With the rising prices of essential needs in Singapore, every person in the country will benefit from using credit cards, lines of credit, and other revolving credit services.
However, the heavy dependence on credit for huge bills can lead to huge expenses due to ballooning interest rates, sinking borrowers deeper into debt.
Thankfully, debtors can use zero-interest balance transfers to offset their credit card loans.
You’ve likely seen a bank advertisement showcasing the easy way you can manage your debt with zero interest refinancing. However, before you sign up for one, make sure you know everything involved with balance transfer loans this 2021.
We’ve written everything you need to know below.
What is a Balance Transfer Loan?
A balance transfer loan is a zero-interest banking loan with its respective one-time processing fees. The product enables borrowers to pay their financing effectively and maximize their income’s capacity to repay.
When Do You Need a Balance Transfer Loan?
A loan with a huge interest rate is unavoidable even if you’re using it for your essentials, such as college and housing refinancing. Market instability and sudden economic changes can reduce your income and jar your job stability. With a balance transfer loan, you can ease your credit card debts at the very least.
Here are three situations that a balance transfer loan can perfectly solve.
- Pay Quickly for a Huge High-Interest Debt
You’ve maxed out your credit card because of your delayed payment. However, you needed the cash to pay for your monthly essentials. Unfortunately, your credit card has a big interest rate that uses your previous loan amount as the basis for its increases.
With balance transfer loans, you won’t have to deal with higher interest by paying part of the entire loan principal and current interest charges. Then, you can pay the remaining balance transfer amount with zero interest at an extended loan term.
- Avoid Increasing Debts
A Singapore-issued credit card has the highest loan limits available for high credit score borrowers. However, if you miss one or two months of repayments, the debt interest rate can increase the value at unsustainable levels.
While you’ll pay a notable sum to use balance transfer loans, the zero interest rate and longer loan tenure allow you to breathe financially. At this point, you can easily make a financial plan to repay your entire loan because it stopped ballooning and is containable.
- Credit Score Recovery
High credit scores enable borrowers in Singapore to apply for high-limit credit cards and other lines of credit. However, if you’re unable to pay your existing debt with ballooning interest rates, you’ll face a lower credit score, limiting your borrowing options in the future.
Balance transfer loans indirectly help you achieve a higher credit rating because you can swiftly pay for your high-interest debt, showing your financial aptitude and dependability to banks and financial institutions. Plus, you won’t have headaches dealing with high-amount credit debt, too.
The Best Balance Transfer Loans in Singapore
Every year, Singapore’s banks can choose to maintain or change their loan terms. In this handy table, you’ll find the best balance transfer loans available in Singapore, inclusive of their processing fees for both 6 and 12-month balance transfer periods.
Keep this within reach when you’re applying for a balance transfer loan for easy evaluation.
|6-month balance transfer||12-month balance transfer|
|Standard Chartered||0% yearly+ 1.5% fee||0% yearly+ 4.5% fee|
|Citibank||0% yearly+ 1.58% fee |
(for new to bank customers)
|0% yearly+ 5.5% fee|
|Maybank||0% yearly + 1.38% fee (S $10,000 minimum) |
0% yearly + 1.88% fee (S $2,000 minimum)
|4.99% yearly + interest rate|
|HSBC||0% yearly+ 2.5% fee||4.88% yearly+ 0% fee|
Let’s dive deeper into each product in the next sections.
SC’s helpful Change Credit Fund Transfer is helpful for borrowers with increasingly high credit card or revolving credit debt. As of 2021, it has one of the best processing fee rates for debtors per tenure.
Processing fees (aside from the 6 and 12-months balance transfer processing rates we’ve listed above):
- 3 Months: 0.7%
- 6 Months: 1.5%
- 9 Months: 2.5%
- 12 Months: 4.5%
Other charges: SC’s Change Credit Card Fund Transfer does not charge anything for early repayments. However, borrowers will face a hefty late payment fee of S $100 each time they miss their repayment schedule.
