Your Handbook to Borrowing From
a Licensed Money Lender in Singapore

asian couple checking handbook from money lender-mobile

Table of Contents

asian couple checking handbook from money lender

Introduction to Licensed Moneylenders in Singapore

What is a licensed money lender in Singapore?

According to the Moneylenders Act, an approved money lender in Singapore carries out the business of money lending under certain ministry regulations and laws.

Even though these licensed money lenders work independently and are not tied to public financial institutions, all licensed money lenders have to be registered with a licence number under the Registry of Moneylenders and are regulated by the Ministry of Law. They must also adhere to the laws and rules in the Moneylenders Act or risk losing their licence.

Authorised money lenders in Singapore tend to offer similar loans to local banks at varying rates and are usually the preferred choice for borrowers who are looking for fast loans that require less stringent credit checks.

How to tell the difference between a licensed money lender and an illegal money lender in Singapore?

While licensed money lenders conduct their business under the Ministry of Law, illegal lenders like loan sharks may pose as authorised institutions, resulting in the increase of money lender scams in Singapore.

To avoid falling into scams, it is important to differentiate between licensed money lenders and unauthorised ones.

Here’s how to tell the difference between a licensed and an illegal money lender in Singapore:

While licensed money lenders conduct their business under the Ministry of Law, illegal lenders like loan sharks may pose as authorised institutions, resulting in the increase of money lender scams in Singapore.

To avoid falling into scams, it is important to differentiate between licensed money lenders and unauthorised ones.

Here’s how to tell the difference between a licensed and an illegal money lender in Singapore:

1) No money lender license



The first way to identify an illegal money lender is by looking through the authorised list of Moneylenders. Ensure they have a physical office, an approved landline, and an approved website as stated in the list, and they display their license certificate in the office.

If the money lender you are approaching is not on this list, they are likely illegal. You should always check the money lender licence number and enquire with the authorities if you have any doubts.

This could save you a lot of problems and will protect your safety. Illegal money lenders are known to inflict physical and emotional harm and are highly likely to land you in a huge debt.

2) Advertisement methods

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Licensed money lenders have commercial and marketing rules that they have to abide by. While they are allowed to advertise their firms, they are also limited to certain locations. Under the guidelines, authorised money lenders can advertise their services through consumer and business directories, on their official websites, and at their physical office premises. 

Unauthorised modes of advertising are usually done through unsolicited emails, SMS, calls, social media ads and door-to-door flyers. If you receive advertisement materials through any of these means, the money lender is unauthorised and should be reported to the police.

3) Remote loan approval and disbursement



While you can apply for a loan online through an official licensed money lender website, legal money lendersalways require face-to-face verification in their office before disbursing the loan. Illegal moneylenders, on the other hand, usually push for entirely online transactions. If a money lender promises quick loan payouts without meeting at a registered business address, be wary and report them to the authorities.

4) Threats and violence

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Loan sharks are known for their violent and incessant debt collection methods that can affect the lives of borrowers and their families. 

To avoid unlicensed money lender harassment, have the due diligence of reviewing your money lender’s licence. While authorised money lenders have their own rules and regulations of debt collection, they are prohibited from harassing their borrowers with threats and violence.

What to know before borrowing from a licensed moneylender

What is the difference between taking a loan from a money lender in Singapore and a local bank?

women checking difference between taking a loan from a money lender in Singapore and a local bank

While banks and licensed money lenders provide similar loans, they differ in many ways. For example, private money lenders’ interest rates are known for being much higher than banks but it is also much easier to get a loan approved with a private money lender in Singapore.

They both have their pros and cons, so here’s a breakdown of the differences between banks and money lenders.



Average interest rate

3.5 - 11% per annum

1 - 4% per month

Borrowing sum

Up to 12 times monthly income

Up to six times monthly income

Loan approval timeline

Typically a few days or more

Same day approval

Credit assessment

Requires a good credit score

Does not require a good credit score

Minimum income requirement (unsecured loan)

At least $20,000/year

No minimum income requirement

Repayment period (personal loan)

Up to 5 years

Up to 24 months

What to look out for when enquiring with private money lenders

If you’ve decided to go ahead with a licensed money lender, there are a few things you should look out for before diving in. It’s a good habit to shop around and compare money lenders to find the best bang for your buck.

