Category Archives: Spending
While games like Pokémon GO! have millions of people all over the world gripped, and in some instances risking life and limb to catch rare critters in remote locations in the real world; it appears it isn’t just the gaming world that is sold on augmented reality. A number of other industries are now seeking new and innovative ways of interacting and engaging with consumers to not only improve the user experience, but also bring them closer to their customer’s real world.
Interestingly, one of these sectors is the banking industry, which is using the latest financial software and app technology to bring virtual banking services into the physical world. There are numerous ways in which financial companies are looking to do this; aiming to enhance the consumers experience and add value.
The latest innovations
For instance, the latest trial launch from Visa Europe and their innovations hub, Visa Europe Collab, back in June 2016 has seen them collaborate with app developers Blippar to create an augmented reality payment system. The e-commerce app uses digital banking technology and app development software to recognise items of interest in different scenarios by simply holding the phone up to the item and tapping the screen. The app will then identify where the item is from, whether users are admiring a friend’s outfit or a stranger on a train, giving them the option to complete a transaction there and then to be delivered to their door using a pre-registered, pre-paid debit or credit card. This augmented reality payment system could revolutionise how consumers interact with retailers and their banking services in so many ways.
Another example of banks incorporating augmented reality is the National Bank of Oman’s latest app launch, which uses certain digital banking technology to help shoppers entering a shopping mall or retail outlet to locate the nearest NBO branch or ATM in Oman, as well as view and purchase the bank’s latest offers and deals.
A whole new world
It’s these kinds of innovations that are transforming the way people bank, as well as how banks operate. In the United States alone, it’s reported that a number of banks including Wells Fargo are following in the footsteps of the likes of Google, Facebook and Sony incorporating virtual-reality systems into their portfolio.
Having said that the banking industry’s experiments with augmented reality technology are still very much in the early stages. It’s reported that one possibility that could be explored is creating virtual-reality branches. This would allow users to visit a “branch” and carry out everyday banking, purchase services and more without even having to leave their homes, via an augmented reality system such as Google Glass.
Beyond this there are many other plausible uses for augmented reality in banking, which are likely to be part of the future evolution of how we all bank every day.
Does augmented reality mean more real risk?
But while this all sounds very impressive and advanced; one element that may concern users is how secure these types of augmented reality banking apps and services really are. With the capability to instantly buy purchases just by holding up your phone or do virtual reality banking from your living room or anywhere for that matter, are we potentially putting ourselves at higher risk of a security breach?
Well naturally as new technology advances are made, the cyber criminals in the world will find new ways to manipulate and corrupt systems. But to counteract this it’s likely that all digital banking technology will be designed to be robust to ensure very high standards of security are maintained at all times. Naturally, just like any other form of virtual banking, these types of virtual reality applications will require a level of personal verification that is only known by the user. The personal data will also be heavily encrypted to protect it from cyber criminals and ensure that personal banking information isn’t compromised.
Providing secure and safe digital banking technology is implemented to create a virtual world of banking, there is a great potential to create even more innovative possibilities for a wide range of augmented reality banking services worldwide.
Do you need an exceptional and outstanding bank for your personal savings and loans account? It has always been a challenge for most people in finding the right banks that suit them better today; well here are some of the most paramount things that you need to know about before opening a savings and loans account.
Overdraft costs and fees charged
The amount of taxes charged varies with different banks, and the highest amount of fee charged for going over the agreed amount of overdraft limit. You need to choose a bank that gives you an overdraft of up to an agreed amount without charging fees or choose one that charges the lowest interest rate if you regularly spend more money than what you have in your personal savings account.
Get a beneficial and interest bearing savings account
You need to open a savings account that benefits you most and carries high interest on all your savings. Consider the monthly maintenance fees and ensure that you choose a bank that calls for no maintenance fee for your personal savings account, and this will be paramount in growing your money. Always ensure that you open a personal savings account in a bank that will pay interests on your credit balances especially if you never go overdraft.
Build a reserve with the bank saving account.
