Moneylenders in Singapore have helped thousands in the past years. They provided hope for families and individuals who needed financial assistance. The government allowed them to operate by offering loans that truly benefit people in need.
With this, the moneylending industry in the country thrived. Despite this, there is a rise of illegal moneylenders in Singapore who take advantage of the desperate conditions of the borrowers.
This article guides borrowers in choosing where to take loans. It also helps them identify the best among the licensed money lenders in Singapore. After reading this, you will easily spot which money lenders to trust.
The Singapore government, through the Ministry of Law (MinLaw), has strict guidelines when it comes to money lending. The government understands that people who apply for loans are vulnerable. To protect both borrowers and money lenders, the government created the Moneylenders Act.
Under this Act, no person or business is allowed to conduct any moneylending business unless they are authorized by the Registry of Moneylenders. The Registry is in charge of granting or rejecting a license issuance to money lenders.
All licensed money lenders must abide by the strict rules and protocols set by the Ministry of Law.
That said, before you reach out to any money lender, verify their credibility first. Make sure that they are licensed by the Registry. You can find the complete list of licensed money lenders in Singapore here.
Aside from consulting the list of licensed money lenders from MinLaw, there are also several ways on how to spot illegal or unlawful money lender businesses. Watch out for these red flags when choosing a money lender.
A licensed money lender in Singapore is only legally allowed to use three channels to reach their potential customers. These are:
- Business directories found in print or online media
- The website owned by the lender,
- Posters, billboards, and other ads placed in or outside the premise of the licensed money lender.
If you receive a loan offer through email, flyer, SMS or text message, or other forms not allowed by the government, the loan company is probably illegal.
This means that you should not respond to random loan offers that come your way. Instead, search for legitimate lenders on government websites and loan-expert sites. Also, it is best that you consult multiple sources until you find the best lender that fits your needs. Only respond to legitimate loan offers because you also have to protect your personal and financial details.
According to the Moneylenders Act, all lenders should provide the complete terms of a loan. This includes the final cost of the principal loan as well as the interest rates of the loan. All of these details must be well explained and identified in the legal contract between the borrower and the lending company.
Incomplete or blank loan contracts can be used as a means to abuse the borrower. Unlicensed money lenders can tamper with the contract and indicate higher charges, interest rates, or loan fees.
Plus, they might also add hidden fees which are not indicated in the contract. Hence, borrowers must be extra vigilant in ensuring that the contract they are signing is clear and agreeable to them.
Also, the contract explaining the details of the loan should be clear. If you, the borrower, cannot understand what is stated in the contract, you should not sign it. Do not be fooled by the words of the loan company’s representative. You still have to read the fine print of the contract.
4. If the Loan Company Does Not Have a Physical Address or Contact Details
Legal and established Pte Ltd loan businesses all have offices. It is where they conduct their businesses. Hence, if you are applying for a personal loan to a business entity without an address, there is a high chance that it is illegal.
Moreover, a loan company must also have contact details which include an official email address and a telephone number. In most cases, these companies even have customer service offices to assist loan applicants. If you are transacting a business without these details and services, you might need to confirm their legitimacy to the authorities.
Without having the physical address or contact details, it would be next to impossible for you to contact the moneylender offering you a loan. Also, you can’t file a complaint against them because they will not be found. Thus, for your own protection as a loan applicant, it is best that you only deal with lenders with an actual address and contact information.
The money lender must only charge the loan fee when the loan is granted or given. Also, this fee should not exceed 10% of the principal loan amount. There is no such thing as “high processing fees” because the government only allowed licensed money lender businesses in Singapore to charge minimal fees.
Here are the fees that licensed money lenders are allowed to charge:
- A late repayment fee not exceeding S$60 for each month you fail to repay the loan
- A processing fee of not more than 10% of the principal loan amount. This is charged once the loan is granted.
- Legal costs ordered by the court when you fail to pay back the money you owe to the money lender.
Another sign of a bogus or scam loan company is if they ask you to pay through a gift card.
