Deliveroo Singapore and the rise of food delivery services

How Deliveroo Singapore and Other On Demand Food Services Rise Up in Asia

Food on-demand (or Uber for Food). Video on-demand (or Uber for video). Books on-demand (or Uber for books).

The on-demand services championed by Uber has been such a success that entrepreneurs around the world are trying to disrupt industries with the same model, which has brought forth a sea of disruption to traditional business, job models, and consumer purchase behaviour.

So, what industry do you think had the most competition in on-demand services?

Enter Foodpanda — Singapore’s First Popular On-Demand Food App

Foodpanda was founded by a Malaysian entrepreneur Sidney Ng and Rico Wyder in March 2012. The app was first launched in Singapore and other SEA countries, with the aim to make online food ordering fuss-free, fun and fast.

In Singapore, the company mostly focused in the Central Business District area and only included 51 restaurants when it first started.

It was an idea welcomed by many restaurants and food services who might want to offer delivery services but don’t have the economic or manpower powers to do so.

“We definitely expect an increase in customer numbers from the cooperation with foodpanda”, said Jacky Stevens, restaurant owner of Picotin Bistro.

Back then, food delivery was still a novel idea and most people only tried the app out of novelty or when they want to celebrate a particular occasion such as birthdays and anniversaries.

Deliveroo Singapore – A New Challenger Arrives

Fast forward 4 years to 2016, consumers now use on-demand food delivery app as part of their daily life and often orders when they are too lazy to cook their meals, or when they work late nights in office, or even for a date night!

This has allowed Foodpanda to become a food delivery behemoth with 720 restaurants and see revenue grow 400% in the latest revenue report. All these signs points to a major shift in how consumer consumes food and the potential of growth in this market.

But this also meant that Foodpanda is going to attract competitors in this lucrative space.

The Battle of Efficiency and Simplicity

While Foodpanda managed to become the most popular service in Singapore, there were some complains about its business model and services. Two things stood out immediately when observing the chatter online — delivery time and cost.

Foodpanda was delivering on a lot of its food in the 45 to 60 minutes and its delivery pricing was a mess because it depended a lot on what you ordered and from where.

Deliveroo Singapore saw this opportunity and decides to enter the market.

Its USP was targeted specifically at the areas where Foodpanda is underperforming. They were offering delivery in the 30 minutes range and offers a 2-tiered delivery fees based on the value of food that you ordered.

This proved to be the right move as Delivery Singapore expanded and secured over 450 partners in a short period 6 months, more than half of what Foodpanda achieved in over 4 years.

At the time of this writing, Foodpanda has also reacted to the competition and improved their business model such that delivery timing now averages around 30 minutes. But this might prove to be too late because Deliveroo Singapore has already cemented themselves as the efficient and simple delivery app.

Overall, Singapore consumers will get more comfortable and familiar with food delivery services, and will consistently demand to have better services with more varied choices. The app which effectively captured this will definitely dominate the market in the years to come.

Singapore Budget 2017: Learn about HDB Grants & GST Rebates

Singapore Budget 2017: HDB’s CPF Housing Grants Increases for First-Time Buyers and More

The Singapore Budget was first delivered in 1965 by Finance Minister Lim Kim San where development and job creation were the key focuses. Due to careful budgeting, Singapore has been fortunate to record more surpluses than deficits in the past 50 years. This year,  SG Budget 2017 is delivered by Finance Minister Heng Swee Kiat with a focus on building skills and capacity to bring our economy to the next frontier.

While one of the main focus is about helping Singapore firms cross borders and become more digitalised, the government has not forgotten about Singaporeans.

Families have always been at the top of mind of Singapore policy makers due to an ever decreasing birth rate, and the same goes for the planning for Singapore budget 2017. Families are one of the main beneficiaries with measures such as increase in grant for first time HDB flat buyers, more infant care centres, and other smaller rebates to help Singaporean cope with the increase in expenses. We are going to discuss each and every one of them in the article below.

Budget 2017 for First-time home buyers:  More subsidies when purchasing a resale flat

First time home buyer?

Buying a resale flat?

If your answer to both questions above is a resounding yes then you have a huge reason to jump for joy now! In Budget 2017, the grant given to this group of home buyers have increased significantly, and with immediate effect!

For those who don’t know, currently, first-time home buyers that are looking at resale flats are eligible for three types of grants (up to $90,000) — CPF Housing Grant ($30,000), Additional Housing Grant (AHG) (up to $40,000) and Proximity Housing Grant (PHG) ($20,000).

