Make The Most Out Of TESDA’s Free Online Learning Programs

They say education knows no age. Whether you are 15 or 50, learning never stops. The good thing now is that learning something new is easier and more convenient. All you need is to open your browser, type the course you want to study, and make sure you are online during your scheduled class.

We know what you’re thinking: enrolling in courses mean you have to pay a certain amount for it.

Not with TESDA. In fact, the agency offers learning programs for OFWs that are both online and free.

What is TESDA Online Program?

Also known as TOP, this program is an online educational resource that aims to make learning accessible to millions of FIlipinos through information and communication technologies.

It is created for students, out-of-school youths, unemployed individuals, and even professionals. Surprisingly, more and more OFWs are also taking advantage of this online portal.

The good thing about this facility is that people can learn at their own pace and time at a lesser cost.

What are the courses offered?

As of this writing, the facility offers more than 50 courses from various fields such as:

  • Agriculture
  • Automotive
  • Electronics
  • Healthcare
  • Maritime
  • Tourism-Related such as Housekeeping and Cookery

You can explore various courses according to your own preference by visiting their website.

How To Register To TESDA Online Portal:

  1. Create an account by signing up in the TESDA Online Program. You can access the link here.
  2. Fill out the form. Make sure that the information you put pertains to you. Take note that the fields with asterisk are considered mandatory; hence must be filled out.
  3. Click Create my new account to continue.
  4. Activate your TESDA account by clicking the confirmation link sent to your registered email address. This is a must.
  5. Now, you can enroll in classes.

How To Enroll In TESDA Courses:

  1. Login to the TESDA portal using your registered email address and password.
  2. Choose among the available courses displayed on your screen.
  3. Click the link of the course you want to take.
  4. Another window will open. Choose the module you want to take.
  5. Then, click the “Enrol me in this course” tab located at the left side of the navigation pane.
  6. Click Yes to proceed.

How is the program beneficial to you as OFW?

It is highly recommended that you take advantage of this facility. All you need to do is to complete all the modules to get a Certificate of Completion. This proves that you completed your online course, but take note that this is not equivalent to certification.

To get certified, go to a recognized TESDA Assessment Center for assessment. If you pass, then you will get a National Certification, which you can include in your resume.

If Online Learning Is Not Appealing, Then That’s Fine

TESDA has three free skills training program, especially for returning OFWs. These are:

  • Reintegration, wherein returning OFWs can get free skills training, assessment, and certification as well as job referrals.
  • Training for Work Scholarship Program, which is beneficial for jobs that require highly critical skills like electronics, agri-business, and information technology.
  • Special Training for Employment Program or STEP, which involved community-based training to address and promote specific skills for future employment.

Who says learning and education is only for the rich and with money? Everyone is entitled to this right, so make the most out of it. Happy learning!

Understanding The OWWA Rebate Program

Many OFWs are asking this: what benefits can they get from being a member of OWWA? Why should they pay $25 for a membership that they feel doesn’t help them in whatever way?

The truth is there are many. These benefits include but not limited to:

  • Disability and Disarmament benefit in case of accident or injury while at work
  • Death benefits
  • Education and Training programs such as scholarship, allowance, and training assistance
  • Repatriation Assistance Program to help you come back to the Philippines
  • Reintegration Program, popularly known as OWWA Loan, which helps you open your own business

The good news is there is another benefit that OFWs can enjoy in accordance to the Section 54 of RA 10801 or the OWWA Act of 2016: the OWWA Rebate Program.

What is the OWWA Rebate Program?

This program is granted to OFWs who comply with the following:

  • OWWA member for at least 10 years
  • Made at least five or more contributions
  • Have NOT yet claimed any form of benefit or service from OWWA

OFW beneficiaries may also qualify under the rebate program as long as the deceased OFW member met all the requirements above.

If qualified, then you can get at least P941.00 up to P13,000.00, depending on the number of contributions made.

At present, P1 billion is earmarked by the agency for this program. This aims to help 556,000 OFWs who are also long-term members of the agency. The agency plans to increase the amount up to P2 billion to also give back to modern heroes.

