Midway through 2021, the far-reaching effects of the coronavirus pandemic show no signs of letting up permanently. While many Singaporeans have managed to weather the storm with work from home (WFH) measures and government COVID-19 payments, some are still struggling. For those who are tight with finances, a low income personal loan can make all the difference.
If you feel that you need financial assistance, read this simple guide before you apply for a personal loan.
Lay the groundwork
Money lenders treat every loan application with the utmost care, and the reasons are twofold. Firstly, a rigorous assessment process protects them from the potential financial loss and hassle of chasing a bad loan. Secondly, it is a safeguard against identity theft and invasion of privacy for their clients.
You can help them to accelerate the process by furnishing all the necessary documents when you apply. Among the documents that you will need are:
- National Identity Card
- SingPass login to CPF and IRAS
- Proof of income for the past 3 months
A lender may ask for other specific documents or paperwork pertaining to your unique circumstances. This is a common practice, especially when you apply for unsecured loans as it may be the only way to gauge your income.
Note that while a money lender may ask for these documents and make copies of them, they must return them to you immediately after completing the assessment process.
What to avoid
It can sometimes be tempting to apply for a loan from an unlicensed money lender. Most of us have received messages from them on social media or chatting apps with seemingly great lending terms. The wise will remember to stay completely away; each one of them is illegal and can result in serious negative consequences for you, both personally and legally.
Here are some signs that indicate that you are dealing with an unlicensed money lender:
- Platform – The law limits money lending ads to the lender’s physical office, their online website, and business directories such as the yellow pages. All messages for money lending services sent via other platforms are illegal.
- Very low interest rates – The government restricts interest on loans from licensed lenders to 4% per month. Each lender offers rates at, or marginally below this limit. A company that advertises significantly lower rates is either lying outright or hiding a host of other charges. Avoid them.
- No office – Every licensed money lender is required to register their business and operate at a physical office. If someone says they are a money lender but cannot provide a verifiable office address, they are not being honest.
- No secure website – No serious business operates today without a website. However, those that deal with sensitive personal information as a money lender does should have a secure website. This is represented by a padlock to the left of their URL in the address bar. The letters ‘https’ at the start of the URL instead of just ‘http’ indicate that the site is secure.
- Remote approval – Most licensed money lenders offer the convenience of an online assessment and provisional approval. This helps streamline the application so they can do the basic paperwork before releasing the loan to you. However, they are legally obligated to verify your identity and documents in person. Only an illegal money lender would complete the entire process online.
The world economy may be stumbling back to a version of normalcy but at too slow a pace for some people. If you earn a low income but need a personal loan, apply at a licensed money lender today.