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There has never been a better time to be a woman than today, said 85% of Pinays surveyed for a study on the current state of modern Filipina’s role and contribution to society.

Moreover, despite the Philippines’ largely patriarchal culture, the J. Walter Thompson study noted that today’s Filipinas are at their most empowered. Nine in every 10 women see femininity as a strength rather than a weakness.

Indeed, many of those who excel in business, finance, public service, sports, science, arts, and other traditionally male-dominated fields are women.

In honor of International Women’s Month, we’re citing some outstanding women in the Philippines who are making a difference as leaders, mentors, role models, and game-changers in their respective fields.

Teresita Sy-Coson

Photo by Jkgatdula via Wikimedia Commons

Teresita “Tessie” Sy Coson is the chair of BDO Unibank, the largest bank in the Philippines, as well as vice chair of SM Investments Corporation.

The success of these two companies through the years at her helm has earned the business magnate several international awards. She’s one of Forbes’ 50 Most Powerful Women in Asia, a distinction she shares with another Filipina tycoon, Robinsons Retail Holdings President and CEO Robina Gokongwei-Pei.

Socorro Ramos

Photo from National Book Store Facebook page

Those who grew up reading books from National Book Store have one person—a woman at that—to thank for. She’s Socorro “Nanay Coring” Ramos, who started almost eight decades ago what’s now known as the biggest bookstore and school/office supplies chain in the Philippines.

Nanay Coring credits her success to hard work, patience, and perseverance. In an interview with Entrepreneur Philippines, she shared that she’s still working even at age 95. “You should show people that you’re still strong even if you’re not. It’s psychological,” she said.

Leni Robredo

Photo from VP Leni Robredo Facebook page

Before she entered politics, Maria Leonor “Leni” Robredo was a human rights lawyer who did pro bono work to defend abused wives in her hometown, Naga City in Camarines Sur.

Vice President Robredo is a long-time champion of women empowerment and gender equality. For her advocacy, she earned the Tanglaw Award from The Outstanding Women in the Nation’s Service (TOWNS) Foundation, as well as the “Honorary Outstanding Woman Award of the Year 2016” from the Thai government.

Josie Natori

Instagram photo by @josienatori

Josephina Almeda Cruz, more popularly known in the fashion industry as Josie Natori, is one of the outstanding women in the Philippines in terms of wealth. She runs The Natori Company, an international women’s fashion brand.

Natori grew up in a family that valued independence and entrepreneurial spirit among its female members. “Don’t put yourself in a position where you have to depend on anyone,” the young Josie’s lola would tell her.

The self-made billionaire’s efforts to give back to her kababayans are commendable. Even though her business is based in New York, she employs Filipino workers in her factory in Manila. She’s also helping Filipino artists get study grants through the Asian Cultural Council.

Lea Salonga

Photo from Lea Salonga Facebook page

Seasoned singer and actress Lea Salonga is one of the outstanding women in the entertainment industry both here and abroad.

The multi-awarded broadway star is world-famous for her iconic performances in musicals like Les Misérables and Miss Saigon, as well as being the singing voice of Disney characters Princess Jasmine and Mulan.

Up to this day, Salonga is still active as a stage performer in the Philippines and abroad. She has also mentored aspiring Pinoy singers as a coach on The Voice of the Philippines.

Catriona Gray

Photo from Catriona Gray Facebook page

In a pageant-obsessed country like the Philippines, Catriona Gray’s Miss Universe 2018 win has brought so much joy and pride to Filipinos. Since she won the most coveted title, the whole country has gone crazy with her now iconic lava walk and slow-mo twirl.

But the Filipina-Australian stunner is more than just a beautiful face. Raising the bar for future Pinay beauty queens, Gray ignited her fans’ love for the country by incorporating different aspects of Filipino culture when she competed last year in Bangkok—from wearing outfits made of indigenous fabrics to producing videos that aptly represent Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao.

The queen actively advocates for access to education and HIV awareness. In her early 20s, she was already volunteering for Young Focus in Tondo, Manila and helped the non-profit organization raise funds to build an educational center for their young beneficiaries.

Whang-Od Oggay

Photo from Apo Whang Od Facebook page

Apo Whang-Od Oggay is the world’s oldest tattoo artist. She’s among the most popular and prolific, too. Visitors flock to her village in Kalinga just to get inked with her signature designs.

For preserving the traditional practice of tattooing, the National Commission for Culture and the Arts recognized Whang-Od’s contribution to the Philippine culture and arts through the Dangal ng Haraya Award.

Hidilyn Diaz

Weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz has proven that no amount of weight can weigh a woman down. She won a silver medal at the 2016 Rio Olympics, ending the Philippines’ two-decade Olympic medal drought and making her the first Filipina to win in the Olympics.

Prior to that feat, she has won several international weightlifting competitions such as in the Southeast Asian Games and Asian Games.

Do you know what else is astig about this powerlifter? Diaz serves in the Philippine Air Force as an Airwoman First Class.

Marife Zamora

Photo by PwC Philippines Facebook page

In the corporate world, there’s a term called “glass ceiling” that keeps women from advancing their career. But Marife Zamora—one of the top female executives and outstanding women in the Philippines—has shattered that proverbial glass. She rose from the ranks until she became the chairperson of Convergys Philippines (now Concentrix), being responsible for the BPO company’s stature as the country’s top employer.

Zamora is a strong advocate for female empowerment in the workplace. She founded an organization called the Filipina CEO Circle made up of women CEOs in the Philippines who climbed the corporate ladder and lead huge private corporations in the country. She’s also the third woman president of the Management Association of the Philippines.

In an interview with The Philippine Star, Zamora shared this career advice for women: “Do not be afraid to pursue top leadership posts in any field. Gender should never be a hindrance in nor reason for being selected to the top post. Women shouldn’t be guilty in pursuing careers just as men shouldn’t be embarrassed about doing household chores. More women will be empowered; more glass ceilings will be broken.”

Alex Eduque

Photo from Habitat for Humanity Philippines Facebook page

What kept you busy when you were 15? Alexandra “Alex” Eduque spent her teenage years volunteering for Habitat for Humanity, a non-profit organization that builds homes for poor families. Not only that—she founded the Habitat Youth Council that raised funds for her cause.

Right after graduating from college, the young humanitarian organized an NGO called MovEd that pushes for early childhood education in less-privileged communities. She later got recognized for her volunteering work, being the first and youngest Filipino to be cited at the Global Awards for Fundraising in Amsterdam, Netherlands.

Asked about the advice she’d give those who want to do outreach work, this she had to say: “You have to find a cause that resonates with you. You have to find a cause you can identify with, something that you feel passionate about. And when you find that cause, you always find a way that you’re able to help out sustainably and efficiently.”

Final Thoughts

Outstanding women are made, not born. Aspiring to be one? Go for it! There’s no shame in chasing success. May these stories of empowered women inspire you to start creating your own success story. Remember: your gender doesn’t and will never define what you’ll become!

Any other outstanding women in the Philippines you think should be on this list? Share your thoughts!

The post 10 Empowered Pinays Who Prove That Success Knows No Gender appeared first on Financial News and Advice in the Philippines.

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For tech-savvy Filipinos who use their smartphones to make financial transactions, Coins.ph is one of the popular mobile payment apps nowadays.

Also called Coins, the fintech company is Southeast Asia’s leading mobile payments app and digital wallet powered by blockchain technology. It’s licensed by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) to provide a variety of financial services that people can access from their phone without the need for a bank account.

Whether you’ve just downloaded the Coins.ph app or still thinking about using it, you need to familiarize yourself with the platform and understand how it works before you can fully reap its benefits.

