20 September 2023

Something sudden happens and you find yourself in urgent need of cash. You might be considering borrowing from the bank, but they might take a long time to approve your loan. So, you start looking for alternatives to get a fast loan in Singapore. When it comes to getting quick cash in Singapore, 2 options come to mind: a licensed money lender and a pawn shop

But before you head towards either one of them, it’s crucial that you know the differences between them. 

What’s A Licensed Money Lender? What’s A Pawn Shop?

Licensed Money Lender In Singapore

A licensed money lender refers to a person or group, typically institutionalised, who offers small loans to people or groups with financial needs. 

Licensed money lenders in Singapore operate under the Ministry of Law (MinLaw), which restricts and regulates the amount that they can lend, the fees they can charge, and the maximum interest rate. 

The list of licensed money lenders can be found on the Ministry of Law’s website. As of November 2020, there are a total of 156 licensed money lenders here in Singapore.

Another thing about licensed money lenders is that they don’t advertise via SMS and WhatsApp. In fact, they’re only allowed to advertise their loan products through the following channels: 

  • Their own website
  • Business and consumer directories
  • Within or on the exterior (the side of the wall, door, shutter, gate, and window) of the licensed money lender’s business premises 

If you’ve received SMS or WhatsApp messages offering personal loans, they’re more likely to be from loan sharks. 

Not sure if you’re dealing with a licensed money lender or a loan shark? Learn more about the differences between a licensed and an unlicensed money lender in Singapore here. 

Pawn Shop In Singapore

On the other hand, a pawn shop in Singapore is a business or shop that offers money to individuals who bring in valuable items, in exchange for an instant cash loan. These individuals leave their valuables with the pawnbroker who operates the business. 

Similar to licensed money lenders in Singapore, licensed pawn shops are regulated by the Ministry of Law, and there are 236 registered pawn shops as of November 2020. The most common ones include Maxi-Cash, Cash Mart, ValueMax, and MoneyMax.

While both licensed money lenders and pawn shops in Singapore provide fast cash loans, there are a few differences to keep in mind before you borrow from either of them. 

With that, let’s explore the differences between licensed money lenders and pawn shops

Infographic on the advantages of taking a loan from a licensed money lender over a pawn shop in Singapore

One advantage of borrowing from a licensed money lender is that you won’t risk losing something valuable.

3 Differences Between A Licensed Money Lender And A Pawn Shop In Singapore

1. Collateral

Pawn Shop

A pawn shop works on the basis of collateral. The general process of getting money from a pawn shop is simple. You approach the shop and pledge a valuable item. 

In other words, you bring your item to the pawn shop and exchange it for money. It’s a form of a secured loan. 

The broker will then evaluate your item and lend you a sum of money that he deems as worthy of your item. Typically, the amount is 60% to 80% of the market value of the pledge. 

For example, if you pledge a watch initially priced at S$15,000, you can expect it to be priced by the broker at S$10,000, and hence you’ll receive S$10,000. 

The good thing about borrowing money from a pawn shop is that as long as you have something valuable, you can get a lump sum of cash instantly. This can be useful for emergencies. 

For instance, if you have a medical emergency, and your Medisave and insurance payouts aren’t enough to cover your bills, you can pledge valuable items for cash at the pawn shop. 

Another instance in which a loan from a pawn shop can be a viable option is when you need cash to make urgent payments such as utility and credit card bills. 

4 pieces of gold bangles on the table, which can be pledged at a pawn shop in Singapore

When taking a loan from a pawn shop, you’ll need to pledge something valuable, such as gold jewellery.

Before you head down to a pawn shop though, there are several things that you should keep in mind. 

Firstly, you need to have an item that’s valuable enough to be pawned and pledged. This typically includes expensive jewellery, watches, and gold. You can even pawn valuables such as branded bags, electronics, and musical instruments.

Next, you must be ready to risk losing this valuable item if you’re unable to make at least one repayment in 6 months. After 6 months, if you haven’t made any partial payment, your pledge will most likely be auctioned off on the market. 

