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!

More reading articles: 

Smart Ways to Spend Your AWS or Year-End Bonus

Everyone’s counting down to 2015. In just a couple more days and we are headed towards a new year. And everyone is looking forward towards AWS or Year-End Bonus. It’s time to maximise your hard-earned bonus. We at Empire Global had a good year and would like to dish our some sound financial advise for our readers.

What is Annual Wage Supplement (AWS): Demystifying AWS

Definition of AWS:The Annual Wage Supplement (AWS) is commonly known as the 13th month payment. It is a single annual payment to employees that supplements the total amount of annual wage earned by them.

Common Idea// Misconception: It’s compulsory for employers to award employees AWS.

The Truth:An annual bonus is an optional, one-time payment given at the end of the year. It is usually paid to motivate employees who have performed well. It can also be drafted in employee’s contract.

Read more on Annual Wage Bonus from the MOM

What to do with your Bonus

Worst thing to do? Rack up credit card debt in advance of your bonus and expect things to pay off eventually. That’s a big No-No! Use your bonus to treat your family members extravagantly.

Avoid making sudden big ticket purchases. Splurge spending and not checking out the best deals.

Best thing to do? Pay off high interest credit card debts and loans first. Clear as much liabilities as much as possible before the interest piles up. Clear all the bills! That’s your number one priority.

This is the best time to improve your credit score if you previously had some bad records. Having a clean sheet, void of debts would be most advisable. It helps in terms of future loan application especially for houses (it’s really tough to get a new BTO HDB flat).

Make that money work harder for you. You can channel some of that money into your CPF account and make your CPF work harder.

Learn more about how to Make Your CPF Funds Work Harder 

Don’t Forget Taxes

An old saying is to sound your chickens before they hatch. Even if you know your bonus amount, don’t assume its something extra. It is still taxable under Singapore’s IRAS. Save some of the bonus for the year’s taxes (set aside 10-40%) based on your income bracket. Those annual pesky taxes will make your bonus smaller. Which is why you should not be blowing off the extra cash that easily.

If your taxes are on the higher end, donate some of your bonus and receive a  250% tax rebate (http://www.iras.gov.sg/irashome/page04.aspx?id=1274)! Most people would not think about donating. Perhaps it’s time for you to donate some for a good cause plus you can some tax savings. Of course you need to check whether the charity is a registered IPC (Institutions of a Public Character).

Check out the charities on https://www.charities.gov.sg/

Fund Financial Goals

Plan your finances for the year ahead with this added bonus. Add some of that bonus money to your emergency savings. You can use that bonus to pay a small lump sum towards your housing loan. Any bit helps in the long run as the amount of compounded interest is equivalent to getting another house from HDB!

Put that entire bonus amount in a retirement fund. If you’re really ambitious and wish to retire early, a compounding interest with regular lump sums added can go a really long way.

Save for the Fun Things Your Like

Save that Bonus into your Piggy Bank

Save that Bonus into your Piggy Bank

We all love to treat ourselves to something nice. Firstly add a portion of that bonus to your piggy bank. As long you are financially stable, have some of the savings stashed up somewhere, well spend it! Not all of it of course. We suggest a good 20% will do.

Look out for really good deals for the items on your watch list. It’s the year-end and companies are going all-out to give you the best sales ever. Doing online shopping? Look our for coupon codes first before hitting the checkout button.

Rakuten(popular e-commerce in Singapore) for example has a great social following and regularly holds great sales. So check out companies Facebook pages, websites and surf around (sometimes bloggers are sponsored to give out coupon codes). All these can amount to great savings, not to forget, use the correct credit card for your purchase.

Summary: Spend or Save?

Everyone of us have had small windfalls or bonuses in our course of work. More often than not, that bonus money can be spent very quickly. Bonuses by nature are infrequent and is something we aren’t used to.

So treat that bonus as something separate to your regular income. Ideally, stash that bonus into your savings. This way, it allows you to keep your lifestyle and spending the same.

Read more related articles:

6 Tips to Help you Manager Debts & Finances

Unsecured Borrowing Changes: Why You Should Be Aware

Unsecured Borrowing Changes: Why You Should Be Aware

Singapore – As the nation progresses aggressively and competes against the other countries, there are now an increasing number of new borrowers in the market. This has led to several changes in credit lending rules in the past years and there is are new regulations to look at. More borrowers are exceeding their unsecured debt limits and over borrowing past their financial limits.