You also want to make sure you have a good experience with your money lender so here are some enquiries you should make before signing the contract.

1) Money lenders with low interest rates and fees


1) Money lenders with low interest rates and fees

When you’re shopping around, you definitely want to find money lenders with low interest rates.

Don’t settle for the first money lender you approach as you can negotiate and reduce your fees if you search well enough. While the rate will not be as attractive as a bank loan, always make sure you’re not being overcharged and the best way to do that is by enquiring with as many money lenders as possible.

However, it’s helpful to note that low interest rates may not always suit every borrower. Loans with low interest rates and a short loan tenure would require a larger monthly repayment. 

For borrowers with a tight monthly budget, a longer loan tenure with smaller monthly repayment (despite more interest paid in total) may be more suitable.

2) Other loan terms


2) Other loan terms

When you receive your loan contract, it’s extremely important to go through it thoroughly before signing to ensure you don’t experience any penalties and land yourself in bigger debt.

 Your loan contract should include the principal amount you’re borrowing as well as the monthly or annual interest rate discussed. You should also take note of the repayment terms especially if the money lender requires instalment payment on specific dates. Be familiar with the penalty fees for late repayment.

3) Money lender reputation and reviews


3) Money lender reputation and reviews

The best way to find out if your money lender is reputable is to search for a money lender review. These reviews can be found on Google and you’ll be able to gauge your future experience with the money lender through other borrowers’ past experiences. If a money lender has disproportionately larger one and two-star reviews, it’s best to stay away from them.

Elite Credit is a professional legal money lender offering loans with generous repayment terms.

Types of loans that moneylenders offer

Legal money lender loans: Secured vs Unsecured

Licensed money lenders offer both secured and unsecured loans to their borrowers but what are the differences between the two? In general, unsecured loans are a lot riskier for money lenders and therefore, come with a higher interest rate. Secured loans have lower interest rates but require collateral. Collateral can be in the form of assets such as a car or property. If you are unable to repay your loan, your money lender has every right to seize your collateral as payment.


Secured loans

Unsecured loans

Requires collateral

Does not require collateral

Examples of secured loans:
vehicle loans, property loans

Examples of unsecured loans: personal loans,
credit cards, student loans

If unable to repay, collateral will
be seized

If unable to repay, credit score may be
affected and the borrower may not be able to
apply for loans in the future

Loan limits for unsecured loans

Unsecured loan limits are determined by your citizenship and annual income.


Borrower’s yearly income

Singaporeans & PRs


Less than $10,000



$10,000 to less than $20,000


$20,000 and above

Up to 6 times monthly income

Loan limits for secured loans

Secured loan limits are generally determined by the borrower’s financial capacity as well as the type of loan (property, car loan).


Total Debt Servicing Ratio (TDSR)

Property & Car Loan: TDSR calculates the percentage of a borrower’s monthly income that goes towards paying off their loans

Capped at ≤ 55%

Loan-To-Value (LTV)

Car Loan: LTV calculates the loan amount as a percentage of the vehicle value.

Capped at 60-70% (depending on
the open market value of the vehicle)

Mortgage Servicing Ratio (MSR)
HDB & EC Loan:
MSR calculates the percentage of a borrower’s monthly income that goes towards paying off all HDB flats and Executive Condominium property loans.

Capped at 30%

Pros and cons of secured and unsecured loans

If you’re deciding between applying for an unsecured or secured loan with a money lender, here’s a breakdown of both their pros and cons.




Secured Loan

Can take up a bigger loan

Lower interest rates and fees

Easier to obtain even with a bad credit history

Longer loan repayment tenure

Risk of losing assets

Loans must be used for a fixed purpose (vehicle, home, etc)

Obtaining a loan may take a few days or weeks

Unsecured Loan

No risk of losing collateral

Has more flexible loan terms

Quick loan disbursal

Small loan amount

High-interest rates

May require a good borrowing history

Shorter loan tenure

Loans money lenders offer for various situations

These are some examples of loans offered by Elite Credit:

Private car hire & taxi loan

Freelance and casual worker loan

Debt consolidation loan

Keen to apply for a personal or business loan?

How do licensed moneylenders charge?

When applying for a loan with quick money lenders, it’s important to know the possible fees you could be charged. Money lenders don’t only charge interest fees. Their services also come with administrative fees.

