What is a SWIFT Code? -Trinidad & Tobago

Woman sending money with phone

What is a SWIFT Code?

A SWIFT Code, also known as a BIC (Bank Identification code), provides a standard means for banks to be identified, and securely carry out financial transactions between them. Your bank’s SWIFT Code is registered by the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT). – https://wise.com/us/swift-codes

The Following are some SWIFT Codes for banks in Trinidad and Tobago:

Institution: First Citizens Bank Limited, Port of Spain

  • Address: 9 Queens Park East 
  • City: Port Of Spain
  • Country: Trinidad and Tobago

Institution: First Caribbean International Bank

  • Address: 74 Long Circular Road, Maraval
  • City: Port Of Spain
  • Country: Trinidad & Tobago

Institution: JMMB Bank Trinidad and Tobago, Chaguanas

  • Address: DSM Plaza, Old Southern Main Road
  • City: Chaguanas
  • Country: Trinidad & Tobago

Institution: RBC Royal Bank Limited

  • Address: St. Clair Place, 7-9 St. Clair Avenue
  • City: Port Of Spain
  • Country: Trinidad & Tobago

Institution: Republic Bank Limited

  • Address: Foreign Exchange Centre, 59 Independence Square
  • City: Port Of Spain
  • Country: Trinidad & Tobago

Institution: ScotiaBank Trinidad & Tobago

  • Address: Scotia Centre,Corner of  Park and Richmond Street
  • City: Port Of Spain
  • Country: Trinidad & Tobago

What is the difference: Assets & Liabilities

Pen with balance sheet. Suitable for accounting and finance concept

What is the difference between assets and liabilities?

Our assets are the items we hold that improve our economic advantage in the future by adding value to us. Our liabilities, on the other hand, are the items we possess that deduct value from us in order for us to keep them.


Assets include the following:

  • Cash
  • Investments
  • Insurance on Cash Investments (Savings)

  • Vehicles (For Business)

  • Real Estate (Making Money, example: Rent)

When you’re analyzing your assets, one thing to keep in mind is how liquid they are. The ease with which an asset (Investments) may be turned into cash when needed is referred to as liquidity. In the opposite situation, an asset is described as illiquid if it is difficult to convert it to cash in less than a year. For example, Real Estate may take longer to convert to cash than selling a vehicle.

For more information you can visit: https://www.investopedia.com/ask/answers/12/what-is-an-asset.asp  


Examples of liabilities:

  • Loan Debt
  • Mortgage Debt
  • Taxes

Your liabilities tend to be in two forms, your short-term and long-term liabilities. Short-term liabilities tend to be paid off inside of a year, such as a small loan. Your long-term liabilities will take a year or more to be settled and paid off. To understand in more detail, visit: https://www.investopedia.com/terms/l/liability.asp 

Being financially responsible entails having a firm understanding of your assets and your liabilities. This enables you to make more informed financial decisions. You can utilize all of our financial tools at The FinRoute to better understand how you manage your assets and obligations. 

Bank VS Bank – Credit Cards

Male hands holding credit cards, soft focus, Online shopping concept.

Bank Vs Bank – Credit Card Edition

Our banks will either issue us credit cards or we will look into acquiring credit cards for ourselves at some time. When it comes to picking a credit card, the most important thing to remember is to understand the card you’re applying for. Since not all banks are user-friendly, we’ve collected a list of cards offered by some of our banks, along with key information to consider. We’ll focus on entry-level cards for our comparisons because most banks provide a selection of cards with various interest rates and spending restrictions. In this post, we’ll delve deeper into four different banks: Scotiabank, Royal Bank of Canada, Republic Bank and First Citizens Bank are some of the most well-known banks in Trinidad & Tobago.

  • Scotiabank (Trinidad & Tobago)

In their Credit Card Rates & Fees section, Scotiabank provides seven (7) different Mastercards and two (2) different Visa cards. The Scotiabank Mastercard and Scotiabank Visa Classic are their basic Mastercard and Visa credit cards. Their stated Annual Interest Rates (AIR) range from 26.79 percent to 27.99 percent, implying monthly payments of 2.23 percent to 2.33 percent. They do, however, provide their Effective Annual Interest Rate (EAIR), which is more accurate because it indicates how much you would owe or pay after compounding. The EAIR for both their Scotiabank Mastercard and Scotiabank Visa Classic is between 30.34 percent and 31.88 percent, which means you’ll be paying more like 2.53 percent to 2.66 percent per month if you use them. 

