Loan Options Available For OFWs

Here’s a sad reality: not everyone is privileged to belong to the upper 1 percent of the society. Most of us need to work hard to be able to buy what we need. Some even have to seek greener pastures and work overseas just to be able to provide a better and more secured future for the family.

In case you need purchase high-value items like a car or a house, or you’re looking for capital to fund your start-up, you end up borrowing money from banks or other private lenders like Balikbayad.

Speaking of loans, here are your options that are specifically designed for Modern Day Heroes like you:

If You Want To Start A Business –

OWWA Loan is recommended. In partnership with Landbank, the purpose of this type of loan is to encourage OFWs to put up their own business through the Enterprise Development and Loan Program.

Unlike other types of business loan, EDLP specifically caters to OFWs where you can borrow from P100,000 to P2 million with annual fixed interest rate of 7.5 percent. More importantly, you are encouraged to attend the entrepreneurial development training wherein you will be given information on how to run a business as well as how to keep it sustainable. Don’t worry because this is free.

If you prefer starting small, then OWWA Reintegration Program could be the right fit. It is open to repatriated and displaced OFWs wherein you will be given livelihood assistance amounting to as much as P10,000. This is enough to help you start a small business.

Balikbayad also offers business loans for OFWs to help you get a fresh start without leaving the country. Simply fill out the online application form and Balikbayad representatives will get back to you regarding the status of your application.

For Your Immediate Cash Needs –

Getting a personal loan is recommended. You can only borrow smaller amounts, although this would mean higher interest rate and shorter loan term.

When it comes to personal loan, try SSS Salary Loan. The agency allows you to borrow money even while you’re abroad and with no collateral requirement. You can borrow an equivalent of your average monthly salary up to twice its amount with an annual interest rate of 10 percent. Loan term is 24 monthly amortizations.

The best part is you can apply for this online.

In Case You Need A New Vehicle For The Family –

Banks offer competitive car or auto loans to its borrowers. Check with your preferred bank if there is a loan facility that is specifically catered to OFWs.

PNB has Global Filipino Auto Loan that allows you to borrow up to 80 percent of the vehicle’s purchase price.

You can also apply at BDO’s Kabayan Auto Loan where you can borrow starting at P100,000 to maximum of 80 percent of the vehicle’s purchase price. Annual interest rate is between 4.74 percent and 6.8 percent, which will depend on your loan term between two and six years.

Ford also offers OFW Assist wherein you can have the opportunity to own your own Ford car and apply for a loan with EastWest Bank.

If You Want To Invest On Your Future Home –

Of course, who doesn’t want to have their own home?

PAG-IBIG Housing Loan is the most sought after loan facility in case you want to have your own home. This loan facility offers the lowest interest rate of maximum of 10 percent per annum. Loan term is longer because you can stretch this for up to 30 years unlike banks’ 10 to 15 years.

If you still prefer borrowing from the bank, then there are options to choose from. PNB has Philippine Home Loan, which allows you to apply even while overseas. The amount you can borrow is anywhere between P500,000 and 80% of the appraised value of the property you’re aiming for.

SSS also has a Direct Housing Loan Facility, which also offers competitive rate and flexible terms for OFWs. Just make sure you made at least 36 months contribution to qualify for this loan.

Collectively, these are called OFW Loans. OFW Loans are loan facilities specifically catered to OFWs to help address your needs. Unlike ordinary types of loan, OFW loans are designed to fit the needs and capacity of the borrower.

Take a look at these loans and see which one suit your needs best. Keep in mind that the loans have a specific purpose, so make sure to use them accordingly.

Declined Credit Card: What’s Next?

Credit card is one of the most convenient things ever invented that made mankind’s life easier. Think about this: you don’t have to worry about bringing cash with you since you can shop using credit card. Paying for online purchases are also easier and convenient.

Here’s the thing: not everyone are given the opportunity to own a credit card. Even if you can prove your capacity to pay as evidenced by your overseas job, some credit card companies won’t readily issue a credit card for you. As a result, your application is declined.

You might have questions as to why, how, and what you can do to prevent this from happening. You might even wonder what you can do to improve your chances of getting that much needed approval.

In case of declined credit card application, here’s what you can do:

Check The Status Of Your Credit Card Application

Depending on the bank, application process takes between one and three weeks. In fact, some may take longer than usual. The waiting game can be stressful as well because of the uncertainties.

That being said, don’t hesitate to check the status of your credit card application. Calling the appropriate department could help, although a lot of banks are resorting to online inquiry. Check the bank’s policy regarding status update by visiting their respective websites.

Know Thy Reasons

Most credit card companies won’t tell you outright the reasons why your application was declined. Nonetheless, it’s okay if you ask possible reasons so you can make necessary adjustments next time.

