In part of their bid to become one of the world’s best digital bank, OCBC Bank recently launched OCBC Money In$ights – a hassle-free online feature that does the hard work of tracking of your everyday expenses and helps you prevent ‘leakage’ of your money.
I met up with the OCBC e-business team behind OCBC Money In$ights a week earlier whereby they shared insights on why they came up with this initiative and how it would benefit their customers.
Basically, what Money In$ights does is to automatically categorise your expenses charged to OCBC accounts into several common categories. It also tracks the spending, total balances and money inflows into your OCBC deposit and card accounts for the past 12 months, enabling you to easily monitor your finances.
The simple motivation behind developing this service was really just to help OCBC customers better manage their finances by making it simple and easy to track for everyone.
You can set individual budgets for each category to help you stay on track with your finances. Once you set a budget, OCBC can send you SMS or email alerts when you are about to bust it.
Fundamentally, Money In$ights seek to help save time and effort having to track and enter spending manually into the common standalone personal financial management apps or on spreadsheets.
The best part is that you get to enjoy all these cool features at absolutely no charge! The only obvious catch is that you need to be an OCBC Internet or Mobile Banking customer who charges all your expenses to your OCBC accounts.
If you have multiple bank accounts, the way to work round this is to manually track and merge your expenses with other banks together with your data from Money In$ights.
View your spending by month or by expense category in attractive graph charts. You may also reclassify or split expenses into several preset categories such as Dining, Groceries, Insurance and Entertainment.
Set budgets and get alerts through SMS
Keep track of your expenses by setting monthly budgets for specific categories, or as a lump sum. Stay on track with our handy email and SMS reminders that warn you when you are close to exceeding these budgets.
Set automatic contributions to different Saving Goals within one account
Create different savings goals without having to pay fees or going through the hassle of opening many accounts. Personalise these ‘sub-accounts’ with different names, targets, monthly contribution amounts and durations so you stay on target for your future goals.
Manage cash flow with payment reminders
A calendar display gives you bird’s eye view of upcoming payments and your money flows within your account. Easily schedule payment reminders or future bill payments and fund transfers with this feature.
Get insights on financial behaviour of people with similar demographic profiles
See how you stack up against other people just like you. By comparing demographic criteria such as gender, age range, marital status and location, get insights on the average savings, spending and investment habits of their people just like you.
I find this OCBC Money In$ights pretty interesting and it shows OCBC’s clear resolve to differentiate itself from other consumer banks in Singapore by focusing strongly on user experience for online banking.
When was the last time you stepped into a physical bank and interacted face-to-face with a banking officer?
I think I last did that about three years ago. I went down to get a large casher cheque to pay the downpayment for my first house as it was way over my daily withdrawal and regular cheque limit.
I dislike queuing and waiting. A lot of banking transactions from paying of bills to fund transfer to checking your statement of account can all be done online in the comfort of your own home. Why make an unnecessary trip down to the bank?
I am pretty sure over 90 percent of your interaction with your banks is through their online website. This is how important online banking will be in the future of banking.
OCBC Money In$ights is a pretty simple and easy to use feature. I am not sure of actual usage volume as I am of the impression that most people are too lazy to manage our finance properly. I am guilty of this too. For those who do, it will be very handy! Go try it for yourself.
For me, I see Money In$ights as another step in the right direction from OCBC to stay relevance to changing consumers habits. I look forward to more such innovations and announcements to come from OCBC.
I had a very pleasant brunch last Saturday (4 May) with my son, Asher at Charly T’s at NOMU. The restaurant is a short walk from Dhoby Ghaut MRT station and is easily accessible by public transport.
It is very child-friendly. There are crayons, colour pencils and papers to keep children occupied. Some of the nicer artwork by young guests are pinned on the restaurant wall as decoration. Asher had a lot of fun with the crayons:
Asher colouring with crayons on paper, with material provided by the nice staff at Charly T
Charly T’s recently introduced some breakfast items. They have three restaurants in Singapore and the breakfast items are available only at their NOMU and I12 Katong outlets between 9AM to 12noon on weekends.
