Credit Matters and why you should be aware

Credit Matters and Why you should be Aware

Your creditability of finance based on your credit history can majorly impact what you want to finance like housing loan, renovation loan, business loan or loans that taps onto your credit history. The reason why credit matters is that it affects the amount of loan or even the interest rate and repayment amount that’s dispensed to a borrower.

Financial institutions will check on your credit score when acquiring a loan, loan officers will vet through your credit history to give the proper advice and loan terms to a borrower.

Credit score is seldom thought about to most people, however credit matters as it affects directly the loan and interest rate and can even affect various aspects of your financial life or job. Therefore, it is paramount to keep your credit score in good shape.

Credit score is basically a number based on complex credit assessments by various institutions, this number makes credit matters greatly. It indicates the possibility of a borrower getting a loan and whether a financial institution will approve the loan application.

In Singapore, much of these credit assessment is kept in a credit report at the Credit Bureau Singapore (CBS). This shows your personal details, loans, payment history, bankruptcy records, credit limits, loan accounts and amount owing. CBS analyses these data to determine a credit score using various algorithms.

The fact that if you can’t get a mortgage or loan is likely due to your low credit score, and this is why credit matters in life. If you aren’t on time with payments, it impacts your credit score.

Even with job applications, a person’s credit history can be checked upon especially if the applicant is applying for a financial position.

How to improve your Credit Score?

It is important to keep to your payments on time, as repaying late affects your credit score greatly.  You could also reduce your number of loans or credit cards you have. This reduces the risk of having your credit score affected.

To get a copy of your credit report here, so you can review it and correct it if it is wrong, simply go to the CBS website at www.creditbureau.com.sg and request a copy.

Keeping in mind that credit matters, paying your loans on time and checking up on your credit score are steps to maintaining a good credit score.

Thinking of getting a loan or to better understand the loan application approach, contact our loan officers to find out more.

Rise of Online Shopping and how shoppers spend more

The Rise of Online Shopping Sales and How It Got Us to Spend More

What does 9/9, 11/11, 23/11, 12/12 have in common? They are all online shopping festival sales dates started and promoted by e-commerce companies to encourage consumers to buy and spend more online.

It all started from Amazon’s Black Friday Sale, followed by Alibaba’s Singles Day Sale, and subsequently, e-commerce companies started coming up with other dates to host their own online shopping sprees — think 9.9, 12.12 and some even has weekly sales deals!

Alibaba’s Singles Day Sales even managed to keep smashing its own sales record. They recorded S$34.6 billion during the sales last year, cementing it as the biggest shopping event in the world.

And Singaporeans love these bargain – CNA stated that consumers from Singapore formed the seventh biggest group of overseas shoppers in 2015, coming behind bigger spenders from Russia, Hong Kong, United States, Taiwan and Spain.

And we love these sales because it allows us to buy certain necessity at a bargain price.

For example, a recent homeowner can browse and bookmark furnitures in Alibaba’s Tmall and Taobao, and wait for the Singles Day Sales to purchase everything. This way, they can shop at the comfort of their own home and save money at the same time.

But while the sales can help certain group of individuals save money, it also makes a whole lot of people spend more than they normally would.

These companies have engineered ways to gamify the online shopping experience and made deal hunting seem like a treasure hunt.

For example, during most of the sales, the e-commerce platforms will list out some of the popular items and their sales price days or weeks before the actual sales.

This helps the e-commerce platform to get the word out that the sales is coming, and creates hype and a fear-of-missing-out amongst shoppers, which eventually lead to more sales during the actual day.

Lazada even had a online shopping game during the sales that allows people to get products from as low as 99 cents as long as their friends help them to slash the price of the product through their unique referral link.

So, one way to work these sales to your advantage, and not be controlled by your impulses during the sales is to do research beforehand and plan a shopping list of the items you need.

Instead of mindlessly browsing through all the deals, you go into the sales with a clear budget, goal, and only purchase the items on your list.

Besides that, one other way to save more is to look out for credit card partnership that the e-commerce sites have. Often you will be able to enjoy some cash back or in certain cases, earn some air miles!

