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Licensed Money Lender faces criticism in Singapore. A new set of woes to worry about.

Licensed Money Lender Facing Criticism in Singapore

The licensed money lender industry in Singapore has gotten its run of bad publicity for 2015 given the recent events occurred amongst debt collection. Debates have been brought up on how debt collection can be made better.

Licensed Money Lender Scene

This was due to a recent scene in the licensed money lender industry in Singapore when seven employees of Double Ace Associates confronted a stall owner at Funan DigitalLife Mall foodcourt and created a big scene during the busy lunch hour. All offenders were charged with unlawful assembly just last month.

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

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

Licensing Debt Collection in Singapore

Debt collection in Singapore. Hired by licensed money lender.

Debt collection in Singapore. Hired by licensed money lender.

Licensed money lender hire debt-collection companies from time to time for long standing debts that they cannot handle and this incident highlighted on how a loan can go horribly wrong.

“Licensing the debt-collection industry could clean up its image, and clamp down on the use of harassment tactics” – suggested by Mr David Poh, President of the Moneylender’s Association of Singapore, has been backed by the Credit Collection Association of Singapore (CCAS).

This matter of debt collection has been raised in Parliament last month when MP Foo Mee Har mentioned whether debt collectors should abide by a code of conduct, and if the Government of Singapore would consider introducing laws that govern fair deb-collection.

Others have mentioned that should such a code of conduct be in place, there will be a lot of infrastructure that needs to be put up for case investigation. Hence the onus should be on the licensed money lender, to ensure their debt collectors do not use violence or high pressure tactics.

“Moneylenders found to have committed offences may have their licences suspended, not renewed or revoked by the registry,” Senior Minister of State for Law Indranee Rajah

Late Fee Charges by Licensed Money Lender

Late Fee charges by Licensed Money Lender

Late Fee charges by Licensed Money Lender

Late last year, an article about how a borrower got a small loan and incurred a large debt due to the late fee charges.

Suggestions have been made to cap the penalty late charges. However this has led to many licensed money lenders protesting that the new rules could kill their business.

This is why at Empire Global we always encourage borrowers to negotiate early and fully understand the terms involved. Terms from different licensed money lender vary greatly. All these could lead up to you getting into greater debt.

Licensed Money Lender Woes & The Review Committee

With the advisory committee proposing major changes of which a controversial interest rate cap of 4 percent per month has led to an outburst in the licensed moneylending industry.

Many licensed money lender in Singapore have mentioned that the cap will lead to borrowers not paying back instead. Without late penalty charges, it will be tougher to collect back their money.

Borrowers have a higher chance to default on their payments. Leading to lower profit margins by the money lenders.

The advisory committee basis on the proposed interest rates is also referred to prevailing interest rates charged by licensed moneylenders in jurisdictions like Hong Kong, Australia, Japan and Britain, which range from 1.5 to 4 per cent.

We at Empire Global are looking at ways to improve our infrastructure and to work with the interest rate cap. Hopefully, the Ministry of Law considerations on relaxing advertising restrictions on newspapers will be implemented.

Most definitely, we want to be geared up to in advance to follow through the new rules imposed.
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
When Are Personal Loans a Good Option?

When Are Personal Loans A Good Option?

Personal Loans Applicable for Businesses?

With startups on the rise in Singapore, churning different concepts ranging from technology to F&B (hipster cafe joints). Businessmen and investors are now more than willing to try out their ideas, and as an operating business time is never on their side. We know that through our own experience at Empire Global that with the many issues involved and a need to have a good financial cash flow especially when we are in the business of money lending. This is when personal loans come in handy.
This is because even with a good business plan, good directors and advisors in the company, one would still need to churn out the initial financial burden involved in starting up a company. Bills, salaries, running operating expenses are a constant hit for new startups.

What about Personal Loan Singapore? Viable?

As with all loans, a certain portion of risk is involved when one takes up a loan. Singapore as a business hub brings ease to setting up businesses. Financial instituations like banks and moneylenders are competitive in this field of loans. Same like us at Empire Global.
For startup entrepreneurs, a personal loan might be a good option as the initial team and operating expenses are kept small. Hence personal loans provide the flexibility to use the loan amount for any purposes you deemed fit. Whereas a business loan would be pegged to your business abilities and assets. Some look at the age of business to qualify the business for a loan.

Affordability of Personal Loans

In Singapore, personal loans come in different sizes big and small to suit the varying financial needs of individuals and businesses alike. Personal loan offerings are starting to be the more popular choice for borrowers be it borrowing from banks or moneylenders. As an individual can use the money to pay for a variety of items, including their car, electronics, debt consolidation and so forth.
Small Business Operating Expenses

Small Business Operating Expenses

This becomes a popular choice offering for businesses alike as the loan amount can be paid out to a variety of channels. Repayment periods are usually monthly fixed on a agreed upon day of the month. Interests rates are fixed unless a longer repayment period is negotiated upon with the loan officers.