Additional Housing Grants are a scheme created to help middle income families better afford housing by providing a grant value that’s tied to their income level. You and spouse will qualify for it if the average monthly household income over 12 months are $5000 or lesser.

Proximity Housing Grant on the other hand, are created to help families or singles who wish to purchase a resale flat that’s near to their aging parents’. You and your spouse will qualify for it if the flat you are aiming for is within 2km of your parents’ home.

This will change in 2017 onwards as the total grant will now increase (up to $110,000) due to an increase in the CPF Housing Grant from $30,000 to $50,000 for 4-room flats and $30,000 to $40,000 for 5-room flats.

Here’s what our Minister for National Development Mr Lawrence Wong said in his Facebook post “This will help those who wish to live near their parents in mature estates where there are fewer BTO projects, or those who wish to move into their own homes quickly to start a family. Together with existing measures, a couple can potentially get up to $110k in grants to buy their first flat!”

SG Budget 2017: HDB Housing Grant infographic

SG Budget 2017: HDB Housing Grant infographic

 

Here’s a quick glance in the grant changes.

Infant care centres will increase by 100% by 2020.

In order to help families with two working parents, the Government has committed to increase the number of infant care from the current 4,000 to 8,000 by the end of 2020.

This is in line with a previous effort by the Government to increase the number of quality child cares in Singapore. This effort should help more young parents improve their consideration of having a child in Singapore.

Rebates for personal income tax

Taxpayers will receive a 20% rebate in personal income tax for earnings in 2016, and will be capped at a maximum of $500.

GST U-Save voucher rebates continues

If you have been on social media lately, you will have probably seen the uproar over the 30% increase in water prices. This has led to a permanent increase in GST U-Save vouchers to help families cope with the hike — increases ranges from $40 to $120, depending on your flat size.

GST Vouchers

A $200 payment will be given to individuals who are aged 21 years old and above and earns less than $28,000 last year.

What we are covering here mainly focuses on how the Singapore Budget 2017 has brought about certain changes for families and Singaporeans in general. But that’s not all that the Budget 2017 has to offer, so be sure to visit the website https://www.gov.sg/microsites/budget2017 and look at all the measures for yourself!

Chinese New Year celebrations. A tourist must know list!

Chinese New Year Traditions: Everything A Tourist Need to Know in Singapore

Chinese New Year is celebrated yearly in Singapore generally in the month of January or February, depending on the lunar calendar. This year, in 2017, it’s celebrated on 28th January, Saturday. If you have recently shifted to Singapore, or planning a visit here during this period, you would want to read this.

“A LOT of shops will be closed”

Singapore is a food paradise. Due to Singapore’s rich immigrant history, you will actually get to taste a wide variety of cuisine (e.g. Indian, Japanese, Korean, Chinese, European, Peranakan etc.) in Singapore. Often, the dishes from different ethnicity can influence each other, resulting in new and delicious dishes.

You can usually find these delicious food in hawker centers around Singapore, but if you arrive during the Chinese New Year period, you will be disappointed because a lot of these hawkers are small businesses and most of them do not open during this festive period.

Mandarin Oranges

They are one of the main things one will think of when it comes to Chinese New Year. Never visit someone’s house without mandarin oranges during Chinese New Year period. Mandarin oranges in Chinese sounds similar to the word ‘luck’ and “wealth”.

Therefore, the act of exchanging them signifies bringing luck to the recipients. You should always present them to the head of the household and they will then exchange these as a gesture of goodwill.

Red Packets for Chinese New Year

Many kids love the Chinese New Year as they will be receiving many red packets (affectionally  known as “Ang Baos”) after saying some Chinese New Year greetings such “Gong Xi Fa Cai” (wishing one to be prosperous in the coming year).

Ang Bao to celebrate Chinese New Year in Singapore

Ang Bao to celebrate Chinese New Year in Singapore

The act of giving red packets symbolises good luck and putting money in the ang baos is to bring happiness. The ang baos are generally given by:

1. Married couples to their single friends or children
2. Parents to children
3. Grandparents to children
4. Bosses to subordinates

According to the Chinese traditions, the money in the red packets should be an even number and the number ‘four’ should not appear in the amount as the pronunciation of the word in Mandarin sounds similar to the word “death”. However, you should note that it’s rude to open the red packets in front of the givers and comment about the amount openly!