The yearly membership cost for each of these cards is $165, which is the lowest of all card type membership fees throughout Scotia’s cards, which range from $165 to $625. It’s worth mentioning that most banks, including Bank Of America in the United States, do not charge such fees for similar card kinds.

Both cards come with a $100 late payment fee and a $100 Over Limit Charge fee (for each time you exceed your card limit). There are also Cash Advance Fees, which can be paid at an ATM or at a bank branch. Both cards have the same charge structure, which is 3% of the Advance Minimum ($50). This equates to a $4.50 minimum cost per cash advance, with the fee increasing in proportion to the size of the cash advance.

Both cards have a minimum payback requirement of 3% of the outstanding debt, or a flat fee of $25.

Then there are costs that most people aren’t aware of, which are as follows:

  • NSF Cheque Charge (Non-Sufficient Funds) – $50.00
  • Retrieval of Items – $60.00 
  • Replacement of additional Statement – $30
  • Replacement of Sales Draft – $60
  • Replacement of Damaged/Lost/Stolen Card – $100 for Mastercard and $75 for VISA
  • Royal Bank

Royal Bank gives us an array of RBC Caribbean – Credit Cards , let’s look at their VISA Classic International. Their Annual Membership fee for the VISA Classic Card is $165.00.

Their stated annual interest rate is 25.2% which brings their monthly interest rate to approximately 2.1%, which is lower than either of Scotia’s Card offers. What they don’t state however, are all the associated fees to go along with their card. Exact information such as:

  • Late Payment Fee
  • Overlimit Charge Fee
  • Cash Advance Fee
  • Minimum Repayment Value

Are all unavailable on their site and it must be noted, these are critical pieces of information for us to paint a good picture.

Let’s take a look at one of Royal Bank’s RBC Caribbean – Credit Cards, the VISA Classic International. The VISA Classic Card has an annual membership fee of $165.00.

Their claimed annual interest rate is 25.2 percent, which translates to a monthly rate of about 2.1 percent, which is lower than either of Scotia’s Card offers. What they don’t mention are all of the additional costs that come with their card. Information that is precise, such as:

* Late Fees 

* Overlimit Fees 

* Cash Advance Fees 

* Minimum Repayment Values

Are all inaccessible on their website, and it should be emphasized that they are crucial details for us to build a complete picture. 

  • Republic Bank

Republic Bank’s credit card rates and fees are laid out in an easy-to-understand manner. The Republic Bank International Visa Classic and Republic Bank International Mastercard Class credit cards will be the center of our attention. The yearly membership costs for both organizations are $25.75 USD ($172.00 TTD). It will cost you $5.75 USD ($38.5 TTD) to replace your card. In addition, they have a monthly interest rate of 2%. (24 percent Annually). Other significant fees to be aware of are:

* Over Limit Fee: 5% of the excess amount, with a minimum of $12 USD ($80.4 TTD).

* Late fees are 3.2 percent of the minimum payment, with a minimum of $10 USD ($68 TTD).

* Cash advance fee: 3.2 percent of the advance amount, with a $5 minimum charge.

* Cash advance fee: 3.2 percent of the advance amount, with a $5 USD ($25 TTD) minimum charge.

To obtain a list of additional costs associated with their cards, you must contact the bank directly.

  • First Citizens Bank

Approximately ten (10) different VISA credit cards are available from First Citizens Bank. Our focus is on their VISA Classic credit card, which is marketed as a basic credit card for establishing credit. It is the cheapest credit card to just own, with an annual fee of $145. They have a 2% interest rate published on a monthly basis (24 percent Annually). They haven’t provided any more information on their related costs, therefore we don’t have much to go on when evaluating their credit card quality.

Remember, when you look at which bank gives you financial goods and services that work best for you it is vital to take all the facts into account.


How Do Banks Make Money?

