Since 2012, iMoney has been helping Malaysians make quick and well-informed financial decisions through its multi-function online platform.
We have helped consumers find, compare and apply for financial products. These include credit cards, mortgages, fixed deposit, broadband and insurance policies, and our services are all absolutely free-of-charge for our consumers.
In the midst of helping our readers, we came across some questions that have stumped our customer service team.
Don’t believe us? Just check out these 10 frequently asked questions we have received from our customers and readers:
1) How to get a loan?
Never applied for a loan before and is thinking of getting one? You could never go wrong by going back to the basic: How to get a loan?
This question (or other variations of it) pops up every other day for us, either via Facebook, email or phone calls. It is obviously a burning question that a lot of people have, and we are here to help clear the air.
There are two major types of lenders that provide personal loans in Malaysia – commercial banks (such as Maybank, RHB, CIMB, Standard Chartered and Alliance) and licensed (alternative) money lenders.
In general, rates offered by banks are typically lower compared to alternative money lenders. But many licensed money lenders also offer competitive rates depending on the terms of the loan you take out.
Also, there is the assurance that events of debt recovery will be done via proper legal methods. However, banks usually have more stringent qualifying loan criteria compared to money lenders.
For those who do not qualify for a personal loan from banks, getting them from a licensed money lender could be the only option. Interest rates charged by such lenders are typically 12% per annum for a secured loan, and 18% per annum for an unsecured one.
2) If I borrow RM45,000, how much will I get?
You may think this is a ridiculous question, but in the world of unlicensed money lenders (read: ah longs), borrowing RM10,000 may not necessarily mean you will get RM10,000. These illegal money lenders charge certain percentage of interest upfront.
However, as iMoney only deals with banks and established financial institutions, any loans applied through us will not be subjected to that.
You will get RM45,000 if you get a personal loan via most commercial banks. However, do take note of processing/documentation fees or stamp duties. Some banks offer waivers, while others will require you to pay additional charges.
3) Can I still get a loan if I’m blacklisted?
This is one of the most popular questions we have that we get almost daily.
First things first – having an existing debt or loans does not automatically put you on the blacklist. However, if you consistently miss out on payments or if you’ve defaulted on a loan, you could find yourself getting blacklisted by financial institutions or banks.
When this occurs, it will be very difficult for you to obtain credit from banks. Even if you are able to secure a loan or mortgage, you will be charged a much higher rate of interest and you may be required to put down a bigger deposit.
In some cases, getting a personal loan from licensed money lenders could be your only option.
4) How does a bank know if I’m blacklisted?
Most banks in Malaysia are integrated to the Central Credit Reference information System (CCRIS), a computerised databased that is maintained by Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM). It processes and collates credit information of all borrowers from financial institutions into credit reports.
Through CCRIS, banks and financial institutions can automatically extract an individual’s credit report during the credit approval process.
Another credit reporting agency is the Credit Tip-Off System (CTOS), a privately owned database that gathers and maintains information on legal proceedings against individuals and business entities in Malaysia. Any information on bankruptcy against an individual or a company will be also transferred on CTOS’ database.
Both CCRIS and CTOS are tools that banks and credit providers use to check your credit worthiness before they offer you credit or services, so it is important to keep a clean record to avoid any complications in applying for financial credit.
If you’ve accumulated debt, you can still clean up your records by making a plan to clear up all your outstanding loans and debts you owe to the banks.
5) Can you check if I’m blacklisted?
No, we can’t, but you can do it on your own and it’s really quite simple. To obtain your CCRIS report, you will need to make a visit to Bank Negara, where you will be able to obtain the credit report from the Customer Service Centre. You will be required to bring along your MyKad and any other supporting documents that can verify your identity such as your driving license or passport during your visit.
Meanwhile, you can get your credit records at CTOS simply by logging in and registering at their website for free.
6) I’m currently on AKPK (Debt Management Programme) – can I get a loan?
Being enrolled to the Credit Counseling and Debt Management Agency (AKPK) does not automatically mean you are not eligible for loans. AKPK helps its enrolled individuals to regain control of their debts by developing a personalised debt repayment plan in consultation with their financial service providers.
However, being enrolled to AKPK will usually means the individual has fallen behind on a number of debts, and this inadvertently results in a bad credit rating.
It will be difficult to obtain a loan if you have a bad credit rating. If you do manage to obtain a loan, you will likely end up paying a higher interest rate than normal, or banks may reduce the amount they lend you. For example, you may be offered a 70% mortgage instead of the maximum of 90%.
7) I have a personal loan and several credit card debts – is it possible to consolidate all my debt under an account with iMoney to get savings on interest?
While we assist our customers with credit card and loan applications, iMoney is not a financial institution, so we cannot help consolidate your debts or take deposits.
The good news is, you can do so with a balance transfer credit card for your credit card debts. Balance transfer allows a credit card holder to shift debt from an existing credit card with a high annual interest rate to one with a lower interest rate, or even 0% rate over a fixed period.
The catch is, you will need a pretty decent credit score to qualify for a balance transfer, and may not qualify if you have a barrage of existing debt.
If you do qualify for a balance transfer card, be sure to make the required payment on time every month. Otherwise, the standard interest rate will be applied on your balances.
In any case, our trusty customer care agents will be able to take you through the application process and ensure that you get the best product for your needs.
8) I want an iPhone, but I don’t have the money. What should I do? Please contact me, I am a serious buyer.
We don’t sell phones either. But you may consider using a credit card that offers an Easy Payment Plan (EPP). EPP is a periodic repayment scheme that lets you repay the purchases you made with a credit card in instalments at little or no interest at all.
However, be sure to read the fine print. Some credit cards charge an upfront amount and administrative charges, while others require you to make a purchase of a minimum amount to benefit from the EPP.
9) If I become a guarantor for someone who wants to buy a car, will it affect my credit score?
Becoming someone’s guarantor is way riskier than simply giving a character reference. When you become a guarantor, you are taking on a degree of responsibility for the debt.
As long as the borrower services their payments on time, the debt will not show on your credit report or affect your credit score.
However, if the borrower defaults, the lender can come after you for payments first, especially if they think you are more financially capable of paying off the loan. Obviously, this will affect your credit score. Worse, if you fail to pay, legal action can be taken against you.
10) Please help me out of my stress. I just want to be happy again.
Sorry, we cannot help you there, but we believe that being financially happy leads to a stress-free and happy life. If that is what stands between you and happiness, start with the first step. Look at your financial health and start managing your money wisely.
On some occasions, you might even find yourself needing some outside professional help in the form of credit counselling. A credit counselling service doesn’t directly impact your credit score, but your actions after seeking help do!
Despite some headaches, confusion and occasional face-palm moments, we do love hearing from our readers. Your feedback and questions encourage us and help us stay connected and focused on your needs, so keep them coming!