Moneylending has been an important part of the lives of people in Singapore. The existence of legitimate and legal money lenders in the country alleviates the financial woes and difficulties of those in need of money.
In order to protect both the borrowers and money lenders, the government has decided to regulate the industry. Today, only licensed money lenders are allowed to operate so as to ensure that borrowers do not fall under the traps of the so-called loan sharks.
Read this article and find out where you can access the complete list of licensed lenders.
How money lender works?
Singapore money lender companies provide different types of loans. People can apply for personal loans for various purposes.
But before applying for a specific type of loan, it is important that you understand how the system works. You have to know that not all loan companies are the same. You have to be extra careful in choosing which loan companies to trust.
The lending business relies on the mutual benefit that the borrower and the lender receive.
When a person borrows money, the loan company takes profit through the interest rates paid by the borrower. Aside from the interest rates, moneylenders in Singapore also earn though the processing fees and admin charges they get from the borrower. Also, when borrowers decide to take a longer time in paying their loans, legal money lenders can charge a bigger interest rate.
Contrary to popular belief, moneylending is not something free. The loan payments made by the borrower compensates the cost incurred by the loan company.
This indicates why borrowers should not be lured by the too-perfect or unrealistic loan offerings made by certain loan companies. These loan companies need to earn too, and if they say otherwise, they are likely illegal.
One bad side of the industry of moneylending is the rise of illegal or unlicensed moneylenders in the country. Commonly known as “Ah Long” or loan sharks, these illegal moneylenders would charge extremely high interest rates.
They would lure people are desperate or in need of money. When the borrower cannot pay the borrowed money, these loan sharks are not hesitant to use violence against the borrowers.
List of licensed money lenders in Singapore
Given the rising number of loan sharks in Singapore, the government has decided to regulate the money lending industry.
This meant that only a money lender who complies to the rules and regulations set by the government must be allowed to operate.
All the names of these licensed moneylenders are compiled in a list so-called registry of moneylenders created by Singapore’s Ministry of Law.
If a moneylender in Singapore is not on the list, it is an illegal moneylending business which must be reported to the authorities immediately.
The most updated list provided by the Ministry of Law can be found here. Currently, there are only 156 licensed loans companies in Singapore.
If you have a loan or planning to get one to be sure that the financial institution you have dealt with is included in this list. Also, take note that the list is updated regularly. It is best to check the most recent upload from the Ministry of Law.
If you are thinking of applying for personal loans in the future, you must be familiar with the loan industry.
One way to begin your loan application journey is to look for a legitimate or legal lender who can provide you with the best personal loan deal.
Try browsing the official list of licensed moneylenders in Singapore so you have an idea where you can apply for a loan application.
How to spot illegal or unlawful money lenders
For someone who is planning to apply for loans, it is critical that you should not fall under the threats of loan sharks.
Aside from the intimidation and violence they can inflict, these illegal moneylending organisations charge unreasonably high interest rates. Also, there have been reports in the past where the police have to intervene because borrowers opted to deal with unlicensed loan companies. The Singapore police has been reminding Singaporeans not to deal with these illegal businesses.
Here are some of the loan scam red flags you have to watch out for if you want to avoid dealing with illegal or unlawful moneylenders.
Observe whether the loan company you are transacting with shows any of these signs.
If you are doubtful of their legitimacy, you can always consult the authorities or check out the list of legitimate loan companies published by the MinLaw.
1. You’re receiving unsolicited offers.
Authorised or licensed lenders can only advertise through three channels. These are in business or consumer directories which include print or online media, in websites owned by the licensed lender, and in a place within the business premises of the licensed lender.
If you happen to receive SMS or email invites, there is a big chance that you have encountered an illegal monlender.
It has become common to see flyers and pamphlets distributed in the streets of Singapore, advertising a moneylender business. You must avoid a bank or financial institution that uses this form of advertisement because only an illegal moneylender would do this. It is best to avoid these businesses in order to make sure that you do not encounter any problem in the future.
2. Your loan offer is incomplete.
The Moneylenders Act requires all lenders to provide the complete terms of a loan, including the final cost of the principal plus interest in a legal contract.
The rule is meant to ensure that the borrowers fully understand and agrees to the loan terms. If a moneylender chooses not to divulge the details of the loan offer completely, it is very likely that you are dealing with some shady individuals.