Now that Lazada’s and Shopee’s 9.9 sales are over, maybe it’s time to start listing down the items you really need and start spotting deals at Alibaba’s Singles Day event!

Proposal to pilot new business model for moneylending industry

Proposals to pilot business models for moneylending

Moneylending industry has always rapidly evolved to adapt to the rising changes in the financial industry. Several laws have been proposed and implemented causing moneylending businesses to be disrupted. The advent of fintech creates new striking changes to how moneylending businesses operate.

Laws have been proposed by the Singapore government to further tighten the moneylending industry. The latest laws are updated on the 23rd of Feb 2018.  With news and complaints of illegal moneylending affecting citizens living in the suburbs, the government has been tightening laws and ruling out unethical businesses that have been taking advantage of borrowers.

Proposals to pilot new business models for moneylending

Empire Global is a leading moneylending company and has always kept customer needs close to heart. Without drastically affecting borrowers and their own business, Empire Global has always kept up to trend with their business models and looking at new ways to improve their own business model.

The Ministry of Law (MinLaw), has invited proposals to pilot new business models for moneylending which brings about the objective to better protect borrowers in the moneylending industry. Applicants will require paid-up capital of at least $1 million, to ensure sufficient financial standing. Assessment of the effective cost of credit and credit policies will be made. Successful applicants will be granted moneylending license for up to two years to implement their business model.

MinLaw intends to issue up to 16 outlets for the implementation of new business models under this pilot model.

Based on the news by MinLaw, Empire Global is looking at new ways to better to benefit the community at large and at the same time remain competitive in this tough moneylending industry. Going forth with the government suggestions, Empire Global has been researching on new financial models and open to all proposals or suggestions towards this movement.

How monopoly in the financial loan industry affects you

How A Monopoly in The Financial Loan Industry Can Hurt You

Monopolies happens in many ways — striking a deal with government, using unfair practices to shut down competitors or even through consolidating market shares.

While some monopolies are necessary to lower costs for consumers, most of them are not. Once a company gains majority market share, they can often use that power to fix prices or negotiate for unfair deals with smaller vendors.

Learning from The Grab-Uber Merger

The merger was big news for the private car hire market in Asia, but this is not Uber’s first merger with their competitor. It happened in China too. One year after Uber sold their business to Didi, both drivers and passengers are unhappy.

Passengers now find it more expensive and difficult to hail a cab because incentives for drivers have been cut, which resulted in lesser cabs on the road.

And just a few months after the merger here in Singapore, consumers are feeling the same pinch.

“Now, it’s been more than two weeks and I haven’t received other promotions. It used to be weekly promos without fail,” said Ms Joseph, who has reached the highest member status of Platinum.

Although Grab also said that they have been gradually shifting to the GrabRewards system which allows passengers to earn points to redeem one-off promo code.

But it takes so long to even redeem the cheapest $5 promo, that it no longer makes sense for a lot of riders to take Grab as regularly as before.

This then directly impacted the drivers too. Due to the increase in fleet numbers for Grab and lesser incentives for passengers, drivers found themselves waiting more to pick up their next passenger.

Just within this short time period, both riders and drivers are seeing huge decrease in value from Grab, and we can only hope this doesn’t get any worse.

Why Moneylenders Are Important to Prevent the Same from Happening to the Financial Loan Industry

Before licensed moneylender was set up, people who aren’t eligible to borrow from the banks nor have the luxury of borrowing from friends or relatives often have to rely on loan sharks or unlicensed moneylenders for financial loan.

This caused a lot of problem for the Singapore society since loan sharks are doing all sorts of brazen acts in an effort to collect back the debts including setting homes on fire, locking up flats and using paints all around the debtor’s flat.

However, the entry of licensed moneylenders managed to change some of that. With Singapore law governing and placing restriction on this industry, consumers are getting much better protection, and they do not have to worry about the same brazen acts from loan sharks.

Hence, the complete elimination of the moneylenders means illegal moneylenders will have complete monopoly over this segment of financial loan, which may lead to many more loan sharking activities, causing inconvenience and trouble for Singaporeans.

