A Guide to Seaman Loans: 6 Legit Lending Companies to Consider

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Last updated: September 22, 2023

Key takeaways:

  • Seamans can get a loan through one of the government programs or go to a bank
  • A special loan for seamans is needed to keep Filipino seamans out of the debt trap and increase their productivity
  • If you need only a small amount of money urgently, Digido offers fast loans for seafarers up to PHP 25.000 in half an hour

Seafaring is one of the top jobs in the Philippines. These are migrant Filipino workers who board international ships for cargo and oil. They earn a lot of money, which they send to their families back home. Despite their salaries, they sometimes come to a situation where they can borrow money. And this is where a seamen loan with low interest comes in handy. Today, we will talk about what a Seafarers Loan is, how to take it, and where you can get the best deals.

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What is a Seaman Loan?

This loan is reserved specifically for people employed in the shipping industry. Philippine seafarers include the following:

  • Captains
  • Cooks
  • Cleaners
  • Engineers
  • Сruise staff

In the Philippines, seafarers are still considered OFW or Overseas Filipino Workers. A credit can only be granted to them if they can provide documents proving that they are seafarers indeed.

These loans are versatile, allowing borrowers to utilize them for a myriad of purposes. Whether it’s investing in a new maritime position, supporting your child’s academic journey, addressing medical or urgent costs, renovating your home, taking a much-needed vacation, or even consolidating existing debts. Understanding the unique financial needs of seafarers, this loan offers unparalleled flexibility to meet diverse financial needs.

Advantages of a Seaman Loan in the Philippines

  • Large Loan Amounts: Recognizing the potential earnings of seafarers, many institutions offer substantial loan amounts, enabling seafarers to address significant financial needs or investments. Some lenders offer loans up to PHP 1,000,000. However, the lender will assess your financial health to determine if you can manage such a high-value loan.
  • Easy to get approved:  You are backed up by the fact that you have an employer. Your contract is proof of how much money you earn and this makes it easy or financial institutions to give you a personal loan, knowing that you have a secured job.
  • Low Interest Rates: since seafaring people bring US dollars to the country, and since they are considered as OFW, they can take OFW loan in the Philippines and enjoy low interest rates. They have special treatment because OFW is the top industry in the country.
  • Quick Processing: Recognizing the urgency that seafarers often face, many banks and financial institutions offer expedited loan processing, sometimes releasing funds in as little as 24 to 48 hours.
  • No Collateral Required: Seafarers don’t need to provide collateral, such as a car’s OR/CR or land title. The primary requirements are basic documentation and proof of marine employment.
  • Multipurpose Use: The funds from a seaman loan can be used for various purposes, be it for family emergencies, home renovations, education, business startups, or other personal needs.
  • Security for Families: With a seaman loan, seafarers can ensure that their families have the necessary funds for emergencies or other needs while they are at sea, providing peace of mind.

Disadvantages of a Seaman Loan

  • Short Payment Terms: Some lenders stipulate that seafarers repay their loans within a span of three to 11 months. This can be challenging, especially if one’s employment contract hasn’t been renewed.
  • Potential Debt Increase: Seafarers who struggle to secure a new employment contract might accumulate debts. In trying to manage these debts while ensuring their family’s needs are met, they might opt for a seaman loan. The most pragmatic solution to this escalating debt is to resume work on board a ship as swiftly as possible.

As a seafarer, the country owes its economy to you. You have several advantages that you can enjoy as a seamen, but you think carefully how much you really need so as not to bury yourself in debt.

Where to apply for Seafarers Loan in the Philippines?

Here are the places where you can get a credit as a seafarer:

  1. Bank loans for seafarers – all banks have this personal loan for seaman no collateral. The interest rates per month vary, but banks also charge a bigger interest rate rate compared to others. Some banks will even ask for as much as 20% interest rate per year.
  2. Government Loan Programs for Seafarers – not directly banks, these entities, often tied to government initiatives or agencies, provide financial assistance. While their primary allure is often faster loan approval times, they might come with higher monthly interest rates than traditional banks. It’s also common for some of these institutions to require collateral, depending on the loan amount and terms.
  3. Private Lending companies – these are financial institutions, but they are not banks. They can either be cooperative or private corporations that offer all types of personal loans. These companies may charge higher interest rates per month than banks, but they also offer fast approval rates. Many private lending companies also ask for collateral.
  4. Online lending companies – these are also private institutions, but the entire process of applying is automated. You can apply no matter where you are located in the country. These institutions offer the smallest amount, and they also have the fastest turn-around time for approval.

