The average bank lending rate in Singapore is around 5.6%. The current economic climate in Singapore has led to an increase in the number of individuals needing finance. Due to their quick approval, less stringent requirements, and higher lending limits, many are turning to unlicensed moneylenders.
However, this comes at high risk. These illegal lenders do not adhere to any regulations, often charge high interest rates and fees, and may resort to extreme and illegal tactics if their victims fall behind on repayments.
To minimize this risk, it is essential for individuals who need finance to conduct their research on licensed money lender Singapore before deciding. In this article, you’ll learn how you can find out whether a moneylender is licensed and regulated by the Ministry of Law, as well as their interest rates and other fees.
Who is a Licensed Moneylender in Singapore?
A moneylender in Singapore refers to any person or company that lends money, whether secured with an item such as your vehicle or unsecured. It also includes agents and brokers who may facilitate loans between you and the lender, moneylenders if they are not licensed.
Money lending is a business and comes with inherent risks. Hence, all moneylenders in Singapore must be registered with the Registrar of Moneylenders. This ensures that they abide by specific rules and regulations such as:
• Charging an interest rate of at most 4 percent per month.
• Only giving loans up to $50,000 per individual borrower.
• Not taking any personal items as security for the loan.
• Keeping their customers’ particulars confidential if requested.
Such rules and regulations were put into place to protect the general public from unlicensed moneylenders charging exorbitant interest rates and fees, exploiting borrowers, and using illegal practices to retrieve debts.
How Do You Find Out Whether a Moneylender is Licensed?
In Singapore, all licensed moneylenders are required by law to display their license number prominently on their websites and business premises.
This number comprises seven digits and begins with a four-digit figure representing the name of the country (98 for Singapore). This is followed by three digits for the license number, and finally, another two-digit figure which the Registrar of Moneylenders assigns.
To verify whether a lender is licensed, visit the Moneylenders Credit Bureau, which publishes all records of licensed moneylenders in Singapore on their website.
You can search for any licensee by their name or registration number and look through their record to find out more about them before deciding where to take a loan from.
How Can You Check on the Interest Rates and Other Fees?
While license numbers prove that the government has vetted a moneylender for basic good business practices, it doesn’t guarantee their competitiveness in terms of interest rates and fees. Here are some ways to find out how competitive they are: Compare their interest rates to banks and other licensed money lenders in Singapore.
Banks offer low-interest loans to customers who maintain a certain salary level or have capital assets such as property.
Terms and Conditions
Read the terms and conditions on their website to find out any penalties or hidden fees.
Find out if there are any other additional fees so that you’ll know how much you’ll need to repay. Do ask them if there are any other hidden or added fees so that you can compare loan offers from different moneylenders.
It’s best to find a lender who is competent in interest rates and transparent with their terms and conditions. A good moneylender will also be more than happy to answer your queries and even offer you a free consultation before making any decisions.
In general, fixed-interest-rate loans are easier to compare since it’s easy to tell how much exactly you’ll need to repay each month regardless of the number of installments made.
However, moneylenders who offer an interest-based loan structure will charge you a higher monthly payment if you repay faster.
Other significant things to look out for include the repayment period and penalty charges for early repayment. You may find that some moneylenders lower your interest rate if you choose to repay your loan in whole or in part at any time without penalty.
If you plan to repay your loan in full at some point, make sure that the moneylender allows for such an arrangement.
Just by ensuring that the Registrar of Moneylenders licenses a moneylender, you have already done half the work in finding a credible and affordable loan provider. Moneylenders with good records are more likely to be legitimate business people who will not resort to unfair or underhanded practices when dealing with borrowers.