Foreigner personal loan in Singapore: Your guide to providers, rates, requirements and more

Elle Kasser
30.03.21
9 minute read

If you’re in Singapore as an expat, and need to access some extra funds, you may be wondering about the best available bank loans for foreigners in Singapore. The good news is that there are several major banks which will consider loan applications from foreign citizens, as well as a number of licensed money lenders for foreigners in Singapore.

This guide walks through the options you’re likely to have, the eligibility requirements and what documents you’ll need to provide to obtain a loan. We’ll also touch on how Wise can help if you need a loan to send money abroad - or if you may be able to access financial support from a family member at home instead of taking a loan. With low cost international payments from Wise, you could spend less on fees and currency conversion costs, and make your money go further.

Table of contents:

Foreigner personal loan in Singapore

If you need a little extra to pay one off costs, a foreigner personal loan might be the right option for you. You’ll be able to choose from major bank providers, or a licensed alternative money lender. We’ll cover the difference, and what the common eligibility criteria for each option are in just a moment.


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Who qualifies for a foreigner loan?

Major banks tend to split their eligibility requirements according to whether you’re a Singapore citizen/PR, or a foreigner living here on a valid work pass. The requirements vary according to your personal situation, and the documents you’ll need to show are also different for a foreigner compared to a Singapore citizen or PR.

The standard requirement for a foreigner loan is that you have a valid work pass - that means you’ll normally be asked to show an employment pass, PEP or work pass, which should have at least 6 months left to run.

There are also likely to be salary requirements. For example, to get a DBS personal loan as a foreigner you’ll need to be aged over 21, and earn a minimum annual salary of SGD45,000¹. The eligibility criteria are similar for a POSB personal loan


How is a foreigner loan different from a non-foreigner loan?

There are not usually major differences in the loans available for foreigners in Singapore compared to those on offer for Singapore citizens and permanent residents. However, the eligibility requirements are likely to be stricter for foreign applicants, with higher minimum salary requirements in place.

The process you need to follow to apply for a loan, and the documents you’re asked to provide to support your application, may also vary as a foreign applicant.

What are the requirements for a foreigner loan in Singapore?

As we have mentioned, foreigner personal loans in Singapore are likely to have eligibility requirements around the age and salary of the applicant. It’s common to see that applicants must be over 21, and earn at least SGD45,000 for example.

In addition, you’ll need to be able to provide a suite of documents to support your loan, proving your identity, address and income. To give an illustration, let’s look at the documents you’d need to provide to apply for a loan as a foreigner with OCBC Bank²

  • Proof of identity - your valid passport and a work pass with at least 6 months before expiry
  • Proof of address - your most recent telephone bill, utility bill or bank statement
  • Proof of earning as a salaried employee - if you don’t already have your salary credited to an OCBC account, you’ll need either your latest CPF statement with at least 3 months of contributions showing, and your latest income tax assessment - or your latest payslip plus a bank statement showing the money being credited, your latest CPF statement, or income tax assessment
  • Proof of earning if you’re self employed, on commission, or earning variable amounts - last 12 months CPF contribution statement or your latest income tax assessment
  • Proof of earning if you have less than 3 months work experience - company letter confirming start date and salary, as well as a bank statement showing the salary being credited

It’s also worth noting that although the standard request is to provide a work pass specifically, you may be able to apply if you have a dependent pass subject to meeting the income requirement. This is dependent on the bank’s approval but may apply if you’re working on a Letter of Consent or have a freelance position for example.

Banks don’t publicly state their credit checking process, but the emphasis seems to be on foreigners proving a higher salary in order to mitigate the risk of having less credit history here. That means it’s certainly worth applying even if you have no local credit history, but do meet the other requirements.

Where can a foreigner get a loan in Singapore?

The best option for you will depend on where you currently bank, as well as the terms and conditions which apply to each available option. It’s well worth doing some research to find a good fit. Here are some places to start.

Banks which offer loans to foreigners:

  • DBS/POSB¹
  • OCBC²
  • HSBC³
  • Citibank⁴
  • Standard Chartered⁵

Other moneylenders which offer loans to foreigners:

  • Trillion Credit⁶
  • Unilink Credit⁷
  • Moneylender Pro/LG Credit⁸

No matter which option you choose, make sure your lender is registered on the MAS moneylenders registry⁹. Taking an illegal loan is a recipe for trouble, and simply not a risk worth taking.


How to choose the best foreigner loan for you

Doing some research before you choose a loan is essential. There is a divide between the loans available from banks - which need a fairly high minimum salary - and those on offer from other licensed money lenders, which may be more prepared to accept lower incomes or tailor the package to individual needs.

If you’re not going to go with a big bank it’s essential to check the provider you choose is properly regulated by MAS. There are unlicensed moneylenders which pay for adverts on Google, for example, and may appear to be legitimate, but do not have the proper paperwork in place to offer loans. Be wary and double check all the terms and small print, whichever provider you choose.

Here are a few of the options available from major banks and a few licensed moneylenders at the time of writing. Terms and conditions will change over time so be sure to double check everything before you decide on a provider.