Seaman’s loan with 0% interest at Digido

If you urgently need a small amount up to PHP 25,000, consider opting for a quick personal loan from Digido. Digido is a certified and legitimate lending provider in the Philippines. They offer a user-friendly online platform that streamlines the borrowing process. You can fill out a simple application right now and get your money in as little as 30 minutes, hassle free!

🔥 Digido’s 10 Key Benefits:

  1. Get your first loan with 0% interest rate
  2. Loan amounts range from PHP 1,000 to 25,000
  3. Quick fund transfers – usually within half an hour
  4. Only 1 government ID needed for loan application
  5. Over 95% of applications get approved
  6. No need for collateral or backup signatories
  7. Borrow even if you don’t have a bank account
  8. Apply easily online through their website or mobile app
  9. Transparent pricing – no surprise costs
  10. They uphold all legal standards, holding both SEC Registration [1] and an official Certificate of Authority 

 

Digido offers between ₱1,000 and ₱25,000. The personal loan amount varies depending on your status. If it is your first applying, you will get a small maximum loanable amount, but you can get it at 0% interest. If you are a good borrower, which means you are paying your loans on time, you will be able to borrow more money from Digido.

What you need to do is to click on “Apply Now” button, and then select the amount on the online calculator and enter your phone. The application is easy, and all it takes is to scan documents and attach them to the your application. If the applicant qualifies, the credit can be approved in as fast as 30 minutes. To submit an application, it is enough to present identity documents and a working mobile phone.

Calculate your pre-approved loan amount with Digido calculator:

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* Interest payments are approximate. The final loan amount and interest rate must be confirmed in your loan agreement after loan approval.

Find out here
Seafarer vs Seaman: What’s the Difference

Top 6 Seaman Loans Choices to Explore

Below, we’ve listed six of the most popular loan options for seafarers, designed to support them in various financial situations and aspirations.

Choose the best financial institution based on how much you want to seafarer loan. But If you need only a small amount of money, if you want it quickly, your best option is to apply for a personal loan online.

1. BPI Seafarer Loan

The BPI Seafarer Loan [2]  is designed as a swift cash solution tailored specifically for Filipino seafarers. Whether you’re aiming to give your home a makeover, kickstart a business venture, or address any other financial needs, this loan offers a streamlined process to access funds.

The BPI Seafarer Personal Loan allows borrowers to secure an amount ranging from Php 20,000 to Php 300,000. This provides flexibility to cater to both minor and major financial requirements.The loan approval process typically takes 7-10 banking days. One of the standout features of this loan is the automatic debit option for monthly repayments.

Competitive Rates and Terms

  • Interest Rate: The loan boasts a competitive interest rate of just 1.5% monthly, making it an attractive option for those seeking affordable financing.
  • Duration: Borrowers have the flexibility to choose a loan tenure that suits their repayment capacity, with terms ranging between 5 to 9 months.

Eligibility Criteria

  • Nationality and Profession: This loan is exclusively available to Filipino seafarers, acknowledging their unique financial needs and challenges. To be eligible, an applicant must have a minimum monthly income of ₱30,000. Officers must be employed for at least 1 year, while non-officers should have a minimum of 3 years of employment.
  • Age Limit: Applicants should fall within the age bracket of 21 to 55 years.
    Bank Account: Before you can avail of the BPI Seafarer Loan, you must have an active bank account with BPI. This account will be directly linked to your loan.

Documentation

A valid government-issued photo ID is mandatory. Additionally, proof of income is essential, which can be showcased through employment contracts indicating the boarding date, the latest and valid signed POEA contracts, or recent proof of remittances spanning the last three months.
Direct hires require a government-issued photo-bearing ID, proof of remittance, POEA OFW Information Sheet or POEA Overseas Employment Certificate, and a work contract. Additional documents might be requested during the credit evaluation process.

