Category: The New Savvy

Singapore FinTech Festival 2017: Why It Is Different and 8 Reasons You Should Attend

The week-long Singapore Fintech Festival (SFF) will be back in town this year, with richer and more exciting programmes on the line-up. If you have always wanted to learn more about how technology is changing the financial landscape, come join us. Register here and use the code “SFF17Partners20” to enjoy a 20% discount on the 3-day conference pass (original price at $779).  What’s Different? While the festival will be retaining its Global FinTech Hackcelerator, FinTech Awards and the FinTech Conference as the key components, it will introduce an Investor Summit or “Deal Day” on the final day. The summit will showcase Singapore-based start-ups and disruptive technologies that are worthy of investment to local and global investors, with a view to facilitate FinTech investment deals. Furthermore, this year’s agendas of RegTech Forum, Tech Risk Conference and FinTech Conference will merge into a single multi-track conference at Singapore Expo. Over 100 renowned speakers will discuss and share their thoughts on areas such as Data Analytics, RegTech, FinTech Application and FinTech Financing. The conference as a whole will focus on how FinTech is progressing across developed and emerging markets. It will also look at how technology can be utilised to boost financial inclusion and

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Choosing Between A Personal Loan And A Credit Card in Hong Kong

Have you ever been in a situation wherein your wallet is empty and yet the next paycheck is still days away? Or you were just in an emergency situation that requires financing – but you do not have the savings to help you pay for it? What are your options to deal with such scenarios? Whenever we are strapped for cash, most of us usually end up borrowing money to cope with our financial needs. This is something that we all have to go through every once in a while. Fortunately, you have a couple of options before you. In case you are in need of cash immediately, you can choose to borrow a personal loan or use your credit card. It seems that borrowing is common among residents in Hong Kong. According to the study published in the HKEconomy.gov, the total household debt by the end of September 2015 reached HK$1,571 billion. This is actually as much as 70% of the GDP of the region in 2014. The data revealed that the bulk of the debt, 71% to be exact, involves home loans – which is understandable because real estate properties in Hong Kong is quite high. But the

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Why You Should Avoid the Monthly Minimum Credit Card Payment Trap

One of the biggest myths prevailing in credit card usage is that minimum monthly payments are designed to help consumers get rid of their balance in a timely fashion. However, as we are about to demonstrate for you below, such a statement cannot be farther away from the truth. In fact, making only the minimum payments on your credit card bill can cause your interest charges to skyrocket, inflating the total cost of your credit card debt. According to ValuePenguin’s calculation, making only the minimum payment requirement every month on a credit card balance of S$10,000 can take you 21 years to pay down your entire balance. We based our calculation on two things. First, the average APR of credit cards is around 25%. Then, to obtain the time it takes to pay off a balance of S$10,000, we modeled credit card debt payback by using a method that most banks use to set their monthly minimum card payment: 3% of the remaining balance or S$50, whichever is greater. Each month, a consumer reduces the balance by the minimum payment amount, which is offset by some increase in balance from interest charges. Because your payments are based on the percentage of your outstanding

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3 Things to Consider Before Blindly Applying for the Newest Credit Cards in the Market

Singapore’s financial institutions are very active in terms of introducing new products to lure customers away from their competitors. For example, insurance companies have been introducing new telematics schemes to use technology to help consumers save on their car insurance premiums. Similarly, banks have been introducing new rewards credit cards to the market to increase their market shares. Many of these new products offer great value propositions to consumers. However, consumers shouldn’t blindly apply for all of the newest additions to the market just because they sound attractive. In fact, going from card to card can actually be a harmful exercise if you don’t do it carefully. Here, we discuss a few things you should consider before applying for the newest credit cards in the market. What Card You Get Depends on Your Spending Pattern, Not New Features or Sign-On Bonuses When considering whether you should apply for that newest card in the market, you should first consider how it fits into your spending pattern. You should have a rough idea of how much money you tend to spend per month, and if your expenditure is concentrated in any particular area like dining or shopping. These two factors impact how well you can benefit

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Online Dating’s Darkest Secret: Investment Frauds

Since Tinder came onto the market in 2012, online dating has been growing in popularity. People all over the world were delighted with the ability to access millions of attractive potential mates with just a few swipes of a finger. In fact, it’s no longer a strange thing for a serious couple to have met online. Some studies have even shown that use of online dating sites among young adults (ages 18-24) nearly tripled from 2013 to 2016, rising from 10 percent to 27 percent. However, online dating is also filled with potential for frauds. Just last week, an OCBC employee was rewarded for having prevented an online dating scam that could have cost someone S$17,000. These internet scams aren’t unique to Singapore or to online dating. Loneliness, lust, and greed are just a few examples of the most basic human instincts and vulnerabilities that are exploited by online scammers and catfishers. These criminals are extremely adept at playing into an online dater’s vulnerability and eventually conning them out of their money. To help you avoid becoming a victim of these frauds, here are some tips you can use to spot scammers as soon as you encounter one. Are online dating scams really that common? Although