 However, under the regulation of the Ministry of Law, money lenders have a cap on the fees they can charge.


Chargeable Fees

Capped Amount

Interest rate

4% per month

Late interest

4% per month for each month of
late repayment

Late repayment fee

$60 for each month of late repayment

Processing fee

10% of the principal loan amount

Legal fee (for recovery of the loan
if borrowers default)

Decided by court

1. Interest rate

asian women checking bills
asian women checking bills

1. Interest rate

If you’re deciding between the best loan tenure and interest rates, you should do your research by calculating your monthly instalments. Licensed money lenders use a reducing balance method to calculate interest, where the interest is calculated based on the outstanding loan amount for every instalment.

For example, if you have paid off $2,000 from a $14,000 loan, your interest for the next instalment is calculated based on the remaining $12,000

You can use a loan charge calculator to get an accurate amount. The 4% monthly cap on interest rates is applicable regardless of the borrower’s income and loan type.

2. Late interest

Licensed money lenders in Singapore can also charge you late interest fees on top of your negotiated monthly interest rate if you don’t pay your instalments on time. Late interest rates are capped at 4%. However, this can only be charged on the amount that was not paid on time and not the remaining loan.

Licensed money lenders can also charge you late interest fees on top of your negotiated monthly interest rate if you don’t pay your instalments on time. Licensed money lenders in Singapore’s late interest rates are capped at 4%. However, this can only be charged on the amount that was not paid on time and not the remaining loan.

3. Late repayment fee

If you do not pay your loan on time, not only can your money lender charge you a late interest fee, but they can also charge an additional fee for each late payment. This fee cannot exceed $60 for each month of late repayment.

4. Loan processing fee

Money lenders may also have an additional fee when you apply for a loan. This processing fee should not exceed 10% of the principal loan amount. For example, if you have borrowed $1,000 from your lender, your processing fee should not be more than $100.

Under the Moneylender’s Act, the total amount that legal money lenders can charge (including the monthly interest, late interest, late repayment fee and administrative fee) cannot exceed the principal loan amount.

calculating the loan processing fee

At Elite Credit, we offer attractive interest rates and fees. Are you looking for an urgent cash loan?

What is required when applying for a loan

Documentation required by a legal money lender in Singapore



Employed Singaporeans/PRs

Self-employed Singaporean/PRs



Latest 3 months’ proof of income (payslip)

CPF contribution statement


Proof of income for the last 3 months

IRAS Notice of Assessment


Latest payslips for the preceding 3 months prior to loan application

Work pass


Tenancy agreement or proof of billing address

NRIC of all directors & partners

Business profile from Accounting & Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA)

Latest income tax assessment report (company & personal)

Credit Bureau Singapore (CBS) report of all directors (to show borrowing history)

Latest financial statements

Latest business contracts

Latest bank statements 6 months prior to loan application

Tenancy agreement of physical office/shop



NRIC of all directors & partners

Business profile from Accounting & Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA)

Latest income tax assessment report (company & personal)

Credit Bureau Singapore (CBS) report of all directors (to show borrowing history)

Latest financial statements

Latest business contracts

Latest bank statements 6 months prior to loan application

Tenancy agreement of physical office/shop

How to improve your loan application with a legal money lender in Singapore

1. Credit score


Having a favourable credit score can increase your chances of getting your loan approved. A credit score is a numerical value ranging from 1000 to 2000 that indicates the likelihood of a borrower repaying their loan.

The higher the borrower’s credit score means there is a lower likelihood that the borrower will default on their loan. This score is calculated based on the borrower’s credit repayment trends, default records, bankruptcy records and other financial histories.

Repaying your loans on time will improve your credit score and any future loan applications. Credit scores are vital especially for bank loans but are not always checked by licensed money lenders.


2. Check borrowing history & limit

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Instead of credit scores, licensed money lenders across Singapore use the Moneylenders Credit Bureau (MLCB) to review borrowers’ loans and repayment records. The MLCB is specifically used by money lenders to assess the borrower’s creditworthiness and make decisions before approving a loan.

Borrowers have a loan limit across all money lenders in Singapore. If that limit is hit, they will not be approved for any more loans. Therefore, it is recommended to repay loans on time and refrain from applying for large loans that could limit any future loans.