So you might want to consider another option if you don’t want to risk losing your item. 

Licensed Money Lender

On the other hand, when you borrow from a licensed money lender in Singapore, you have the option of applying for an unsecured loan. The good thing about it is that it’s not bonded to collateral. 

This means that the licensed money lender doesn’t have the right to seize any of your assets when you fail to pay your debt. 

Learn more about the differences between a secured and unsecured loan here. 

However, compared to pawn shops, licensed money lenders in Singapore require you to submit more documents. 

Typically, these include: 

  • Proof of identity: NRIC
  • Proof of residence: utility bills, bank statements, and letters addressed to you
  • Proof of income: Payslips, CPF contribution, and income tax statements

On top of these documents, you’ll also need to be at least 21 years old and earning an income to get a loan from a licensed money lender. 

These are crucial for them to assess your loan application, and to ensure that you can repay your debt regularly.

Learn more about what you should know before borrowing from a licensed money lender here. 

2. Repayments

Pawn Shop

Firstly, there’s no fixed repayment required when you’re taking a loan from a pawn shop in Singapore. You can pay as much as you want for every partial payment, but the loan tenure will be extended until you’ve made the full payment. This full payment also includes the interest charged to your loan.

For each payment made, the auctioning of your pledge will be delayed by 6 months. For instance, if you borrow S$3,000, you can choose to pay S$400 on your first month, S$600 on your second month, S$500 on your third month, and so on. While this keeps the account active, it also increases the interest to be paid.  

But if you have enough money to repay this loan in full, you can do so and get your pledged item back. 

Because loans from a pawn shop are collateral-based loans, you can also choose to keep the borrowed money by not paying back the loan at all. This means that you’ll be forfeiting the pawned item.

The typical interest rate charged by a licensed pawn shop in Singapore is 1% for the first month, and 1.5% in subsequent months. This is still lower than the average credit card interest rate in Singapore though, which is 25%.

Licensed Money Lender

If you were to borrow from a licensed money lender, you’ll need to pay back a fixed amount every week or month, depending on your repayment frequency. 

The good thing about having a fixed repayment schedule is that it helps you to set aside a certain amount of money to pay the loan. This allows you to manage your spendings and restructure your finances better in the long term. It can be helpful if you’re having difficulties repaying your debt. 

Learn more about what you can do if you find yourself struggling to pay off your debt. 

At the same time, a majority of personal loans come with fixed interest rates for the whole duration of the loan tenure. While it’s usually subjected to the licensed money lender’s assessment of your creditworthiness, it cannot exceed more than 4% per month. 

Likewise, if you make any late payments, you’ll be charged a maximum of 4% interest per month for the amount that’s repaid late. Let’s say you’ve taken a loan of S$10,000, and you’ve paid the S$2,000 late. In this case, the 4% late interest will only be applied to the S$2,000 amount. 

If you’re getting charged more than 4% per month for interest rate and late repayment, chances are you’re dealing with a loan shark. 

Learn more about what else to consider when borrowing from a licensed money lender, besides repayment and interest rates. 

3. Loan Amount Limit

A man and a woman calculating their repayment for a loan from a licensed money lender in Singapore

Licensed money lenders in Singapore provide a fixed repayment schedule.

Pawn Shop 

The loan amount that you receive will depend on the value of your pledged item.  

Your pledge will be evaluated by an expert valuer, who will offer you a loan that ranges from 60% to 80% market value of your pledged item. This means that the instant loan you’ll receive is lower than the actual value of the item.

Licensed Money Lender

The upper limit of your loan generally depends on your monthly income when borrowing from a licensed money lender. 

This means that if you’re a Singapore Citizen or Permanent Resident with an annual income of less than S$20,000, you can borrow up to S$3,000. And if you earn at least S$20,000 annually, you can borrow up to 6 times of your monthly income. 

