Money

China planning to curb Internet finances

The growing Chinese Internet finance industry has been imposed with strict regulations by the Chinese authorities in line with the alleged fraud in the industry over the recent years. The online peer to peer (P2P) industry in China has over 3800 operators, of which above 1200 such firms are allegedly involved in illicit dealings with customers. Some of these firms have been known to be whisking away with the investors money while many have closed down as per reports by Wangdaizhijia, known to be a source of industry data. The worth of the Chinese Internet finance industry is about 133.1 billion yuan ($21 billion).

Several basic guidelines were issued by the Chinese regulators to the Internet finance industry in what is known to be a 6000 word long document. The guideline specifically seeks to categorize the running models in the Internet finance industry and issuing customized regulations for the models. The industry regulators must take care of this and try to classify several models running in the industry as per the regulations by the Government. In return this will create a clearer picture for the Government and help them get a better hold of the Internet finance firms.

The industry has been categorized into six factors of operations namely Equity crowd funding, Internet loans, Internet insurance, Internet trust and consumer finance, Internet payment and Internet sale of funds. The operation guidelines have made it clear that separate regulatory institutions must be assigned to different categories which would help the authorities to have a better grip on the operations of the industry. As reports suggest, The Peoples Bank of China has been assigned to keep a tab on the mode of payments done online, while the online selling of funds, equity crowd funding will be supervised by China Securities Regulatory Commission and thus help curb illegal trade. Internet security, self regulation of industry has been taken care of in the regulations while confusion still persists about the role of participants in the Internet finance market. All these can be seen as a welcome change as the industry is known to have been involved in a network of illegal trade and negotiations.


Saving Money and Going Green Go Hand-in-Hand

money_savingThe main goal for most businesses is to turn a profit. However, in a world that is increasingly aware of environmental issues, many businesses are taking measures to reduce the negative impact their company has on the environment. It is a mistaken belief that going green can cost more money for your business. In fact, saving money and going green go hand in hand.

Reducing Electricity Usage

Electricity is often one of the biggest overheads faced by a business, but cutting back on the amount of electricity used is relatively easy. One of the biggest uses of electricity in businesses is lighting. Turning off lights when you are not using a room is really easy and is a habit that should be encouraged amongst all staff. Another way to cut the cost of lighting is to use energy saving lightbulbs. The initial outlay for these is more than regular bulbs, but you will soon reap the rewards of using them. They can last for several years before they need replacing and significantly reduce the amount of energy used to light your premises. A further tip for cutting back on electricity use is to turn off all the equipment and appliances each day as soon as they are not in use. You can make it the responsibility of the last person to leave the premises each night to make sure that everything is turned off.

Using Recycled Products

Using recycled products is a great way of both going green and saving money. Recycled paper is fantastic for everyday use, and usually costs significantly less than paper that has not been recycled. You can also make efforts to recycle paper yourself by shredding unwanted documents and sending the waste for recycling.

Similarly, instead of buying brand new ink cartridges every time they need replacing, consider using remanufactured Lexmark ink cartridges. Not only is this a step towards operating an environmentally friendly business, it can also save you between 40 and 50 per cent on the cost of replacing ink cartridges. Buying HP Laserjet p1102 Printer Ink from Original Cartridge Manufacturers and remembering to recycle your used cartridges will ensure no waste is created by your business. There are also many items of stationery that are made from recycled materials, such as recycled plastics, and it is worth considering only buying these if they are a cost-effective option for your business.

Cutting Down on Gas Use

If you use gas for heating your premises, this will impact on the carbon footprint of your business. If you are not careful, it can also make a big dent in your business overheads. Reducing the amount of gas you use to heat your premises has the double benefits of saving you money and lowering the detrimental impact your business is having on the environment. Luckily, cutting down on gas usage is really simple.

Your premises do not need to be heated twenty-four hours a day, so set your boiler’s timer settings so that you can limit heating to set times of the day. If you must have the heating on constantly, then turn the thermostat down. Even a few degrees can make a significant difference. Furthermore, you should take steps to prevent heat loss from your building. Close all the doors and windows, get the premises insulated and consider using draft excluders around the doors. Saving energy in this way can have a dramatic impact on the amount your business will pay in bills each month.

Any business that wishes to conduct themselves in an ethical manner should take steps to reduce the negative impact their daily activities has on the environment. The added advantage of taking steps towards being green is that you can dramatically reduce many of your costs, including electricity, gas and office equipment. Not only will your profits increase as a result of cutting costs, you can also inform clients that you are an ethical and green business and this can be a deciding factor for many clients when choosing a business to work with.

