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Our Picks for the Best Personal Loans in Singapore
It is difficult to determine which loans are offered to borrowers with low credit scores, as lenders are not very transparent about how they make loan application decisions. However, we believe that our recommendations below give borrowers with bad credit a great place to start their loan application process, as these loans are some of the cheapest options available in Singapore. Additionally, we've highlighted the minimum income requirement of each loan in order to help low-income loan applicants determine which banks best fit their needs. In order to determine the total cost of each loan, we considered interest rates and various fees. In addition to looking for a loan with the lowest total cost of borrowing, borrowers should also try to find a loan with a monthly payment schedule that they will be able to keep up with in order to rebuild their credit.
Personal Loan with the Quickest Cash Disbursement: POSB/DBS Personal Loan
Many borrowers, especially those with bad credit, choose to apply for a personal loan because they urgently need the funds. For these individuals, we recommend personal loans from POSB and DBS as these banks offer loans within 2 days of loan applications. Furthermore, POSB and DBS provide loans instantly to their credit card and personal line of credit customers.
On top of their incredibly quick cash disbursement, DBS and POSB stand out due to their personal loans' flat interest rates, which are among the cheapest available in Singapore, starting at 3.88%. Additionally, POSB and DBS's personal loans tend to be attractive to low-income borrowers with low credit scores. This is because the banks have one of the lowest minimum income requirements of S$20,000 per year. With this said, it is important to note that POSB and DBS may not offer their lowest interest rates to borrowers with bad credit. In order to find out if you qualify, we suggest that you contact the banks to learn more. To learn more about about POSB and DBS's personal loans offerings, please refer to our full review.
Summary of POSB/DBS's Personal Loans' Interest Rates & Features
|Duration (Years)||Flat Rate||Fee||Effective Interest Rate||Monthly Payment||Total Cost|
|*Assuming loan of S$30,000, total cost includes impact of promotions and fees|
Best Personal Loan for Low Income Borrowers: Standard Chartered CashOne
Individuals with bad credit and low-income should consider Standard Chartered's CashOne loan. The bank charges interest rates of 9.8% to 10.8% and no processing fee for personal loans to borrowers that earn S$20,000 to S$30,000 per year. These rates are much lower than competitors that charge flat rates of 11% to 13% plus processing fees of up to 4%.
While these rates are clearly attractive to individuals with lower incomes, it is important to note that Standard Chartered only offers these borrowers loans of up to S$5,000 or 2x their monthly salary, whichever is lower. This can be limiting if you are seeking a loan in order to pay for a very large expense such as a wedding. However, if you make less than S$30,000, we strongly recommend against borrowing more than this amount in the first place. For more information, read our full review.
Summary of Standard Chartered CashOne's Interest Rates and Features
|Interest Rate By Duration (Year)||Flat Rate||Fee||Effective Interest Rate||Monthly Instalment||Total Cost*|
|Promotion: S$50 cashback for online application + Up to S2,088 of additional cashback|
|*Assuming existing customer with annual income of S$20,000, S$3,000 loan|
Best Large, Long-Term Personal Loan: HSBC Personal Loan
HSBC's personal loan is an affordable option for prospective loan applicants with low credit scores that may be interested in a long-term personal loan as a way to obtain funds and build a better credit score. Additionally, it is a great choice for applicants that require a larger personal loan. HSBC's personal loan is unique because it is the only loan with tenures of up to 7 years, while other banks tend to only offer loans of 5 years or less. This helps borrowers by spreading the financial burden of a large loan and allowing for smaller monthly payments.
Additionally, the bank charges some of the lowest rates for loans of more than 3 years, with EIR of 7% to 9% for durations of 3 to 7 years. For individuals with incomes of at least S$80,000 HSBC charges a very low flat rate of 3.7% for these long-term loans. However, HSBC's personal loan is not the cheapest option for short-term loans in Singapore, as its EIR for 1 and 2 year loans (13%) is higher than both Citibank and Standard Chartered's. To learn more about HSBC's personal loan offerings read our full review.