How Does Coins.ph Work?

Coins is known as a Bitcoin platform in the Philippines, being one of the few companies authorized by the BSP to let users buy, sell, and store virtual currencies such as Bitcoin, ethereum, and Bitcoin Cash.

Aside from cryptocurrency-related transactions, Coins also offers plenty of mobile payments services quite similar to GCash and Paymaya. With just several taps on the Coins.ph wallet app, customers can send or receive remittances, pay bills, buy cellphone load, buy game credits, or pay for purchases.

Read more:

How to Register for a Coins.ph Account

To start using Coins.ph, you need to sign up for an account first on your mobile or desktop device. Creating a Coins.ph account is free and easy.

Registration Steps via Coins.ph Mobile App

  1. Using your smartphone, download the Coins.ph app from the App Store (for iOS devices) or Google Play Store (for Android devices).
  2. Open the app after it’s installed on your phone.
  3. Tap the Sign Up with Facebook or Sign Up button.
  4. Enter your email address or mobile number.
  5. Create a password. It should be at least eight characters with at least one number.
  6. Tap the Create Account button.
  7. A verification code will be sent to your email or phone. Enter the code on the verification screen.
  8. Tap the Verify button.
Registration Steps via Coins.ph Website

  1. Using your computer, visit the Coins.ph website.
  2. Click the Get Started button.
  3. Enter your mobile number or email address.
  4. Create a password. It should be at least eight characters with at least one number.
  5. Click the Create Account button.
  6. A verification code will be sent to your email or phone. Enter the code on the verification screen.
  7. Click the Verify button.

Once you’re done with all the steps above, you can already start using your Coins.ph account for various money transactions.

How to Verify Coins.ph Account

Although not necessary for all kinds of transactions made through Coins.ph, verifying your account (called Level 2 verification) does have its benefits.

Being Level 2 verified enables you to cash out from your Coins.ph wallet. It also raises your daily cash in and cash out limits to PHP 50,000.

Having your account verified involves submitting your valid ID and selfie via the Coins.ph app. Here’s how to do it properly:

A. Submit a Valid ID

Coins accepts valid government-issued IDs, except for TIN ID and company ID. Users aged 14 to 17 may submit their school ID with a signed consent form from their guardian.

ID Verification Steps:
  1. Open the Coins.ph app.
  2. Tap Limits & Verifications from the top left menu.
  3. Tap the Verify button next to “Identity Verification.”
  4. Enter your personal information, source of income, and address. Tap the Next button.
  5. Enter your ID number and upload a full, clear photo of your ID. Tap the Submit button.
B. Submit Your Selfie

Aside from getting your ID verified, you also need to have yourself verified by sending your selfie to Coins.

Selfie Verification Steps:
  1. Open the Coins.ph app.
  2. Tap Limits & Verifications from the top left menu.
  3. Tap the Verify button next to “Selfie Verification.”
  4. Take a selfie while holding the valid ID you’ve submitted. Make sure that your ID is included in the photo, and your face is fully shown.
  5. Tap the Take My Selfie button.

Wait for three business days for your verification process to complete. When your account is already verified, expect an email from the Coins.ph team.

How to Cash In to Your Coins.ph Wallet

In digital payments parlance, “cash in” means adding funds to your mobile wallet. In this case, you’re putting money into your Coins.ph wallet.

What is Coins.ph Wallet?

Every Coins.ph account comes with a mobile wallet that works like a virtual bank account. You can “deposit” and “withdraw” cash from your account through your wallet, as well as perform transactions like bills payment and funds transfer as long as it has sufficient funds.

Like the traditional leather wallet, your Coins.ph wallet will be of no use if it’s empty. So be sure it has enough money for all your transaction needs!

Where to Load Coins.ph Wallet

You can cash in money to your virtual wallet through the following bills payment and remittance centers in the Philippines:

  • 7-Eleven CLiQQ
  • Bayad Center
  • Cebuana Lhuillier
  • GCash via DragonPay
  • M Lhuillier ePay
  • Palawan Express Pera Padala
  • TouchPay
  • UnionBank
How to Load Coins.ph Wallet
  1. On the Coins.ph app, tap the Cash In icon.
  2. Tap on your chosen Cash In option.
  3. Enter the amount you’ll load into your Coins.ph wallet. Tap the Place Order button.
  4. Complete the transaction by following the instructions on the screen. Depending on your preferred Cash In method, you may have to go to the nearest branch and either fill out a form (as in the case of Bayad Center and Palawan Express) or present the reference number and bar code on your phone to the cashier (in the case of 7-Eleven).
How to Cash Out Through Coins.ph

“Cash out” means taking money out of your Coins.ph wallet, which works like withdrawing cash. It may also mean sending money to anyone nationwide from your virtual wallet.

To do this, you need to have your Coins.ph account verified first (See “How to Verify Coins.ph Account” above).

Where to Cash Out From Coins.ph Wallet
Cash Out Location Cash Out Method Processing Time
LBC Peso Padala Cash pickup Within an hour
Security Bank 24/7 eGiveCash Cardless ATM payout Instant
GCash Mobile money Instant
Banks (BDO, BPI, Metrobank, Landbank, PNB, etc.) Bank deposit
  • 6 p.m. within the day – For orders placed before 10 a.m.
  • 6 p.m. on the next business day – For orders after 10 a.m.)
Remittance Centers (M Lhuillier Kwarta, Padala Palawan Express Pera Padala, etc. Cash pickup
  • 6 p.m. within the day – For orders placed before 12 p.m.
  • 6 p.m. on the next business day – For orders after 12 p.m.
BDO Cash Card, RCBC MyWallet, etc. Cash card
  • 6 p.m. within the day – For orders placed before 10 a.m.
  • 6 p.m. on the next business day – For orders after 10 a.m.)
Steps to Cash Out Money from Coins.ph Wallet
  1. On the Coins.ph app, tap the Cash Out icon.
  2. Select a Cash Out location. The app shows the cash delivery time or pickup time per location.
  3. Enter the amount you’ll cash out. Tap the Next button.
  4. Enter the cash recipient’s information. When you’re done, swipe “Slide to Pay.”
How to Pay Bills with Coins.ph

It’s convenient to pay bills online from your Coins.ph wallet. Coins allows bills payment to over 80 billers that include utility, credit card, and insurance providers. You may even pay for tuition or government services (NBI clearance, Pag-IBIG contributions, and SSS contributions).

Bills Payment Steps via Coins.ph
  1. On the Coins.ph app, tap the Pay Bills icon.
  2. Choose the bill type and biller you’ll be paying to.
  3. Enter the amount to pay. Tap the Next button.
  4. Enter the details of your account with the biller.
  5. Swipe “Slide to Pay” to complete the transaction.

Read more: 7 Apps You Can Use to Pay For Your Utility Bills

How to Receive Payments via Coins.ph

Did you know that you can use Coins.ph to get paid for your products or services? It’s a useful feature for freelancers, small business owners, and regular folks who need to receive payments.

All you have to do is to get the mobile number, email address, or Facebook name of the person you’re collecting payment from, and then send a Payment Request via the Coins.ph mobile app.

Steps to Send Payment Request
  1. On the Coins.ph app, tap the Receive icon.
  2. Select “Request from Friends.”
  3. Enter the mobile number, email address, or Facebook name of the person who’ll send you money.
  4. On the upper right-hand corner, indicate the amount you’re requesting.
  5. Under the “What’s it for?” question, type a brief description or purpose of the payment.
  6. Tap the small lock icon. Select who you’d want to share your payment request with:
    a. Public – Request will be shared as a public post on Facebook.
    b. Friends – Request will be shared to your Facebook contacts.
    c. Private – Only an email or text message will be sent to the person you’re sending the request to.
  7. Swipe “Slide to Request.”

