Your Most Complete Borrowing Guide With Licensed Money Lenders in Singapore (2023)

Your Most Complete Borrowing Guide With Licensed Money Lenders in Singapore (2023)




Are you looking for a moneylender in Singapore? Whether this is your first time or tenth, the process can be confusing. Even experienced borrowers may have missed out on important information that would have saved them time and money.

Here is a comprehensive look at everything you need to know before you take a loan from a licensed moneylender in Singapore.

It is an in-depth guide that takes you through each step of the process, so you are equipped with the most relevant information to choose the most reliable moneylenders.

What are legal or licensed moneylenders in Singapore?

A legal moneylender in Singapore is a business that has obtained a licence to engage in money lending services. An approved moneylender is allowed to lend money to members of the public and then receive that amount back with interest and other fees.

Also keep in mind that while they may not be a big bank, a licensed moneylender is NOT a loan shark, which is illegal. They are private moneylenders conducting a legal and authorised business.

A private moneylender in Singapore is licensed by the Ministry of Law (MinLaw) and registered with MinLaw’s Registry of Moneylenders. These moneylenders must follow the guidelines and regulations set by MinLaw and conform to the laws in the Moneylenders Act 2008.

Note that licensed moneylenders’ new rules may be introduced by the government from time to time. Keep checking back for the latest updates and information.

How do loan companies get a moneylender license and conduct their business?

Obtaining a moneylender license

The process to obtain a moneylender license in Singapore is tedious and the requirements are intentionally rigorous. This ensures that every authorised moneylender in Singapore conforms to the highest standards.

Licences are valid for twelve months and are reviewed regularly. Note that as of January 2023, the Registry of Moneylenders has temporarily suspended the grant of any new money lending licenses.

You can check the moneylender license of a lender by viewing the MinLaw list of authorised lenders. This list is constantly updated when new licences are issued or existing ones are expired or revoked.

Employment of licensed moneylender staff

Legal moneylenders must obtain written approval from the Registrar before employing any individual to work in their office. They must also:

  • Provide the names and details of every assistant employed at the company
  • Provide written notice to the Registrar within seven days of an employee ceasing to work for them

The Registrar may refuse to approve individuals who have:

  • Been convicted of any offence involving dishonesty or moral turpitude
  • Been convicted of any offence involving corruption, drug trafficking, and other serious crimes
  • Broken any provision of the Moneylenders Act
  • Previously operated a money lending business in Singapore or another country

This ensures that the licensee and their team are of good character.

Furthermore, approved moneylenders in Singapore must appoint a Test-Qualified Manager to manage operations. This individual must satisfy the following criteria to be approved:

  1. Pass the Moneylenders’ Test;
  2. Obtain at least 4 GCE ‘O’ Levels passes, including English Language or equivalent; and
  3. Be fit, proper, and of good character

Licence applicants must also place a $20,000 security deposit to conduct a moneylending business.

A moneylender’s licence may be revoked if complaints are made or investigations reveal illegal actions and/or behaviour that contravene the Moneylenders Act.

Adhering to the Moneylenders Act

The Moneylenders Act was enacted to regulate the moneylending industry. It defines the legal framework in which licensed moneylenders conduct their business in Singapore.

Among other things, it lays the foundation for the creation and regulation of Credit Bureau Singapore as well as the collection, use, and disclosure of borrower information for money lending purposes.

What is the Moneylenders Credit Bureau (MLCB)?

Many borrowers may be unfamiliar with the Moneylenders Credit Bureau, but it plays a critical role in the process of money lending. The organisation was created under Section 30D of the amended Moneylenders Act. MinLaw has designated Credit Bureau Singapore as the operator of the MLCB.

The MLCB manages all borrower data in Singapore pertaining to loans and repayments with licensed moneylenders. Licensed moneylenders have access to this information when assessing a loan application.

The most relevant data they consider is a borrower’s outstanding loans and repayment history. This information is used to assess the creditworthiness of a potential borrower and manage credit risks when extending a loan.

Many licensed moneylenders like Prosper Credit work closely with the MLCB.

Prosper Credit offers various personal and business loans in Singapore.

Learn more about us here.

What are the differences between banks and moneylenders?

On the surface, banks and moneylenders perform the same role–lend money to the public and then recoup it with interest.

A bank is usually the first option most people would consider. However, a licensed moneylender in Singapore can be just as good, or in some cases, more suitable for some.

