Supporting Individuals and Businesses

Supporting Individuals

MAS has worked with financial institutions in Singapore to offer two relief packages to support individuals facing financial difficulties due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The first package on 31 March 2020 lowers individuals’ short-term repayment obligations for their residential property loans, insurance commitments and unsecured credit debts. The second package on 30 April 2020 extends the scope of relief to other types of loan commitments, and to allow individuals to continue to have access to affordable basic banking services.

The relief measures for individuals will be provided by financial institutions on an opt-in basis, as each individual’s financial situation is different. As payment deferments and loan tenure extensions will result in higher overall interest costs, individuals should carefully consider the accumulated interest costs they will eventually have to bear, and balance this against their need for temporary cashflow relief.

Individuals’ credit scores will not be affected when they take up payment deferments. Individuals can also opt to extend the loan tenure by up to the corresponding deferment period to ease monthly instalments when they resume regular repayments.

Easing Cashflow

Defer Repayment for Residential Property Loans

Individuals with residential property loans may apply to their respective bank or finance company to defer either (i) principal repayment or (ii) both principal and interest repayments up to 31 December 2020. Interest will accrue on the outstanding loan principal. If interest payments are deferred, no additional interest will be charged on the deferred interest payments. 

Lenders will approve the request for deferment as long as the individual is not in arrears for more than 90 days as at 6 April 2020. Individuals do not need to demonstrate any impact from COVID-19 to obtain the deferment. 

Defer Repayment for Commercial and Industrial Property Loans

Individuals with commercial or industrial property loans may apply to their respective bank or finance company to defer principal repayment up to 31 December 2020. Interest will continue to be payable during the deferment period. 

Lenders will approve the request for deferment as long as the individual is not in arrears as at 1 February 2020. Individuals do not need to demonstrate any impact from COVID-19 to obtain the deferment. 

Defer Repayment for Mortgage Equity Withdrawal Loans

Individuals with mortgage equity withdrawal loans obtained after 6 April 2020, and are not able to qualify for the above Residential/Commercial/Industrial property loan deferment, may apply to their respective bank or finance company to defer repayments up to 31 December 2020. Options may vary between different banks and finance companies.

Individuals do not need to demonstrate any impact from COVID-19 to obtain the deferment. 

Defer Repayment for Renovation Loans

Individuals with renovation loans may apply to their respective bank to defer repayments of both principal and interest up to 31 December 2020. Interest will continue accrue on the outstanding loan principal, but additional interest will not be charged on the deferred interest payments.

Lenders will approve the request for deferment as long as the individual is not in arrears for more than 90 days as at the point of application. Individuals do not need to demonstrate any impact from COVID-19 to obtain the deferment.

Defer Repayment for Education / Study / Student Loans

Individuals with education/study/student loans may apply to their respective bank to defer repayments of both principal and interest up to 31 December 2020. Interest will continue accrue on the outstanding loan principal, but additional interest will not be charged on the deferred interest payments.

Lenders will approve the request for deferment as long as the individual is not in arrears for more than 90 days as at the point of application. Individuals do not need to demonstrate any impact from COVID-19 to obtain the deferment.

Defer Repayment for Motor Vehicle Loans and Hire-Purchase Agreements, Subject to Case-By-Case Assessment

Individuals with motor vehicle loans and hire-purchase agreements may approach their respective bank or finance company to discuss suitable repayment plans.

Lenders will take into account factors such as the borrowers’ financial condition, need for the use of a motor vehicle, current market value of the motor vehicle and its estimated market value after the deferment period (if applicable).

Extend Repayment of Debt Consolidation Plans

Individuals who are on Debt Consolidation Plans (DCP) can apply to extend the loan tenure of their existing DCP for up to 5 years, anytime from 18 May 2020 to 31 Dec 2020.

Lenders will require individuals to demonstrate that their incomes have been affected by COVID-19. Lenders will approve the request for extension as long as the individual is in arrears for between 30 and 90 days as at the point of application. 

Defer Premium Payments for Life and Health Insurance

Individuals may apply to their insurer to defer premiums for their life and health insurance policies for up to six months while maintaining insurance protection. Premium deferment is available for all individual life and health insurance policies with a policy renewal or premium due date between 1 April and 30 September 2020 (both dates inclusive).