Read more:

How to Reload Beep Card with Coins.ph

Hate lining up at the LRT or MRT station to reload your Beep card? Skip the long queues and top it up using Coins.ph instead.

To reload your Beep card online, you need to use a NFC-enabled Android phone (select Acer, Alcatel, ASUS, Google, Huawei, and Samsung models). You can load as many times per day, from PHP 10 to PHP 10,000.

Beep Card Reloading Steps
  1. Enable NFC on your smartphone.
  2. On the Coins.ph app, tap beep.
  3. Tap “Load Card.”
  4. Enter the amount to load.
  5. Swipe “Slide to Pay.”
  6. Place your Beep card at the back of your phone. This will transfer money from your Coins.ph wallet to your Beep card.

Read more: 6 Ways to Use Your Beep Card Other Than in LRT and MRT

How to Pay for Purchases with Coins.ph

Being a mobile wallet, Coins also enables users to make cashless payments for purchases through its Scan & Pay feature.

Steps to Scan and Pay with Coins.ph Wallet
  1. At a Coins.ph partner-merchant, go to the cashier and look for the Scan & Pay QR code.
  2. On the Coins.ph app, tap the Send icon.
  3. Tap “Scan QR Code.”
  4. Point your smartphone camera to the QR code.
  5. Enter the amount to pay.
  6. Swipe “Slide to Send.”
Final Thoughts

Like other fintech mobile apps in the Philippines, Coins.ph offers a convenient way for the unbanked to perform various financial transactions. Make the most out of your use of this mobile payments app to fully enjoy its great host of features.

(Photos from Coins.ph Facebook page)

The post Coins.ph App: A Quick Guide to Using the Mobile Payment Platform appeared first on Financial News and Advice in the Philippines.

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Each time you open your wallet to pay for a purchase, you face a dilemma when you don’t want to pay in cash. “Should I pay with my credit card or debit card?”

Choosing between a credit card and a debit card can be rather confusing. These two plastic cards look almost the same, and both are swiped or tapped on a point-of-sale (POS) terminal.

But using a particular card in certain situations makes a huge difference in your finances. Keep reading to know when using either of a debit card or credit card is the smarter choice.

What’s the Difference Between a Credit Card and a Debit Card?

The key difference between a credit card and debit card lies on where the money used for payment is taken from.

Using a credit card means borrowing money up to a certain amount from your issuing bank to pay for your purchase. The total amount you can spend with your card per month depends on your credit limit. And since you’re borrowing from the bank, you’re expected to pay back what you owe by the due date.

On the other hand, using a debit card involves taking the money directly from your savings account or checking account soon after you pay for a purchase. You can keep charging transactions with your debit card as long as you have available funds in your bank account or until you’ve reached your daily POS purchase transaction limit.

Read more: What is a Debit Card? Your Guide to Cashless Transactions

Now, let’s deal with the debit card vs. credit card debate. Which is the better card to use? It depends on what you’ll use them for and how well you handle your finances.

Debit Card vs Credit Card: Best Uses of a Credit Card Paying for Big-Ticket Purchases in Installments

0% installment is a standard feature among credit cards in the Philippines. You can pay for your purchases in more manageable amounts over 12 to 24 months instead of making a one-time full payment.

This makes a credit card ideal for buying items you normally can’t pay upfront in cash, such as gadgets, appliances, and furniture.

Some credit cards offer purchase protection insurance that pays the cardholder a certain amount for every damaged or lost item charged to their card. Others provide extended warranties, too.

Online Shopping

The internet provides shopping convenience—but it isn’t a 100% safe place to shop. Using both the credit card and debit card for online purchases carries the risk of fraudulent transactions.

However, it’s what happens after an unauthorized transaction that makes all the difference. Credit cards are safer to use than debit cards, as credit cards offer more protection against unauthorized transactions.

If a hacker uses your debit card without your knowledge, the amount gets deducted from your bank account right away.

In contrast, an unauthorized transaction charged to a credit card is quite easier to deal with. It’s technically the bank’s money—not yours—that’s stolen.

Read more: Protect Yourself Against These 3 Online Banking Scams

Travel-Related Bookings

Using a credit card is a better way to manage your finances if you travel frequently.

When you charge your travel expenses to your debit card, the amount is taken immediately from your account. Imagine how much will remain in your bank account if you’ve spent five-digit or six-digit figures for booking your flights, hotel accommodations, tours, and other travel essentials. You’ll be short of money for your living expenses.

With a credit card, you can book your travels without wiping out your savings account in one go. What’s more, you’ll enjoy travel perks such as air miles (which you can use to redeem free flights later), travel insurance, airport lounge access, and travel assistance.

Paying for Bills and Other Recurring Charges

Due dates of your utility bills are easy to forget if you’re paying in cash or debit card. The auto-debit arrangement feature of a credit card helps you automate payment for your bills and other recurring charges such as insurance premiums. This way, you avoid missing a payment and the hassles that come with it.

Also, bills payment is easy nowadays using mobile apps that accept credit card payments.

Availing Rewards and Promos

Credit cards allow cardholders to earn rewards points, cashback, or air miles that help them save money over time.

If you want to enjoy the rewards and promos offered by your credit card issuer, then it makes more sense to use your credit card for purchases that qualify for those perks. But be sure to pay the full balance—not the minimum—every month, so you can continue to avail of credit card rewards and promos.

Read more: Why Pay Your Credit Card Bill in Full Every Month?

Building a Good Credit History

Especially if you’ve never had a credit card or loan, you need to establish a positive credit history, so you can easily get approved for loans and credit cards in the future.

Using a credit card responsibly is a great way to boost your credit score and make you creditworthy in the eyes of banks and other types of lenders. The bank reports your credit card payment history, credit utilization ratio, and the age of your credit card account to the credit bureaus. Such data are used to compute your credit score.

Debit card transactions aren’t included as criteria for determining a person’s credit score.

Read more: What is a Credit Score and Why Should I Improve It?

Debit Card vs Credit Card: Best Uses of a Debit Card Daily Purchases

A debit card is safe to use for small purchases such as groceries and medicines. Because you’re paying directly from your bank account, it helps you minimize your daily expenses and stick to your budget.

Withdrawing Cash

ATM withdrawals are cheaper with debit cards compared to credit cards. When you withdraw with your debit card, it’s free of charge if you use the ATM of your issuing bank. Withdrawing cash from an ATM of another bank will incur you a minimal service fee of PHP 10 to PHP 15 per transaction.

Read more: Debit Cardholder? Take Note of These ATM Service Fees

Withdrawing money using a credit card is a different story altogether. It’s an expensive way to borrow money, as banks charge credit card cash advance fees that are higher than regular interest rates. Fees range from 3% to 5% of the withdrawn amount or PHP 300 to PHP 600 per withdrawal, whichever is higher.

Make cash advances often, and you’ll end up maxing out your card and burying yourself in debt.

Read more: How Risky is a Credit Card Cash Advance?

Controlling Bad Spending Habits

Do you often splurge and max out your credit card? Have an unpaid credit card balance each month?

It’s a sign that you’re having problems with your credit card use, and it’s time to curb that bad habit. To avoid drowning in credit card debt, it’s better to use your debit card until you’ve developed financial discipline.

The best thing about using a debit card? Unlike a credit card, a debit card makes it impossible for you to spend money you don’t have.

Final Thoughts

How about you? Between a credit card and debit card, which one do you prefer to use? Which card is more advantageous for you? Share your comment here!