Should I Get a Personal Loan?

Like with all loans, it depends on your pressing needs and circumstances. If you have a urgent need for cash and don’t have any existing assets, but own a credit card then it a personal loan would be a better choice. This is due to the higher rates charge for credit card cash withdrawals.
Need money in a hurry, and want to forgo tedious documentation? Need cash without a specific reason? Then personal loans would be the choice option.

In Summary: Key Advantages of Personal Loans

Flexibility of use: Personal loans are versatile and multipurpose. They can used with  a variety of purposes, be it travel expenses, medical expenses or purchasing equipment for business.
Quick Availability: Getting loans is usually fast. Submit online quote requests to moneylenders like us at Empire Global or submit application forms through banks. It is extremely effective if you are looking for emergency funds.
Minimal Documentation: Typically, personal loans require one of the least documentation unless you have bad credit rating.
Essentially, weigh out the advantages of the the various loan types available before deciding on choosing a personal loan. There could be better loan options available so do your research before signing on the dotted line.
We strongly advise our clients to tell us about their money needs and we will provide the best loan option and suggested repayment periods. This allows our borrowers to achieve the best loan rates and repayment periods.
At Empire Global we offer our customers professional legal financial assistance in a variety of loan formats. If you are looking for a legal loan provider in Singapore, we offer reliable and effective solutions for your needs. We operate as a licensed moneylender company in Singapore.
Getting personal loan for short term? Let us guide you.

Getting a Personal Loan For Your Short Term Needs

With the economy picking up slowly but steadily for sure, banks and money lending institutions are kickstarting their lending business in an aggressive manner. Prior to the launch of the Do Not Call (DNC) Registry, most of us even we at Empire Global gets multiple calls from banks promoting all the different loans and throwing in all sorts of freebies to sweeten the deal.

You might have even received cheques that state a pre-approved loan amount and all you need is a phone call to the respective company. Well all these have been cut short and certainly much lesser seen now.

You might wonder why personal loan are effective for short term too? Let us tell you more.

Loan Flexibility

There are many specific loan types Eg. Education loan, renovation loan, car loan. Unlike these categories of loans where the usage of funds is clearly defined, you get much more flexibility on the usage of spend with a personal loan. It’s a sum of cash that you can use it for any purpose. When you take up a car loan, its strictly meant for the purpose of financing a car. Furthermore, specific loan types are usually paid directly to the seller and you won’t have access to the physical cash on hand.

Coming up Short on Cash? Use a Personal Loan.

A Personal loan act as temprorary bridges if you are coming short on cash. For example, you are awaiting a home sale proceeds or pending an investment fund release of cash. These are uncertain periods of time whereby you might be short on cash. Personal loan are ideal for those who have temporary shortage on cash. Like a pending home property sale of their current apartment and not wanting to miss a good property in the market. A personal loan comes in greatly to make up for the shortage in cash-flow and offering reasonable interest rates.

Coming short on cash is Terrible. Use a personal loan.

Coming short on cash is Terrible. Use a personal loan.

Having said this, personal loan should be used with caution and not for luxury purchases and splurges. A personal loan like any other loan is to tide over a certain period of time for a certain cause and not for an individual to indulge which will result in large repayments if one is careless.

Another great example is that you can use this amount of cash flow to generate new funds . Then a personal loan is a great and convenient way to bridge this kind of short-term financial requirement.

Loan ceilings are typically large than payday loans. As payday loans ceiling largely depend on an individual salary income.

Some side advice if you are selling/buying a new apartment; use a cash cheque instead of credit cheque and ask for some benefits from the property agents. They would be more than happy to do so

Learn more about personal loan in Singapore

Learn how to Be a Good Borrower

Personal loan come with slightly lower interest rates and unsecured nature provides a good way to teach someone to be a good borrower.
Fixed repayments each month makes the borrower repay a fixed a amount on the stipulated date. Furthermore, timely repayments of loans ensures that it maintains your good credit ratings.

Previously we mentioned on checking your own credit ratings with a $5 quick check in the Credit Bureau

Approval is fast as Always.

As with loans, personal loan are one of the fastest to be approved. Be it from banks or money lenders. This could prove to be an attractive offering for you if you need the loan amount fast. Time to be approved can be further discuss with the loan officers too. This is one of the highest request we get at Empire Global.