Here are the main differences between banks and moneylenders.

Banks Licensed Moneylenders
Reputation Recognisable names Smaller companies
Availability Depending on banking hours 24/7 online application
Eligibility Stringent Fewer requirements
Loan Process Can take up to 2 weeks for a new customer Within a day
Loan Amount Up to 12x monthly income Up to 6x monthly income
Interest Rates 3.5 – 11% per annum 1- 4% per month
Loan Term Up to 5 years Up to 24 months
Loan Disbursement Bank Order

Bank Account


Bank Transfer

1. Reputation

Banks have established, recognisable names that reassure us we won’t be exploited. In contrast, the majority of people who recognise a moneylender’s business name only do so when they receive a loan from them.

The bad reputation of illegal loan sharks also discourages borrowers from looking beyond banks when they need a loan.

But in reality, licensed moneylenders are also professional and reliable, especially if you deal with some of the top licensed moneylenders in Singapore.

2. Availability

Banks operate strictly by business hours and may have limited hours for loan applications.

Moneylenders also operate by office hours, but most of the time you can apply on their websites 24/7. That being said, you’re still required to go down to the licensed moneylender’s registered office to do a face-to-face verification as required by the law.

Note that someone claiming to be a 24-hour moneylender is likely running an illegal operation. Even the best online moneylenders do not have offices that operate 24 hours daily.

3. Eligibility

Banks have very high eligibility standards for loans. They assess and scrutinise each applicant’s credit score, borrowing history, employment status, residency status, and income bracket – to apply for a bank loan, you need to earn at least S$20,000 per annum.

On the other hand, licensed moneylenders have fewer requirements, and are generally open to a wider segment of potential borrowers. You can still get your loan approved even if you have a bad credit history. There is also no minimum income, though this would affect your borrowing limit.

4. Loan Process

The loan process followed by every bank and moneylender is directly related to their eligibility criteria.

Banks, with their strict conditions, adopt a very intensive and in-depth process. This involves extensive credit assessments, detailed analysis, and interviews.

On the other hand, licensed moneylenders are less strict. With fewer eligibility criteria and lower requirements to meet, the process can be completed in less than 30 minutes. The interview process is also less formal and stressful. Licensed moneylenders can also disburse the loan immediately in cash or via bank transfer, hence they’re also known as instant moneylenders.

5. Loan Principal (Amount Loaned)

A personal loan moneylender in Singapore will limit the loan principal to 6 times the applicant’s monthly income. Banks can loan as much as 12 times the borrower’s monthly income, though this depends on the applicant’s credit score.

6. Interest Rates

One of the most important differences between banks and private moneylenders is that private moneylenders’ interest rates are higher. Banks may reject loan applicants who have had credit issues in the past. Many of these applicants can still get a loan from a licensed moneylender.

Moneylenders protect themselves from the increased risk of default from such borrowers by imposing higher interest rates. The cap on interest rates is 4% per month.

7. Loan Term (Repayment Period)

A moneylender loan term usually ranges from 1 to 12 months. The best moneylenders in Singapore may offer a term as long as 24 months. Bank loan terms tend to offer an even longer term, which can go up to five years.

8. Loan disbursement

Banks usually only disburse the loan amount through a bank order or directly to the borrower’s bank account. A good licensed moneylender may instantly disburse the funds in cash or via bank transfer.

Interested in applying for a loan with an approved moneylender in Singapore?

Check out how Prosper Credit can serve your needs.

How to spot an illegal moneylender in Singapore

  1. They are not registered with MinLaw.
  2. They don’t have any physical offices.
  3. They have unprofessional manners.
  4. They advertise through unapproved channels.
  5. They don’t conduct proper documentation checks.
  6. They readily approve your loan applications.
  7. They ask for an upfront payment.

1. They are not registered with MinLaw

MinLaw maintains an updated register of all approved moneylenders in Singapore. If a moneylender is not on the list, they are almost certainly illegal. You may inform the police if you suspect illegal activity.

2. No physical office

As they are not legitimate businesses, illegal moneylenders cannot obtain a relevant business licence or rent premises. Instead, they would usually process your loan entirely online, such as through SMS or WhatsApp with no physical meet-ups.

They may also attempt to meet borrowers in public places or inside other businesses, like a coffee shop. Call ahead on the landline number provided to verify that their location is a legitimate, physical office.