The post Debit Card vs. Credit Card: Which is the Better Card to Use? appeared first on Financial News and Advice in the Philippines.

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With the launch of the new OFW ID card (called the OFW e-CARD) in November 2018, the horror of getting an Overseas Employment Certificate (OEC) might just soon be over for OFWs. Filipinos working abroad can also expect smoother and faster transactions with different government agencies.

Interested in getting an OFW e-CARD? Let this simple guide help you in your application process.

What is OFW e-CARD?

The OFW e-CARD is a new identification card that serves as a proof of membership to the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) and an OEC for OFWs.

It replaces the previously issued iDOLE OFW ID card, which was controversial for its confusing guidelines and bearing a photo of President Rodrigo Duterte.

OFWs can use their e-CARD to avail of OWWA programs and services. Simply present the ID card at the OWWA Regional Welfare Office, Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO), Department of Foreign Affairs, Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA), Bureau of Immigration, and Philippine embassies or consulates in their respective countries of employment.

What are the Benefits of OFW e-Card?

Photo from OWWA Facebook page

Having the new OFW ID card will make life easier for Filipinos working abroad. Here are OFW e-CARD benefits to expect:

  • Easier access to OWWA programs and services such as social benefits, training programs, and scholarships with fewer documentary requirements
  • Serves as an OEC or exit clearance at the airport, proving the owner’s legal status as an OFW
  • Waived airport fees such as travel tax and terminal fee
  • Serves as a valid government-issued ID
  • Easy OFW e-CARD application process; no physical documents required
  • Security features such as QR code and unique OFW membership number for verification and data breach prevention
  • Comes with a digital version through the OWWA Mobile App
Who Can Get an OWWA OFW ID?

All Balik Manggagawas who meet the following eligibility requirements can get an OFW e-CARD:

  • Active OWWA membership (with at least 90-day OWWA membership validity from application date)
  • Valid passport (Valid for at least six months prior to expiry date)
  • Valid OEC or Exemption Number

Based on POEA Rules and Regulations, a Balik Manggagawa is an OFW who has completed or is currently completing his or her employment contract and will return to the same employer, whether in the same or a new job site.

If you aren’t sure about your OWWA membership status, you may check it at the nearest OWWA Regional Welfare Office if you’re in the Philippines or at the POLO if you’re currently abroad. Or download the OWWA Mobile App on your smartphone to see if your OWWA membership is still active.

As of this writing, the OFW e-CARD is not yet available to newly hired OFWs, as the project is still in its first phase of implementation. Wait for an update from the OWWA on when all OFWs can get this ID card.

Read more:

How to Get OFW ID Card

The OFW e-CARD is available for free. Whether you’re in the Philippines or abroad, you can apply for this OFW ID card online.

Here’s how to apply for an OFW e-Card:

OFW e-Card Online Application Steps
  1. Go to the OWWA website and click the OFW e-Card banner. Or directly go to the OWWA OFW e-CARD Application Form.
  2. Fill out the online OFW ID card application form.
  3. Select the OWWA Regional Welfare Office where you want to claim the OFW e-Card.
  4. Tick the box next to “I accept the data privacy policy” and the box next to the Captcha code. Click the Submit Application button.
  5. A confirmation page will appear. Keep the tracking number for inquiring about the ID card status later. Enter your email address or Facebook profile name to know the status. Click the Submit button.
  6. Claim your OFW ID card at your chosen OWWA Regional Welfare Office.

The OFW e-CARD can be claimed only in the Philippines. You may choose to pick up your ID card when you return to the country for your vacation. Or you can ask a family member to claim it for you. The authorized representative needs to submit an authorization letter and a photocopy of the OFW’s passport identification page.

How to Track OFW e-Card Delivery Status

Checking the status of your e-CARD application is quick and easy. Just follow these steps:

  1. Visit the OWWA OFW e-CARD Delivery Status page.
  2. Enter your tracking number or passport number and birthdate.
  3. Click the Submit button.
Final Thoughts

Got questions or need help when it comes to the OFW e-CARD? You may reach OWWA via email (support@owwa.gov.ph) or through any of these contact numbers:

  • Landline: (02) 804-0639 / 833-0244 / 551-3647
  • Globe: (0977) 396-2809 / (0977) 3962-819 / (0977) 396-2818 / (0977) 396-2804
  • Smart: (0918) 605-3017 / (0918) 605-3026 / (0918) 605-3037 / (0918) 6053-046

OWWA and POEA assistance desks are also available at NAIA Terminals 1, 2, and 3 to help OFWs regarding any concern about the e-CARD.

The post How to Get an OFW e-Card: Guide to OFW ID Card Application appeared first on Financial News and Advice in the Philippines.

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Divisoria is a popular shopping haven for penny pinchers. Even people from the farthest provinces in the country travel to Divisoria for cheap finds. The reason: low wholesale prices, especially if you buy in bulk. Because of this, Divisoria is considered among Manila’s centers of trade and commerce. It is every bargain hunter’s hub—a paradise for small and medium business owners and a shopaholic’s wonderland.

Read more: 7 Sulit Tiangges in the Philippines for Budget Shoppers

What to Buy in Divisoria

If you’re looking for bargain buys, here are 10 items that are really cheap and worth checking out in Divisoria.

Instagram photo by @snookymountain

1. Textile

Divisoria is the go-to place for dressmakers, hobbyists, and business owners. You can find garments for wholesale from established Divisoria stores but there are street vendors who sell attractive fabrics at very low prices. If you are into embroidery, cross-stitching, and other related hobbies, you’ll find everything you need there at budget-friendly prices.

Where to buy textile in Divisoria?

The streets of Ylaya, Tabora, and Carmen Planas are the best sources of affordable yet quality textile and sewing supplies

2. Fruits

Divisoria is home to seasonal fruits. People go here to buy boxes of fruits especially during Christmas season. Year round, you can buy apples, oranges, bananas, grapes and more. If you are particularly in search for seasonal fruits like avocado and turnips, you will not be disappointed in this shopping haven.

Where to buy fruits in Divisoria?

Check out Asuncion, El Cano, Carmen Planas, and Lakandula streets, as well as M. De Santos Avenue for fruit buying.

3. Baking Supplies

People with home-based baking businesses also visit Divisoria because it is complete with baking supplies and ingredients such as chocolates and candy sprinkles. You can also purchase baking equipment like mixers, trays, and molds. Packaging supplies like boxes and ribbons are also available here.

Where to buy baking supplies in Divisoria?

Check out Sto. Cristo Street for your baking needs.

4. Party Needs

If you are thinking of hosting a children’s party, you will find everything you need in Divisoria. Products include balloons, party giveaways, candles, party hats, loot bags, banners, and game materials such as palayok and pabitin. If you are thinking of following a certain theme, you can find everything you need in Divisoria at a low budget.

Where to buy party needs in Divisoria?

You can visit 168 Shopping Mall and Tabora Street for your Divisoria party needs.

5. Toys

Instagram photo by @melaidom

Kids and the kids-at-heart will find Divisoria a hub for a wide range of collectible toys such as action figures and dolls. However, don’t expect these to be authentic or original, which is probably the reason items are sold at low prices. If you can’t afford the genuine ones, then settle for the great-looking yet cheap toys in Divisoria.

Where to buy cheap toys in Divisoria?

168 Mall is well-visited by Gundam and Bandai collectors. Also check out side streets for great toy finds.

Read more: Save Money on Grocery Shopping With These Tips

6. T-shirts for Printing

Companies and different organizations go all the way to Divisoria for wholesale t-shirt printing. Some would choose to buy plain shirts and bring them to their desired printing agency, although there are stores in Divisoria that package the shirts along with printing for a more affordable deal.