Get a Personal Loan If You Need One

Having mentioning some of the benefits of personal loans, they are only good if you don’t live beyond your means as it can be disastrous if you fall into a debt trap. We as moneylenders wouldn’t want that too!

Be confident and sure of your financial status. Ensure you repay back the repayments on time and you will be safe! Next up we will look at the Personal Data Protection Act and how it is shaking up the industry and why you should be aware of your rights.

Understand and learn about how to get a personal loan in Singapore

How to get Personal Loan in SG

Still stumped by interest rates of personal loan in SG? Need to get a personal loan in SG? Personal loans are at times referred to as unsecured loans which are personal loan without the need for security, collateral or guarantors. There are lots of personal loans providers which include banks and lending companies like us at Empire Global. So what are the few ways that one can get a personal loan in SG for fulfilling all your dreams and desires that you put on hold?

Understand first. Why you should care about Personal Loan rates?

Like we have explained previously, interest rates can get quite tricky and can slip pass the mind of borrowers. Borrowers might have gone on the urge of borrowing and forget to calculate the effective interest rates of the loan amount. One should fully understand the loan repayment amount and the effective interest rate of a loan sum. This will enable them to make better judgement of their own financial standings.

For example, if you plan on getting a renovation loan do look for a provider of renovation loan package instead of taking up a personal loan in SG. What’s the difference you may ask? It’s most advisable to go to the most specific loan type that you need. This usually results in a better interest rate or something better to match your needs. Why so? This allows lenders to “think less” about your repayment and the terms and conditions of a loan plan. The more specific you are with your money needs, the easier life the lender has.

There’s intense competition amongst lending institutions here, hence the interest rates, repayment policies and the many applicable terms and conditions vary greatly. So do shop around to find one that best suits your needs.

Read more on Understanding Personal Loan & Interest Rates

Check your own Credit Rating

One of the basic thing you can do prior to borrowing is to check your own credit rating. This is usually applicable to those who have defaulted on payment terms of bills, loans, credit cards or those declared bankrupt or cleared of bankruptcy.

If you have repaid properly, the credit rating should be good still. However if you are still servicing those payments, it is most advisable to check your credit rating and ensure that you are at least eligible to borrow.

Read more on Credit Rating and get it check 

What determines a Borrower’s eligibility?

If you are applying for a personal loan in SG, the biggest ranking factor to determine the loan amount a borrower is eligible for is their source of income. Typically in general, most banks will lend up to four times the amount a borrower earns on a monthly basis.

Get Personal Loan from Banks

There’s a big competition between the different banks providing personal loan services. Some have created apps for borrowers convience. A frontrunner in using technology for loan services is the new Dash Advance app created by Standard Charted providing personal loan in SG. This shows how competitive the industry is.

At times borrowing from banks can get tricky too. Why so? A simple thing like  a late repayment penalty is often overlooked by borrowers. This is because no one wants to pay late. And this is where the institutions can play it up to their advantage. Mess up a repayment once and you just might get your interest rate increased . Late fees can be quite substantial too. It is totally unlike a credit card late fee of $50; the penalty might be much steeper.

When banks that you have shortlisted are offering comparable packages, you should next look at their penalty fees and administrative fees. Basically pick the lowest interest rate provider and if there’s a tie, pick the one with the less “painful” penalties.

A basic set of information is required such as your NRIC, income documents (CPF statements, income tax statements) should be readily at hand before approaching these institutions.

Get Personal loan from Licensed Money Lender

With major financial institutions providing personal loan in SG, there are another group which are the licensed money lenders providing an alternative for borrowers. With much lesser fine print and more straight forward loan application process, borrowing from licensed money lenders can at times be a wiser choice.

The loan process is much faster and usually hassle free. Interest rates are highly competitive too and some of the best options are their flexibility in repayment plans. You can talk to the loan officer to draft a repayment policy to best suit your needs. Approval rates are typically higher and at times you are able to receive the cash amounts in a day or two.

However as there are quite a few unscrupulous lenders out there, it is a necessity to have a copy of the contract or loan terms when you sign up for a loan. Avoid those that easily approve your loan application without any legal contract. You can also check the company’s license by visiting IPTO. Money lenders who violate the laws set upon have their license revoked almost immediately. This ensures that the licensed money lender industry is kept legit and safe.

Getting it right for a Personal Loan

As repayment periods are usually longer with personal loan in SG, one has to be careful in borrowing and be clear about financial repayments needed. Loaning money is not a way to cover luxurious lifestyle. Identify the loan package that best suits your current financials and the lender. The loan process can get frustrating and your application might even be rejected, but do be careful when applying for a personal loan in SG. Ask questions and clear as many doubts you may have before signing up for a personal loan in SG.