Some of the most common reasons why an application is rejected are:

  • Incomplete or incorrect information provided in the application form
  • Low income, which means you might have a hard time paying off come due date
  • Bad credit score, which is also the most common reason why a lot of people get declined
  • Too much debt, such as personal loans or car loan
  • Unpaid credit card bills, which is a red flag for all credit card companies
  • Unstable job history

If you are guilty of any of these reasons, then there is a possibility that your credit card application will be rejected.

What should you do? The next sections will tell you what.

Don’t Re-Apply – Yet

You might be excited to apply for another credit card. DON’T – and here’s why.

First, it’s a bad sign. For credit card companies, the urgency and frequency of applying for a credit card sends a message that you are in need of money.

Second, it has a negative effect on your credit score. Every time you apply for a credit card, the credit card company will look into your credit history, which means all approved and declined credit card applications will reflect. The more they see rejection, the higher the chances of getting your application declined.

What should you do? Wait it out for three to six months before you apply again. During that time, make sure you do what it takes to improve your credit score, which will be discussed next.

Boost Your Credit Score

Credit score is an important factor when it comes to loan application. The higher the score is, the better chances of getting approved.

Since you got declined, take this as an opportunity to improve your score. Make sure you pay all of your bills on time. If you have outstanding credit card bills, then make an effort to settle them or at least lower the balance.

Avoid applying for loans, too, such as personal loan. This could hurt you credit standing because again, it signifies that you are in need of cash.

It will also help to increase your savings account. Having a bank account is a sign of being financially responsible, which is a big plus for credit card companies.

Look For Alternatives

Having a credit card is useful but if your application was declined several times, then you might want to consider other credit alternatives.

You can try getting a secured credit card. Instead of submitting tons of documents to prove your capacity to pay, you have to open a separate savings account or a time deposit, which will serve as your security or guarantee. The downside is that if you miss a payment, the bank can deduct the amount from that account, which also means you need to make sure that it has sufficient funds.

You can also consider getting a prepaid credit card. This is your typical credit card but with spending limit. Once your balance reached zero, you can no longer use it unless you top it up. This is an effective way to help you budget, especially if you still can’t go overseas for work.

Getting declined is fine. Use it as an opportunity to improve your credit standing so that when the time comes, you can apply for bigger loans like housing or business loan and get approved.

Hard Truth: Prices Are Rising – But We Can Still Do Something About It

Have you noticed the changes in the prices of pork for the past few months? Did you see any increase in price of your favorite goods?

Challenging times like this, consumers are carefully looking at prices to make sure they will get more value for what they paid for. But because of the increase in oil prices overseas as well as challenges in the supply chain of commodities due to pandemic, retailers are forced to increase their prices to make ends meet. Even supply of pork is affected because of African swine flu outbreak.

Unfortunately, the changes in prices caused by external factors are passed on to consumers like us.

Worse, even the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas are acknowledging this increase and even warned Filipinos to brace for impact. At this point, there’s nothing we can do, at least to prevent the increase in prices.

Still, we can do something to prepare for this trend as the world tries to recover from this pandemic even if you are no longer working overseas – for now.

What can we do? These tips could help:

You Can Never Go Wrong With Budgeting

How many times have you read this tip? Although we sound like a broken record, budgeting your money is essential because it ensures that everything is allotted and accounted for. You will be able to keep track of your spending and easily make adjustments in order to maximize your savings.

At the same time, this will avoid overspending because you were able to plan where your money goes.

Consider Having More Than One Source Of Income

You’ve experienced this while working overseas. Most OFWs have more than one job or a small business on the side so you can send more to your family back home. Although the income here may not be as big as what you’re earning abroad, having multiple sources of income could help you cover the necessary expenses everyday.

What kind of job? The options are endless. Freelancing is one option, especially if you are good at a particular skill. You can also start your own online business and maximize social media to market your products.

The bottom line is don’t settle to just one income stream. You’ll never know when you will need cash, so it’s better to be prepared.

Make Your Money Grow

Although savings are fine, you won’t be able to reap bigger benefits when you leave your money in your savings account. Interest rate is lower compared to other investment products like stocks or mutual funds.

Therefore, consider investing your money in other income streams. You can start with Time Deposit in case you’re still unsure of where to put your money. If you’re willing to take a risk, then try mutual fund or UITF. The beauty of this type of investment is that there is a Fund Manager who will take care of your investment.

If taking a risk won’t be an issue, then investing in stocks is worth trying. This will yield higher returns especially if you think long term. However, investing in stocks can be tricky, so make sure you educate yourself as much as you can so you can enjoy the benefits.

