Nowadays, it is not uncommon to see advertisements on Facebook or other social networking sites about companies offering personal loans and other similar services to consumers.
For many, they just ignore these advertisements because they believe these moneylenders and institutions are allowed to advertise their products online like other businesses today. Offline, you may get to see an advertisement or two in the newspaper saying the same thing.
Should these moneylenders or financial institutions advertise their products?
In Singapore, licensed moneylenders are banned from advertising their products in usual forms of advertising mediums unless they would like to get their licensed removed and they will be fined for their actions.
On October 13, 2011, the Registrar of Moneylenders released a new directive which indicates the advertising and marketing rules for licensed moneylenders which will be put into effect on November 1, 2011. Prior to the full release of the details, Senior Parliamentary Secretary for the Ministry of Law Ms. Sim Ann had announced the directives in a statement.
Under the new rules, licensed moneylenders can only advertise their business through the following channels:
- Yellow pages for business and consumers in both print and digital format.
- Official website of the moneylender.
- Advertisements posted on the walls, doors, gates or winders of the moneylender’s office.
Moneylenders are then not allowed to advertise through the following channels and in any medium:
- Banners located in other areas far from the moneylenders’ office
- Door-to-door advertising
- Events marketing
- Call marketing
- Television or radio ads
- Newspaper advertisements and other print mediums
- SMS or E-mail ads
- Internet pop-ups and banners
If licensed moneylenders are found guilty of advertising and marketing in prohibited areas and using prohibited mediums, they will be fined amounting to $20,000 and their licenses may be revoked. Furthermore, if the advertisement done by moneylender is misleading and incorrect, they will be convicted to a $20,000 fine and a possible jail sentence of up to six months.
Should there be any moneylender or lending institution which still has advertisements in prohibited areas and use illegal advertising and marketing strategies, these moneylenders should be avoided because they are unlicensed moneylenders.
If anyone finds these lawbreakers, the public can call the number of the Registry of Moneylenders or email them at firstname.lastname@example.org. You may also report the discovery to the police.
How Can You Learn About Their Offers if Their Advertisements are Limited?
When you find yourself without funds and need it fast, you may find it hard to locate the moneylender company or institution that can handle your problem fast easy.
Even if these moneylenders cannot advertise their services and products online, you can still search for them through social media and search engines. You simply have to type or search “moneylenders in Singapore” and the lists will appear.
Of course, a lot of names will appear and to narrow down your list, you can head on to the official website of the Registry of Moneylenders to see if a specific moneylender is recognized by the Singaporean government. The Registry has an updated list of all approved moneylenders in the country and they regularly update it to ensure that citizens are always aware of the list.
Once you check the list of all the approved moneylenders, you can check their official websites to learn more about the offers of these moneylenders. You can also contact their hotlines to learn more about their service.
How to ensure you are not dealing with an illegal moneylender?
If you were not able to check the list of moneylenders to see if the one you selected and spoken to is registered, you may find yourself speaking with a loan shark or an illegal moneylender.
Normally, these illegal moneylenders would remain friendly at first especially if you pay them regularly and settle your loan. However, even if their rates are ideal for you, the fact remains that you may indeed be bound to a lender that can change moods at any time.
Here are the signs to look into:
- They won’t suddenly increase your debt or add extra fees without telling you.
- They won’t provide any paperwork like a contract or a record of your past loan payments.
- When you are late in payments, they will resort to violence or force.
- They won’t be open to revealing information like interest or your outstanding balance.
- They may even prevent you from paying your debt.
- They ask for collateral even if it shouldn’t be applicable to your loans.
How to Deal with Illegal Moneylenders:
If you find yourself dealing with a loan shark or an illegal moneylender because you found their rates within your standards but not knowing they are not legitimate, there are ways to deal with them to prevent them from harassing you:
- Speak to the police and involved authorities and talk about your situation. Tell them all the details of this loan shark and give all the information you can provide.
- Avoid these moneylenders as much as possible. If you need money, ask other sources or approach licensed moneylenders.
- Stay calm when they start changing their behavior and rules. Do not let them see you are on to them because it may worsen the problem.
- Confirm their details through relevant agencies even if they look like they are legitimate moneylenders.
- When you report to the authorities these moneylenders, stop payments and do not answer their threats. Report when they do start using force.
- Ask the help of a financial adviser which can help you find other ways to get funds.
Before you seek out a personal loan, it is ideal that you check every aspect of seeking for one because this will tell you if you are dealing with the right group or not. In terms of licensed moneylenders in Singapore, they are meticulously following a number of rules which they need to follow to operate and this includes how they advertise or market their business. Always research before you borrow so you won’t have problems when you borrow money from the lender you selected.