Provider/loan Annual interest rate Effective interest rate Details Minimum salary as a foreigner
DBS/POSB From 3.88% From 7.56% Up to 10x your monthly salary Tenure from 1 to 5 years SGD45,000
OCBC From 5.42% From 10.96 Up to 6x your monthly salary Tenure from 1 to 5 years SGD45,000
HSBC From 3.4% From 6.5% Up to 8x monthly income Flexible repayment options SGD40,000
Citibank From 3.5% (processing fee) From 7.85% Based on your available credit line Tenure from 1 to 5 years Available to Citibank credit card and ready credit holders
Standard Chartered From 3.48% From 6.95% Must be an employment pass holder Tenure from 1 to 5 years SGD60,000
Trillion Credit Not specified Not specified Up to 6 months salary available Apply online to check eligibility
Unilink Credit Not specified Not specified 24 hour approval process Apply online to check eligibility
Moneylender Pro/LG Credit Not specified Not specified Up to 6 months income available SGD10,000 annual income

DBS Personal Loan

Provider/loan Annual interest rate Effective interest rate Details Minimum salary as a foreigner
DBS/POSB From 3.88% From 7.56% Up to 10x your monthly salary Tenure from 1 to 5 years SGD45,000

DBS offers a personal loan of 4x your monthly salary, or up to 10x if you earn SGD100,000 or more. As a foreigner you’ll need to earn SGD45,000 or above, and open an eligible DBS or POSB account to apply. You’ll usually have to pay your salary directly into this account. At the time of writing, DBS has a special promotion which means you’ll get 1% cashback on your personal loan if approved.


OCBC Personal Loan

Provider/loan Annual interest rate Effective interest rate Details Minimum salary as a foreigner
OCBC From 5.42% From 10.96 Up to 6x your monthly salary Tenure from 1 to 5 years SGD45,000

OCBC’s personal loan product offers up to 6x your monthly salary if you earn SGD120,000 or above. Repayments can run up to 60 months, and it’s worth watching out for special promotions. At the time of writing you may get 1% cashback when your loan is approved.


HSBC Personal Loan

Provider/loan Annual interest rate Effective interest rate Details Minimum salary as a foreigner
HSBC From 3.4% From 6.5% Up to 8x monthly income Flexible repayment options SGD40,000

HSBC personal loans have affordable interest rates and a flexible range of repayment options. You may be able to take out a loan of up to 8x your monthly salary dependent on your personal circumstances. At the time of writing there’s a special offer which means you could get up to SGD2,000 cash back when you take a loan.


Citibank

Provider/loan Annual interest rate Effective interest rate Details Minimum salary as a foreigner
Citibank From 3.5% (processing fee) From 7.85% Based on your available credit line Tenure from 1 to 5 years Available to Citibank credit card and ready credit holders

If you’re already a Citibank customer you might want to look at the Citibank Quick Cash option. You can apply easily using your online banking or app, and pay back over 60 monthly instalments. There’s a promotion at present offering cashback vouchers for Grab if you take the offer.


Standard Chartered

Provider/loan Annual interest rate Effective interest rate Details Minimum salary as a foreigner
Standard Chartered From 3.48% From 6.95% Must be an employment pass holder Tenure from 1 to 5 years SGD60,000

Standard Chartered have tighter eligibility criteria than many of the major banks, with a minimum salary of SGD60,000. Loans are available to employment pass holders only. However, if you’re already a customer of Standard Chartered and meet the eligibility requirements, you won’t need to provide any further documents and could get your money in a matter of minutes.


Trillion Credit

Provider/loan Annual interest rate Effective interest rate Details Minimum salary as a foreigner
Trillion Credit Not specified Not specified Up to 6 months salary available Apply online to check eligibility

Trillion Credit accepts loan applications from foreigners on a valid pass. Loan details are decided based on ability to repay, rather than having a set salary requirement. To learn more you’ll need to get in touch directly online to get a personal quote for your needs.


Unilink Credit

Provider/loan Annual interest rate Effective interest rate Details Minimum salary as a foreigner
Unilink Credit Not specified Not specified 24 hour approval process Apply online to check eligibility

Unilink is another licensed money lender in Singapore which caters to foreigners who need money urgently. There’s a 24 hour approval process, but no information is available online around the interest rates - you’ll have to apply to get a quote. Foreigners need at least 6 months left on their employment pass to apply.


Moneylender Pro/LG Credit

Provider/loan Annual interest rate Effective interest rate Details Minimum salary as a foreigner
Moneylender Pro/LG Credit Not specified Not specified Up to 6 months income available SGD10,000 annual income

LG Credit which was formerly known as Lekshmi Moneylender, offers loans to foreigners who earn at least SGD10,000 per year. The amount you can borrow is dictated by income, but can run up to 6x the monthly salary you make.


Getting a loan in Singapore as a foreigner is possible, but you’ll probably find you need to meet stricter eligibility requirements than a Singapore citizen or PR would.

Shop around to make sure you find a loan product which meets your needs and offers a fair interest rate. And don’t forget - if you’re sending money overseas, you could save money with Wise.


Sources:

  1. DBS Singapore - DBS Personal Loan
  2. OCBC Singapore - ExtraCash Loan
  3. HSBC SG - Bank Loans in Singapore
  4. Citibank Singapore - Citi Quick Cash Loan
  5. CashOne - Personal Loan
  6. Trillion Credit - Personal Loan
  7. UniLink Credit - Loans For Foreigners
  8. MoneyLender Pro/LG Credit
  9. Registry of Moneylenders

Sources checked on 15 March 2021


This publication is provided for general information purposes only and is not intended to cover every aspect of the topics with which it deals. It is not intended to amount to advice on which you should rely. You must obtain professional or specialist advice before taking, or refraining from, any action on the basis of the content in this publication. The information in this publication does not constitute legal, tax or other professional advice from TransferWise Limited or its affiliates. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. We make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether express or implied, that the content in the publication is accurate, complete or up to date.

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