Basking in the Chinese New Year Celebrations

If you are looking to soak in the Chinese New Year festive mood, you definitely need to head down to Chinatown! You can get practically everything relating to Chinese New Year from food to decorations there! Do check out the lightings and decorations that have been put up specially for this occasion while you are busy shopping and eating!

While Singapore has long banned firecrackers, you can still experience it at the yearly during the countdown celebration at Chinatown.

However, do be prepared to squeeze through the massive crowds as some families and people would go there to grab cheap goodies after their reunion dinners.

If you have the time, you may even visit the River HongBao at Marina Bay to admire the festive lightnings and dazzling lantern displays!

All in all, if you are planning to come to Singapore for the Chinese New Year celebration, try to do so at the week before the actual day. If not, you might have to prepare yourself to miss out on a lot of the local delicacies and encounter quite a number of empty malls and shops!

We at Empire Global like to wish everyone a ‘Happy Chinese New Year!’ Huat Ah!!! 

Singapore Moneylenders Credit Bureau to Launch in 2016.

Singapore Moneylenders Credit Bureau Launch in 2016

 It’s official! Things are set to change in the moneylending industry in Singapore. Licensed moneylenders like us at Empire Global will face stricter rules from the government. The Singapore Ministry of Law (MinLaw) has appointed DP Information Group (DP Info) to run the Moneylenders Credit Bureau (MLCB).

The much talked about Moneylenders Credit Bureau will need all licensed moneylenders to provide information on their loans and the borrowers repayment details. This was announced after the 4% interest rate cap.

Individuals used to be able to take up multiple loans from different moneylenders, without proper checks conducted on their repayment ability. Most of the time, it depends on the loan officer assessment of the borrower. Now, with the implementation of the Moneylenders Credit Bureau, licensed moneylenders will get the latest information of the borrower’s credit risk and their debt servicing ratio. This allows a better assessment of the borrower’s loan situation and ensure that borrowers do not borrow beyond their repayment ability.

We do understand the government standing on this as it primarily educates the borrowers on a larger scale. We have rejected borrowers before just by assessing their current withstanding loans. We also support this movement as this provides a safety net for businesses like us in the moneylending industry as this will prevent a percentage of borrowers who could not repay their debts from over borrowing. Financial institutions and licensed moneylenders would not want to overwrite bad debts as it leads to high overheads.

Moneylenders avoid over borrowers from getting loans with Credit Bureau

Moneylenders avoid over borrowers from getting loans with Credit Bureau

Moneylenders Credit Bureau in Singapore

The main goal of the Moneylenders Credit Bureau is to protect borrowers. This was due to many complaints from the public on errant companies making borrowers lending money beyond their means. Errant companies also charge overly high interest rates leading to borrowers being unable to repay.

Licensed moneylenders benefit from this new Act, as they can now tap onto the information by the Moneylenders Credit Bureau to affirm their loan assessment.

This will curb excessive borrowing and “help debtors to keep their loan commitments at a more manageable level”, DP Info said.

“We’ll be able to know how much a borrower has borrowed from other moneylenders, so that we won’t over-extend the loan,” said Mr Peter Tan, vice-president of the Moneylender’s Association of Singapore.

Statements from DP Info

Said Lincoln Teo, chief operating officer of DP Info: “The information provided will help promote responsible borrowing. The transparency also means that individuals, when seeking to buy a credit product from a moneylender, will be more likely to take their personal and financial circumstances into account when making their decision. This initiative will eventually see a reduction in the number of defaults. The introduction of the Moneylenders Credit Bureau brings us even closer to a holistic assessment of a borrower’s credit worthiness and repayment abilities.”

“Coupled with our other bureaux and through DP Info’s sophisticated technology, we hope to provide the licensed moneylending community with more data and information to make better decisions. The information will help promote responsible borrowing.”

“This initiative will eventually see a reduction in the number of defaults.”

DP Info currently operates two other credit bureaus – the DP Credit Bureau and the DP SME Commercial Credit Bureau. Read more on DP Info announcement on the new ruling of the Moneylenders Credit Bureau.

Licensed Moneylending News

27 Nov 2015: With the Credit Bureau, has now benefited welfare organisations.Two voluntary welfare organisations (VWOs)- Blessed Grace Social Services and Adullam Life Counselling – can now, with a borrower’s consent, refer to a credit bureau to get a clearer picture of his/her credit records. This is from a new memorandum of understanding signed between VWOs and the Moneylender’s Association of Singapore (MLAS) and DP Information Network.