- Non-Standard Chartered Singaporean borrower: You’ll need to be aged between 18-65 and earning an annual income of S $30,000 and above to qualify for the balance transfer’s eligibility and requirements.
- Existing Standard Chartered borrowers: You won’t need to submit any documentation unless SC borrowers have had a recent change in income or employment.
- Foreigners: Debtors must be 21-65 years old and earning an annual income of S $60,000 to qualify for SC’s Change Credit Card Fund transfer. They’ll need to provide a passport and Singapore Employment pass copy before they qualify for the balance transfer loan.
Maybank’s balance transfer loan provides a 3-month zero-interest balance transfer rate aside from its regular 6-month loan tenure for its credit cardholders. You can maximize your balance transfer loan for up to 12 months with Maybank’s fund transfer.
Processing Fees: You’ll face a 4.99% yearly fee plus a bank-determined interest rate by its end.
Maybank’s fund transfer terms depend on your transfer amount.
- If you’re transferring S $2,000 payable within 6 months, you’ll pay a 1.88% one-time processing fee plus zero interest.
- You can get a 1.38% one-time processing fee charge within the same loan tenure for entrusting Maybank a S $10,000 balance transfer loan.
Eligibility: This balance transfer loan is useful and only accessible to Singaporean Maybank credit card owners. If you’re using another bank, you’ll want to pick another balance transfer loan from this list.
It can seem that HSBC’s balance transfer loan is much more rigid than other items on this list. However, HSBC credit card or line of credit account owners will find the service helpful in reducing unwanted debt due to ballooning interest rates.
Processing Fees: Like Maybank’s fund transfer terms, HSBC’s Line of Credit Balance Transfer relies on the total transfer amount.
- If you transfer below S $10,000 payable within 6 months, you’ll have to pay a 2.5% processing fee with zero interest. For a 12-month loan tenure for the same amount, you’ll pay 4.88% interest per year with zero processing fees.
- Borrowers transferring amounts above S $10,000 payable within 6 months will pay for a significantly reduced processing fee of 1.5% plus zero interest.
- On the other hand, a 12-month loan tenure for the same amount costs the same with a 4.88% interest charge per year with zero processing fees.
Eligibility: HSBC allows non-users of their line of credit to apply for an existing HSBC Line of Credit service before they can use the balance transfer service.
With this process, you can use your new line of credit (once approved) to pay for your existing debt, then transfer your HSBC Line of Credit debt to its dedicated balance transfer.
HSBC’s balance transfer can be tedious and lead to higher costs than you intended, so ensure you’ve calculated the total charges and see if using HSBC’s balance transfer loan is suitable for your needs.
With Citibank’s Ready Credit Balance Transfer, you can offset your interest rates for only 6 months. While it seems rigid, keep in mind that annual interest rates will apply for longer loan tenures.
Processing Fees: With Citibank Ready Credit Balance Transfer, you’ll pay 0% interest for six months. However, you’ll have to pay a 1.58% processing fee for a minimum S $500 transfer amount and above.
Eligibility: Anybody can apply for a Citibank Ready Credit Balance Transfer if they can satisfy the requirements. Because it’s an approval-based product, the offer is available to borrowers the bank trusts using its evaluation system.
Things To Consider For a Smooth Balance Transfer Experience
Balance transfers benefit both debtors and creditors because a deeply indebted borrower is not beneficial for any cash facility.
As we’ve described earlier, some situations can force borrowers to max out their credit cards, putting them at the mercy of big interest rates. However, if you’re not careful, balance transfers can be your ultimate financial problem.
Here are three things you should greatly consider before taking on balance transfers.
- Borrower’s Cashflow
A good rule of thumb in making financial decisions is budgeting your spending capabilities. Borrowers with poor cash flow and who continue to borrow money often have poor credit scores. While you won’t need high credit scores to use balance transfer loans, improperly using them can lead you to higher debt.
For example, a 12-month balance transfer loan sounds splendid, especially if you’re paying for zero interest within the first 6 months. If you didn’t carefully read the policies, you might end up paying for the huge interest rate per year with zero processing fees that most 12-month balance transfers have in their payment terms.
