What are licensed moneylenders in Singapore?
A licensed moneylender is a registered loan company that conducts legal money lending businesses with borrowers. In order to operate, a licensed moneylender is authorised, licensed and regulated by the Ministry of Law. Governed by the Moneylenders Act, there are strict rules and regulations that licensed moneylenders have to abide by.
If you’re looking to get a quick cash loan to tide over urgent money woes, a licensed moneylender can help. In fact, licensed moneylenders are very inclusive — they aim to help anyone who needs to get a loan fast with minimal hassle, even if you have bad credit history and are rejected for bank loans.
What can legal moneylenders do?
1. Advertise, but not wherever they want
Licensed moneylenders are only allowed to advertise via their own websites, at their business premises (interior and exterior), or in business or consumer directories (in print or online media).
2. Charge an interest rate of up to 4% per month
The maximum licensed moneylender Singapore interest rate is capped at 4% per month. This holds true regardless of the borrower’s income and whether the loan is an unsecured or secured loan.
Similarly, the maximum late interest rate permitted is capped at 4% per month if the borrower fails to make loan repayments on time. Late interest can only be charged on the amount repaid late. The moneylender cannot levy late interest on outstanding amounts not yet due to be repaid.
3. Charge late fees and administrative fees (capped)
Did you know that a licensed moneylender late payment comes with a fee? All licensed moneylenders are allowed to impose:
- a fee ≤ $60 for each month of late repayment;
- a fee ≤ 10% of the principal of the loan when a loan is granted; and
- legal costs ordered by the court for a successful claim by the moneylender for the recovery of the loan.
That being said, the total charges imposed by a licensed moneylender — such as interest, late interest, upfront administrative and late fees — cannot exceed an amount equivalent to the principal of the loan.
4. Offer loans to borrowers with steady stream of income
The maximum loan amount you can get for an unsecured loan is dependent on your annual income:
- Up to 6 times monthly income, if you earn at least $20,000 per year (Singaporeans, Permanent Residents and Foreigners)
- Up to $3000, if you earn less than $20,000 per year (Singaporeans and Permanent Residents)
- Up to $3000, if you earn $10,000 – $20,000 per year (Foreigners)
- Up to $500, if you earn less than $10,000 per year (Foreigners)
Secured loans typically come with a cap on how much you’re allowed to borrow, depending on the value of your collateral, e.g. your home or car.
According to latest property cooling measures, if you are getting a home loan where the Option to Purchase is granted on or after 16 December 2021, your Total Debt Servicing Ratio (TDSR) has to be ≤ 55% for the purchase of properties. This metric takes into account all your existing debt obligations, such as car loan and other secured and unsecured loans.
MinLaw regularly updates licensed moneylenders’ new rules on their page on borrowing from licensed moneylenders, so check it out for more details.
5. Offer borrowers flexible repayment schedules
Most licensed moneylenders offer flexible repayment schedules, so consider your income, budget and financial obligations very carefully before signing your loan contract with the stipulated loan terms. Always negotiate your repayment schedules to your advantage!
Here are 5 myths about borrowing from licensed moneylenders – it’s always useful to have the right understanding of what they do before you take a loan.
Need a loan from a reliable licensed moneylender? R2D Credit is your best option.
What are licensed moneylenders not allowed to do?
1. Solicit loans through messages
Licensed moneylenders cannot solicit loans through social media platforms, text messages, WhatsApp, emails, flyers, and direct phone calls, etc.
2. Perform loan transactions entirely online
It is a must for licensed moneylenders to meet the borrower in person at their office premise to conduct physical face-to-face verification of the borrower’s identity before granting any loan.
In short, licensed moneylenders in Singapore are not permitted to perform loan transactions fully online. Loans cannot be disbursed remotely without any face-to-face verification.
3. Skip contract explanation and financial assessment
Financial assessments such as the checking of a borrower’s tax notices and payslips must be executed before a loan can be approved.
Likewise, the law requires licensed moneylenders to explain all loan terms clearly to you in a language that you fully comprehend. Feel free to clarify or ask your loan officer to repeat — a good licensed moneylender will not hesitate to go the extra mile so that you know all that the loan contract entails.
You should also receive a copy of the loan contract. Apart from understanding all the contractual terms, pay extra attention to the repayment schedule, interest rates and slew of fees applicable.
4. Keep your NRIC or any other personal ID documents
Make sure your licensed moneylender doesn’t withhold your NRIC, driver’s licence, passport or other personal ID documents. They are also not allowed to acquire any information that contains passwords to your Singpass account, Internet banking account, email account, etc.
5. Not issue you a receipt each time you make your loan repayment
Ensure the moneylender issues you a receipt each time you make your loan repayment, and check that all details are correct (e.g. name, amount paid, outstanding amount, date).
Definitely make it a habit to retain all statements of accounts and receipts of payments, as documentation of payments.
Money lender Singapore: Banks vs licensed moneylender
While you can borrow from a bank or licensed moneylender in Singapore, there are differences you need to know about.