Where to buy t-shirts for wholesale in Divisoria?

Juan Luna Street is a haven for plain shirts of all styles, colors and sizes.

7. Gowns and Costumes

Divisoria is also the answer for people in search of affordable gowns and costumes. Couples who are soon to be wed can buy gowns for the entire entourage. Barongs for men are also available. Don’t worry about sizes, because many stores offer custom-made gowns and costumes.

Where to buy gowns and costumes in Divisoria?

You can find gowns in Tabora Street. If you need costumes for different occasions, such as Halloween, United Nations Day, or Linggo ng Wika, you can visit Ylaya Street.

8. School and Office Supplies

The busy shopping district is also the go-to place before school opening. The month of May and June are among the busiest seasons in Divisoria, aside of course from the Christmas season. Parents and business owners come here for uniforms, shoes, bags, and more importantly, school supplies as wholesale products in Divisoria.

Where to buy school and office supplies in Divisoria?

You can get the cheap ones in the sidewalks and the quality products in stores at Juan Luna and Sto. Cristo Streets. If you need to buy supplies in bulk, you will find a good range of products from them.

Instagram photo by @jilson.tiu

9. Souvenirs

If you are throwing a party and you plan to give away some souvenirs for guests, you’re in luck because there are tons of souvenir shops in Divisoria. You can also order pre-made giveaways of your choice if you are pressed for time.

Where to find souvenir shops in Divisoria?

You can visit Tabora Street for ideas and supplies for making your own souvenirs. Tabora is Divisoria’s souvenir center.

10. Kitchen Supplies 

Hosting a party? Putting up a restaurant? Divisoria is a go-to for those who are in need of kitchen wares such as pots, pans, plates, fryers, and more.

Where to buy kitchen wares in Divisoria?

Sto. Nino, Sto. Cristo, Tabora, and Recto Streets are the most-visited areas for buying kitchen wares. Styrofoam, paper supplies, dried items, and decorative candles and chips can be specifically found in Sto. Nino Street.

Final Thoughts

Divisoria is highly popular for bargain RTW clothes, bargain shoes, accessories and bags. However, you should not limit your expectations of Divisoria to cheap yet low-quality products. Fact is, it is a complete source of supplies for different businesses and cottage industry owners.

The post 10 Items That You Can Buy for Cheap at Divisoria appeared first on Financial News and Advice in the Philippines.

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Female drivers often get unfairly judged for their skills behind the wheel. If you are a woman and drive a car, you’re probably tired of hearing stereotypical comments about lady drivers being slow, reckless, and accident-prone.

But studies prove otherwise. Women are actually better drivers than men. They’re less pasaway and less likely to figure in an accident.

So the next time you’re on the receiving end of another sexist remark, show who the girl boss is! Be a girl scout—before taking your car out for a drive, ensure you carry all car essentials to help you stay safe, comfortable, and prepared for any emergency on the road.

Here’s a list of must-have items in every woman’s car (If you’re a guy who’s looking for a thoughtful gift idea for the most important woman in your life—your mom, wife, girlfriend, or sister—this list is also for you!).

Car Essentials for Road Safety and Survival 1. Phone Charger

Forgot to power up your mobile phone last night? No problem—as long as you have a charger in your car.

Even if your smartphone has a long-lasting battery, you’ll never know when it’ll run out of juice. You need enough battery life to make calls when your car breaks down and ask for roadside assistance. So always keep a charger on hand.

Read more: 

2. Car Phone Mount/Holder and Bluetooth Headset

Safe driving entails having your hands on the steering wheel and your eyes on the road. Mount your phone on a steady holder, so you can navigate more easily when using driving apps like Waze. Pair your phone with a Bluetooth headset, so you can answer important calls when you’re driving alone.

Read more: The Anti-Distracted Driving Act: How Helpful Is It in Preventing Road Accidents?

3. Spare Tire

Being a woman doesn’t mean you can’t change a flat tire by yourself. Find the right spare tire for your particular car model (consult your owner’s manual or ask the nearest automotive service center) and keep it in your trunk.

4. Car Jack and Cross Wrench

A spare tire isn’t the only car essential for changing flats. You also need the right tools for jacking your car up and removing the lug nuts that secure the wheels. To do the job right, get the correct jack for your car and an X-shaped wrench for budging firmly installed lug nuts.

5. Jumper Cables

Having your car battery die on you when you’re rushing to an important meeting can be very stressful. Among the car essentials that can save the day are jumper cables to get your battery going again.

6. Duct Tape

For any issue in your car that needs a temporary fix, you can count on duct tape to do the job. Use it for a leaking hose, broken mirror, or any damaged car part—it can last until you have the problematic part replaced.

7. Flashlight

A small flashlight and extra batteries are heaven-sent car essentials for when you need to change a flat tire in the dark. While your cellphone’s built-in flashlight can also do the job, it’s great to have a backup when your phone’s battery has died.

8. Reflective triangle

When you pull over to the side of the road due to a car breakdown, you must use a reflective triangle or warning triangle. This will make your car visible to oncoming vehicles and prevent you from getting hit at the roadside. The LTO also requires motorists to have this inside their vehicles all the time.

9. Vehicle Documents

When driving, always bring the following important documents with you:

  • Driver’s license
  • Certificate of Registration and Official Receipt (OR/CR)
  • Car insurance policy

Driving without a driver’s license and/or OR/CR will cost you a fine of PHP 1,000.

Don’t forget to carry your car insurance policy, too. It will come in handy for when you need to file a claim.

Read more:

10. Bottled Water

You need to hydrate wherever you are, even when you’re on the road. If your car stalls and you’re stuck somewhere with no convenience or sari-sari store nearby, having bottled water in your car will come in handy. It’s also useful as a temporary fix for an overheating engine.

11. Non-perishable Food Items

You know what makes getting stranded in the middle of the road feel much worse? A hungry stomach. Make sure you have a stash of snacks like granola bars and trail mix that will keep you well-fed while waiting for roadside assistance.

12. First Aid Kit

A first aid kit is one of the car essentials you should never drive without. If someone in the car is injured, dizzy, or in pain, this kit can help them feel better while you drive to the nearest clinic or hospital.

Store these first-aid items in your glove compartment:

  • Antiseptic
  • Bandages
  • Cotton balls
  • Gauze pads
  • Gloves
  • Medicines for headache, dizziness, allergy, diarrhea, etc.
  • Scissors
13. Baby/Toddler Essentials

For moms who usually drive with their young ones, a bag filled with baby care and safety items are a must in the car.

Have these car essentials for babies and toddlers ready before driving with your child:

  • Child car seat/child restraint
  • Diapers
  • Baby wipes
  • Milk bottles or sippy cups
  • Other baby products

Read more: Child Safety in Motor Vehicles Act: What Parents Must Know

Car Essentials for Travel Convenience and Comfort 14. Spare Change

Keep a purse for spare change in your glove compartment. This way, you won’t have to rummage through your bag trying to find coins for paying for gas, toll fees, parking fees, or drive-thru orders.

Several 50-peso and 20-peso bills plus coins in different denominations should be enough as your emergency money in the car.

15. Driving Shoes

Driving in high heels, platforms, strappy sandals, or flip-flops may be cute and stylish—but such footwear is never safe and comfy. Aside from getting sore feet after long hours of driving, you might get your shoes slipped off under the pedal.

Especially for long drives, you need lightweight, comfortable driving shoes with a good grip and sole that’s not too thin or too thick. Your safest bets: sneakers, loafers, or thin-soled walking shoes.