How To Check And Claim If You Are Qualified Under The OWWA Rebate Program

  1. Visit the website by clicking this link.
  2. Fill out the OWWA Rebate Verification Form.
  3. Once filled, click Inquire.
  4. If you are qualified for the rebate, you will see how much you can get.
  5. If you’re satisfied with the amount, then set up an appointment on any OWWA Office near you.
  6. You will receive a text stating your appointment code. DO NOT DELETE this message for reference.
  7. On the scheduled appointment, go to the OWWA Office or Branch and show the appointment code. Don’t forget to bring one valid government-issued ID as well for verification.
  8. Give your bank details to the person-in-charge. This is important because this is where OWWA will deposit the money.

Naturally, the amount you will get is for your personal use like additional capital for your business or deposit in your savings account.

Nonetheless, you may also use the funds for the following purposes:

  • Donate the proceeds to the Tuloy Aral Project or TAP. This foundation is dedicated to helping less fortunate OFW families go back to school.
  • Renew your OWWA membership, especially if you still have an existing employment contract overseas.

Take note that this program is a rebate and not a cash back or refund of all your contributions. Make sure you check on this benefit and make the most out of the amount you will get from here. After all, you deserve it.

For further questions, you may contact OWWA Hotline 1348.

4 Common Issues Encountered By OFWs

What made you decide to work overseas? Surely, there are tons of reasons, but the deciding factor was money. Sadly, what you earn in the Philippines is not enough to sustain your family’s needs. You want to provide a better life and a more secure future for your family, even if it means leaving the country and looking for greener pastures.

Here’s the reality: OFW life is not easy. Even if you earn bigger and in dollars abroad, there is no guarantee that your life will get better, especially when you don’t handle your money wisely.

Aside from that, OFWs are often bombarded with various issues from both in and out of the country. This includes:

Illegal Recruitment

Working overseas can be tempting, thanks to its promise of “a better life.” This is why you are willing to do whatever it takes to make it happen.

Be careful. Despite the government’s campaign against it, illegal recruitment is still rampant these days. Worse, people don’t seem to learn and still fall for the illegal recruiter’s tactics.

Therefore, don’t easily believe the “promises” you see online. Whether or not you are direct hired or you applied through an agency, there is a process you need to follow – no shortcuts.

Little Or Lack Of Savings

Isn’t this ironic? You’re working overseas and getting a salary that is twice or thrice of what you earn in the Philippines and still, you don’t have sufficient savings that will last you for at least three months. Even if you opened a bank account, you cannot commit to saving every month.

Why does this happen? Unfortunately, as your earning increases, your lifestyle increases as well, which is not what should happen. You also constantly give in to your family’s demands and spoil them with luxuries to help cover the feeling of guilt or homelessness since you are miles away. These amounts, when used wisely, could be placed in your savings account or Emergency Fund, which should be your priority.

Friends And Relatives Who Borrow Money

One of the biggest struggles for many OFWs is that they are becoming cash cows. Since you work overseas, people assume that you are earning a lot; hence the reason why they turn to you in case they need cash. They think that life easier for you abroad; thus making you the perfect milking cow.

It’s hard to say no to them, especially to your relatives. Still, don’t give in all the time, Instead of saving more, you end up losing more for the sake of helping. Worse, they won’t even pay up the money they borrowed – the money you worked hard for.

Unpaid Debts

Who doesn’t have one? While having debts seem “normal” these days, this is STILL not an excuse. Unfortunately, many people, OFWs included, are burying in debt due to poor money management skills and lifestyle.

“I can’t help it,” you must say. “I need money for my placement fee.” That’s understandable.

Still, do your best to pay your financial debts since that is your responsibility. Adjust your lifestyle. Instead of buying new rubber shoes for your son even if you just bought a new pair last month, focus more on savings, investment, and minimizing debt.

Don’t worry. It’s not too late to address these issues if you start now. You can also avoid this if you put your eyes on the prize and focus on the real reason why you are working overseas: for your family.

13 Things You Should Know About Time Deposit

Let’s say you have extra P10,000. Where do you plan to use that money?

Shopping for your family back home is a good idea, but if you have to be wiser about your money, you will invest it to make it grow. The question now is where to invest it.

Stock market is a good option because of higher return. On the other hand, the risk of losing your money is higher as well. If you’re more of a conservative investor, then you might consider time deposit.

Time deposit is a type of bank account that allows you to earn fixed interest rate over a specific period of time. Typically, the higher the amount, the higher the interest rate, which also means higher earnings. Unlike your usual savings account, you cannot withdraw the amount anytime, unless you are willing to pay for pre-termination fees.