Be A Wise Spender

This is a must. At this point, you need to be careful when it comes to spending. You need to make sure that your money is spent wisely and you only prioritize what are necessary.

That being said, here are some reminders on how you can be a wise spender:

  • Make it a habit to compare prices. Some sellers sell their products cheaper than the others, which means bigger savings as well.
  • Always look for alternatives. Sometimes, it’s not always about the brand since there are products that are also quality but not necessarily expensive.
  • Buy items when they are out-of-season. Most of the time, items will be cheaper compared to buying them when they’re in demand. Perfect example: face mask and face shield.

Stay Healthy At All Times

Now is the time when we cannot get sick. First, it’s difficult to schedule a check-up, considering the Covid scare. Second, getting sick is expensive. Third, do you really want to get sick at this point?

Therefore, always keep yourself and your family healthy. Get enough sleep, eat healthy, and exercise regularly. This will benefit you and your family in the long run.

Saving Is A Family Thing

Prioritizing the family’s financial standing is not only your and your spouse’s responsibility. It should be a collective effort within the family.

When it comes to saving, make sure to keep your family involved. Every member must be able to contribute to family savings. Educate your children about the importance of saving and sticking to needs first over wants. Train them to budget. When everyone is involved, you’ll be able to reach your financial goals easily.

It’s a difficult time but every sacrifice is worth it.

Creative Ways To Save Money This 2021

2020 has been a year of learnings and realizations for many of us, especially in terms of money. At this point, we now realized the importance of saving, having an Emergency Fund, investing money, and even looking for a side job to help make ends meet.

But let’s face it: no matter how much you try to adjust, earning seems extra challenging and bills never stop from coming. This is why you constantly have to look for ways to boost your savings for the rainy days.

What do you do?

Instead of “forcing” it, there are creative ways that will help you save money without realizing it. This includes:

Try Money Challenges – And Stick To It!

You read about the 52-week money challenge, No Spend Weekends challenge, envelope challenge, and the list goes on. Regardless of what you chose, the point of these challenges is to help you save as much as you can throughout the year.

Find a money challenge that suits you and your family well, and make sure to stick to it. You will be surprised to find out how much money you saved come December 31.

Make Saving A Game

Who doesn’t love games? The idea of winning something can be thrilling so instead of feeling forced to set aside a portion of your earnings for savings, why not turn it into a game?

Give each member their own jars where they can put loose coins, cash gift from relatives, or money earned from their side job. By the end of the year, whoever gets the highest savings amount will get a prize like money doubled.

The point is make it a competition, but in a healthy way. Kids like the idea that someone can be a winner, which could encourage them more to be more mindful with their spending.

Save The Coins

Who likes coins? Although there is a value in it, coins can be too heavy on the pocket.

Stash them in a jar and every time you get coins, put them in there. You wouldn’t notice how much it’s worth until you decide to open it. Whatever is saved, you can use it to pay for bills, loan, or even save them in the bank. Again, you’ll never know what will happen, so it’s better to be safe.

Choose A Less Accessible Bank

Sometimes, it’s tempting to withdraw money because the bank is just few meters away. There are also tons of ATMs around, which means you can get money easily. Although accessibility is a good thing, sometimes, it’s a curse especially if you always feel the urge to withdraw.

That being said, consider going for banks that are stable yet have fewer locations. Instead of opening an account in a bank that is five minutes away, choose a bank that is stable but less accessible to you. When you add inconvenience in the equation, there is a tendency that you’ll feel lazy to withdraw money.

Look For Money Hiding Spots

Have you ever experienced hiding, say P1,000 bill, under your clothes and then find out about it a month or two later?

You can do that only this time, make a list of where you will hide your money. This way, you won’t forget where you hid it and be able to use it in case of emergency.

Stay In During The Weekends

Weekends are normally family time, which means there is an excuse to spend. But if you are serious about saving, then don’t equate weekends with spending.

There are fun ways you can do as a family without spending too much. You can enjoy a walk outside, work out as a family, repaint or redecorate the house, start your own vegetable garden, make your own meals and then have a movie night, and the list goes on. The point is be creative and imaginative without spending too much.

Got creative ideas on how you can save money? Let us know in the comments below!

Anti-Fraud Tips You Need To Remember

Earlier this year, Senator Sherwin Gatchalian revealed that his credit card was used to pay for food orders totaling hundreds of thousands. If this could happen to someone who is in power and position, what more on ordinary people like us?

This is why it is important to be extra careful and cautious, especially at a time when online shopping is more convenient. There will always be people who will take advantage of the situation and do whatever it takes to get your hard-earned money.

