Before approaching a moneylender, consider other alternatives, such as the various financial assistance schemes offered by various Government agencies. You may contact the agencies to find out more about their schemes.
You are legally obliged to fulfil any loan contract you enter into with a licensed moneylender.
Consider whether you are able to abide by the contractual terms, bearing in mind your income and financial obligations. Borrow only what you need and are able to repay. Be mindful that if you are unable to meet the contractual terms, the late payment fees and interest payment will be a financial strain not just on yourself but also on your family.
The law requires moneylenders to explain the terms of a loan to you in a language you understand and to provide you with a copy of the loan contract. Make sure you fully understand the terms of the contract, in particular, the repayment schedule, the interest rate charged and the fees applicable.
Consider carefully before agreeing to any contractual term which allows a moneylender to lodge a caveat on the sale proceeds of your real estate property upon default of the loan repayment. When a caveat is lodged against your property, you will not be able to sell it without first repaying the moneylender in full. If the repayment is taken from the net proceeds from the sale of the property, it can wipe out all or a substantial portion of the proceeds.
You should shop around different moneylenders for the most favourable terms. You should not rush into and commit yourself to a loan until you are satisfied with the terms and conditions.
For secured loans, you can obtain a loan of any amount. For unsecured loans, you can obtain:
- Up to $3,000, if your annual income is less than $20,000;
- Up to 2 months’ income, if your annual income is $20,000 or more but less than $30,000;
- Up to 4 months’ income, if your annual income is $30,000 or more but less than $120,000; and
- Any amount, if your annual income is $120,000 or more.
From 1 June 2012 onwards, moneylenders are required to compute and disclose to you the Effective Interest Rate of the loan, before the loan is granted. If your annual income is less than $30,000, the interest rate which moneylenders can charge, for both secured and unsecured loans, is capped at:
- 13 per cent Effective Interest Rate for secured loans; and
- 20 per cent Effective Interest Rate for unsecured loans.
The Effective Interest Rate takes into account the compounding effect of the frequency of instalments over a one-year period. This means that Effective Interest Rate better reflects the actual cost of borrowing over a one-year period. Visit www.ipto.gov.sg to find out more about how the Effective Interest Rate is calculated from 1 June 2012.
If your annual income is $30,000 or more, the caps above are not applicable and interest rate is to be agreed upon between the moneylender and the borrower.
Do not borrow from unlicensed moneylenders. Verify that a moneylender is licensed by checking the list of licensed moneylenders at www.ipto.gov.sg. Notwithstanding that the moneylenders are licensed, be mindful if they:
Read more details here.
- Use abusive language, or behave in a threatening manner towards you.
- Ask for your SingPass user ID and/or password.
- Retain your NRIC card or any other personal ID documents (e.g. driver’s licence, passport, work permit, employment pass or ATM card).
- Ask you to sign on a blank or incomplete Note of Contract for the loan.
- Grant you a loan without giving you a copy of the Note of contract for the loan and/or without properly explaining to you all the terms and conditions.
- Grant you a loan without exercising due diligence (e.g. approving a loan over the phone, SMS or email before even receiving your loan application form and supporting documents, such as the income tax assessment and payslips).
- Withhold any part of your principal loan amount for any reason.
- Such practices are not acceptable. If you encounter them, you should report the moneylender to the Registry of Moneylenders, with information such as the moneylender’s business name, licence and contact numbers. Please see Question 10 for more details.