Consumer credit trends have stabilised and is in a healthy state, although some borrowers have over-extended themselves. Let us at Empire Global explain further on how individuals are affected.

According the the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), about 3% of unsecured borrowers are in unsecured debts that exceeds their annual incomes. Unsecured debt is money owed that is not tied to any assets, in contrast to secured debt such as housing and car loans. Examples include credit card debt and personal loans.

This prompted the Credit Counselling Singapore (CCS) to look into cutting borrowers debts by offering a centralised repayment solution. CCS will roll out a centralised repayment solution to help borrowers coordinate negotiations across financial institutions and work out a repayment plan.

The plan will take into account a the borrower’s background such as borrower’s income, expenditure, needs and loan obligations. All the leading retail banks have agreed to get on board with the new system by the first quarter of next year. For moneylenders, borrowers are highly encourage to speak to the loan officers to negotiate a suitable loan contract between themselves.

As A Borrower?

Saving Yourself From Unsecured Debt

Saving Yourself From Unsecured Debt. New Unsecured Rules to aid borrowers.

Starting from June next year, borrowers will be barred from getting additional credit if their debt exceeds their annual income for three straight months.

With major crackdowns on illegal lending and moneylenders providing bad practises, the various agencies are clamping down hard on offenders. The police in August released its Mid-Year Crime Brief, which revealed that there were 3,235 cases of unlicensed moneylending reported in the first six months of this year. This was down 31.6 per cent from the 4,729 cases reported over the same period last year.

Furthermore, social safeguards such as the continuous crackdown on illegal moneylenders are taking place. There’s many of such lenders providing bad advice and hidden rules + charges that are disallowed by the government.

This is why we at Empire Global strongly emphasize the importance of understanding the terms of borrowing and letting customers know about it. We do not engage in forcing borrowers to sign but instead tell them the best way forward for them.

This is why we value our financial loan officers very much and also why as a borrower you should go only to licensed moneylenders. Always practise financial prudence.

What’s New for Unsecured Lending?

As mentioned before, the advisory committee for moneylenders have now come up with suggestions stating that the total amount that a person can borrow would be just four times the amount of their monthly salary.

Loans for borrowers earning below $20,000 a year will be capped at $3,000. Interest rates are also expected to be changed, as the committee suggest it to be capped at four percent a month. These are actually great news for all borrowers as they are strict rules which prevents moneylenders from illegally charging more than the norm. Least now there’s would be a standard across the board.

Read about what the new Advisory Committee has to say about unsecured loans

Our Advise for Getting Unsecured Loans?

Be smart. Maximise your money by making smart financial decisions. Try to cut your debts quickly and borrow wisely. Only when you need it especially for life emergencies. Learn about the various loan offering available (payday loan, personal loan, unsecured loan, bank loans, etc). Choose on that best suits your financial needs and do not over borrow. Borrow only what you really need.

Should you need credit advise from official channels, you can contact the Credit Counselling Department and they will guide you through. If you need loan advice or how to properly plan the credit you need, you can also contact us at Empire Global and our loan officers will best advise you.

More reading articles
Personal Data Protection Act : How it affects you. Take action Today!

PDPA Personal Data Protection Act Singapore Affects You

What’s is the big fuzz about PDPA?

With a rising spate of complaints over telemarketers “harassing” people with the phone calls or text messages, the Government of Singapore has further looked into the matter and emphasised heavily on personal protection with the introduction of the PDPA policy. This is designed to safeguard an individual’s personal data against misuse. It comprises of the recently introduced national Do-Not-Call registry and a new enforcement agency that is tasked to regulate the management of personal data by businesses and impose penalties.

Personal Data defined

Personal Data Protection Act PDPA

Personal Data Protection Act PDPA. Be aware of your rights!

Personal data refers to data regardless of truth, about an individual who can be identified from the data. Unique information (e.g. NRIC number, passport number) as well as other relevant information (address, age, name,telephone number) about the individual. The act allows individuals more control over their personal data, since prior consent has to be given and they would need to be informed of the purpose of information collected.

PDPA is implemented in phrases to allow businesses to accommodate their processes to it. The introduction of the Do Not Call (DNC) Registry started in 2 Jan 2014 and was followed up with the personal data protection on 2 July 2014. You might have noticed in the news that companies are being fined or penalised with regards to the DNC or PDPA rulings. Well, we at Empire Global had complied way much earlier than those dates.