The good news is you can prevent that from happening. Here are some tips you need to remember to protect yourself against fraud:

  • Enable Two-Factor Authentication. This means aside from entering your password, the system will also ask for a code sent to your mobile number or answer to a security question before you can log-in. It’s hassle, yes, but this feature ensures that no one can easily access your account anytime.
  • Use Strong Passwords. This is a must. A strong password with combination of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and characters will keep you protected against possible hacking.
  • Visit Secure Websites. Did you notice the padlock icon beside the website URL? Is it color green? If you answered yes on both questions, then it means that the website is secured – and it’s a good thing. This also means that the website uses SSL or secure socket layer to encrypt activities on the website.
  • Think Before You Click. The truth is malicious links are often hidden through hyperlinks or links that will lead you to a different website. While these links seem safe, links leading to another website might compromise your information. Make sure to check the destination URL when you put the cursor over the link to give you an idea on where the link will take you.
  • Be Careful When You Click Ads. Ads are exciting but most of the time, the real product or app isn’t how they were perceived to be. Take it easy when clicking ads since it could lead to phishing and malware attacks among others. It will also help if you install ad blockers since aside from added protection, it will give you a smoother and more pleasant experience.
  • Reduce Your Use Of Public WiFi. It’s okay when you just need to check something but as much as possible, do not use public WiFi. Use the free WiFi offered by establishments for browsing but when you need to use online banking or the website requires credit card information, use your mobile data or do it at home.
  • If It’s Too Good To Be True, Then It’s Not True. Words that say you’ll “get rich quick” or “double your money in one week” sound enticing, yes? Unfortunately, there’s no such thing as that. Even the riskiest investment in the form of stocks cannot double or triple your money in a matter of days. Make sure to check what is being offered first and don’t easily fall for promises of high returns.
  • Avoid Sharing Personal Information. You will receive phone calls or emails asking information such as your personal or credit card details. Don’t easily divulge. This will make it easier for scammers to use your information against you.
  • Do Not Share Your Phone. Mobile browsing is common nowadays. Chances are you saved your details on your phone for easier browsing. This is why you need to be extra careful with your phone. Never share and keep your phone away from other people.
  • Never Share Passwords, Too. You don’t like sharing your phone, right? Then never share your passwords, too, no matter how close you are to that person. Your passwords in your several accounts is for your own use only. Keep your information safe.
  • Try Your Best To Pay In Cash. Credit card is convenient because you can buy any item and pay for it in installment. However, there is a possibility that someone could get your information and fraudulently use your account. If you can, then pay for your items in cash. This way, you don’t have to worry about monthly payments, too.

Scammers will always be there, looking for their next victim. Don’t easily fall on their traps and lose the money you earned. Although it won’t be 100 percent guarantee that you’ll be safe, these tips will still help in keeping yourself protected.

Frequently Asked Questions About OFW e-Card

How will you know if someone is an Overseas Filipino Worker? No ridicule or insult meant, but balikbayan boxes filled with pasalubong for the family is one. Also, one’s passport will tell if someone is an OFW since there must be a working visa stamped on it. Another sign would be Overseas Employment Certificate or an employment contract written in a foreign language with English transaction.

Perhaps, the most obvious would be having an OFW e-Card.

What is this card all about? How to get it? Why do you need to have one as an OFW?

Here’s a list of frequently asked questions about OFW e-Card:

What is OWWA’s OFW e-Card?

The e-Card is a proof that the holder is an active member of OWWA. Its aim is to provide faster and more convenient access to OWWA’s programs and services.

Take note that the OFW e-Card is currently in Phase 1, which means only Balik Manggagawa or those who will return to the same employer either in an old or new job site will be given.

So far, new hires, direct hires, and Government Placement Branch or GPB-hired workers won’t be covered. We have yet to wait for an advisory on when Phase 2 will start, which will cover the said OFW groups.

Is it free?

Yes. The OFW e-Card is part of the services of OWWA. However, in case you lose your card, you will have to pay for a new one in order to get it.

Visit the OWWA Regional Welfare Office near you and ask about the procedure in case you lose your e-Card.

Can it be considered as a government-issued ID?

Yes. In fact, you can also present the ID in the Philippine Embassy or Consulate or Philippine Overseas Labor Office or POLO in case you need to avail of a particular service.

You can also use your e-Card as among the requirements when applying for a loan.

Who can apply?

OFWs who met the following requirements may apply:

  • Active OWWA membership with more than 90 days validity
  • Valid Overseas Employment Certificate / Exemption Number
  • Valid passport

What are the benefits you can get from using your OWWA OFW e-Card?

