If you tell someone that you are either considering credit counselling or debt management, they will probably take a second look at you.
Most Singaporeans either do not know the meaning of credit counselling, or they are wary of it.
Debt is still a taboo topic in Singapore, and talking openly about it is not something that many people are ready to do.
However, it does not pay to avoid the topic and let your debt problems snowball as well. This, in turn, will lead to more financial distress.
Thus, it is always best to ask for help when you are feeling overwhelmed.
Looking to solve issues of snowballing debt?
We will let you in on why credit counselling is essential in tackling debt, what are the best services for your needs, and where to find the best support.
Why Is Credit Counselling Important?
Credit counselling is essential if you have a lot of debt that you cannot handle on your own. Enrolling in one of these programmes helps you learn techniques to manage your finances better.
The end goal is being debt-free.
If you already have your loan bills pilling up, your budget is too tight to spend it on a pricey program.
This is why Credit Counselling Singapore (CCS) exists. So, what or who exactly is CCS?
CCS is a local non-profit organisation that helps individuals deal with their debt problems through education, credit counselling and facilitated debt restructuring.
Your counsellor will work with you during one-on-one meetings to sketch the best plan for your needs.
Here is what you can learn:
- Budgeting your expenses so that you can prioritise essential purchases over unnecessary ones
- How to pay off your debts quickly
- How to compare and assess your financial options
The Association of Banks in Singapore recognises Credit Counselling Singapore as a legal mediator.
At the end of their courses, you will regain the sense of control over your finances because you’ll have more financial knowledge plus a convenient debt repayment scheme.
What Are The Services Offered By Credit Counselling Singapore?
CCS, as well as other counselling courses, boasts an array of services that aim to solve your issues regarding unsecured debt.
As you become more literate in financial matters, you can stop debt accumulation in the future.
This is why CCS divides its programmes into two classes:
- Unsecured debt coaching
- Finance tutoring
If you do not have room for any new expense in your budget, these talks are an excellent place to start. Here is why:
Though free, they also pack a lot of useful information.
Some popular webinars and talks include:
- Business debt management
- Consumer debt management
- Retirement financial tips
2. Debt Management
This section includes a wide variety of services that address multiple issues:
- Help with specific unsecured debt issues
If paying your debts seems like an overwhelming task, CCS teaches you a comprehensive approach to solve this problem.
During this programme, you will work with your lenders to restructure your debt. You will also learn how to renegotiate the terms of your unsecured loans so that the monthly instalments are more affordable.
- Credit card problems
Credit cards allow you to pay only a minimum amount for a more significant purchase. While this tactic is convenient if you only have to pay a sum of $300 for a $10,000 trip across Europe, it is not so easy to pay a $1,500 fee for a $50,000 purchase.
CCS helps you deal with this issue if you’ve let your credit card expenses spiral out of control.
Plus, you will also learn multiple techniques to prevent this issue in the future.
Before restructuring or consolidating your debt, you have to understand your budget. Then, you will be able to figure out what size should the right instalments be.
This sum defines your payment capacity to your lenders.
- Debt Management Programme
This programme is a debt repayment scheme that’s best if you are struggling to pay your loans, while also dealing with your living expenses.
CCS assists you to round up an affordable budget and figure out your payment capacity. Then, CCS negotiates a new repayment scheme with your lenders.
- Debt Consolidation Plan
This programme is a debt-refinancing scheme that helps you amass all your unsecured loans across all creditors into one loan.
Therefore, you will only have a single affordable monthly instalment to pay, instead of multiple ones.
- Dealing With Debt You Cannot Repay
If your total debts are over $15,000 and you cannot handle them, you or your lender can file for bankruptcy.
However, there are consequences to this action, such as:
- Travelling restrictions
- Difficult access to more loans
If you have no other options, though, CCS will help you along the way.
This alternative is worthwhile if you have a few creditors and can negotiate better terms by yourself. CCS will teach you how to prepare the right documents and how to prepare for your negotiation.
- Discounted Lump Sum Administration
This scheme is suitable if you can raise enough money to settle the debt at a discounted value. You can either sell assets such as shares or property or get a loan from a non-banking institution.
After that, you can negotiate with your creditor so that the lump sum you’ve raised can erase your debt.
- Debt Repayment Scheme (DRS)
This option is best if you’re facing bankruptcy.
The scheme allows you to commit to a convenient repayment plan so that you can pay your loans within a maximum of five years.
That way, you will not have to deal with the restrictions and stigma entailed by bankruptcy.
3. Online Debt Management Course (Consumer Debt)
This e-learning course only lasts between 90 and 120 minutes, and you can finish it at your own pace.
The programme is split into five modules, during which you will find out:
- How to handle specific debt issues
- Negotiation skills with your lenders
- How to use CCS for extra assistance
- How to get your credit report
- How to build your budget
- Your debt repayment capacity
At the end of this course, you will be required to complete a quiz, and you can apply the one-on-one counselling package.
4. Business Debt Management
The Business Debt Management service addresses small business owners who took out personal loans or gave personal guarantees for their companies.
As such, their business’s failures affect their personal finances, and, in turn, their personal lives.
If you face such difficulties with your small company, enrol in the CCS Business Debt Management.