16. Period Protection Kit

Ugh, the most dreaded time of the month. Your period may come too early or later than expected. Save yourself from stress and embarrassment by having extra sanitary pads, tampons, feminine wipes, and pantyliners in a bag tucked under the driver’s seat.

17. Oversized Sunglasses

Being stuck in traffic with the harsh, blinding sunlight is bad for your eyes. Protect them under the heat of the sun by wearing sunglasses as needed. Keep a pair in your glove compartment.

Choose large sunglasses for better coverage and added style. It’s a great way to hide those eyebags and dark undereye circles!

Final Thoughts

For lady drivers, there’s no such as thing as being over-prepared. Be your own boss on the road—carry all car essentials with you and say hello to stress-free and worry-free driving!

Any car essentials we missed out? Let us know in the comments!

The post 17 Car Essentials Every Woman Should Have appeared first on Financial News and Advice in the Philippines.

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Do you often use the expressways on your daily trips? You know how long queues can get—it can take you half an hour or longer to line up for toll fee payment. And when you get to the toll booth, you’ll have to look for change.

But the Autosweep RFID system has changed it all. Since the Toll Interoperability Project of the Department of Transportation was implemented in December 2017, motorists who travel from the south can go straight to toll plazas in the north, and vice-versa.

Cashless transaction and reduced time spent at the toll gates are the greatest appeal of the radio-frequency identification (RFID) technology.

If you want to avoid the cash lanes and instead pass through the RFID lanes, here are the important things to know.

Where to Use Autosweep RFID

Photo by Judgefloro via Wikimedia Commons

The Autosweep RFID system can be used in the following expressways:
  • North Luzon Expressway (NLEX)
  • Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway (SCTEX)
  • Manila-Cavite Expressway (CAVITEX)
  • Muntinlupa–Cavite Expressway (MCX)
  • Metro Manila Skyway
  • NAIA Expressway (NAIAX)
  • South Luzon Expressway (SLEX)

Read more: Build Build Build: 9 New Roads to Solve Traffic Problems in the Philippines

Autosweep RFID Application

Instagram photo by @sweepcard

You can get an Autosweep RFID for free and enroll up to five vehicles under one account. It’s easy to apply for one, whether for personal or corporate use.

How to Get an Autosweep RFID
  1. Download the subscription form on the Autosweep RFID website. Here are the quick links to the form for personal accounts and business accounts.
  2. Print and fill out the form.
  3. Gather and photocopy the Autosweep requirements (See the list below).
  4. Submit your supporting documents to any Autosweep RFID installation site or temporary booth at various locations.
  5. Pay the initial load:
    – PHP 500 (Class 1 vehicles: cars, motorcycles, vans, taxis, and jeepneys)
    – PHP 1,000 (Class 2 and 3 vehicles: light trucks, buses, and multi-axled trucks)
  6. Wait for your Autosweep to be activated after two to 12 hours (for first-time RFID applicants) before using it in toll booths.

During your Autosweep RFID application, an RFID sticker will be installed either on the upper portion of your vehicle’s windshield or headlights (if your windshield is heavily tinted).

In addition to the RFID sticker, you’ll be issued a plastic card that you can use when the scanner cannot read the sticker. So bring this card in your car all the time.

Requirements for Autosweep RFID Application Personal use:
  • Valid ID
  • Vehicle’s certificate of registration and official receipt (OR/CR)
Business use:
  • DTI/SEC registration documents
  • BIR registration papers
  • Secretary’s Certificate
  • Valid ID of the company president
  • Valid ID of the authorized representative
  • Vehicle’s certificate of registration and official receipt (OR/CR)
Autosweep RFID Enrollment in Easytrip

To be able to use your Autosweep RFID in the toll gates of NLEX, CAVITEX, and SCTEX, you need to register first for an Easytrip account.

Here are the steps that first-time users of the Autosweep RFID should know:

How to Register Autosweep RFID to Easytrip
  1. Go to any of these registration stations:
    – Balintawak Customer Service Center in NLEX
    – TOTAL gas station in Kawit, Cavite
    – Parañaque Southbound POS in CAVITEX.
  2. Show your Autosweep card to the ESC POS (Easytrip Services Corporation Point of Sale).
  3. Wait while the ESC POS inspects your card. It will check if the Autosweep tag is working, if the tag has EPC & TID Numbers, and if your vehicle already has an Easytrip/EasyDrive tag.
  4. Accomplish the subscription form and sign the Terms and Conditions. Filling out an Auto Debit form is optional.
  5. Pay PHP 500 for your Easytrip account’s initial load.
  6. The ESC POS will stick your Easytrip account number on your Autosweep card.

Your account will be activated after three working days, which means you can already use your Autosweep tag at any MPTC tollway. You’ll also receive a text notification from the ESC about when you can claim your Easytrip card.

How to Use Autosweep RFID Sticker and Card

Simply breeze through the toll gates of expressways, and the scanner will read your RFID sticker. If the scanner can’t read the sticker, present your Autosweep card to the teller in the toll booth. Also, report the incident to Autosweep through its customer hotline: (02) 318-8655(TOLL) or email: customercare@autosweeprfid.com.

Because the RFID card contains the owner’s vehicle plate number and account number, it isn’t transferrable. So you can’t borrow your dad’s or friend’s card (or lend your card to others) to pass through toll plazas.

If you’re selling your vehicle or handing it down to your child or sibling, request for termination of your Autosweep account for that car first. Just use the Subscriber Request Form to deactivate the card.

Autosweep RFID Balance Inquiry

Always check and ensure you have sufficient balance on your account. The minimum net balance must be PHP 100 after toll fee deduction.

Your RFID card will be confiscated if you pass an RFID lane and your balance is zero or insufficient to pay for your toll fee. To avoid confiscation, observe the maintaining balance requirement or don’t take the RFID lane if your balance is lower than that.

How to Check Autosweep RFID Balance via SMS

Simply send a text message using the mobile number and plate number registered under your Autosweep account.

Type the SMS in this format: AUTOSWEEP<space>BALINQ<space>Plate Number

Example: AUTOSWEEP BALINQ ABC123

Then send to any of these numbers:

  • Globe: (0917) 860-8655
  • Smart: (0918) 860-8655
How to Check Autosweep RFID Balance Online

Another way to view your balance is to use the Autosweep RFID website. Simply access its Balance Inquiry page.

If you haven’t registered for an online account yet, fill out the fields under the Register Account section. Provide your account number, plate number, email address, and complete name.

If you already have an online account, log in using your email address and password under the Sign-In Account section.

Autosweep RFID Reloading

Photo from ECPay Facebook page

How to Load Autosweep RFID

Topping up your Autosweep account is a straightforward process. Just present your RFID card to any reloading site located in select gas stations and bills payment centers and pay for your load.

  • Petron stations
  • Shell stations
  • Bayad Center
  • SM Bills Payment Centers
  • Robinsons Department Store Business Centers
  • San Mig Food Ave.
  • ECPay outlets (e.g., 7-Eleven CLiQQ)
  • TouchPay partner merchants
  • Bank of Commerce
  • EON branches
  • Direct Agent 5 (DA5)
  • Tambunting Pawnshop
  • RD Pawnshop

Unfortunately, payments via online or mobile banking facilities aren’t yet available as of this writing.

But a more convenient way to reload an Autosweep account is automatic reloading via your credit card. Just fill out and submit the Authorization to Use and Charge Credit Card Form along with a photocopy of your valid ID and the front of your card to any RFID station.

Final Thoughts

Have you tried using the Autosweep RFID? Does it deliver on its promise? How has it changed your commuting experience so far? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!