Is it worth it? How much can you earn in this type of investment? What is the preferred term for time deposit?

Don’t worry. Here are things you need to know before you place your money in time deposit:

It Is Easy To Understand

Time deposit doesn’t require you to read books to know more about how this investment option works. Once you opened an account with your bank of choice, just leave the money there and it will earn interest, which you can enjoy upon maturity date.

You Can Open A Time Deposit Account Easily

Did you know that P1,000 is enough to open a time deposit account? Some may start at P5,000 but the point is you can start with low amount.

However, if you want to earn higher amount, then higher deposit and longer term are required. This could be a good option IF you won’t use your funds yet. Otherwise, shorter term is recommended.

Aside from the amount, you can easily open a time deposit account since the process is similar to savings account. Instead of ATM or passbook, the bank will issue a Time Deposit Certificate under your name. It also specifies the amount, term, interest rate, and maturity date.

Choose Your Lock-In Period

Time deposit account is flexible, thereby addressing your short and medium-term financial goals. In fact, you can choose your account’s maturity period, which is between 30 days and seven years, depending on the bank. Make sure you ask your bank about the loan term to help you decide the right duration according to your needs.

Take note that by lock-in, this means you cannot withdraw the amount at anytime. You have the option to withdraw the amount upon maturity date OR the proceeds of the interest and then opt for roll-over so it will earn more interest.

Additional Deposits Are Not Allowed

This is the thing about time deposit. Once you opened an account, that’s it. You cannot make additional deposits. The only time you can do this is upon maturity.

Higher Interest Rate Than Savings Account

Despite the lock-in, you can earn more in time deposit compared to savings account. Unlike the latter with less than one percent interest rate, time deposit accounts allow you to earn up to five percent. It is also fixed, which means it will remain the same all throughout the term.

Of course, your earnings will depend on the amount of deposit on your account, term, and rate offered by your chosen bank. Ask about this so you will know how much you can earn given a particular amount.

It Is A Safe And Stable Investment Option

Time deposit is ideal for conservative investors who are still unsure where to place their money. There are many investment options available, so if you don’t know yet where to put your hard-earned money sans the risk of losing it, then time deposit is advisable.

Higher Deposit + Longer Term = Higher Earnings

This is the formula if you want to earn more in time deposit. Believe it or not, investing P50K for five years lets you earn more than your P5,000 investment for one month.

If you have extra money to spare and you’re unsure where to use it, then place it in a time deposit. This way, you won’t be able to spend it and reduce the risk of losing your money.

You Can Get Your Interest Earnings

You have three options upon maturity of your time deposit account. You can:

  • Withdraw the interest amount earned and then renew the time deposit account.
  • Withdraw the entire amount including interest earned.
  • Roll-over or renew the time deposit wherein the interest is compounded. This means the new amount reflects the added interest earned, which will now be multiplied to the interest rate.

If you still don’t have plans on where to use the money but want to enjoy the benefits of your investment, then you may opt for the first option.

You Can Use Your TD Account As A Security For Loans

Yes, you read that right. Banks allow you to borrow money and use your TD account as a security of the loan. Loanable value could be 80 to 90 percent of the total placement value of your time deposit, depending on the bank.

If you plan to apply for a loan and you want to use you time deposit as a collateral, then it is advisable that you apply on the bank where you have your TD. This way, processing your loan application will be easier.

Foreign Currency Is Accepted

Just like savings account, you may open a time deposit in foreign currency, which is usually in US Dollars. However, there are few banks like BPI and Metrobank who accept other currencies like British Pound, Japanese Yen, and Chinese Yuan.

The good thing about this is that since you are – most likely – earning in dollars, you can open a time deposit account in foreign currency without worrying about foreign exchange fees and differences in peso-dollar rates.

You Cannot Escape Taxes

Banks won’t require you to pay processing fee when you open a time deposit account. Unfortunately, it cannot escape government-imposed taxes. There will be 20 percent final withholding tax as well as documentary stamp tax of P1.50 for every P200.

If the term is more than five years, then you will be exempt from tax.

Withdrawal Is Not Allowed

This is the limitation of time deposit accounts. If you need quick cash, then terminating your TD is not a good option. Otherwise, you have to pay for penalty or pre-termination fee, which is usually 10 to 50 percent of the interest earned.