Personal Data Protection Act: The Whole Idea

1. Tackle Issue of Unsolicited Telemarketing Calls & Messages

The national Do-Not-Call (DNC) Registry created early 2014, prohibits organisations in Singapore to send specified messages to any Singapore number registered with the DNC, unless prior consent was given. If any company is caught violating the data protection rule or are non-compliant, they would be fine heavily.

2. Enhance Country Competitiveness

With the introduction of the PDPA, the new data protection law is poised to strength the nation’s position as a trusted business hub. You would not want companies “harassing” you right? Which is why Empire Global focuses primarily on financial education instead of hard-selling you.

3. Data Protection Commission (DPC)

The DPC team has the power to initiate investigations and/or conduct enquires on companies. They are able to direct non-complying companies to be fined up to SGD$1million.

4. National Do Not Call Registry

With the newly setup registry, individuals can now opt-out of receiving marketing messages in form of phone calls, short message service (SMS) messages, multimedia message service (MMS) messages or fax messages. It is now an offence for organisations to send messages registered under the “Do Not Call Registry”. Such offences are punishable by a maximum fine of SGD$10,000.

Read more about Do-Not-Call DNC Registry: Are you on DNC yet?

Lodge complaints About a DNC Offence

In short, What’s in it for you?

As a consumer you are protected by the PDPA. PDPA prohibits organisations from collecting, using or disclosing personal data about an individual unless prior consent is given for such collection or disclosure was made. Organisations can only collect information for reasonable purposes.

The moneylending industry is extremely competitive.  The introduction of PDPA and the DNC registry, we have seen some known moneylenders getting hefty fines or licenses revoked. The practise of getting and tempting customers through phone calls and messages have went down a lot, marketers of such lending schemes are desperately finding new ways to find new customers.

So if you are borrowing in future, do be careful of unknown messages that come to you promising low interest rates or quick schemes. Always always, read before you sign anything. That’s rule no.1 for us at Empire Global.

Main Data Protection Obligations of the PDPA

  • Notification – Individual must be notified about collection, usage and disclosure of personal data.
  • Consent – Consent of individual is important to collect, use or disclose their personal data
  • Retention Limitation – Requires organisation to remove all personal data when the campaign has ended officially.
  • Openness – Organisation must be transparent with the information about your data protection polices, practices and complaint process available on request.
  • Purpose Limitation – This restrict the individual data to be used for a particular product or services that is agreed upon.
  • Transfer Limitation – Personal data is transferrable to another country only if the requirement prescribed is under the regulation.
  • Access & Correction Accuracy – This allows individual to access and edit all information which their personal data is used.
  • Accuracy – Personal data must be validated before proceeding with any campaigns.
  • Protection – Protection of personal data must be done by having security arrangement within organisation and external parties that will be handling your data.

More reading sources

Register with DNC – www.dnc.gov.sg
For more information about the Act, visit the Personal Data Protection Commission website.
Goodbye to unwanted phone calls & messages

DNC Registry Do-not-call List: Goodbye to unwanted calls and messages

Don’t call me, I’m on DNC Registry

In today’s digital age, large amounts of personal data are collected, used and made available to third party organisations. This growing trend is moving exponentially as large amounts of sensitive data are made available with the aid of technology. Consumers are now becoming more aware on personal data privacy and are greatly concerned with protecting their own privacy.

Since 2 Jan 2014, anyone with a local telephone number can wish to opt out of receiving unsolicited telemarketing calls or messages from organisations.

If your telephone number is on the national Do-Not-Call known as DNC Registry, organisations are not allowed to send you telemarketing messages unless you have a clear documented consent to receive messages to an organisation.

This piece of news was a sign of relief for many whom had been receiving unsolicited messages or calls from telemarketers promoting their products or unlicensed moneylenders finding new customers.

These errant companies acquire telephone databases to use for telemarketing purposes have greatly irritated consumers.

DNC Registry covers all forms of messages linked to a telephone number and these includes the popular Internet message programs such as WhatsApp, LINE and Viber.

DNC Registry Top Three Myths Debunked!

DNC Registry Myth 1: Stop receiving messages after registration?

DNC Registry Myth 1:After registering on the DNC Registry, I will immediately stop receiving unsolicited telemarketing messages.

Truth: Registering on the DNC Registry does not mean you will immediately stop receiving telemarketing messages.

Organisations that have checked the DNC Registry before you registered can still use their list of results for up to 60 days if they did so before July 2, 2014 (and 30 days thereafter).