The post Autosweep RFID Guide: Hassle-Free, Quicker Travel for Expressway Motorists appeared first on Financial News and Advice in the Philippines.

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Looking to increase your savings as an OFW by starting a small business? Want to build a home or buy a car for your family? Need to borrow money immediately for a medical emergency? No matter what your financial needs are, an OFW loan can help you achieve them.

Let’s make choosing the best OFW loan in the Philippines easier for you. Here are the best loan options for OFWs based on interest rates, loanable amount, and repayment terms.

Best OFW Loan for Immediate Cash Needs: GDFI OFW Loan

Need a loan but still based overseas? An OFW loan from Global Dominion Financing Incorporated (GDFI) can help you out. The GDFI OFW loan was created to “extend financial assistance to both land-based and sea-based OFWs while currently abroad or on-board. Applying for one is easy as OFWs can do it online.

GDFI OFW Loan Requirements Who can apply:
  • At least 21 years old but not exceeding age 60 at the end of the loan term
  • Have a minimum monthly income of PHP 20,000
  • Should have at least 3 months of employment contract
  • With an immediate family member in the Philippines as co-borrower

Documents to submit: Principal borrower requirements
  • Latest Contract of Employment
  • Copy of VISA
  • Photocopy of OEC (POEA Overseas Employment Certificate)
  • Plane ticket or flight details
  • Latest electric or water bill. If not in the name of the borrower, you must submit additional proof of residence. (any documents under your name and with your current address)
  • Proof of remittance (for Balik Manggagawa)
Co-borrower requirements
  • Must be an immediate relative (spouse, parents, siblings)
  • Any two (2) valid IDs
  • Marriage contract (if applicable)
  • Two copies of 2×2 photos
  • Latest and original electric or water bill

Maximum loan account for a GDFI OFW Loan is 2x the borrower’s monthly income with an interest rate of 1.75% per month.

Best OFW Loan for Buying a Home: Pag-IBIG Housing Loan

Photo by Freepik.com

The Pag-IBIG housing loan has some of the lowest interest rates among the home loans in the Philippines, with a maximum annual rate of 10% for a 30-year loan period. In 2018, Pag-IBIG Fund lowered its housing loan rates further to 5.375% and 6.375%, for its one-year and three-year loans, respectively.

Read this Moneymax guide to know more about the Pag-IBIG housing loan and how to apply for one.

Additional Pag-IBIG Housing Loan Requirements for OFWs

On top of the typical supporting documents that regular Pag-IBIG members submit for their housing loan application, OFWs need to present these additional documents to avail of an OFW housing loan.

  • Any of the following proof of income:
    – Employment contract
    – Original employer’s certificate of income
    – Other proofs of income
  • Special Power of Attorney notarized before departure date or authenticated by the Philippine Embassy or Consulate in the country of employment
  • Health Statement form for OFWs over 60 years old
What are the Other Housing Loan Options for OFWs?

If you find it hard to qualify or get approved for a government housing loan, you can look into getting a housing loan from a commercial bank in the Philippines.

Some banks, such as BPI and Security Bank, offer housing loan rates comparable to the Pag-IBIG housing loan. For example, the BPI Housing Loan interest rate is 5.25% to 11.50% per year for a maximum term of 25 years. For Security Bank Home Loan, the annual interest rate is 5.25% to 10% for a 20-year maximum term.

Best OFW Loan for a Car Purchase: BDO Auto Loan

BDO offers a low annual interest rate ranging from 4.74% to 6.80% for its auto loan. You can borrow a minimum of PHP 100,000 up to 80% of the car’s purchase price. Payable in two to six years, the loan term varies depending on whether you’re buying a brand-new or second-hand car and whether for personal or business use. Getting a BDO loan for a brand-new car for personal use has the longest repayment term of six years.

BDO Auto Loan Requirements: Who can apply:
  • At least 21 years old but not exceeding age 70 at the end of the loan term
  • Two years of residence in the Philippines or longer
  • Minimum monthly gross family income: PHP 50,000
  • Two to three years of stable employment abroad
Documents to submit:
  • Completely filled out loan application form
  • One valid ID (passport, OFW ID, OWWA ID, Seaman’s Book, etc.)
  • Any of the following income documents:
    – Latest three-month payslips or consularized certificate of employment with income
    – Proof of remittance for the past three months
    – Latest Crew Contract for seafarers
How to Apply for a BDO Auto Loan

An OFW can apply for a BDO auto loan either by sending an online application or having the spouse who’s living in the Philippines file a loan application at any BDO branch. The OFW’s spouse needs to submit a signed affidavit of marital consent.

Best OFW Loan for Personal Needs: SSS Salary Loan

Photo by Ijeab via Freepik.com

A personal loan is extremely useful even for Pinoys who have not yet started working abroad. For instance, you can borrow money from a reputable lender if you need additional money to pay the placement fee, documentation fees, and other costs of applying for an overseas job.

And just because you’re earning a high salary as an OFW, doesn’t mean you can pay a lump sum when, let’s say, a family medical emergency drains your savings. For that, a low-interest personal loan can help cover your immediate expenses.

The best OFW loan for such purposes is the SSS Salary Loan with a low 10% annual interest rate. You can borrow an amount equivalent to the average monthly salary or twice the amount, payable in 24 monthly amortizations.

The BDO Kabayan Personal Loan for OFWs is also worth considering, as it offers a repayment term of up to 36 months. There’s also an option of getting either a secured loan (at 17.06% to 17.08% interest) or an unsecured loan (at a higher rate of 39.43% to 41.71%).

Both personal loans can be availed through their respective websites, so you can apply even when you’re abroad.

Want to explore other personal loan options? Check them out through this comparison tool.

Best OFW Loan for Starting a Business: OWWA Loan

Planning to open a small business soon? You can seek funding assistance through the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration’s (OWWA) business loan program.

The Overseas Filipino Workers – Enterprise Development and Loan Program has a low annual interest rate of 7.5%, which is fixed throughout the loan period. You can borrow from PHP 100,000 to PHP 2 million as a single proprietor, or up to PHP 5 million if you’re applying for the loan as a representative of a partnership, cooperative, or corporation.

What makes this government-backed business loan ideal for OFWs is that it requires attendance to a free entrepreneurial development training on setting up and sustaining a business.

For more details about the OWWA loan, visit the OWWA site.

Final Thoughts

Compared to local employees, OFWs don’t have as many loans to choose from. But that doesn’t mean a shortage of good choices for Pinoys working abroad. Take time to compare the different loans available to OFWs with your own needs in mind.

The post 5 OFW Loans in the Philippines for Every Kind of Need appeared first on Financial News and Advice in the Philippines.

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Getting laid off from work is undoubtedly one of the most traumatic things to experience in one’s career. Aside from the pain of rejection, a terminated employee has to deal with the challenges that come with the sudden loss of income. There are bills to pay, mouths to feed, and other financial responsibilities that won’t go away.

Government employees enjoy unemployment benefits from the GSIS, which protect them from the financial impact of involuntary separation from the service.

Private employees who unexpectedly lose their job now have a reprieve as well through unemployment insurance mandated by the newly enacted Republic Act 11199 or Social Security Act of 2018. Qualified members are entitled to SSS unemployment benefits that help ease their financial burden while they’re looking for a new job.

Even if you think your chances of getting terminated from work are slim, it’s important to understand what the unemployment insurance provision in the new law means.

Here are the key facts on the SSS unemployment insurance you must know:

1. Jobless SSS Members Can Get Financial Assistance

The new Social Security law states that involuntarily separated employees will receive a cash benefit worth 50% of their average monthly salary credit (MSC).

