Get On Top of Your Mortgage by Following These Steps

Get On Top of Your Mortgage by Following These Steps When you first get into your home, you may have every expectation of staying on top of your mortgage. Everything seems smooth More »

Looking after your money the mobile way

Looking after your money the mobile way Managing your finances abroad used to be a tricky business. You needed to ensure you carried sufficient funds for everything you planned to do during More »

Online Banking is amazing

Online Banking is amazing Thе соnсерt оf оnlіnе bаnkіng аѕ wе knоw іt tоdау dаtеѕ bасk tо thе еаrlу 1980ѕ, whеn іt wаѕ fіrѕt еnvіѕіоnеd аnd еxреrіmеntеd wіth. Hоwеvеr, іt wаѕ оnlу More »

Debt Consolidation Loans: 5 Reasons You Should Turn to Social Lending

Almost every facet of modern life involves debt in some way. Whether you want to buy a house, a new car or your weekly groceries, it is always possible to pay with More »

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Everyone has a dream home in their mind. If you are a first home buyer and planning to buy your dream home, there are many basic points you should consider. During your More »

 

Why Syncing Online and Physical Inventory Will save You Money

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The biggest boon to small retailers in the last 50 years has to be the invention of the Internet. Once upon a time every business was a local business. This isn’t to say that you don’t need those local dollars any more, but it does show that you can get more than just that. A good online presence means that you can be making sales around the clock and get help clearing out inventory that just didn’t sell in the store. Plus, it’s a good way to drum up word of mouth sales, go viral, and make it big. That’s always the dream. Now that you know what you want, here’s why you need to have your online and brick and mortar inventories synced to take advantage of this to its full potential.

Two Locations Mean More Sales

Obviously, having two ways for people to shop at your store means that you have roughly twice the chances to make sales. Now, if they don’t feel like coming down they can just shop from the comfort and safety of their own homes, and that’s great. You don’t even have to have open and closed hours; your website is available 24/7 for those who love to shop late at night or only have a few minutes on the weekend to look for gifts for that special someone. Having two locations (one brick and mortar and one online) is a way to sell the same stock in basically two locations, and that’s all going to be great unless you hit a snag.

You see, most places don’t list the same inventory online that they sell in the store. They’re afraid of double selling (selling the same single item twice) and they don’t want to run into this problem. This is holding back their earning potential because they’re offering only “either/or” inventory, which can lead to inventory running out one place where there is high demand while the stock in the other pile languishes without buyers.

Take This Show on the Road

When you own a small boutique you can’t turn up any chance at making money. This means that you need to go where the sales are. If you are a custom candle maker, for example, you should be trying to go to as many craft fairs as possible. Hand crafted wares are great gifts and are making a comeback in modern culture as being elevated above machine made products. Sending out a team with some candles and a mobile point of sale system is just the thing to keep this going strong. You can reel in the cash by the bucketful and still keep track of all your inventory for your store and your online shop.

Keep Your Inventory Straight

One thing that mobile point of sale systems really help with is keeping your stock synced. Get yourself a personal barcode printer and scanner like the ones offered by Shopify and you’ll never double sell anything again, even if you’re hitting the craft fairs. Scan the code anywhere, whether in person or on the road, and your stock will automatically update your inventory and keep your website up to date. This way you won’t sell the same ten candles in person that you did online half an hour ago, and just didn’t know it. These up to the minute adjustments will help you know when to pull stock so that you’re not accidentally double selling. Plus, sticking a barcode on things is often enough to prevent shoplifting and even in-house theft, according to Barcode Discount, which accounts for a lot of the inventory shrinkage that even small businesses have to contend with.