Not to forget, too many loan applications can ruin your credit and obliterate your chances of getting one in future as it affects your credit ratings. Having too many applications makes you look desperate or in financial difficulties. As a result, lenders will see you as a credit risk and less likely to approve you.

Confused By Interest Rates in Personal Loans? Empire Global teaches you

Confused by terms used in Personal Loan? We teach you!

All these financial terms! Frustrated?

Getting a personal loan? Stumbled by the many jargons used by banks and money lenders? Heard of “Effective interest rates (EIR), Annual interest rate (AIR)” Well, let us at Empire Global take you through the many different terms used in personal loan and how you can get the appropriate loan type.

Rule of thumb: BE SMART and careful when you apply for a personal loan, you would not know when the interest rates hits you hard.

As money grows tight in a rapidly growing economy, people starts to take up loans for themselves. Personal loan, payday loans, home loans. However, it is often common that borrowers take up the wrong loan type for themselves or signed off a loan too early which they can’t repay well. Well, today we talk about personal loan and how you should really be careful about the terms spelt out.

What Borrowers Should Learn about Effective Interest Rates (EIR)?

As a borrower, one should be concerned about EIR for your personal loan. When analysing a loan, it can be difficult to get a clear idea of the loan’s true cost based on everything the bank provided.

There are several terms used to describe the interest rate, including effective rate, nominal rate, and more. Amongst all these, the effective interest rate (EIR) is perhaps the most useful, giving a relatively complete picture of the true cost of borrowing (which is why at times its seldom advertised too!)

To calculate the effective interest rate on a loan, you will need to understand the loan’s stated terms and perform a simple calculation. In short, effective interest rate attempts to describe the full cost of borrowing.  It takes into account the effect of compounding interest which is usually left out of the nominal or “stated” interest rate.

For the mathematical inclined!

Effective Interest Rate Formula for the Mathematically Inclined

Effective Interest Rate Formula for the Mathematically Inclined

A typical case scenario is when you have a loan with 10 percent interest compounded monthly. But in face, it carries an interest rate higher than 10 percent, because more interest is accumulated each month.

Interest Rate = 10% monthly
Actual Interest Rate > 10% monthly
 
 

Let’s Break Down Effective Interest Rate Further

1. Determine stated interest rate & number of compounding periods

Firstly, determine the interest rate that is quoted to you and the number of repayment periods. Stated (nominal) interest rate will be expressed as a percentage.

Compounding periods will typically be monthly, quarterly, annually, or continuously.

Stated interest rate = ___%

Compounding periods:

monthly = 12

quartely = 4

annually = 1

2. Making use of the Effective Interest Rate Formula

The effective interest rate is calculated through a simple formula: r = (1 + i/n) ^n -1.

r = effective interest rate

i = stated interest rate

n = number of compounding periods per year

3. Performing calculation of Effective Interest Rate

For example consider a loan with stated interest rate of 5% that is compounded monthly.

Based on the formula yields: r = (1 + 0.5 / 12)^12 – 1, or r = 5.12%

Example of Effective Interest Rate calculation for monthly repayment

Example of Effective Interest Rate calculation for monthly repayment – Credits Wikihow

Another example if it was compounded daily.

Based on the formula yields: r = (1 + 0.5/365)^365 – 1, or r = 5.13%

Note: Effective interest rate will always be greater than the stated rate

Considering home loans? Read more on: http://www.stproperty.sg/articles-property/financial-guide/home-loans-how-to-compute-their-effective-and-nominal-interest-rates/a/119694

2 Main Factors to Check before getting a Personal Loan

1. Compare before you borrow. Be paranoid about it!

Singapore has a huge range of banks and lending companies to choose from. It’s little wonder with the intense competition that personal loan interest rates sway greatly every time. Hence it’s best that you do your research and shop for the best persona loan at the time you need it.

Beware of marketing gimmicks
Free luggages a norm in Bank Marketing Gimmicks

Free luggages a norm in Bank Marketing Gimmicks. Beware of such gimmicks before taking up a personal loan!

One of the basic reason why interest rates fluctuate so much? Banks make money from charging interest rates. Depending on the popularity of personal loan in the market, they can charge lower or higher. You remember those free gifts and luggages when you sign up for a personal loan?

Well, that’s a marketing perk that banks try to get you to signup with their personal loan and take your attention off the high interest rate on offer.and banks can get desperate.

2. Show me the money

As a borrower you would want to pick a loan type to best suit your financials and repayment ability. Some companies will include additional fees such as processing fees, insurance fees which will unknowingly add to your total repayment.

