Singapore is one of the most expensive cities in the world. The average expense of a single person living in Singapore is around S$800 per month. If you’re a family of four, the cost of living per month is significantly higher at around S$4,400.
That said, foreigners living in Singapore may face financial challenges. So when an emergency strikes, it can be difficult to access extra funds. Thankfully, there are banks, financial institutions, and licensed moneylenders in Singapore that offer personal loans for foreigners at reasonable interest rates.
Need a sum of money to tide you over? This guide walks you through the best options, how to choose a foreigner loan in Singapore, and alternative financing options.
Foreigner Loan vs. Personal Loan: Key Difference
A foreigner loan in Singapore is similar to a Singaporean personal loan, but it has additional guidelines and requirements for ex-pats.
With this type of loan, ex-pats can borrow the same amount as any Singaporean. However, they need to fulfil a higher minimum income range, provide additional documentation, and a more thorough investigation of their income and credit history.
Take a look at these key differences based on the most common requirements set by banks and financial institutions:
|Foreigner Loan||Singaporean Personal Loan|
|Documentation||Copy of Passport Employment Pass with 1-year validity|
Proof of residences such as utility bill or bank statement 3 months’ payslips
|Copy of NRIC (front and back) 3 months’ payslips|
|Annual Income||S$40,000 – S$60,000||S$20,000 to S$30,000|
Additionally, there are fewer banks that offer loans for ex-pats. The process you need to follow during application and the documents you need to provide may also vary as a foreigner.
6 Best Foreigner Loans In Singapore
|Maximum Loan Amount||Interest Rate||Processing Fee||Minimum Annual Income|
|HSBC Personal Loan||Up to 4x monthly income up or to S$100,000||3.4%||S$0||S$40,000|
|Standard Chartered CashOne||Up to 4x your monthly income||3.4%||S$0||S$60,000|
|OCBC ExtraCash Loan||Up to 6x monthly income for annual income S$120,000 and above Up to 4x monthly income for annual income S$30,000-S$199,999 Up to 2x monthly salary for annual income S$20,000-S$29,000||5.43%||S$100||S$45,000|
|Citibank Quick Cash||Up to 4x your monthly salary||3.45%||S$0||S$42,000|
|DBS Personal Loan||Up to 10x your monthly salary if your annual income is S$120,000 Up to 4x your monthly salary||2.88%||1% processing fee||S$20,000|
|Bugis Credit||Up to 6x your monthly salary if your annual income is more than S$20,000||1-4%||S24,000|
1. HSBC Personal Loan
HSBC Personal Loan offers one of the most affordable interest rates in Singapore. Plus, they offer flexible repayment options with one of the longest tenures in Singapore – up to 7 years. This allows foreigners to lower their monthly payments by spreading the cost of the loan. Lastly, HSBC Personal Loan offers loans up to 4x your monthly income or a maximum of S$100,000.
2. Standard Chartered CashOne
Standard Chartered’s CashOne personal loan does not offer the most affordable personal loans for foreigners. SCB requires ex-pats to have an annual income of at least S$60,000 to qualify. This is stricter than other major banks. However, it offers a competitive interest rate of 3.4% and does not charge a processing fee. Additionally, you can borrow up to 4x your monthly income and flexible repayments are available – up to 5 years.
3. OCBC ExtraCash Loan
OCBC ExtraCash Loan is among the more expensive personal loans in Singapore. They offer a relatively high-interest rate at 5.43%, plus they charge a processing fee of S$100. These factors make the total cost of OCBC’s personal loan higher than other major banks.
4. Citibank Quick Cash
Citibank Quick Cash offers competitive interest rates of 3.45%. Plus, they don’t charge processing fees which helps save borrowers on the total cost of the loan.
However, foreigners will need to meet the minimum income requirement of S$42,000 to qualify. Lastly, you’ll need to have a Citibank Ready Credit or Citi Credit Card account to avail of this personal loan.
5. DBS Personal Loan
DBS Personal Loan offers up to 10x your monthly salary if you earn at least S$120,000. However, if you earn less, you’ll only be able to borrow up to 4x your monthly salary. DBS also charges a 1% processing fee. It offers shorter loan tenures as compared to other banks – 1 to 5 years.
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6. Bugis Credit
Bugis Credit is one of the top licensed lenders in Singapore. They offer the best selection of loan packages. For secured personal loans, ex-pats can take out loans of any amount. This means collateral is involved as a guarantee if you can’t pay off your loan.
However, for unsecured loans, you can borrow up to 6x your monthly salary if you earn at least S$20,000. Lastly, licensed money lenders can only charge up to a 4% interest rate per month. This cap applies regardless of your income and whether it is a secured or unsecured loan.
Take a look at the table below to know the minimum loan amounts:
|Annual Salary||Maximum Loan Amount|
|Less than S$10,000||S$500|
|Above S$10,000 but less than S$20,000||S$3,000|
|Above S$20,000||Up to 6x your monthly salary|
How To Choose The Best Foreigner Loan?
