Tag Archives: Finance

SME loans at 4% p.a.

I have heard a lot about credit available to SMEs at 4% p.a. News also reported that our finance minister Lim Guan Eng urges banks to give cheaper loans to SMEs. But didn’t know how to get that kind of rate.

I recently found out that in order to qualify for that rate, my company needs to get at least a two-star rating from SME Corp‘s  SME Competitiveness Rating for Enhancement (SCORE). You can apply to be assessed online. Just need to fill in the assessment form, and they will try to arrange for a visit to your premise on an agreed date and time.

I’m currently still in the process, waiting for their visit. I guess that is when they will come check all the information that I put in in the assessment form. So remember to get all the supporting documents ready. After the visit, they will have a rating for your business within a week(?). Armed with the rating (at least two-star), you can then approach SME Bank to apply SME loan under Business Accelerator Programme.

Okay, business is turning to the worse this year, with the Wuhan coronavirus affecting travel, F&B businesses and whatnot in Malaysia. Definitely need some working capital to keep our business afloat this time. Serious.

Last instalment to a hire purchase loan

Finally paid the last instalment to a hire purchase loan! Had been paying large sum of money every month for the past five years. A significant drain on the cash flow of my business. It’s such a relief that this is finally over. Does it mean I am going to get my life back from this point onwards having been such a slave to money for so long? I certainly hope so. Trouble is that is not really the end of it yet. There are still other loans to settle. It’s just that this is the most suffocating one. Now I’ll have to work on turning the business around with improved cash flow. Revenue has been falling in the past few years. But I am optimistic that this year will be a better year. Last year was a disaster, with increased competition, and with plans that did not work quite as well as I hoped. Alright ini kalilah, and bring on the general election! The redelineation of election boundaries bill that was passed yesterday with a simple majority in the parliament is to improve UMNO’s chance of winning more constituencies, even at the expense of Barisan Nasional’s other component parties. Constituencies are even more racially divided now..

Quidco does work for iPad ordered for collection in-store!

It’s been a while since I last checked on my Quidco account. Guess I wasn’t optimistic about getting any cashback from the iPad we bought from PC World two months ago, although this offer was advertised on the Quidco website. Because we ordered the iPad online, but chose to collect in-store, which means paying for the iPad in-store as well. So we weren’t sure if Quidco will be able to track the completed transaction. I mean I haven’t yet received the 3% cashback too, but at least the transaction is validated on my Quidco account. The validation process required that I provide some sort of transaction number printed on the receipt I received after making the payment at the store. So there you go, you can get some savings even on Apple’s products!

What a con offer from BT!

Received a letter through our letter box today about a Summer Deal offer from BT. Thought it’s really cheap, £15.99 a month for BT Total Broadband, plus unlimited UK landline calls. And it’s free for the first three months of service. But it is only after looking at the small prints more carefully, and repeatedly, when I realise that this £15.99 actually does not bloody include the line rental, which is currently about £10 a month! How is it such an exciting deal I wonder, almost in disbelief that they actually have the guts to send out such weak marketing offers.You see, I’m currently paying only £7.50 for my broadband with O2, as I’m also their mobile phone customer. Yes, I’m only getting up to 8Mbps, as opposed to up to 20Mbps. But I don’t have a usage cap of 10GBytes per month! For these I’ll have to shell out almost twice what I’m currently paying to go with BT. How silly does that sound? And what I don’t like about BT is it seems that they deliberately try to make their offers sound better than they actually are. Wasted my time having to look into the small prints to get a full view of what the offer actually meant. So not impressed with these marketing people, and BT!

HSBC Business Direct

Damn HSBC. They just wouldn’t tell you when they have introduced better products! These banks are so good at profiting from people who are not financial savvy. I think HSBC realise that their Business Current Account is not attractive to new start-ups anymore so they started introducing this Business Direct Account which is without monthly maintenance fee to start competing with other banks. But they don’t make an effort to tell existing customers that they have this new type of business account which might benefit them. Talk about giving free professional advices, this and that, just cheap marketing gimmicks. Don’t be fooled into thinking that they will really act in existing customers’ best interests. Once again, very disappointed with HSBC.

More mortgage rate rise

Two years ago when we were considering which fixed-rate mortgage deal to go for, there was this “financial adviser” recommending us to take a 2-year deal, instead of a 5-year deal that we are interested in. He even showed us a prediction, from Royal Bank of Scotland I believe, on the trend of the interest rate, that it would be heading down. But of course we knew that he has some vested interest in trying to get us to go on the 2-year deal, as then we might be looking for him again in two years time for “advice” when the deal ends, rather than in five years time. Hence more commission for him, you see?It’s now just over two years into my mortgage. Looking at the news on the current mortgage rate, I’d say we’ll need to shell out 2% more per annum if we were to take out a mortgage now! And that hasn’t even included the higher mortgage arrangement fees borrowers need to pay, and the higher equity they need now to secure good rates!This so called “financial adviser” makes me laugh. I’m proud not to have listened to him, and my friend is certainly very pleased to have taken my advise rather than his. Perhaps I can call myself financial adviser too 🙂