If you can’t take a bank loan and are searching for a personal loan with money lenders, reaching out to a lender with a money lender license is a safer option because they are regulated by the Ministry of Law.
Unlike illegal lenders who can get borrowers into more financial trouble with exorbitant fees, a licensed money lender in Singapore adheres to laws stipulated under the Moneylenders Act. Borrowers are assured with better peace of mind and financial protection.
Before you commit to a loan, make sure to do your due diligence to ascertain if you’re dealing with a licensed money lender. Not sure how to check if your lender has a money lender license? Here are 9 simple ways:
First, the lender must have obtained a money lender license from MinLaw and is included in the ministry’s approved list of licensed money lenders in Singapore. You should also try to call its listed office landline to ensure the lender you have approached is indeed the licensed money lender in question. Some unlicensed lenders may attempt to pass off as licensed lenders but give their personal mobile numbers as the main contact.
When you are at the lender’s office, look for the money lender license certificate that should be prominently displayed in its office premise. Every legal lender is given a certificate when it applies for a money lender license in Singapore. Licensed lenders are required to inform potential borrowers of their legal status. This means any lender who is unwilling to show you legal proof upon request is most likely an illegal loan shark.
Even the best licensed money lender in Singapore offering the fastest approval or lowest rates will require you to head down to their office after you submit your application online. This is part of the necessary process to prevent identity fraud before the funds are disbursed to you. If lenders promise quick funds disbursement without meeting you or signing a contract, be sure to steer clear of them.
Did you get to know a moneylender while searching for “licensed money lender near me” on Google? Or have you been receiving their advertisements via mobile messages, flyers or emails? If you have been receiving unsolicited advertisements from lenders, they are likely unlicensed lenders hitting you up for a loan. Licensed money lenders in Singapore are only permitted to market their business through:
- Business or consumer directories (in print or online media)
- Websites belonging to the money lender
- Advertisements placed within or on the exterior of the money lender’s business premises
If you receive advertising and promotional messages outside of these three legal channels, don’t respond to them.
In Singapore, all licensed money lenders can only charge up to a maximum interest rate of 4% per month. This is a standard mandated by law regardless of the borrower’s income and whether it is a secured or unsecured loan. Don’t fall prey to unlicensed lenders who attempt to charge a higher interest just because you’re in a dire situation. You can easily get yourself into more trouble if you get involved with such lenders.
Similar to interest rate, there is a maximum amount that you can borrow for unsecured loans with a licensed money lender in Singapore. Here are the loan limits:
|Borrower’s Annual Income||Singapore Citizens and Permanent Residents||Foreigners Residing in Singapore|
|Less than $10,000||$3,000||$500|
|$10,000 to $20,000||$3,000||$3,000|
|$20,000 and above||6 times borrower’s monthly income||6 times borrower’s monthly income|
If a money lender offers you more than these legal limits, it is highly likely a loan shark.
Every licensed money lender is permitted to impose the following charges and expenses:
- Late fees of not more than a total of $60 for each month of late repayment
- Processing fee of not more than 10% of the loan principal
- Legal costs ordered by the court for a successful claim by the money lender to recover the loan repayment if you default on your loan
Don’t let money lenders pile on more charges on you. Always read the fine print to ensure you’re not scammed by unlawful tactics.
Licensed money lenders are required to have a legal contract with clearly defined terms and conditions such as interest rate, late fees, and repayment period. You need to read and ensure the terms are compliant to local regulations before signing on the dotted line.
Conversely, unlicensed moneylenders usually try to lock in a deal without a proper contract. If a lender asks you to sign on a blank or incomplete contract or refuse to give you a copy of the document, don’t commit to such a deal – he or she might be an illegal loan shark in disguise.
Much like how you’ll receive warm customer service at any banking institution, loan executives from licensed money lenders in Singapore will usually treat you with utmost respect. They will also explain the terms of your loan in a language you can understand. If a lender attempts to coerce you into an agreement without explaining the terms and conditions or uses abusive language, leave immediately.