Therefore, you may still receive telemarketing messages from them during this period.

DNC Myth - No more messages when I in the DNC Registry

DNC Registry Myth 2: If my number is on the DNC Registry, organisations can no longer send me any kinds of telemarketing messages

Truth: Organisations may still send some telemarketing messages to you in certain specific situations.

For example, if you have already given companies clear consent for telemarketing messages, they do not have to run the checks.

A typical case would be phone numbers which have been in the form of prior lucky draw entries. Some messages are not considered telemarketing messages under the DNC requirements.

DNC Myth - Complain to Personal Data Protection when received moneylenders SMSes. How to handle them

DNC Registry Myth 3:If I receive telemarketing messages from moneylenders, I should lodge a complain to the Personal Data Protection.

Truth: Under the Moneylenders Act, licensed moneylenders are not allowed to advertise their services via SMS or voice calls.

Instead report such moneylending SMSes or calls to:

(c) The National Crime Prevention Council’s “X Ah Long” Hotline at 1800-924-5664 (1800-X-AH-LONG); or

Companies in Post-DNC launch?

Under the Personal Data Protection Act, local and overseas organisations must check with the DNC Registry to ensure that the Singapore phone numbers that they are sending telemarketing messages to are not listed in the registry.

Companies will now have to check its call list with the DNC registry. The numbers on the its list are valid for up to 60 days if they are not on the DNC registry. After the initial 60 days, it must submit a request to check the numbers again before making a pitch on the phone, fax, SMS or MMS.

However the 60 days limit will be deducted to 30days starting from July 2014. This means that consumers who register after July 2 2014 may still receive telemarketing messages for up to 30 days.

Companies are issued 500 free credits per year to check their call lists. Depending on the type of company, a one-time fee setup costs $30-$60.

Messages that are not considered to be telemarketing

Here’s a list of the types of messages that are allowed for telemarketing purposes (adapted from PDPC)
  • Market research or market survey
  • Promotion of non-commercial programmes carried out by public/government agencies
  • Information about employment opportunities
  • Warranty information, product recall information, and safety or security information relating to a product you have purchased
  • Delivery of goods or services, including relevant product updates and upgrades
  • Business-to-business (B2B) marketing; and
  • Nuisance calls which are non-commercial in nature

Bottom-line

If you continue to receive unsolicited telemarketing messages, you can lodge a complaint with the Personal Data Protection Commission (PDPC) for investigations and enforcement. The PDPC will not hesitate to take necessary action against organisations that do not comply.

Businesses now would never want to violate the PDPA as hefty penalties are issues which is up to S$10,000 can be fined per customer complaint, and the maximum penalty is S$1 million. A single illicit phone call will destroy a company reputation.

DNC Steps

Now, are you on the DNC registry yet? DNC registration is FREE, and you can get your phone number included in any or all of the three DNC registers – for voice calls, text messages and faxes. Registrations with the DNC registry is lifetime, but consumers can easily deregister at any given time. Terminated phone numbers are also removed from the registry.

  1. Check your telephone number with the DNC Registry by visiting www.dnc.gov.sg
  2. Signup on the DNC registry by sending “DNC” to 78772 to block calls, text messages and fax messages;”DNC” to 78773 to block calls only; “DNC” to 78774 to block text messages only.
  3. Register by phone at 1800-248-0772 to block calls, text messages and fax messages; 1800-248-0773 to block calls only; or 1800-248-0774 to block text messages only.

More reading sources

Register with DNC – www.dnc.gov.sg
For more information about the Act, visit the Personal Data Protection Commission website.

Gambling and how it leads to getting bad loans

The time has come for all Chinese to celebrate and immerse themselves in the festive mood. Chinese New Year. This means a period of gathering, visiting the folks, catching up with relatives and friends. Aside from the New Year goodies, nothing thrills people more than gambling and it has become a part and parcel activity during Chinese New Year in Singapore. Gambling indeed is a big business here.

Especially during this Chinese New Year. A long weekend of celebrations, many gamblers visit the local and overseas casinos or slot machines at the local clubs.

Players head down to our very own renowned legalised casinos at Resorts World and Marina Bay Sands. Singapore’s own two casinos ranks in the top 10 as the world’s most expensive casinos. With both casinos worth a near 10 billion dollars and having over 600 tables of entertainment plus close to 3000 slot machines just on these two local casinos. We certainly have one the world’s best entertainment.