Hence be a smart financial shopper. Be savvy about it. You want to borrow when the the banks are low on clients.

Enough of bank interest rates & terms!

Interest rates. Just show me the money.

Interest rates. Just show me the money.

There are many ways out of financial problems. All that is required is to seek professional advice from the right people. When you are shopping for a loan, be mindful of the different rates that a bank or institution quotes. Always ensure you understand which rates they are quoting and then compare the equivalent rates between alternatives.

These article is just an overview of effective interest rate. Look out for our next article when we go in-dept on personal loan and all the interest rates terms. Leverage on the proper loan by picking the one that suits you best for your situation. In short, do your research well!  

Empire Global is a licensed money lending company in Singapore. We place great emphasis on dishing out proper financial advice to our customers before they sign on the dotted line.

Don't Be a Victim. Learn about these four financial scams today.

Don’t Be A Victim! Learn About These Financial Scams

We had previously talked about 7 great tips you can use to identify legal and illegal moneylenders. Read it if you haven’t, as it might just save you from heaps of troubles.

We at Empire Global greatly enforce the rules stipulated by IPTO and our loan officers always advise our customers on the proper loan terms.

A reminder, legal and licensed moneylenders do not send out SMS marketing messages. If you ever received one, it MUST be from an illegal source. But unfortunately illegal moneylenders aren’t the only problems that borrowers face nowadays.

There are always unscrupulous businessman and scammers who constantly think of new ways to trick you off your hard-earned cash. These usually come in the form of financial scams that are carefully disguised as legitimate businesses deals or easy cash. Falling into any one of these could mean landing yourself in huge debt or seeing your savings wiped clean.

4 Common Types of Financial Scams

Now let me quickly take you through these 4 most common type of financial scams and how to identify them with a help of a great educational video.

Ponzi Scam

Ponzi scams almost always lured victims with high short-term returns with low to zero risk, but things aren’t as good as it seems. Often victims will receive about 1-2 prompt returns on their investments (as advertised), but that’s as far as it goes.

The greatest Ponzi scam in Singapore was Sunshine Empire masking as a MLM business that promises extremely high returns. Lots of people around us at Empire Global had been duped by them.

Once the victims are convinced and hooked into investing more of their money, the scammer starts to disappear and becomes uncontactable.

Thus always remember the saying, “there is no free lunch in this world”. If the investment sounds too good to be true, or encountered such an attractive deal, do a research online (forums, news, government website) to prevent falling into such traps yourself.

Lottery winnings / Inheritance Financial Scams

These are one of the oldest scam out there. Typical a scammer will contact you about a huge windfall either through winning some lottery or inheritance.

These usually come in the form of an email/mail (usually very well written!), with proper letterheads, and promoting it as risk-free. This is to give you the perception that it comes from a legitimate source.

Once you bite onto the good news, they will then slowly bait you into transferring money as a “processing fee” or “handling fee” in order for them to transfer the winnings to you.

Phishing Scam

Phishing scams refers to scammers trying to impersonate as an existing legitimate business or government body to try to get your personal particulars or passwords etc.

Common ones are these online login website to your bank accounts. They develop a login website similar to those of the banks and trick you into keying in your personal data and passwords into the online form.

Hence, always ensure that the Bank login website that you are visiting is the correct and legit ones. Always check with the bank if you are unsure.

Illegal Moneylenders Scam

Today, we are also going to highlight another new financial scams scheme use by the illegal moneylenders in Singapore. If you think they only use SMS marketing to fake as legal licensed moneylender in their SMS message? You are wrong! They are more than just fake SMS marketing as licensed moneylenders.

In fact, there are even reported cases of scammers sending threatening SMS to their victims demanding for money that they have allegedly borrowed or payments that they have missed.

Read more on Watch Out! Illegal Moneylenders and the Ah Long Scams

What really forces the victims to comply is the scammer ability to identify them by their names and NRIC number. Which is then followed by a threat to the victim’s family members.

Once successful, the scammer will then instruct the victim to pay the money within an hour or less to a bank account. This is to prevent them from having the time to go seek for advice or help from other inclusive of the Police.

However, since the rise of such cases, the Singapore Police Force came out with some guidelines highlighted below that can help you avoid such financial scams.

  • Do not contact the senders of dubious messages or letters
  • Do not response to unsolicited demand for loan payments
  • Do not reveal your personal particulars such as Name, NRIC number, and address to unknown individuals
  • And always report to the police when such incidents happen.

You may just save you your hard earned cash and the agony of dealing with such incidents.

Here we are also sharing an infographic about financial scams around the World! Arm yourself and your families with this knowledge and prevent these from happening to you!