This includes the following:

  • Serves as an Exit Clearance when leaving the country
  • Valid government-issued ID
  • Easier and faster way to avail of programs and services of OWWA
  • Digital OWWA OFW e-Card, which is available through the OWWA Mobile App
  • Permanent OWWA / OFW membership number

How will you know the status of your OWWA membership?

Simply download the OWWA Mobile App to check the status of your membership. The app can be downloaded for free at App Store for iPhone users and Google Play Store for Android users.

You can also follow up through the nearest OWWA Regional Welfare Office in case you’re still in the Philippines or POLO-OWWA if you’re still overseas.

What if you’re no longer an active OWWA member but has an active employment contract. Can you still qualify?

Yes. You can still renew your OWWA membership through the following options:

  • Online – Fill out the Online Application Form to get an OWWA OFW e-Card. You can access the form by clicking this link. Or, you can renew your membership through the OWWA mobile app.
  • Overseas – Simply go to the POLO-OWWA office in the country where you’re working
  • Philippines – OWWA Regional Welfare Offices can accept OWWA membership renewal applications. You can also visit OWWA Satellite Offices located in NAIA Terminal 1, 2, and 3, POEA Ortigas, Trinoma, and Duty Free Fiesta Mall.

What if you don’t have an OEC?

It’s okay as long as you are Balik Manggagawa, or an OFW will will return to the same employer on the same job site. Just make sure you will register in the BM Online System so you can get a BM Exemption Number.

You can use this BM Exemption Number when filling out the online application form.

Will the OFW e-Card be delivered?

Unfortunately, no. You can only pick up your e-Card in any OWWA Regional Office near you.

Can you apply for an OFW e-Card even if you’re overseas?

Yes. You can still apply online by clicking this link.

Unfortunately, there are no delivery services yet. This means you can only get your ID based on your assigned pick up location. You can get your e-Card upon arrival in the Philippines.

If you wish to get your e-Card even if you’re still overseas, then you can assign someone to pick it up for you. Make sure that your authorized representative has an Authorization Letter and a copy of your Passport Identification Page. Simply present these documents so your representative can get your ID.

What are you waiting for? Get your OFW e-Card now to enjoy its benefits.

The Ultimate Money-Saving Tips For 2021

If there’s one thing many people will agree on, then it should be nothing is more important than having savings. 2020 taught us the value of saving and living simply, we plan to continue that this 2021. A lot of businesses closed or scaled down their operations, which led to loss of jobs. Many OFWs were also sent home and despite the financial assistance, P10,000 is simply not enough to survive.

This is why this year, saving is and will be a priority. Here’s the ultimate list on how to save money this year – and beyond:

  1. Health is wealth. At a time like this, nothing beats being healthy and making sure that you are Covid-free. We cannot afford to get sick at a time like this because aside from possibly infecting the people around you, it entails costs, too. Therefore, eat healthy, exercise regularly, and sleep well.
  2. Budget is life. Setting limits and allocating a specific amount for each expense not only prevent overspending but also ensure that money is well-spent. Just make sure you’ll stick to it to maximize its benefits.
  3. Track your spending. You need to know where your hard-earned money is going. Therefore, make a list of every expense, regardless of the amount. This will give you an overview on where you can cut back in order to save more.
  4. Emergency fund is a must. The importance of emergency fund was highly emphasized last 2020. This type of fund is intended to, well, help you during emergencies, which means it should give you at least three months-worth of cash on hand. Take it one P100 bill every week because you’ll never know when you’ll need it.
  5. Know thy prices. One of the beauties of online platforms is that goods are more accessible. However, this could mean more sellers are selling the same items. Before you commit, make sure you check the prices to make sure that you get the most competitive price.
  6. Think before you click. Or add to cart. Online shopping is tempting and sellers will constantly come up with ways to entice people to buy. Before you add to cart, think hard first. Do you really need it? Is it useful? Is it worth the price? Can it wait? If two or three days passed and you still want it, then maybe it is worth it. Don’t let your shopping impulse control you.
  7. Home-cooked meals over takeouts. Restaurant food is tempting, especially during lazy days. Unfortunately, getting too much takeouts can strain your budget. Nothing beats home-cooked meals because aside from generous serving, they are way cheaper, too.
  8. Save electricity. Whether it’s turning off the lights or unplugging unused appliances, these little acts could make a difference in your electricity bill.
  9. Get rid of unnecessary subscriptions. Anyone in the family probably signed up with monthly subscription services. You might not be using your cable TV that much. Regardless, discontinuing subscriptions services could help you save more, which you can use to build your Emergency Fund.
  10. Say goodbye to vices. Similar to pricey subscription services, vices such as smoking or alcohol equates to costs. Quit these vices because you’ll not only save more financially but also, you’ll save your health.
  11. Don’t follow trends. You’ve seen a lot of trends online like fusion of food or even plants. As tempting as it looks, don’t easily give in. Following trends means paying for something, which also means you have to allocate a certain portion of your budget for that item. Unless you are passionate about it, say plants, don’t join the bandwagon.
  12. Sales are okay. Whether it’s 11.11 or 12.12, sales are fine AS LONG AS you stick to a budget and you only buy what is essential. Online sales are not an excuse to splurge. Stick to the basics because you’ll never know when you will need cash.
  13. Pay bills on time. This is a must. Although utility companies give grace period, it’s still not an excuse not to settle those bills. Aside from possible disconnection, you will be required to pay for penalty fees and reconnection fee in case you want to still avail of their service.
  14. Pay loans on time, too. Apart from the bills, it is recommended that you pay off any existing loans. You’ll be able to save more because you don’t have to worry about interest fee anymore.
  15. Stick to a grocery list. This is also important. The supermarket can be a tempting place because of tons of food. Make sure you’ll buy only and only what you need. Avoid overspending and always stick to your list.
  16. Take it easy on loans. Loans can be a good way to augment your financial needs. Unfortunately, this could be a cause of downfall, too, especially if you’re not too careful. Therefore, apply for a loan only when necessary. Make sure to “shop” for lenders and check which among them will give you a reasonable rate and loan terms.
  17. Delay what you can. Do you really need a new smartphone? Is there a need to buy new shoes and clothes? Do you really have to get your hands on the latest Play Station? The point is if you can delay your wants, then much better.
  18. Learn to say NO. Most people think that being an OFW means you have a “deep cash well” since you earn in dollars. You’ll have relatives or friends coming over and asking if they can borrow money. Learn on how to say no politely. You’ll never know when you will need your funds, so it’s better to be prepared.
  19. Saving is a family thing. Parents are not the only ones who should adjust and make saving a habit. Every member of the family must take part in it. As parents, now is the best time to educate your kids on the importance of saving and living simply. Make this as a family effort and you will reap the rewards in no time.