These VWOs, work as mediators between debtors and licensed moneylenders as they work out structured repayment programmes agreeable to affected parties.

The DP SME Commercial Credit Bureau contains over 15million payment records of Singaporeans and Singapore businesses. This information can be accessed by the VWOs, and the information is gathered monthly from bureau members.

MLAS president Peter Tan said: “We hope that by working together with the VWOs, most debtors will be able to settle their debts in a restructured repayment scheme.”

General Elections Singapore 2015. Money Matters & How it Affects You.

General Elections & Money Matters. How it Affects You!

General Elections 2015 begins! It’s time to cast your votes! This time to your political party in Singapore. The General Elections of 2015 are just around the corner and it has caused quite a sensational stir here in Singapore. With the added usage of social media and the gen-y kids with their first foray into the voting cycle, it’s no wonder every news platform is publishing about the general elections.

Well, here at Empire Global we are under the Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC. Which is the political fight between the incumbents PAP versus the SPP-DPP joint party. It will be an exciting fight as strong leaders of the PAP have stepped down to make way for new leaders. Of course, we will not tell you which party we are voting for (voting is secret).

General Elections 2015 & Money

Money has always been on every Singaporeans minds especially in regards to housing loans, loans and CPF. Debates have been launched on such topics and it will always be the talk of the town. This is important as the  cost of living in Singapore is set to rise, the thought of having to work till old end is certainly scaring the younger generation to build families.

It has been significant in our population numbers as the number of new births are on the decline. Even with subsidies and incentives setup for families, Singaporeans at large are still on a worrying mindset of money and trying to keep up with their loans.

And yet the cost of living is one of the most complained issue during the general elections. Furthermore, the widening income gap has made the situation worse. Some of our customers mentioned about the cost of living in Singapore and how it had affected them when they come to our loan officers.

“It’s not just about people paying more. The deeper unhappiness is the sense that economic growth and wealth have not been suitably shared.” – SMU law don Eugene Tan.

This has probably got people to pay more attention to what the different political parties have to say on the different heartland issues in Singapore during the general elections campaign. It is clearly evident this time round as crowds had turned up during the Worker’s Party first campaign.

Huge Crowds at Worker's Party first election rally at Hougang GE 2015.

Huge Crowds at Worker’s Party first election rally at Hougang GE 2015.

Government Policies & General Elections

Like you, we are concerned about business. In terms of employment as an employer, we do have issues in hiring and maintaining our staff at times. We also look towards the different policies that the government intends to implement. Such as the much talked about 4% interest rate on money lending. That has caused quite a stir within our moneylending industry. Even at Empire Global, we have to make a couple of changes in terms of our business. We of course want what is best for our borrower clients.

The debates on foreign talent (FT) is especially obvious. Furious locals are banking on new policies to change the numbers of such foreign talent that seems to be snapping up their jobs. We as employers are more concerned with employing reliable and good people.

It indeed is a complicated case that remains set to be unresolved totally. Read more on a debate that about general elections whether it is able to cause investors to flee if the ruling party loses more than half the votes.

Well what about you? Who’s your favourite political party?

P.S: We have no affiliation with any political party. Just a voice.

Interest rate capped at 4% and many new regulations affecting moneylending industry in Singapore

Moneylending: Interest Capped at 4% per cent Monthly

The government has accepted new proposals on licensed moneylending, together with one of the biggest change amid protests which is the 4% interest rate cap per month.

The Government has accepted most of the recommendations put forth by an advisory committee and these changes will be implemented progressively starting from July this year (2015). And yes this news has caused quite a stir in the moneylending industry but we at Empire Global are well prepared for these changes.

With twelve of the 15 recommendations from the committee being accepted, the new changes has created some news amongst moneylenders. Two of the recommendations – to lift to lift the moratorium on the granting of new licenses and to regulate debt collection behaviour will be reviewed in time as the moneylending industry adapts to the new regulatory changes.

4 Per Cent Interest Rate Cap: How does it affect everyone?

In order to protect borrowers, the new ruling will place caps on interest rates. As of current rules, there is no cap on interest or late interest rates for borrowers earning more than S$30,000 annually. Some licensed moneylenders charge additional fees (e.g when GIRO repayments fail or dishonoured cheques are issued).

There is currently no restrictions on the total borrowing costs for moneylending loans.

With the new measures kicking in, licensed moneylenders will be restricted to maximum rates. This include the new ruling that they cannot charge interest of more than 4 per cent per month plus this has to be on a reducing balance basis. Should a borrower be late in his repayments, licensed moneylenders can then charge a late interest, however this interest must not exceed more than 4 per cent.