Summary of HSBC's Personal Loan's Interest Rates and Features
|Interest Rate by Duration (Year)||Flat Rate^||Fee||Effective Interest Rate||Monthly Instalment*||Total Cost*|
|Promotion: S$50 cash rebate & S$88 annual fee waiver exclusively for online applications|
|*Assuming S$10,000 loan & annual income of at least S$80,000, total cost includes impact of promotions|
|^ Flat rate for 3-7 year loans increases to 4.8% - 5.0% for borrowers with annual income less than S$80,000|
Best Small, Short-Term Personal Loan: Citibank Ready Credit Paylite
Individuals that do not have excellent credit scores, but want seek an affordable short-term loan, should consider Citibank Ready Credit Paylite. While it is unclear what Citi's credit requirements are for this product, they do offer very competitive rates for new customers. For example, for loan tenures of 1 to 3 years, Citibank Ready Credit Paylite's effective interest rate is 8.5%, which is one of the lowest rates available in Singapore. Additionally, Citibank does not charge a processing fee and its minimum loan amount is only S$1,000 compared to HSBC’s S$5,000, making it very accessible for all borrowers.
However, there are some drawbacks to Citibank's Ready Credit Paylite. First, the bank does not charge the lowest interest rates for longer-term personal loans. For instance, loans with tenures of more than 3 years come with flat rates of 5.72% - 5.79%, compared to HSBC's personal loans that charge of 3.7% - 4.8%. This makes Ready Credit Paylite a less attractive option for borrowers that require long-term financing. Also, while Citibank makes loan application decisions within an hour, cash is disbursed within 3 to 5 days, which is slower than other personal loans in Singapore. To learn more please refer to our full review.
Summary of Citibank Ready Credit Paylite's Interest Rates and Features
|Interest Rate By Duration (Year)||Flat Rate||Fee||Effective Interest Rate||Monthly Instalment*||Total Cost*|
|*Assuming loan of S$10,000, total cost includes impact of promotions|
Best Personal Loan Promotion: Standard Chartered CashOne
For borrowers that do not have excellent credit histories, but have high annual incomes, we recommend Standard's Chartered CashOne personal loan. This is because the bank charges high income earners (at least S$120,000) a flat interest rates of 4.98% (EIR of 7.76% - 9.52%) for loans of at least S$50,000. Additionally, Standard Chartered is currently offering S$50 cashback and a S$199 annual fee credit to online applicants as well as cashback of up to S$2,088 to new customers and up to S$1,088 existing customers. Therefore, SC CashOne is the cheapest option for individuals with incomes of at least S$120,000 after accounting for all these factors.
With that said, Standard Chartered CashOne is not the best personal loan for everyone. For example, the loan is not as cheap as HSBC or Citibank for individuals who make less than S$120,000 per year, because its flat interest rate is slightly higher (5.68%) for borrowers with incomes of S$30,000 - S$120,000. Additionally, it is important to keep in mind that while CashOne is can be a cheap loan for high income individuals due to the cashback promotions, it still requires significant monthly instalments due to its high flat interest rate. To read more about Standard Chartered's CashOne, read our full review.
Summary of Standard Chartered CashOne's Interest Rates and Features
|Interest Rate By Duration (Year)||Flat Rate||Fee||Effective Interest Rate||Monthly Instalment||Total Cost*|
|Promotion: S$50 cashback for online application + Up to S$2,088 of cashback on loan|
|*Assuming existing customer with annual Income above S$120,000, S$50,000 loan|
Best Personal Loan for Foreigners in Singapore
If you are foreigner living in Singapore and you need a personal loan, we strongly recommend that you consider applying for HSBC's personal loan. HSBC charges some of the lowest interest rates on the market and has the lowest income requirement for foreigners at S$40,000. HSBC also offers the longest personal loan tenures (7 years) of any bank in Singapore. This allows borrowers to spread out their cost and minimise their monthly payment. It also allows borrowers to improve their credit over time. On top that, HSBC is currently waiving its processing fee (S$88) and offering S$50 cashback to individuals that apply online.
