LENDING & CREDIT | Staff Reporter, Singapore

One in three Singaporeans took out a personal loan in the past 12 months: study

The need to pay for basic expenses are one in 10 locals to take out a loan.

Nearly one in three Singaporeans (32%) or an estimated 928,000 people have reportedly taken out a personal loan in the past 12 months, according to a report by

Singaporeans who have taken out a personal loan cite covering basic expenses as their main priority, with more than one in 10 or 13% saying this. Meanwhile, 11% said that they’ve taken out personal loans to help family and loved ones.

One in 10 locals also said that they need a loan to pay off their credit card debt, finance a mortgage, and buy a car—each reason at 10% of each.

Nearly half of people who pay their own rent, or 47%, have taken out a personal loan in the past year. Of these, 17% said that they are using the cover their daily cost of living.

First-time homeowners are on par with the national average, with 32% saying they’ve taken a loan. Meanwhile, established homeowners and those who aren’t responsible for their housing costs are slightly less likely to need a loan, with each registering 30%. also noted that men are significantly more likely to take out loans than women, with two in five (41%) taking out a personal loan in the past 12 months. In contrast, just under a quarter (24%) or one in four Singaporean women took out a loan over the same period.

Men are much more likely to take out loans to help out their families and friends, with 17% of men indicating this, compared to just 5% of women.

Singaporeans are also 50% more likely to take out a personal loan if they’ve recently gotten engaged, had a child, moved houses, or gotten married. Of these, 61% of those who are recently engaged or have recently moved homes have taken out a loan. Meanwhile, 57% of recently married people and 55% of new parents indicated the same.

“The global pandemic undoubtedly placed a lot of people under difficult financial situations and sometimes personal loans may feel like the only option to help tide you through,” said James Martin, senior writer and money expert,

“In some cases, a loan may be the only way to go. But also keep in mind that there are other viable alternatives like a payment plan or credit card,” Martin added.

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