Here’s a quick comparison between borrowing from a bank and legal moneylender, assuming you are getting a personal loan:
|Max. sum you can borrow||Max. repayment period||Loan approval duration||Typical interest rate||Ease of loan approval||Processing fee||Application procedure|
|Banks||Up to 10x monthly income||Up to 7 years||Up to 2 weeks||3.5 – 11% per annum||Stringent||Typically 1% of the approved loan amount, some offer no processing fee||Apply online or visit branch office|
|Licensed moneylender||Up to 6x monthly income||Up to 12 months||Same day, typically within 30 minutes||1 – 4% per month||Lenient||Up to 10% of the approved loan amount||Must visit office|
Can’t qualify for a bank loan? We offer fast loan approval with less stringent criteria.
Legal moneylender Singapore: Advantages and disadvantages
Borrowing from licensed moneylenders often comes with its own set of advantages and disadvantages, such as higher private moneylenders interest rates.
- Instant approval (usually takes less than 30 minutes)
- Simple application process
- Minimal documents required
- Fund disbursed by cash or bank transfer immediately after loan approval
- Accessible to everyone, including those with bad credit history
- Borrow up to 6 times monthly income
- Hefty late charges (late interest up to 48% p.a. on overdue principal and/or interest)
- High interest of up to 4% per month (up to 48% p.a.)
- High processing fee (up to 10%)
- Short loan tenure (typically up to 12 months’ repayment period)
How can you verify if a moneylender is licensed
Did you know it is possible to check a moneylender’s license online in just a few clicks? All you have to do is access MinLaw’s list of licensed moneylenders in Singapore. The cool thing to note is that the list is periodically updated to show which moneylenders are in operation as well as the ones that have been suspended.
As of time of writing, there are 156 licensed moneylenders in Singapore. It is not guaranteed that anyone and everyone can get a moneylender license. The Registry of Moneylenders has the authority to suspend the grant of new moneylender licenses as they deem fit.
To be on the safe side, dial the licensed moneylender’s registered landline to double-verify. You would also want to check if the licensed moneylender really does have a physical office.
24 hours moneylender Singapore: Do they exist?
There aren’t any 24 hours moneylenders in Singapore if you’re talking about licensed, legal ones. Those that run 24/7 are likely to be unlicensed or illegal.
Although licensed moneylenders have websites that run 24/7 (i.e. you can submit your loan application on the licensed moneylender’s website anytime and anywhere), their physical offices have fixed office hours and do not operate round the clock.
Keen to apply for a loan?
How to determine best licensed moneylender
Characteristics that define the best moneylender in Singapore include:
- Legal licensed moneylender with license certificate and qualifications
- Good variety of loans offered
- Fast loan approval
- Fast loan disbursement
- Competitive interest rates and charges
- Good, credible reputation
- Good, verified reviews on Google and other websites
- Simple and fast loan application process
- Flexible negotiation of a loan repayment schedule that works for you
- Patient, knowledgeable loan officers who go the extra mile to ensure borrowers fully understand all loan terms
- Good office location
For example, if I am dealing with rapidly growing debt from multiple loans, I would look for licensed, quick moneylenders and reliable moneylenders that offer competitive interest rates.
If I have multiple loans, I would pay attention to moneylenders near me who also happen to be debt consolidation plan moneylenders with good reviews, to consolidate my loans.
Finding a reliable lender?
How to borrow from licensed moneylenders in Singapore?
- Open your licensed moneylender’s loan webpage.
- Check that your licensed moneylender is indeed legitimate – call them and check that their details are the same as those stated on MinLaw’s list
- Fill out the online loan application form with your personal details (e.g. name, contact number, salary and the desired loan amount)
- Wait for a loan officer to contact you
- Set up an appointment to meet your loan officer at your licensed moneylender’s registered business address
- Meet your loan officer; bring all necessary documents with you when you visit
- Ensure you are clear about all the loan contract’s terms and conditions, late charges, interest payments, repayment schedules etc before signing on the contract. Feel free to get your loan officer to clarify anything you may be unsure of
- Thereafter, your cash loan will be disbursed immediately via cash or bank transfer.
- Employed Singaporeans: IC, CPF contribution statements, latest 3 months payslip (if monthly salary > $6,000)
- Self-employed Singaporeans: IC, IRAS Notice of Assessment (NOA), proof of income (bank statement or any official income statement)
- Foreigners: Employment pass, proof of home address (tenancy agreement, proof of billing address), latest 3 months payslips
What happens if you’re unable to pay moneylender Singapore?
If you don’t repay your loan on time, expect to incur late fees, late interest and compound interest on the amount that’s repaid late. If your loan is a secured one, your pledged collateral may be at risk of being liquidated.
Should you find yourself in such a situation, try to request for a realistic payment extension — work things out amicably with your licensed moneylender to negotiate reasonably.
What can you do if you encounter licensed moneylender harassment?
Common acts of harassment include:
- Spamming the borrower with SMSes and calls
- Spamming the borrower’s home and office with calls
- Contacting the borrower during odd hours
- Visiting/ loitering around the borrower’s home and workplace repeatedly or during unusual hours
- Threatening the borrower
- Using abusive language on the borrower
- Using violence on the borrower
You may report to the Registry of Moneylenders at 1800-2255-529 or via their website should you wish to lodge a complaint against a moneylender. Rest assured your personal details will be kept confidential. Additionally, the Registry will investigate errant licensed moneylenders.
At R2D Credit, we ensure that all our staff adheres to the highest standard of professionalism and ethics.