For loans contracted between 1 June 2012 and 30 September 2015, moneylenders are required to compute and disclose to you the Effective Interest Rate of the loan, before the loan is granted. If your annual income is less than $30,000, the interest rate which moneylenders can charge, for both secured and unsecured loans, is capped at:
- 13 per cent Effective Interest Rate for secured loans; and
- 20 per cent Effective Interest Rate for unsecured loans.
The Effective Interest Rate takes into account the compounding effect of the frequency of instalments over a one-year period. This means that Effective Interest Rate better reflects the actual cost of borrowing over a one-year period.
If your annual income is $30,000 or more, the caps above are not applicable and interest rate is to be agreed upon between the moneylender and the borrower.
With effect from 1 October 2015, the maximum interest rate moneylenders can charge is 4% per month. This cap applies regardless of the borrower’s income and whether the loan is an unsecured or secured one. If a borrower fails to repay the loan on time, the maximum rate of late interest a moneylender can charge is 4% per month for each month the loan is repaid late.
The computation of interest charged on the loan must be based on the amount of principal remaining after deducting from the original principal the total payments made by or on behalf of the borrower which are appropriated to principal. [To illustrate, if X takes a loan of $10,000, and X has repaid $4,000, only the remaining $6,000 can be taken into account for the computation of interest.]
The late interest can only be charged on an amount that is repaid late. The moneylender cannot charge on amounts that are outstanding but not yet due to be repaid. [To illustrate, if X takes a loan of $10,000, and fails to pay for the first instalment of $2,000, the moneylender may charge the late interest on $2,000 but not on the remaining $8,000 as it is not due yet.]