Let’s say your income and job stability are enough to handle the costs of using a 12-month balance transfer. However, you’re paying for monthly dues inclusive of a mortgage. Therefore, you might end up paying a higher balance transfer amount unless you switch to a zero-interest, low processing fee balance transfer loan tenure.
- Processing Fee
With balance transfers, you won’t be dealing with tremendous interest rates. However, processing fees can be huge enough to turn off some would-be borrowers. Many of the balance transfers we’ve listed above have nominal processing fees of 1.38%-1.58% up to 2% for a 6-month balance transfer, which is helpful if the loan term is enough to pay off your debt entirely.
However, calculate all costs and risks involved once you go beyond the standard loan term. For example, an average 12-month balance transfer can have a yearly fee of 4-5% maintaining loan balance at zero interest. While it sounds promising, the high yearly processing fees can eat away at your budgets if you’re not careful.
- Other Possible Fees
All the balance transfer loans we’ve listed above have no early repayment fees. However, make sure to learn about their potential late penalty fees. Balance transfer loans work like personal bank loans because they will charge you penalties if you fail to pay your dues on time. As always with loans, pay on time and the full due of your financing.
Balance Transfer Versus Personal Loans
Now that we’re on the subject of balance transfers functioning like personal loans, we’ve made a table comparing differences between the two. Refer to this table if you’re planning to use alternative means to consolidate your loan.
|Balance Transfer||Personal Loan|
|Interest Rate||0%||3.88% to 7%|
|Processing Fee||1.5% to 5.5%||1% to 2%|
|Repayment Term||3 to 18 months||1 to 5 years|
|Repayment Amount||Usually 1% to 3% of outstanding amount monthly||Fixed monthly amount|
Are Personal Loans an Excellent Balance Transfer Alternative?
Personal loans are for general-purpose use, which means you can use them as balance transfer loans. However, unlike balance transfer loans, they have regular interest rates that lenders can charge daily or monthly, depending on your loan contract.
Additionally, personal loans can usually provide you with up to six months of your monthly salary, which might not be enough if you have huge debt.
Most personal loans have lower processing fees than balance transfer loans. However, the increasing interest will balloon your debt if you’re not careful. Therefore, if balance transfer loans are available, we highly advise you use them instead of a personal loan.
On the other hand, if you have poor credit scores or are not qualified for your chosen balance transfer, then a personal loan is the second-best choice. It might not be the most compatible financial product for your needs, but it can help you against high interest rates.
For example, a licensed moneylender can provide you a 4% flat-interest loan for 12 months, which is parallel to a balance transfer’s typical interest rate beyond six months.
What If My Debt and Credit Scores Make Me Unsuitable for Balance Transfers?
Licensed moneylenders are the best alternative to banks if you have poor credit scores or banks reject your application for some reason. While moneylenders do not offer balance transfer services, they have personal loans, which you can use to pay off your entire loan with lower interest rates up to 4%.
Should I Go For a Bank or Licensed Moneylender Personal Loan?
Banks can give borrowers up to 5 years in repaying their loans, but with increasingly higher interest rates.
With licensed moneylenders, you get six months of your monthly salary with an interest rate from 1% to 4% but with a shorter repayment period of 12 months.
If you have poor credit scores, using licensed moneylenders is an excellent option. They review but do not heavily lean on credit scores in decision-making. Instead, they review your income and job stability, allowing anyone to take on financing without technical limitations. Plus, you can recover your credit scores using money lender personal loan Singapore, too.
Get The Best Personal Loan Deals With The Most Dependable Licensed Moneylender
Balance transfer loans are greatly helpful thanks to their zero interest rates and low processing fees. However, they’re products available for qualified borrowers only.
If you have low credit scores, it’s best to use licensed moneylender personal loans to pay for your high-interest credit card debt.
If you’re looking for the best licensed moneylender to work with, you can always count on Bugis Credit’s performance. We’ve been around since the Moneylenders Act of 2008 helping Singaporeans and foreigners find the best and most convenient financing available.