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Non bank personal loans in Singapore

You have more options than the banks if you're looking for a personal loan...

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Non-bank lenders can offer an alternative solution when you’re in need of personal finance. If a bank isn’t offering the product you need, or if your application is denied, loans from non-banks are worth considering. Non-banks include independent lenders, credit unions and building societies. Thanks to their small size compared to a bank, they can provide more personalised service to help with your personal loan.

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How does a non-bank personal loan work?

You can take out a personal loan for various reasons, including buying a car, taking a holiday or undertaking home renovations. This type of financing is typically given in one lump sum with the expectation that it be paid back to the lender over a pre-determined amount of time. Interest is applied in the same way that a home loan is, although generally at a higher rate.

Personal loans from non-bank lenders will offer the same features as banks, including:

  • Flexible repayment schedules
  • Competitive variable or fixed interest rates

You may find different personal loan offerings from non-bank lenders, such as secured personal loans that let you use a term deposit or jewellery as a guarantee, or car loans for a used car. It’s important to note that credit unions and building societies are authorised deposit-taking institutions, so they are approved by the Singapore Ministry of Law.

You’ll find that you can borrow the same loan amount as the big banks, along with the same loan terms.

Some of the benefits non-bank lenders can offer

When you opt for an alternative lending solution, you open yourself up to a new world of features and benefits, some of which include:

  • Innovative lending solutions. Smaller lenders can offer innovations that larger lenders may take longer to implement – loan applications using social media, loans secured with jewellery or term deposits, or funds that can be transferred to you within an hour of approval.
  • Savings. Some lenders such as credit unions are not run for profits, and customers of the bank are all shareholders. Any profits that are made are put back into the products which then translate to savings.
  • Personal customer service. Many credit unions and building societies have histories rooted in local communities and organisations, and with them now continuing to operate in local communities, they can offer a level of personal customer service which may not be possible for larger financial institutions.

Sorting through your non-bank lender options

You have a few options available to you when it comes to lenders if you’re looking outside of the banks:

  • Credit unions. These are financial institutions that are member-owned and not run for profit, meaning any profits that are earned are put directly back into products and services. Standard financial products are usually on offer from these institutions, including personal loans.
  • Standalone lenders. Smaller lenders may specialise in personal loans of all sizes. These include small loan contracts, also referred to as payday loans, and larger loans up to S$5,000 or even loans up to S$10,000.
  • Dealerships. If you’re purchasing a car, you may consider financing direct from the dealership. This is referred to as dealership financing and involved you taking out a specific loan product.

Want to compare lenders? Here’s how

There are different institutions of varying types to consider when you need the security of a personal loan. You should carefully compare their features to find the one that will give you the most benefit. Keep these points in mind as you are doing your research:

  • The financial institution.
    It’s important to note that if you intend to apply for a loan from a credit union or building society, you will most likely need to be a member or a shareholder.
  • Interest rates.
    Look at the different interest rates carefully and make sure that they are in line with what other lenders are offering.
  • Fees.
    Fees weigh heavily in the overall cost of a personal loan to the borrower. There are application fees to consider, monthly and annual plus other less obvious such as settlement or exit fees. Use a personal loan calculator to help you analyse the fees.

Are there any risks?

  • A non-bank lender may not have the same amount of funding or capital adequacy as a big bank. They also may not have the same technology and facilities that the big banks do, meaning a lack of branches and ATMs across Singapore.

While this is something to take into your decision, be mindful that to be a customer of a credit union, you need to be a member of that particular credit union. So whenever the credit union returns its profits to its shareholders, the returns are essentially going to you in the form of cheaper products.

Application requirements

Keep in mind that most will require the following information as you proceed with the application:

  • Identification documents
    Just as with a bank, you are going to have to provide a valid photo identification document as part of your personal loan application. This could be your NRIC or Singapore driver’s license.
  • Financial information
    In addition to your credit history, a non-bank lender is going to ask about your current debts before they will approve an application for a personal loan. This includes any other loans you might have in addition to your credit and charge card accounts that are open.

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