How to get the Best Personal Loan in Singapore?

Consider the following statistic published by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (as on August 2016) relating to consumer loans (personal loans fall under this category): the total amount of consumer loans (not including car loans, credit cards and share financing) stood at S$38,014.3 million! Yep, we live in a consumerist society!

Ok, lets explore a few aspects of personal loans that just might include a few insider tips on getting yourself the best personal loan available:

Why are Personal Loans so Popular?

  • Because they are unsecured – they don’t require any collateral. You don’t need to pledge your house, your car, your blue-chip holdings or your family jewels.
  • Their interest rates don’t pack the punch that credit card (another unsecured loan product) interest rates do.
  • Because you have the freedom to do what you want with the loan proceeds – whether that is getting some useful appliances for your home or blowing it away on a junket to Phuket.

How do I Nail that Juicy Personal Loan?

Now, that we’ve done with the obvious, lets get down to the essentials:

Get your Credit in Good Standing

Don’t know your credit score yet? There are currently two consumer credit bureaus in Singapore, namely Credit Bureau (Singapore) Pte Ltd and DP Credit Bureau Pte Ltd, recognised by MAS to collect and disclose borrower credit information to their members.

Apply to one of them and check your actual credit score. Then try and understand whether it is good enough or not. If not, research on what needs to be done to repair your credit score. The MoneySENSE website (http://www.moneysense.gov.sg/) spearheaded by the Financial Education Steering Committee (FESC) which in turn is chaired by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), is a great place to start.

Are your Finances in Order?

Did you know that the MAS works closely with government agencies to implement policies to encourage financial prudence among Singaporean households*? For example, the maximum amount of unsecured borrowings (and this includes personal loans) by any individual is generally capped at 4 months’ income per lender. This is regardless of whether he borrows from a financial institution regulated by MAS, or a moneylender regulated by MinLaw.

Are you Eligible?

Assuming that you’ve gone successfully past the first two steps, you will need to check whether you are actually eligible for that personal loan. For example, Citibank expects you (Singaporean/PR) to have a minimum annual income of S$30,000.

Start Shopping Around

Don’t just automatically assume that the lowest interest rate loan wins. Sometimes, other factors may matter. Tenure, for instance. You may want a longer tenured loan. While some banks give you loans of up to 5 years, HSBC provides you with the longest tenure – 7 years.

Also, start messing around with loan calculators and keep visiting third-party websites where you can get to compare loans from different banks; you just might dig yourself up a personal loan gold nugget.

View previous discussions on Pros and Cons of Personal Loans for a broader outlook.

*Reply to Parliamentary Question on Singapore’s Household Debt Ratio
(http://www.mas.gov.sg/news-and-publications/parliamentary-replies/2014/reply-to-parliamentary-question-on-singapore-household-debt-ratio.aspx)

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HOME MORTGAGE LOAN REFINANCE

Refinancing a Housing Loan or mortgage refinancing refers to switching your existing home loan to a different bank or through any financial institution. With smartly planned, it provides you with a number of benefits and let’s explore these in a little more detail:

Securing a Lower Interest Rate on your Loan

One of the best reasons to refinance is to lower the interest rate on your existing loan. Reducing your interest rate not only helps to save money, but it increases the rate at which you build equity in your home, and also reduces the size of your monthly payments.

Extending/Shortening the Loan’s Term

Refinancing helps you to alter your loan period, depending upon your needs. If you have any monthly cash flow issues, you can refinance and extend your loan period; this allows you to make lesser monthly installments.

You can also use refinancing to shorten your loan period. If your financial situation is better and you can make greater payments, then in such instances you can think about refinancing especially if your existing home loan package does not have flexible prepayment options.

Comparison between Adjustable-Rate and Fixed-Rate Mortgages

When shopping for a mortgage, one of the first decisions most borrowers will face is whether to take out a fixed or floating rate loan.

Adjustable-Rate Mortgage

An ARM interest rate may rise or fall after the fixed period based on the market or index rates. It usually offers lower interest rates than fixed-rate mortgages, periodic adjustments often result in the increased rates higher than the available fixed-rate mortgage.

Fixed-Rate Mortgage

As the name suggests, a fixed rate loan has its interest rate fixed. Typically, fixed rate has interest rates that are higher than a floating rate loan. When the fixed-rate period ends, the monthly payment adjusts based on the type of loan you have.

Cashing Out

This is possible when the market value of your property increases significantly. Refinancing enables you to cash out the added value of your property; you can use this cash for your personal requirements. But remember, cashing out is like taking an additional “top-up” loan amount; which enables you to repay the entire amount including the “top-up”.

