Complete Guide to Personal Loan for Work Permit Holders in Singapore

Loans for Foreigners: Complete Guide to Personal Loan for Work Permit Holders in Singapore

A quick google search about the most expensive cities to live in for expatriates will give you results showing Singapore among the top 10 cities with high-cost of living. It’s also known that not all foreigners living in Singapore are earning enough to make their lives comfortable. In situations like this, where can they get financial assistance? 

Whether it’s for an emergency or to improve your cash flow, personal loans will be of great help. Luckily, there are existing foreigner loans from banks and licensed moneylenders for work permit holders (semi-skilled foreign workers from an approved source of countries to work in certain sectors). In most cases, these workers are from the construction, manufacturing, marine shipyard, process or services sectors.

If you belong in this sector and wish to apply for a personal loan in Singapore, this article has every detail you need, plus things you need to consider before getting one. The information mentioned in this guide seeks to help foreigners in Singapore avoid loan scams.


Foreigner Loan in Singapore: What Is It and How Does It Work?

As the name suggests, a  foreigner loan is a  personal cash loan intended for non-citizens or permanent residents (PR) working, studying, and living in Singapore. It’s almost the same as the standard personal loan offered to locals, but finds a slight difference in eligibility criteria: most of the time, foreigner loans require higher monthly income.

The processing fee and interest rate may differ depending on the bank or moneylender and type of loan you need. One important thing to get your application approved is proving through valid documents that you have at least 1 year of working experience in Singapore. Also, they might require you to have a guarantor. Naturally, the bank will need to make sure that you will not be leaving the country during the loan tenor.

Foreigners in Singapore have two main options: get it from a bank or a licensed moneylender.


Personal Loan Eligibility Conditions for Foreigners

To put it simply, a foreigner loan is just a personal loan that has more stringent procedures. The eligibility conditions for foreigners are stricter compared to the conditions for locals who want to apply for personal loans. Here are the requirements for your foreign loan application:

  • Foreign applicants should provide an employment pass with 1 year validity and 3-month worth of payslips to show an annual income of $40,000 to $60,000 (locals only need $20,000 to $30,000 annual income).
  • Few banks that offer loans for foreigners typically ask for proof of identity (passport), valid address, and record of income and employment during the application process.
  • Applicants should be from 21 to 55 years old.


Where Can Foreigners Get a Loan in Singapore?

Being in a tight situation, getting a quick cash loan from a trusted financial institution could help make the situation lighter. Don’t complicate the challenges by falling to ah longs or shark loans, get your personal loans from banks or licensed money lenders.


If you’re looking for a huge amount of borrowing limit, bank is the way to go. However, banks have more thorough and tedious methods in verifying loan applications. And since you’re looking at foreigner loans, non-Singaporeans may face extra measures to prove their eligibility and ability to repay the loan. 

The approval of the loan and the borrowing limit can greatly be affected by your relationship with the bank, your credit score, and your monthly income. For instance, you’ll not be given the privilege of getting the maximum loan amount if you can’t meet the required minimum income.


For foreigners with less than $20, 000 annual income, licensed money lenders might be the better option. More often than not, it’s quite impossible to find a bank that would be willing to grant you an unsecured loan if you don’t meet their criteria. 

On the brighter side, moneylenders are legally allowed to lend you up to $3,000. If you’re earning more than $20,000 annually, they can even grant you a loan of up to 2 to 4 month’s salary.


Best Foreigner Loans in Singapore 2021

The data presented is based on the information available to the public. 

Bank name Interest rate Loan Amount Annual Income
DBS 3.88% Up to 10x your monthly salary $45,000 annual income
HSBC 3.4% Minimum loan amount of  S$1,000 to a maximum of S$200,000 $40,000 annual income
Standard Chartered 3.88% Up to 4x your monthly salary, subject to a cap of S$250,000 Minimum S$1,000 to a maximum of S$250,000 $60,000 annual income
OCBC 5.43% Loan amounts: Minimum $1,000 to a maximum of 4x your monthly salary. $45,000 annual income
Citi Bank 4.55% Minimum S$1,000 to a maximum of Up to 4x your monthly salary $42,000 annual income


Debunking Myths About Money Lenders

Authorized money lenders have been operating in Singapore for many years. In fact, the industry gave birth to many money lending companies that have been helping people ease their financial burdens.

