CIMB Personal Loan Review: Interest Rates, Calculator & Approval Time

CIMB Personal Loan Review: Interest Rates, Calculator & Approval Time
CIMB Personal Loan Review: Interest Rates, Calculator & Approval Time

What do people take personal loans for? Many frivolous reasons… casino, cruise, Rolex, and holidays. If you’re thinking of doing that, please don’t! Personal loans, although lower-interest than credit card debt, are still considered quite costly, so you should only resort to them when you have an emergency that you really don’t have the cash for—like emergency medical treatment.

For those who legitimately need a personal loan for a non-frivolous reason, this article is going to review CIMB’s personal loan, also known as CIMB CashLite.

CIMB personal loan application criteria

CIMB CashLite is meant for existing CIMB credit cardholders. If you don’t currently have a card with CIMB, you will need to first sign up for the CIMB Visa Signature Credit Card. You need to do this because your monthly repayments will be charged to the credit card.

In case you’re wary about signing up for a new credit card, CIMB Visa Signature is free for life (ie. does not charge annual fees).

Eligibility for the card is as follows:

  • At least 21 years of age
  • Singaporeans and PRs: Annual income of at least $30,000.

CIMB does not state application criteria for foreigners, unfortunately, so it is possible that they only accept Singapore citizen and PR applicants.

CIMB personal loan approval time

Before you apply for the CIMB CashLite personal loan, you need to first have a CIMB credit card. If you apply for the card online through CIMB’s website, they can approve your application within one day and then get in touch with you about your loan application.

For existing CIMB cardholders, you can apply for CashLite either via SMS or by filling in their online form and waiting for them to call you back within one working day.

Once your loan is approved, CIMB will disburse the cash immediately.

CIMB personal loan interest rate (2022)

CIMB charges a different interest rate depending on whether you’re a new or existing CIMB customer.

New/existing customer Loan tenure Interest rate (p.a.) EIR (p.a.)
New 1 – 2 3.5% 6.4% – 6.58%
New 3 – 5 3% 5.64% – 5.68%
Existing 1 – 5 4.5% 8.21% – 8.41%

Now, you might be wondering what EIR is. EIR standards for Effective Interest Rate. This is the “true” interest rate you pay when all the processing fees and any other charges are factored into the cost of your loan, and taking into account compounding interest.

So, if you are looking for the loan that would result in the lowest monthly installments, you would go for one with the lowest interest rate. But if you want the loan that works out to be cheapest overall, you would go for the one with the lowest EIR.

Based on the above table, we can see that CashLite is much more attractive for new-to-bank customers than existing customers. It seems like CIMB is trying to use these promotional rates to lure new customers into signing up for their credit card.

CIMB personal loan vs DBS, POSB, OCBC, UOB personal loan interest rates

We now know what kinds of interest rates CIMB is charging, but those figures don’t mean squat if we don’t know how they compare to other banks’ interest rates.

Using MoneySmart’s personal loan comparison tool, we’ve compared CIMB’s CashLite’s interest rates for new-to-bank customers with those being charged by the “big three” local banks DBS/POSB, OCBC and UOB via their personal loans.

The below calculations are made based on the example of a Singapore citizen/PR with an income of $2,500 per month taking out a $10,000 loan for a loan tenure of 3 years.

Interest rate EIR Monthly installment Total amount payable
CIMB (new-to-bank customers only) 3% 5.68% $303 $10,908
DBS/POSB 3.88% 7.9% $310 $11,164
OCBC 5.43% 11.47% $323 $11,629
UOB 3.4% 6.42% $306 $11,020


As you can see, not only is CIMB offering a competitive interest rate, but their EIR for new-to-bank customers is spectacularly low compared to the other banks’. This is because they charge zero processing fees.

When you consider their cashback promotion (discussed in the next section), CIMB’s SmartLite really does turn out to be one of the most inexpensive personal loans on the market—but only if you are a new-to-CIMB customer and therefore eligible for their promotional interest rates.

CIMB personal loan promotions

CIMB’s existing promotion entitles you to cashback of $50 to $1,000 when you take out a loan of at least $5,000 with a tenure of 3-5 years.

To qualify for the promotion, you must be a new-to-CIMB customer making an application via the CIMB website.

Here are the cashback amounts:

Loan tenure Approved loan amount Cashback
3-5 years S$5,000 ≤ S$8,000 $50
S$8,000 ≤ S$15,000 $100
S$15,000 ≤ S$50,000 $200
≥ S$50,000 $1,000


Compare all the best personal loans

If you’re about to get into debt, the last thing you want is to get ripped off by a bank that’s overcharging for their personal loans.

To prevent that, you can use MoneySmart’s personal loan calculator to compare interest rates across multiple banks in Singapore.

HSBC logo

Per Month


Per Month
Interest Rate*
EIR: From 6.5%
From 3.6%
Total Amount Payable
Processing Fee
Per Month
UOB logo

Per Month


Per Month
MoneySmart Exclusive
Faster Gift Redemption | CASH BONUS FLASH DEAL
Interest Rate*
EIR: From 5.43%
From 2.88%
Total Amount Payable
Processing Fee
Per Month
MoneySmart Exclusive:

Apply for a loan today and choose your reward: up to S$1,200 Cash via PayNow or an Apple Mac Mini, 512GB (worth S$1,156.85)!
But that's not all – Get up to S$400 Cash Bonus via PayNow and enjoy an extra treat with up to 2% cash rebate on your approved loan amountT&Cs apply.

Valid until 29 Feb 2024

The calculator works out everything you need to know about the loan, including interest rate, EIR, processing fee, monthly installments and total repayments over the duration of the loan.

DBS logo

Per Month


Per Month
Interest Rate*
EIR: 8.2%
Total Amount Payable
Processing Fee
Per Month

Still looking for a personal loan? Here’s a comparison of all the best personal loans in Singapore