The limit extends to charges on late payments: A similar maximum interest rate of 4 per cent a month, while late fees will not exceed S$60 a month.

Going forward, the total borrowing cost will be capped at 100 per cent of the original loan to keep debts from spiralling. Additional fees for, say, early loan redemption or unsuccessful GIRO deductions will not be allowed.

Furthermore, the total borrowing costs will not exceed 100 per cent of the principal loan sum which will prevent debts from getting out of control.

New Moneylending Regulations affecting Moneylenders?

Chairman of the Advisory Committee Manu Bhaskaran said data has been carefully studied to ensure that the industry remains commercially viable, even with the new caps.

“We completely accept that there will always be a class of distressed borrowers who will not be able to secure loans that they need urgently, from banks and other financial institutions,” he said. “So there is a role for a moneylending industry. And once you accept that, you must accept that you should allow them to have a decent return, taking into account the risk that they face, which is much higher.”

Although with the 4 per cent ruling, moneylenders will be allowed to charge an administrative fee up front, capped at 10 per cent of the original loan amount, for legitimate costs such as securing credit reports.

With regard to borrowers earning more than S$20,000 annually, the new rules will cap their loans at six times their salary from all licensed moneylenders. Such borrowers can currently take a loan of up to four times their monthly salary from each moneylender.

What’s Not Including in the Recommendations?

The government did not accept a recommendation that moneylenders be allowed to advertise in newspapers using strict templates, taking the view that advertising could lead to increased borrowing.

Moving Forward

Stiffer Rules on moneylending to be rolled out

Stiffer Rules on moneylending to be rolled out. Photo credit: Straits Times

A new Moneylenders Credit Bureau will also provide a centralised, comprehensive database of borrowers who use licensed moneylending services.

“We set up this committee to come up with recommendations that would help protect the consumer, the borrower. But at the same time, if you kill off the moneylending industry, then the people who need to borrow won’t get access,” Mr K Shanmugan, Minister for Law and Foreign Affairs said. He further mentioned that the new recommendations are centred on how best to balance both.

The 4% interest rate caps would be the first of a list of proposals recommended by the committee to be rolled out within a month by the Law Ministry.

Mr Manu Bhaskaran, director of Centennial Group International and chairman of the committee said, that the committee has decided to accept the moneylenders’ recommendations to help them cover their administration costs incurred in giving out the loans and late payments from borrowers.

More References: TODAY reports on moneylending interest rate cap

Unsecured Credit Limit New Changes in Singapore by MAS

Unsecured Credit Debt New Limits in Singapore: Find out Now

Singapore: Applied lots of credit card recently? Ever had friends who are debt-ridden by their credit cards? The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) will phase in tighter limits on credit card debt and other unsecured credit facilities over four years to allow more time for borrowers to cut their debt.

This was a drastic change instead of the originally imposed idea (20 months ago) of implementing the limit at once this June. The new credit limit change offers a big lifeline to consumers who have overextended.

Unsecured Credit Limit in Numbers in Singapore

Unsecured credit is borrowing that is not backed by collateral. The borrowing limit limit applies only to interest bearing balances incurred on unsecured credit facilities such as credit cards and unsecured personal loans.

These unsecured credit limits are not applicable to loans for medical, educational or business purposes. Borrowers with annual income of S$120,000 or more, or people with net personal assets exceeding S$2 million will not be subjected with the new borrowing limits. Over-extended borrowers in Singapore total 84,000 who owe S$7.5 billion(source MAS).

What does Unsecured Credit Changes

With MAS recent annoucenment, the new limit caps on a person’s total amount of credit card and other unsecured debt will be slowly implemented in phases:

— June 1 2015, the unsecured debt limit will be 24 times the monthly income

— June 1 2017, the unsecured debt limit will be 18 times the monthly income

— June 1 2019, the unsecured debt limit will tightened further to 12 times the monthly income

How does new unsecured credit limit affect me

How does new unsecured credit limit affect me

This new time measures allow borrowers up to June 2019 to make the transition to adjust to the new credit limits. The increased time given were brought about following feedback from the public and the advice of the Association of Banks in Singapore, and Credit Counselling Singapore.

Although most unsecured borrowers in Singapore borrow within their limits, but a small portion still have significant unsecured debts.

How does new Credit Limit Affect You?