Flexible Instalment Plans for General Insurance

Individuals may apply to their insurer to pay their general insurance premiums (e.g. for property and vehicles) in instalments. Policyholders can pay their premiums in smaller amounts and enjoy coverage for the paid-up period, instead of paying a lump sum premium for the entire policy period at the start.  

Reducing Debt Obligations

Lower Interest on Personal Unsecured Credit

Individuals may apply to their respective banks or credit card issuers to convert their outstanding balances from revolving unsecured credit facilities to term loans with effective interest rate capped at 8% (compared to the 26%This refers to annual percentage rate charged. For comparison, the converted term loan will be charged at approximately 4.3% per annum based on the 8% effective interest rate cap. typically charged on credit cards). The tenure of the converted loan can be up to five years. Borrowers can choose a suitable tenure depending on their ability to meet the minimum monthly repayment.

This option is available to all individuals who have suffered a loss of 25% or more of their monthly income after 1 February 2020 and are between 30 and 90 days past due on their revolving unsecured debts. Individuals may apply to their lenders for conversion of their outstanding unsecured debt from 6 April to 31 December 2020.

Easier Refinancing or Repricing of Investment Property Loans

Individuals can apply to refinance or reprice their loans, without being subject to the total debt servicing ratio (TDSR) and mortgage servicing ratio (MSR) under MAS’ property loan rules, up to 31 December 2020, to lower their monthly payments. Any subsequent application to defer property loan repayments will be assessed by their bank or finance company on a case-by-case basis.

If the loan is still within the lock-in period, contractual penalties may apply. 

Ensuring Access to Basic Banking Services

Waiver of Fall-Below Bank Account Service Fees and Failed GIRO Charges

Individuals who are not able to meet the relevant minimum average daily or monthly balances for their retail bank accounts can apply to have fall-below service fees waived up to 31 December 2020. Individuals who have set up GIRO arrangements for automated deductions of payments from their retail bank accounts can apply to have bank fees for any failed deductions waived up to 31 December 2020. This does not affect any action that payee companies may take for failed payments, including late payment fees (if applicable).

Banks will require individuals to demonstrate that their incomes have been affected by COVID-19.

Supporting Businesses

MAS has worked with financial institutions in Singapore to offer options for SMEs in need to lower their short-term repayment obligations for their secured loans and to stay insured despite facing financial difficulties. SMEs should enquire on the associated costs and benefits before taking up any of the options.

Managing Cashflow


Defer Payment of Principal on Secured SME Loans

SMEs may apply to their lender to defer principal repayment of their loan until 31 December 2020. SMEs will also be able to extend the tenure of their loans by up to the corresponding principal deferment period if they wish. This relief will be available to SMEs that continue to pay interest and are in good standing with their banks and finance companies (not more than 90 days past due as of 6 April 2020).

Lower Interest on SME Loans

SME borrowers will also benefit from lower interest rates on their loans obtained under Enterprise Singapore (ESG)’s Enhanced Enterprise Financing Scheme – SME Working Capital Loan and Temporary Bridging Loan Programme (ESG Loan Schemes). Through the MAS SGD Facility for ESG Loans, MAS will provide lower-cost funding to participating financial institutions to support their lending at lower interest rates to SMEs under the ESG Loan Schemes.

Staying Insured


Assistance with Insurance Premium Payment

Corporates, including SMEs, may apply to their insurer to pay their company’s general insurance premiums (e.g. property, trade credit, vehicles) in instalments.

Supporting the Implementation of COVID-19 Act

MAS has supported the scoping of the COVID-19 (Temporary Measures) Act 2020 to provide temporary protection to SMEs without impairing interests of banks and Singapore’s role as an international financial centre. The Act covers only contracts that are scheduled. For financial institutions, it would cover only SME loans with specific security located in Singapore, namely commercial or industrial property in Singapore, or plant, machinery or fixed assets in Singapore that are used for business purposesThe Act also applies to enforcement or legal actions by financiers under hire-purchase agreements, where the goods hired are commercial vehicles or plant, machinery or fixed asset used for business purposes. Financiers include leasing companies and financial institutions..