The primary objective of opening a saving account is to enable you to grow your money. Thus you need to receive an attractive personal savings account rates that allow you to reach your goals. The saving accounts should be simple interest bearing to help you in building your saving faster and with ease. Personal savings account are usually the best option whenever you need to save for a mortgage, emergency fund, your wedding or even for education.
Your personal savings is the gate pass to qualifying for a personal loan. You need to consider the interest rate of getting a loan from a bank and choose one that offers the lowest rate on loans. Your personal savings should help you in repaying any outstanding loans especially when you consider any early repayment charges on your loan. It is surprising on how much one can end up saving when you decide to repay the loan early.
Why the need for a personal loan?
It’s always important to consider the main reasons why you require borrowing a personal loan from your bank. The loan may be meant for the elimination of any high-interest credit card debt or to offset bills or relocation to another city with great job opportunities. It’s, therefore, necessary to consider an affordable personal loan, you should consider both the loan payment over time and the interest rate.
Find a personal loan calculator.
It is a good idea to use a loan calculator. Your personal loan may be your only option of settling high bills and paying off high-interest credit card debt. Once you figure out how much fund you need to borrow and the amount you can afford to pay back on a monthly basis then you shop for your personal loan. A personal loan calculator will assist you in knowing what to expect. You may need to look at different sources and compare the rates.
The loan calculator will help you in running the amount of loan that you require on an unsecured personal loan and selects your credit score to know your estimated payments and interest rates. The interest rate that you get on an unsecured personal loan varies with the lender, creditworthiness, and your location. Most banks usually quote a rate with minimal information which doesn’t affect your credit. Finally, the rate you get depends on more than just your credit score.
Times are changing, and the internet has made finding sound financial advice both easier and more difficult than ever before. While there is an abundance of information online, it can be difficult finding the truth in a sea of misinformation. When it comes to finances, millennials are in the unique position of having everything at their fingertips, while also having too much to make use of it all. With this guide, millennials will learn about the most common mistakes their generation makes and what they can do about it!
1. Waiting Too Long to Invest
At the highest level, investing is a skill that comes with some risk. For the average person, investing is a smart way to plan for the future and ensure that money grows against inflation. Too many millennials are waiting to invest for a variety of reasons. Some wish to learn more about it in hopes of beating the system, and others are cautious about making any money at all. However, the key to successful investing is simply having time in the market. The more time money has to grow and ride the ups and downs, the more money will be made in the long term. Millennials should try and begin investing as early as possible, no matter what the current market trends are, if they want to see their money grow in the future.
2. Not Saving
Investments are worthwhile long-term savings, but everyone should have a short-term emergency fund as well. Millennials would be wise to save roughly six months’ worth of expenses no matter how long it takes to do so. This will come in handy if the job market takes a dive, a car breaks, or other necessary expenses arise. By having a savings account, one can avoid going into debt.
3. Too Much Debt
Many millennials are burdened with student loan debts, but some are also choosing to go into debt by overspending their credit cards and living beyond their means. While credit is an important part of life, a high debt to income ratio will harm credit and decrease purchasing power. Avoiding interest and the dreaded penalty fees will free up more money for savings, and it will help to grow credit for future mortgages and other accounts as well.
4. Not Asking for Advice
Young adults have always been wary of advice. They want to make their own path and with the incredible amount of information online these days, it’s no wonder that millennials are stubborn about asking for help. However, most millennials would be better off by asking for advice from trusted professionals. Many investment firms, such as the UK company Fisher Investments, have a very strong social presence, meaning millennials can seek information on a platform that they’re comfortable with, rather than having to search through Google to find the answers.
5. Being Wary of the System
Counter-cultures have always existed, and there have always been groups going against the grain. However, after the 2008 financial fiasco and with the widespread use of the internet, millennials are growing up to be much warier of the financial system in place. While everyone should have some reservations and skepticism, many millennials are being fed false information from untrustworthy sources. However, this can easily be combated by taking the time to learn and understand the true nature of finances.
