Many Singapore small and medium enterprises (SMEs) saw closures after the government announced the second Circuit Breaker. To help SMEs with their business continuity plans, there are various bank financing products that became available, and the government has devised different financial measures that are made more accessible to SMEs and startups.
Despite these campaigns, many business owners are still unaware of these financial schemes and which institutions could actually help them tide through the crisis. To help you identify the right financing for your business, we will walk you through the best SME business loans with the best interest rates and terms that will match your enterprising objective.
Many Singapore SMEs used high-risk unsecured business term loan products to finance their businesses. This urged Singapore’s government to provide SMEs with specialized financial assistance. By doing this, the government-assistance schemes gave birth to helpful subsidized bank business loans.
The table below is a summary of both the SME working capital and Temporary Bridging Loan schemes. Both products have better and specialized terms than other business loans in Singapore.
|SME Working Capital||Temporary Bridging Loan|
|Maximum Loan Amount||Up to S $300,000 (Per Person) |
Up to S $5 Million (In Total)
|Up to S $3 Million per borrower |
Up to S $20 Million (In Total)
|Loan Tenure||5 Years||5 Years|
|Interest Rate||Subject to Partner Financial Institution||5% cap per year|
|Government Risk Share||50% (70% for Startups)||70%|
The government’s working capital business loan is an enormous aid to many small and medium Singaporean enterprises. The country’s banks can provide business up to S $1 million in funding.
All businesses must be 30% Singaporean-owned. Plus, the business must earn at least S $100 million yearly or have at least 200 employees.
- Maximum Loan Amount: S $300,000 per borrower (S $5 million group cap)
- Loan Tenure: 5 Years
- Interest Rate: Subject to Partner Financial Institution
- Government Risk Share: 50% (70% for startups)
- Partner Financial Institutions: CIMB, DBS, HSBC, MayBank, OCBC, Resona Merchant Bank Asia, RHB, Standard Chartered, UOB, Ethoz Capital, Hong Leong Finance, IFS Capital, ORIX Leasing, Sing Investments & Finance, Singapura Finance
The government’s partner financial institutions can aid businesses digitally transitioning during the circuit breaker. The convenient bridging loan has become popular with many SMEs because it significantly reduces transition downtime. Plus, the 70% government risk share hugely improves loan application approval opportunities.
The applying business must be physically present in Singapore. In addition, a Singaporean must own 30% of the business to use these government-assisted loans.
- Maximum Loan Amount: S $3 Million individually. Up to S $20 million group cap
- Loan Tenure: 5 Years
- Interest Rate: 5% cap per year
- Government Risk Share: 70% for all businesses
- Partner Financial Institutions: CIMB, DBS, HSBC, Maybank, OCBC, Resona Merchant Bank Asia, RHB, Standard Chartered, UOB, Ethoz Capital, Hong Leong Finance, IFS Capital, ORIX Leasing, Sing Investments & Finance, Singapura Finance
Why Use Government-Subsidized Schemes?
Government-subsidized schemes are helpful if your business is compatible with digital transitions. Alternatively, you can use it to finance your expansion. Qualified businesses deal with lower interest rates, a longer loan repayment period, and larger loan amounts by using government assistance schemes.
Businesses that do not qualify with government assistance schemes can find a business loan adequate for their needs. Singapore’s SME business loans have lower loan amounts and higher interest rates than government-assistance schemes.
However, you can still find an excellent business term loan by comparing their interest rates side by side. We’ve done the legwork for you and compiled everything we know about every SME business loan on this handy table.
|DBS Digital Business Loan||OCBC Business First Loan||UOB Bizmoney||UOB SME||Maybank||Standard Chartered|
|Maximum Loan Amount||S $200,000||S $100,000||S $350,000||S $100,000||S $500,000||S $300,000|
|Repayment Period||5 Years||4 Years||5 Years||3 Years||5 Years||3 Years|
|Interest Rate||Depends on Bank||Depends on Bank||10.88% per year||Depends on Bank||Depends on Bank||11% Per Year|
|Processing Fee||1-3% of Principal Amount||1-3% of Principal Amount||2% + S $500 annual fee||1-3% of Principal Amount||1-3% of Principal Amount||1-3% of Principal Amount|
|Early Redemption Fee||2-5% of Principal Amount||2-5% of Principal Amount||2-5% of Principal Amount||2-5% of Principal Amount||2-5% of Principal Amount||S $100|
Any SME working with DBS for the longest time will find their Digital Business Loan useful. SMEs can get up to S $200,000 total business loan payable within five years. DBS may provide lower interest rates for preferred borrowers. On the other hand, they might request collateral for poor-credit business owners.
DBS’s Digital Business Loan is perfect for businesses that have extensively worked with DBS in the past. Plus, businesses in good credit and do not qualify for government-assistance schemes can maximize DBS’s Digital Business Loan.
Applying businesses must be physically present and registered in Singapore to use the financial product. Plus, a Singaporean must own 30% of the company.
OCBC’s preferred business clients can get up to S $100,000 with their Business First Loan. Any Singaporean business established in Singapore with a national owning 30% of the company can apply for this loan. Plus, OCBC’s requirements aren’t strict because any six-month-old business can use their startup business loan.
Another great bonus with the OCBC Business First Loan is applying online can take 50% off your fees. Startups looking for virtually zero paperwork and modest expansion sums will find OCBC’s Business First Loan an effective alternative to government assistance schemes.