Open Vault at a Bank

How Do Banks Make Money

Our banks play a pivotal role in our everyday lives, allowing us to open accounts, holding our deposits, facilitating our withdrawals, granting various loans, transferring cash and enabling our financial transactions. Looking deeper, banks make their money through the phrase “ A penny lent is a penny received” and through charges and fees. Respectfully, “ A penny lent is a penny received” refers to customer deposits, packaging and distribution of loans and credit cards while charges and fees refers to account fees, late fees and credit card fees.


A penny received is a penny lent:


  • Deposits from customers (individuals and businesses) provide banks with the money they need to make loans.

  • The packaging and distribution of loans to clients is how commercial banks generate money. Banks make interest on the cash they distribute through offering loans such as mortgages, vehicle loans, business loans, and personal loans. 

  • Credit cards, like loans, allow banks to generate interest on basically revolving credit on customers.


Charges and Fees

Service and maintenance fees are another major source of revenue for your banks. These costs can take a variety of forms, including:

  • Account fees (monthly maintenance fees, minimum balance fees, overdraft fees, or non-sufficient funds penalties), and * Safe deposit box fees.
  • Late Costs – Many of the aforementioned loan packages include conditional fees if the organization receiving the loan fails to meet the contract’s conditions.
  • Credit Card Penalties — Missed or late payments on credit cards usually result in considerably higher late fees.

These are just a few of the ways your commercial banks profit on your money and spending patterns.

One simple take away from this, don’t give them more than they already get from you- so PAY YOUR LOANS AND CREDIT CARDS ON TIME. 

To learn more about how Banks make money, visit: https://www.investopedia.com/terms/c/commercialbank.asp 

How To Budget My Money?

Family, domestic budget, economy and finances concept. Stressed young African-American couple workin

Creating a budget for your money is the foundation on which all other financial goals can be accomplished. To better understand what is a budget, check out https://www.investopedia.com/terms/b/budget.asp. Let’s take a look at how you can get started on budgeting to achieve your goals: 

Know your NET income, Record and Monitor your expenses, Outline the goals you want to achieve, Strategize, Monitor and Review your progress periodically and above all, Be Honest. 

Step 1: Know your NET Income

Take note of your income after all taxes and deductions such as National Insurance (NIS) contributions. Many people make the error of overestimating what they can do with their money by simply using their gross income as their financial spending power. Your final take home pay is where our focus is.

Step 2: Record and Monitor Your Expenses

Categorize your expenses between fixed and variable monthly expenses. Doing this will help you easily identify where and how your monthly income gets spent. Your rent, mortgage or loan repayments are examples of bills which should be fixed each month. Your variable expenses however such as, food, entertainment and gas will fluctuate based on what activities you plan to be involved in for the month. This is where the opportunities to cut back and adjust your expenses are.

Step 3:  Outline the goals you want to achieve

Outline what you want to accomplish in the short and long-term. Identifying and prioritizing your goals in advance make it that much easier to stick to any plans and strategies you create.  Short-term goals may include building your savings or planning for a vacation expense. Your long-term goals might include planning for retirement or purchasing a home and paying off a mortgage. Whatever your personal goals, here you can sift through your recorded income and expenses from step 2 and begin crafting a plan. This takes us to step four.

Step 4: Strategize

Now it’s time to create your personal budgeting strategy. After reviewing your variable and fixed expenses, you should have a map of how you’re expected to spend your money in the coming months. You are essentially using your past spending habits to predict your future spending habits. Now you will be able to decide where and how you want to make initial adjustments to your spending patterns and habits to boost areas of your budget such as savings to achieve your desired goals across time. Ensuring you differentiate your needs from your wants will play a significant role in helping to choose what items you can cut back on to boost your savings and by default help you reach your goals faster.

Step 5: Monitor and Review your progress periodically  

If you’re budgeting for 1 year, reviewing your progress every 2 or 3 months will help you monitor and maintain your course. If you have setbacks, you will be able to make adjustments to your budgeting strategy to get yourself back on course. Remember, you aren’t doing this aimlessly, there are goals you are aiming to achieve across time. For someone who has not had reason to budget before, making progress with your budgeting plan is more important than perfection. Part of this process is ensuring you know where you are relative to your outlined goals across time and making adjustments whenever you are out of alignment to get you back to where you need to be.