Having an Integrated Point of Sale System Means You’ll Stand out as Reliable

Double selling can really do a number on your business, but so can not being ready to accept anything your customers throw at you. It’s getting easier and easier to go cashless, according to Slate, with cash purchases nationwide expected to fall by as much as 15 percent by 2015. That’s right, plastic is the wave of the future, with tapping and swiping to pay for things becoming more and more popular as time goes by. However, that doesn’t mean that everyone is hopping on board the credit train. You need to be able to accept a variety of plastic devices to pay for things, because the average Millennial doesn’t have a credit card at all. That’s right, 63 percent of Millennials avoid the credit card debt of their parents’ generation by just not getting a credit card at all, according to Bank Rate. While this might make it harder for them to get a good loan later in life as they’re not building credit in their early years, it means small business owners are going to have to get creative when it comes to accepting payments. You need to be able to handle it all. Syncing your online and physical inventory means that you’re ready for anything, and no curve ball thrown your way is going to ruin things.

Get On Top of Your Mortgage by Following These Steps

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Get On Top of Your Mortgage by Following These Steps

When you first get into your home, you may have every expectation of staying on top of your mortgage. Everything seems smooth sailing, but then perhaps you hit a bump. Maybe you lose a job, or maybe you realise that some of the repair bills on the property were a little higher than you thought they were. What can you do to stay on top of your mortgage when you feel as if you might be sinking?

Rebudget

It seems simple, but the truth is that most people simply look at their bills on a one by one basis. They do not see the bills as a cohesive whole that needs to be paid out of a common budget. If you find that you have less money than you thought you would at the end of the month, it is worth your while to sit down and budget everything. Throw out the original budget and start from scratch. Where is the money coming from, and where is it going?

Notify Your Lender

As you pay your mortgage, you are entering into a long relationship with your lender. Ideally, most of it will go by without a single ripple of strife, but you will discover that this is not always the case. If there is a change in your circumstances or if something affects your ability to pay, always be willing to contact your lender to let them know what is going on. You may have your payments reduced, or you may be able to put off payment for a short time. As soon as you suspect that there is a problem, let them know.

Contact an Independent Financial Adviser

The terms of your mortgage were agreed upon by you and the lender, but over time, you might suspect that there is a better deal for you out there. This may be the case, but if you are not certain, it is a good idea for you to consider speaking to an independent financial adviser. This is an expert who can make a huge difference to your mortgage payments. He or she will be able to tell you how your mortgage compares to other deals out there, and they can give you advice on how to proceed.

Consider a Second Loan

As you move forward with paying for your mortgage, things may reach a point where you want to take out a second loan. A second loan can get you through a bad spot, but it is also worth remembering that it can become another onerous payment for you to think about. Before you go for a second loan, take a moment to consider how you will pay for it and what kind of surety you are offering. To be sure, make use of a loan repayment calculator to ensure that the amount is something you can manage.

A mortgage can be handled responsibly, but it requires time and effort. Be careful with yours!

Tips About How To Fix Your Credit – Part 1

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Is your credit terrible? These tips can help you properly repair your credit so that you can have a top notch credit score.

Having poor credit makes financing a home a nightmare. If your income is a factor you may qualify for a FHA loan, which has lower standards and makes the federal government your lender in a sense. FHA loans offer lower down payments and help with closing costs.

Think about getting an installment account to save money and improve your credit score. There is a minimum amount each month that you will have to pay, so be sure not to get in over your head. You will improve your credit score by properly managing an installment account.

If your creditors try to jack up your interest rates, do not pay them. Creditors are skirting aspects of the law when they hit you with high interest rates. On the other hand, you’re likely bound by a contractual agreement to pay any interest charged by lenders. It is possible that you can sue a creditor and claim that the interest rate charged is unreasonably high.

You must pay your bills consistently if you want to repair your credit. Your bills must be paid completely and on time. Once you have started to pay towards your past-due accounts, you credit score will gradually improve.

A good tip is to work with the credit card company when you are in the process of repairing your credit. When you work with company you are not working against anyone, including yourself. This will help prevent furthering yourself into debt. You can accomplish this by simply calling and asking them to change payment terms, like your interest rate or your billing date.

Before you agree on an agreement for settling your debt settlement, you should determine what affect this will have on your credit score. Some methods will be less damaging than others, and you need to research them all before signing an agreements with a creditor. Creditors just want their money and really aren’t interested on how it will affect your score.

