If you need $1000 for an emergency – to pay for health-related expenses, school fees, a funeral, or (heaven forbid) ang bao money – there are only a few ways for you to get that money. You can earn it, save it, find it, ask for it (through donations, grants, crowdfunding, etc.), steal it, win it, trade it (through selling/pawning an item), inherit/receive it as a gift/acquire through marriage, or borrow it. Most people would perceive the last option to require the least amount of effort, risk, and/or luck. But borrowing money in Singapore can be tricky and can require more effort than what you might expect.

Unfortunately, the “easiest” loans to borrow are from loan sharks and unlicensed moneylenders who charge outrageous rates and have the reputation of engaging in nefarious, unlawful practices. Fortunately, with Onelyst, you can compare loan rates easily and quickly across all licensed money lenders in Singapore (over 160 of them), and even apply through their online platform.     


The Old Way to Get a (Unsecured) Personal Loan

For those who can’t qualify for a bank loan and don’t want a new “paint job” for their home, car, or their neighbours’ home, their only option is to go to licensed moneylenders. This can be a very tedious process as there are more than 160 of them across Singapore. What’s more annoying is that each one of them has their own application process, their own terms & conditions (whose transparency varies from one lender to another), and their own approval process.

Not only is there so much variance across lenders, because rates are not fixed, there can be variance on a day-to-day basis within the same lender. Who has the time to visit each and every licensed lender, just to compare their rates, terms, and conditions to get the best deal? Who has the patience and mental energy to fill out all the different paperwork, and read all the fine print? When there’s an emergency, you’re more likely to act out of desperation and go for what is easiest. And not necessarily what is financially prudent or wise.


The Easier Way to Get a Personal Loan

With Onelyst, it’s just 4 easy steps: 1) Fill out some basic info about yourself and how much you want to borrow.

2) Choose your loan. Onelyst partners with only licensed moneylenders so you won’t have to worry about loan sharks.

onelyst loan offers

3) Complete the application, verification, and credit checks (by credit bureaus) to get an approval-in-principle.

4) Go to the lender to sign the loan agreement and collect your cash.onelyst cash

The first 3 steps can be all done online. According to one of the founders, the quickest turnaround time the company has seen is around 4 hours. This is the total time, from inputting data into Onelyst to getting the cash in hand. But most loans can be funded within just one day.

The longest part of the process, which used to be the search process (which needed to be done by the borrower), is now the process of verification and authentication of your information and credit history (which is all done by the lender).


Annual Borrowing Limits for Unsecured Loans (as per Ministry of Law)


Things to Note

Since their launch in March 2015, Onelyst has helped over 10,000 users. But before you become a part of that list, consider, I mean seriously consider, whether you really need the item or service that money buys. Think of the long-term consequences and whether your future self will thank you or be upset with you. Consider other legit ways of getting that money like financial assistance schemes offered by various Government agencies.

If you’re looking to borrow money so that you can pay off other loans, do NOT take out another loan. Borrowing from Peter to pay Paul is just insane. Instead, look into consolidating your debt. It was recently announced that the Association of Banks in Singapore will be a launching a debt consolidation plan (DCP) repayment scheme that aims to help borrowers to reduce their debts over time. Also, make sure you fully understand the terms of the contract. In particular, make sure you know the repayment schedule, the interest rate charged and the fees applicable.

With effect from 1 October 2015, the maximum interest rate licensed moneylenders can charge is 4% per month. This cap applies regardless of the borrower’s income and whether the loan is an unsecured or secured one. If a borrower fails to repay the loan on time, the maximum rate of late interest a moneylender can charge is 4% per month for each month the loan is repaid late. Finally, examine your current financial circumstance and consider what steps you need to take to prevent yourself from ever having to rely on an unsecured loan in the future.


Other Resources

If you or someone you know is in serious debt and in need of debt counselling services, a list of free providers can be found here. Although the link provides a very comprehensive list, another great resource (not on the list) is the Association of Muslim Professionals Debt Advisory Centre found here (you don’t have to be Muslim to use their services). 

For more info on borrowing from licensed moneylenders, you can visit the Ministry of Law’s site here



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