Category: Investing

Cryptocurrencies are not investment products

Bitcoin isn’t really used much as a currency at all.

When people buy bitcoin, they rarely use it to buy goods and services. They’re really buying access to a Ponzi scheme.

Even before the fall of FTX, I share the same sentiment. Bitcoin could probably actually work as a form of currency. Problem is, people don’t use it as such. They don’t exchange their dollars for these coins to buy goods and services. Instead, they buy them in the hopes that some other people will hop on the bandwagon, and they cash-in on its price appreciation.

And scammers flock to this opportunity to take advantage of people who don’t really know how things like these work but gullible enough to fall for their traps.

How BDO deserves the trash

Can you imagine receiving a marketing email, and the only method to opt out of such emails you’ll have to call their hotline?

That’s how brainless BDO is to do such a stupid thing to its customers. No 1-click unsubscribe link, you must call their customer contact center, expect to get through for God knows how long, and expect the person at the other end of the line to sell you more of their stupid products!

That’s how BDO deserves the trash. Even more — report as SPAM! I’ll set up a filter so that all their emails go directly to spam folder.

No, BDO deserves to be reported as spam, so that Google knows they are a bank full of spam!

How to: enroll for a second Pag-ibig MP2 savings account

So you already have an existing Modified Pag-IBIG 2 (MP2) savings account. Perhaps, you recently checked your Virtual Pag-IBIG account and noted your account has been credited with your 6.12% dividend for your 2020 contributions to your MP2 savings. Or, maybe, you’re still waiting for your first dividend.

But one MP2 account is not enough. When that account matures in five years from the time of your first contribution, you can’t wait for another five years to collect your next MP2 savings. You’ve read in the FAQ that you can indeed open and maintain multiple MP2 Savings Accounts:

According to Pag-IBIG’s FAQ, you are allowed to open and maintain multiple MP2 Savings Accounts.

Perhaps, you want to time your multiple MP2 accounts to mature one year after the other — for your liquidity, or maybe just to reward yourself every year.

But how? It’s not in the FAQ, or anywhere in the Pag-IBG website. Lucky you, I have done just that, and I’ll share to you what I did. Continue reading

Philippine Banks and Their Technology

Banks should be in the bleeding edge of technology. But in the Philippines, they might not be as advanced as we’d like them to be.

Take for example the experience I had while managing my account with BDO Online Banking. Every so often, their system requires password change.

Their password change page details the valid password that the system can accept. The third item says passwords must contain uppercase, lowercase, number and special characters. But then, special characters such as [!#$%^&';"] are not allowed.

My questions:

  • Why not allow the characters: [!#$%^&';"]?
  • Wouldn’t it have been more helpful if you enumerated the set of special characters I can choose from to use in my password instead?
  • I use a password manager. After copying my password from my password manager, why don’t you allow pasting into these fields from my clipboard?

My concerns may seem so trivial, but trivial things like these make or break a great online banking experience.

PSEi Levels vs. 2020 Forecast P/E Ratio

The chart below gives context at each Philippine Stock Exchange Index (PSEi) level in terms of 2020 Forecast Price-to-Earnings ratio:

Key take-aways from this chart:

  • At 7,009 current level, we’re actually above the 10-Year P/E Average.
  • How I wish I had enough cash to invest in the market at its super-low of 4,039 points in the middle of March 2020.

Instapay now available in Security Bank mobile app

We have our salaries paid through our Security Bank accounts. Since I keep funds in my accounts with other banks, I need to do fund transfers now and then. And Instapay for Security Bank would have really helped.

Today I discovered that Fund Transfer to Other banks via Instapay functionality is already added to the Security Bank mobile apps.

 

Security Bank transfer to other banks

Security Bank transfer to other banks via Instapay.

Apparently, this functionality is available only on Android and iOS apps, but not in the web using your favorite internet browser. Nevertheless, this is a welcome development, especially now that GCash disabled cash-in via bank cards starting July 6, 2020.

Currently, as the whole nation is still technically on lockdown, all fees for Instapay transfers for all banks, including Security Bank, are waived. When things go back to normal, this fee schedule indicates that fees range from ₱10 to ₱50 among the different Philippine banks. Security Bank in particular will charge ₱15 per transaction, which is I would say is not too steep. I would argue that would be a cost worth paying for the convenience of not waiting some 30 minutes should you need to visit a branch of your bank.

Update: Read: Security Bank InstaPay Temporarily Unavailable

GCash and CIMB, Are We Really Ready for Purely Digital Banking?

GCash and CIMB have been aggressively promoting their new digital banking platform they call GSave, with high interest rates (as high as 4% p.a.) to lure in GCash users, especially those they described as unbanked.

But are we Filipinos really ready for digital banking?

Not if there are still glitches in the service by GCash and CIMB. Last weekend, I needed to transfer funds from my GCash account to my bank account at once. I didn’t have have enough funds in my GCash account, thus I needed to withdraw funds from my GSave account. The debit to my CIMB GSave account pushed through, but the credit to my GCash didn’t.

That’s the big problem. People wants to keep some of their funds in regular Savings accounts to cover for their emergency or immediate needs. But if those funds are not available when they need them, it defeats their purpose.

So, to GCash and CIMB, if you want people to embrace this new digital banking revolution, you need to make sure the platform is ready.