Financial institution (FIs) are no longer allowed to granted further unsecured credit to an individual whose unsecured borrowing exceed the limits. So if an individual exceeds their limit, they will not be allowed to apply for new credit cards.
Banks in Singapore are supportive of the new move as this allows more time for borrowers to repay their debts. This allowed banks more time for compliance with the new law. Unsecured Credit provides good margins for banks as interest rates goes up to 24 per cent per annum.

What if I Exceed my Unsecured Credit Limit of 12X

There is a help centre whereby one can seek help from the Repayment Assistance Scheme (RAS), a centralised debt repayment solution by Credit Counselling Singapore in partnership with the banking industry.

Under RAS, debt amount if is in excess of the credit limits of 12x / 18x /24x of your monthly income will be subjected to a lower interest rate of 5% per annum. This amount can be paid in a span of 8years and will certainly help to reduce debt burden. This allows highly indebted borrowers to have a assistance scheme. Borrowers who are eligible for the scheme will get letters from their financial institutions with information on their outstanding credit debt. Learn more about RAS and how it works 

How can RAS help me with my unsecured credit  debt and repayments

How can RAS help me with my unsecured credit debt and repayments

Interest Rates Take a Hike with rising Sibor in Singapore. Look at how it will affect you.

Interest Rate Spikes & Latest in Moneylenders News

Money, money and more money! The recent news about the US interest rates hikes has hit our shores in Singapore and the news is not entirely encouraging.

The three-month Sibor, which is used to price most loans and mortgages here, has been inching its way upwards due to interest rate hike in the United States and a weakening Singapore dollar versus the greenback. The recent announcements by MAS to reduce the Singapore dollar from appreciating aims to keep the Sibor elevated.

The Sibor is fixed daily by the Association of Banks in Singapore based on quotes from banks on what they expect to pay for interbank loans that day. In short, it is affected by liquidity in the banking sector.

“The reduction of the appreciation slope could keep pressure on the US and Singapore dollar exchange rate and thus could ensure Sibor remains at current levels … This move by MAS helps keep Singapore policy on a stable footing, and we expect it to be modestly beneficial for Singapore bank earnings,” analysts from Morgan Stanley said in a research note.

Interest Rate Hike: What does it mean for You?

Many housing loans offered by banks are tied to three-month Sibor. Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp (OCBC), for example, has 3 types of home loans and one that is currently offering home loans at three-month Sibor plus 0.85 percentage points for the first three years, according to its website. Lending rates are reviewed every three months. As the Sibor is set to increase, so will the interest rate rise. Home owners will eventually face higher mortgage payments.

“We had expected the bullish move in the SOR and Sibor since last year,” says UOB economist Francis Tan (source)

Analysts are looking at further upside to about 1 to 1.2 per cent at the end of the year. Effectively leading to an interest rate of about over 2% for home loans.

Let us assume an outstanding housing loan of S$500,000 and 20 years remaining. With the current interest rate of 1.5 per cent, this works out to a monthly payment of about S$2,410.

If the interest rate is increased to 2 per cent, the monthly payment would rise to around S$2,530. Should the rate rise to 3 per cent, the monthly payment would be S$2,770.

What to Do Next with Higher Interest Rate?

Higher interest rates charged by banks affect your loans directly. Thus you will see your loans, home mortgage loans, renovation loans slowly inching its way up.

Hence start reviewing your loans! For example, review your home loan packages every two to three years. Look at the trends Conventional wisdom has it that you should review your loan package every two to three years, or before the promotional period ends and your bank raises its premium on the interest you pay, which increases your monthly instalments.

In short, think long term and look around for good deals. Always negotiate with the bank on refinancing options.

Latest in Moneylending Industry Singapore

DPM Teo added that the improved situation was due to the tough laws enacted, strong enforcement efforts against loan-shark syndicates and the high level of community support in the fight against unlicensed moneylending activities.

According to DPM Teo, about 1,900 people were arrested for unlicensed moneylending and related harassment offences on average yearly between 2011 and 2014, while about 2,600 were convicted in court for these offences.

Debt Collectors in Singapore creating a fuss & harrassment at Funan Digital Mall Singapore

Debt Collectors in Singapore creating a fuss & harrassment at Funan Digital Mall Singapore

Seen the recent hype about public harassment during working hours? Debt collectors created a ruckus at Funan Mall over unpaid debts. Moreover, this was during working hours infront of the public eye.