Here’s a breakdown of the loan limits based on citizenship and income level

Annual income Singapore Citizen/Permanent Resident Foreigner living in Singapore
Less than S$10,000 S$3,000 S$500
At least S$10,000 to less than S$20,000 S$3,000 S$3,000
At least S$20,000 6 times of monthly income 6 times of monthly income

While licensed money lenders in Singapore generally focus more on your annual income when approving loans, they also look at other factors such as your creditworthiness. 

One way to maintain your credit score is to avoid applying for multiple loans within a short period of time. For instance, if you’ve submitted a loan application, you should only submit a second one when the first one has been rejected. 

Find out what else you can do to improve your credit score here. 

While you’re at it, you might also want to check out this article to find out why a bank or licensed money lender might have rejected a personal loan application. 

Should You Borrow From A Licensed Money Lender Or A Pawn Shop In Singapore? 

Essentially, both licensed money lenders and pawn shops have their advantages and disadvantages when it comes to extending a loan. It’s important for you to note both sides of the coin (pun intended) when you consider borrowing from these 2 platforms.

Here’s a table to summarise the pros and cons of borrowing from pawn shops and licensed money lenders. 

Pawnshop Licensed money lender
– Need to have an item that’s valuable enough to be pawned (e.g. expensive jewellery, watches, and gold)
Risk losing this valuable item if you fail to make at least one repayment in 6 months
No collateral
– You have the option of taking an unsecured loan, which means that collateral isn’t needed, so you won’t risk losing it 
No fixed repayment
– Pay as much as you want for every partial payment
– Loan tenure will be extended until you make the full payment
Fixed repayment (as stated in your contract)
– Pay a fixed amount depending on repayment schedule
– Helps to manage your finances better
Loan amount limit depends on your pledged item
– Loan amount is limited to the value of your pledge
– You’ll get around 60% to 80% the market value of your pledge 
Loan amount limit depends on your income and other variable factors
– Maximum loan amount is limited to annual income

– Besides income level, your credit score will also be reviewed to determine the loan amount 

On one hand, it may take a longer time to get approval and your funds if you’re borrowing money from a licensed money lender in Singapore instead of a pawn shop. 

The process of borrowing from a pawn shop may be faster since other than your identification documents, you won’t need to submit any more documents. You can basically go down to a pawn shop nearby with your valuables, and exchange it for cash. It’s almost instantaneous. This is useful especially when you need quick cash to tide over emergencies.

Need an instant cash loan in Singapore? Find out everything you need to know about it here. 

Another benefit of taking a loan from a pawn shop is that you can get a loan even when you’re not earning any income. 

On the other hand, borrowing from a pawn shop doesn’t give you the fixed repayment schedule that a licensed money lender puts in place. If you’re prone to missing your repayments, having a fixed repayment plan helps you to make your repayments regularly. You’ll also be less likely to default on your payments. 

In addition, the loan you receive from a pawn shop is limited to the value of your pledge. If it doesn’t have a high value, you won’t be able to get much cash out of it. In these circumstances, borrowing from a licensed money lender in Singapore may be a more viable option. 

When weighing these factors, it’s essential to go for the one that best suits your needs, whether it’s a licensed money lender or a pawn shop

Are There Any Other Alternatives To Pawn Shops And Licensed Money Lenders? 

If you prefer not to pledge a valuable item at a pawn shop or take a loan from a licensed money lender in Singapore, here are a few viable options to consider. 

Borrow From Family And Friends

Consider asking your family and friends for financial assistance. One good thing about borrowing money from them is that they’re less likely to charge interest, hence reducing the cost of taking a loan. 

However, do note that doing so comes with the risk of damaging your relationship with them. 

Ask For Payday In Advance

Prefer not to borrow from family and friends? Consider asking your employer to find out if you can receive your salary earlier. 

Doing so also helps to reduce the cost of borrowing, since you won’t need to pay interest for it. 

Apply For Financial Assistance

Another alternative is to apply for financial assistance such as ComCare Interim Assistance. This is a financial assistance scheme that’s suited for urgent and immediate matters.   