Are there any other monopolies that you can think of in today’s market?

Learn how to best review legal moneylender in Singapore

How to Best Review Moneylender in Singapore

Let’s recap on what to look for in a legal and reliable moneylender. We are going to list through several methods on how you can best review moneylender in Singapore, to provide you with good service and reasonable loan rates.

Quick Tips to best review moneylender in Singapore

There are several reasons why one would seek out a loan and there are several loan types to cater different needs. Hence regardless of the loan type (personal loan, payday loan or business loan), the licensed money lender is one of your best option in Singapore. Learn some quick tips on how to best review legal moneylenders.

1. Experience and years of service

Loan officers go through your loan application and request. They will aid you in identifying the best loan options to go through. They are also obliged to tell you all the terms in the loan such as length and number of repayments, interest rates of the loan. They will also understand and want you to borrow within your means as they still have to recover money from you.

This takes experience in servicing borrowers and also the business itself has been running long enough to understand the various changes that could occur in the moneylending industry and be up-to-date with it.

2. Licensed moneylenders will have you sign a contract

A formal contract is required by law for licensed moneylender with borrowers. The contract terms are drafted by a lawyer and contain the following:

Interest rates

  • Late repayment fees
  • Repayment period
  • Repayment amount
  • Legal terms

Hence it is vital to ensure that the loan officer guides and explains to you the terms of the contract before you sign. Never except a loan without fully understanding the terms. Some businesses are disguised as legal moneylenders but do not offer such contracts. Avoid them at all costs.

3. Approval Process. Do online checks.

More and more businesses are moving online. Convenience is vital to anyone now. Hence check out the moneylender online, read their website, their offerings and google reviews. Check out with them on the different loan options, do an online loan enquiry before heading down. Most legal moneylenders will reply quite promptly and accurately. The process is fast and you will not waste your time in heading down and be disappointed.

4. Check out Ministry of Law

The Ministry of law has a constantly updated list of licensed moneylenders. As licenses can be revoked due to ill business practises, it is good to check the most legal source of information.

Like shopping, you will compare the different offerings from different moneylenders. They will offer different interest rates so do look around and enquire to get the best loan options for yourself.

Learn from the Law Ministry’s guide to effective interest rates to understand how to make good comparisons between moneylenders.

Best Review Moneylender? Check on Google Reviews!

Looking for legit businesses? Like hunting for good food places, one has to check for reviews first. To best review moneylender, before heading down onsite, check on google reviews to seek out actual comments and reviews made by customers.

It’s a good place to identify legal moneylenders from the loansharks or illegal moneylenders and can be used as a comparison point between the other moneylenders that can be listed in google reviews.

How is the moneylender reliable?

One of the natural option to best review moneylender is to check the number of years that a business has been running is vital to identify its reliability and trustable. To be able withstand the ups and downs of financial crisis or economic slumps shows a business reliability and that customers see them through.

It also means that the business can tide through tough times and itself have to get a winning edge over others. Customers naturally trust them either through the years of running or the service that these companies provide.

A moneylender license is not easy to maintained. It is subject to checks on business practises, complaints and undergo stringent review by Singapore law. Licenses are limited and only businesses that provide proper legal loan services in Singapore can be issue such license.

Empire Global is always ready to serve and help our customers in getting the loans they require.

How to check company cares about privacy data policy

How to Check If A Company Cares About Data Privacy

Data privacy has been the talk of town recently due to the Facebook and Cambridge Analytica scandal. But even before this, data privacy has been an increasingly hot topic over the years.

This has propelled changes in data concerns and protection across all levels from individuals to governments.

On an individual level, people are wondering how much personal information are they giving away when they signed up for a free service such as Facebook or Google, and how safe is it?

A KPMG study on data privacy show “The average Singaporean consumer is not convinced that companies are doing enough to protect their personal data, and this in turn results in a lack of trust and hesitance to purchase online”

Across companies, executives increases their budget for big data security amid increasingly stringent data privacy law and corporate data leaks.