 


How to save money on your holidays

Now in the midst of the festive period, the majority of families are settling down for Christmas at home. In contrast, a growing number of families are looking to spend the festive period abroad, as they aim to capture some winter sun and enjoy a unique holiday experience. Interestingly, consumers also use the winter period to research and book trips for the following summer, in a bid to save money and take the stress out of planning international trips. Either way, Christmas is a busy time for sun-seekers and those in search of overseas trips.

3 Ways in which you can save money on your Holiday

While the ways in which you can save money on your holiday depend largely on the nature of your trip and destination, we have identified three ways to save money at every stage of the experience. For example: –

  1. Access flash sales to save money on Holiday essentials

If you are familiar with flash mobs, you will know how brands use spontaneous and interactive marketing tools to promote their products (or services). We have also seen a similar concept impact on the world of sales recently, through which brands collaborate to offer goods at hugely discounted prices for a limited period only. These deals are usually shared online, where discount vendors such as LivingSocial, EveryDayOffers and Groupon collate the best offers and publish these on a first come, first served basis. This can be an excellent way to save money on holiday essentials!holiday4

  1. Book your Flights and Hotel with Strategic timing

Timing is everything, especially in the race to save money as a consumer. As a holiday-goer, flights and accommodation will usually represent the highest costs, and booking these at strategic times can help you to save money. Once you have picked a destination and estimated date of travel, research exactly when you can expect flights to be released as this is usually when they can be sourced for less. In terms of hotel rooms, either book six months in advance or between two to four weeks prior to leaving, while it is also important that you identify resources such as LastMinute.com as they list secret hotels and the best real-time deals.

  1. Consider specialist breakdown coverage for road trips

While road-trips can be exceptionally fun and are a great way to see the world, they also bring huge logistical and financial challenges. Insurance requirements change from country to country, for example, meaning that a simple breakdown overseas can trigger huge costs and scupper your holiday before it has even begun. It is therefore that you invest in relevant and comprehensive breakdown coverage that protects your overseas, with service providers such as Start Rescue offering an in-depth European policy to its customers.

Image credit: http://www.moneycrashers.com/create-holiday-budget/


Are you over-spending this holiday?

The “stock” advice for the upcoming holidays is not to overspend. Everyone knows that. You know that. The financial experts know that. And people who overspend know that as well. Now, the question is- with item prices skyrocketing everyday how do you ensure that you’re not blowing your budget on the smallest of items? Here are a few tips to check your holiday spending in 2015.

How to check your spending this holiday?

Let us start off by saying that you necessarily don’t have to turn to an Economics book in order to dig out essential financial tips. Look around and you can actually recognize avenues of saving from even the smallest of items. For instance, why cough up $100 for gift bags? Rack your cupboards and drawers in order to find old gift bags. Recycle gift bags and ribbons instead of purchasing new ones. Here are a few other tips to save up more in the upcoming holidays.shutterstock_223147579

Stop depending on your credit cards

You are stacking most of your expenses on your credit cards simply because you don’t have the money to buy these items. Not a prudent move. Let start off the New Year on a really different note. Why not assure yourself some peace of mind this holiday? How about ditching those credit card bills? In fact, studies have shown that buyers spend much more when they are buying with credit cards than what they do when they are not using these cards.

Take your time

Don’t be in a rush to get your hands on everything that you come across in a flash sale. Herd mentality remains one of the major reasons why people end up buying much more than they had intended to do initially. And, you necessarily don’t have to be accompanied by your friends in order to “succumb to over-buying”. You can just see people around you jumping on stuff and you can jolly well follow suit as well. It happens even when you are buying online. Checking out deals after a hectic day at work- when you’re all exhausted does not make you immune from imprudence as well. The key is to wait and watch your deals properly and then buy—doesn’t matter if you’re shopping offline or online.

Make a list of people who you need to buy gifts for

Yes, you cannot really keep hopping (in your mind) from one friend to another relative in the shop. “Oh! I have taken a gift for Martha but what will her half sister think if I don’t gift her anything?” What if you have already spent a huge amount of money on Martha’s gift? Lack of planning often gives way to more spending. It is very important to ensure that you are actually making a list of the people for whom you want to buy gifts. It helps you spend your money evenly or at least prioritize. Take time to make this list. Don’t rush through it.

Do watch out for deals and discounts and invest proper time in comparing these deals. However, do not be too late in reaching a decision.


Creative Ways To Sell A Coin Collection

Avid coin collectors don’t necessarily always hang onto their collections all their lives. Many collectors at some point consider selling at least part of their collection in order to make a profit. Whether you need some liquid cash to use as a down payment for a new home, to pay for exorbitant medical expenses, or to pay for your child’s college tuition, the money you stand to make by selling your valuable coins could be enough to cover such huge costs.