Ask your bank about this since some banks convert the time deposit account into regular savings account IF withdrawing money is truly necessary.

It Is Insured By The PDIC

Known as the Philippine Deposit Insurance Company, PDIC insures time deposit accounts up to P500,000. Of course, you wouldn’t want your bank to go bankrupt, but it’s good to know that you are protected.

5 Questions You Need To Ask Yourself Before You Apply For An OFW Loan

Being an Overseas Filipino Worker is not easy. You have to be thousands of kilometers away from your loved ones just to seek greener pastures. You also have to adjust to the new environment and make peace with people with different nationalities while battling with homesickness. Even if you are earning in dollars, you will still be bombarded with messages from back home because money doesn’t seem to be enough.

This is why you resort to OFW Loan to help you get through with the expenses back home. This type of loan caters to OFWs like you, which could help you in many things like starting your own business or covering expenses.

But before you apply, there are certain questions you need to ask yourself, which helps boost your chances of approval.

Why do you need to apply for a loan?

This is the first question you need to ask yourself before you apply for OFW Loan. It is easy to say that you need this and that but if you think deeper, do you really have to apply?

Before submitting your loan application, ask yourself first why you need a loan. Ask yourself the purpose of the loan and how it could help you. If you can’t justify your “need” to get a loan, then don’t apply. You might end up in debt – and you surely don’t want that.

Can you verify your personal information?

Identity verification is important for lenders. This tells them that a certain applicant is a real person and exists.

Don’t worry because lenders only ask basic information such as your name, address, mobile number, and employment details among others. It is strongly advisable that you only put honest and truthful information about yourself. Lenders often conduct background checks to verify the information in your application form, so make sure you can back it up.

How much do you plan to borrow?

Did you know that one of the most common reasons why loan application is rejected is unrealistic loan amount?

Before you click “Submit,” ask yourself how much do you really need – and stick to that. Avoid borrowing the maximum amount, especially when you cannot back up your capacity to pay the loan. Show the lender that this specific amount is what you only need and you’re good with it.

Most lenders have online calculators on their websites. Use that feature to check the breakdown and how much you will pay given this particular loan amount and term.

Can you pay for the loan?

This is another important question you should answer before you apply for the loan. The truth is it’s not enough that you earn big and in dollars. Lenders pay attention to your capacity to pay as well.

Therefore, prove your capacity to pay. Show bank statements and proof of income. If you have existing investments, which we assume you have, then present that as well. In case you have a small business whether overseas or back home, make sure you show that as well.

Do you have unpaid loans?

We understand that there are certain situations in life when you just have to borrow money – whatever it takes. The question now is what is the status of these loans?

If you have unpaid loans that dates back years ago, then there is a possibility that your loan application might be rejected. Lenders are very particular with credit history because it shows not just your capacity to borrow money but also how responsible you are as a borrower.

Don’t worry. Existing or unpaid debts does not automatically mean your application will be rejected. Just make sure that these bills are constantly paid and you’re good to go.

Are you ready to apply for an OFW Loan?

Different Types of Bank Accounts in the Philippines

One of the things you need to prepare before you leave the country is having a bank account. This is crucial since it will make sending money easier and more convenient for you and your family.

That being said, you go to a bank and tell them that you want to open a bank account. Then, you will be asked if you prefer savings or checking account. In your case, savings account is more recommended since it is easier for you to manage.

It doesn’t end there. You also have to choose if you prefer passbook, ATM card, or both. You might even be offered a Time Deposit account for higher interest rate.

The point is for ordinary Filipinos, these different bank accounts may be confusing. You also need to understand the differences to make sure that you will enjoy what each account could offer.

That being said, here are the different types of bank accounts offered in the Philippines:

Savings Account

This is, perhaps, the most popular type of bank account today. It is easy, convenient, and allows you to keep your money for whatever purpose.

That’s not all. Savings account is usually the first type of bank account Filipinos open because of minimal documentary requirements, lower interest rate, and low – or even no – maintaining balance. Banks also offer additional perks for OFW accounts such as zero maintaining balance and transforming the account as a remittance account.

Here’s the thing with savings account: the interest rate is lower compared to other bank products, which is usually pegged at less than one percent.