When you are attempting to improve your credit score, carefully comb over your credit reports for negative information. If you notice a mistake on your report, you could get some items crossed off. Even if the item itself is right, an error in the date or amount gives you the right to contest it.

Find and challenge errors on your credit report using the dispute process offered by each credit reporting agency. Send an official letter to companies that have wrongfully lowered your score, and include documentation that shows the mistake. Use a return receipt when you mail your package so that you can prove that the agency received it.

If you are living beyond your financial ability, stop now. This might be a tough thing to get your head around. A lot of people rely on credit to maintain an unrealistic lifestyle, but when the credit runs out, all that’s left is a very big bill. Examine your budget, and figure out how much extra money you have to shop with.

Make sure to review your credit card statement monthly to make sure there are no errors. You don’t want them reporting these to the credit reporting companies, so you’ll need to contact them immediately if there are.

The New ‘Right to Work from Home’ Scheme

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Recent changes in UK workers rights have seen a whole host of benefits being brought to the the workplace. These changes have been put in place due to a large number of stress related illnesses and a prolonged imbalance of time spent at work, as opposed to time spent enjoying life and taking a break from the office whenever possible. As it stands, traditionally we have worked a 9 to 5, Monday – Friday existence over the last few decades. However, due to work pressures, a struggling economy, people being fired and no replacement being hired to take their place, we have seen the 5pm finish gradually growing out to anything upto 9pm on a day to day basis. New changes have now been put in place which gives people the right to work from home, amongst other benefits which  are all summed up perfectly in the infographic below by GoToMeeting. We should all be making the most of these changes, make sure you are too:

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Using an Umbrella Company For an Easy Life

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Using an Umbrella Company For an Easy Life

Contractors who have worked under a limited company for years will be surprised to hear that umbrella companies are fast becoming the popular choice for new contractors and freelancers. As many of you will know an umbrella company is a company that is set up to be an intermediary between a contractor / freelancer and the clients they work for. And the main purpose of that umbrella company will be to deal with all of the day to day administration that comes with contracting, (such as taxation, payroll and invoicing) in order to free up more time for the contractor to work their contracts (and therefore make more money.) In return for a small fee (depending on the umbrella company) the client will no longer have to worry about the hassles of PAYE and NIC’s, of invoicing and chasing clients and of dealing with accountants, HMRC or Companies House.

Tell Me Something I Don’t Know – Haven’t Umbrella Companies Been Around Forever?

Absolutely, and this is part of their appeal. They have always been popular with contractors but it is only in the last few years they have become really popular. That’s because HMRC has recently been introducing more and more legislation to close down popular taxation vehicles used by contractors and in all that legislation umbrella companies have remained untouchable. Legislation in 2007 explicitly noted that umbrella companies were considered to be in a different category than composite structures and single person companies and they remain the best solution for avoiding the perils of IR35. Whilst structures such as Managed Service Companies and Employee Benefit Trusts have fallen by the wayside and whilst limited company contractors find themselves more and more wary of any new regulations, umbrella companies keep on growing in popularity (there are now more than 200,000 people in the UK working through an umbrella company) and doing what they do.

So What Is It That They Do?

In a nutshell they offer the only rock-solid, compliant and trustworthy alternative to a limited company on the market, designed to offer contractors a much easier and more relaxed way of working without all the paperwork and admin that comes with running a limited company.

What About The Tax Advantages of Limited Companies?

For contractors who earn more than £300 a day there are some tax advantages to running their business through a limited company but these need to be weighed up with all the disadvantages and regulatory pitfalls that come with being a limited company contractor. For other contractors and for new contractors the tax advantages of a limited company structure are much less and they would almost certainly benefit more from the other advantages (as well as the guaranteed compliance) of an umbrella company. Hamilton Bradbury’s page has some good information about Umbrella Companies if you want to continue reading up on this subject.

