Banks are no doubt, the go-to source for people to apply for both personal and business loans. The loans that banks offer often have lower interest rates and some tax breaks compared to non-bank banks. However, there are conditions in which you have to meet in order to be approved for the bank loan.

Advantages of Bank Loans:

1. Multiple Loan Options

All banks advertise multiple types of business loans depending on the purpose of borrowing the money. For example, banks offer different schemes to those setting up a business and those already running a business.

Here are some of the various type of loans offered by the 4 best banks for small business loans in Singapore:

BanksTypes of Loans
DBS• SME Working Capital Loan
• Business Term loan
• Overdraft
UOB• UOB Business Loan
• UOB BizMoney
• SME Micro Loan
• SME Working Capital Loan
• Overdraft
OCBC• Business First Loan
• SME Working Capital Loan
• Business Revolving Short-Term Loan
• Business Term Loan
• Business Overdraft
• SME Venture Loan
Standard Chartered Bank• Business Instalment Loan
• Business Property Loan
• Business Working Capital

2. Cost-Effective

When comparing interest rates, bank loans are usually the cheapest option compared to credit cards. Last year, Bankrate stated that some bank loans on average charge interest rates ranging from 7.50% to 10% compared to credit cards with a fixed interest rate that has surged to 17.49%.

The table below will roughly show the fees charged by each bank:

Bank LoanMaximum Loan AmountInterest Rate p.a.Administrative/Processing Fee
DBS SME Working Capital LoanS$300,000From 7%S$500 or 1% of approved amount, whichever is higher
UOB SME Micro LoanS$100,0006% to 8.75%2% of approved loan amount
OCBC SME Working Capital LoanS$300,0005% to 10%2% of approved loan amount
STANDARD CHARTERED BANK SME Working Capital LoanS$300,000Maximum 9%2% of approved loan amount (minimum S$400)

Lower interest rates of bank loans will definitely help your business save money. However, the interest rate is not the only fee that might be charged. It is also recommended to find out about the bank’s early/late repayment fee and process fee.

3. Flexibility

Banks don’t usually monitor how you use your loan. With bank loans, you only need to worry about making your regular installment payments on time. For that reason, you have full flexibility on however you want to invest.

BankMaximum Loan Tenor
DBS SME Working Capital Loan5 years
UOB SME Micro Loan3 years
OCBC SME Working Capital Loan5 years
STANDARD CHARTERED BANK SME Working Capital Loan3 years

4. Retained Profits

Banks are only interested in getting their principal and interest amount on a loan. Banks will not ask for the profits that you make. In contrast to loans from angel investors or VCs, there will be an agreed amount of shares that will be given to the lenders from the profit that you make.

Best Banks for Small Business Loans

Despite the advantages that bank loans offer, there are also some downsides when your small business takes a loan from banks.

Disadvantages of Bank loans:

1. Strict Requirements

Besides the better option for lower interest rates, banks are also known to have a long list of conditions and requirements that a business should fulfill before they can get the loan. It is sometimes hard or even not possible to meet all of them.

While most bank loans require some form of collateral, startups, SMEs and existing businesses without any assets may find it difficult to get the loan application approved. Most of the time, if the borrowers decided to go for unsecured loans, they will be given higher interest rates.

2. Repayment Burden

As mentioned before, there is no agreed amount to be shared from profits when your loan from banks. With banks, you only need to pay the agreed principal and interest amount of your loan. Hence, it is crucial to pay the bank with the right amount on time. Those who fall behind on paying back the money will face the prospect of having their assets seized.

Some banks have early/late repayment fees that might be charged every 1 day. Even if you manage to make late payments, your bank could still report you to credit bureaus. If that happens, it will make a negative impact on your credit score. With a lower credit score, obtaining loans in the future becomes more difficult.

3. Risk of Losing Collateral

As bank loans generally require some collateral. For small businesses,  it is often the entrepreneur’s house and property. Hence, there is a risk of losing the collateral in the event of borrowers fail to pay the bank back.

alternatives to a bank loan

Alternatives to a Bank Loan

1. Peer-to-Peer Landing

These days there are many online platforms that match small business owners seeking for loans with potential lenders. Basically, businesses post a profile with background information and what they need the money for.

2. Merchant Cash Advance Financing

For short, with a merchant cash advance, a financing company advances you cash in exchange for your future credit card sales, plus an additional fee. The benefits of a merchant cash advance compared to a bank loan is that there is no collateral required and you don’t need a perfect credit score.

Read more about merchant cash advance financing here.

3. Business Credit Line

It is similar to credit card, an easy way to fund operations, but of course, as long as you can commit to paying off the balance in 30 days. Business credit line provides you an amount up to a certain limit in which you can take and pay interest only on the portion of the money that you borrow.

Learn more about how you can get a business credit line of up to S$150k within 2 business days with Aspire here.

At Aspire, we envision a world where business owners have fast and simple access to the funding they need to grow. That’s why we’re on a mission to re-invent banking for SMEs across Southeast Asia.

Our current product provides SME and startup owners in Singapore with financial flexibility through a line of credit of up to S$150k. Which, can also be used to make business payments to enjoy 60 days free credit terms.

With no monthly fees or obligations to withdraw, you only pay interest on the amount you end up using. Opening an account is free and can be done online here.

Unlock a credit line up to $150k with Aspire Today





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