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3. Reduce the number of loans


Borrowers with multiple existing loans usually have a higher chance of defaulting. Therefore, lenders will usually reject a borrower’s loan application if they already have multiple loans, especially if these loans are recently taken within a short time.


4. Ensure a steady income stream


Licensed money lenders prefer borrowers with a stable income stream as this means they will likely be able to make their payments on time. This income can come from full time employment or part time work, as well as other means such as property rental, monthly CPF payouts or spousal maintenance.

As long as you can prove that you are getting these monthly payouts through bank statements and reports, your application will likely be approved.


Step-by-step process of applying for a loan with a Singapore money lender


Search for reputable licensed money lenders, using keywords such as ‘the best money lenders in Singapore’, to ensure that you are dealing with a trustworthy and reliable lender.


Enquire in-person, through call, or online with the best money lenders about their loans, interest rates, repayment terms, and the specific documents required to apply for a loan.


Compare rates and loan terms of different money lenders and select one that is suitable for you and your budget.


Once you have decided on a money lender, fill up the online application form for a loan.


The loan officer will call you up to arrange a face-to-face verification at the money lender’s office. Bring down all the necessary documents. The money lender will check your MLCB report for credit and borrowing history.


After the review, if you are assessed to be eligible for a loan and all documents are in check, your application will be approved immediately. This will take around 15-20 minutes.


The loan officer will go through the loan contract with you. Make sure you understand and agree to all the loan terms before signing the contract.


Once the loan contract is signed, the loan amount will be disbursed to you immediately via cash or bank transfer.

What to take note of when applying for a loan with a money lender in Singapore

1) Note down repayment dates

Once you’ve received your loan, it’s important to take down your repayment dates and follow them religiously using a repayment schedule. Licensed money lenders’ late interest rates and late fees in Singapore are much higher than that of the average bank.

To ensure you pay on time, budget your monthly expenses, reduce unnecessary purchases and set aside a fixed amount for your repayment. Alternatively, you can opt for a monthly loan with a smaller tenure so that the interest incurred remains low and manageable.

2) Read through the contract thoroughly

Before signing a contract, make sure you agree to all the terms stated by your licensed moneylender. In the contract, take note of the amount borrowed, the interest rate, the repayment schedule and the details that verify your money lender as legitimate and legal. This information should correspond with what you have discussed with your money lender. Make sure to keep a copy of the contract or your loan could be considered fraudulent.

3) Get a guarantor to improve your application (if needed)

If you’re struggling to get your loan approved, you can consider getting a guarantor for a higher chance of approval. Guarantors are legally obliged to pay off any loans if the main borrower is not able to do so. Your guarantor should be someone you trust and they should also be aware of the risks involved if you are unable to pay off the loan.

Do you need an urgent cash loan with a reliable money lender?

Do you need an urgent cash loan with a reliable money lender?

Repaying Loans & Debt Collection

Loan repayment tips

Borrowers need to have discipline when paying off their loans as one default payment can incur a larger debt. Many may also plan on paying off their loans as fast as they can but be wary of any possible early repayment penalties from your money lender.

To pay off your loans on time and diligently, here are some tips:


Make high interest loans a priority

Try to pay off loans with the highest interest rates as early as possible. You can do this by increasing the payment amount but remember to strike a balance if you have other loans to pay off. Do also remember to check if there’s any early repayment penalty from your money lender.


Keep track of receipts and outstanding loan amount

Taking on loans comes with the responsibility of being organised. Whenever you make a payment to your money lender, keep the transaction receipt as proof. Your money lender should also issue you a receipt within 7 days of your payment, which will state your outstanding loan amount. Keep track of this figure until you pay it off fully.


Make lifestyle changes

The best way to stay in control of repayment is to reduce any unnecessary expenses. By cutting down on luxury or unnecessary purchases, you can save on cash and put it into your repayment amount. Start by creating a budget for your monthly expenses and make more informed choices in your day-to-day spending.

What happens if you are unable to pay a money lender in Singapore

If you ever find yourself struggling to pay off your loan, it’s not recommended to use your credit card as a solution. Credit card loans are known for their high interest rates, which will increase your debts to an exorbitant amount. 

Here are some other options you can consider if you are unable to pay your money lender.