Tell Me About The Advantages of Umbrella Companies Then…

Firstly, it is worth stating that umbrella companies do have some tax perks of their own. On top of the time and money they will save you in freeing you up from admin and paperwork they also allow you to claim money back in expenses whilst working under an employer / employee structure. For example, as you will most likely be contracting from a number of different locations these will all be classed as ‘temporary workplaces’ and this will mean you can claim for travel and subsistence costs involved with getting to and from those temporary workplaces as well as any costs incurred on site. These expenses can be offset against your gross salary.

 

Secondly, you will be working through PAYE and NIC’s and will therefore be a full employee of your umbrella company. This means that although you are still a contractor you will be given the full statutory rights of an employee, which include sick pay, sick leave, maternity leave and holidays.

 

Thirdly, any umbrella company worth its salt will also provide you for free with all of the insurances you are required (or strongly recommended) to get as a contractor. This should include complete cover for both professional and public liability. Standard levels offered by most umbrella companies are up to £5 million for Public Liability Insurance, up to £10 million for Employers Liability Insurance and up to £10 million for Professional Indemnity Insurance. Some will also cover you for insurances specific to your sector of contracting.

 

Then there is the issue of compliance mentioned above. This is fast becoming one of the biggest advantages of umbrella companies. As mentioned above, the fact that they have been around for years when other company structures have been legislated against by HMRC has meant many contractors have concluded they are the safest port in a storm. The IR35 legislation that looms over the working lives of every contractor is simply not an issue when it comes to working through an umbrella company. Whilst IR35 was introduced with the aim of catching contractors who had an ‘employment’ style relationship despite working outside of PAYE and NIC’s, umbrella company contractors work through PAYE and NIC and are therefore never going to fall foul of IR35. The same thing applies to Managed Service Legislation and Onshore Intermediaries Legislation. In other words, unlike limited company contractors, umbrella company contractors can be certain they will never find HMRC knocking unexpectedly at their doors.

  Ok, That’s All Great, But Will An Umbrella Company Really Mean An End To Paperwork?

Absolutely. That’s the whole raison d’être of an umbrella company. Most contractors and freelancers go solo because they want to work for themselves doing what they love and because they want to flee the tedium and time-wasting of paperwork and admin that comes with an office environment. Many limited company contractors then find themselves spending half their time doing exactly that. Joining an umbrella company is the perfect solution for people who don’t want to do any paperwork whatsoever and want to spend all their time concentrating on their actual contract work. Once you sign up with them, umbrella companies will immediately start handling all of your PAYE and NIC payments and will deal with HMRC on your behalf. Not only that, but they will also handle all of your invoices to clients and then collect the money from those clients when it is time to pay up. This also means they will handle the legal side of things if they need to chase clients for money (one of the worst parts of contracting.) Indeed any paperwork or admin relating to the day-to-day running of your contracting career will be dealt with by your umbrella company. The only thing you will have to do is hand in a timesheet (with your hours and expenses) once a week, normally via an online portal. That’s it. That’s the total extent of your paperwork as a contractor!

Sounds great! Any disadvantages?

Only that for a small percentage of high-earning contractors the tax advantages, as mentioned above, might be slightly better with a limited company. But for everyone else the removal of all the administrative hassles and paperwork make umbrella companies the perfect way of working. This is especially true for new contractors who might want to see if they enjoy the contracting working style or for experienced workers who wish to contract temporarily. Umbrella companies are easy to join and easy to leave in a matter of hours whereas limited companies can take ages to get started and even longer to close down again. Once again that’s down to all the paperwork – limited companies require a ton of it whilst umbrella companies require none.

The Right Insurance Policy Is Different For Each Person.

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bigstock-mortgage-clause-in-insurance-policy-1402881Many people are confused by the subject of insurance. Although everyone would like quality coverage, the cost is also considered. The following article will help you sort out your insurance and learn to confidently shop for many different types of insurance.