Banks offer either ATM or passbook or both every time you open a savings account. The good thing about ATM is that you have quick access to your funds anytime, anywhere. It may also be used as a debit card instead of using a credit card. The maintaining balance is low as well, so you don’t have to worry about deductions.

On the other hand, passbook accounts are more difficult to maintain since they have higher maintaining balance. Online banking may also be limited to viewing and receiving money online since banks need your passbook to update the account. Nonetheless, this is a good option for your Emergency Fund since withdrawing money means giving your passbook as well.

Checking Account

Many Filipinos opt not to get a checking account since it is more expensive to maintain. Plus, check payments are less preferred method of payment in most transactions, so getting one may not be recommended.

Still, you may be required to get one IF you plan to apply for a loan of any type and the lender requires post-dated checks as payments. This could come in handy for payment of other expenses like utility bills and your child’s tuition fee.

Evaluate your needs first to check if you can forego getting a checking account.

Foreign Currency Account

Foreign currency deposit account is a type of savings account that allows you to save money in different currency aside from Philippine Peso. In fact, you could open an account in US Dollar, Japanese Yen, Hong Kong Dollar, or Euro, whichever is more applicable to you. Make sure you ask your bank of choice on what currency they accept.

The good thing about having FCDA is the added security in remitting and receiving money to and from abroad.

Check out this post on why you need to have foreign currency account.

Time Deposit Account

If you have extra funds and you still don’t know where to put it without the risk of losing it, then time deposit account could be a good option for you.

Time deposit account means the bank will keep your money for one month to seven years, depending on your choice. During that time, your money earns interest, which is higher than what savings account can give.

You can put minimal amount on this but if you want to earn higher interest, then higher amount is needed.

Which among these accounts do you have?

4 Tips in Managing Multiple Bank Accounts

How many bank accounts do you have? If you only have one, then that’s good. That means you only have to manage one bank account; hence makes your life easier.

For many others, they prefer having multiple accounts so they won’t co-mingle their funds. This way, it is easier to track how much money they have for each particular fund, say Educational Fund or Emergency Fund.

Here’s the thing: having multiple bank accounts could be gruesome and time-consuming to manage. In case you prefer it this way, here are things you need to remember to make managing easier and more convenient for you:

Tip No. 1: Identify The Funds You Only Need

We understand that you need several funds for several goals; hence several bank accounts. But the question is do you really need to set aside a separate fund for EACH?

When it comes to managing multiple bank accounts, it is advisable that you have accounts for funds you only need. Ideally, you need to have a savings account that will cover home and family needs and an Emergency Fund since these two are enough. Having a checking account could be useful as well, especially if you have lenders who prefer checks as mode of payment. Otherwise, this is no longer necessary.

If you have an existing home loan with a bank and you opted for Automatic Debit Arrangement, then you might be required to have a separate bank account where they will debit the monthly amortization. Ask your payment options if you don’t like to open an account.

The bottom line is have accounts for funds you only need.

Tip No. 2: Online Banking Is Key

Technology has its ups and downs. When it comes to managing multiple accounts, make sure you take advantage of it.

One of the things you should take advantage of is the online banking facility. It allows you to check your balance, transfer cash from one account to another, and make payments. You will be able to see every transaction made when you do online banking.

Since you are working overseas, having this facility will make it easier and more convenient for you to see what account needs to be replenished.

Tip No. 3: Choose The Right Bank

Ideally, you’ll go for one bank for convenience. This will make fund transfer easier for you since you can just enrol both accounts.

The question is this: is your bank meeting your needs without charging you with hefty fees?

As a rule, you need to check various banks and evaluate their accounts facility. Since you work overseas, it is advisable to choose banks with overseas branches as well.

Ask about the interest rate earned, minimum maintaining balance, penalty charges, and perks for being an OFW. The government impose taxes, so make sure you look into that as well.

Spreading your accounts in multiple banks allow each account to enjoy different perks. Plus, PDIC imposed a P500,000 maximum coverage per depositor in case the bank goes bankrupt, which may or may not happen. But if the features are so similar that you can’t tell the difference, then stick to one or two banks.

Tip No. 4: Always Deposit Accordingly

Now that you identified which bank/s to go to, make it a habit to deposit money accordingly. Even if you could transfer money online, the idea of multiple accounts is to allow you to budget and prioritize your expenses.

Stick to your goal, deposit money consistently and accordingly, and be committed in making your money grow.