3. Unprofessional behaviour

Loan sharks may intimidate you in a bid to get you to sign up for their loan. They might also rush you through the application process and refuse to answer your queries. Unlike them, a good licensed moneylender would clearly explain all the terms and conditions. If there is anything unclear, they would be ready to explain it to you. Do not deal with anyone who makes you feel uncomfortable.

4. Unapproved advertising channels

Legal moneylenders are restricted to advertising on their websites and office signages or in business directories. If a moneylender is advertising on chat apps such as WhatsApp and WeChat, or through email or SMS or flyer, they are probably illegal.

5. No verification process

Just as you vet potential moneylenders, they are also obligated by law to do their due diligence with borrowers. A moneylender that skips confirming your identity or verifying your documents would likely be doing so only to entrap you in their illegal activities. Don’t fall for this convenience trap. A legal moneylender always does a face-to-face verification.

6. Instant loan approval

Licensed moneylenders have to ensure their business succeeds and will only approve your application if they legitimately believe you are a genuine customer. Illegal moneylenders simply want to lure you in with the promise of easy money.

If the lenders are too eager to disburse the funds to you without the proper process, such as signing a loan contract and checking your documents, they could be illegal.

7. Upfront payment

No, not from them but from you. Illegal moneylenders may ask for an upfront payment. They may call it GST or a convenience fee, but whatever name they give it or the reason for it, a legal moneylender will not ask for any upfront payments.

How to choose the right licensed moneylender for your needs

There are two main questions you should ask yourself when comparing licensed moneylenders.

  • Proximity – The convenience of a nearby moneylender allows you to save time and money
  • Quality – A reputable moneylender will make your borrowing experience a seamless one and give you greater peace of mind

Proximity – How do I find a licensed moneylender near me?

A quick moneylender located nearby can be very convenient if you require urgent cash or need to resolve any issues promptly.

A quick search on Google Maps and other similar apps will show you a list of licensed moneylenders in your vicinity. Simply type “licensed moneylender near me” in the search field and note down the list of moneylenders that appeared.

Quality – How do I find the best licensed moneylender in Singapore?

  • Check the MinLaw website
  • Look for high ratings and positive reviews
  • Consider awards and accolades
  • Pay attention to good communication
  • Ensure the business is legal

1. Check the MinLaw website

The MinLaw website broadcasts news and other developments relevant to the money lending industry. They publish information about moneylenders who have been suspended or penalised for industry-related offences.

2. Check and compare reviews of licensed moneylenders in Singapore

Reviews are an excellent way to gauge how good a moneylender is. A good licensed moneylender has a high 4 or 5-star rating and a long list of happy customers who shared their positive experiences.

  • Consider whether the reviews sound genuine.
  • Also, look at the ‘News’ tab of your search engine when you search for a moneylender. They may have been in the news (for good or bad reasons).
  • Do the company’s former customers sound like they were in a similar scenario to yours? If so, did the moneylender help them resolve their problems?

3. Awards and accolades

Good licensed moneylenders are recognised by the industry with awards and felicitations regularly. The moneylender’s website will usually list these awards prominently. You can also verify such claims with news articles.

4. Communication

Communication is essential in any relationship, especially when there is money involved. Call or visit the moneylender’s office and speak to the team. Ask yourself:

  • Are they courteous and professional?
  • Are they knowledgeable about the field?
  • Are they empathetic to your situation?
  • Are they clear about their fees and charges or intentionally vague?
  • Could you imagine yourself dealing with them for months if you take the loan?

5. Legitimacy

It is very important to ensure that your moneylender is a legal business. You can assess this by:

  • Visiting their office: All moneylenders must operate in a physical office.
  • Checking with MinLaw: They must appear on the MinLaw list of moneylenders.
  • Interest and fees: There are limits to these and you can ascertain for yourself with a sample contract.

If you stay or work near Toa Payoh and are looking for a reputable and reliable moneylender, look no further. Prosper Credit is located in Toa Payoh Central, just steps away from Toa Payoh MRT station.

All our loan officers are professional and well-trained to attend to your needs.

Find out more about us here.

Private moneylenders’ interest rates–how are they calculated?

Licensed moneylenders charge a reducing interest, which means that interest is charged on the outstanding amount. This way, the interest decreases as the loan is paid off. The Ministry of Law has put a cap of 4% per month on interest.