With clamping down on unlicensed activities and harassment cases, this is looking good for us licensed moneylenders at Empire Global. The image of licensed lenders is changing for the better as tougher laws are weeding out bad lenders. Thankfully, the ruly debt collectors have been arrested for unlawful assembly.

Sources
http://business.asiaone.com/news/what-do-about-home-loan-interest-rates-rise
http://www.straitstimes.com/news/singapore/courts-crime/story/debt-collectors-who-created-scene-funan-mall-foodcourt-arrested-po?page=15

Chinese New Year: Singapore Gamblers get hooked!

We just past 2015! And now we are counting down towards the festive Chinese New Year. Every Chinese around the world will be celebrating this festival as it’s a time to get together and have fun. Staff at Empire Global too indulge sinfully in our gatherings. However, let’s look at the topic of gambling during this festive season.

Chinese New Year Bonus + Annual Wage Supplement = Spend!

Traditional bosses give out additional bonus for Chinese New Year season as it means a sign of wealth in the company. Not to forget, there’s the 13th month bonus (annual wage supplement) that is handed out too. And that’s a lot of extra money in your pockets.

More often than not it means trouble especially to problem gamblers who try their luck out in Chinese New Year.

A Little History on Chinese Gambling

Well, its not difficult to reason why Chinese are known around the world for their high aptitude to gamble. As you look back through time, Chinese people have a long-documented history of gambling (recorded in every known dynasty).

Chinese believe in many control points (feng shui, luck, star sign, superstition). These high illusion of control may then lead to high risk-taking and/or more gambling. Chinese gamblers’ illusion of control is often portrayed in Chinese gambling-theme films.

Chinese Gamblers During Chinese New Year

Traditionally, many Chinese will play some form of gambling during the Chinese New Year as it is believed the new year brings in fresh new luck. I believe most of us can ascertain to that. With the long holidays during Chinese New Year, gamblers head to the local casinos and try their luck. Well with the added money from bonus it’s no surprise.

Today’s Gamblers in Singapore

Singapore, is in the top 10 list of biggest gambling nations.

Singapore Top 10 Gambling Nations in the World

Singapore Top 10 Gambling Nations in the World

Singapore’s One Hope Centre, which helps gambling addicts, saw a nearly 50% jump in cases in 2013 compared to 2012. In 2013, One Hope Centre saw 523 addicts seeking counselling. Executive Director, Mr Dick Lum, said, “Many clients that we counselled felt that it is all right to gamble, since the Government allows the casinos to be opened here, and this is very misleading.”

Watch: Counsellors have been constantly calling for tougher curbs on online gambling

Gambling addicts have also chalked up high debts and a recent statistic shows Singapore gamblers are some of the top loss per gambler.

Singapore Top 10 Gambling Losers in the World

Singapore Top 10 Gambling Losers in the World

However, even with large losses and the $100 local entry fees, this does not deter more citizens to delve into their gambling addictions. Gamblers now find gambling alternatives and using online methods instead.

Getting online is pretty easy in Singapore and online gambling enters make it even easier to sign up PLUS some provide free credit for account openings. This has led to even youths going online as the age restrictions in Singapore casinos are pretty strict.

Latest statistics from the National Council on Problem Gambling (NCPG) show that online gamblers have the poorest self-control.

Youths Gambling?

A local study done by NTU’s Professor Chang Weining in 2007 found that the prevalence of problem gambling in Singaporean youth is about three in 100, but one of them is a potential pathological gambler.

ECMS Consultants, another counselling centre, said they are seeing more younger adults hooked on gambling. Its clinical director, Gerald Goh, said that he has also seen foreign students who go to the casinos every week.

“For them, it’s free to go to the casinos. On average, their parents give them $15,000 to $20,000 pocket money a month, so they go in there to ‘have fun’. But when they lose their pocket money, they start to borrow from friends,” Mr Goh said.

Gambling Bad Loans?

Quite often, some of our clients went into big debts of bad loans from illegal moneylenders. If you have issues with illegal moneylenders or loan issues, do consult with our loan officers and we will best assist you.

Summary: Help for Addict Gamblers

There are lots of help available in Singapore through the National Council on Problem Gambling (http://www.ncpg.org.sg) and the National Addictions Management Services (NAMS). If you think you or your loved ones have a problem with gambling, you can also call the stop gambling hotline at 1800-6-668-668.

There’s even an expression which justifies gambling during the Chinese New Year as ‘a little bit of gambling soothes your mind.’  (小赌怡情). So just have some controlled gambling with your family and everybody relaxes to have fun.