Here are the eligibility criteria: 

  • Singapore Citizen or Permanent Resident, with at least one immediate family member in the same household being a Singapore Citizen, and
  • Have a household income of S$1,900 and below, or a per capita household income of S$650 and below

If you’ve lost your job or received reduced income due to the pandemic, you may also consider applying for the government’s Temporary Relief Fund or COVID-19 Support Grant. 

Looking to take a loan from a licensed money lender? Apply now with Crawfort.

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Filing for bankruptcy in Singapore can stir up feelings of stress, anxiety, depression, and failure. Let’s face it, the process of filing for bankruptcy is also a tedious affair combined with the social stigma that comes with it. So before you decide to file for bankruptcy, why not consider other alternatives that are more desirable […]

Personal Loan
How To Clear Credit Card Debt With A Personal Loan In Singapore

Credit cards have a lot of benefits. Not only do they boost your spending power, but they’re also very convenient since you don’t need to keep drawing and carrying cash. However, for the convenience they offer, you run the risk of incurring high interest and accumulating debt quickly. What should you do when you find […]

Personal Loan
The 2 Types Of Personal Loans In Singapore To Consolidate Your Debt 

Besides being symbolic of financial independence and adulting, owning a credit card is a great way to earn rewards and cashback on your spending as long as you pay your bills dutifully every month. But what if you’re unable to pay your bills on time? With sky-high interest rates and a few late payment fees, […]

Blogs and Opinions
10 Travelling Tips For Your Next Trip And How A Personal Loan In Singapore Can Help

In a world where everything has its price, your dream of travelling the world can seem far and out of reach. Especially when you have daily expenses to account for and pressing bills to pay. Travelling can be expensive. However, the experiences you gain and memories forged from travelling is oftentimes invaluable. Though travelling can […]

Blogs and Opinions
Should You Take A Personal Loan In Singapore For Your Wedding?

Most of us dream of having the perfect wedding with our significant other. We want to make the day perfect to celebrate our love for our partner with our family and friends. However, planning a wedding can be stressful. Not only do you have to decide on the location, settle the most minute details, and […]

Blogs and Opinions
When Should You Consider Taking A Personal Loan Over A Renovation Loan In Singapore?

Now that you’ve collected the keys to your new home and browsed countless web pages for decor inspiration, it’s time for the next step. Imagine, after a long day at work, going back to a home that’s furnished and personalised just the way you like it. Isn’t that exciting? That is until you realise the […]

Personal Loan
Should You Take A Personal Loan In Singapore For Your Vacation?

Have you been toying with the idea of taking a good break for a while? And when we mean a break, we mean a good, quality break that’s going to give you a good reset. Maybe it’s been something on your mind for a while now but you haven’t gotten around to it because it’s […]

Personal Loan
Why You Should Upgrade Your Skills And How A Personal Loan In Singapore Can Help

According to Robert Kiyosaki, a successful businessman and author of Rich Dad Poor Dad, continuous learning is the key to getting rich. If you want to be successful in life, you need to have the right attitude, the right mentality, and seek continuous learning. Even after graduating, you should continue to upgrade your skills, which […]

Personal Loan
3 Ways To Reduce Your Wedding Costs And How Getting A Personal Loan In Singapore Can Help

Your wedding day is undoubtedly one of the most important days of your life. If you’ve been saving diligently after meeting “the one”, kudos for planning in advance! However, it may be the case that your savings still aren’t enough to cover the costs of your dream wedding.  To help you along on your journey, […]

Personal Loan
Renovation Loan Vs Personal Loan In Singapore For Home Renovation: What’s The Difference?

The priciest thing you can buy in Singapore is probably your home. Even if you don’t mind a rugged aesthetic, minimalistic, or industrial look, basic renovation is still necessary for installation of electrical endpoints, tilework, paintwork, and so on.  If you’ve done the maths, you’ll realise that renovations can cost an arm and leg. However, […]

Personal Loan
Personal Loan In Singapore: How Can It Help With Wedding Expenses?