Finally, governments across the world worries about the power private companies wield with the amount of data in their possession.

So, as companies and governments across the world promises to safeguard your information better, how can you be sure that they are really acting on their promise?

Let us walk you through some of the most common things to look out for in a company’s website to see if they are taking your data seriously.

A Secure Website with SSL and HTTPS

Google encourages all companies to switch to HTTPS a few years ago and explains this one their website:

HTTPS (Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure) is an internet communication protocol that protects the integrity and confidentiality of data between the user’s computer and the site.”

Our website is an example of this:

When using Chrome browser, you can easily see if a website has https via the url bar on top. If they are indeed on HTTPS, you will be able to see the word “SECURE” highlighted in green, and instead of http://, you will see https:// beside the company url.

Benefits of being on HTTPS includes:

  • Encryption: To prevent malicious actors from monitoring your online activities on the website
  • Data Integrity: Data shared between you and the company are secured and cannot be modified by outside actors
  • Authentication: To prevent phishing. You can always be sure you landed on the official company page.

Check for A Data Privacy Page

A data privacy page lays out how a company collects data from you and what do they intend to do with it.

So, if you are planning to submit sensitive information to a company — e.g. mobile number, name and NRIC. Remember to search for a PDPA policy on the company website.

You may take a look at our own PDPA policy at https://applypersonalloans.sg/pdpa-policy/

A quick read through our policy will provide you with some examples of important clauses a typical PDPA policy should include:

  • We do not automatically collect your data unless it has been given to us willingly to engage or inquire our services
  • We will only use your data within the company and this will data will NEVER be sold to any third party
  • We will take reasonable steps to secure your data
  • You can request to withdraw your consent to any use of your data or to edit your data via one of our hotlines.

As more companies place a bigger emphasis on big data in order to better understand their customers, you can be sure they will try even harder to get more personal information from you.

In some ways, this is unavoidable, especially if you wish to engage the company’s services. But you can better protect yourself by understanding what the company plan to do with your data.

Major changes to moneylenders industry in 2017 and 2018

Major Changes to Moneylenders Industry 2017 and 2018

Loan Cap

One of the most impactful change would be the loan cap that moneylenders can dish out to borrowers. The current practice allows an individual licensed moneylender has a loan cap to each borrower, however, each borrower can borrow from multiple moneylenders.

The new practise proposed on Monday (Nov 6) in Parliament, was to impose an aggregate loan cap to each individual thus limiting the total amount that the borrower intends to borrow.

For example with the new loan cap in place, a borrower with an annual income of less than $20,000 may borrow up to $3,000 from all licensed moneylenders combine. For individuals with annual income of more than $20,000, they may borrow up to six times their monthly income from all money lenders.

For each borrower, before each loan is issued, it is now mandatory for money lenders to obtain credit reports from the Moneylenders Credit Bureau (MLCB) to check if a borrower has exceeded their loan cap limits.

These reports (50cents per report) are to be obtained online and money lenders have to update the Moneylenders Credit Bureau after each loan is issued.

Regulatory Framework for Moneylenders

A new regulatory framework will be established to allow MLCB to impose rules on money lenders to protect borrower data. This is to improve regulation of the industry.

With new rules, comes new changes in borrowers mentality. Ms Jolene Ong, chairman of Arise2care Community Services, which conducts debt counselling, mentioned that the new changes will prevent people from over-borrowing. However, for those in serial debt, they might just turn to unlicensed money lenders.

Regulation in Moneylenders Company Profile

Moneylenders must get the Registrar’s approval before employing or engaging any assistants. Approval must be sought before anyone can be a major shareholder or to increase shareholdings.

This new move is to allow the Registrar to cancel approvals for loan assistants or shareholders should they deemed as “unsavoury” or those with previous convictions in unlicensed moneylending.

Money lenders will then be required to be incorporated and submit annual audited accounts to the Registry for Moneylenders. This is to professionalise the industry and improve transparency and accountability. More than two-thirds of 160 existing licensed moneylenders have been registered as companies.