Meanwhile enjoy this social video.

  • National Council on Problem Gambling: 1800-6668-668
  • National Addictions Management Service (All Addictions): 6732-6837
  • Tanjong Pagar Family Service Centre: 6593-6489
  • The Samaritans of Singapore (24 hours): 1800-2214-444
  • Ray of Hope by Christian Care Services: 1800-7867-669
  • One Hope Centre (9am to 6pm): 6547-1011
  • WeCare Community Services: 6471-5346

Read more: Gambling & How it Leads to Bad Loans

Singapore Dollar gets strong against Malaysian Ringgit

Singapore Dollar Stays Strong: Time to Travel!

With a spate of recent news, signifying that the Singapore dollar has hit historical highs against the Malaysian ringgit and Indonesian rupiah. So what does that mean for us at Empire Global? Travel!!

It’s the perfect time to hit the money exchangers and get stocked on Malaysian ringgit. It’s the year end and holidays too. Hence there is probably no greater time than to take advantage of the situation plus take a break with the family.

Singapore Dollar Strengths?

Firstly, the Singapore dollar has gained great ground on the yen due to monetary easing by the Bank of Japan.

Since the start of the year 2014, the Singapore Dollar has risen 7.3% on the ringgit with the money market currently standing at SGD 1 to RM 2.64 (time of writing). This has been extremely great news for those Malaysians working in Singapore as they enjoy the benefits of the exchange rates. Some analysts expect it to fall even further. We hope so too!

In-depth of Oil Demands

Part of the ringgit downward trend has been affected by the continuous slide in oil prices. As Malaysia has been a strong oil-exporting country, there are fears that falling oil prices will further cause declining revenues for the country. The oil price has fallen by more than 40% since June, when it was $115 a barrel. It is now below $70. This comes after nearly five years of stability.

Weak economic demand has caused oil demand to slide tremendously. Hence a great oil-exporting country like Malaysia has seen it’s export market falling. Oil-related industries account for a third of Malaysian state revenue.

How Does the Singapore Dollar Work?

The Singapore dollar is managed by the MAS against a currency basket comprised by the country’s major trading partners and competitors. The central bank established the weight of every different currency by taking into account the trade flows between the countries and the way the corresponding economy is impacting Singapore’s exposure to the rest of the world.

Being a massively export dependent economy and a crucial financial and logistics centre, the way monetary policy is conducted has proven to be an essential tool for the booming economy since 1981.

What Next for you?

This has made Malaysia a more affordable country to travel to. President of the Malaysian Association of Tour & Travel Agents (MATTA) has also highlighted his comments that Malaysia should try to take advantage of the situation as travel has weakened greatly since the attack on the MAS planes has caused strong negative sentiments to the travel industry. See more at: Travel Industry May Benefit from Weaker Ringgit
Arcade Moneychangers one of the best in town. Great Rates!

Arcade Moneychangers one of the best in town. Great Rates!

You probably have already seen moneychangers having long queues for the holidays. Now with the weaker Ringgit there are even longer queues and higher Singapore Dollar exchange needed to get the better exchange rates.

Today, moneychangers said they were still seeing long queues of people buying the Malaysian currency at their shops. However, they were not expecting a shortage in the coming days. Mohamad Rafik of Arcade Money Changers said: “Most people already bought as much ringgit as they can. I don’t think they will buy more.”

The falling value of the ringgit over the past weeks has been good news to Malaysians working in Singapore and Singaporeans who regularly travel across the Causeway for business or leisure.

Singaporeans travelling to these locations (Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Australia) are going to enjoy great conversion rates and get more for their money.

Although while the Singapore Dollar is good in the asian markets, it has suffered against the Euro & the USD. Holiday makers rejoice as you can now make your dollar stretch event further especially in Malaysia or any oil-exporting country!

Word of Caution for Singapore Dollar

Malaysia Increases VEP fees. Reduces savings from  strong Singapore Dollar.

Malaysia Increases VEP fees. Reduces savings from strong Singapore Dollar.

As with all currency exchanges, do not overplay into the whole forex exchange. Exchange what you need or exchange just a little more for future needs. Currencies can change rapidly when the time comes and its seldom wise to hedge so much into currencies.

However, you might want to consider taking public transport. With VEP charges raised more than 5 times from RM2.90 to RM16.50 and with recent news that the Malaysian authorities plans to increase it to RM20 in middle of 2015 the savings from the falling ringgit might not be seen.

Meanwhile, enjoy the exchange rate!

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