Renew or purchase a brand new policy of insurance and save on your overall cost of any insurance type. Each insurer has its own, different set of criteria for determining the premiums. That means that there is a wide variation in the cost of insurance policies between companies. Be smart, do your research; you should obtain a minimum of three quotes prior to deciding which policy to purchase.

If you own a business, make sure your insurance needs are completely covered. Generally speaking, most common risks are covered by the majority of policies; however, if you have some specific risk that you want to be certain is covered, you may want to purchase a specific policy or add a rider to your existing policy.

Subscribing to bundle policies is a good way to save money. You could possibly combine your auto and motorcycle insurance policies under one joint fixed rate. Many insurance providers offer home insurance packages as well. But, you should only buy insurance policies that you truly require.

In order to obtain the correct insurance, you must understand what is being offered by the company. The business of insurance is more than a little confusing; do not pause to ask a professional at the insurance company for further information. Worried about the integrity of an insurer? Run the policy by someone you trust who knows how coverage works.

Check over your insurance policies periodically. You may find mistakes: coverage you thought was removed but is still there, missing discounts you qualify for, extra coverage you thought you had dropped and so on. Each of these items could wind up taking money from your pocket, so it is worth the effort.

Picking the correct insurance policy is part of a smart financial strategy. For example, if you pick a policy that has a low deductible, the cost each month will be higher, but you are secure in the event of an accident. If you choose a high deductible and lower monthly payments, you will have to pay a great deal of money in the event that there is an accident.

There are a number of places to look to find the best deals for insurance. Shop on the Internet and do your homework first. When you’re knowledgeable about insurance companies, you’ll be able to choose a plan that’s right for you and your budget. The more insurance knowledge one has will make it easier to get the right insurance plan.

Make sure that you always examine pet insurance renewal forms as closely as you would your own insurance forms. Some companies treat a policy renewal the same as a new policy. That means that if your pet now has a chronic condition, such as diabetes, the company may consider it to be a pre-existing condition upon renewal. Stay away from these shady insurance companies who try to be sneaky with these tactics.

Now that you’ve read this article, you know insurance doesn’t have to be as complicated as it seems. Even if you have insurance, you could always find ways to make your coverage better.

Simple Ways On How You Could Make Money In The Stock Market – Part 2

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Look over your portfolio on a regular basis. Study your portfolio, ensuring that your investments are making a profit, and that the market is performing in your favor. That being said, don’t obsess over it to the point where you are checking it daily; the stock market can be extremely volatile, and seeing the various ups and downs could cause you to panic unnecessarily.

Look into how equity is really aligned with the voting rights for a company when you analyze a given company. You can find management teams holding 5% of some stock, yet they control around 70% of the voting power. Avoid buying stock in companies with these types of situations.

Define your goals before you buy stock. It may be that you want to build and strengthen your portfolio, or you may be seeking out a low risk way to obtain income. Whatever the case, figuring out your goals will help you better prepare a good and successful strategy.

Watch the trade volume on the stocks you want to buy. Trading volume is crucial because it tells you the activity of a stock during a specific time frame. The activity or lack thereof will be a good indication of whether the stock is a sound investment.

Begin by investing just a small amount into a particular stock. Only use a small portion of your entire investment capital. If you find that the stock you chose turns out to earn you profit, then you can slowly start investing more and more. If you invest a lot at first, there is a good chance of losing a large amount of money.

Although there is nothing wrong with being passionate with regard to the stock market, take care that it does not rule your life. If you constantly obsess over stocks daily, you are more likely to get tired and make small, but costly mistakes.

It is often wise to concentrate on locating stocks for companies that are growing only a little bit faster than average, not excessively faster. They typically have better valuations when compared with high-growth stocks. High-growth stocks are typically in hot demand, which pushes prices up even higher and they ultimately have trouble meeting the inflated demands of money-hungry investors.

Sound portfolios can generate returns in the area of 8 percent, while terrific ones may bring 15 or 20 percent. However, you must remember that no matter what the perceived risk level the stocks in your portfolio can suddenly change, for the good or bad. Deciding when and how to invest your money requires a great deal of consideration, but when done correctly, you will not regret your decisions.