Here are some of the items we tried:
Ham & Cheese Omelette ($10+)
Spanish Omelette ($10+)
Sunny Side Up Egg and Mixed Fruit Yoghurt
Kid’s pasta for Asher
Charly T’s Garlic Rotisserie Chicken (Quarter chicken with 2 additions at $15.50+, half chicken with 2 additions at $26+, whole chicken with 4 additions at $50+) – this is only available on a seasonal basis
Close-up of the chicken
Charly T’s Original Recipe Rotisserie Chicken (Quarter chicken with 2 additions at $14.50+, half chicken with 2 additions at $24+, whole chicken with 4 additions at $44+)
CT’s Original Plain Waffles ($10+) with Dark Chocolate Ice Cream (additional $5+) and CT’s Original Filled Waffles with Bacon & Cheese ($10+)
Close-up of ice cream and waffle
The unique restaurant name, “Charly T’s”, is marketed as an adventurous persona of the restaurant. Via Charly T’s official website:
‘Charly’ in the West comes from the base word ‘Charles’, which in German means a free-spirited man. In the East, ‘Charly’ in the Chinese characters ‘查理’ (cha li) means to investigate, search,and research – or more simply, the ‘seeker of truth’. Free-spirited, curious and adventurous, Charly T enjoys in equal parts food, music and the art of food journeying. He is pleased to share with friends new and old his innovative ways of serving chicken and other mains, complemented by ‘additions’ of comfort foods and interesting desserts and beverages – both natural and spirited!
I enjoy their signature rotisserie chicken very much – both the original recipe and garlic version were excellent. The accompanying sauces (homemade Chermoula, creamy roasted sesame, Kansas City BBQ and Charly T’s original) have very distinct flavours and they complement the chicken well. I particular enjoyed alternating between the sesame and original sauce, alternating between sweet and spicy.
The bacon and cheese filled waffle as well as another figs and dates filled waffle which we tried were both teasing on the taste buds. Waffles with ice cream are for dessert, but some savory flavour seems to bring out a little more fun.
For Asher, he wolfed down most of the kid’s pasta and nearly a full bowl of fruit yogurt. Kids love eggs. Asher enjoyed the Spanish omelette very much. The small potato chunks are easy to eat for him and he like his omelette soft and fluffy, just like how it was served.
All in all, father and son had a good brunch. We will be back with mummy next time.
- Fully graphic interactive display in the instrument cluster with three themes – Elegance, Eco and Performance
- A tinted panoramic glass roof
- Seven different mood light options for the interior lighting
- Two-piece, 40/60, rear backrest that can be easily folded to maximise loading
- Two different chassis setups: Dynamic and Sport
- Dynamic Stability and Traction Control (DSTC) system that uses a roll angle sensor to identify any skidding tendencies at an early stage
- Corner Traction Control that uses torque vectoring so the car corners more smoothly
- Lane Keeping Aid to help the driver stay on course
- Road Sign Information that display road signs in the instrument display as they are detected
- Driver Alert Control that will detect and warn tired drivers
- City Safety (active up to 50km/h) that keeps an eye on traffic in front and automatically brakes if the driver fails to react in time
- Full set of crash safety features including a knee airbag on the driver’s side
City Safety sensor at the car front windscreen
Non-standard sports rims
Rachel and Asher in the backseat
Optional external airbag
Check out this video for a quick visual introduction:
The new Volvo V40 Cross Country is choked full of safety features. Rachel and I were impressed by the demonstrations of the various nifty high-tech features like the Driver Alert Control, City Safety and Lane Keeping Aid. These features make it seems that even if the car is driven by an unsafe driver, the car will still try it’s best to keep everyone safe!
The drive from the car showroom at Alexandra Road to Resorts World Sentosa was a short one. I had no problem adjusting to the new car even though this is the first time I am driving a Volvo vehicle. It runs well and most of the functions and features are pretty easy to figure out or pick up.
Asher in a baby chair in the backseat
Getting into a Volvo V40 to drive off to RWS
Rachel said the ride was comfortable, with not much noise or bumpiness. Asher was intrigued by the panoramic roof when we slided it open with the remote. I switched the graphic interactive display around to try out the different themes, amusing myself while driving.