With that said, HSBC's personal loans are not the best option for Singaporeans that seek a short-term financing option of 1 or 2 years. This is because its effective interest rates for these short loans (13%) are more expensive than those of other banks. For example, OCBC and Standard Chartered offer better short-term personal loan interest rates to foreigners living in Singapore. To learn more about HSBC's personal loans read our full review.
Best Debt Consolidation Plans in Singapore
Debt consolidation plans are loans that are designed to help borrowers repay existing debts by charging lower interest rates than the borrowers' existing loans. These plans can serve as cheaper alternatives to personal loans for borrowers that require financing to repay other, more expensive debt.
HSBC Debt Consolidation Plan
Debt consolidation loans can be a helpful way for borrowers with a lot of debt and bad credit scores to repay their existing loans and begin to repair their credit history. We recommend that borrowers consider HSBC's debt consolidation loan because it offers the lowest guaranteed interest rate, while also waiving its processing fee. For example, the bank charges a flat interest rate of 4% for loans of 1 to 7 years, compared to its competitors that generally charge 5% - 6%. It also charges the lowest rates for longer term debt consolidation loans with interest rates of 5.7% for loans of 8 to 10 years, while other banks charge at least 6%. It is also worth noting that the bank is offering S$100 to online applicants. For more information, please refer to our full review.
Details of HSBC Debt Consolidation Loan
|HSBC Debt Consolidation Loan||Details|
|Processing Fee||S$88 or 1%, waived|
|Flat Interest Rate 1-7 Years||4.0%|
|Flat Interest Rate 8-10 Years||5.7%|
|Promotion||S$100 cashback for online application + Processing fee waiver|
Best DCP Promotion: POSB & DBS Debt Consolidation Plan
POSB and DBS's debt consolidation loan is also worth considering due to its low advertised rates and current promotion. The banks advertise rates "as low as 4.58%" for tenures as long as 8 years. This is ideal for those who can manage to secure these rates; however, there is no guarantee that individuals with bad credit will actually receive these rates. Still, POSB and DBS also provide up to S$1,200 of cash back to new customers, which more than offsets its S$99 processing fee. Additionally, the banks offer S$2,000 to S$3,000 in cashback for borrowers that refinance their existing debt consolidation loan To learn more about this plan, read our full review.
|POSB/DBS Debt Consolidation Loan||Details|
|Flat Interest Rate 1-8 Years||As low as 4.58%|
|Promotion||Up to S$1,200 of cash back for new customers (existing customers: S$300 for loan of under S$75,000, S$800 for loan of over S$75,000); S$2,000 - S$3,000 cashback for borrowers refinancing DCP with POSB|
Best Balance Transfer Loans in Singapore
Balance transfer loans provide borrowers with the opportunity to consolidate their existing debt and transfer the balance to one new loan. These loan products tend to offer 3 to 12 months with no interest. This is helpful for borrowers that want to repay their debt quickly. Most banks offer a balance with a 6-month interest-free period, so we focused on these offerings in this section. For more information regarding the best 3 and 12-month interest free balance transfers, please refer to our guide of the best balance transfers in Singapore.
Best Credit Card Balance Transfer: Standard Chartered Funds Transfer
Standard Chartered's Funds Transfer is a great balance transfer for repaying credit card debt.This loan combines a low processing fee (1.99%) with the lowest minimum payment requirement (1%) available in Singapore. Additionally, the bank gives borrowers flexibility by offering interest-free periods of 6 and 12 months, both with total costs well below the average in Singapore.
With any balance transfer, it is important to repay the loan before the end of the interest free period. This is because following the interest-free period banks charge very high interest rates. For example, Standard Chartered charges 25.9% annually.
However, it is important to note , Standard Chartered's balance transfers accrue interest of 25.9% annually. This highlights the necessity of making monthly payments that exceed the minimum monthly repayment requirement in order to avoid accruing a substantial interest costs. To read more about Standard Chartered's balance transfers, read our full review.
