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When was the last time you visited the Philippines?

Traveling on a vacation or visiting back home may not be the best part of your year, but there’s a good chance it is. And getting back home to see friends and family and loved ones in the Philippines is at the top of the vacation list for many.

It cannot be easy to be away from those who are so close to you. And going back home to visit the Philippines may be a great opportunity to change that. Sometimes it’s costly and getting time off isn’t easy, either, but that started Xoom to thinking about traveling back home.

Xoom, a global leader in the money transfer business, conducted an exclusive survey of its Filipino American clients and asked this question: When was the last time you visited the Philippines?

As it turns out, the majority of those who answered the survey said it’s been recently. A full 24 percent of the respondents said they have visited the Philippines this year and 22 percent said they had visited the Philippines most recently in 2013.

Fifteen percent of those in the survey said they last visited the Philippines in 2012; eight percent said their last visit was in 2011 and 19 percent said their most recent visit was before 2011. Some 11 percent said they have not visited the Philippines.


Do you think President Aquino is doing a good job with the Philippine economy?

Politics can be a tricky or even polarizing topic, but there is one aspect of it that’s always in style. The economy. What’s happening with it and are you happy with the way it’s trending?

President Benigno S. Aquino III was sworn in four years ago with a significant mandate in his election. Son of legendary leaders in Filipino democracy, Benigno Aquino Jr. and Corazon Aquino, he probably has had enough time on the job for some opinions to be formed about his government’s handling of the economy of the Philippines.

Aquino’s government has pursued legislation reforms to build up investment opportunities and some reports reflect inflation at around 3.1 percent.

But Xoom, a global money transfer leader, wanted to know more. Xoom wanted to know how you feel, so Xoom conducted an exclusive survey of its Filipino-American customers recently and asked whether they thought President Aquino is doing a good job with the Philippine economy.

Aquino is doing a good job, according to 32 percent of the respondents in the survey. While 20 percent who took part in the survey said that Aquino is not doing a good job with the Philippine economy, the highest percentage of those who took the survey, 48 percent, said they had no opinion.


How many Facebook friends do you have?


Friends, how do you count them? The number and quality of your friends is one of the biggest aspects of socialization. We like to know what our friends are up to and in return, they’re fond of keeping track of your activities as well, which is the sort of circle of friendship that we’re all searching for.

These days, one of the most popular ways to track friendship is with Facebook, the social media giant, where giving a ‘like’ is giving a thumbs-up to your friend.  And who doesn’t enjoy writing (or seeing) a new status update?

Xoom, a leader in the global money transfer business, found the whole issue of Facebook compelling. So Xoom conducted an exclusive survey of its customers recently and asked about Facebook: How many Facebook friends to you have?

The most popular answer was one to 99 Facebook friends, which is what 30 percent of the respondents in the survey said. The next highest percentage, 24 percent, said they had somewhere between 100-299 Facebook friends. Some 14 percent in the survey answered they had anywhere from 300-499 Facebook friends, four percent who responded said they had from 500 to as many as 699 Facebook friends.

And 13 percent said they had 700 or more Facebook friends; while 15 percent answered that they were not on Facebook.


How often do you text your loved ones in the Philippines?


How do you correspond with others, especially family members far away? Keeping in touch and staying in touch with friends and family has changed a lot thanks to our digital and mobile devices. Texting has evolved into a major new way to stay in touch, especially with your loved ones back home in the Philippines.

News, sometimes important news, travels fast, and the need to know that news has probably never been greater.

That’s why texting has taken on such great importance. To find out just how important, global money transfer powerhouse Xoom conducted an exclusive survey of its customers recently. Xoom asked this question: How often to you text your loved ones back home in the Philippines?

The numbers were revealing. Texting daily was the answer from 35 percent of those in the survey. A full 19 percent of the respondents said they text their loved ones in the Philippines a few times a week. Texting a few times a month was the answer from 10 percent who took part in the survey; four percent said they texted once a week and two percent said they texted once a month. And 29 percent had some other answer.


Can’t decide on a money transfer service? Choose the one with the best security qualifications!


Given the potential for security breaches and fraud in the world of financial transactions, it’s no surprise that the U.S. federal and state governments have instituted a robust set of rules and regulations governing the remittance industry and the service providers that operate in this sector.

While this might not be a major factor in your search for a money transfer company, it needs mentioning as some money transfer companies are more committed to consumer protection, compliance standards and customer service than others. While it may be difficult for you to evaluate these variables without quite a lot of digging, one source you can easily check is the Better Business Bureau (BBB) rating.