Step 6: Be Honest

Being honest about where you are and how disciplined you are will be the cornerstone of what you accomplish and how quickly you accomplish it. Being honest about what expenses are your wants and not needs will help you strategize better. Being honest about if you are keeping to your plan or not will help you readjust quickly when setbacks occur. Being honest will see you through to the end of your budgeting plans and get you to achieve any goal you set.


Budgeting is an excellent tool for managing your finances and mainly your monthly cash flow. Do not underestimate the power of developing your budgeting skills. If you need help getting started on achieving your goals, platforms such as https://www.thefinroute.com/  give you free access to financial advisors and more to get you on track to accomplishing your financial dreams. For more budgeting tips you can visit https://www.nerdwallet.com/article/finance/how-to-budget

Chequing vs Savings Account

cashier asks checking or savings

What is the difference between Checking and Saving Account?

When you use your LYNX card to make a payment, you’ll usually be asked, “Savings or Checking?” What’s the difference between these two accounts? Is there any advantage to having one or the other, or perhaps both?


Right now, your checking account is most likely your everyday ‘go to’ bank account for money. This is the account that you would typically use for day-to-day expenses like food, petrol, and entertainment. See https://www.nerdwallet.com/ca/banking/what-is-a-chequing-account for additional details. Simply put, this account will handle the majority of your transactions.


Your savings account, on the other hand, should be utilized to save money for the long run. This isn’t money you’d spend on a daily basis. This account serves as a safe haven for your money in the case of an emergency or if you wish to build up your savings for a specific financial goal. Savings accounts generally provide a greater interest rate on money stored in them than checking accounts. Some savings accounts also limit the number of withdrawals you may make, whereas a checking account allows you to do so. Visit https://www.investopedia.com/terms/s/savingsaccount.asp for additional information about savings accounts.

Despite the fact that they serve fundamentally distinct purposes, combining them may provide you an advantage over having one or the other. Having a checking and savings account can aid in the development of good money management practices. You may set up automatic transfers so that a part of your checking account deposits are automatically moved to your savings account. This allows you to distinguish between the money you intend to spend and the money you aim to save.

You will be able to structure your savings strategy depending on your projected monthly expenses if you use both accounts to your advantage. You have the option of spending the money you want and saving the money you require.

Sou-Sou vs Pyramid Scheme

Sou-Sou vs Pyramid Scheme

A Sou-sou is a group of people who agree to pool their financial resources, such as savings, by contributing to the pool on a regular basis. Pyramid schemes, on the other hand, take place when top-level members recruit new members who pay a fee up the chain.


A Sou-sou is a group of individuals who decide to pool their financial resources, such as savings, by making regular scheduled payments to the pool in an agreed-upon amount. These payments can be made once a week, twice a week, or once a month. The group’s pooled funds are subsequently distributed according to an agreed-upon schedule to each or selected members of the group. This distribution/payout plan is crucial because it guarantees that everyone in the organization gets their fair portion on time..

Pyramid Scheme

In a pyramid scheme, top-level members recruit new members who pay upfront fees to the people who enrolled them. New members will then recruit newer members, and a percentage of the fees they earn will be transferred up the chain as well. A pyramid scheme is a method of moving money from the bottom of an organization to the top.

Key Difference

The bulk of pyramid schemes make money through recruiting fees and rarely try to sell valuable goods or services. A real sou-sou, on the other hand, pools the funds of its members with a guaranteed agreed-upon payout schedule for each member, ensuring that everyone profits throughout the life of the sou-sou’s existence. 

Key Issue

Pyramid schemes aren’t meant to be long-term investments. It will only work if the bottom level (New Recruits) remains broader (in number) than the upper levels. The entire pyramid will collapse if the bottom level begins to decrease (fewer individuals are recruited). A pyramid cannot be sustained indefinitely or even for a long time due to simple mathematical rules. People who have donated their hard-earned money will eventually lose it somewhere along that pyramid.


Sou-Sou and pyramid schemes are not the same thing. You should take not of anyone who asks persons to join a program in which they must pay money and recruit others in order to earn money should be taken seriously. This is the most obvious indicator that you’ve been lured into a pyramid scheme that will eventually fail. Do your homework before entrusting your hard-earned money to a scheme you don’t completely comprehend.