Empire Global a True Financing Center

Although the Bill has not been approved yet, with the new slew of upcoming potential changes, the loan and money lenders industry is set for disruption. We at Empire Global is pretty equipped to handle such disruption and are ever ready to serve our customers better.

Manage Your Festive Cash with Credit Card and Payday Loans

The period from December to February always passes by in a flash, starting with Christmas celebration, followed by New Year and finally, our personal favourite, Chinese New Year! All these activities requires huge cash commitment from us. A Straits Times report states Singaporeans intend to spend an average of $2,503 during the Chinese New Year period.

Coupled that with the other celebrations, this amount can easily go up to three or four thousands. So, how can we manage or even make the most out of these thousands of dollars?

Cash back or Miles Credit Cards

There are many credit cards in the market with various benefits, but you will have to decide which one works best for you. Here, we recommend just looking at two types — cashback or miles.

This is how Cashback credit cards typically work — you get a percentage cash back at the end of the month after the bank has tabulated your spendings, usually with a cap on the cash back.

Different cards give cash back for different type of purchases:

Citi Cashback Card works best for food and transportation with up to 20% cashback on select merchants.

DBS Live Fresh Card works best if you love shopping online with up to 5% on online purchase

There are many others in the market, so compare them and select the best ones for your needs in order to get the most out of the high spending during the festive periods.

Miles cards are best for those who loves travelling as these cards gives you X miles for $Y purchase.

Unlike cash back cards, miles cards do not have a limit so you can rake in tons of miles during this period.

Credit Cards and Interest Rates

However, with credit cards, you will also need to take note of interest rates. Especially since there will be so much on your to-do list that you might forget about your credit bills.

This can take a huge hit on your finances since the rolling interest rates can be as much as 2% per month or 24% per annum.

Payday Loans Instead of Credit Cards For Quick Turnaround

The only issue with credit cards is that not everyone can afford them, especially if you have a history of bad credit ratings.

That’s when payday loan can help. Example, when you are waiting for your year-end bonus to arrive, and you require a small cash top-up to prepare for the celebrations.

While payday loan also has high interest rates, they can be easily managed as long as you work within your means and figure a plan to repay the amount monthly.

So, how have you been managing your spending during this period? Let us know if you have other great ideas!

Instant Cash Loan Singapore - Learn about the pros and cons of Instant Cash Loan in Singapore

Instant Cash Loan in Singapore

The finance industry itself is a tough one. Not to mention the lending industry that exist within. The lending industry is constantly revolving to adapt to the multitude of changes that happens in the financial world and government policies. This has led to stiff competition and many use attractive instant cash loan offers to entice customers. The current economy is not doing anyone good either, with wages and salaries stagnating and with a downward decline in job availability. Thus having cash on hand is becoming an issue, and people turn to loans to maintain their needs or to fix their financial woes.

There are many different loan options in Singapore, instant cash loan options are one of the most common loan type that borrowers get. Both banks and moneylenders issue instant cash loan, sometimes they can be just called as cash loan. It does not matter what name it runs under, more importantly as a consumer you have to weight the various pros and cons of such offerings.

Pros of Instant Cash Loan in Singapore

Fast –  Instant cash loan as it’s name is termed, allows one to have cash pretty quickly. This is due to lesser credit checks and collaterals needed. Lenders are able to provide a quote based on your monthly income, commonly through email request. Most loan requests get replied within 1-2 working days.

Ease of Acquiring – As we get more digital, so do businesses such as moneylenders. One can go online to get pre-approval without physically heading down to the shop and await approval. A borrower can get multiple quotes too from various moneylenders. This allows borrowers to first survey the field, acquire quotes, compare the offerings and make more intelligent choices down the line.

Flexibility – Instant cash loans are made to be easier to understand. As long as there’s proof of income, borrowers will have it easier to get their loans. Typically, borrowers can get up to 2-4 months of monthly income. More often than not, your credit score is not subjected to the loan approval process.