6. Not Budgeting
With a more vast and open marketplace than ever before, millennials must slow down and create a budget to avoid living beyond their means. Simple purchases like Netflix, Amazon Prime, and other online items can add up, and it can quickly lead to living paycheck to paycheck. Without a strong budget, it can be all too easy to fall into debt, or worse. Every millennial should take the time to plan their monthly expenses, tighten their purse strings, and they will likely have a little left over for savings.
7. Being too Picky
Millennials want it all, and that is admirable in a sense. They graduate from university with big dreams and grand ambitions, but then are shocked when they have to start in an entry-level position. However, millennials must understand that their dream job likely won’t be their first job, and it’s ok to work your way up the ladder over time.
8. Becoming Complacent
With new technology arriving at lightning speeds, globalisation, plus murky political waters, it’s always worthwhile to have money saved in case a career becomes obsolete or the market drastically changes. Millennials aren’t the only ones at risk of becoming complacent at their jobs or with their spending habits, but careers are changing much faster due to the internet and global market.
By practicing good financial habits, talking with professionals, and utilising all of these tips, millennials should be able to have a strong financial portfolio no matter what the future brings.
All companies need to keep adjusting to the market trends and get as much competitive as possible, not only to boost their profitability as to be able to survive in the toughest market conditions.
There are multiple ways for cutting business costs and take your business competitiveness to the next level:
1 – Splitting Advertising Costs
If you have a local shop, you can split advertising costs with your neighboring businesses. This is an old way for small companies to be able to get some exposure and more visitors together. If you’re just advertising your own services you’re spending much more than you could spend in this type of marketing campaigns.
2 – Partnerships Might Reduce Your Marketing Needs
A partnership might be the perfect replacement to some of your marketing campaigns. If you close a deal with a related website or company that’s not your competitor, he can send you customers, and you can send him customers, and you both get more business for free.
3 – Save Money on Printing
If you need to print flyers, documents, or anything regularly, working with the right printing business can save you money and reduce your printing costs budget. The best thing is that you can leverage those savings to order more printing ads for example, and that way you can get much more exposure and reach a bigger audience, just by working with the right printing business.
4 – Spread the Customer Feedback
If you have happy customers you can use that to your advantage in multiple ways. First, a happy customer will buy from you again in the future, and it’s cheaper to sell something to a repeating customer than to find a new customer. New customers are more expensive and reduce your advertising budget, so you can try to keep in touch with your current customers and turn them in repeating customers.
But another useful aspect of having happy customers is that you can use their feedback not only to improve your products and services as to show others how good your products or services are. Testimonials and customers feedback improve your conversion rates, so they save you money in finding new customers. And nowadays, you can easily get customer feedback on your own website or on social media, and share it with other prospect customers.
5 – Always Compare the Real Costs
Make sure you always compare the real costs of doing something in-house or by outsourcing it to a professional vendor. This one is closely related to the “save money on printing” tip. Just like in that example, if you do the math you might conclude that working with the right printing business can get your printing costs down, and probably below how much you would spend to print in your own office. The same can be applied to other tasks you’re doing yourself.
Always include your time costs too! If you’re spending the exact same money to have something done outside your company, you’re already saving hours and hours of work that you can use to work on other tasks.
Any business needs more customers to grow. One of the biggest challenges for a company is in growing the business in a sustainable way and maximize the marketing budget to make sure they get the best return on investment and maximize their growth opportunities.
Here are some strategies you can implement to make sure you’re investing your marketing budget wisely:
#1: Get some feedback from your customers
If you’re running a website or an e-commerce store, you can easily have a small form after your customers make you a purchase and ask them how they found you. You can also do it easily by sending a survey to your newsletter readers.
But even if you’re running a local store without much web presence, you can still gather feedback from your customers. A smart way to do it is to have a tablet or an iPad at the counter and let people interact with your app and give you some important feedback. Make it as interactive as you can, and be sure you ask them how they found you. With this information, you’ll easily evaluate which marketing channels are sending you most of the traffic and most of the customers.