Consolidating Home Loans

If you have a couple of loans running simultaneously then you will obviously face logistics issues like – keeping track of different loans, different payment dates, ensuring your bank account is adequately funded on loan deduction dates, etc. In such cases, you could use a refinancing plan to consolidate all your mortgage loans into one convenient loan package. Many homeowners refinance in order to consolidate their debt. Replacing a higher interest debt with a low-interest mortgage is a good idea.

HIGH RISK PERSONAL LOANS

High risk personal loans are provided to those with a bad credit history. It usually comes out with higher interest rates. At times, people may come across a situation, where they need money urgently. In such cases, high risk personal loans could be the only way out. In Singapore there a quite a few banks who offer high risk personal loans to people who have default payments and a bad credit score. Here, we will go about the pros and cons of high risk personal loans in detail:

PROS AND CONS OF HIGH RISK PERSONAL LOANS

Pros of High Risk Personal Loans

High risk personal loans offer many benefits. Here are some of the important ones.

1. Available for Anyone

The biggest advantage of unsecured loans is they make it possible for anyone to get cash based on their financial responsibilities in times of an emergency. Whether you’re a tenant or a homeowner, you can borrow money without putting up any collateral.

2. No Risk to your Property

For those who own a house or any property and not interested to risk it, an unsecured loan is the solution since it doesn’t directly pose a risk to it or to your assets.

3. Fast Processing

Unsecured loans are usually in small amounts, so the loan completion is much quicker compared to the secured loans. The loan application can be processed within 2-3 working days and as soon as the application is processed the money will be credited to your specific bank account.

Cons of High Risk Personal Loans

Despite of the apparent benefits, high risk personal loans do have a fair share of drawbacks. Prominent amongst them are as follows.

1. High Interest Rates

The biggest drawback of a high risk personal loan is that they charge high interest rates for your loan and so your overall cost of borrowing will be very high as well. Borrowers with bad credit will face higher interest rates on an unsecured bad credit loan.

2. Limited Loan amounts

If you need to borrow a substantial sum of money, an unsecured loan is not the solution for you; unsecured loans are given in small amounts.

3. Lack of Flexibility

Most lenders don’t allow partial payment of loans. This means you will end up paying the entire tenure of the loan which is quite expensive. Also, if you wish to pay off the loan sooner, you will face an early repayment fine.

Compare the Personal Loan Interest Rates in Singapore

Almost all banks in Singapore offer personal loans and you could even try checking out with financial comparison websites. They allow you to compare financial loan products from different banks based on criteria like monthly interest rate, annual interest rate, maximum loan amount based on the salary, maximum repayment tenor, administration fees etc. The interest rates and repayment amount vary from bank to bank and from account product to product, ranging from ludicrous to the fairly reasonable.

Compare and see which bank offer personal loans with best interest rates in the market based on your needs and requirements.

Bank

Card Name

Interest Rate

Monthly Repayment

Citibank

Citibank Ready Credit PayLite

4.55%

S$157

Standard Chartered

Standard Chartered CashOne

8.38%

S$173

HSBC

HSBC Personal Loan

8.10%

S$172

DBS

DBS Personal Loan

6.80%

S$167

Think carefully before applying for a loan and avoid over-borrowing. Remember to repay on time after taking out a loan to avoid additional expenses on finance charges.

Which Is The Best Credit Card in Singapore – 2016?

Best Credit Card Singapore 2016

Lets tackle that most important question – that keeps hovering on almost everyone’s minds – which is the best credit card in Singapore for the year 2016? – in this blog post. The answer is short and simple, probably brutally so: there is no one best credit card in Singapore. Let’s explore this in a little more detail:

Scenario One…

You have a credit card that rewards you for your biggest spend categories: groceries, utility bills and SMRT travel. Something like the Citibank SMRT Platinum Visa Card that provides you with up to 7% rebate on groceries, savings on your SMRT spends, up to 15% savings on coffee, up to 5% savings on toys and books, waiver of annual fees for the first two years and more. If this is you, how could a review that presents XYZ Bank’s AirMiles credit card as the best credit card in Singapore help you?

 … Nugget One

So, there we’ve unearthed our first nugget: a category-wise credit card review is of more use to you than a “generic” review. You can navigate to the credit card category that is of most importance to you – whether it is cashback, travel, petrol, reward points etc. and check the top finishers in that category.

Scenario Two…

Let’s consider yet another scenario: You are a student. You come across a credit card review that throws up ABC Rewards Points card as the best credit card in Singapore. How do you think review was helpful to you when you are not even eligible for the top finishing cards?

