What are your options as a foreigner living in Singapore if you need to apply for a personal loan? We break it down for you.
Editor’s note: Personal loan and bank rates are subject to change. The information reflected here is accurate as of 3 May 2019.
Are you a foreigner working in Singapore? From sky-high rentals to exorbitant medical expenses, this little red dot is one of the most expensive cities for expats to live in.
This makes it extra tough if you ever find yourself running into financial difficulties. Without your friends and family around to provide support, it can be challenging if you need emergency cash.
Fret not, for there is a lifeline for you. To help you tide through lean periods, there are personal loans available for foreigners. Banks and licensed credit companies in Singapore can assist foreigners with customised credit services, such as short or long-term contracts to meet varying needs and requirements.
What is a Foreigner Loan?
Foreigner Loans are loans offered to foreigners working, studying, and/or living in Singapore. There is no big difference in the process of applying for a loan as a Singapore Citizen – the main difference lies in the qualifying criteria. Most of the time, foreigners will need to meet a higher income requirement or show proof of legal residence in Singapore.
How do Foreigner Loans work?
The process and interest rates depend on the lender and type of loan you choose. In general, foreigners need to submit documents as legal proof that they are working in Singapore. You might also have to apply with a guarantor if you do not have a credit score.
One key thing that banks and other credit companies are looking out for is whether or not you intend to (or are able to) remain in Singapore for the duration of your loan tenor. Do be prepared for the possibility that some lenders may not be willing to work with non-residents – even with a guarantor.
Where can you get a Foreigner Loan?
If you are in need of financial assistance, it is advisable to get it from a reliable source. For your protection and peace of mind, the best foreigner loans you can get in Singapore are from banks. Alternatively, if you fail to qualify for a bank loan, you can seek assistance from legal loan institutions and licensed moneylenders in Singapore.
Avoid unlicensed and illegal money lenders at all costs to prevent yourself from being exposed to scams and harassment. You can check if these companies are registered with the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) before approaching any of them for loans.
Factors to consider before applying for a Foreigner Loan
Most of the banks in Singapore offer Foreigner Loans, but some credit institutions provide faster approval processes as well as possibly fewer or lower qualification criteria.
Do consider the interest rates and instalment plans to see if the loan is suitable for your income and needs. It is also important to take your income and the duration of your stay into account so that you can clear your debts before leaving the country.
Requirements for a Foreigner Loan Application
The specific requirements will vary depending on which bank or credit company you approach, but in general, you should:
- have a valid Singapore Work Pass (PEP, E Pass, or S Pass)
- be at least 21 of age
- be employed on a full-time basis
- have a residential tenancy agreement (proof of your residential address in Singapore, in the form of your tenancy agreement, PUB bills, phone bills, or other utility bills)
- produce a bank statement (reflecting account activities for the past 6 months)
- have an employment letter from your company
- show payslips for the past 3 months
For many foreigners, the biggest challenge when applying for a personal loan in Singapore is the lack of a credit score. Check with the bank or credit company if you can obtain alternative documents or references for a non-traditional credit check. This could help you get a loan without a credit score.
BEST PERSONAL LOANS FOR FOREIGNERS IN SINGAPORE
|Annual Interest Rate* from||Effective Interest Rate (EIR)||Min. Loan Amount||Max. Loan Amount||Min. Annual Income|
|Standard Chartered Bank CashOne Personal Loan||3.88%||7.97%||S$1,000||Up to 4x monthly salary or S$250,000||S$60,000 (Q Pass validity of at least 1 year)|
|HSBC’s Personal Loan||3.7%*||7.0%||S$5,000||Up to 8x monthly salary or S$200,000||S$40,000 (Work Pass validity of at least 1 year)|
|Citi Quick Cash||4.55%||8.5%||S$1,000||S$100,000||S$42,000|
|OCBC ExtraCash Personal Loan||15%||16.44%||S$1,000||Up to 4x of monthly salary||S$45,000|
*Rate is exclusive to SingSaver and not available on the bank’s website, based on a 2- to 4-year tenor
Standard Chartered Bank CashOne Personal Loan
With a $199 annual fee waiver and a guaranteed flat interest rate of 3.88% p.a., the Standard Chartered CashOne Personal Loan is one of the best options in the market. What’s more, you get the cash the very next banking day.
However, the minimum annual income to qualify for a loan is S$60,000, which is pretty high.
Read our in-depth review of Standard Chartered CashOne Personal Loan here.
Apply for the Standard CashOne Personal Loan by 31 May 2019 and receive $100 + $1,000 in welcome gifts and bonus cash!
Exclusively for the month of May 2019, SingSaver is running a promotion that is rewarding you with up to $1,100 in additional welcome cash if you apply for the Standard Chartered CashOne Personal Loan! Simply apply through our promotion page and tell us what you would do if you had an additional $1,000 cash and why.
The top 3 most inspirational answers will win $1,000 in cash! Terms and conditions apply.
HSBC’s Personal Loan
Overall, HSBC offers the longest loan tenor of up to 7 years which means that you can spread out your monthly payment over a longer period of time. This can be useful if you’re looking to borrow a large sum and need to break down your repayments into more manageable monthly instalments.
Apply by 30 June 2019 and enjoy a 7% p.a. promotional effective interest rate with no processing fee.
Read a more in-depth review of HSBC’s Personal Loan here.
Citi Quick Cash
For those who need to borrow a huge sum of up to S$100,000, Citi Quick Cash offers an attractive interest rate of 4.55% p.a. (for new customers). The loan tenor can be stretched to a maximum of 5 years. Another perk is the zero processing fee and instant pre-approval if you meet certain terms and conditions.
OCBC ExtraCash Personal Loan
Out of the banks, OCBC charges the highest interest rate at 15% p.a. On top of that, there is a processing fee of S$200 or 2% of the total loan amount, whichever is higher.
In addition, OCBC bank charges an early repayment fee, for partial and full repayments, of 3% of the amount to be repaid, with a $1,000 minimum repayment. The bank charges a fee of 3% of the outstanding loan amount for loan restructuring. It also imposes a $80 late payment fee.
If you are looking for a personal loan in Singapore, it pays to do your research – literally. Comparing interest rates for all available loans in the market before committing to one could mean a difference of hundreds of dollars in interest saved. Compare and apply through SingSaver now and save even more with exclusive welcome gifts and better interest rates.
Alternatively, check out our summary of the Best Personal Loans in Singapore 2019 for our recommendations of the best loans based on different needs.
What to read next:
5 Ways to Get the Highest Credit Score in Singapore
4 Times In Life You Should Consider Getting a Personal Loan
How to Get a Cash Loan From Your Card’s Credit Limit
6 Things To Know About Interest-Free Credit Card Instalment Plans
What’s the Average Personal Loan Interest Rate in Singapore?
By Zann Huang
A recipient of the Magnum Foundation Emergency Grant in 2014, my photos from the Middle East and Asia have also been published in Time Magazine and Le Monde etc. My written work ranges from travel, politics (Mid-East) to the environment and finance-related matters.