Summary of Standard Chartered's Balance Transfer Costs
|Interest-Free Period||Processing Fee||Effective Interest Rate||Prevailing Interest Rate|
Best for Large Balances: Maybank Fund Transfer
If you have at least S$10,000 in debt that you expect to be able to repay easily within 6-months, Maybank's balance transfer could be a good fit for you. The bank charges a processing fee of 1.38%, which is tied for the lowest in Singapore, and the bank advertises a lower EIR than any other bank for balance transfers of at least S$10,000 with 6 months interest-free. However, it is crucial for borrowers to repay this large balance transfer within 6 months, as Maybank charges an interest rate of 25.9% annually following the interest-free period. Read our full review to learn more about Maybank's balance transfer offerings.
Summary of Maybank's Balance Transfer Costs
|Duration||Minimum Transfer||Interest Rate||Processing Fee||Effective Interest Rate||Prevailing Interest Rate|
Best Personal Loans by Dollar Cost
The graph below shows the total cost of each personal instalment loan in Singapore. This visual analysis helps you understand the cost of interest and fees of borrowing S$10,000 over 3 years. We assume that the borrower earns S$30,000 per year. Our graph does not include other possible fees like late or early payments, which we typically advise against.
Compare the Personal Loans
For a quick summary of this article, please refer to our summary table below for the best personal loan offerings in Singapore.
|Personal Loans||Best For...||Min. Annual Income|
|POSB/DBS Personal Loan||Quickest Cash Disbursement||S$20,000||Apply Now|
|Standard Chartered CashOne||Annual Income Below S$30,000||S$20,000||Apply Now|
|Citibank Ready Credit Paylite||Cheapest 1-Year Loan||S$30,000||Apply Now|
|OCBC Cash-On-Instalment||Cheapest 2-Year Loan||S$30,000||Apply Now|
|HSBC Personal Loan||Best 3-7 Year Loan||S$30,000||Apply Now|
|Standard Chartered CashOne||Best Cashback Promotion||S$30,000||Apply Now|
|Personal Loans||Best For...||Min. Annual Income|
|POSB/DBS Personal Loan||Apply Now||Quickest Cash Disbursement||S$20,000|
|Standard Chartered CashOne||Apply Now||Annual Income Below S$30,000||S$20,000|
|HSBC Personal Loan||Apply Now||Best 3-7 Year Loan||S$30,000|
|Citibank Ready Credit Paylite||Apply Now||Cheapest 1-Year Loan||S$30,000|
|OCBC Cash-On-Instalment||Apply Now||Cheapest 2-Year Loan||S$20,000|
|Standard Chartered CashOne||Apply Now||Best Cashback Promotion||S$30,000|
How to Compare Personal Loans
We strongly recommend that before applying for any financial product, borrowers consider if the product is the best option for their circumstances. While personal loan debt tends to be less expensive than other loans, such as credit card debt, it can still cost thousands of dollars and should not be taken lightly, especially by individuals with less than optimal credit histories. Therefore, it is crucial to compare interest rates and other loan features before diving into the loan application process.
- Total Cost: this is the dollar amount you end up paying in interest and fees. You can minimize it by choosing low effective interest rate and short duration.
- Monthly Payment: you should be able to comfortably afford the monthly payment during the loan’s tenure. Otherwise, you will end up paying significant amounts in penalty fees and interest. To figure out your monthly payment, first multiply your annual flat rate by the principal amount. Then, multiply this amount by the duration of your loan in years. Then add this amount to the principal you borrowed. Dividing this by the duration of your loan in months will result in the monthly payment (also called monthly instalment) that you need to make to the bank.
- Balance: you need to find a balance between the two factors above. Try to minimize the total cost of your personal loan, while making sure that your finances can comfortably handle the monthly installment required to pay off the loan.
Effective Interest Rate (EIR) vs Flat Interest Rate
It’s very important to consider the flat rate and effective interest rate (EIR) when comparing personal loans. The flat rate is the number you use to calculate how much interest you owe on the loan. For instance, if you take out a S$10,000 loan with a 5% flat interest rate and a 5-year tenure, you will be required to pay S$500 in interest per year for the next 5 years.