Consider a 6-month loan of $5,000 charged at the maximum 4% interest per month (which means an annual interest rate of 48%).

As you can see from the table below, the instalment amount is fixed for convenience, but the interest paid reduces after every instalment.

Here’s an example of how a monthly loan from a moneylender can be calculated:

Month Instalment Interest Principal Balance
1 $953.81 $200.00 $753.81 $4,246.19
2 $953.81 $169.85 $783.96 $3,462.23
3 $953.81 $138.49 $815.32 $2,646.91
4 $953.81 $105.88 $847.93 $1,798.98
5 $953.81 $71.96 $881.85 $917.13
6 $953.81 $36.69 $917.13 $0

Legal moneylender fees and other charges – how are they calculated?

There are often other charges and fees involved when borrowing from a moneylender, especially if you repay your loan late. What are the licensed moneylenders’ late payment fees? Read on to understand more.

Late Interest

Late interest is legally limited to 4% per month, which means 48% per year. This amount is calculated daily by dividing the 48% interest by 365 days.

  • In a case where $1,000 is due, 48% is $480.
  • Divided by 365, the daily interest is $1.32
  • If the payment is made 10 days late, the total late interest is $13.20

Compound Interest

Compound interest on the loan is also limited to 4% per month or 48% per year. When a payment is late, compound interest continues to accumulate. The delayed payment does not affect the interest on the principal amount which is not due.

Late Fees

Moneylenders may also charge late fees for late payments, which are capped at $60 a month for every month of late repayment.

Processing Fees

If your loan application is successful, moneylenders usually charge a processing fee of up to 10% of your loan amount.

Searching for a moneylender with low-interest rates?

Enquire about our loans here.

Things to consider before you apply for a loan with a Singapore moneylender:

Getting a loan may seem like the way out of a challenging situation. However, taking the wrong loan for the wrong reasons can put you in an even more difficult spot.

Before you apply for a loan, ask yourself:

  • Do I really need the money? You must have a solid reason to go into debt, not a frivolous one.
  • Do I need another loan? Taking on an unreasonable amount of debt can be disastrous in the long run.
  • Do I need a loan from a licensed moneylender? An informal loan from friends or family may work instead.
  • Can government agencies or social service organisations help? They provide financial management and counselling at no cost. Find out more here.
  • Can I repay it on time? You may be digging yourself into a bigger hole by taking on more debt.
  • Do I need a guarantor? Becoming a guarantor for a loan has its consequences.
  • What’s the impact on your credit score? A bad loan today may affect your future credit applications.

Remember that bank loans should be your first option. If you don’t qualify for one, try to fix the underlying reasons instead of relying on moneylender loans.

Documents required when applying for a loan

You will need to produce these documents for verification when applying for a loan from any moneylender:

  • Proof of identity: NRIC, Passport, Work Pass (for foreigners). etc. This ensures that a borrower is taking on debt in their name.
  • Proof of income (CPF statements, IRAS NOA, payslips for at least the past three months). Moneylenders are more likely to extend loans to borrowers who have a consistent source of income, such as through employment or other means. A higher salary usually means that a borrower has access to larger loans, lower interest, and better terms.
  • Proof of residency. This is required for foreigners to ensure that they are residing in Singapore.

Note that all information that you share with a lender is protected by the Singapore Personal Data Protection Act 2012 (PDPA).

Here are some Frequently Asked Questions when applying for a loan.

Have more questions for us?

Contact us here.

What is the process of getting a loan from a legal moneylender in Singapore?

Once you have decided on a moneylender, this is usually the loan application process you need to go through:

  1. Apply for your loan online via the moneylender’s official website.
  2. A loan officer will contact you to schedule an interview at their office.
  3. During the interview, the loan officer will ask you questions to understand your financial needs and verify your ID, income, and employment information. They will also check your eligibility and loan principal limits.
  4. Your loan can usually be approved in 15-20 minutes if there is no problem.
  5. Once your loan is approved, the loan officer will go through the loan terms stated in the loan contract with you.
  6. If you agree to all the terms, you can sign the loan contract. Make sure you read through everything thoroughly before signing.
  7. Once the loan contract is signed, the money is immediately disbursed to you in cash or via bank transfer.

Prosper Credit offers a seamless and professional loan process.

Get a loan quote with us.

