If you have ever found yourself desperately in need of a loan, borrowing cash from loan sharks may have crossed your mind. However, when it comes to credit, there are other safer alternatives.
Loan sharks are extremely high interest rate moneylenders and unlike licensed moneylenders and other financial institutions, loan sharks are not regulated by the law, so they operate according to their own rules, which include harassment, blackmail, and use of violence to intimidate clients.
That said, to avoid issues like having your privacy breached and constantly fearing for your safety and that of your loved ones, financial institutions, and licensed moneylenders should be your primary source of credit.
Who Are Licensed Moneylenders?
Licensed moneylenders are private institutions that give out credit to individuals and businesses, in order to help them finance business ventures, projects, and personal needs. They’ve grown in popularity, especially in Singapore, because they provide more flexible ways to get a loan as opposed to banks and other traditional institutions that are typically stricter when it comes to giving out credit to citizens.
As an increasing number of people turn to moneylenders as their primary source of funding, the government in Singapore has established a law that prevents unlicensed moneylenders from providing credit.
If you’ve weighed out your options and you’ve decided that a licensed moneylender is better suited to meet your needs, here’s a list of licensed money lenders in Singapore.
Despite being registered with the registry of moneylenders, a number of licensed moneylenders still attempt to not follow regulations and mistreat their clients. As a result, Singapore released a licensed moneylenders’ act that stipulates appropriate conduct for moneylenders.
The purpose of the act is to protect loan takers’ confidentiality, privacy and integrity. Here are ways in which these principles may be affected if a money lender doesn’t operate according to the law:
When borrowing means from a licensed moneylender, it’s a protocol to give out confidential information such as bank details and credit report, but you’ll have to sign an agreement of confidentiality to ensure your personal information is kept safe.
Despite that, there have been instances in Singapore where moneylenders have breached the law and broken their confidentiality agreement. This has resulted, in the most extreme of cases, in lenders using their client’s information to resort to identity theft.
While your privacy goes hand in hand with confidentiality, privacy has a wider scope, in a sense that, when you take out a loan, you share other private details like your residential address.
According to the law, your moneylender is strictly prohibited from showing up to your home unsolicited, as this is a breach of privacy.
Suspicious moneylenders may also make use of false claims to try to intimidate you or manipulate you into doing exactly what they want.
The following are red flags to look out for:
- They make use of abusive language and behavior
- They ask for your SingPass ID password
- They refuse to return your NRIC card or other crucial documents like your passport and ATM card
- They ask that you sign on an incomplete or blank document
- They grant you a loan, but they don’t explain the terms and conditions or providing you with a copy of the loan contract, or without exercising due diligence( approving the loan via SMS without obtaining your loan application form and supporting documents)
- withholding any portion of the principal loan amount for any reason
For your safety and confidentiality, it’s necessary that you report unlawful lending as soon as possible. If it’s reported early enough, officials may still be able to help you and minimize damage.
To report unlawful lending, you may contact the registry at this telephone number: 1800-2255-529
How to Borrow Money in Singapore and Things to Consider Before Borrowing Money
Borrowing money legally through Singapore licensed moneylenders is a serious commitment and agreement. That said, you absolutely need to make sure that it’s the best possible option tailored to your needs.
Furthermore, before taking out a loan, educate yourself on the terminology used by a licensed moneylender, i.e. interest & all rights reserved, so that you’re not left confused and you end up signing a contract that you’re not in full agreement with.
The following are things to consider before you opt to get a loan from a licensed moneylender:
- You should never borrow to pay off debt: When you borrow funds to cover another debt, you only end up plunging yourself into deeper debt that you may not be able to recover from.
- Evaluate if you really need the loan. Don’t opt for a loan if you haven’t exhausted all other options like borrowing from friends and family or selling assets and belongings that you may not necessarily need.
- Can you afford the loan? Don’t be tempted to take out an amount that is too large for you to repay. Consider the repayment installments you’d have to pay each month.
- Use Minlaw to verify if a moneylender is licensed. Since there are many loan sharks lurking disguised as legal moneylenders, you absolutely need to check that your moneylender is verified, so as not to fall into their traps.
- Look around to find the best loan, interest rate, and customized loan plan for you. There are useful sites like loan comparison calculator sites that typically allow you to see and compare different interest rates, down payments and more from different credit providers,
The moneylender of your choice will take your annual income, credit report and other details before proceeding to loan approval. Once the lender approves the loan and you’re comfortable with all the terms, i.e. interest charged, you’ll proceed to sign the loan contract and consequently agree to pay a certain amount per month.
What Are the Requirements to Borrow Money from Licensed Moneylenders?
Different types of loans will have varying requirements, depending on who they are adapted to and whether they are loans with or without collateral. Additionally, citizens and permanent residents are subjected to different requirements. The following are the requirements for different types of loans.
A personal loan falls under the category of unsecured loans because you don’t need to provide any type of collateral with your loan application. What’s more, with this loan you’re likely to get an appealing interest rate.
