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Things to Consider When Getting a Personal Loan in Singapore

Ten Things to Consider When Getting a Personal Loan in Singapore

When shopping for a personal loan, we all know to compare interest rates from various lenders carefully.

What else should you watch out for?

In this post, we’ll do a deep dive into the subject of personal loans to help you pick the best loan for your needs, as well as the precautions you must take. Here are the top 10 things to consider when getting a personal loan:

#1 Put your money to good use

You can use a personal loan in any way you want, but you shouldn’t take this freedom lightly. So, how should you use the funds from a personal loan?

The best way is to pay off high-cost debt. Consider a situation where you are paying 25% p.a. or more on your credit card outstanding balance. If you are able to apply for a personal loan at 8% p.a., it would make sense to use it to help consolidate and pay off your high-cost debts.

Other reasons to take up a personal loan include unexpected medical expenses, financial emergencies and home improvement.

#2 What’s the interest rate?

It’s inevitable that you will come across these two terms — Applied Rate (AR) and Effective Interest Rate (EIR).

AR assumes the loan principal remains constant throughout the loan tenure, and doesn’t take into account the fact that each repayment results in the reduction in the principal amount.

EIR reflects the true cost of borrowing if you make payment on time. It is calculated after considering the gradual reduction in principal over the loan tenure. Remember to compare EIR based on the same loan amount and tenure.

#3 Familiarise yourself with the fees and charges

Interest rate should not be the only thing to check when you are taking a personal loan. There are other charges, and here are a few that you should know about:

  • Annual fees: Some banks charge a fixed sum every year in addition to the interest you are required to pay. A five-year loan could mean five annual fee payments!
  • Late payment fees: If you miss any instalments or pay less than the fixed repayment amount by the due date, a late payment fee would apply. This deserves special attention as lenders can be very strict when it comes to delays in payment.
  • Change in tenure fee: Not all banks offer this flexibility, but here’s a scenario to show why it’s important – You’ve successfully applied for your personal loan with a repayment term of two years, but due to some changes in circumstances, the monthly instalment becomes more than you can afford. It would be helpful if you’re able to extend the repayment period for an additional fee.

#4 How much can you borrow?

Banks consider several factors when deciding on a borrowing limit, such as the relationship you have with the bank, your credit score, and more importantly, your monthly income.

Here’s how it works. When the minimum income requirement has been met, an individual may be allowed to borrow up to four times the sum that he or she earns in a month. But someone earning less than $30,000 per year could be limited to twice his or her monthly income. There’s usually a cap on the dollar value as well.

What if you require a bigger loan? Some banks can lend you up to eight or ten times your monthly income, but these larger loans are usually provided to borrowers in the higher-income bracket.

#5 How soon will you get the funds?

For many borrowers, speed is an important consideration. How quickly will your loan be approved, and when will you get the funds in your bank account? This varies from lender to lender, so it’s important to find out before you apply. Applying using your MyInfo or getting your documents ready will also help speed up your application processing.

With Standard Chartered’s CashOne Personal Loan, funds can be disbursed into your Standard Chartered Current/Cheque & Save Account almost immediately or any existing bank account of your choice within 15 minutes¹ from your loan being approved when you apply for it online².

#6 How dependable is the lender?

Some people give this issue a low priority but it’s critical to deal with reliable and well-established lenders that offer full transparency.

Consider a situation where you take a personal loan from a money lender that is disorganised and has poor record keeping. They could lose track of the repayments you have made, resulting in a dispute. You may even end up facing harassment from a collection agent even though you aren’t at fault.

So, how should you select a lender? Stay away from companies who promise you a personal loan without checking your credit history, and only deal with reputable organisations. A big bank with a strong brand would be your best bet.

#7 Is the early repayment fee reasonable?

Wait a minute. Why should the bank charge for early repayment? They’re getting their money back before it’s due. In fact, they should give you a discount!

Sorry, but it doesn’t quite work that way. By paying off the loan early, the lender is going to lose a part of their anticipated profit and would want to recover some of this with an early repayment fee.

How much should you expect to pay? Early repayment fees are usually calculated as a flat dollar amount or a percentage of your outstanding loan. If there’s a chance that you may want to pay off your loan early, check this point carefully.

#8 Your credit card limit could get affected

Are you planning to take a personal loan from the same bank that has issued you a credit card? If you are, it’s likely that your available credit card limit will be reduced by the personal loan amount.

This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It will help you to keep the total sum that you borrow within a reasonable limit. This limit will be gradually restored as you repay your loan instalments.

#9 There could be an impact on your credit score

Any form of borrowing can impact your credit score. If you borrow a reasonable amount and pay on time, your credit rating may improve, however, it also depends on a variety of other factors. You can access your credit bureau from time to time with a small fee.

#10 Can you afford the repayments?

This is the key issue to consider: What is the impact that your personal loan repayments will have on your monthly budget?

Most banks will determine your personal loan limit based on your monthly income, but that might not be the amount you need. Instead, you should ask yourself, “How much do I need and afford to repay every month?” and consider:

  • How do you use your monthly income currently, and how much do you spend on essentials?
  • What will be the monthly instalment on the personal loan?
  • Is the remaining amount sufficient for your daily needs?

Review your spending pattern over the last few months before deciding on your loan amount and tenure.

The bottom line

Personal loans provide an excellent way to raise cash quickly. If you need money for medical expenses or some other emergency, a personal loan can provide the best solution.

Whatever your reasons are for taking up a personal loan, be sure to go through the fine prints of the product and fully understand the repayment details based on your loan amount and tenure.

Find out more about Standard Chartered’s CashOne Personal Loan

   

This article is brought to you by Standard Chartered Bank (Singapore) Limited (“Standard Chartered”). All information provided is for informational purposes only.

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Terms and Conditions

*Standard Chartered Bank (Singapore) Limited’s CashOne Personal Loan / Credit Card Instalment Loan Disbursement Terms and Conditions is applicable if an applicant makes an application for a CashOne Personal Loan (“CashOne”) or a Credit Card Instalment Loan (“Application”), successfully submits a completed Application to the Bank and the Bank approves such an Application. The transfer of funds to the applicant’s designated Standard Chartered Current/Cheque & Save Account(s) or non-Standard Chartered Current or Savings Account (each account a “Designated Account”) (“Loan Disbursement”) is subject to (a) the applicant successfully submitting a completed Application to the Bank; and (b) the Bank approving the Application which must satisfy the Bank’s eligibility criteria, including our credit and risk management policies, as well as prevailing laws and regulations. The Bank reserves the right to reject any Application which does not fulfil our criteria at our discretion. If the Bank is unable to process the Application or the Loan Disbursement due to system failure, system outage, malfunction, delay or any other circumstances whatsoever, whether within our reasonable control or otherwise, the Bank is not able to provide Loan Disbursement within the time periods(as stated in clauses 3 to 5 of the CashOne Personal Loan / Credit Card Instalment Loan Disbursement terms and conditions), and the Bank disclaims all liability arising for any such delay including any loss, damage or inconvenience caused to/incurred by you the applicant, or any third party arising from or in connection therewith. Click here for full terms and conditions which apply.