Are you ready to follow this list? 2021 is a good start to start with good saving habits.

How To Get A Police Clearance Online

Pandemic resulted to many things, including your job overseas. Now that you’re back home, you are now looking for means to sustain you and your family’s needs. This means you’re back to job hunting.

Part of local employment is submitting tons of requirements, including police clearance. This pre-employment requirement is crucial because police clearance is a document that proves that the person has NO criminal or derogatory record based on the Philippine National Police Database.

Police Clearance is also valid for six months and comes with a unique QR code, which signifies authenticity.

Here’s some good news: you don’t need to line up, apply for a police clearance, and wait for an hour to get it. Through their website, you can now schedule an appointment and pay for the fees online. Unfortunately, the system does not support – yet – full online application. This means you still need to go to your chosen police station to get your biometrics and photo.

Nonetheless and to avoid the possibility of spreading of the virus, here’s how you can apply online.

Step 1: Prepare all your requirements.

Two valid IDs are needed when applying for a police clearance. These IDs must be original, not expired, and contains your name, clear photo, and signature.

Acceptable IDs include:

  • OFW ID
  • Passport
  • Philhealth ID
  • TIN ID
  • Voter’s ID
  • Driver’s License
  • Postal ID

In case you can only present one ID, make sure you can provide a Certified True Copy of your Birth Certificate, preferably with original receipt.

Step 2: Register

Once you prepared all the documentary requirements, it’s time to register for an account with National Police Clearance System.

Also known as NPCS, this website provides online services to Filipinos to streamline and make application easier.

To register, visit the NPCS website, which you can also access here.

Click Register. The next screens will show Terms and Conditions. Make sure to read through each slide, check the boxes, and then click Next. On the last slide, click I Agree.

Thereafter, fill in the required details. Make sure that your email address is active and you know the password to be able to log in since this will be used to communicate with you.

After registration, check the confirmation message sent to your email address to verify your account. Then, click the verification link.

Step 3: Edit Your Profile

Sign in to your online account using your registered email address and password.

Once you logged in, click the Edit Profile and fill in the necessary details. Make sure that you click the Save Profile button.

Step 4: Online Appointment

After editing your profile, it’s time to set an appointment.

To do this, click Clearance Application button. Then, choose the nearest police station where you can get your police clearance. After, you will see the available schedules. Choose your desired schedule and then click Next.

To confirm your appointment, click Land Bank of the Philippines and then Save Appointment.

Take note that payment details will be displayed thereafter. Take note of these details, especially the reference number since you will use this for payment of police clearance.

Step 5: Payment

This is the limitation of this service. After setting an online appointment schedule, the rest must be done face-to-face.