#2: Get closer to your customers
The smartest businesses have been trying to get closer to their customers for some time. They invest on customer support and they make sure they keep in touch with the previous customers.
The goal of getting in touch with your previous customers is in getting more business from the same customers, without spending any portion of your marketing budget. If a customer bought something from you in the past and he had a good experience and support, he might be interested in buying from you once again.
You can implement for example loyalty programs to reward your current customers and to make sure they’ll be interested in buying from you once again.
You can also invest some time and some of your marketing budget on social media so that you can interact with your potential customers and your current customers, and keep them updated on your new products, services, and special discounts or sales.
#3: Be consistent and diversify your investments
On average, a customer has to see your image or interact with your brand up to 10 times before he buys something from you. So, you need to try to get exposure on multiple channels and keep interacting with your potential customers as much as you can to make sure they get to know you and your brand. This way, they will more likely to buy from you.
#4: Old school marketing might give you the best bang for your bucks
While most businesses are focusing their marketing strategies online, and spending most of their money on PPC or social media advertising, there are some old school marketing opportunities with much less competition and that deliver a much better return on investment for most businesses.
A great example of one of the best marketing strategies that your competitors might not be using yet is to hire a marketing company to post flyers for you, door to door. That’s a highly targeted marketing strategy for local businesses since you’re spreading your message and brand locally. It can be an effective way for growing your business and is typically less expensive than other marketing methods.
You need a little creativity and try to think outside the box. While all your competitors probably use Google Adwords or Facebook ads, probably not many of them use old school marketing strategies. And that’s where your opportunity lies.
The urge to make a few changes in your home is very much normal. It’s a simple way to give your home a new look and simplifies a fresh start. The trouble comes when the amount of money you have can’t seem to be able to cover the cost of revamping the house. but this isn’t something that should stop you from giving your home the makeover it deserves. There are various ways of revamping your home without breaking the bank and this good news especially for those working on a tight budget. Outlined below are simple tricks that will allow you achieve your goal with the set budget without going overboard.
Paint the place
While it may take a while to complete, painting is one of the easiest of giving any given room a complete transformation. It tops the list mainly because it doesn’t require much skill and a gallon of paint is really cheap. Grab a few paint chips from the local home improvement store then paint them on the walls to determine which one you like best whether you decide to paint alone or make this a party where you call your friends and family to help is up to you.
Rearrange the furniture
Rearranging the furniture a bit is also another effective way of giving your home a makeover without breaking the bank. It’s easy to get bored of your living room and wish you could buy a new one but since that’s just a fantasy, why not rearrange the furniture? You get to give it a new layout that’s unique with little effort.
Hire a handyman
Many people view this as a way to incur extra costs that are unnecessary. What most don’t know is that working with an experienced professional can go a long way in helping you save money on a home makeover. Think of it this way; the cost of handyman services will be reflected in his experience. An experienced handyman knows what he’s doing and so chances of making mistakes that would cost you in future are minimal. And in any, they allow you more time to accomplish other tasks that may require your immediate attention.
As you can see from the above tips, revamping your home without breaking the bank requires little effort. It also requires you to be very systematic and resourceful. And whether or not you like it, you have to remind yourself that these tips will help you refresh the look of your home on a small budget. It’s a win-win for you.
Ever wish that you had a time machine to go back to your younger self and tell them to do something? Most of us would tell the younger version of us to stay out of the sun, stop smoking or to date someone else, but what about the financial mistakes that you make to affect your future? Many of the financial moves that we make when we are in our twenties, or fail to make, can come back to bite us. There are six specific things that if you don’t do early, you will be upset with yourself later. To avoid regret, do these eight things early on.