Loans must be paid only through formal channels. Illegal businesses would want you to pay through a gift card because these cards are untraceable. They are preferred by businesses with criminal intentions.
A loan application requires you to share private and personal information. This means that you should only transact using secured lines. In the case of your application for a personal loan or other loans, you must only use a secured website. One way to check is to see the padlock icon on the left beside the URL of the website you are visiting.
Do not attach documents containing personal information on private emails or other channels outside the official website of the company. Make sure that you are protecting your personal and private data even during your loan application. If a loan company forces you to do this during the loan application process, you must investigate whether such a company is legitimate or not.
Moreover, the agents or customer service representatives dealing with you about your loan application must use formal modes of communication. They must use official company lines such as phones and emails instead of their own mobile phones. Using these formal lines of communication ensures you as an applicant that the data you are sharing with them is protected and kept private.
When reaching out to a licensed money lender Singapore, you must also be mindful of the following behaviors:
- Use abusive language or behaving in a threatening manner
- Asks for your Singpass ID and/or your password.
- Fails to give back your NRIC card or any personal ID documents, such as passport, driver’s license, work permit, or ATM Card
- Asks you to sign an incomplete or blank loan contract
- Refuses to give you a copy of your loan contract after the loan has been granted
- Fails to explain the terms and conditions of the loan.
- Grants a loan without conducting due diligence.
- Withholds a portion of the principal loan for whatever reason.
If you think that a moneylender in Singapore is working without a license, you must contact the Ministry of Law immediately. They will conduct their investigation and will do the necessary action on your complaint.
To lodge a complaint:
- Report the errant money lender or loan shark to the Registry of Moneylenders.
- Provide complete information about the lender, including business name, license, and contact number.
- You can also report it to the Registry at 1800-2255-529 or via their website.
Trust your instinct when dealing with money lenders. If you are uncomfortable with the transaction, you can always choose to find an alternative money lender.
First, do not give in to their demands. Instead, immediately contact the police or the X-Ah Long hotline at 1800-924-5664. If you don’t want to call the police out of fear, you can also file a complaint through the Singapore Force i-Witness reporting page.
Remember, no lending company can ever force you to avail of their product. You should never feel the need to avail of the services of any money lending company or corporation.
If you think that the loan contract is not favorable to you, you must be allowed not to enter into the contract or agreement. You can report any person or entity forcing you to avail of their loan service offers to the government of Singapore.
It’s only natural to fear what loan sharks can do. However, it is important to remain calm and not give in to their threats.
If you’ve already lodged a complaint and informed the Singapore police, leave it in their hands. That said, do not agree to anything that a loan shark asks you to do.
A loan shark may threaten you to take them with you while withdrawing money. Or they may ask you to harass other debtors on their behalf. Never agree to do such things.
Assisting unlicensed money lenders or loan sharks in Singapore is a crime. If you are found guilty, you will be charged under the Moneylender’s Act.
For instance, if you allow a loan shark to make a withdrawal using your ATM card, you will be charged with:
- 5 years in jail
- Fine of S$5,000 to S$50,000
- 3-6 strokes of the cane
Anyone who is found guilty of assisting loan sharks in the act of harassment can be charged with the following (first-time offenders):
- 5 years in jail
- Fine of S$5,000 to S$50,000
- 3-6 strokes of the cane
You can borrow any amount if you’re applying for secured loans. This is because this type of loan requires some type of asset as collateral for the loan. The collateral can be anything of value, such as your car or your home.
For unsecured personal loans, please refer to the table below:
|Borrower’s annual income||Singapore Citizens and Permanent Residents||Foreigners residing in Singapore|
|Less than $10,000||$3,000||$500|
|At least $10,000
and less than $20,000
|At least $20,000||6 times monthly income||6 times monthly income|
The interest rate is capped at 4% per month. Licensed money lenders cannot charge more than that regardless of your income or whether the loan is an unsecured or secured one.
In the event you fail to make repayments, the money lender can charge a late interest of up to 4% per month for every month the loan is repaid late.
