Seaman Loan: Important Things to Know + 6 Loan Options to Consider

Moneymax Editorial Team

Moneymax Editorial Team

Last updated November 09, 2021

When people talk about seafarers, they may paint a picture of someone who comes home with truckloads of chocolates and deep pockets that will never run out of money. But this is often a far cry from reality. While a lot of seafarers are actually making big bucks, some are dealing with financial challenges. This is because a large chunk of their earnings usually go to important investments, such as house construction and business, or family support.

When seafarers come home, it usually means that their contract has ended. While they‘re trying to secure a new employment contract, their expenses just keep on coming, which will eventually prove to be problematic. Thankfully, seafarers can apply for a seaman loan in case they need cash for funding their application or starting a business while waiting for their enlistment.

If you’re a cash-strapped seafarer, here’s what you need to know about seaman loans.

What is a Seaman Loan?

A seaman loan is a loan designed for those working in the shipping and marine industry. Seafarers, such as captains, engineers, cooks, cleaners, and cruise workers, can benefit from this type of loan.

Seaman loans are multi-purpose in nature, which means that you can use it for any purpose that you may have. Other than helping you fund your new application for a seafaring post, you may use it to fund your kid’s education or pay your medical bills and other emergency expenses. It must be noted, though, that the usage of the loan will depend on the terms and conditions of the lender.

What are the Benefits of a Seaman Loan?

seaman loan - benefits of a seaman loan

There are a few reasons why you need to choose a seaman loan over a typical personal loan. Here are some of them:

1. High Loan Value

Some lenders allow their borrowers to take out a loan of up to PHP 1,000,000. However, keep in mind that the lender may probe into your financial health to determine if you can actually pay a high-value loan.

2. Fast Approval

Some seaman loans can be approved and released in 24 hours. But remember that this will depend on the accuracy and completeness of the submitted requirements.

Read more: Fund Your Next Big Purchase with the CBS Easi-Funds Personal Loan

3. Low Interest Rates

In general, OFWs, which include seafarers, enjoy exclusive loan benefits, such as lower interest rates. Despite that, you must note that the interest rate will also be affected by your loan amount.

4. No Collateral Required

You don’t have to surrender any important asset, such as your car’s OR/CR or your land title, to avail of a seaman loan. All you need to submit are the basic documentary requirements and papers that will prove that you have a marine employer.

What are the Disadvantages of a Seaman Loan?

Despite the appealing qualities of seaman loans, they’re not without some drawbacks. Here are the cons you need to watch out for.

1. Payment Terms are Usually Short

Some lenders require seafarers to repay their loan within three to 11 months. This is a rather short term, especially if you haven’t renewed your employment contract yet. 

2. May Increase Your Existing Debt

Seafarers who can’t secure a new employment contract may run into debts eventually. To deal with such a dilemma while making sure that the family’s everyday needs are covered, they may find themselves applying for a seaman loan. The most practical solution to this ballooning debt is to  work on board the ship again as soon as possible.

3. May Require a Co-Borrower

Some high-value loans may require a co-borrower. If your spouse, parent, sibling, or friend can’t fulfill the co-borrower requirements, you won’t be able to avail the loan.

What are Legit Seaman Loans in the Philippines?

Here are some of the top seaman loans from legitimate and reputable banks and government agencies in the Philippines.

BPI Seafarer Loan

seaman loan - BPI Seafarer Loan

BPI describes its seafarer loan as a fast cash loan that successful applicants can use for home renovation, business, and other purposes that they may have. 

  • Loan amount: PHP 20,000 to PHP 300,000
  • Interest rate: 1.5% per month
  • Loan term: Five to nine months
  • Application requirements:
    • Filipino seafarer aged 21 to 55 years old
    • One government-issued ID with picture
    • Proof of income (e.g. employment contract with boarding date, latest and unexpired signed POEA contract, or latest proof of remittance for the last three months)[1]

Read more: Your Easy Guide to BPI Personal Loan Application

AUB Seafarers’ Loan

seaman loan - AUB Seafarers Loan

If you’re looking for a high-value loan with low interest, consider the AUB seaman’s loan. You can borrow up to PHP 500,000 without making any advanced payment or applying with a co-maker. Moreover, the application can be approved and released within 24 hours.