You may even want to sell some coins and use the proceeds to upgrade your collection. Whatever your reason for selling your coins, one thing is for certain – you want to ensure that you are getting the best possible price. The only way to do that is to do your homework beforehand, and follow a few crucial tips before handing over your prized possessions. Collectors routinely sell coins, and in every case, the fundamental method of getting top dollar for their coins is virtually the same. Follow these tips on how to sell collector coins to get the amount you deserve.

Know the Value of Your Coins

Many people often over-value or under-value their coins. Unfortunately, this mistake can prove to be costly when it comes time to sell them. You need to be able to put yourself at equal footing with a dealer in order to effectively negotiate on a price. It’s critical to have an accurate understanding of the wholesale value of your coins. The internet is filled with sites that have value charts of different types of coins to help you accurately estimate how much your coins are worth before you sell them.31coin.583

Have Your Coins Graded

By grading your coins, you can not only maximize their value, but you can also make them more appealing to collectors, dealers and investors since it comes with a guarantee of condition and authenticity. Lots of information is available to you, including auction prices, population data, and so forth.

Sell at the Right Time

Timing is one of the most important factors when it comes to getting the most for your coins, yet it is often underestimated, or forgotten about altogether. When you purchase a coin, it’s important that you are able to hang on to it until the time is right to sell in order to make a profit. Patience is crucial when it comes to selling at the right moment. Much like waiting for a seller’s market to sell your house and get the most profits from its sale, waiting until the value of your coins is high is best to get the most proceeds from the sale.

Sell to the Right Dealer

Although this may be much easier said than done, it’s crucial to deal with someone who is not looking to take you for a ride. Selling to the right person can mean that the potential buyer really wants the coin, and is willing to pay you top dollar for it. Selling directly to a dealer can mean that you don’t have to wait weeks or months to get the proceeds from the sale, which can often be the case when selling at an auction.

Pick the Right Coin

This is an important factor to consider before selling any of your coins. You can obviously buy whatever coin you choose, but for profit and investment purposes, it’s probably best to invest in coins that are going to be easier to sell for good money down the road.

The individual should also determine if the way to sell the coin collection is in pieces, with the different groups of coins being sold separately by type, or if the entire collection should be sold as one piece. Regardless, the individual must know what is in the collection so that the buyers can be informed and also so that he can determine if he is getting a fair offer on the collection.

In the different ways to sell the coin collection, there is almost always a need for the buyer to see pictures of the collection, so this is another step that must be taken. There are magnifiers that can help in the displaying of the coins for photographing them, as well as different lighting techniques that can help to display the coins to their best effect.


US Fed Rate – A Persisting Dilemma

dollar_1999092bFinancial pundits have been forecasting US Fed rate hike for quite sometime now. However, many internal and external factors have resisted the Federal Reserve from hiking it from the persisting 0.250 per cent. Though the market expected the fed rate to increase in September 2015, it didn’t because the central bank was worried about derailment of resurging U.S. growth due to instability in Chinese economy and economic slowdown. If the minutes of September 16-17 discussions by the board members of Federal Reserve are taken seriously, it might take 9 years to increase the concerned rate.

Why US Fed failed to increase Fed Rate in September 2015?

One of the reasons that restricted board of Federal Reserve from increasing Fed Rate in September 2015 is the dismal job growth data. Per official figures, in September 2015 just 142,000 jobs were added, which is 64,000 jobs lesser than analysts’ expectation. Another figure published by US Labor Department is the “zero” rise in average pay. More alarming is the fact that thousands of workers left their jobs and the participation rate of workers fell to a dismal low, last seen in 1970s. In fact, slow down in Chinese economy also held the board back from increase interest rate.

To top it, US Consumer prices fell by 0.2 per cent during September. In fact, inflation rate has been steadily falling since May 2015, signaling persistent sluggish pace of inflation. This persistent fall is exactly opposite of Fed’s stated target of 2 per cent. All these phenomenon including slowing economy of China, falling inflation (both globally as well as domestically), and market disruptions are again making it difficult for Federal Reserve to increase the interest rate, which is stuck to the current near-zero level (0.25 per cent) since 2008 (the year US economy was in deep recession).

What analysts are Predicting about Fed Rate Hike?