You will learn how to rearrange your instalments to increase the cash flow in your company and to keep your business afloat.
Here is what you can choose:
- Business debt management webinars
- Sole Proprietor or Partnership Scheme (SPP) to restructure your eligible unsecured debts
- Enterprise Debt Management Programme (EDMP) to rearrange your unsecured debts into a more affordable scheme
- Debt Management Programme (DMP) if you’re also struggling with your unsecured personal debts
5. Cents-ible Retirement Programme (CRP)
The CRP is a programme that targets people over the age of 50 to handle their finances wisely as their retirement approaches.
Unlike many other courses that teach you to increase your assets and passive income so that you can plan a grade-A retirement, CCS helps you build productive expectations too.
This is why the CRP is split into two modules:
- Workshop: This module helps you understand your financial resources and estimate your retirement budget. You will also learn how to take advantage of essential government schemes for retirement.
- Financial counselling: During this section, you’ll make an action plan for retirement, such as identifying more assets, choosing the best insurance, and making a contingency plan.
6. One-on-One Financial Counselling
These courses will help you get a better grasp of your financial situations.
Therefore, you can apply all the theoretical advice on your specific situation, with the help of an expert counsellor.
This programme starts with a mandatory talk that introduces you to the foundations of debt management. Usually, this part lasts for 60 to 90 minutes.
After it is over, you will receive a counselling request form which you should fill in at home if you want to program a one-on-one meeting.
You will also need to gather some supporting documents that give your counsellor a better idea of your financial situation and to craft an appropriate plan:
- Credit Bureau Report
- CPF statements for the past 15 months
- Payslips for the last three months
After you send the request form and the additional documentation, wait for CCS to contact you to set an appointment.
Then, it is time to meet your credit counsellor.
The sessions usually last at least two hours, during which you will:
- Understand your financial position
- Craft a debt management plan that tackles your specific issues
Here is a problem, though:
CCS cannot guarantee inclusion in their debt management programme.
However, they will help you even in the direst situation of filing for bankruptcy.
Another possible issue may be the appointment time.
As a rule of thumb, most appointments take place between 9 am and 6 pm during the weekends. However, if your situation is bleak, you might be asked to come in after office hours.
At the end of these sessions, you will become armed with the right solutions that address your exact debt issues. Besides, you will feel more empowered because you will have all the necessary knowledge to improve your money management in the long term.
Why Going For Credit Counselling Can Help
Credit counselling can help because it empowers you. Although financial problems are stressful and challenging, there are always solutions.
But here’s what usually happens when people can’t see a way out of their financial difficulties:
They resort to desperate measures.
For instance, some people contact loan sharks, take even more expensive loans to cover for a pre-existing debt or file for bankruptcy without researching other solutions.
Others might feel overwhelmed with dread and become depressed.
Credit counselling will help you avoid these situations.
CCS will step in with personalised solutions for all your debt problems, as well as foundational knowledge on finance management.
That way, you can save more money in the long run because you will know how to build budgets that work for you. You will also learn valuable negotiation skills along with strategies to maximise profits from your assets.
Plus, there is also an added advantage:
Your credit score will improve.
Having a low credit score is a stigma for many Singaporeans. This negative rating affects your relationship with creditors, and it affects your finances.
That said, if you solve your debt problems, your credit score goes up.
And soon, if you want to take a new loan for a car or property, you will see the results. If your credit score is good, your lender will:
- Approve your application faster even if you still have unpaid debt
- Offer you a better deal on interest rates and tenure
Pro tip: Participating in CCS’s Debt Management Programme appears on your credit report. Some moneylenders consider this participation a good sign because it shows financial diligence and responsibility.
Why Choose Credit Counselling Singapore And How A Debt Consolidation Loan From Lending Bee Can Help
You already know a lot about what Credit Counselling Singapore offers and why it can help.
But, why is this NGO different than other credit counselling solutions?
It is affordable. The sessions cost just $30, which are much cheaper compared to other offers on the market if you take into account their length and quality of information. Besides, CCS says the majority of people only require one private session to regain control over their financial situations.
It packs a lot of resources. You can find a lot of free literature and videos on their website so that you can build a specific plan for your needs. Even if you’re not ready to invest in a private counselling session, you can still get a clear enough picture of possible solutions to your financial problems.
They are endorsed by Singapore’s government and the Association of Banks. As such, CCS has a lot of legal standing among creditors in Singapore. Your counsellor will help you draft the best repayment scheme for your needs, and most lenders will accept the terms because CCS is an institution they trust.
It is the only social service agency that offers the Debt Management Programme. Even if another counsellor may help you restructure your debt, most of them might not be as trustworthy, cheap and proficient as CCS.
That said, consider the alternative:
Not handling your debt can bring you in financial and personal ruin.
Choosing a more expensive counsellor can cost you a lot of money for equally or lower-quality services.
Conversely, CCS is a reputable, affordable agency that will give you back control over your life.
If you are interested in learning more about CCS, or applying with them, you can do so here.
Alternatively, if you are looking for a licensed and reliable financial institution to help you with debt consolidation, Lending Bee’s debt consolidation plan is just what you are looking for!
With affordable interest rates and comfortable monthly loan tenures, our loan officers can help to tailor a suitable debt consolidation loan package just for your needs.