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FIs disallowed from granting further unsecured credit to borrowers whose outstanding interestbearing unsecured debt aggregated across FIs exceed the borrowing limit as specified by MAS for 3 consecutive months or more (“borrowing limit”). The borrowing limit is:

(a) 24 times monthly income with effect from 1 June 2015;

(b) 18 times monthly income with effect from 1 June 2017; and

(c) 12 times monthly income with effect from 1 June 2019.

Why has MAS set the final borrowing limit at 12 times a borrower’s monthly income?

As this is the first time that such an industry-wide borrowing limit is being introduced, MAS will be phasing in the limit over four years with a higher limit of 24 times monthly income at the start. This will give borrowers and FIs more time to adjust to the new rule. The final limit of 12 times a borrower’s monthly income is not intended to be representative of a prudent level of unsecured debt.

 

Most borrowers should aim to stay below the 12 times monthly income limit. As unsecured borrowings typically attract high interest costs, it is not financially prudent for a borrower to accumulate significant credit card and unsecured debt over prolonged periods of time. MAS will continue to monitor the situation closely and make adjustments if necessary.

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