1 Budget well
There was a time when we wrote checks for everything. Although killing trees, the ledger that was attached was a great way to stay on top of a budget. Nowadays, all we do is swipe a card. If you aren’t sticking to a budget and spending away, it will come back to haunt you. Those impulse buys may seem minuscule, but when you start to add them all up, they can become significant. If you make a budget and stick to it, then you can start saving for your future. If you don’t start to budget early on it begins to catch up with you, having a line of credit can help! Once things start to get complicated with children and mortgages, if you never learned to stay within your means, it will be difficult to reign it all in. To make matters worse, you won’t have a cushion to get you through, if something should happen.
2 Don’t let your balances revolve
If you don’t pay your credit cards off at the end of the month, a revolving balance can be like a bad girlfriend, following you around and making everything miserable. A revolving balance can not only take forever to pay off; it can tank your credit score. With most credit cards charging interest rates as high as 20%, likely you will only have the money to pay off the interest every month, not even touching the balance. It can take you years to pay off debt on a credit card. If you can’t afford it with cash, or to pay it off at the end of the month, resist the temptation to put it on a credit card. Make sure that you know the difference between a need and want.
3 Investing in the wrong place
Make sure to be involved in your investments, instead of just purchasing products that someone sells to you. Many financial investments are complex and can sound a lot better than they actually are. Know what you are buying and how it is going to benefit you in the long-term. Likewise, don’t let an investment ride without ensuring on a continual basis that you are letting your money work for you. Allowing money sit without being monitored is like throwing cash out the window.
4 Car purchases are a waste
When you get your first job, your first instinct is to reward yourself with a luxury car. The problem with a car is that it is not an investment but a drain on your financial future. The minute you drive it away you have lost value. Don’t overspend on a car, there will be a time in your financial future when it will make sense. Sinking a whole lot of money into one when you are young will only bring about regret when you get older.
5 Thinking you are invincible
Many youngsters opt out of insurance because they feel like they don’t need it. It only takes one emergency to cost you thousands and have you paying for it for years. If you think that you don’t need insurance, think again. It is much smarter to budget the additional hundred dollars a month than to pay for the rest of your life. Your mom is right, it is always better to be safe than sorry.
6 Marry someone who has the same money sense
Before you decide to date seriously or marry, ensure that the person who lights your fire won’t spend your future. Having an honest conversation about spending habits, goals, and wants, is an important part of having a successful marriage and financial future. Before you say I do, make sure that you do have the same idea about how to spend your money wisely.
Doing these things younger in life will make you much happier later on in life. If you stick to a plan, it will make you a much less stressed middle-ager with a lot less regret.
It doesn’t matter how well your business might be performing at any given time – the possibility of suffering from some form of financial loss always lurks around the corner. All aspects of business finances need to be handled with extreme care, and one of the most important is planning for the bad times as well as the good. With so many different issues and factors in play that could cause a turnaround in financial fortunes at very short notice, it is essential to have a good overview of where potential problems might lie.
The causes of financial loss for a business essentially fall into two categories, those that you can prevent and those that you can’t. Any in-house issue should be under your control, so this is a good place to start looking for possible problems. Financial strain can come about by growth and expansion that is too rapid, such as by taking on too many employees or buying too much stock up front. Having a good overview of wider market trends and conditions, and then adapting your planning in line with these is a key way to take proactive actions that can prevent possibly fatal financial losses for a business.
Any business that is part of a supply chain dealing with outside suppliers will always be at risk of problems occurring down the line. If a client company goes bust, you might find yourself left with expensive stock you can’t shift, whereas if a supplier lets you down, customers will go elsewhere and you lose sales income.
Putting back-up plans that cover eventualities like this into place isn’t too difficult, as simply spreading your purchases across a range of suppliers and trying to have a wider client or customer base are two simple steps that can be very effective.
Of course, making sure that you are paid on time is the single biggest factor in avoiding financial problems for your business. When you have supplied goods or services, you have done your work and completed your part of the bargain, but if there is a delay in payment, it can cause cash flow problems that affect your ability to move forward.