With UOB, businesses can get up to S $350,000 and a loan repayment period of 5 years. UOB requires that applying business have a Singaporean who owns 30% of the company and is physically present during application. The bank guarantees that business owners will receive a response one day after their application.
In addition, UOB bypasses long paperwork by having business owners use their online application facilities. However, UOB Bizmoney isn’t for all businesses. Your company must have established itself for more than three years in Singapore before you can use this loan service.
UOB’s SME loan is a perfect temporary bridging loan alternative to government-assisted schemes. It provides businesses up to S $100,000 with a loan repayment period of 3 years. Alternatively, the loan is perfect for startups because it permits companies with less than 200 employees and earning less than S $100 million to apply.
However, UOB will assess your loan interest rates on a case-to-case basis. Your SME micro loan might work well for your business’ current needs if you get good bank interest rates.
For a long time, companies that have worked with Maybank can use their excellent business term loan as a funding source. Maybank’s Business Term Loan provides businesses up to S $500,000 with a loan term of 5 years. Plus, excellent client businesses can get lower interest rates because the bank evaluates all applications per case.
However, Maybank’s business loan isn’t for startup companies. All businesses must at least be 3 years old by the time they apply. In addition, the companies must have a Singaporean own 30% of its entirety and earn a minimum of S $300,000 per year.
Government funding schemes can have difficult requirements. However, companies working with Standard Chartered can use their Business Instalment Loan is a great alternative. With Standard Chartered, you can borrow up to S $300,000 and pay for it within 3 years. Yearly, you’ll face a compound interest of 11% and a service fee of S $100.
Standard Chartered’s business loan does not have the friendliest terms available. Your company has to be 3 years old and earning S $750,000 per year. Plus, you’ll need to have a Singaporean own 30% of your assets.
When is a Bank SME Loan Useful?
Government-assisted schemes might disqualify your business because it does not meet the minimum requirements. Therefore, banks you’ve worked with are much more lenient with their business loan requirements because of your long-term working history. Any business in this situation will find an SME loan useful for all their needs.
A few banks offer startup-friendly loans with workable interest rates and terms. However, Singapore’s government has startup-specific loans perfect for their needs.
Funding Societies FS Bolt
FS Bolt is Funding Societies’ crowd-funding platform and product. Using Funding Societies’ peer-to-peer lending platform, startups can borrow S $100,000 with a one-year loan term. You can get your total loan amount within two hours after submitting your loan application and requirements successfully.
Startup companies can take full advantage of FS Bolt. However, they will contend with a single year of repayments.
All applicants must be in business for at least six months. Plus, the company’s Singapore proprietor must own 30% of the business’ assets.
Alternative Financing Options
Some businesses might not qualify with both government schemes and bank loans. Here are a few excellent alternatives that can help with their financing needs.
Revolving credit lines have the poorest terms as business financing. However, credit lines with high limits can provide loan amounts suitable for business expansion. Ensure you keep your interest payments low with credit lines.
Banks may be willing to purchase your invoices. Invoice factoring allows you to sell company invoices. As a result, the banks will collect the invoices due. This method can help businesses raise capital with the same amount as bank business loans.
Businesses with multiple business owners can combine their personal loan amounts. Bank personal loans provide up to six months of each one’s salary. However, these loans often have a one-year payment period.
Licensed Moneylender Business Loans
With a minimum turnover of $60,000, reputable Licensed Moneylenders such Fortune Credit business loan can approve loans as much as $200,000 (But still depending on the lender’s assessment). Business Loan, whether it be for Temporary Bridging loan or SME Working Capital, licensed moneylenders charge a 5%-15% of interest rate.
For most businesses who fail to take out a loan from banks due to low credit score may find licensed moneylenders to be more lenient. Plus the loaned amount may be used by the borrower with flexibility as long as the repayment terms are met.
Who Is Enterprise Singapore?
Enterprise SG is the country’s government department that oversees all business and startup activities. It has numerous startup business loan products and supplementary SME loans for various purposes. Therefore, any qualified business can pass their business loan application and get their partner financial institutions’ approval for big and small business loans.
The department currently offers the following SME loans in Singapore:
- SME Working Capital Loan
- SME Fixed Assets Loan: Domestic and overseas asset financing
- Venture Debt Loan: Innovative and startup incubation venture debts and warrants financing.
- Trade Loan: Trade operations financing
- Project Loan: Overseas project financing.
- Mergers & Acquisitions Loan: Internationalization financing for target enterprise acquisitions.
Which SME Loan is the best?
The best SME loan depends on your business objective and current financial capability. A business planning to expand will find larger working capital loans compatible with its objectives. On the other hand, companies transitioning to fully digital operations will find bridging loans an excellent alternative.
Which bank gives the lowest interest rate for a business loan?
Most of the banks we’ve listed determine their interest rate depending on your company’s operational needs, financial capacity, and loan terms and tenure. It is best to apply to multiple bank loans so you could compare the interest rates and have an informed decision which loan works for you. However, you can expect it to range between 5-15%.
How long is the processing time for a business loan to be approved?
Most business financing with available online application facilities can process your loan within the same day you submit all your requirements successfully.
You Can Always Find the Perfect Business Financing in Singapore
Despite the worst of the economic calamities, Singapore remains to be a top investment destination in the world. With the availability and accessibility of different Business loans and Government-backed assistance schemes, an informed business owner could find the means to keep the business afloat.
And if you have yet to find the right financing solution, Fortune Credit is one of the top and most reputable licensed moneylenders in Singapore. With our simple requirements and transparent terms and interest rates, you could fund your business continuity plans quickly and with peace of mind.