Your wedding day is probably the most significant milestone as a couple. It’s a momentous and joyous occasion, where family and friends come together to celebrate the love and union between the two of you. How would taking out a personal loan in Singapore come into the picture? Well, every couple dreams of having that […]

Personal Loan
2 Types Of Personal Loans In Singapore To Consider In Times of Emergency

It’s always good when we receive a heads up before something happens, so that we can prepare for it.  But that doesn’t happen all the time. You can never predict when something unexpected crops up, and when you need extra cash urgently. In such times, a personal loan can be a viable option.  Types Of […]

Personal Loan
How Personal Loans In Singapore Can Be Useful For Grab And Taxi Drivers

The past few months have been difficult for many people in various industries. Most businesses, especially in the service industry, have been badly affected by the COVID-19 social distancing measures. Taking a personal loan in Singapore is one option to get through this tough time.  Ever since the outbreak began, less people have been going […]

Personal Loan
When Should You Take Out A Personal Loan In Singapore To Upgrade Your Skills?

We’re often told to continuously upgrade our skills because we need to stay relevant in times of changing needs. And one way to do that is through taking up courses. Plus, doing so can be helpful when we choose to switch careers. But taking up courses in Singapore can be quite expensive. For instance, a […]

Blogs and Opinions
8 Reasons Why You Have Low Credit Score In Singapore

Looking to purchase a home, car, or paying for that dream wedding? High costs of living in Singapore can make that hard to achieve. In fact, taking on personal loans to make those dreams a reality is not uncommon. Before applying for a loan, you should look at a few key considerations banks and financial […]

Blogs and Opinions
7 Things You Didn’t Know About Licensed Money Lenders In Singapore

Getting married, buying a home, or furthering your studies are major milestones in life. And these milestones usually come at a hefty price. Remaining debt-free becomes increasingly difficult as you move up the different stages of life; the last thing you want is to be trapped in a financial emergency. Turning to loved ones or […]

Personal Loan
Secured Vs Unsecured Personal Loan In Singapore: Which One To Take?

If you’re facing some kind of financial difficulty, getting a personal loan in Singapore could help improve your situation. Whether you choose to borrow from a bank or a licensed money lender in Singapore, you have a decision to make: you’ll need to decide whether to take out a secured loan or an unsecured loan. […]

Blogs and Opinions
Licensed Money Lenders In Singapore: What Are Your Options If You Can’t Repay Your Loan?

Some of us encounter financial difficulties at different junctures in life. In such situations, borrowing from lenders like banks or licensed money lenders in Singapore would be among the available options to help get you back on your feet. Whether you borrow from a bank or licensed money lender, you’re of course obligated to make […]

Blogs and Opinions
4 Things To Consider When Borrowing From A Licensed Money Lender In Singapore

Whether it’s taking out a loan to renovate your brand new home or financing an unexpected medical emergency, there may come a time when you need some financial assistance. Taking out a personal loan to fund such expenses is a common option.  As a borrower, you’re usually faced with 2 main options: a bank or […]

Company News
Leveraging On Digitalisation To Simplify Loan Application

Singapore — (19 May 2020) — Staying ahead of the digital economy, we at Crawfort, the consumer loan subsidiary of Capital C Corporation, have incorporated digitalisation strategy to introduce a new loan platform with an improved user interface and experience on our website, alongside a new brand name and logo. In line with our goal […]

Personal Loan
5 Reasons Why Your Personal Loan Application In Singapore Was Rejected

Perhaps it’s a time right now when you require extra financial support for your needs—for an emergency, for a dream vacation for you and your partner, or even for a plan to move forward and venture out of your comfort zone. However good your reasons may be, you may have faced problems having your personal […]

Personal Loan
Are You Eligible For A Personal Loan In Singapore?