The BPI Seafarer Personal Loan stands out as a reliable financial solution for sea-based OFWs. With its flexible terms, competitive rates, and a focus on the unique needs of seafarers, it’s a top choice for those seeking additional funds.

2. SSS Salary Loan for Seafarers

For seafarers who are members of the Social Security System (SSS) [3], the SSS Salary Loan offers a viable financial solution. This short-term cash loan is tailored to cater to the needs of employed, self-employed, and voluntary members, providing them with an avenue to access funds based on their contributions. Here’s a detailed breakdown of the SSS Salary Loan for seafarers:

Loan Amount Determination

  • One-month Loan: The loan amount you can avail for a one-month duration is determined by the average of your most recent 12 monthly salary credits (MSCs). However, if the amount you apply for is less than this average, then that becomes the loan amount.
  • Two-month Loan: For those opting for a two-month loan, the amount is calculated as twice the average of your latest 12 MSCs. This is then rounded up to the nearest higher monthly salary credit. Again, if the amount you apply for is lower than this calculated value, the applied amount becomes the loan amount.

Interest and Duration

The loan carries an annual interest rate of 10%, making it competitive for those seeking short-term financial relief.Borrowers have a span of two years to repay the loan, offering flexibility in managing repayments.

Eligibility and Documentation

  • Membership Status: To be eligible, you must be an active SSS member with consistent contributions.
  • Identification: An SSS Digitized ID is essential for the application. Additionally, applicants need to provide two other valid forms of identification. This can include a seaman’s book, passport, postal ID, or any other recognized ID.

3. AUB Seafarers’ Loan: A Detailed Overview

The AUB Seafarers’ Loan [4] is a multi-purpose loan, catering to various short-term financial needs. The loan duration can extend up to 10 months.

Key Features

  • High Loan amount: The AUB Seafarers’ Loan allows eligible applicants to borrow up to PHP 500,000. This substantial amount ensures that seafarers can address significant financial needs. However, the final loan amount is subject to credit evaluation and approval
  • No Upfront Costs: A standout feature of this loan is the absence of advanced payments or the need for a co-maker, simplifying the application process.
  • Swift Turnaround: AUB prioritizes efficiency. Once an application is submitted, it can be processed, approved, and the funds released within a mere 24 hours.

Eligibility and Documentation

  • Age and Nationality: Filipino seafarers aged between 21 to 60 years are eligible.
    Employment Status: At the time of application, seafarers should have at least one active employment contract.
  • Income Requirement: A minimum gross salary of USD 800 (equivalent to approximately PHP 38,000 to PHP 40,000, based on prevailing exchange rates) is mandatory.
  • Documentation: Essential documents include a photocopy of the employment contract with a POEA stamp, Seafarers Registration Certificate (SRC), or the Worker’s Information Sheet (WIS).

For further inquiries or assistance, seafarers can reach out to AUB through their dedicated contact numbers or email at seafarersloan@aub.com.ph. Additionally, they have a dedicated Facebook page for the seafarers’ community.

4. Sterling Bank of Asia Layag Seafarers’ Loan

The Layag Seafarers’ Loan [5] offers a broad range, allowing borrowers to secure an amount anywhere between PHP 20,000 and PHP 500,000. The final loan amount is contingent upon the borrower’s qualifications.

Repayment Options. Sterling Bank of Asia understands the unique financial dynamics of seafarers. Hence, they offer two distinct repayment methods: through allotment deduction or assignment. This flexibility ensures that repayments align with the borrower’s income flow.

The loan term is adaptable, ranging from three to 11 months, catering to both short-term and relatively longer-term financial needs. While the exact rate isn’t specified, potential borrowers can easily inquire by reaching out to Sterling Bank of Asia directly at (+632) 8721-6000.