Infographic - Learn about financial Scams  happening around the world

Infographic – Learn about financial Scams happening around the world

Don't Get Red Card this World Cup 2014: Avoid Illegal Soccer Betting

Moneylenders & World Cup: Moneylending Review Just in Time?

Go..Gol.. Goal!!  There goes my bet against my friend on supper. Disappointed by the big teams loses in this recent World Cup? Who could forget England’s recent World Cup disappointment against Uruguay? Out after just two games! We at Empire Global were glued to the television and were totally saddened by the team’s loss. Terrible performance wasn’t it?

Well if you had been staying up vigilantly catching this year’s World Cup matches, our local police has been going around catching illegal betting centres and moneylenders who violated the law.

Large spike in Illegal Betting this World Cup

Infographic: Illegal Soccer Betting $6.4 million into illegal World Cup bets
Infographic: Illegal Soccer Betting $6.4 million into illegal World Cup bets

There has been a large spike in illegal soccer betting activities due to gamblers faulting on their loans, turning to ah-longs or illegal moneylenders to facilitate their gambling addiction.

We are seeing more of such cases being reported and we had to turn some customers away whom had long-standing debts with these ah-longs.

With technology being easily accessible to everyone with just about a smartphone, a gambler can simply place bets via online soccer betting rings setup by syndicates.
Illegal bookmaker sends SMS for bet on World Cup
Illegal bookmaker sends SMS for bet on World Cup. Just one of the ways that you can place a bet via technology.

Ah-longs are further targeting victims who have succumbered to heavy betting losses turning them into “agents” or bookmakers for them.

These ah-longs harass and embarrass others when they collect money leading to moneylenders getting a bad name by the public. There has been public outcry and calls for review of the moneylending industry and the change has occurred just about recently.

New Rules for Moneylenders

Previously we wrote about how this year’s Budget 2014 is looking at revising the moneylending industry , it has come to be true. In recent news, the Ministry of Law has formed an advisory committee to review regulations for the licensed moneylending industry. This in turn could be good news for borrowers allowing better protection.

The advisory committee will review and implement practises such as capping of interest rates, restrict charging fees by moneylenders. This is to further look into bad moneylenders abusing their licenses and resorting to harassment means, excessive borrowing and charging exorbitant rates.

Some moneylenders give ill-advise to borrowers and tell them to take up loans which they cannot payback. This acts allow moneylenders to collect more interest and further land the borrower into greater debt.

With a stop to new licenses being issued to moneylenders since 2012, there has been a call to better review the licensed moneylending industry.

The committee is looking to cap the number of loans that a borrower is allowed to borrow, this in turn could lead borrowers to turn to illegal moneylenders. Which is why we advocate proper borrowing and educate our borrowers here at Empire Global.

Read more on: New Rules for Moneylenders

God of Football Gambling? Do Not Bet Illegally!

Never ever bet with illegal online bookmakers thinking it is more convenient and provide better odds. That will not be the case when you are arrested, charged in court and given a hefty fine.

Penalties

Betting with illegal bookmakers = Fine up to $5000 or imprisonment up to 6mths or both

Being involved with illegal bookmaking = Fine at least $20000 and up to $200,000. Imprisonment up to 5years.

Don't get Red Carded this World Cup 2014. Do not bet illegally.

Don’t get Red Carded this World Cup 2014. Do not bet illegally. Campaign by NCPC

AVOID illegal moneylenders or loansharks as they will try all means to land you further into debt. This is to allow a continuous flow of cash for them.
Need loans? Get it from Licensed Moneylenders
If you ever end up in debt due to unforeseen circumstances, do take measures to do proper money management first. Do consult our friendly loan officers at Empire Global to do a loan assessment before deciding to take up a loan or a payday loan for yourself.
Illegal Moneylenders Scam Alert

Watch Out! Illegal Moneylenders & The Ah Long Scams

Anyone catching up with the World Cup 2014 recently? We at Empire Global certainly have. Have you bet on a soccer match before? Know of friends who betted on sports and lost heavily? We believe this is becoming a norm to us all.

Rise in Illegal Moneylenders

If you have been catching up on our local news, there’s been a rise in local publications and awareness campaigns on punters borrowing from illegal moneylenders or loan sharks (also known as Ah Longs) to finance their gambling habits.

They take up high risk loans and some get conned into scams led by these illegal moneylenders. This shows the increasing rise in illegal moneylending and the risk awareness that the authorities are trying to put up front. Punters are being gamblers still delve into the habit of gambling.

Caution!!

A word of caution upfront: if you ever get caught up in borrowing from illegal moneylenders, it will be a bottomless pit of debt. Please be careful! Always check the source and seek advice or borrow from legal moneylenders instead.