At this point, you need to pay for the police clearance fee amounting to P160.00, which includes both the clearance fee of P150 and transaction fee of P10.

If you pay through Gcash, then input your Gcash account number in the LBP ePayment portal. Thereafter, it will display transaction details and payment summary.

If you prefer more convenience, then you can also pay through 7/11. Here’s how:

  • In the LBP ePayment portal, click Cash Payment and then click Submit.
  • Choose 7-Eleven as your payment channel and then click Proceed. Make sure that you copy the payment reference number and then pay it using 7-Eleven’s CliQQ mobile app. Make sure that you have a registered account with CliQQ to proceed.
  • Login to your CliQQ account. Choose Government from the list of billers.
  • Choose MYEGPH from the options. Then, enter the Reference Number, mobile number, and amount. Take note that for the amount, it should be P180.00 since the transaction or convenience fee is P30.00
  • Then, click Confirm. A bar code will be shown, which you will use when paying for your police clearance through the nearest 7/11 branch.

Step 6: Scheduled Appearance

Head to the police station on the day of your scheduled appointment. Make sure to bring two valid IDs, reference number from the NPCS website, and official receipt of the payment of Police Clearance. Present these documents to the officer-in-charge.

Thereafter, you will go through biometrics capture and then have your photo and signature taken.

Verification process will follow where the police officer will check your records on the PNP database. Don’t worry since this will only take minutes. Once ready, your name will be called to pick up your Police Clearance.

What happens if you have a hit?

In that case, you will have to undergo another verification process. Once this is settled, you can get your Police Clearance.

This is a good step towards automation and making everyone’s lives easier. Sadly, they cannot do away with the face-to-face because of he biometric processes but nevertheless, this is an improvement of service.

In the meantime, take advantage of this service.

6 Financial Decisions You Need To Avoid In The New Normal

Since the start of the lockdown in March, one cannot help but feel anxious about what will happen in the future. All of a sudden, you can’t do the things you normally do – go on a vacation, have a quick trip to the mall or grocery, going out with your family, attending parties with friends, and the list goes on. There are uncertainties in terms of job security or continuing your kids’ education.

This is why at this point, you need to be more careful and wise when it comes to how you will spend your money. Handling your finances could make or break your financial stability, which means you need to think twice – or thrice! – when it comes to these financial decisions:

Starting A Business

Starting your own business is fine. But if you will start a business that could possibly deplete your cash on hand, then you need to think twice if this is a best decision.

It is best to start small first and see where it goes. Using your Emergency Fund to fund your business is not the wisest decision at this point because you need to be prepared for eventualities.

Also, don’t give up on finding a new job in case you are one of the thousands who were sent back home because of the pandemic. While having a side business is okay, looking for a stable employment could help you weather the rainy days.

Hoarding Essentials

Compared to March and April 2020, going to the grocery now is easier because you don’t have wake up early and wait to go through horrendous lines.

That being said, there is no need to hoard. You don’t have to worry about the supply of goods because you will never run out. Stick to your budget because you will still need your cash to pay for other things, say utility bills.

Impulse Purchase

E-commerce platforms like Lazada and Shopee have been hosting monthly sales to entice people to buy. While there are tons of good deals up for grabs, this doesn’t mean it’s your license to buy whatever you want.

Sure, you deserve good things, too, but at this point, it is best to stick to essentials. Focus on the items that you will need at home and look for deals related to that. This way, you can enjoy more savings , which you can use to other equally important expenses.

Riding The Bandwagon

If you noticed in social media, #plantita and #plantito are everywhere. You will also see new food offerings that will definitely make you drool. There are also viral recipes or hobbies that entice you to do at home.

Before you join, check on your wallet first. Doing what others are doing just because is not advisable. Taking out a loan just to fund that new hobby is also not recommended.

Unless you are passionate about what is uso, use your time and money wisely. Go for something that will benefit you and your family more.

Taking Out Loans

Loans can be helpful. It gives you a breathing room to spend money, assuming that you will use it for a good cause. But if you will apply for a loan just to finance non-essentials or purchases that can wait, then you might want to think twice.

Applying for a loan means you need to pay interest on top of the principal. You need to take note of the due date, too, otherwise, you will be forced to pay penalty fee.

Therefore, think twice before you apply. Otherwise, you might end up in a pile of debt if you keep taking out loans just for the sake of borrowing.

Withdrawing Investments

Investments are meant to last long. In fact, you will enjoy the earnings more if you leave your money.

It’s a different case if you’ll withdraw your investment. Aside from the early termination fee, you might compromise the possible earnings and growth of your money. Unless you really need it, say payment for medical bills or tuition fee of your kids, keep your money first.