How you can settle your debt with a licensed moneylender on time

Here are some basic but very effective ways of ensuring that you repay your debt promptly.

1. Borrow only what you can repay

Think about the interest and additional stress of a large debt. Don’t borrow the largest amount possible just because you qualify.

2. Familiarise yourself with the loan terms

You and only you are responsible for the debt you take on. It may be tedious but ensure you read every sentence in the loan contract and understand it completely.

3. Maintain employment

For many borrowers, one of the main reasons they’re unable to repay their debts is the loss of income. So it’s important to keep your job, look for a higher-paying one, and if necessary, work part-time as well. Ensure that your income is sufficient to repay your debt.

4. Have a repayment plan for all your debts

It can be difficult and stressful to list down all your debts but it is necessary. Look at all your financial obligations and work out how best to meet them.

5. Cut back expenses

Every unnecessary expense takes you closer to defaulting. Build the discipline to say ‘no’ to things you don’t need.

6. Seek help from loved ones and non-profit agencies

Family and friends may be able to help you with cash. Government and social service agencies can help you build a budget or negotiate with your creditors.

What if I am unable to pay moneylenders in Singapore?

A loan can be a lifeline when money is tight, but it is only a temporary measure. You are legally obliged to repay the loan and all associated expenses, including late payment fees.

What action can a moneylender take if you are unable to repay your loan?

Legal moneylenders usually take action in three escalating steps:

  1. Send a Letter of Demand (LOD) to your home or office address. This is a letter stating what you owe, when it is due, and when it was overdue.
  2. Visit you in person at your home or office. The message from the LOD can also be delivered to the debtor in person.
  3. Initiate legal proceedings. Can moneylenders file a case in court? Yes, and the law will side with them if you have indeed defaulted on your loan.

What can you do?

If you are struggling to meet your obligations, do not simply stop paying and default. It is still possible to salvage the situation.

1. Extend the repayment deadlines

First, contact your moneylender and ask to extend the payment deadline. If you are just barely missing repayments, some extra time could help you get back on track. Many moneylenders may waive additional penalties if you approach them early.

2. Do debt consolidation

If that doesn’t work, consider debt consolidation. This is advisable if you have multiple loans and are struggling to manage them all. Debt consolidation merges all your debts, resulting in a single interest rate and repayment date.

3. File for bankruptcy

The last course of action is to file for bankruptcy. Bankruptcy is an option if you owe more than $15,000. While it stops debt from accumulating, there are serious consequences, including the forced sale of your assets and possessions.

Resolving disputes

Sometimes, misunderstandings may occur between the moneylender and the borrower, such as whether the moneylender is asking for the right amount of money to be paid. If that is the case, use this approach:

  • Communicate: Most misunderstandings by either party can be resolved with rational discussions and calm communication.
  • Negotiate: If you are behind in your payments, negotiate a compromise for repayment. This can be smaller repayment amounts or deferred payment deadlines.
  • Delegate: If you fear you may be too emotional during the negotiation, get a trusted friend or a family member to mediate and handle the communication instead.

If all these steps fail and your discussion ends up being a very heated one, contact the police before the situation gets out of hand.

Dealing with licensed moneylender harassment

Unlicensed moneylender harassments are constantly in the news, but licensed moneylenders have also been found intimidating debtors. In some instances, it could be a case of mistaken identity.

Among the tactics used for harassment are:

  • Abusive calls and messages
  • Threatening messages left at the borrower’s home or office
  • Use of red paint–splashed across doors and vehicles
  • Vandalism, such as breaking windows or starting fires

A licensed moneylender is obliged to follow strict rules when pursuing outstanding debts. They are legally prohibited from using abuse, threats of violence, and intimidation. If you encounter such behaviour, you can:

  • Make a complaint against the moneylender threatening you via MinLaw’s Registry of Moneylenders’ hotline at 1800-2255-529 or their website
  • Report their actions to the police

We hope this article has given you a much better understanding of taking up a loan with licensed moneylenders in Singapore.

Prosper Credit is a top licensed moneylender in Singapore. Our professional loan officers will be happy to explain to you the details of taking up a loan.

Learn more about what we can do for you today.


While all reasonable efforts are made to include accurate and up-to-date information on this website, errors or omissions may still occur. We are not liable for any loss or damage caused by the use of this website. The information on this website is for general information only and should not be taken as professional advice.