General Tips for Consumers
One of the goals of the financial education programme is to also highlight various financial risks so that consumers can be protected and make informed choices when it comes to investing and engaging in business transactions.
- Understand the terms and conditions of the credit card established by the institution.
- Study the credit card fee schedule and payment cycle in order to avoid late charges and penalties. A poor repayment history will have a negative impact on your credit record and it will be difficult to secure a loan in the future.
- Do not spend beyond your means.
- Examine the ATM machine to ensure no suspicious devices are installed.
- Criminals may use a skimmer device to steal the information on the magnetic strip on the back of the ATM card. This device is usually attached in the same position where the card is inserted.
- Another scenario illustrates criminals placing a small pinhole camera directly above the keypad which records the user’s PIN number.
- A fake keypad can be placed on top of the original keypad which stores the user’s PIN number.
- Do not take away banknotes and/or ATM cards left behind by someone else. Contact police or representatives from the institution.
- Count banknotes immediately after withdrawal. Don’t assume the ATM will automatically dispense the amount you specified.
- When going overseas, exchange currency at a bank or reputable currency exchange firm as ATMs abroad may include heavy withdrawal fees.
Digital Financial Services
- Ensure your online transaction is done with a website whose address begins with: https://. The “s” means the site is secure and it is an indication that the vendor can be trusted.
- Do not use public computers in cafes/libraries to do business online.
- When using your personal electronic devices to pay bills, shop online, or access your bank account information, ensure that the necessary firewall security programs are turned on.
- Check your account settings on a vendor’s website as some vendors store your credit/debit card information automatically. In the event that a vendor is being hacked while your card information is stored, the hacker will most likely have access to your card details. Confirm with the vendor that your card data is not being stored.
Fraud and Scams
- Be aware of individuals who intentionally misrepresent well-known businesses or government agencies in an attempt to obtain and solicit money and/or personal information.
- Be extremely mindful of imposters who send you information saying that you’ve won the lotto or the sweepstakes. One of the ways in which people are scammed is by the imposters telling victims that in order to get their winnings; they must first pay a release fee.
- Another way in which people are swindled is by fake charities asking for donations. Before donating to any charity, contact the relevant national charities association to ensure that the particular charity is a registered organisation.
- Consider a savings account in a bank or a share account in a credit union. Saving money can help you achieve a number of goals as you move into adulthood.
- Having a job will enable you to save your own money. Regardless of the type of job, putting aside a small percentage of your income each month is beneficial.
- Identify your wants versus needs.
- Develop a positive relationship with your financial institution.
Middle Age Adults
- Set a monthly budget and stick to it. Developing a budget may be the mechanism that keeps you out of financial trouble.
- Have at least 6 months of your monthly income set aside for an emergency fund.
- If you find yourself in financial difficulty with regards to loans and mortgage payments, contact your financial institution immediately.
- Save as much money as you can to prepare for retirement.
- Speak with a reputable financial advisor to help you create a plan that can meet your financial needs during retirement.
- Calculate your income from savings, pension schemes and other investment structures.
- Pay off large debts before retirement to avoid loan payments being taken out of your retirement income.
- Reassess your insurance coverage. By the time retirement comes around your insurance needs may have changed and perhaps needs modification.