Eligibility and Documentation

  • Age and Nationality: The loan is available to Filipino seafarers who have reached the legal age.
  • Documentation: Essential paperwork includes a promissory note or disclosure statement. Additionally, applicants must provide photocopies of their Overseas Employment Certificate (OEC), a POEA-endorsed contract, passport (with all completed pages), and Seaman’s Book (with all filled-out pages). Application form for Sterling Bank of Asia Layag Seafarers’ Loan [6]

5. OWWA OFW Enterprise Development and Loan Program (OFW-EDLP)

The Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) [7] has curated a specialized loan program for Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs), known as the OFW Enterprise Development and Loan Program (OFW-EDLP). While there isn’t a loan exclusively for seamen, they qualify for this program as they fall under the OFW category. The primary objective of this loan is to empower OFWs to venture into business by offering substantial capital.

Key Features

  • Loan Amount: The OFW-EDLP provides a broad spectrum for borrowing, ranging from PHP 100,000 to a substantial PHP 2,000,000. This ensures that OFWs can cater to both small-scale and larger business ventures.
  • Interest Rate: The loan boasts a competitive annual interest rate of 7.5%, making it an attractive option for those seeking to start or expand a business.
  • Repayment Duration: For those availing short-term loans, the maximum repayment period is set at one year. However, depending on the business’s cash flow, the loan term can extend up to seven years, inclusive of a two-year grace period. This flexibility ensures that repayments align with the business’s revenue generation.

Eligibility and Documentation

  • OWWA Membership: To be eligible, one must be an OWWA member, whether currently active or not.
    OFW Status: The loan is open to all OFWs, encompassing those currently working abroad and those preparing to depart.
  • Training Requirement: A crucial prerequisite is the completion of the Enhanced Entrepreneurial Development Training (EEDT). This ensures that borrowers are equipped with the necessary skills and knowledge to manage and grow their business effectively.

6. Pag-IBIG, the Multi-Purpose Loan (MPL)

For seafarers who are members of Pag-IBIG, the Multi-Purpose Loan (MPL) [8] offers a convenient avenue to access additional funds based on their contributions. Whether it’s for an emergency, a business venture, or any other purpose, the MPL offers a dependable way to secure the necessary funds, backed by the trust and reputation of Pag-IBIG. One of the standout features of the Pag-IBIG Multi-Purpose Loan (MPL) is its remarkably quick processing time. The MPL boasts a processing duration that can be as short as two days.

Key Features

  • Loan Amount: Seafarers can borrow up to 80% of their accumulated Pag-IBIG Regular Savings. This ensures that members can access a significant portion of their contributions when in need.
  • Interest Rate: The MPL carries an annual interest rate of 10.5%, offering competitive terms for those seeking short-term financial assistance.
  • Loan Duration: Borrowers have a flexible repayment period ranging from two to three years, allowing them to manage their repayments effectively.

Eligibility and Documentation

  • Membership: The loan is exclusively available to Pag-IBIG members, emphasizing the importance of consistent contributions.
  • For OFWs: Seafarers, being part of the OFW community, need to provide specific documents for the loan application:
  • Employment Contract: This serves as proof of current employment and its terms.
  • Certificate of Employment and Compensation: This document should be supported with a photocopy of the employer’s ID and passport, verifying the authenticity of the employment details.
  • Income Tax Return: The ITR should be one that’s filed with the host country or government, ensuring compliance with tax regulations.

Additional Seaman Loan Options from Banks

If you are looking for a seafarer loan, you can also avail of an OFW loan from the banks mentioned below. This table provides a concise overview of the various seaman loan options available in the Philippines:

Bank Description
Security Bank Offers an OFW Loan with competitive interest rates, flexible repayment options of up to 48 months, and a minimum loan amount of PHP 100,000.
PSBank Provides an OFW Loan with an interest rate of 0.8% and loan amounts starting from ₱50,000 and up.
BDO Unibank Features an OFW Loan with competitive interest rates, flexible repayment terms of up to 36 months, and a minimum loan amount of PHP 10,000.
PBCom Tailored loan for seafarers with flexible payment terms, low interest rates, and quick processing.
Metrobank Offers an OFW Loan with competitive interest rates and flexible repayment terms to cater to seafarers’ financial needs.
ChinaBank Provides a loan with competitive interest rates at 0.75% p.a. and flexible repayment options of up to five years.
RCBC Offers an OFW Loan with attractive features, including low interest rates, flexible repayment terms of up to 36 months, and a minimum loan amount of PHP 50,000.
UnionBank Features an OFW loan with flexible repayment terms of up to 36 months, competitive interest rates, and a minimum loan amount of PHP 50,000.
LandBank Offers an OFW Loan specifically for seafarers with competitive interest rates, flexible repayment terms of up to 36 months, and a minimum loan amount of PHP 100,000.

