Getting a Loan from a Bank even with Bad Credit

Whether you want to meet a short-term expense like buying home appliances, going on a vacation or dealing with an emergency or you want to meet a long-term expense like acquiring an asset like a property, a condo or a car, as a typical Singaporean you will turn to a bank for a personal loan, a home loan, an auto loan or any other credit facility.

Which is why the consumer lending statistics published by the Monetary Authority of Singapore for the month of August 2016* indicate total consumer loans at S$ 246,533.4 million!

However, getting a loan can potentially run into a major stumbling block – bad credit scores. Let us explore this topic in a little more detail:

What is a credit report#?

When you apply for a loan, the bank to which you’ve applied will check your creditworthiness before it decides whether to extend a loan to you. Your creditworthiness is determined by your credit report. Your credit report will usually contain the following:

▪ Your personal data – Information such as your name, NRIC & date of birth
▪ Your current credit relationship summary – Summary of the number of credit facilities you hold & any defaults thereon
▪ Your credit facilities information – Information on the credit facilities you have with the bureau’s members & your repayment history for the last 12 months
▪ Inquiries summary – Number & type of inquiries by financial institutions into your credit report
▪ Default records – Information on any default in repaying your credit facilities, including the balance outstanding & the current status of the account
▪ Bankruptcy records – Information on whether any bankruptcy proceedings have been taken against you, obtained from the Insolvency and Public Trustees Office & displayed for 5 years from the date of discharge

Who provides your credit report?

There are only 2 credit bureaus that have been accredited by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) – Credit Bureau Singapore (CBS) and DP Credit Bureau (DPCB). Only these organizations can provide you with your credit report.

How can you view your credit report?

You can buy your credit report from the two recognized bureaus either online or by visiting the bureaus at their offices. You will need your SingPass ID and password. You may also need to pay transaction fees for purchasing your credit report.

You can also consider monitoring your credit score by subscribing to the “My Credit Monitor (MCM) service offered by CBS. This service alerts you to any suspicious activities like identity theft or changes that can affect your credit reputation. You can sign up for it at any Singapore Post branch or at CBS’ main office.

Why do I need my credit report?

Your credit report will help you understand whether your credit worthiness (or credit score) is high or not. When you know your credit score is high you can safely apply for that loan; when your credit score is bad, you will need to take corrective action to avoid your loan application from getting rejected or getting an approval for a lesser loan amount.

Should there be discrepancies, or if you disagree with some information in your credit report, you can write to the respective credit bureaus with your clarifications. A notice will be posted in your credit file while the credit bureau investigates. If an amendment is subsequently made, a revised report will be sent to all credit bureau members who have made inquiries on you in the past 3 months.

What can I do to bring my credit score up again^?

Take these broad tips into consideration as you go about repairing your credit score:

▪ Repay outstanding/overdue credit on time
▪ Keep the number of credit facilities manageable
▪ Clear bankruptcy / litigation
▪ Check your consumer credit report regularly (at least annually) to ensure there are no errors reported. This is especially important when you intend to apply for new loans or credit facilities.

* This includes the following categories: housing and bridging loans, car loans, credit cards, share financing and others.
# Data source: eCitizen portal of the Government of Singapore.
^ Data source: DP Credit Bureau Singapore.

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Pros and Cons of Personal Loans

Data published by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) indicates that personal loan borrowings (Consumer Loans – Professional and Private Individuals – Others) in Singapore during Jan 2016 touched S$37,054.3 million! It is apparent that personal loans are a highly popular financial product. So, in this issue we will turn our attention to the pros and cons of personal loans in Singapore.

Pros of Personal Loans

No collateral – Personal loans do not require any collateral. This is unlike mortgage or auto loans where your house or vehicle is pledged to the financial institution.

No restrictions on use – Personal loan amounts can be put to whatever use you deem fit. Whether you want to finance your dream vacation or buy that latest gadget or get a set a household appliances or use it for an emergency or whatever you want to, you are free to do so. Compare this with other loan products like home loans, car loans or education loans where the loan amount can be used only for the particular purpose for which it is borrowed.

Lower interest rate – Personal loans are available at far cheaper rates than cash advances on your credit card.

Documentation requirements – You also need to submit lesser number of documents for availing of a personal loan vis-à-vis home loans or car loans.

Quicker disbursal – Lesser documents result in lesser processing time; personal loans can be disbursed faster than home loans or other collateralized loan products.

Building a good credit score – Take a personal loan, pay all your installments on time and wrap up the loan in good time and see the positive impact this leaves on your credit scores. Complete a personal loan without any defaults and apply to the Credit Bureau (Singapore) Pte Ltd or the DP Credit Bureau Pte Ltd, the only two credit bureaus gazetted by MAS and allowed to collect credit information on individuals from financial institutions, for your credit report and you will see your credit scores have only improved for the better!

Cons of Personal Loans

The unsecured nature of personal loans has a substantial impact on various lending criteria:

Eligibility criteria are stricter than for certain types of secured loans. This could be reflected in higher income requirements, age restrictions (older persons may not find it easy to get a personal loan),

Credit scores – The unsecured nature of personal loans could also result in lenders requiring potential borrowers to have good credit standing before they release a loan.

Interest rates – Interest rates on personal loans are usually higher / much higher than rates on secured loans like home loans or auto loans.

Part payments – Many secured loan products allow borrowers to make part-payments towards their loan outstanding; this helps them reduce both the principal- and interest-related outgoings. Personal loan products do not allow such part payments.

Personal loans from moneylenders – It has become fairly common amongest those Singaporeans who find it difficult to get personal loans from mainstream banks / financial institutions to approach moneylenders. But, beware! Borrowing from an unlicensed moneylender at usurious terms could push you into a deeper financial quagmire. It is highly recommended that apply personal loan through reputed banks or financial institutions in Singapore.

If borrowing from a moneylender check the Ministry of Law’s Registry of Moneylenders and also their very informative “Guide to borrowing from moneylenders”.