaporeans and PRs have different loan eligibility requirements as compared to foreigners.
The minimum age to apply for any personal loan from licensed moneylenders is 18 years old. Your salary also determines the maximum amount that you can borrow.
Refer to the table below to find out how much you can borrow across licensed moneylenders at any one point in time, based on your residency status and income level:
|Borrower’s annual income||Singapore Citizens and Permanent Residents||Foreigners residing in Singapore|
|Less than S$10,000||S$3,000||S$500|
|At least S$10,000 and less than S$20,000||S$3,000||S$3,000|
|At least S$20,000||Six times monthly income||Six times monthly income|
2. Interest rates, fees, and repayment options
Before applying for a loan, determine how much money you need. Sure, different moneylenders offer attractive borrowing sums of up to six months of your monthly income. However, the more money you borrow, the more fees you have to pay.
Moneylenders in Singapore are allowed to charge a maximum interest rate of 4% per month regardless of how much you earn or if your loan is a secured or unsecured one. Late payment fees are also capped at a maximum of 4% per month. Be wary of companies who charge higher interest rates, they might be loan sharks.
Moneylenders in Singapore also offer flexible loan repayments. Some may require you to pay monthly instalments, while others also offer you bi-weekly or weekly repayments to suit various circumstances and preferences..
Type of advertisements that differentiates licensed moneylenders from loan sharks
Under the law, moneylenders in Singapore are only allowed to advertise through these three methods:
- Business or consumer directories online, or in print media such as newspapers or magazines.
- The legal moneylenders’ registered websites.
- Advertisements placed within or on the exterior of their physical office premises.
Hence, do not respond to any advertisements in the form of SMSes, flyers, and social media messages. Any form of advertisements not mentioned above is not permitted and would come from either licensed moneylenders who violate state laws, or unlicensed moneylenders.
Read this article to find out more about how to differentiate between licensed moneylenders and loan sharks.
Always consult the list of licensed moneylenders in Singapore
Check if the licensed moneylender is listed on the Ministry of Law registry to avoid loan scams.
Licensed moneylenders in Singapore are required by law to be listed on the Ministry of Law’s Registry of Moneylenders. The document details the business name, physical address, license number, contact numbers, and online websites if the business has one.
There have been recent cases where loan sharks are posing as licensed moneylenders and using their registered business names.
Remember to always call the listed business number and visit the physical office to verify. All licensed moneylenders in Singapore are required to have an office, which you would be required to visit for a mandatory face-to-face verification before loan disbursement.
Most unlicensed moneylenders work remotely and might approve your loan application without ever meeting in person.
Illegal behaviour to watch out for
Legal moneylenders in Singapore will not ask you for your SingPass username and/or password. They will not keep your original NRIC or any other personal documents, or ask you to sign an incomplete contract for the loan.
Be cautious when a moneylender starts to use abusive language or threaten you to pay up. Examples of unacceptable behaviours include excessive SMSes or calls, contacting you during unusual hours, making repeated calls to your home or office, causing distress to your family or colleagues, or loitering around your home or office.
If you experience any of these harassments, report the lender to the police immediately.
Where to review licensed moneylenders and what to look for?
The Ministry of Law’s Registry for Moneylenders
Business name, physical address, license number, contact numbers, and official websites if available.
Loan Comparison sites
Check the list of licensed moneylenders in Singapore and compare the minimum requirements, interest rates, fees, and repayment methods.
Preferably on Google Reviews, or on various loan comparison websites or social media, where past customers provide reviews about their experience dealing with the licensed moneylender.
On the licensed moneylenders’s official websites
Usually, the official website of a moneylender will state its license number and physical address which you can cross-check with the Registry of Moneylenders’ list of registered licensed moneylenders.
To enquire about loans, visit the moneylender’s office or speak with their agents online or through a phone call. By law, they’re obligated to protect your privacy and keep your information confidential.
Looking for a reliable licensed moneylender in Singapore?
GoldStar Credit can help you find the right loan solution for your needs. With over a decade of experience, we have earned the highest number of positive reviews among moneylenders in Hougang and Toa Payoh.
Contact us today with your financial requirements and our loan specialists will get back to you with personalised recommendations.