How Can You Check A Money Lender License?
September 30, 2022
Where Can I Find A List Of Licensed Money Lenders?
To locate a list of licensed money lenders in Singapore, visit here. This directory, from the Ministry of Law’s (MinLaw) Registry of Moneylenders, contains the names and contact information of all licensed money lenders in Singapore.
Remember: Don’t trust a lender that attempts to explain why it is not on that list. It’s most certainly a loan scammer.
Warning Signs of Loan Scammers
- A loan shark can contend its company is not on the official list of licensed money lenders because of a flaw in the system.
- It can also contend its company moniker is distinct from its brand name.
- “Ah Longs”, another name for loan scammers in Singapore, can also publish a false money lending license on their website, hoping you won’t do further checks.
These are all just strategies intended to deceive decent individuals like you and me.
Pro tip: Send an inquiry to the Credit Association of Singapore (CAS) to verify if a legal money lender is enrolled with them. Legal money lending in Singapore isn’t linked to being part of CAS. However, being a member of this association commits practitioners to elevated ethical standards.
What Licensed Money Lenders Can And Cannot Do
Licensed money lenders are financial institutions that provide loans to individuals and businesses. They are regulated by the government and must observe specific rules and guidelines.
What They Can Do
- Money lenders can provide loans for various purposes, including home renovations, business expansion, or personal expenditures.
- Their loans can be distinct from bank loans. For example, licensed money lenders in Singapore can allow you to purchase furniture and electrical appliances through their renovation loans.
- The interest rate on a money lender loan is typically higher than the interest rate on a bank loan.
- Money lenders are permitted (and willing) to deal with consumers who have less-than-perfect credit.
- Money lenders in Singapore can withhold up to 10% of your principal loan amount as their admin fee. This charge will be withheld upon loan transfer.
Restrictions on Legal Moneylending
- Money lenders cannot advertise freely. They also cannot send direct marketing messages to persuade you to get one of their loans. MinLaw restricts their advertisements to:
- Business directories
- Consumer directories
- Their websites
- Their business premises (for example, they are allowed to place posters on their walls and windows, but they cannot give out leaflets outside their company’s headquarters).
- Money lenders cannot charge more than 4% monthly interest, calculated from your remaining balance.
- The utmost late interest rate cannot exceed 4% out of the delayed installment. The utmost late repayment fee is $60 for each month of late repayment.
- They cannot impose any fees for early payments.
- Money lenders don’t have any pre-approval charges.
- Legal money lenders must not omit composing a comprehensive loan contract that details all the conditions of your agreement. They must give you a copy of that agreement.
- The money lender can’t alter the contract conditions (e.g. increasing your rate or decreasing your tenure abruptly).
- A legal money lender in Singapore isn’t permitted to hold onto your confidential documents, such as your NRIC or passport. It also shouldn’t prompt you for bank or credit card credentials.
- A licensed money lender must not use force, intimidation, or harassment of any kind to get payment.
- The legal money lender cannot sanction your loan without a prior face-to-face verification meeting conducted at its headquarters. For example, it cannot agree to the loan via SMS or in a parking lot.
- If you default on a loan from a money lender, it can take legal action against you, but it cannot use violence or intimidate you in any way.
How To Check If A Money Lender Is Licensed
The simplest method to check if a money lender is licensed is by searching for its registration number on the Ministry of Law’s website.
Steps to Verify a Money Lender’s License
- Go to the Ministry of Law’s website.
- Under the “Info for borrowers” tab, click on “List Of Licensed Money lenders In Singapore.”
- You will be redirected to a new page with additional information and a PDF link.
- Click on that PDF to download the roster.
- Check your money lender’s name on the list.
As a helpful hint, MinLaw also maintains a list of excluded money lenders. These organizations are expressly excluded from needing a moneylending license by the government.
This number is also printed on tangible items like business cards and contract templates. If you are unable to locate the registration number, the money lender is definitely doing so illegally.
Caution: Continue your verification procedure even if the money lender provides you with its registration number. Many shady lenders rely on your failure to follow up.
How Much Can You Borrow From A Licensed Money Lender
The answer to this query depends on the type of loan you select for.
For example, there’s no utmost limit for a secured loan. If you’re willing to use your $2,000,000 property as collateral, a licensed money lender can legally offer you a $2,000,000 loan.
However, MinLaw has established certain limits for unsecured personal loans:
- $3,000 for citizens and permanent residents earning less than $10,000 per year and $500 for immigrants earning less than $10,000 per year
- $3,000 for citizens and permanent residents earning less than $20,000 per year, and foreigners earning $10,001-$20,000 per year
- Six times your monthly income for citizens, permanent residents and expatriates earning at least $20,001 per year
- In addition, personal loans from licensed money lenders are limited at $250,000.
Total Debt Service Ratio (TDSR)
The utmost quantity you can borrow from a lawful money lender is also influenced by the Total Debt Service Ratio (TDSR). This ratio represents the percentage of your monthly income that goes towards repaying debts.
The current TDSR limit is set at 55%.
What Are The Interest Rates And Fees A Licensed Money Lender Charges?
The fees a licensed money lender can levy are:
- Interest rate
- Late interest rate
- Late penalty fee
- Admin fee
Interest rates for licensed money lenders are restricted at 4% per month. The interest you owe each month is calculated from the outstanding balance.
Late Interest And Late Repayment Fee
As indicated above, money lenders can charge a late interest rate of up to 4% per month on the missed installment. They can also impose a maximum late repayment fee of $60.
The last fee your money lender can legally charge you is the 10% admin fee. From the $10,000 loan example, that admin fee is $1,000. So, the money lender can legally transmit you just $9,000.
What To Do After Your Loan Is Granted
Once you’ve been granted the loan, double-check the interest rates and fees with the licensed money lender. Make sure everything is in order before signing the contract.
- You must retain your contract, Statement of Account, and receipts in a specific folder.
- Make copies of those documents just in case.
- Strive to make timely payments.
- You can set up an automatic payment system with your bank to ensure your installments go through.
- If you find yourself in a difficult situation that precludes you from disbursing these quantities, seek out to your money lender. Being forthright about your situation will help you negotiate better conditions.
Lodging A Complaint Against A Licensed Money Lender
Even licensed money lenders can violate the law. For example, they can charge you concealed fees or intimidate you with violence.
If this happens and you feel in imminent peril, you should contact the Singapore Police Force:
- Emergency phone number: 999
- Police hotline (for crime-related information): 1800 255 0000
- Anti-scam helpline: 1800 722 6688
You can also file a complaint with the Registry of Moneylenders, the government agency that regulates licensed money lenders in Singapore.
That’s everything you need to know about verifying a money lender’s license. Besides, you now know what to look for when dealing with a licensed money lender, from utmost quantities to interest rates and other conditions.
Just remember to do your research, read the contract thoroughly, and lodge a complaint if necessary.
Credit Thirty3 is here to assist.
Our loans are designed to assist you in your time of need, from exigencies to large purchases. As a licensed money lender, we offer competitive interest rates for personal, business, and foreign worker loans.
Plus, we have a team of experienced loan consultants who are more than glad to address any queries you may have.