As people get uptight about their money, they start borrowing or listening to any source that seem reliable. We have cases whereby borrowers have sought out illegal moneylenders that seemed legitimate, but yet ended up in even higher debts.

Read more on 7 Great Tips to identify legal moneylenders vs illegal moneylenders

 Rise of Technology And How You Are At Risk

With technology being easily available to all plus all everyone is getting on-board with social media, it has become easier for syndicates to retrieve all your private information and use it to their advantage. As time passes, these lenders get smarter and better hidden.

3 Rising Scams Run By Illegal Moneylenders or Scam Syndicates

Let us introduce to you 3 rising scams that have been run by illegal moneylender scam syndicates.

Scam No. 1: The Threatening Letter

Although this is seldom reported these days, but it was once at its peak.

Illegal Moneylenders Syndicate: Threatening Letter Scam

Illegal Moneylenders Syndicate: Threatening Letter Scam

A simple letter will reach your mailbox with similar content such as “ “We don’t want to disturb your family, neighbours or vehicle… Call this number… (dinosaur). If no return call, we will take action (last warning).” Some letters like the one shown will just plainly threaten others into fear.

You must be wondering how did the syndicate gotten hold of the address. This is a harassment and a scare tactic that the illegal moneylenders deploy.

Well, there are a couple of scenarios whereby this could have happened. It could be a simple contest or survey whereby your personal details have been leaked. The government has taken strong approach on privacy protection this is done through PDPC.

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

Or in the worst case, a borrower has misused your information to borrow money and placed you as a guarantor. The mistaken identity that borrowers use is commonplace, and it really disrupts your personal life as illegal moneylenders are all out to harass and embarrass you.

Read more on: New Loan-shark tactic or scam?

Scam No. 2: Frightening Phone Call Scam

Illegal moneylenders are now using your own mobile number to contact you. Using abusive language and forcing innocent parties to repay for loans that they did not borrow.

  1. They target people and send threatening calls to tell them to deposit money into their account. They play on people’s psychology by threatening harm on their family or loved ones.
  2.  They target people who have previously borrowed money from illegal moneylenders. The unscrupulous ones will sell or leak information that scammers can use. As these borrowers will less likely report to the authorities, they are the prime targets and are more willing to pay than face shame and embarrassment.
  3.  In addition, scammers make false loan claims of innocent victims and intimidate them to pay up unknown loans they had not taken.  These callers will follow up with continuous SMSes, threatening the family members of the victim.

Do check out this episode by Crimewatch SG, and the Ah-Longs scams that have been run by the syndicates.

Scam No. 3: SingPass Scam

Firstly requesting a SingPass ID Password is strictly forbidden by law. Illegal moneylender syndicate start to request SingPass on unknowingly victims by assuming fake identities of legitimate sources. With a SingPass access, scammers can gain access to personal information

Illegal Moneylenders Scam Syndicates request Access to Singpass Login.

Illegal Moneylenders Scam Syndicates request Access to Singpass Login.

The Battle Against Illegal Money Lenders

The battle against Ah Longs (illegal moneylenders) is long and hard. It has since intensified when NCPC and SPF joined hands to launch a nationwide campaign to eradicate them. There are now campaigns consisting of Roadshows, TVCs, billboards and awareness movements to educate the public about the dire consequences of borrowing from unlicensed moneylending syndicates (Ah Longs).

As licensed moneylenders, Empire Global has strongly supported the movements and advise our customers to practice due diligence and for some not to repeat the past borrowing mistakes they had with illegal moneylenders.

The above scam practices are unacceptable of licensed moneylenders. If you encounter such money lenders, you should report it to the Registry of Moneylenders.

We highly encourage you to share this information to your network to highlight the alarming scams that are run these days.

Read more on: Why borrow from licensed moneylenders

Help Take Action: The X-Ah-Long Hotline

The hotline is at 1800-X-AH-LONG or 1800-9-24-5664, and allows the public to provide information on loan sharks anonymously. If you are in trouble or see others in trouble, please, help to reach out to the hotline and help to take action.

 

Credit Card Payment on Credit

6 Tips to help you Manage Debts & Finances

According to an article published on The Straits Times on 1 August 2013, Singaporeans are loading up more and more on debts and many are taking up multiple loans.

This is also made evident in the Yearbook of Statistics Singapore 2013; it shows that the number of pledges received at pawnshops and the numbers of loans have shot up significantly between the years 2011-2013. Obviously, this has shown that Singaporeans may have difficulty in managing debts and require help to manage debts.