Check with the Better Business Bureau (BBB)
In school, your performance on tests and exams was assessed by issuing grades. If you received an A+, you felt proud and enjoyed a sense of accomplishment. The Better Business Bureau, likewise, assigns grades to companies based on a broad array of performance criteria, including:

  • Length of time this business has been operating.
  • Complaint volume filed with BBB for a business of this size.
  • Response to complaint(s) filed against this business.
  • Resolution of complaint(s) filed against this business.

So make sure to check that your prospective money transfer company is accredited with the BBB and, if it is, whether it has achieved the coveted A+ BBB Rating.

Affiliations & Certifications
While some companies view compliance as something they have to do and often wait until the last minute to get up to speed, if at all, a few forward-looking companies that are truly customer-focused lead the charge and even “push the envelope” to make sure that their customers are protected. From their perspective, this is simply good business and an effective way to gain their customers’ trust.

In the case of money transfer companies, in addition to their BBB Rating, you can also check their affiliations and certifications, which they should be proudly displaying on their websites. Are they a member of highly regarded anti-fraud associations such as the Merchant Risk Council and the Association of Anti-Money-Laundering Specialists (ACAMS)? Are their privacy practices certified by an independent monitor such as TRUSTe? Is their website certified with a Verisign SSL Certificate, so that you know your information can be transmitted securely over the Internet?

At Xoom, we are committed to securing your financial information and employ proven technology to protect and secure your personal information. Plus, we have the Privacy Certification with TRUSTe, an A+ Rating from the Better Business Bureau, and the Symantec SSL Certificate from Norton Secured.


Do you plan to buy a home in the next 12 months?


Keeping up with what’s happening in the real estate market can be confusing and also a bit of a chore. The interest rates go down, the interest rates go up, or they look like they’re going up or going down. And meanwhile, your cash flow can sometimes be just as unpredictable.

Renters and homeowners each have their own sense of pluses and minuses, but for those who don’t own, it’s not easy to make such an important decision as whether or not to buy a house.

Sure, it’s one of the most personal choices you can make in your life, and much of that decision is based on finances, another very personal issue.

So Xoom, a global leader in the money transfer business, conducted a survey of its customers recently and asked this very important question: Do you plan to buy a home in the next 12 months?

The results of the survey showed an overwhelming majority, 67 percent, answered no. Some 18 percent of the respondents in the survey said maybe they would buy a house while almost as many, 15 percent of those who answered the survey, said yes, they intended to buy a house in the next 12 months.


Argentina and Germany Collide Again


History repeats itself again in the World Cup when Argentina and Germany collide in the World Cup Final for a third time. For Argentina, the journey to their fifth World Cup final was a long and difficult one, requiring a nerve-wracking semifinal victory over a stubborn Netherlands team, winning on penalty kicks, 4-2, on a drizzly evening in Sao Paulo.

Maxi Rodriguez, Argentina’s third and final substitute, provided the winning penalty kick against the Netherlands to set up yet another showdown with Germany.

Argentina is back in the World Cup final for the first time since 1990, when it lost to Germany on penalty kicks. In the only other World Cup final meeting against Germany, Argentina won, 3-2, in Mexico City in 1986, led by Diego Maradona.

Argentina, which has not lost in five World Cup semifinals, is 2-2 in World Cup finals. Argentina won its other World Cup in 1978, defeating the Netherlands, 3-1, in Buenos Aires.

The final against Germany figures to be dominated by two of the top scorers in the game, Lionel Messi of Argentina and Germany’s Thomas Muller.

And you can score too with Xoom, the easiest way to send money to Argentina.


Which Filipino languages do you speak?


Watch your language. Which one? Someone added them up and found that there are more than 6,500 spoken languages in the world. That, of course, is a whole lot of words. But did you know that there are more than 170 spoken languages in the Philippines?

One of the most culturally rich nations in the world, the Philippines is diverse in both ethnicity and language.

That prompted Xoom to dig deeper. Xoom, a global leader in the money transfer business, conducted a survey of its Fil-Am customers recently and asked them about language. Xoom asked this question: What Filipino languages do you speak?

The vast majority, 69 percent, said Filipino/Tagalog. Cebuano, spoken by about 20 million Filipinos, was identified by 19 percent of the respondents in the survey. Some 10 percent of those surveyed about what Filipino languages they speak answered Ilokano, the main language of the Northern Philippines and spoken by about eight million. Ilonggo, which is spoken in several provinces, and Kapampangan, spoken by about 2.8 million, showed up in the survey with eight percent of those who responded.

About 15 percent in the survey said they spoke other Filipino languages while 20 percent said they spoke no others.