A licensed money lender is your best option if you need fast cash to meet a personal or business emergency in Singapore.
These lenders, unlike unlicensed loan sharks, are governed by the Singapore Moneylenders Act.
When providing financial services to residents and foreigners, the Act requires money lenders to obtain a license.
As a result, a licensed money lender in Singapore must adhere to the Act’s rules. Violation of the rules could result in legal trouble for the lender.
To check a licensed money lender, visit the Ministry of Law’s list of licensed money lenders to see if it is on the list before taking a loan. If it is not, it is most likely a loan shark.
This article will guide you to know how to how to check a licensed money lender and highlight the differences between licensed money lenders and loan sharks.
Where Can I Find A List Of Licensed Money Lenders?
A licensed money lender in Singapore is a company that has been approved and licensed by the government to lend money to the general public.
Each legal money lender in Singapore is constantly scrutinised to ensure compliance with the Moneylenders Act. In Singapore, licensed money lenders must be registered with the Ministry of Law.
If you are still unsure whether your money lender is legally licensed, you can obtain confirmation from Ministry of Law’s list of licensed money lenders in Singapore. This list is available online.
If it is licensed, the lender should appear on MinLaw’s list, along with its license number and business address.
The Ministry updates the list regularly. Do not accept excuses from a lender on why it is not on the list.
What Licensed Money Lenders Can And Cannot Do
Licensed money lenders will always follow the code of ethics.
The Moneylenders Act strictly regulates the activities of a licensed money lender in Singapore. This includes safeguarding the borrower’s confidentiality, privacy, and integrity.
As a result, legal moneylending in Singapore must be done professionally, and there are certain things a licensed lender can and cannot do to a borrower in Singapore.
The task of collecting debts is outsourced to debt collection agencies, which will pursue you for the money owed on behalf of the licensed money lender.
Even if you default, these debt collection agencies will be required to follow the Credit Collection Association of Singapore’s Code of Ethics (CCAS).
Licensed money lenders or debt collectors can do the following under the law if you’re having trouble making your payments:
- Can talk to your family, relatives, or friends about the money you owe.
- A licensed money lender or collector may also call your office and politely ask to speak with you about your loan.
- As they have excellent mediating skills, they can assist you in mediating and negotiating loan repayment plans by either proposing an installment plan for repayments or offering alternative repayment solutions.
However, a licensed money lender in Singapore or debt collector cannot do the following:
Harass Or Intimidate
If they use vulgarities to intimidate you or threaten to harm you or your family, this may be considered harassment under the Protection From Harassment Act.
It is illegal under the Act to use threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviours with the intent of causing alarm or distress.
A licensed money lender cannot persistently monitor and follow a borrower’s movements because this is considered unlawful stalking under the Protection From Harassment Act.
Such an act is illegal, especially if the intent is to intimidate or distress you.
The Vandalism Act makes it a crime to splatter paint or write profanities in public places.
This includes posting debt collection notices or hanging banners in the borrower’s home or workplace.
Such actions to embarrass the borrower may also be considered mischief under the law and may result in a fine for the offender.
Damage Or Seize Property
A licenced money lender cannot seize any of your properties without a Writ Of Seizure And Sale from the Singapore Courts.
Furthermore, it is not permitted to cause any damage to your property. Otherwise, it will face criminal charges under the Penal Code.
How Much Can You Borrow From A Licensed Money Lender
There is no maximum loan amount for secured loans. A secured loan is one in which you must provide collateral, which will be forfeited if you are unable to repay the loan.
Unsecured loans, on the other hand, have limitations. When applying for one, keep in mind that there is a maximum loan cap to consider.
The following are the limits for citizens, permanent residents, and foreigners.
|Borrower’s annual income
|Singapore Citizens and Permanent Residents
|Foreigners residing in Singapore
|At least $10,000
and below $20,000
|At least $20,000
|6x the monthly income
|6x the monthly income
What Are The Interest Rates And Fees A Licensed Money Lender Can Charge?
Money lenders can charge a maximum interest rate of 4% per month for the value of the borrowed amount, also known as nominal interest, as well as for late interest.
The interest is calculated by subtracting payments from the monthly outstanding balance. That is, if you have repaid $10,000 of your $20,000 loan, your interest will be 4% of the remaining $10,000, or $400.
Late interest fees are limited to a maximum of 4% per month and can only be charged on the amount repaid late.
For example, if you make a late payment for a $2,000 repayment, the late repayment fee can only be applied to the $2,000 because the remaining amount is not yet due.
Other fees that the licensed money may charge include:
- Fees of up to $60 per month of late repayment
- Fees that do not exceed 10% of the loan principal
- Court-ordered legal fees for a successful claim by the licensed money lender to recover a loan
It is important to note, however, that the total amount charged by a money lender on any personal loan, including interest, late interest, and upfront administrative and late fees, cannot exceed the loan principal.
