The Singapore government has always recognized the need to protect both borrowers and moneylenders. The rights and protection of these groups and individuals were summarized in a legal document called the Moneylenders Act.
This document details how the moneylending business should work and function. It also describes the parameters as to how moneylenders must collect, use, and disclose the information and data of the borrowers.
It is important that moneylenders and borrowers in Singapore are familiar with this document so that they can be certain that they do not fall from scams and other deals where they could lose money.
How to Know If a Moneylender Is Licensed?
There is no doubt the moneylending industry has grown over the years. There are hundreds of legal and illegal moneylenders in Singapore today. Hence, it is crucial that borrowers be very critical in choosing which company to trust. As a result, borrowers are often searching terms such as “license money lenders in Singapore” or “licensed money lenders Singapore” online.
One easy way to identify legitimate or licensed money lenders in Singapore is to check the list of valid moneylenders registered in the Republic of Singapore published by the country’s Ministry of Law. This list was last updated in August 2021. The Ministry of Law releases a regularly updated list to guide the borrowers. You can check out the most recent list uploaded by the MinLaw.
The Registry of moneylenders will provide a borrower with an idea on which company to trust. It is an easy and convenient way guide that can be used and accessed by borrowers.
How Much Can You Borrow?
The amount you can borrow from a moneylender depends on several factors. For secured loans, you can obtain any loan amount. There is no limit to the amount as long as the moneylenders provide the needed loan.
Meanwhile, for unsecured loans, borrowers may fall under different categories. For one, if you are a permanent resident or a Singapore citizen and have an annual income of less than $20,000, you can only borrow an amount of up to $3,000 from all the moneylenders combined. But for those earning more than $20,000 annually, you can borrow money up to six times your monthly income from all the moneylenders combined.
The case is different for foreigners in Singapore. Those earning less than $10,000 each year can only borrow $1,500. While those earning $10,000-$20,000 annually can borrow up to $30,000. And those with annual income higher than $20,000 can borrow six times their monthly income. Here is a detailed breakdown of the set loan cap:
|Borrower’s annual income||Singapore Citizens and Permanent Residents||Foreigners residing in Singapore|
|Less than $10,000|| |
|At least $10,000 |
and less than $20,000
|At least $20,000||6 times monthly income||6 times monthly income|
What Are the Interest Rates & Other Charges Moneylenders Can Charge?
According to the Moneylenders Act, the maximum moneylenders interest rate can charge is 4% per month. This cap is applicable to all borrowers regardless of their income or if they have a secured or unsecured loan.
Borrowers are charged with other fees. First is a maximum fee of $60 for each month of repayment. Another is the loan fee should not be more than 10% of the principal of the loan. And of course, the borrowers must pay for legal costs set by the court in case of a successful claim by the moneylender for the recovery of the loan.
For a detailed computation of interest rates and other charges, you can check this helpful guide from the Ministry of Law. The details listed here are based on the Moneylenders Act. Borrowers must learn to appreciate the Moneylenders Act because it serves as the most important document when it comes to moneylending.
How to Know If the Advertisement Is Legitimate
The business of moneylending has been thriving. As a result, a lot of illegal moneylenders or loan sharks are trying to run their own scams on people. One growing concern here is that even loan sharks are able to run their advertisements. This means that borrowers must be extra vigilant in choosing which money lender to trust.
Do remember that licensed moneylenders are only permitted to advertise through three channels. The first is through print or online business directories. The second is through websites owned by the licensed moneylender. Third, the physical place or office of the licensed moneylender such as their building or company premise.
If you received an SMS, email, or a flyer offering you a loan, there is a big chance that the moneylender contacting you is an illegal business. Do not hesitate to contact the authorities to report these loan sharks. Take note that you can easily check the Registry of moneylenders if you are in doubt with the company you are dealing with.
What Moneylenders Should Provide to Borrowers After Being Granted a Loan
Once a borrower is granted a loan by a legitimate moneylending company, he/she has to ask for a copy of the signed contract. This contract is a legal document. It is legally binding, which means that borrowers must be able to know and understand the agreement they entered.
Also, a borrower must also ask for receipts every time he/she makes any repayment towards the loan. Ensure that the details of the receipt are correct, including the name, amount, and date. These receipts serve as proof that the loan is being paid. This will protect the borrower in the future in case of conflicting claims.
Borrowers must also ask for a statement of account for all their loan or loans at least once every January and July. This gives the borrowers an idea of how much of the loan amount they still own. The receipts also serve as documentation on all the transactions made between the licensed moneylenders and the client.
Borrowers can also apply for a credit bureau report so they can have their own copy of payment history from various moneylenders. This will give them an idea of how to proceed with their financial affairs in the future.
How to Report a Moneylender or Its Unfair Practices
When you encounter any problem with a moneylending business or entity, do not hesitate to contact the Registry at telephone number: 1800-2255-529. The Ministry of Law will conduct an investigation and will surely look into the matter you have reported.
Moreover, if you think that the licensed moneylenders you chose are doing illegal activities, you can report them to the authorities so that they would be taken out of the Registry of moneylenders. It is important for the registrar of moneylenders to warn borrowers in the future. An excluded moneylender will no longer be able to exploit people.
It is also your due diligence to check on the legitimacy of the moneylender you are dealing with. If you feel that the moneylending business you are dealing with is an unlicensed moneylender, you must report it to the Ministry immediately. Remember that these companies are dangerous, especially to people in need.
What If You Can’t Pay the Loan?
If you believe that you can no longer pay the loan you borrowed from a moneylender, you can always negotiate your loan terms with them. Licensed moneylenders can find legal ways for you to help you pay for your loans. Such deals might come with additional fees.
Do remember that a moneylender has the legal right to seize the borrower’s property, in cases where the loan has been secured by an asset. Borrowers can lose their properties and important possessions.
What Can You Do Is the Moneylenders Are Harassing or Threatening You?
Despite the failure to pay, a moneylender should never harass or threaten a borrower. The Moneylenders Act specifically ensures the protection of borrowers from any type of abuse and harassment from moneylender businesses. If you have personally encountered a situation like this, submit the business name of the contact to the Ministry of Law so they can do the necessary action to protect borrowers like you.
The Moneylenders Act, as well as other Singapore laws, ensures that no borrower feels abused. As a borrower, you have to trust the government to protect you if you encounter any problem. If you feel that you need assistance from the government, you can easily contact their offices through phone or email.
Obtaining a loan creates a legal obligation. In Singapore, the Moneylenders Act covers the rights and obligations of lenders and borrowers. Given this, it is important that you think before applying for a loan. You must choose the most trustworthy moneylender because you will be entering an important contract with them. Most importantly, you must only deal with a licensed moneylender.
One company that can promise you a smooth loan experience is 365 Credit Pte Ltd. It is a licensed money lender which has been voted Top 10 Best Moneylender 2020. 365 Credit Pte Ltd. practices ethical and legal money lending. Therefore you can surely trust in their loan processes.
If you wish to know more about 365 Credit Pte Ltd and the loan offerings they have, you can check their loan offerings and other services. You can also check their different types of the loan if you are still undecided in what loan should you get.