The interest rate must be charged based on the outstanding principal amount. Additionally, the late interest can only be charged on the amount that is repaid late. The money lender is prohibited from charging late interest on the outstanding balance that is not yet due to be repaid.
For a more detailed computation of interest rates and fees, you can check out this guide from the MinLaw website. This guide is based on the Moneylenders Act.
Eligibility requirements may vary between different licensed money lenders. If you’re applying for a personal loan, here are the most common requirements:
- Must be at least 18 years old
- Must have a minimum income of S$1,500
Additionally, you’ll need to prepare these documents before applying for a loan:
- Proof of identity like a copy of your NRIC or passport
- Proof of residences such as bank statements or utility bills
- Proof of income such as the latest 3 months’ payslips or CPF contribution
Once your loan is approved, the money lender will give you the full principal amount. Make sure that you received the correct amount. Additionally, if they charge an approval fee, make sure that you’re charged with the right amount.
Don’t forget to keep the following documents as proof of repayments:
- A copy of your loan contract
- Receipts of every repayment made towards the loan
- A statement of account for all your loans
- Keep a copy of all the statements of accounts, receipts, and other relevant documents for documentation.
You must also keep track of your loan repayment schedule. Make sure to pay what you owe by the due date.
Remember, failing to pay on time will lead to late interest charges and late fees. These can accumulate which can make your debt snowball.
You can also contact government agencies if you need help with debt management. Here are some of the best social services in the country:
|Credit Counselling Singapore||6225 5227|
|MSF ComCare||1800 222 0000|
|Association of Muslim Professionals||6416 3960|
|Adullam Life Counselling||6659 7844|
|Arise2Care Community Services||6909 0628|
|Blessed Grace Social Services||8428 6377|
|One Hope Centre||6547 1011|
|Silver Lining Community Services||6749 0400|
Unfortunately, some individuals turn to loan sharks because they can’t get a loan from banks or other financial institutions. However, dealing with unlicensed money lenders is extremely dangerous. In fact, it can lead to more serious financial difficulties.
That said, consider taking a loan from a licensed money lender. Some licensed money lenders in Singapore have their own system to determine your creditworthiness.
Rest assured that a licensed money lender will not charge extremely high interest rates and fees.
Finding the best money lender where you can apply for a personal loan or other types of loans can be difficult and tiring. There are a lot of authorized moneylenders in the country.
There are loan comparison websites in Singapore that allow you to compare loan packages to find the best deals. These websites also provide objective feedback on which lending companies are the best. You can begin your research here where the website Loan Advisor wrote a summary of the top licensed money lenders of August 2020.
As previously mentioned, you also need to check out reviews from both experts and previous clients. You can use a loan comparison tool or you can check Google reviews.
Compare comments and suggestions from different customers. In doing so, you can determine which money lender can provide you with financial assistance.
Remember that not all authorized moneylenders are the same. Each of these lending companies has its own identity and personality. This means that you have to look for a moneylender who can provide your loan-related needs.
Before filing your loan application, research the background of the lender you have chosen. You will build years of relationships with them, which means that you have to be certain in choosing your loan company.
- The Ministry of Law (MinLaw), has strict guidelines when it comes to money lending.
- All licensed money lenders must abide by the strict rules and protocols set by the Ministry of Law. You can find a complete list of licensed money lenders on the MinLaw website.
- According to the Moneylenders Act, all lenders should provide the complete terms of a loan.
- Licensed money lenders can only charge up to a 4% interest rate and up to a 10% approval fee.
To avoid problems, only take a loan from a licensed and reputable money lender, such as Fortune Credit. Request a customized quote today!
Apply from a licensed money lender like Fortune Credit Pte Ltd. We provide outstanding customer service that is willing to accommodate anyone with questions and concerns related to loans and borrowing. Fortune Credit has a Google review of 4.9 stars out of 5. It also has 90 5-star reviews on Loan Advisor.
Fortune Credit is a credible and award-winning licensed moneylending company. It has helped thousands of customers. If you wish to know more about our loan offerings, you can reach us through various platforms listed here.