What is a Financial Plan?

African couple facing financial stress. Young woman with curly hair planning family budget in kitche

What is a financial plan?

A Financial plan allows you to map your finances and prepare yourself to achieve your financial goals. You can create your financial plans alone or with the assistance of financial advisors. Whether going it alone or with the help of financial advisors, your first step is creating a clear picture of your current financial state with details about your savings, cash flow, expenses, debt, investments, insurance, and any other elements in your financial life. 

Next, you can outline your goals and desires along with the strategies to reach them in the short, medium, and long term. If at any point this feels stressful, don’t worry, you can easily access financial advisors for free and much more at TheFinRoute

You can begin financial planning by Setting your financial goals, Creating a budget, Building your emergency fund, Managing your debt, Protecting your financial well-being with insurance, Retirement planning, and Estate planning.

Seven ways you can begin financial planning today:


1. Set your financial GOALS!

Clearly stating your financial goals is a good place to start. This will help you understand why and where you will save and invest your hard-earned money. Your financial objectives and desires will drive a strong financial plan. It helps you STICK TO THE PLAN and GET IT DONE by explicitly stating what you want your money (savings and investments) to achieve for you over time.

2. Creating a Budget!

Creating a budget helps you to examine your monthly financial flow (Income and Expenses), as well as your savings/investment strategy (Investment Insurance / Higher Interest Savings Accounts). This might go a long way toward ensuring that you keep more of your money for the coming year(s). It’s critical to be open and honest about your finances and to paint as realistic a picture of your finances as possible. Understanding how your money flows in and out can help you set short, medium, and long-term goals right away.

3. Build your emergency fund!

Life will always throw you curveballs, but you shouldn’t let them ruin your plans for the future. Here’s when your emergency money comes in handy. The cornerstone of your financial strategy is ensuring that small setbacks do not turn into disasters or catastrophes. You should be able to work through small emergencies, such as repairs or a trip to the hospital, with approximately $3,000 – $5000TT without having to borrow money or use a credit card.

4. Manage your debt

Understanding and managing your debt are essential components of your financial strategy. Toxic high-interest debt, such as credit cards and high-interest loans, must be paid off in order for our financial health and growth to continue and truly flourish. You may consult with a financial expert if you need help managing your debt. If doing it alone, make a commitment to paying off high-interest debt and loans first and working your way through all your debt until you are debt-free.

5. Use Insurance to safeguard your financial well-being.

At any second, our worlds can become derailed. The finest financial planners will plan for the best-case scenario while also preparing for and protecting against the worst-case scenario. The greatest financial planners use insurance to safeguard their assets from life’s big surprises. Insurance may be used for more than just preparing for the unexpected; it can also be used as a savings and investment vehicle, providing complete coverage and strengthening your financial planning strategy. At TheFinRoute, you may learn more from financial experts or contact agents for free to learn how you can profit from the various benefits of insurance that most people are unaware of.

6. Retirement Preparation

Retirement is a long way off for some, however, it is critical to consider the kind of life you desire when you’re no longer working. At this time long-term financial planning can begin now to accomplish those future goals. When thinking of retirement, you should consider the activities you want to be engaged in and the concerns you want to take care of (Health, Housing). Consider the quality of life you want to have and work backward from there, reviewing what it will take financially to accomplish your desires.

7. Wills & Estate Planning

One of the most underestimated elements of financial preparation, particularly by people who are enjoying or intending to enjoy retirement, is estate planning. This includes the planning of duties to handle an individual’s assets in the case of their untimely or anticipated death. This document also specifies who should make financial and healthcare choices on your behalf if you are unable to do so. There’s no use in accumulating financial assets if you don’t have a say in what happens to them when you pass away. Estate-planning advice and alternatives can be facilitated by financial advisers and insurance agents.

Your financial plan moves you closer to financial stability. Each of these steps should help you to start thinking and shaping your financial plan in your mind. Safeguard yourself and your loved ones from financial setbacks and difficulties, for further help, reach out to financial experts at TheFinRoute.

For extra reading on retirement planning, click here

How To Get A Loan In Trinidad and Tobago?

Signing a loan for a home purchase.

How To Get A Loan In Trinidad & Tobago?