Yet, in the face of growth, there are many misconceptions when people hear the word “money lenders.” We can blame it on the prevalent existence of “ah longs” or loan sharks despite the efforts of the Singaporean government to regulate the terms and conditions when taking up loans from licensed lenders. One of which is setting a maximum interest rate of 4% per month to protect the borrower’s rights.

Loan sharks are a world different from money lenders recognized by the MinLaw. Unlike ah longs, top authorized lenders such as Fortune Credit, have successfully proven how reliable they are in keeping the agreement with their clients intact.


Things to Know Before Applying for a Foreigner Loan

1. Can I get a loan on a work permit?

Yes. Although it’s important to keep in mind that foreigner loans have stricter measures when it comes to eligibility criteria. 

2. Which bank is the easiest to get a personal loan?

With an annual income requirement of $40,000, HSBC is the most costumer-friendly among the banks mentioned above. Not to mention, the bank also offers a competitive interest rate of 3.4%.

3. How much interest moneylenders can charge foreigners?

The Ministry of Law Singapore has given an interest cap of 4% per month; anything beyond that is punishable by law. The given cap should be offered to all borrowers regardless of their income. The interest rate limit also applies to both unsecured loans and secured loans.

Also, if the borrower fails to repay the loan on time, the maximum rate an authorized money lender can charge is capped at 4% per month, only for each month of delayed payment. For instance, if you borrowed $15,000 and were able to repay $10,000, the licensed lender can only charge the interest rate to the remaining balance of $5,000.

The loan officer should be able to explain the conditions thoroughly.

4. How long does it take to get a foreigner loan?

Authorized money lenders can get your loan approved very quickly. If you can provide all of the requirements and pass their assessment, you will likely get approved in no time. In some cases, borrowers are able to get the loan shortly after approval.

On the other hand, banks have a more tedious process of reviewing the applications, especially if you don’t have an existing relationship. Thus, in some cases, it will take time for the loan to get approved.

5. Is foreigner loan more expensive than personal loan?

No. Foreigner loan is practically a type of personal loan offered to non-Singaporean citizens — the difference lies in the qualifying criteria. In most cases, ex-pats need to meet a higher annual income requirement and present solid proof of their legal residence in Singapore.

6. Where to get personal loan for foreigners fast?

If you can provide all the eligibility conditions provided by banks, you can get fast approval. For instance, Standard Charter’s CashOne claims that they can disburse the approved loan amount within 15 minutes.


Key Takeaways

Too long didn’t read? Here are important points to remember:

  • Foreigner loans are personal loans but with more stringent processing due to eligibility conditions.
  • One important thing to get your application approved is proving through valid documents that you have at least 1 year of working experience in Singapore.
  • Foreign loan applicants should provide an employment pass with 1 year validity and 3-month worth of payslips to show an annual income of $40,000 to $60,000.
  • The 4% cap set by the Ministry of Law should be offered equally to all borrowers regardless of their income.
  • Don’t complicate the challenges by falling to ah longs or shark loans. Get your personal loans from banks or licensed money lenders.

From utility bills to daily expenses, it’s no longer surprising to hear stories about expats who face financial difficulties overseas. When caught in a situation like this, what is the fastest way to get a loan?

You can get a loan quickly if you are able to complete all the documents required. Do you know what’s the most time-consuming part that we tend to overlook? It’s the tedious process of comparing all the loans offered by hundreds of authorized lenders in Singapore.

Well, consider this as your lucky day because we got the perfect solution for you! Let Instant Loan help you connect to the best, fastest, and most suited foreigner loan for your need. By simply filling out their form, you can just sit back while they scrutinize hundreds of loan offers on your behalf.

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