Keep in mind that when you purchase stocks, you are purchasing ownership into the business. A lot of people hear that some stocks are good stocks, also keep in mind that you own a portion of a given company when you choose to invest. You need to do the due diligence so you don’t lose all of your money.

It only takes some money to invest in stocks, but it takes knowledge and information to make a real profit buying and selling stocks. Stay focused on learning what drives the stock market, and what makes certain companies good investment candidates, before you invest any of your money. Use the solid advice below to get started with your stock market success.

Simple Ways On How You Could Make Money In The Stock Market – Part 1

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Investing your money in stocks can be a great way to increase your wealth, but you need to know what you are doing. Read the following article to find out how you can make the most money from investing. Today, you can begin earning from stock investments.

Utilize an intelligent, long-term plan to help you make as much money as you possibly can from the stock market. You will find more success when your expectations reflect the realities of trading, rather than attempting to look for a crystal ball that doesn’t exist. Keep your stocks until you make a profit.

When you decide upon a stock to invest in, only invest five to ten percent of your total capital fund into that one choice. By doing this, you can really minimize your risk, should the stock experience serious decline in the future.

Think of your stocks as interest in a company that you own, rather than just simple meaningless elements to be traded. This means that you will really want to be knowledgeable about any investment you’re making. Learn a lot about the company and its various strengths. Learn about where you’re vulnerable. This will help you make wise stock market decisions.

If you feel that you can do your own company and stock research, try using a brokerage firm that offers an online interface so you can make your own investments. Online brokers cost much less than regular brokers, so if you are comfortable doing your own research, give online trading a shot. You want to spend the least amount of money in order to make money.

You may want to consider using an online service as a broker. This will give you the added security of having a broker as well as the freedom to trade as you wish. Doing so allows you to take on as much or as little responsibility as you would like. You will have control as well as professional assistance.

Be wary of unsolicited recommendations and stock tips. Of course, listen to the advice of your broker or financial adviser, especially if the investments they recommend can be found in their own personal portfolios. Simply turn a deaf ear to anyone else. Always do research yourself to supplement stock advice.

Think about purchasing stocks what yield high dividends. That way, even though the stock declines in value, you’re receiving dividends that could offset most of the losses. On the other hand, if the company’s stock goes up, dividends simply serve to increase your profit margin. They are also a great second income stream.

If you’re an American citizen you can open your own Roth IRA and fill it up. Most middle-class workers will qualify for a Roth IRA. Even with average returns, Roth IRAs have enough tax breaks to result in large returns over time.

Simple And Effective Commercial Real Estate Strategies.

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Selling or buying commercial real estate is a very rigorous process. Despite how adept you may be in a certain area, you might miss something obvious or something you weren’t knowledgeable about. This article is full of commercial tips will shed some light on the subject.

Negotiate, whether you are the buyer or the seller. Ensure that your voice is heard, and that you are offering-or receiving-a price that is fair for both parties.

You should take digital photos of the condition. Ensure that the photos document any problems, including mold, damaged walls, or chipped fixtures.

If you are new to investing in real estate, spend some time surfing online resources that house information that seasoned investors use. It’s not possible to be too knowledgeable, so keep researching new investing strategies.

When choosing between two different types of commercial properties, it’s best to look at things on a bigger scale. Getting the financing you need is a difficult thing, regardless of the size of the property. In effect, this is similar to an economy of scale, or also like purchasing more of an item to save money.

When you’re trying to decide which broker you should work with, take their experience in commercial real estate into account. Don’t use a broker who doesn’t specialize in the type of real estate investment you’re interested in. Most brokers will require you to have an agreement to work exclusively with them.

Research local prices similar properties have sold for before setting a price for your commercial real estate. There are many things that can impact your value greatly.

If your property deal requires inspections (as it should), look at the inspector’s credentials. Pay particular attention to credentials when it comes to pest inspections, since it is not uncommon to encounter people working in pest removal without a license. A non-accredited inspector could be a source of problems.