These are uncertain and challenging times but it is not an excuse to make impulsive decisions that could compromise your financial standing. Limit your spending to essentials, set up a budget, get rid of unnecessaries, and look for additional ways to earn money.

Hang in there and soon, we will be back to what we used to be.

PERA Investment: Pros, Cons, And Going Digital

One of the inevitable truths we need to face is that we will get older. As each year comes by, you will notice changes in your movement, memory, and skills. This is why it is important to prepare for your later years, also known as retirement.

Have you started with your Retirement Fund? If not, then it’s not too late. There are several options that allow you to grow your money such as long-term Time Deposit, mutual fund, UITF, or even stocks.

If you prefer something safer with minimal risks, then consider PERA Investment.

What is PERA Investment?

Similar to US’ Individual Retirement Account, PERA’s aim is simple: to provide a voluntary retirement program for Filipinos.

PERA is a long-term and tax-free retirement program to encourage Filipinos to start saving for retirement. Your contribution of up to P200,000 every year will be invested in the following:

  • Unit Investment Trust Fund
  • Mutual Fund
  • Stocks from PSE-listed companies
  • Government securities
  • Insurance pension products
  • Annuity contracts
  • Other investment products authorized for PERA purposes

Keep in mind that PERA will not replace SSS pension, rather will supplement the money you can get come retirement age.

How Much Can You Earn?

Earnings vary depending on where the money was invested. Since PERA contributions are invested in various investment channels, the returns are different.

For instance, UITF and mutual fund will give a higher return compared to time deposit. However, this is a safer option compared to stocks. When money is invested in stocks, the return is higher than UITF and mutual fund, although the risk involved is higher.

In other words, the higher the risk, the higher the return.

Why Should You Open A PERA Account?

  • Income Tax Credit – Account holder is entitled to five percent Tax Credit of total PERA contributions.
  • Tax-Free Investment Income – This means the investment is exempted from capital gains tax, final withholding tax, and regular income tax.
  • Estate Tax Exemption – Upon death and when assets will be transferred to the heirs, an estate tax of six percent of net estate, which means all liabilities were deducted, will be imposed. PERA Investment is exempted from that and in fact, the money will be transferred directly to the heirs.
  • Control PERA Investment Products – When you invest in PERA, you have the control on where you want to put your money, depending on your risk profile. There are variety of choices to choose from so make sure you check and study what product is more suitable for you.

When Can You Withdraw Your PERA Investment?

To withdraw, you need to remember the 55 and 5 Rule. This means you will be allowed to get your investment by the time you reach 55 years of age AND you contributed for the last 5 years.

You can either get it in lump sum or choose monthly pension for a certain period or within your lifetime.

Still, there is an exception. In case the investor or account holder is sick for more than 30 days, becomes permanently disabled, or has passed away, the investment can be withdrawn.

What Are The Drawbacks Of PERA Investment?

There are several. Just like any other investment options, PERA comes with risks, too. This form of investment is not exempted from price fluctuation, crash in the stock market, or lowered interest rates. This is why it is important to check every investment option first before you decide where to invest.

Another risk would be penalty for early withdrawals. Although there are early exemptions like serious illness, permanent disability, or death, you have to wait until you satisfy the 55 and 5 rule to enjoy your benefits.

What happens if you withdraw earlier? Then you won’t be able to enjoy the benefits, specifically the tax benefits.

Lastly would be the costs. Every time you make a contribution, you will pay one percent administrator’s fee plus trust and custodian fees of 0.5 percent to 1.5 percent.

To reduce the instances of paying these fees, it is best to contribute in lump sum instead of doing this every month.

PERA Goes Digital

BDO, BPI, Landbank, and Metrobank are the only banks authorized to offer PERA. This means you need to go directly to the bank to be able to apply.

Thankfully, Digital PERA was launched by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas last September 2020 to entice more Filipinos to apply and prepare for their retirement.

Here’s how you can apply:

  1. Create an account though Seedbox Philippines. You can access the website here.
  2. Complete your profile by filling out all necessary information.
  3. Prepare required documents including government-issued ID and TIN.
  4. Answer the Risk Profiler. This is an assessment to determine what kind of investor are you. You will be categorized accordingly – Conservative, Moderate, and Aggressive.
  5. After determining your risk profile, choose the PERA Fund that you want to avail of. Several PERA products will be shown to you based on your risk profile.
  6. Start funding your PERA account. You can do this through various payment channels through BDO, BPI, or Metrobank.

Here comes the best part: you can start for as low as P1,000.

What are you waiting for? Give PERA a chance and start investing for your future. You’ll never know what will happen so it’s best to be prepared.