1. Negotiate repayment terms or opt for a refinancing plan

Most licensed moneylenders in Singapore are willing to offer flexible terms for loan repayment, which may include negotiating an extension or refinancing the loan. If you opt for a refinancing plan, you can change the loan tenure or consider a Debt Consolidation Loan to consolidate multiple loans with money lenders.

You might have heard of the Debt Consolidation Plans. They are offered by licensed banks and financial institutions in Singapore for individuals struggling with high-interest unsecured debts. However, these plans have certain restrictions and eligibility criteria. For instance, medical loans, renovation loans, and medical loans are excluded. And to qualify, you need to be a Singaporean or Permanent Resident with an annual income between S$20,000 and below S$120,000.

While licensed moneylenders in Singapore do not offer Debt Consolidation Plans, they have Debt Consolidation Loans that work on a similar principle. These loans can be a viable alternative for individuals whose debts are not covered under the Debt Consolidation Plans or who don’t meet the eligibility criteria. It’s important to note that any negotiations after the initial signing of the contract may incur additional fees.

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2. Approach social service agencies

For loan repayment advice, social service agencies provide credit counselling and assistance for loan repayments to those who are struggling. 

If you are not able to pay off your loan, approach any of these agencies for financial aid and assistance.

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(only if you have bank loans as well) Number: 6225 5227
Email: [email protected]
Address: 51 Cuppage Road, #07-06, Singapore 229469 

Address: No. 5 Harper Road #02-01A Singapore 369673
Tel no.: 6909 0628
Email: [email protected]

Number: 8428 6377
Email: [email protected]
Address: 16 Arumugam Road,
#04-02B, LTC Building D, Singapore 409961

Address: 8 New Industrial Road #04-04B LHK 3 Building Singapore 536200
Tel no.: 6547 1011
Email: [email protected]

Address: 151 Chin Swee Road #08-04 Manhattan House Singapore 169876
Tel no.: 9423 8832
E-mail: [email protected]

Address: (East) 11 Playfair Road Singapore, (West) Jurong Spring CC, 8 Jurong West St 52 Singapore 649296 Tel no.: 6749 0400
E-mail: [email protected]

Address: 1 Pasir Ris Drive 4 #05-11 Singapore 519457
Tel no.: 6416 3960
E-mail: [email protected]

3. Opt-in for the Debt Repayment Scheme

If you have exhausted all your options and are planning to file for bankruptcy, look into the Debt Repayment Scheme (DRS).

The DRS allows you to repay your loans as all your ongoing interest charges will be frozen and your money lender will not be able to file for litigation against you. However, the scheme is by initiation and you will only be eligible for DRS if you file for bankruptcy or if a bankruptcy application is made against you.

Your total debts owed should also be between $15,000 to $150,000 to be approved for the scheme. If eligible, you will be able to make monthly payments on your loans for a maximum of 5 years. Once you declare bankruptcy, it will be reflected in your credit report in Credit Bureau Singapore (CBS) or when creditors do a litigation search on you.

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Money lenders threatening me? How to settle licensed money lender disputes in Singapore

While authorised money lenders have the authority to retrieve your loan through legal means, they are also regulated under strict laws which forbid licensed money lenders from resorting to harassment tactics.

If your moneylender is pressuring you with threats and aggression, you can take action by making a police report and/or filing a complaint to the Ministry of Law, CAS or social service agencies.

Here is a list of illegal behaviours you should be aware of.

What licensed moneylenders CAN do

What licensed moneylenders CAN’T do

Send Letter of Demand to the borrower’s place of residence or employment in an enclosed envelope

Openly display Letter of Demand at the borrower’s residence or on social media

Send text messages and make phone calls to the borrower within specific hours
Mon-Fri: 8am – 10pm
Sat & Sun: 9am – 9pm

Harassing the borrower with calls during unusual hours at the expense of their family and colleagues, or making anonymous calls to contact the borrower

Hire assigned debt collectors to retrieve loans through legal means

Stalking and pestering the borrower at their place of residence or employment

File for litigation against you

Using threatening language and aggression towards the borrower

Licensed money lender near me: the best money lender in Singapore

Elite Credit is a reliable money lender in Geylang, so if you stay around the area, we are just a short walk away from Paya Lebar MRT station.

If you’d like to know the best loan for your financial situation, send in an enquiry and we’ll get back to you with the best recommendations.


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