Note: The information about loan providers presented in the text is subject to change and borrowers are advised to contact their chosen financial or bank directly for the most updated information

Learn all about
Seaman Course: How to be a Seaman in Philippines

Seaman Loan Requirements

Seaman loans in the Philippines are designed specifically for Filipino seafarers or seamen. The requirements vary from one financial institution to another, but there are some general and common requisites that most lenders in the country ask for.  If you apply a personal loan for Seafarer, here are the typical requirements for a seaman loan in the Philippines:

✅ Proof of Seafarer Status:

  • Latest and valid Seafarer’s Identification and Record Book (SIRB) or Seaman’s Book
  • Latest Contract of Employment or POEA-validated contract

✅ Proof of Identity:

  • At least two valid IDs (Government-issued IDs like Passport, Driver’s License, SSS ID, GSIS ID, Voter’s ID, etc.)
  • Proof of billing or latest utility bills to verify residence

✅ Proof of Income:

  • Latest allotment slip
  • Payslips for the last 3 months, if available

✅ Co-borrower or Co-maker:

Some financial institutions require a co-borrower or co-maker, especially if the loan amount is significant. The co-borrower or co-maker must also provide specific documents, typically proof of identity and income.

✅ Personal References:

Names and contact details of at least two persons who can vouch for the borrower’s character and capability to pay.

✅ Application Form:

A duly accomplished loan application form provided by the lending institution.

Note that while these are the general requirements, it’s always best to check directly with the specific bank or financial institution for their unique requisites.

Quick approval depends mostly on whether the seafarer has his or her own checking account, real estate. Applicants should make sure they have a complete list of document requirements.

Apply for a Seaman Loan in the Philippines
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Seaman’s Loan Online Application

The procedures for applying for a seafarer personal loan in the Philippines vary depending on the policies and requirements of the lending company. We will give you an average seafarers loan procedure for your application.

  1. Apply for the loan. To do this, come in person to a bank or lending company branch or fill out an application online.
  2. Fill out complete information in the your application form as instructed. Only disclose correct, accurate and complete information.
  3. Provide all required documents. Don’t forget the seaman’s contract.
  4. Choose the term and amount and find out the interest rate per month.
  5. Wait for approval and sign the contract.

 

 

Disclaimer: This article was written based on information available to the writer at the time of publication and the article was published for promotional, reference, and educational purposes only. Nothing in the articles published in the website is intended to constitute legal or financial advice and users are advised to seek counsel from legal and financial professionals.

Likewise, rates or offers published in the websites are promotional marketing offers only and do not constitute any binding contract between the Corporation and the website users.While the writers and publishers of the articles in the website wrote the articles using credible information available to them at the time of publication, any changes or updates to the information presented in this article may not be reflected here.

Hence, users are enjoined to exercise appropriate diligence in using the data and information published in the website, and they are urged to study and compare it with other credible sources. Users understand that the writers, publisher, website owner and the Corporation are not liable for any damage or injury they sustained for their wrongful or erroneous use of the data or information written in the article and published in the website.

FAQ

  • Where can I get a seaman loan?
    Look at the offer of major banks, such as BPI, GDFI. Also look at government loan programs.
  • Who are Philippine seafarers?
    Seafarers refer to Filipino workers who work at sea and engage in international trade. They are often absent for 6 to 9 months. During this time, they and their families may need financial assistance.
  • Are loans for seafarers legal?
    Yes, many companies in the Philippines issue loans legally and have a registration number in the government registry.

Authors

Digido Financial Writers Team is a team of experts in the field of finance and credit, specializing in writing articles for Digido blogs.

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