What about players with bad credit? These people turn to illegal gambling operators who might offer better rates. Regardless a large number heads down to the local casinos or slot machines to have some good entertainment. Besides with bonuses on hand as extra to their pay, everyone wants to get lucky.

However there’s always the unlucky few who end up succumbing to temptations and borrowing from illegal money lenders. Die-hard gamblers may even go to ruthless loansharks who are more than willing to loan them amounts they could never afford to feed their gambling addictions.

Problem gambling: When people become so addicted to gambling that they can’t stop, no matter how much money they lose or how much it hurts their loved ones. Which is why one should practise responsible gambling and smart choice of money lending if really needed.

Marina Bay Sands, Resort World Sentosa. Both in the Top 10 Casinos in the World

Marina Bay Sands, Resort World Sentosa. Both in the Top 10 Casinos in the World

Let’s Practise Responsible Gambling

Gambling is a form of entertainment. It’s meant to be fun but don’t get compulsive. So please practise responsible gambling if you love the game. If you are not careful it could land you in trouble. Always play within your means and your own risk appetite. This is why the local government implemented the Self Exclusion Act and even a hotline for those seeking to talk about their gambling addiction.

All these initiatives are supported by the local National Council on Problem Gambling. They have been actively promoting one to come forth and talk to them about their gambling habits and start practising responsible gambling. Seek aid when you need before it’s too late.

  1. Know your limits
  2. Practise Responsible Gambling
  3. Talk to your loved ones about your gambling problems
  4. Seek help if you have a gambling addiction
  5. Apply for the self-exclusion program to protect your loved one

The bottom line here is  “Be honest about it and practise responsible gambling”

Gambling & Illegal Lending

Now let’s talk about those who borrow from illegal moneylenders.  Those tempted to play time and again and borrow money from many sources. Your relatives will shun you. Your friends start leaving you. And you turn to illegal money lenders to support your lifestyle or your family. It’s common for people with bad credit to turn to illegal money lenders thus putting themselves in high risks.

This issue can be avoided if you have done your research better and earlier. All you have to do is consider your options and be sensible, once again play within your means. Apply for a loan when’s its needed and necessary.

If you need a loan in the short term to repay a small debt, apply from legitimate money lenders at the very least to get your own personal loan or payday loan. There are many legitimate money lenders out there offering competitive rates and fast cash for your needs.

Like this Chinese New Year you might be thinking of holding a celebration and money might be tight as the many festivities before CNY took most of your budget up. Consider getting a payday loan for a cash advance to help you out on the budgeting and you can settle it on your next pay cheque.

Payday Loan

Stuck elsewhere? Not an issue. Licensed money lenders have adapted to trends and most of them have the dedicated service to apply online and they will get back to you usually within an hour with quotes on your loan amount. Payday loans are simple short-term loans usually granted to let the borrower get throughout the next pay cheque.

It usually requires a simple approval from a licensed money lender. The lead time may vary, but it’s almost same day service. Empire Global is one such secure and licensed money lender offering flexible payday loan schemes.  This helps the borrower to tide over and ease his financial liabilities with additional assistance

Application Process

Speaking of your credit score, you should know that this is a major factor when it comes to the personal loan application process. To obtain this type of unsecured loan, you need to have decent credit and be able to prove your income by showing pay stubs. When you apply for a payday loan, however, you only need to show identification and proof that you can repay the amount you borrow by payday.

Always remember to place serious consideration when applying for a loan. Only take up loans from legal sources and borrow what you need. This way you can manage your money better. If you have difficulties in repaying a loan, simply ask and negotiate with your moneylender and the credit officers would be most likely be kind enough to draw up repayment plans or a better interest rate to suit your situation.

Some key points to take away

  1. Practise Responsible Gambling
  2. Avoid illegal money lenders
  3. Consider the options and get the right loan for yourself

Things about bridging loans

A bridging loan is interim financing for an individual or business until permanent or the next stage of financing can be obtained. Money from the new financing is generally used to “take out” (i.e. to pay back) the bridge loan, as well as other capitalization needs.

Bridging loans are typically more expensive than conventional financing to compensate for the additional risk of the loan. Bridge loans typically have a higher interest rate, points and other costs that are amortized over a shorter period, and various fees and other “sweeteners” (such as equity participation by the lender in some loans). The lender also may requirecross-collateralization and a lower loan-to-value ratio. On the other hand they are typically arranged quickly with relatively little documentation.