Cons of Instant Cash Loan in Singapore

Control – Having an influx of cash might lead one to be out of control. A borrower might splurge on the new found money instead of using it to settle debts or other financial needs. Having new cash in requires a good amount of discipline, control and an action plan. Always plan your money resources as tight as possible. Be #smart with your money.

Summary of Loans in Singapore

As with new control measures by the government, interest rates are now capped at 4% monthly. This new ruling may lead to moneylenders keeping a tight watch on whom they loan the money to. Hence, be upfront if you have any issues or an action plan as this will give you a better case to acquire loans from moneylenders.

When in doubt, always check in with the loan officer. Instant cash loan is a simple loan system, nevertheless, be a cautious borrower and always read the terms and conditions provided. If you have any queries, ask the loan officer especially in terms of repayment packages and additional fees and charges. Being a smart borrower and a well informed one will allow you to make better decisions. Aside from all these, find a licensed moneylender that you are comfortable as they are more than willing to work with you.

 

Rising Childcare Cost in Singapore

Childcare Cost in Singapore

If you are a parent, you probably heaved a sigh of relief when you saw that preschool is being addressed as one of the cornerstone in PM Lee’s speech in this year’s National Day Rally.

We know that because child care cost in Singapore has been on a steady rise in the past few years, with a median cost of $856 and an average of $1,004.

Early Childhood Monthly Full Day-Care Childcare Cost

Early Childhood Monthly Full Day-Care Childcare Cost

This meant that the average parent will be paying $60,000 for 5 years of preschool education for their child! But is it really necessary, as a parent, to pay top money in order to get quality early childhood education for your child?

Does an Expensive Preschool Equals to a Good Preschool?

Does expensive automatically equals to quality? As with many things in life, we say it’s not necessary the case when it comes to selecting preschool.

Dr Chen, from SUSS, stressed that there is “no reliable correlation” between fees and quality, and said, “Parents should look for the match between their child’s personality and individual needs as well as their own beliefs and values, and the structure of the pre-school programme and its philosophical approach.”

It’s not just the fees and quality of environment that you should be looking at. Make an effort to know more about the school’s leadership, teachers and parents interaction, and their current engagement with parents.
For example, PCF Sparkletots teachers actually sends regular learning updates in the form of a Communication Book to parents.

Besides updating their child’s progress, the book also act as a channel of communication between parents and teachers. Parents can choose to write question in the book, which will be answered by teachers on the next day.

Another good tip would be to bring your child to the preschool open houses and let your child roam around and interact with the teachers. On first impression, does your child like it there? — that can be a pretty good indication.

Seek Out Financial Aid and Subsidy to Make Childcare More Affordable

But… you are probably still pretty worried about paying around $700 per month for your child’s early childhood education right?

Well, not to worry too much because the government has plans to help parents with this. To aid you and to ensure your children get a fair start in life, the government plans to increase spending for preschool to 1.7 billion in 2022, and increase the number of partner operators.

This meant that there will be more affordable preschools by 2022, and 2 in 3 children will get access to government-run or government supported school.

Besides that, you will also be eligible for a basic subsidy of $300 per month for your child’s school fees. And if you are a working mum that works >56 hours per month with a household income of <$7,500, you will also be eligible for additional subsidies.

Another way to ensure that your child’s fee is within reasonable range, try to look out for Anchor Preschools, Partner Operator Preschools, and Government-run Preschool.

These schools have committed to maintain quality education while ensuring fees at capped at a certain range.

E.g. most partner operator preschool cost about $800 per month, from as much as $1,100 per month.

Plan Ahead Financially and Logistically for Your Child’s Education

But the best way to prepare financially for your child’s education is to plan for it.

Note down your saving goals and seek out financial vehicles that can help you to grow the money. If you are risk-averse, go for fixed deposits or saving plans. Even those 1-2% are way better than keeping the money in the bank for nominal interest rates.

This is also a good time to be kiasu. If an anchor operator or partner preschool is opening up near your home, take a day to queue up to secure a place for your child. This is one of the instances where queuing up brings about future benefits — e.g. travelling time, convenience, etc.

Hopefully this helps you to understand and plan the financial needs of sending your child to a preschool in Singapore!