How To Tell If A Money Lender Is Licensed
The distinction between Licensed and unlicensed money lenders is easily blurred. However, the following guidelines will assist you in determining the legality of a moneylender.
The money lender is responsible for communicating all loan terms and conditions in a language that you understand.
In addition, before you take out a loan, the law requires them to engage you and ensure that you understand all the requirements.
All your questions should be answered by the person handling your loan application.
The money lender should also outline and discuss the interest rate, payment method options, and repayment period with you.
If you believe your money lender is avoiding your questions or purposefully withholding information, you should look for another money lender.
In Singapore, the Registry of Moneylenders specifies how much money should be lent based on the borrower’s annual income.
However, some lenders will still be willing to give you loans that are not in accordance with the guidelines, which is one of the sure signs of a loan shark.
Interest Rate And Fees Charged
There is a framework that determines how much interest you should pay on your loan.
This prevents legal and licensed money lenders from dictating the fees and interest rates charged on loans.
According to Singapore’s Ministry of Law, lenders cannot charge more than 4% monthly interest on the principal amount.
So one way to check a licensed money lender is to look at the interest rate quoted in your loan contract.
Loan sharks, on the other hand, may charge interest rates of 40% or higher per month.
In addition, money lenders are not permitted to charge more than $60 per month for late payment fees, which accumulate on a monthly basis.
The initial fee should not be more than 10% of the loan’s actual value.
According to the law, a loan contract must be prepared by a lawyer, and all parties involved must sign it.
It should include the following elements: the amount of the loan, the interest rate, the repayment period, the repayment options, and the late payment penalties.
If a money lender is willing to send you money without requiring you to sign a contract, you are most likely dealing with a loan shark.
Make sure to thoroughly review the contract, or better yet, have a lawyer review them.
Some loan sharks are aware of this requirement and will prepare lengthy and wordy contracts in order to mislead the borrower.
Licensed money lenders will never threaten, blackmail, destroy, or seize your property.
Note that without a Writ of Seizure and Sale, a licenced money lender cannot seize your property.
A licensed money lender also will not commit vandalism in public or on your property.
A physical address is required for firms with a moneylending license. You must visit the lender’s office for verification and to review the loan contract and terms.
As a result, if a money lender cannot provide you with an address, it is most likely a loan shark.
You can also look up the official addresses of licensed money lenders on the Ministry of Law website.
What To Do After Your Loan Is Granted
Before you are granted a loan, you must ensure that you are aware of all of the interest rates and fees that you will be charged when borrowing from the money lender.
That said, you must still take steps after you have been granted the loan to ensure that you have not been cheated.
Make sure that the money lender gives you the correct amount of principal when you collect your loan. Money lenders are required by law to charge a fee of no more than 10% of the principal loan when the loan is granted.
Ensure you pay your monthly loan installments on time. This will keep you from having to pay late fees and interest on late payments.
Licensed moneylenders are permitted by law to charge you a fee of $60 and no more for each month your payments are late, as well as a 4% interest rate for each month your payments are late.
Every time you repay a loan, your lender must provide you with a receipt that is dated and signed.
When you receive this receipt, double-check that everything is correct, including your name, and the amount, date, and signature.
Finally, you should also receive a statement of account for all your loans at least once every six months if you have taken this loan and are repaying it.
You should inspect them for any discrepancies and ensure that everything is in order. Keep all receipts and statements received for future reference.
Lodging A Complaint Against A Licensed Money Lender
Threatening or harassing a borrower in order to collect debts is considered unethical and will be investigated by the Registry of Moneylenders.
If you find yourself in this situation, you can contact the Registry to file a formal complaint at 1800-2255-529.
Your complaint should include details about the money lender, such as its company name, license number, and contact information.
To help with the investigation, you may be asked to meet with the handling officers and provide the necessary loan transaction details.
When you are in need of fast cash, a money lender with a money lender license is the easiest way to get a loan in Singapore.
But firstly, you must know how to check a licensed money lender by looking at the list of licensed Singapore money lenders available on the Ministry’s website.
Secondly, make certain that their business is transparent and above board, as even licensed money lenders can be shady.
The lender should clearly explain the terms of the loan contract to you and provide you with a copy of the contract.
If it tries anything unethical, report the lender to the authorities right away.
It’s necessary that you always engage a legalised money lender to ensure that you’re treated fairly and receive the best service possible.
At Credit 21, we endeavour to provide you with the best solutions for your financial situation.
So if you’re looking for a personal loan from a reputable money lender, contact us or apply for a loan with us now.