Search for buildings that are simply designed and constructed if you’re planning on renting out commercial property. Tenants will be more likely to rent space in this type of building, as it looks taken care of. Because these properties are in great condition, the property owners and the occupants will have a simpler time with basic maintenance service.

If you are renting out your property, be sure that they are always occupied. If you have any empty property, then you are responsible for its upkeep and maintenance. If you have more than one property without someone in it, think about why that is, and fix any problems that might be occurring.

One of the biggest considerations in the process of attaining commercial property is to know the neighborhood of each and every prospective location. If you purchase it in a more affluent neighborhood chances are your business will be more successful, because the pockets of your potential clientele are a bit deeper. However, if your products or services correspond to a specific social category, make sure you find a property in an area that corresponds to your target audience.

If you think that you already know all there is in regards to commercial real estate, think twice. Always seek out new information, and use the tips provided here to help you gain a much stronger market position. Apply these ideas with wisdom, and you shall profit.

Looking after your money the mobile way

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Looking after your money the mobile way

Managing your finances abroad used to be a tricky business. You needed to ensure you carried sufficient funds for everything you planned to do during your trip. Often once you were out of reach of your nearest bank branch you had no way of keeping track of your finances, ensuring bills were being paid, or getting more money should you need it.

The situation has now changed dramatically, and the last few years have seen an explosion in online and mobile banking across the world. As Alex Bray, Retail Channels Director at Misys, has said:

“With the introduction of online and mobile banking, managing your finances abroad is simple”

Customers can now maintain control of their money from anywhere in the world.

Some countries quickly embraced mobile apps and online banking, while others have been slower to adapt to the growth of mobile technology. In many ways it has been countries in Asia which have been at the forefront of mobile banking. A good example of this is e-bank Japan, a bank with more than three million customers, no physical branches, and less than 200 staff. Opening an account with e-bank Japan can be done entirely on your computer or mobile phone, and identity documents can be photographed using your camera phone and transmitted to the bank using your mobile. This reduces costs for the bank, and speeds up the application process for the customer.

Similar operations exist in India where many rural customers conduct all of their banking using mobile devices. The Indian bank is one example of a bank which offers a mobile app for fund transfers and account checking, as well as a full online service.

Perhaps the biggest market for mobile banking exists in China where a host of different banks now offer downloadable apps to allow customers to check their balance and transfer funds. You can choose from well known names such as ICBC, or UOB (China), China Merchants Bank, or even China Bank, all of whom have mobile apps available. In most cases you will need an account with the bank before you are able to use the app you downloaded.

Kenya leads the way

Surprisingly, for many people, the global leader in electronic money transfers and payments is Kenya. Kenya leads the way due to M-Pesa, their system of money transfer using mobile devices.  Since launching in 2005 the M-Pesa app has changed money transfer in Kenya, and is now expanding throughout Africa, and even India. Electronic money transfer has proven to be particularly popular in Kenya due to the high number of workers who regularly send money home to their families. M-Pesa makes the transfer a quick and low cost option.

One sleeping giant in the world of mobile banking is Brazil. Brazil was one of the first countries to establish the principle of ‘branchless banking’ and can boast one of the largest agent networks in the world, but it has proved slower at adopting mobile banking. Brazil has very recently started to catch up with the trend with HSBC launching a Windows phone app early in 2014.

In many cases Western countries have proved slower to adapt to the changing world of banking – perhaps for cultural reasons or because of the extensive branch networks that exist in many countries. One western country where mobile banking has made a breakthrough is Canada where both RBC Canada and HSBC Canada offer mobile apps to their customers.

Of course, it is not just mobile banking that is growing. Banks are continually seeking new ways to stay in touch with their customers. One method that has proved to be especially effective has been interaction via social media.

According to Alex Bray, this is a case of:

 “Be where your customers are – and help customers to interact with your services via social media.”

If customers now spend time online, rather than in their local bank branch then it makes sense for the banks to follow their customers and engage with them where they are.