There are just a few student credit cards in Singapore; a review that provides a comparison of the Citi Clear Card, the Standard Chartered Manhattan $500 Card, the DBS Live Fresh Visa Student Card and the Maybank eVibes Card would be far more useful to you.

Hot Tip to Choose Best Credit Card

Ok, here is another tip: if you just want to compare different credit cards you could use any of the several third-party comparison websites that are available in Singapore; once you select the cards you wish to compare, you will be presented with a feature-wise comparison of the selected cards.

… Nugget Two

Even if you are presented with a category-wise review of credit cards, you must consider eligibility. If you are a student or are in the early years of your career you may only be eligible for the basic credit card product offerings. A review that presents a Premier / Platinum credit card from your category as the winner may not be so helpful to you in your present situation.

 In conclusion…

So, when you come across a review that touts this card or that card as the best credit card in Singapore, take it with a pinch of salt. Don’t mistake me; I am not knocking on credit card reviews many of which are written by genuine-intentioned users who want to help fellow users based on their experiences.

As we’ve seen above, it is just that not every card that comes out on top in these reviews will have universal applicability. What you should do is: read the review, take the top finishers in your particular category and do a feature-by-feature comparison with your present card and then make a decision. And, of course don’t forget eligibility. That way, you will make the most of the review’s findings while not losing out on your unique requirements.

Credit Card Promotion in Singapore – 2016

Credit Card Promotion

It has become de facto practice for banks to use promotions to gain credit card customers. With over 9.5 million credit cards in circulation as on March 2016, as per statistics released by the Monetary Authority of Singapore, for a population of approximately 5.53 million (putting together citizens, permanent residents and other residents as per statistics released by the Department of Statistics, Singapore) and a plethora of banks and financial institutions offering credit cards, the hunt for credit card customers is well and truly on!

Credit Card Promotion is one of the most important weapons in the arsenal of banks looking for credit card customers. Let’s look at some of the mechanisms by which banks leverage promotions in their holy grail quest for new customers:

Sign-up Promotions

These are meant for new credit card customers. Sign-up promos come in various forms – gifts, reward points, air miles, vouchers etc. For instance, when you apply online for HSBC’s Revolution Credit Card, you get a Samsonite RED Robo 65cm Luggage worth $335 plus $20 cash rebate. You will need to apply on or between 01st April 2016 and 31st May 2016 and should charge a minimum of $600 to your card within the month of issuance.

Another example is when you sign up for a credit card from DBS / POSB. You will need to apply online by 30th June 2016 for a DBS Live Fresh Card or DBS Black Visa Card, DBS Woman’s Card or the POSB Everyday Card and charge a minimum of $700 per month for the first 2 months from your card approval date.

On-going promotions

You can’t provide promotions for new credit card customers and leave existing ones in the lurch, can you?! On-going promotions are targeted at existing credit card customers. Here are a couple of examples:

If you have a Maybank credit card, you can enjoy 1-for-1 and up to 90% off deals with their Mid-Year Sale promotion that runs from 07th May to 31st July 2016.

The Citibank Expedia promotion offers you 6x Citi PremierMiles, 15x Rewards Points or 5% cashback depending upon the credit card used on Expedia. The promotion runs till the end of 31st July 2016.

Affiliate Promotions

Its not just banks that come up with promotional offers. Card affiliates like Visa and MasterCard also come up with promotions. For instance, Visa offers $1 off minimum for every $7 spend with Visa payWave and 4 movie tickets for the price of 3 with Visa Checkout at Golden Village.

MasterCard on its part offers 20% off any AirAsia international flights every Wednesday with their MasterCard AirAsia #PoseWinFly Photo Contest and a 10% admin fee waiver when you use book and pay for your taxi ride with MasterPass on the Comfort Delgro Taxi Booking App, amongst its currently running promotions.

Making The Most of Credit Card Promotions

This might seem like a no-brainer but you must use your credit card at the promotion offering store to avail of the offer. Sometimes, you must also ensure that the card is swiped at a particular bank’s terminal as well. Also, go through the fine print; promotions could be potential minefields.

Promos may be conditional on a certain amount of spend happening on the card; they may be restricted to the “Early Birds”, those who first take advantage of the offer; promotional offers may also not be clubbed with other existing offers either on the card or at the merchant’s.

For example, Citibank Singapore offers best deals in singapore on your Citi credit cards spends online or storewide at dining, online shopping, travels, petrols savings or fuels etc. Some of the promo offers are year-long offers or occasional, based on the merchants and availability. Another example, you get a $15 rebate when you shop on Taobao for a minimum of $100 with your Maybank credit card on the 11th of May 2016; however, this offer is limited to the first 500 redemptions.