1. Interest Rates
Not all loan packages are made equal. You must compare the total cost of each loan. That said, take into account the interest rate, charges, and various fees involved. For instance, banks and moneylenders offer different interest rates. Although the difference may seem small, it can greatly affect the total loan payment.
2. Charges and Fees
You must also consider the fees and charges, such as the loan processing fee, late fees, early repayment fees, and more. Review each loan’s fees before applying to know the cost differences.
3. Total Monthly Payment Costs
How long do you want to pay for the loan? Along with the loan tenure, you must also compare how much you’ll be paying per month. Make sure that you can repay it promptly without restricting your budget.
Typically, the longer the loan tenure, the smaller the monthly repayments. However, it also means your total loan costs will be higher since you’ll be paying more interest. That said, take these factors into account.
4. Compare Different Loan Types and Alternatives
Aside from the best personal loans, you can also consider other alternatives. For instance, if you need to buy a big-ticket item, you can use your credit card for that. However, credit cards tend to have higher interest rates compared to personal loans.
Another example is applying for home loans when you need to purchase a property. This is because this type of loan offers higher maximum loan amounts. So think about what you’ll be using the money for and choose an appropriate loan for it.
Alternative Financing Options
1. Credit Card
Credit Cards are revolving credit that allows you to borrow up to your credit limit. You can use it to make purchases and pay back only what you owe at a minimum monthly amount or all at once. If you can repay the outstanding credit card balance within a month, you’ll avoid paying for interest.
The downside? It usually has higher interest rates compared to a personal loan. If you’re unable to keep track of your purchases, your debt may snowball.
How To Apply
There are various channels you may apply for a credit card. The most convenient would be via mobile or internet banking of your preferred Singapore bank. The commonly required documents for foreigners are:
- Passport and valid Employment Pass
- A copy of your utility/telephone bill
- Income Tax Notice of Assessment and latest original payslip
2. Personal Line of Credit
This alternative works similarly to a credit card. A personal line of credit allows you to borrow on a rolling basis, up to a limit. Plus, you’ll only pay interest on the amount you’ve borrowed. It may offer higher credit limits at lower interest rates compared to credit cards.
The downside? Lenders may charge additional fees. Plus, borrowers with poor credit scores may not qualify.
How To Apply
Eligibility requirements differ between banks and financial institutions. That said, it’s best to check whether you meet the eligibility criteria. If you do, it’s not hard to apply for a personal line of credit.
3. Payday Loan
A payday loan is a type of short-term cash loan that gives you extra funds until you receive your next paycheck. This loan is easy to get since most lenders don’t check your credit score. They will only ask for proof of income to make sure that you’ll be paid soon.
However, payday loans have short tenure – you’ll have to pay the lump sum within a month or on your next payday.
How To Apply
You can apply online or you can visit the lender’s office. Upon confirmation, you’ll be asked to visit the moneylender’s office to customize your loan plan. Once that’s done and the loan contract is signed, you’ll get instant approval and loan disbursement within the day.
4. Home Equity Loan
A home equity loan, also known as a second mortgage, allows you to borrow a large sum using your property as collateral. This loan option is available for individuals who own private properties and HDB Executive condominiums. With a home equity loan, you can use the money for anything, such as debt consolidation, renovation, or paying for education or medical bills.
The downside? If you default on your loan, your property will be repossessed.
How To Apply
Before shopping for the best home equity loans, make sure to review the following qualification criteria:
- Your property must be private property, not HDB
- You must have lived in the property for at least 5 years
- Maximum tenure of 35 years
- Loan-To-Value (LTV) limit of 75% still apply
- If the LTV is below 50%, the total debt servicing ratio (TDSR) requirements are not applicable
- You cannot use your CPF funds for repayments
Additionally, make sure you have cash on hand when applying. The bank may require upfront fees, such as valuation and legal fees.
Lastly, you can use your Central Provident Fund (CPF) Ordinary Account to buy a home, pay for CPF insurance, investment, and education. Say, you’re buying a home but need cash on hand to pay for the downpayment. Aside from taking out a home loan, you can also use your CPF OA savings to pay for the downpayment. In doing so, you will not be taking on additional interest for a bank loan.
Note: Expats only need to begin their CPF contributions after assuming a Permanent Resident Status.
- Personal loans for foreigners are similar to Singaporean personal loans, but with additional guidelines and requirements.
- Not a lot of banks offer personal loans to foreigners but when they do, they have a high annual income requirement of S$40,000 – S$60,000.
- With this loan, you can borrow between 4x to 6x your monthly salary, depending on your annual income.
Getting a personal loan in Singapore as an ex-pat may be challenging but possible. As long as you meet the eligibility requirements, you can get the cash you need. However, you need to shop for interest rates, loan tenure, and other loan details that suit your needs.
If you need an urgent loan with lenient requirements, a licensed money lender such as Bugis Credit is one of your best options. Other than personal loans, they also offer monthly, payday, and business loans.