The personal loan is a smart choice if you have very specific needs that need to be met and you require something that is more adapted to solve your financial issues.
Emergencies occur everywhere and sometimes they result in you needing an amount of cash that you don’t have on hand. The payday loan is the ideal solution for this issue, it’s quick, it has low interest and it’s also available to those with bad credit.
The payday allows you to bridge the gap between your current needs and your next salary payment when you’ve gone way over budget and you need a bit of assistance in making ends meet.
Foreigners face many hurdles, especially when they happen to immigrate to expensive countries like Singapore. To make matters worse, most aren’t allowed to get proper loans and in instances where they are, the process and paperwork are too lengthy.
The Foreigner loan is therefore a great way for foreigners to get access to additional funds for personal use or to start small businesses on the side.
It’s similar to a Payday, but this one stretches over a longer period of time, typically months. It’s also a good alternative to using conventional credit that features higher interest rates and multiple credit cards.
The following are eligibility and requirements for the unsecured loans mentioned above:
- You need to be 21 years old or older
- A minimum salary of SGD2,000 for local and permanent residents
- A minimum of SGD3,000 for foreigners
Citizens & Permanent Residents
- Minimum monthly income of SGD2,000
- SingPass (to log into CPF, HDB ,IRAS website)
- Proof of employment
- Identity card
- Proof of residence
- Minimum salary of SGD3,000
- SingPass (to log into IRAS statement)
- Proof of income/account statement
- Employment pass/ work permit
- Proof of employment
- Recent three month’s payslip
Funding capital through credit isn’t an uncommon concept, in fact, even large corporations and companies all over the world borrow funds to enable them to grow their businesses. Moneylenders also offer business loans that are a lot easier to acquire and more affordable.
Here are the requirements:
- You need to be 21 years old or older and your business should be registered in Singapore
- Your business should have been operating for a minimum of one year
- The minimum turnover of SGD60 000 Per annum
Requirements / documents to provide
- A recent 6-month bank statement
- A list of all assets owned by the business
- Recent utility bills pf the company
- The business office lease agreement
- Recent financial statement
- Recent income tax assessment notice
- Recent contracts signed by business/invoices
The amount of means you can borrow highly depends on your annual income. Also, loans with collateral are unlimited, whereas those without any form of security are limited. Here’s a table summarising how much you can borrow from a licensed moneylender:
|Borrower’s annual income
|Permanent Residents and Singapore Citizens
|Foreigners who live in Singapore
|Less than $10 000
|Minimum $10000 but less than $20 000
|Minimum of $20 000
|6 times monthly income
|6 times monthly income
When it comes to interest, a money lender may not charge more than 4% per month and the same applies to late interest. Furthermore, your licensed moneylender can only charge interest on the remaining amount, not the total initial principal amount.
There are various fees attached to receiving a loan, however, when it’s granted, your licensed moneylender may not charge you more than 10% of the principal amount for the administrative fee. All this information should be clearly stated in the loan contract.
Steps to Take When you Encounter Loan Sharks
If you’ve been dealing with a particular moneylender in Singapore for a while now but you’re only starting to catch on that it’s actually a loan shark, the worst thing you can do is panic. Instead, follow these steps very carefully:
- You need to keep calm
- Refrain from making any additional payment
- Contact the police at ‘999’ or the X-Ah Long hotline at 1800-924-5644
- Get in contact with the credit counseling Singapore and other social service agencies to recover from serious debt problems.
- Don’t agree to guarantee any illegal loans
- Get help before it’s too late
There are hundreds of licensed moneylenders in Singapore and while it’s beneficial to individuals and businesses looking to get loans at favorable interest rates, it’s also a downside because it allows loan sharks to trick unsuspecting clients into thinking that they’re dealing with licensed moneylenders in Singapore.
In a nutshell, a loan shark is a lender who often charges higher interest and makes use of unconventional business methods. Loan sharks are in abundance in Singapore and they often give out loans in cash.
The ministry of law and the registry of money lenders make it extremely easy and convenient to verify if moneylenders in Singapore are registered. You simply have to search for the specific moneylender’s name on the list of moneylenders that are registered.
Borrowing from loan sharks, especially those who typically charge high late interest isn’t just dangerous, but it can at times be life-threatening. To protect citizens and avoid unnecessary violence brought about by loan sharks, the Ministry of Law has made it even more convenient to find trusted licensed moneylenders to finance any type of loan.
You need to make sure that you seek help from credit counseling Singapore and any other agency as soon as your troubles with loan sharks start.
On the other hand, licensed moneylenders offer personal loans and other loan types to citizens and permanent residents, as well as foreigners and they, charge reasonable interest on the principal loan amount.
If you’ve considered a number of moneylenders and you’re still unsure of which one is the right one for you, Burgis Credit is a good start. Burgis Credit Pte Ltd is a licensed moneylender and a trusted loan provider in Singapore. It takes its clients’ well-being into account, charges reasonable interest, and accommodates individuals of varying annual income.