Singapore – As with the ever-changing environment in Singapore, money lenders are moving into the heartlands to reach to a wider audience. This has led to a rise of illegal money lenders who want a piece of the loan industry. Every so often, a money lending company gets caught up in the news for malpractice or false advertising. This is why if you should need a money lender, you have to be smart about it.
7 Great Tips Compiled to identify legal money lenders
We have compiled seven important tips that one must be fully aware of prior to approaching a money lender. This will help you to identify the reliable legal money lender very quickly from these illegal and ill-practice ones.
Tip 1: Legal money lenders do not send SMS or perform telemarketing service
SMS is a great way of advertising, however in terms of loan services it appears like a spam service. Under the IPTO rules and privacy acts in Singapore, money lenders are not allowed to advertise their services in the form of SMS or telemarketing. Any company caught doing so will face harsh punishments by the government.
Some fake money lenders have started to copy wholesale the writing style of SMSes that banks send to customers, and use these SMSes as templates when they reach out to potential clients. They simplify copy and add-on their own phone numbers at the end of the message hoping to bait a borrower.
They even restore to using the names of legal money lenders and tricked potential borrowers into believing that they are the real deal and running a legit business.
Hence the strong emphasis that legal money lenders are not allowed to solicit for business via SMS. If you receive a SMS advertised with a Legal money lender name, DO NOT REPLY OR CALL.
Tip 2: Legal money lenders do not perform online bank transfers
There’s lots of articles and money lenders who assure instant bank transfer or advance cash via your bank account. These are usually illegal money lenders who want to avoid detection or the required paperwork to be done.
Legal money lenders will advise the borrower on the required paperwork, charges and require the borrower to visit the office. By doing so, it is a form of verification on both ends and further processing is done to facilitate the loan application.
Therefore, if a money lender offer instant bank transfer service, DO NOT TAKE UP THE OFFER.
Tip 3: NEVER, ever disclose your sing pass details over the phone
Singapore’s universal citizen login through SingPass contains a large amount about a person. It is very important that one should never divulge their own individual SingPass details to a third-party over the phone.
It’s a personal access account and illegal money lenders can do a lot with it It is part of the process to verify borrower income and working status in order to determine he/her ability to service the loan.
However, SingPass verification is done on-site personally and not disclosed over the phone.
Tip 4: Always research your money lender
First check onto IPTO website to see whether the moneylender is a licensed body. Check that they have a valid license number on their website or on their retail shopfront. Reason for doing so is that some illegal money lenders have resorted to mimicking or use the names of licensed money lenders to advertise their services.
Anyone in a rush would have overlooked the details and end up getting a really bad deal on their loan or in the worst case get stuck in the loan. By then, even the authorities would have a hard time to rescue the situation. Look at their advertisements properly and ensure that the company being used is reflected properly.
Look for reviews made by people who have used the money lender’s services. This marks their service and real testimonials being given out. It is always important to find out more on a money lender first and ensure they provide the best service and advice before taking up a loan with them.
Tip 5: No need to provide income documents or meet face-to-face
Licensed money lenders have a physical approved office. In most cases, they would require borrowers to come down to collect their money face-to-face. This is part of the IPTO regulation to ensure that proper paper work and advice is done by the borrower before any loan is issued out to the borrower.
Hence, legal money lender will require you to pay a visit to their office to complete a hassle free paperwork and loan process within 15-30 minutes.
Tip 6: Legal money lenders operate from registered landline
The government has put in place many safety measures to help citizens and borrowers. One of which is that legal money lenders are required to use their registered landline whenever they advertise. Illegal money lenders are known to use mobile numbers or overseas numbers in their advertising materials.
Therefore, if you see an advertisement or calls from mobile number of oversea number to advertise for their loan services. These are 100% illegal money lenders. DO NOT TAKE UP THE LOAN OFFER!!!
Tip 7: Do not sign blindly
Do not sign an empty contract. Licensed money lenders must draft a written contract in a language that the customer understands.
They must also explain the terms and conditions to the borrowers and ensure they understand all terms before signing. The terms and conditions must also be in line with the regulations found on the IPTO website.
If you see any unfair condition or term that is not in-line with the regulation, you can choose to walk away and not take up the loan.
In summary, read and understand before you sign. If not, get the loan officers to explain it to you.
Avoid being tricked
- Legal money lenders do not send SMSes
- Legal money lenders do not perform online bank transfers
- Legal money lenders are licensed and required to be registered
- Always conduct your research the money lender
- Always meet face-to-face with the money lender
- Always check what you are signing for and that the terms are understood
- Never disclose your SingPass details over the phone
- Never approach a money lender which operates from overseas or mobile number
There are lots of trickery that illegal money lenders resort to. As a consumer of any product, especially those related to money, one must understand the situation and be fully aware of the risks involved.
We hope that you do not have a bad experience in borrowing money, if so you can approach our knowledgeable loan officers who will be there to assist you. You can also write in to us or post a comment regarding loans or money lenders. We will be most happy to reply and assist you.