Getting a loan is a big commitment for many of us, but how do we go about ensuring we are getting what we truly need and not what institutions want to give us?
Consider why you first want a loan, understanding the reason for your loan helps in determining the type of loan and size of the loan you may take. Deciding which financial institution suits your needs best becomes crucial. You will need to find and compare bank lending rates and requirements for loan qualification to narrow down the best options for you.

1. Why do you want a loan?

First things first, why are you getting your loan? Understanding the reason for your loan helps in determining the type of loan and size of the loan you may take.
There are several types of loans available, they include but are not limited to: car loans, school loans, business loans, or mortgages.

2. Which Institution Is Best For You?

Secondly, it is crucial to decide which financial institution best suits your needs. You will need to find and compare bank lending rates and requirements for loan qualification to narrow down the best options for you. Alternatively, you can use resources like https://www.thefinroute.com/  to get insight into the options lenders may offer you as it is free, fast, confidential, and unbiased, with no favor to any specific institution.

3. Ask Questions!

Third, be sure to ask important questions to your chosen institution’s representative. These questions are important to help you make a well informed decision.
Questions like:
‘How does my job status affect my loan size?’,
‘Can insurance help aid in my borrowing privileges?’ or
‘What happens if I lose my income?’

To understand better what Lenders are looking for, visit https://www.wellsfargo.com/goals-credit/smarter-credit/credit-101/getting-a-loan/

4. Budget

Finally, make sure your monthly income after expenses will allow you to satisfy your loan payments each month comfortably. (For help creating and understanding your budget, check out https://www.thefinroute.com/  and contact a financial advisor today for free.)

Always remember, when taking a loan, ensure the terms and conditions are in YOUR best interest.

How to Save Money?

Saving Money putting coins into a jar.

How to Save Money?

Whatever the reason, learning how to save money is essential for your personal financial health. It is critical to your financial stability to have access to cash without the need to borrow.

Here are some tips for building a better savings habit: Review your monthly expenses, Budget your income, Set savings goals, Research financial tools, Automate your savings, and Monitor and review.

  • Review your monthly expenses.

Each month, you will have both fixed and variable expenses. Your fixed expenses are unlikely to change, but your variable expenses are critical to identifying opportunities to increase your savings.

  • Budget your income

After taking note of your expenses, budget for your weekly/monthly savings. Your recorded expenses should help you understand your monthly income and expenditure profile. Based on this you can locate where you can cut your expenses and put that unspent cash toward your savings plan. Note: (Not eating out as often and canceling subscriptions to unnecessary services can be significant money savers)

  • Set savings goals.

These will be different for everyone, but they will guide your savings process. Creating a financial plan can help you outline your savings goals. Short-term goals such as saving for a vacation, creating an emergency fund (covering 3-9 months of your expenses), or a down payment for a car are achievable in 1-3 years depending on how aggressive and disciplined you are with your savings. Longer-term goals such as saving for a home down payment, your child’s education, or saving for retirement may call for less aggression but more consistency over a longer period of time.

  • Research financial tools

Research different financial savings plans. Aside from your usual savings account at your bank or credit union, there may be savings accounts with higher interest rates or more flexibility that can benefit you outside of simply setting aside your savings each month. Higher interest rate accounts can offer you more return on your savings. Insurance savings policies not only allow you to save money but benefit from insurance coverage in the process. Getting advice on these financial tools can give you additional benefits on your savings plans.

  • Automate your savings

Automate your weekly/monthly savings. By having a predetermined amount of your income automatically sent to your savings account(s) you don’t have to think about the temptation of spending your money that has been reserved for a purpose. This can help make it easier to create the consistency you need over time and help you reach your savings goal within your planned time without delays.

  • Monitor and Review

Ensure you are sticking to your plan. No matter the goals you have, the method you take, or the savings tools (account type) you use, monitoring your progress and ensuring you are on target is important to your success in both the short and long term.

Building your savings doesn’t have to be a difficult process. You should ensure you do it in a way that is sustainable for your needs. This will make it easier for you to meet your savings goals across time. TheFinRoute can connect you to financial advisors to help you develop the financial skills you need. The easier they become, the easier it is to stay on course and keep focused on achieving your goals. 

For more tips on saving money, click here.