On the road
If you are someone who values safety and want a good mix of ruggedness and elegance for your next car, do consider visiting the Volvo showroom in Singapore to check out the Volvo V40 Cross Country. The brand specialist for Volvo rightfully pointed out to me that this car model is a value buy in the Premium C-segment for continental car brands.
The Volvo car showroom in Singapore
You can load bicycles on your Volvo
Various Volvo products for sale
About Wearnes Automotive
Established in 1906, Wearnes Automotive Pte. Ltd. is the sole distributor for Volvo cars in Singapore and has consistently been one of the top Volvo dealers in Asia. The Volvo showroom is located along the prime automotive belt of Alexandra Road, boasting one of the most customer-oriented automotive facilities in Singapore. The premises accommodate a state-of-the-art service and repair workshop that gives special attention to the intrinsic safety qualities of a Volvo.
When Tulipmania arrives at the Flower Dome at Gardens By The Bay on Monday, 29 April, I will be looking out for some of the purple tulips I planted just the other day.
Me, plant tulips, in sunny Singapore?
Yes, with little Asher in tow, even! Alvin had been one of the lucky few bloggers invited by Gardens By The Bay to help plant some of the 20,000 bulbs in the Tulipmania display but he could not make it. So he sent us in his stead.
Planting tulips at the Flower Dome
When we arrived on Tuesday (April 23) morning, we were led inside the Flower Dome, which was closed for maintenance to allow for the flower displays to be changed. The entire Flower Field had been turned over and elves in the form of KLM staff were hard at work, arranging the tulip bulbs in neat rows.
The desired effect is a sea of red, purple, yellow and red-white tulips blossoming happily in front of a miniature windmill, reminiscent of Dutch landscape.
Tulips, being the unofficial national flower of the Netherlands, has a special place in the heart of KLM Royal Dutch airlines. The carrier sponsored the freight of the tulips from Netherlands, and volunteered some 30 members of its staff across various departments to help plant tulips that morning.
Unboxing the tulips
I did not see any hot-looking stewards or stewardesses, but Yannick Max Bruinsma, nine, and his brother Luc, eight, caught my eye. True Dutch, they skipped school that day to accompany their mum, who works on the KLM publicity team, to work in the Flower Field. They were not afraid to get their hands dirty!
I also spotted another Dutch man, Mr Gert Pezij, clad in wooden clogs to do his spot of gardening. I never understood how practical these clogs are until I realised that soil washes off so easily from its lacquered surface. Mr Pezij, by the way, is the director of Plants Singapore, the company responsible for bringing in the tulips.
Asher getting his hands dirty with planting
Asher planting a tulip
Mother and son at work
This was the first time that members of the public were involved in helping with the flower display in the Flower Dome, and the staff had set a 24-hour timeline for all the bulbs. They needn’t have worried – the work was done by 11am – it took less than two hours!
Here is how you do it
They were still in bud on Tuesday and expected to bloom by Friday and ready for the public on Monday. In the day, the temperature of the conservatory will be set to 14 degrees Celcius and sun shields on the roof will open to protect the delicate flowers from the sun’s rays. At night, the temperature will be lowered to 10 degrees Celcius. Do bring a cardigan when you visit the Flower Dome!
The three weeks of Tulipmania will be accompanied by lots of fringe activities for the whole family, children included.
Asher inspecting the planted tulips
You can discover interesting facts about tulips with the fun-filled Tulipmania Activity Sheet; delight someone with a handmade tulip clip; enjoy cultural activities like Dutch cheese tasting and music; create a tulip postcard and mail it to an old friend; or celebrate Mother’s Day with a bouquet of fresh-cut tulips.
There are also special promotions including a 15% discount on admission into the cooled conservatories during Mother’s Day weekend (10-12 May), and a chance to win a pair of tickets to Keukenhof, Holland, in 2014. Check out the official website (link) for details.
Me with Asher, with tulip bookmarks to bring home
When: 29 April to 20 May 2013, 9am to 9pm daily (last ticket sale is at 8pm)
Where: Flower Dome, Gardens By The Bay
Admission: Adults – $10 (U.P. $12); senior citizens and students – $7