Having a robust financial system in place is an essential part of day-to-day business activity, and using receipt templates can ensure you have a clear paper trail that gives you an overview of exactly where things stand. Professional accounting practises are available to everyone by using these methods, and they can play a key part in avoiding late or non-payment from clients and customers. You can find out exactly how it all works here.
The one thing in common with all of these suggestions is that they require a hands-on approach. For anyone running a business, this should be second nature, because in order to prevent financial loss, you need to know how all sides of the operation are running and be able to see where potential problems may lie. In that way, you will be able to take all the necessary actions needed to make sure that you trade profitably.
Overdrafts can be a financial lifesaver for individuals and small businesses alike. Many use overdrafts as a readily available and convenient form of credit, especially when more traditional sources of personal credit or additional operating capital are unavailable. The individuals and businesses who rely upon overdrafts to cover cash shortages often view the fees they are charged for overdrafts as an unavoidable cost of doing business, but those fees can get to be awfully expensive – more expensive, in fact, than other personal and business costs that the individual would reject as being altogether exorbitant.
Banks have a love/hate relationship with overdrafts…
To be sure, overdrafts and the fees they generate are a pretty sweet deal for the banks, as they are able to collect many millions of pounds in overdraft fees every year. Despite the inordinately high profit potential that overdraft fees represent to the banks, however, roughly £5million worth of overdraft services are being taken away from small and medium enterprise (SME) owners every day, according to a Bank of England report that came out in October 2015. The elimination of overdraft services often amounts to a significant reduction in the working capital upon which many SMEs rely for their business to function.
Small businesses are seeking out alternatives to replace their lost overdraft services
In response to the loss of this relied-upon source of working capital, small business owners have sought out and used alternative funding and finance options, including secured loans from the Bank of England, an increase to the tune of £76 billion in 2015 alone. Ironically, the same banks that have been eliminating the highly lucrative overdrafts are beginning to offer those same business customers more traditional, less expensive forms of credit.
Individual account holders are being hurt, both by high overdraft fees and the removal of overdrafts
It’s not just businesses that are suffering; individual consumers are having overdraft woes as well. Individuals often get too dependent upon overdrafts, and some don’t even realise how much they are actually paying for what they thought was “free” banking. Part of this has to do with the “culture” in UK banking, which includes a lack of transparency about the real costs, but part has to do with consumers not educating themselves about these matters. In some cases bank customers are actually trapped with bank accounts that offer poor value, but they can’t switch because they have to pay off their overdraft debt. And even if they could switch banks, there is no guarantee that the new bank will offer the same – or any – overdrafts on the new accounts.
Breaking the overdraft cycle
Small business owners and individuals alike can free themselves from the seemingly unbreakable cycle of overdrafts, but doing so can be difficult. The most obvious solution is to avoid spending more than you have, but that is not always an easy course. The account holder who runs out of money before they run out of month might actually be unable to break the cycle, as the added cost of overdraft fees often equals or even exceeds the amount of shortfall in a given month, which ensures that the following month will also find the account in overdraft status. In worst-case scenarios, such as when the bank removes the overdrafts, the account might even go into default, resulting in its being closed and processed for collection.
There does exist a sort of saving grace that is becoming more available as banks are getting more liberal in their lending policies. For customers who lack the funds in savings to pay off their overdrafts (which would seem to constitute a majority of those who rely upon overdrafts), yet are still in good standing with their credit card accounts, a money transfer from the credit card to cover the overdrafts might be a viable alternative. While credit card debt typically carries a higher interest rate than other more traditional types of loans, that interest rate is still likely to be less expensive than the fees charged for overdrafts.
As a last resort, it might be possible to convince the bank to refund overdraft service fees that are deemed to be excessive or inappropriately applied. This is admittedly an unreliable process, as the lack of transparency into banking operations makes it difficult to prove that the charges were inappropriate.
Whatever method you choose to break free of the overdraft cycle, it is imperative that greater focus and commitment be made to ensuring that you don’t slip right back in. If nothing else, emerging from what amounts to a compounded cycle of overdrafts can be even more difficult to emerge from than was the original situation.