As it’s becoming easier to apply for credit options such as credit cards, credit lines and loans, the number of young adults running into debts are increasing as well.

6 Tips to Manage Debts Better

So how should you ensure that you don’t end up being buried under a mountain of debt?

Here is a simple video by Institute of Financial Literarcy that shows us how you can learn to manage debts, and some take-away pointers from us at Empire Global SG.

1.) Don’t take up loans that you Cannot Afford

Before you get too excited about taking up a loan for your new Porsche or Ferrari, please bear this in mind – higher debts equals higher repayment terms which leads to lesser ready cash for your other expenses.

As a general rule of thumb, your total monthly servicable should not exceed 35% of your gross income. This is to ensure that you will be able to repay the loan with ease and not create a pit-hole for your future.

2.) Be interested in interest rates

Is it true that you should take a package with a lower interest rate? If you agree with that statement, you are probably paying more interest than necessary.

Effective interest rates reflect the true cost of taking up the loan as it takes into consideration the frequency and amount of the repayments.

This could means that although you are servicing a smaller amount of monthly repayments but you are actually paying more than one who pays a larger monthly amount.

Advertised interest rates on the other hand, are typically nominal rates, which have not taken the amount of loan and period of repayment into consideration.

Therefore, next time when you are offer an attractive loan rate, do not be too hasty to take up yet.

Ask the bank for the effective interest rates as well; calculate the exact amount that you need to repay after taking into consideration the amount of loan and the frequency of repayments before you decide whether to take up the loan.

Hence, if you are keen to manage debts, make sure you have adequate knowledge in the different interest rates and be very clear of what you are landing yourself into!

3.) Read Everything before signing anything

Unless you are a superstar who needs to autograph for 5000 fans within 2 hours, take time to study the contract carefully. Understand your rights and obligations before you sign.

If in doubt, question every term and jargon that you don’t understand. Know that you are the customer and have the right to know every detail thoroughly from the service providers.

Once you have signed on the contract, you are legally bound to the terms and conditions stated.

To manage debts well, do not make the common mistake that most people do when taking up a loan deal. Not reading the fine print!

4.) Don’t Borrow to Pay a Debt. Ever.

We cannot stress on this point any further – Never Ever Borrow to Pay a Debt. Do this in order to manage debts better!

If you need to borrow to pay for a debt, it shows that you are already having problems to manage debts.

Stop before you dig yourself into another hole! Look at some of the Stupidest Ways Singaporeans Deal With Debts and don’t follow in their footsteps.

If you think you can manage debts yourself, by doing so, you are totally wrong. Wouldn’t it be worse to have one more debtor coming after you for repayment?

Here are some steps from MoneySense to help you understand how you can become debt-free as soon as possible.

Credit Card Payment on Credit

Credit Card Payment on Credit Card Joke

 

5.) Stay on track with the big picture

Are you getting confused over the different debts that you have? Are you unsure of what debts you are paying for every month and when are the repayments going to end?

To manage debts well, come up with a spreadsheet to have a better overview of the outstanding debts. It will also help you to prioritise which debt you should repay first.

As a general rule, you should always pay off the debt with the highest interest rates such as credit card debts.

This helpful infographic will show you 5 tips to save yourself from the credit card debts.

5 Ways Dig Yourself Out of Credit Card Debt Info graphic. Manage Debts better!

5 Ways Dig Yourself Out of Credit Card Debt Info graphic. Manage Debts better!

 

6.) Consolidate and save

Are you suffocating from the different debts that you need to repay every month? Perhaps it’s time for you to speak to your lender on the repayment terms.

Trust us; the situation will just get worse if you try to avoid payments. Have a good control over your financial situation; ensure that you do not have too many late repayments to prevent incurring more interest.

Your lender may be able to help you to restructure the loan. After all, all lenders would want their money back.

Don’t try to avoid your lender just because you are having problems with the repayments. Be open to them. Ask for help.

Conclusion

At the end of the day, the best way to prevent you from getting unhealthy with debts is to be able to manage  debts well. Understanding your needs and wants, be able to differentiate between the two.

Focus on your priorities in life. Understand your needs and reduce on your wants, you will naturally be able to reduce your debts.

Before taking up a loan or swiping your credit cards for your next purchases. You should look at your monthly income, expenses and budget them accordingly.

Do you have the capability to support that new purchase? Ask yourself the questions before committing.

Spending more than you Earn

Spending more than you Earn

 

Therefore, as much as possible, we should try our best to manage debts before it gone badly and enjoy our lives within our own means.

If you can only remember one point, just remember this – Spend within your limits and plan wisely. Speak to the friendly loan officers at Empire Global SG for advice and assistance if you need further information.