Looking for the best SME business loans in Singapore?

Elle Kasser
28.05.21
5 minute read

Getting a business off the ground can be expensive. To grow your business from idea to flourishing enterprise efficiently can mean taking an SME loan. Loans and credit can be used for investment in equipment, property or other capital expenses, for working capital and more.

This guide walks through some of the key providers of SME business loans in Singapore to help you find the best offer out there for your needs.

📝Table of contents:

How to choose the best SME loan for your business

SME loans and credit options take a number of forms - which means doing some research is crucial to find the right one for you. Products are available from traditional lenders, as well as specialist companies and could include standard term loans and lines of credit, reverse factoring, revenue based financing, asset purchase agreements or trade factoring.

One of the first steps to finding a great SME loan is to calculate exactly what sum you need to raise. Take some time to think about how much money you want to access, the timeline you’re working to, and when is best for you to repay to funds.

You’ll then need to review the options available, to you, considering:

  • Amount of capital available
  • Speed of disbursement
  • Term of loan or agreement
  • Arrangement or administration fees
  • Interest rate or APR
  • Penalty clauses and fees
  • Flexibility of the agreement to repay early or late

There is no one best SME loan out there. Instead, different products and arrangements will suit different businesses depending on their requirements. Think through the options carefully, and take professional advice if you need help planning your business finances for the longer term.


Fast and affordable SME loans

Although traditional banks do often offer business loans and credit agreements, they tend to come with relatively strict eligibility requirements, and can take longer to arrange than going to a specialist. For fast and affordable business finance, you may find better options out there from dedicated providers, including modern digital and crowdfunded services.

Here are some of the best options out there from specialist providers - as well as a quick look at how to access SME loans backed by the Singapore government.


Aspire

Neobank Aspire has a mission to make it easier for small businesses to access the capital and cash flow required to grow¹. You’ll find Aspire business accounts which can be used for day to day management of your company finances, including cash back on digital and marketing spend, and low cost international payments powered by Wise.

Aspire also offers a broad range of traditional and innovative ways to get the funds you need - faster. Here are the details:²

Provider Aspire
Capital available Up to SGD300,000
Approval times 2 to 7 days
Interest rates From 1%
Eligibility Business must be registered in SingaporeApplicant must be a director of the businessBusiness must have been operating for 6 months or more
Product and service options Revenue based financingLines of credit and term loansReverse factoringTrade financing (receivables factoring)

Funding Societies - FS Working Capital Loan

Funding Societies (FS) is a business focused digital financing and debt crowdfunding platform, serving the Southeast Asian market³. Set up in 2015, Funding Societies offers SMEs the funding they need to grow, while also giving individual and institutional investors a way to earn income.⁴

We’ve specifically called out the FS options available for working capital as a smart choice for businesses looking for cash flow support quickly. Microloans from Funding Societies take only a couple of minutes to apply for, and can be available within just a day - getting the money your business needs to you fast.

Here’s an overview of the Funding Societies options available:⁵

Provider Funding Societies
Capital available Micro loans up to SGD100,000Invoice financing and revolving credit financing to SGD1 millionTerm loans to SGD2 millionProperty backed secured loans to SGD3 million
Approval times Microloans can be disbursed in 24 hoursTerm loans can take 5 days
Interest rates From 1% p/m for micro loans, and 0.8% for term loans
Eligibility Varies between products. However, expect the following: Business must be registered in SingaporeBusiness should have 30%+local shareholdingBusiness must have been operating for a fixed period Minimum turnover requirements and collateral availability may also apply
Product and service options Term loansMicro loansInvoice based financingProperty backed secured loansRevolving credit financingSupply chain financing

Validus

Validus offers SME loans for working capital, as well as invoice and purchase order based financing, through a crowdfunded model⁶. Loans come with a competitive interest rate - but as you’ll need a 2 year operational history and a significant turnover, this is an option intended for businesses which are already starting to grow.

Check out the options available from Validus, here:⁷

Provider Validus
Capital available Up to SGD500,000
Approval times Approvals within 48 hours
Interest rates From 1%
Eligibility Business must be registered on ACRABusiness must have a 2 year operational historyMinimum turnover of SGD500,000
Product and service options Purchase order financingInvoice financingWorking capital loan

Minterest

Founded in 2017, Minterest is an award winning platform offering investment opportunities for individuals and institutional investors, and financing for both small and large businesses.⁸

Minterest offers a working capital loan with a minimum capital advance of SGD100,000 which will likely mean this is an option for businesses which are more established.

There are large loan amounts available for companies with good credit profiles, across a range of different product types.

Here’s the lowdown:⁹

Provider Minterest
Capital available Working capital solutions - SGD100,000 to SGD5 millionInvoice financing solutions - SG20,000 to SGD5 millionStructured financing solutions - SGD2 million to SGD30 millionCommercial real estate finance solutions - SGD2 million to SGD15 million
Approval times Approvals within 48 hours
Interest rates 5% p.a. to 18% p.a. (EIR) depending on product
Eligibility Varies between products. However, expect the following: Singapore registered company or LLP onlyIdentifiable cash flows availableBusiness should have been in operation for a fixed periodMinimum turnover requirements and collateral availability may also apply
Product and service options Working capital solutionsInvoice financing solutionsStructured financing solutionsCommercial real estate finance solutions

MoolahSense

MoolahSense connects SME owners looking for finance with investors looking for a trusted platform and attractive yield options. To apply for a crowdfunded loan you’ll need a 3 year operational history and a significant annual turnover - making this is a good option for established businesses looking for funds to grow. Secured and unsecured loan options are available with a maximum tenor of 24 months.¹⁰

Here are some key facts:¹¹ ¹²

Provider MoolahSense
Capital available SGD50,000 to SGD5 million
Approval times Register in 5 minutes, then apply in under an hour Loans could be available within 5 days
Interest rates Get a quote by registering online - indicative interest rate shown on MoolahSense website is 18% p.a.
Eligibility Business must be registered in SingaporeBusiness must have a 3 year operational historyMinimum turnover of SGD500,000
Product and service options Secured and unsecured loans Invoice financing

SME loans backed by the government

The Singapore government, through Enterprise Singapore, offers some support for small businesses which require working capital to continue operating. Known as the Enterprise Financing Scheme, this collaboration between Enterprise Singapore and local banking partners makes loans available while the government holds some of the default risk. This may mean that SME owners who would not be considered for loans elsewhere are able to get the capital they require.

Different loan amounts, interest rates and risk share arrangements apply depending on the business type, size and scale - check out the Enterprise Singapore website for full details, terms and conditions.¹³

Provider Enterprise Singapore
Capital available Up to SGD300,000
Approval times Not specified
Interest rates Interest rates based on assessed risk of loan
Eligibility Business must be registered and physically present in Singapore, with a minimum 30% local ownership Business and group must meet the Enterprise Singapore definition of SME, depending on the loan type applied for
Product and service options Working capital loans

Running a business - especially in a challenging economic climate - can be tough, and taking a loan to manage your working capital, invest or grow may be just what your company needs. Check out the broad range of options available from specialist providers as well as traditional banks, and compare the costs, flexibility and potential penalties to find the best one for you.


Sources:

  1. Aspire
  2. Aspire - SME Loans Singapore
  3. Funding Societies
  4. FUnding Societies - About page
  5. Funding Societies - SME Business Loan
  6. Validus
  7. Validus - SME Loans
  8. Minterest
  9. Financing Solutions
  10. Moolahsense
  11. Moolahsense - Business Loans
  12. Moolahsense - Invoice Financing
  13. SME Working Capital

Sources checked on 28 May 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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