  • Loan amount: Up to PHP 500,000
  • Interest rate: Available upon request; just contact 09266122822 (Globe) or 0949802220 (Smart).
  • Loan term: Up to 10 months
  • Application requirements:
    • Filipino seafarer aged 21 to 60 years old
    • At least one employment contract at the time of loan application
    • Minimum gross salary of USD 800 (between PHP 38,000 and PHP 40,000, depending on the exchange rate)
    • Photocopy of employment contract with POEA stamp and Seafarers Registration Certificate (SRC), or Worker’s Information Sheet (WIS)

Sterling Bank of Asia Layag Seafarers’ Loan

seaman loan - Sterling Bank of Asia Seafarers' Loan

Sterling Bank of Asia’s Layag Seafarers’ Loan allows borrowers to take out a loan of up to PHP 500,000, depending on their qualifications. If you go for this loan, you’ll be given two repayment options: through allotment deduction or assignment.[2]

  • Loan amount: PHP 20,000 to PHP 500,000
  • Interest rate: Available upon request; just contact (+632) 8721-6000.
  • Loan term: Three to 11 months
  • Application requirements:
    • Filipino seafarer of legal age
    • Promissory note or disclosure statement
    • Photocopy of Overseas Employment Certificate (OEC), POEA-signed contract, passport (including filled-out pages), and Seaman’s Book (including filled-out pages)

Read more: RFC Loan Guide: How to Get an Online Loan from Radiowealth Finance

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

Note that there’s no specific OWWA loan for seamen. But since seamen are technically OFWs, they may apply for the OFW Enterprise Development and Loan Program. This loan is designed to help OFWs start a business by providing a large capital.[3]

  • Loan amount: PHP 100,000 to PHP 2,000,000
  • Interest rate: 7.5% per annum
  • Loan term: For short-term loans, repayment term is a maximum of one year. Terms will still depend on the cash flow of the business. However, the term should not exceed seven years (which should include the two-year grace period).
  • Application requirements:
    • OWWA member, active or non-active
    • OFW, whether already working abroad or about to leave the country
    • Must have completed the Enhanced Entrepreneurial Development Training (EEDT)

Pag-IBIG Multi-Purpose Loan

Seafarers who happen to be Pag-IBIG members can tap into their contributions to get additional funds. The Pag-IBIG Multi-Purpose Loan or MPL can be processed in as fast as two days. So, if you need quick cash from a reputable agency, include this in your list.

  • Loan amount: Up to 80% of your Pag-IBIG Regular Savings
  • Interest rate: 10.5% per annum
  • Loan term: Two to three years
  • Application requirements (specifically for OFWs):        
    • Employment contract
    • Certificate of Employment and Compensation (supported with a photocopy of the employer’s ID and passport)
    • Income Tax Return filed with the Host Country/Government

SSS Salary Loan

If you’re a seafarer and also a member of SSS, you can apply for an SSS Salary Loan. This is a short-term cash loan granted to employed, paying self-employed, and voluntary members. Just keep in mind that the loan amount will depend on your contribution.

  • Loan amount:
    • One-month SSS Salary Loan: Equivalent to the average of your latest posted 12 monthly salary credits (MSCs) or the amount applied for, whichever is lower.
    • Two-month SSS Salary Loan: Equivalent to twice the average of your latest posted MSCs, rounded up to the next higher monthly salary credit or amount applied for, whichever is lower.
  • Interest rate: 10% per annum
  • Loan term: Two years
  • Application requirements:
    • An active and paying SSS member
    • SSS Digitized ID
    • Two valid IDs (seaman’s book, passport, postal ID, etc.)

Final Thoughts

Being OFWs themselves, seafarers help drive the Philippines’ economic growth through their remittances. Somehow, financial companies and government agencies return the favor by offering loan and financing products that are specifically designed for them, including the seaman loan.  

If you’re a seafarer in need of quick cash, you have a lot of options to choose from. But don’t just deal with the first lender that comes your way. Do your due diligence by coming up with a list of prospective lenders and comparing their pros and cons. That way, you’ll arrive at a decision that you won’t regret.

In case you’re expanding your options, exploring where to loan money can be less of a hassle when you use our comparison tool.  Just click Loans to get started. You may also submit your loan application through Moneymax if you find a loan that’s ideal for you. 

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The Moneymax Editorial Team consists of talented and experienced writers, editors, investors, and subject matter experts on a mission to help Filipinos build healthier financial lives. Browse the Moneymax blog for information and advice on credit cards, loans, insurance, investments, and other personal finance topics. For more financial news and articles, follow Moneymax on LinkedIn.


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