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So, 2017 was supposed to be the year of InsurTech in Singapore…

Back in late 2016, I vividly recall the bright growth predictions for insurance technology – with Singapore poised to be at the centre of this brave new insurance world. Now that 2017 is nearing an end, we can look back and find a bizarre turn of events. On the start-up side, the market appears still consolidated: The usual names keep appearing, and it is good to see that many of them have grown into much more significant companies over the course of a year. Then, we saw the launch of widely-anticipated Singapore Life, the first life insurance firm to launch from scratch in Singapore for decades. Still, it would be a stretch to say InsurTech grew from strength to strength; we seem to have remained at the cusp of the revolution many predicted to unfold over the course of 2017. On the corporate side, developments are encouraging however, considering the industry’s foregone pace of change. Vast improvements to digital service channels and the increasing availability of digital, direct and self-customisable products is a very positive contribution to industry modernisation. But is that the full, accurate picture? A closer look reveals a slightly different reality. When looking at corporate digitisation and

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Important Considerations When Starting Your Small Business In Hong Kong

“Women can often find themselves labeled with the veiled attempts of squashing femininity. You don’t have to become like a man to succeed. You can still be successful and keep your womanly graces.” These were the very words of Anson Chan, the former Chief Secretary of Hong Kong when asked about what it takes to be a working woman. If you think that starting a small business in Hong Kong is an impossible feat, you are only putting yourself down. While it is not a walk in the park, it is something that you can accomplish – as long as you are equipped with the right tips and strategies. Starting a small business in Hong Kong will open a lot of opportunities. This is one of the most promising regions in Asia. Just like Singapore, this follows a liberal economy. When you open a company here, the restrictions you will face will not be as limiting as those that you will encounter in other cities or regions. The process is not only simple, it is also very fast and quite cheap. You only have to spend HK$10,000 to completely process and register your business. In fact, some entrepreneurs have opened

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3 Reasons Why Singaporeans Shouldn’t Be Excited About IKEA’s Online Store Launch

We all dream of having beautiful homes to live in. Since home renovations are often expensive and difficult, most people turn to decorating their homes with gorgeous furniture. But, with beds, sofas, air conditioners and TVs costing thousands of dollars, even this is not easy to do with a limited budget. Given this, it’s understandable why people are so excited about IKEA Singapore’s impending launch of its online store. However, the Swedish brand’s reputation for providing beautiful and affordable furniture doesn’t seem to be supported by evidence, according to our research. Here, we discuss how IKEA can actually be more costly than other online options in Singapore. IKEA isn’t cheap In order to assess whether IKEA actually is cheaper than other further brands, we collected prices and dimensions of 22 different kinds and sizes of furniture like wardrobes, dining tables, sofas, drawers and bed frames. Often, we found that other online furniture stores like Furniture Mart and Forty Two were cheaper or at least competitive to IKEA’s prices. For example, take an example of 3 door wardrobes of similar size and style from all of three of these stores, featured above. We found that IKEA’s product was 60% more expensive than Forty Two’s, and 30% more expensive in terms

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Top 5 CPF Hacks for You

The Central Provident Fund (CPF) is a government scheme initiated to help members prepare for their retirement. Over the years, many initiatives have been introduced to enable people greater flexibility in deciding how funds in their CPF accounts are used. There are 3 accounts in the CPF, namely the Ordinary, Special and Medisave accounts. In this article, I have put together the top 5 hacks you can do to ensure your CPF is well utilized. TOPPING UP THE SPECIAL ACCOUNT Starting with the Special account, the Special account currently earns you interests of 4% per annum. This is a decent return for something relatively lower risk. You can do a voluntary cash top-up of your Special account up to $14,000 per annum (maximum $7,000 for self and $7,000 for family members). Not only does this ensure you have more funds in your CPF during retirement, the cash top-up qualifies you for tax reliefs when you do a voluntary contribution to your Special account up to the current Full Retirement Sum (FRS). INVESTING THE ORDINARY ACCOUNT While it is possible to invest funds from both the Special and Ordinary accounts, I do not usually recommend taking out funds from the Special account

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Home Ownership in Hong Kong: Should You Buy or Rent?

To rent or buy? That is a good question. Real estate in Hong Kong is not cheap. In fact, some may say that it is the most expensive in the world. The cost of living is not only high. Buying and renting a house in Hong Kong will cost you a lot of money. This is why the Hong Kong Housing Authority introduced a lot of schemes to help increase home ownership in the region. They have the Home Ownership Scheme, Tenants Purchase Scheme, Home Assistance Loan Scheme, and Home Purchase Loan Scheme. All of these are meant to make home ownership affordable for those living in this region. Does that mean you should opt to buy a house? It is not as easy as that. There are several factors to consider before you make a final decision. Factors to consider when deciding if you should buy or rent in Hong Kong There are 4 important factors that will define the best course for you – whether you should be a homeowner or a tenant. The housing market conditions. Start by looking at the housing market. Is it a good time to buy? Read the papers and find out the

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