EIR on the other hand, represents the true economic cost of the loan and accounts for processing fees and your loan repayment schedule. Another important difference between the 2 types of interest rates is that because borrowers don’t get to use the full amount of the loan during its duration, they end up facing a higher cost than just the flat rate. Phrased differently, you are paying some money back every month but that has no impact on reducing your interest payment.
This highlights the importance of examining both numbers when comparing personal loans. On one hand, flat interest rates will determine how much you have to pay back to the bank on a monthly basis. On the other hand, EIR will tell you what the loan is really costing you economically. For example, you may be misled if you believe that a personal loan is only going to cost you 4% to 8% by looking at its flat rate. In reality, it is really costing you 12% to 20%, if not more, which is represented by EIR.
What You Need to Apply for A Personal Loan
In Singapore, you need to be between 21 and 65 years old to qualify for a personal loan. Also, banks require a minimum annual income of S$20,000 to S$30,000. For foreigners, this limit increases to $40,000 to S$60,000 depending on the bank. To prove that you meet the bank's requirement, you will typically be required to provide documents proving your identity, address and income. These generally include:
- Proof of Identity: Singapore Identification Card (IC) or Employment Pass (EP) + Passport
- Proof of Address: Documents including your residential address (i.e. utility bills with your name and address)
- Proof of Income: Your Latest 12 months’ Central Provident Fund (CPF) contribution history statement or Latest Income Tax Notice of Assessment or Latest Computerised Payslip or Salary Crediting into the lender’s bank account
Types of Personal Loans Available in Singapore
Borrowers in Singapore are able to choose between a few types of personal loans. Personal instalment loans are the most common type. These loans provide a lump some of money up front, which borrowers the repay in monthly instalments throughout the loan tenure. These loans are typically best used for large one-off expenses, such as weddings or medical procedures. In addition to personal instalment loans, personal lines of credit are another popular loan type in Singapore. These credit lines allow to "draw" funds as needed up to a limit determined by the bank. They are also different from personal instalment loans because they only charged interest based on the amount of money they has been borrowed. This can make this type of financing cheaper depending on your borrowing needs, and is worth considering for borrowers that are working to improve their credit score. Credit lines are also particularly useful for individuals that plan to borrow smaller amounts on an ongoing basis.
For borrowers that already have a significant amount of personal debt, balance transfer loans and debt consolidation loans offer an opportunity to consolidate and repay existing loans. Balance transfer loans allow borrowers to transfer outstanding loan balances to a one new loan. Additionally, many banks offer an interest-free period of 3 to 12 months, during which borrowers are not required to make interest payments. This makes these loans a great option for consolidating and paying down your personal debt quickly. On the other hand, Debt consolidation loans are similar in that they allow borrowers to pay down various personal debts; however, they are instalment loans that provide a lump sum of cash in order to pay down various debts. Debt consolidation loans are typically best used for repaying debt over the long-term.
Alternatives to Personal Loans
When applying for a personal loan, it is crucial to ensure that you have found one of the cheapest loans available. Besides comparing interest rates and various fees, it is important to be sure that you are applying for the most relevant loan type. For example, it is typically more expensive to use a personal loan compared to a specific-use loan such as a home, car or education loan. If you are using a loan to pay for one of these expenses, you are likely to be offered lower rates from a specific-use loan compared to a personal loan. For this reason, while personal loans are financing tools for large or unexpected expenses, prospective borrowers should also be aware of other borrowing options that are available to them.
In order to determine the list best personal loans for Singaporeans with bad credit, we collected data on all the personal loans from over 10 major loan providers in Singapore, listed in our table below.
We then created an algorithm to calculate the total cost of each loan in dollar terms. The total cost includes everything that a borrower ends up paying to the bank, which includes processing fees, administrative fees, interest payments. We considered benefits of promotions like fee waivers or cashback, which would decrease the total cost of a loan. We assume that all loan payments are paid on time, therefore avoiding fees like late payments or early payments.
Because these loans costs vary depending on the size and duration of the loan and required minimum income, cost is calculated for each duration range (1 to 5 years) and for each principal amount. By calculating each loan's total costs at different size, maturity and income level, we were able to arrive at the loans that cost the least to the borrower.