Advertisements are a medium we use to let people know that we can fulfill certain needs and demands for them. With advertisements, you can tell what a particular company or organization can offer you and at what price.
What you might not be able to tell from an advertisement is whether that company is legitimate.
Moneylending is a booming business in Singapore, and many people want to get in on the action. It can be difficult to separate the licensed moneylenders from the unlicensed money lenders, especially since even the licensed moneylenders tend to contravene the law as well.
Before you can tell if you are seeing a licensed or an unlicensed advertisement, you need to be able to tell the difference between the two types of moneylenders.
Difference Between Licensed Unlicensed Moneylender
The easiest way to differentiate between the two types of moneylenders is to check the list of moneylenders at https://www.mlaw.gov.sg/rom/. All licensed can be found on that site.
However, it would be a good idea to avoid and report any moneylenders who:
- Exhibits threatening behavior towards you.
- Very rude and abusive
- Gives you a loan without following due processes, such as calling you on your cellphone and sending you an SMS to confirm your numbers and your loan application.
- Gives you a loan without collecting all the required documents from you, such as your income tax assessment documents.
- Keeps any of your personal identification documents such as your driver’s license, passport, etc.
- Gives you a loan without fully or clearly explaining the terms of the loan contract.
- Whether they are licensed or not, this is unprofessional and unlawful behavior and needs to be reported.
No matter what advertisement you receive, you need to verify the information by contacting the persons behind that ad before doing business with them. Anyone can advertise one thing and do or say another.
As of 2011, advertising laws expressly state that licensed moneylenders can only advertise through three mediums:
- Business or consumer directories – these can be print or online media
- Websites owned by the licensed moneylender
- Advertisements placed in, on, or around the moneylender’s place of business.
All other forms of advertisements are prohibited, including flyers, emails, messages, radio or TV ads, etc.
As such, if someone were to approach you as a moneylender with a flyer advertising their loan interest rates, they are either unlicensed or are shady licensed moneylenders.
Do not respond to such advertisements, but do try to report them to the Registry, or report possible loan sharks to the police.
You should also know that it is not advisable to rely solely on the content of an advertisement from a moneylender. The advertisement is meant to make them look good, to draw you in and do business with them by taking a loan.
Once you see an ad from a moneylender, do your research. Ask around to find out more about them, get more clarification on their contract terms, and ensure that everything they do is above board before signing up with a moneylender