The contractual rights of banks are not affected, other than the right to enforce the abovementioned security or commence legal action for a default on a loan covered under the Act for a six-month period, from 20 April to 19 October 2020. Banks’ contractual right to charge fees and interest for non-payment or late payment of loan obligations due is unaffected, save for unilateral increases or impositions that are not expressly specified.

SMEs considering to seek the protection of this Act for their security should therefore bear in mind that they may incur late charges and higher interest, and end up paying more in the future. SMEs who face cash flow difficulties should actively engage their banks to explore the options available under the package of relief measures announced by MAS, which include the deferment of principal repayment, with a corresponding waiver of late charges.

For FAQs on SME Bank Loans and Hire Purchase Agreements relating to the Act and Regulations, please click here .

Guidance on Conduct of General Meetings

MAS has worked with Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA), Singapore Exchange Regulation (SGX RegCo) and other government ministries to introduce legislative provisions to provide legal certainty to enable listed and non-listed entities to hold general meetings that comply with the Ministry of Health’s safe distancing measures. MAS, ACRA and SGX RegCo have also published a guidance (423.9 KB) and a checklist (227.9 KB) to guide listed and non-listed entities on their conduct of general meetings during the period when elevated safe distancing measures are in place.

Extension of Time to Hold Annual General Meetings and Release Unaudited Financial Statements

To enable listed issuers to have more time to implement alternative arrangements (such as virtual general meetings), MAS, ACRA and SGX RegCo granted a two-month extension to all listed issuers (including REITs and registered business trusts) with financial year-end on or before 31 March 2020 to hold their AGMs.

Due to the elevated safe distancing measures, listed issuers have faced practical difficulties in preparing unaudited full-year financial statements within 60 days of the financial year-end. Recognising the difficulties faced by issuers, SGX RegCo, in consultation with MAS has announced an automatic time extension to issuers to release their unaudited financial statements for the full financial year ended 29 February 2020, 31 March 2020 or 30 April 2020.

Enhanced Share Issue Limit for Mainboard Issuers

To support issuers amid the challenging business and economic climate due to COVID-19 and accelerate fund-raising efforts, SGX RegCo has, in consultation with MAS, allowed Mainboard issuers to seek an enhanced share issue limit from their shareholders for pro-rata issuances of shares and convertible securities of up to 100% of its share capital (compared to 50% previously). The Enhanced Share Issue Limit is effective from 8 April 2020 and will be in force until 31 December 2021.

Electronic Dissemination of Rights Issue and Take-over Documents

MAS, the Securities Industry Council and SGX RegCo have introduced temporary measures to allow listed issuers and parties involved in rights issues and take-over or merger transactions the option to electronically disseminate offer documents through publication on SGXNET and their corporate websites. These measures are effective until 30 September 2020 and will enable rights issues and take-over or merger transactions to take place while reducing the manpower needed to be physically present at workplaces to prepare, print and deliver a large number of offer documents.

The Ministry of Finance (MOF), the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS) and MAS have put in place new measures to provide real estate investment trusts listed on the Singapore Exchange (S-REITs) with greater flexibility to manage their cash flows and raise funds amid a challenging operating environment due to COVID-19.

Higher Leverage Limit and Deferral of Interest Coverage Requirement

MAS has raised the leverage limit for S-REITs from 45% to 50%, to provide S-REITs with greater flexibility to manage their capital structure amid the challenging environment.

MAS will defer the implementation of a new minimum interest coverage ratio (ICR) requirement to 1 January 2022, as S-REITs’ ICRs are likely to come under pressure in the near term due to the negative impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on their earnings and cash-flows.

Extension of Permissible Period for Distribution of Taxable Income

MOF and IRAS will extend the timeline for S-REITs to distribute at least 90% of their taxable income from 3 months to 12 months (after the end of Financial Year 2020) to qualify for tax transparency. This extension is only applicable for distributions made from taxable income that is derived by an S-REIT during Financial Year 2020. IRAS will provide further details by early May 2020.

Frequently Asked Questions

Read the FAQs on the measures introduced by MAS and the financial industry to help individuals, SMEs and corporates affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Queries and Contact Information

If you have further queries on MAS’ and the financial industry’s support measures, please email webmaster@mas.gov.sg .