Moreover, the law requires a licensed lender to explain to you the loan terms in the language that you understand. The contract you will be signing must be written clearly.
If you feel like you do not understand the content of the loan agreement, it is best that you do not sign it.
3. You can’t find a physical address or contact details.
More often than not, licensed lenders have their own building or office where they conduct their business.
An illegal lender would choose not to build a physical space in order to avoid police and the authorities. It would be difficult to prosecute them if their business cannot be found.
Another clue in identifying an illegal loans company is the absence of their contact details, specifically their landline number.
It is easy even for illegal companies to have an email address, but it is difficult for them to have a landline number because of their lack of corporate details and records.
Hence, if you have encountered a loans company that cannot provide their contact details, you have to investigate further whether this company is legitimate or not.
4. The loan requires payment up-front or has “high processing fees.”
Beware from any excess fee charged by the moneylender. Remember that you should not pay for any fee before getting the loan amount. Do not pay any amount asked by a company prior to receiving the loan.
By law, a licensed moneylender is only allowed to charge three expenses to the borrower.
(a) a fee not more than $60 for each month of late repayment,
(b) a fee not more than 10% of the principal of the loan when the loan is already given,
(c) the legal costs ordered by the court for a successful claim by the lender in Singapore for the recovery of the loan.
Also, take note that no licensed money lender in Singapore is allowed to accept a gift card as payment. An illegal money lender in Singapore would choose cash or card payment in order to avoid police surveillance and investigation.
If you feel that the loan company is charging you more than what the law indicates, do not be afraid to raise your questions to their representatives. They should be able to explain to you the purpose of these charges.
5. The loan application website is not secure.
When applying for a loan, you are sharing sensitive financial information. This means that you must be extra careful in choosing which websites you are using when processing a loan application.
One way to ensure that the website is secure is to look for the padlock icon on the left of the URL. If you do not found anything, it is best to take the precaution and not use this website.
Also, an unsecured website says that the company do not have enough budget to create a legitimate and professional website. This somehow indicates that this loan company is not a licensed money lender.
If you wish to know more about red flags when it comes to moneylenders, it is best to be familiar with the rules and guidelines for borrowing money. Here is a FAQ from the Ministry of law. Conduct a lot of readings and research just so you can be sure that you are choosing the best moneylender Singapore can offer.
How to report unlawful moneylenders
If you feel like you are dealing with an illegal moneylender, the first thing to do is to check if the moneylender you are in contact with is licensed or legitimate.
Make sure to look for the name of the company in the list of licensed moneylending companies from the Ministry of Law. The list from the MinLaw is updated regularly, so check out the latest from their website to make sure that you are dealing with a legitimate business.
If after checking, you found out that you are dealing with an illegal money lender Singapore, do not hesitate to contact MinLaw or other authorities.
They will do the necessary investigation and other essential steps to put an end in the operation of these illegal businesses.
Meanwhile, if you are receiving threats and harassments from an illegal money lending company you dealt with, you must call the police immediately. The operations of these illegal money lending firms must be stopped immediately.
Moreover, if you feel like the loan company you are dealing with is harassing you or violating any of your rights as a borrower, do not hesitate to contact the Singapore government.
No borrower should feel threatened by a loan company. These financial institutions, licensed or not, should never use violence and intimidation in making their borrowers pay.
Remember that the government has crafted laws and regulations to make sure that the business of money lending remains safe and helpful.
Applying for a personal loan or other types of loans can be scary and intimidating for many Singaporeans. Reading loan procedures and loan information can be overwhelming.
Given this, the first step towards finding a great licensed moneylender is to look at the list of licensed moneylenders on the website of the government.
Never deal with an illegal loan company because aside from the unfair fees and hidden charges, they can be violent against borrowers.
If you do not have a legitimate money lender in mind, you can check out the great deals from Bugis Credit Pte Ltd. Bugis Credit Pte Ltd is a licensed money lender which has an impeccable record in providing good service for their clients applying for personal loans and other types of loans.
The company’s customer service will help you with queries and questions you have in mind, especially when it comes to applying for a loan.
Loan Advisor awarded Bugis Credit Pte Ltd as one of the Top 10 licensed moneylending companies of 2020. This is proof of the excellent service that the company gives to its clients.
Also, the company has received outstanding reviews and recommendations from their previous customers. These are testaments on the quality of service that Bugis Credit Pte Ltd has given to its clients in the past years.