To know your MSC, check the SSS contribution table. Find your salary bracket under the leftmost column (Range of Compensation) and see the corresponding MSC under the next column.

2. The SSS Unemployment Insurance is Not a Loan

Proponents of the unemployment insurance provision in the law clarify that it isn’t a loan. The unemployment benefits are a new addition to the six existing SSS benefits (sickness, maternity, retirement, disability, death, and funeral benefits) that qualified members can avail.

This means you don’t need to pay the SSS for the financial assistance you will receive.

Read more:

3. Unemployment Insurance Good for Two Months Only

Even if you receive financial aid while you’re unemployed, that doesn’t mean you can be too relaxed and complacent in finding a new job.

The SSS unemployment benefits last for only two months, which means members can only receive them once every three years. They’re just meant to help you get by as you’re on a job-hunting mode.

4. SSS Members Must Meet Eligibility Criteria

SSS unemployment benefits can only be given to members who are 60 years old and below. Qualified SSS members have paid 36 or more monthly contributions. The 12 months of these must be within 18 months immediately before the involuntary unemployment. This means the last employer should have consistently remitted your SSS contribution for at least 12 months before your separation from the company.

Read more:

5. Only Laid Off Workers Can Get SSS Unemployment Benefits

“Can any SSS member who’s unemployed claim unemployment insurance?” You might wonder.

It depends on the nature of the person’s separation from work. The law clearly states that only those who are “involuntarily unemployed” are entitled to SSS unemployment benefits. This means the law applies only to those who got laid off from work due to merger, reorganization, or bankruptcy of the employer.

On the other hand, if your unemployment is voluntary—meaning you resigned from work, the SSS won’t give you unemployment benefits.

“What about employees terminated due to unacceptable work performance or violation of company policy?”

The new Social Security law doesn’t say anything about the acceptable cause of involuntary separation. But according to former Social Security Commission Chairman Amado Valdez, the unemployment benefits are intended for SSS members who lost their job “without fault on their own.”

And according to Investopedia’s definition, unemployment insurance is paid to eligible people who have “faultlessly lost their jobs.”

6. Funding for Unemployment Benefits Will Come From SSS Contribution Hike

To be able to provide SSS unemployment benefits, the government needs additional funding, of course. And where it will source the funds? From the increased monthly SSS contribution.

RA 11199, which requires SSS to pay unemployment benefits to jobless members, is the same law that raises the SSS contribution rate from 11% to 12% in 2019, 13% in 2021, 14% in 2023, and 15% in 2025. Two-thirds of the increase will be shouldered by the employer, while one-third will be deducted from the employee.

So if you have a job now, you may choose to see the silver lining—the increased deductions on your salary might come useful for when you suddenly lose your job.

Read more: How the Proposed SSS Contribution Hike Will Affect You

Final Thoughts

The implementing rules and regulation (IRR) for the new law hasn’t been created yet as of this writing. Upon release of the IRR, you’ll have a clearer idea of how the SSS unemployment benefits will work, as well as how to apply for such benefits when you need them most.

The post SSS Unemployment Benefits: What SSS Members Must Know appeared first on Financial News and Advice in the Philippines.

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New employee registration is a must-do for every registered company and household employer in the Philippines.

Each time you hire people, you need to report them to the BIR, SSS, Pag-IBIG Fund, and PhilHealth. Registering new employees entails updating their employment status at each government agency.

Why Register Your New Employees?

First, the law mandates it. Employees in the Philippines need to be registered (and pay their government contributions) so that they can pay their taxes and receive their government-mandated benefits under the Labor Code.

If your employees can enjoy their benefits, their morale and motivation to do their job well go up. Plus, they’re more likely to stay longer with your company.

Second, new employee registration allows you to record your workers’ salaries as your business’ deductible expense.

Before you can register your newly hired people, you need to register as an employer with the SSS, Pag-IBIG, and PhilHealth.

Done with your employer registration? You can proceed with new employee registration. Here’s a guide to help you properly report your new hires to the four government agencies.

New Employee Registration with BIR How to Register New Employees without TIN

Ask your employees who don’t have a tax identification number (TIN) to fill out the BIR Form 1902 and submit the accomplished form to the revenue district office (RDO) where your business is registered.

They also must submit a photocopy of the following documents during their TIN application:

  • Birth certificate or any valid ID that shows the applicant’s complete name, birth date, address, and signature
  • Marriage certificate (for married applicants)
  • Birth certificates of dependents, if applicable
  • Company ID or certificate of employment, if available

If you’re enrolled online as an employer in the BIR eREG and an active Withholding Tax Agent for Compensation Earners, you can issue TIN to your employees through the eTIN, a module within the eREG system.

How to Register New Employees without TIN

If the employees’ previous employer is in the same RDO as yours: Update your employees’ information by having an HR officer or your concerned employees file an accomplished BIR Form 2305 at your RDO.

If the employees’ previous employer is in a different RDO: Have your concerned employees submit an accomplished BIR Form 1905 to the RDO where their previous employer is registered. This will transfer your employees’ home RDO to your company’s RDO.

New Employee Registration with SSS

Require your employees without an SSS number to register for SSS membership in the branch where you registered yourself as an employer. Alternatively, they may apply for a Social Security number online via the SSS website.

Get the SSS number, birth date, employment date, monthly salary, and job title of your new hires. Then fill out the SSS Form R1A using the details you collected. Submit two copies of the accomplished form along with a valid primary ID or two secondary IDs to the SSS branch where your business is registered.

New Employee Registration with Pag-IBIG

Ask your new employees who don’t have a Pag-IBIG Membership ID (MID) Number to register as members of the Pag-IBIG Fund. They can register for Pag-IBIG membership online or manually by submitting an accomplished Member’s Data Form. Employees can apply for Pag-IBIG membership only if they’re already SSS members.

Get the Pag-IBIG MID numbers of your new employees. When you file your next monthly HDMF contribution, add their names and other details on the Membership Savings Remittance Form (MSRF). Under the Remarks column, write N and the hiring date (in MM/DD/YYYY format) of each new hire (e.g., N: 2/28/2019).

New Employee Registration with PhilHealth

Have your new hires fill out a PhilHealth Member Registration Form (PMRF), whether they’re already PhilHealth members or not. File the accomplished PMRF in the PhilHealth branch where you registered your company.

Get the PhilHealth numbers of your new employees. Then submit two copies of accomplished ER2 Form within 30 days from hiring date to the PhilHealth branch where your business is registered.

Kasambahay Registration with SSS, PhilHealth, and Pag-IBIG

If you’re employing household service workers such as maids, cooks, drivers, etc., you have to register your kasambahays with the SSS, PhilHealth, and Pag-IBIG Fund.

Household employers can easily do so through Kasambahay Unified Registration. You can register your household workers online or by having your workers submit an accomplished registration form to any office of the three government agencies. However, you have to go to each agency to register a family driver.

Along with the Kasambahay Unified Registration Form, your Kasambahay must also present the original copy and photocopy of any of the following documents:

  • Birth certificate
  • Baptismal certificate
  • Passport
  • Driver’s license
  • PRC ID
  • Seaman’s Book

If your kasambahays don’t have any of the primary documents listed above, they can submit any two secondary documents listed here.

Final Thoughts

Apart from registering new employees, you also have to update the government agencies each time an employee leaves your company. In doing so, you avoid getting penalties from these government agencies for failure to report your resigned, terminated, or deceased employees.

The post Guide to Registering New Employees with BIR, SSS, Pag-IBIG, and PhilHealth appeared first on Financial News and Advice in the Philippines.

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