When we’re short on cash, most of us will consider borrowing from friends and family members. However, if you don’t want to trouble them, how about taking a personal loan instead? A personal loan is a lump sum of money borrowed from a bank or licensed money lender. You’ll need to pay it back over […]

Blogs and Opinions
6 Things A Licensed Money Lender In Singapore Can’t Do When Collecting Debts

Getting a loan from a money lender in Singapore might be nerve wracking for some. When most think of money lending, they think of a pig’s head hanging by their door or that ‘O$P$’ red paint on the corridor.  However, loan sharks and licensed money lenders in Singapore operate very differently.  Let us look at […]

Personal Loan
6 Reasons Why You May Need A Personal Loan In Singapore

Have you ever found yourself stuck against a wall financially? When you have so many bills to pay, then suddenly, you or someone you know gets into an accident or gets sick. You are then overwhelmed with bills and the debt you need to pay, and the money you’ve saved or earned just isn’t enough […]

Personal Loan
4 Types Of Personal Loan In Singapore You Should Know

It is tough sometimes when we land ourselves in unexpected situations that require immediate financial assistance, such as medical emergencies or investment opportunities. At times like this, taking out a personal loan in Singapore could be a viable option to ease your financial burden.  A personal loan is a type of unsecured loan that does […]

Personal Loan
Personal Loans In Singapore: What To Consider When Applying

Personal loans can seem like a mystery. What are they? When should you take them? How do you go about applying for personal loans in Singapore? A personal loan is a lump sum of money borrowed from a bank or licensed money lender, which you have to pay back in instalments (fixed payments) over a […]

Blogs and Opinions
Licensed Money Lender in Singapore Vs Bank: Key Differences

Getting married and buying a home are some of the most significant milestones and expenses you’ll incur when adulting. The last thing you want is to be strapped for cash. When that happens, most people think of borrowing money to tide them through the rough patch. You’re usually faced with two choices – should I […]

Personal Loan
Top 5 Personal Loan in Singapore Myths Busted

It’s pretty common to take up a car loan and/or a housing loan, especially since it’s costly to own a car and a home in Singapore. But when it comes to taking a personal loan in Singapore, it’s usually perceived as the result of poor financial management.  Depending on the circumstances, taking a personal loan […]

Company News
Advisory on COVID-2019

In light of the COVID-19 situation, Crawfort Singapore has stepped up and implemented additional precautionary measures at our outlet.



Company News
Crawfort Is Awarded
ISO 9001 : 2015

Crawfort is proud to be awarded the TUV ISO 9001 mark of quality, and will continue to provide excellent quality of services.

Company News
Crawfort Is Honoured To Be Awarded The Singapore Prestige Brand Award (SPBA) 2019

We are pleased to announce that Crawfort has been awarded The Singapore Prestige Brand Award (SPBA) 2019 – Promising Brands. Into its 18th year, SPBA seeks to recognise and honour distinguished brands for their outstanding achievements in branding. Our team went through rigorous rounds of judging by stellar industry professionals who evaluated us based on […]

10 Business Leaders Recognised As Entrepreneur Of The Year

From training aspiring pilots to lending money, 10 local entrepreneurs received the Entrepreneur of the Year Award (EYA) 2019.

The Breakfast Huddle

Find out how we can help F&B SMEs scale their businesses.

CEO Conversation: Transforming Into A Digital Financial Services Provider

Find out how our Group is leveraging technology to serve underbanked customers in the region.

The Case For Alternative Lending

In the last decade, we have witnessed rapid growth in the alternative lending space, with the creation of new business models opening up the range of alternative lending products available.

How Fintech Is Driving Innovative Lending?

In Singapore, SMEs account for around two-thirds of the workforce and a large chunk of GDP growth. And if these firms can’t get funding, their failure to thrive has a dampening effect on the larger economy.

Company News
Crawfort Joins Singapore’s Fastest Growing Businesses

Crawfort rewrites the rules when it comes to moneylending solutions.

Crawfort: Breaking Stereotypes Through Innovation

Innovative business Crawfort is rewriting the rules when it comes to moneylending solutions

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