On the expectation of US Fed holding interest rate hike till 2015-end, gold buying is witnessing rally since mid-September. Strength of dollar is also weakening. US Dollar has fallen significantly with respect to other currencies such as Euro in the recent past. Last week, Euro was up against US Dollar by 2.3 per cent, which is a striking phenomenon as Euro fell sharply in the past touching a 12 years low earlier in 2015. These phenomenons gave overall market all the reasons to park its money in the yellow metal for hedging risk.

Colin Hamilton, head of commodities research at Macquarie, said that they conducted a poll in their base metals summit survey earlier this week and found out that most of the audience is expecting a Fed rate hike only after December 2015.

Gold_industryJessica Fung, analyst of metals and mining at BMO Capital Markets, said during a press meet that overall market is currently expecting Fed rate hike around March 2016. She went on to explain that expectation of US Dollar drive gold price and pricing of the futures market is indicating towards a steeper gold price rise in latter part of the year. The momentum of gold price hike is expected to go on along 2016. Along with this increase in price of yellow metal, interest rate increase is expected to be during March 2016.

 

Ref: http://www.global-rates.com/interest-rates/central-banks/central-bank-america/fed-interest-rate.aspx

http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/10/15/us-ecb-fed-idUSKCN0S906320151015

http://www.cbc.ca/news/business/fed-minutes-september-1.3263358

http://www.theguardian.com/business/2015/oct/02/us-economy-adds-only-142000-jobs-raising-doubts-about-interest-rate-rise

http://www.investordaily.com.au/markets/38362-fed-rate-hike-good-for-economy

http://www.cnbc.com/2015/10/15/gold-price-move-points-to-fed-rate-hike-in-2016.html

http://www.wsj.com/articles/u-s-consumer-prices-fall-0-2-in-september-1444912347

http://www.cnbc.com/2015/10/21/is-the-us-headed-for-negative-interest-rates-commentary.html

http://www.forbes.com/sites/samanthasharf/2015/10/21/ben-bernanke-fed-rate-hike-is-a-risk-management-decision/


Why Your Business Needs an EMV Card Reader Now

As retailers get ready for the 2015 holiday shopping season, six out of 10 Americans aren’t ready for the EMV liability shift set to go into effect on October 1, an ACI Worldwide survey reports. Two thirds don’t know the United States is switching over to EMV chip-enabled smart payment cards, and nearly three in five consumers who own credit cards have not yet received a new chip-enabled card. But by the end of the year, 71 percent of credit cards and 41 percent of debit cards will be using the new technology, explains the Smart Card Alliance. With Black Friday looming, the Better Business Bureau is warning business owners and financial providers that if you and your staff aren’t ready for the EMV liability shift, what you don’t know can hurt you.

Understanding the EMV Shift

As the Better Business Bureau explains, the shift to EMV technology aims to reduce the volume of credit card fraud. Credit fraud has doubled in the United States over the past seven years, in contrast to the U.K. where it has declined to its lowest level in 16 years since adopting EMV technology. EMV chips reduce fraud because a chip contains a code that is unique for each transaction and cannot be used to make a second purchase, whereas magnetic stripe cards use the same sensitive data each time. With EMV cards, the user inserts the front top part of the card with the chip into the reader instead of swiping or dipping it. At the beginning of this transition, EMV readers will still process cards with magnetic stripes for backwards compatibility, but, eventually, a complete shift to cards that process payments by tapping will occur.imagesfs

Consequences of Non-Compliance

The EMV technology shift comes with a legal and financial liability shift that is set to take effect on a timetable laid out by the major credit card companies, as summarized in a Verifone chart. Currently, when fraud occurs as a result of a card being stolen or counterfeited, the payment processor or issuing bank is responsible for losses to the consumer. After October 1, liability will shift to whichever party in the transaction is least EMV-compliant. For instance, for MasterCard, if at least 95 percent of transactions occur from EMV-compliant point of sale terminals, the merchant will be relieved of 100 percent of penalties for account data compromises. The shift will affect automated fuel dispensers used at gas stations later, not taking effect for these businesses until October 2017.

The implication of the shift is that your business can become liable for certain fraudulent card transactions that previously would have been covered by the bank or payment processor. For instance, if an individual who comes into your place of business uses a fraudulent card that only has a magnetic stripe to purchase $500 worth of items, you will not be held responsible for non-EMV compliance, but the bank or payment processor will remain liable, as under current practice. However, if an individual uses a chip-equipped stolen card in your store to purchase $500 of items, and you do not have equipment to read the chip, you will be liable for repaying the $500 loss to the card owner. When you consider that some credit card scams involve multiple stolen cards, sometimes used by rings of multiple individuals making many purchases at the same store or retail chain, you can see how this could get expensive for your business.

Preparing for the Transition

Visa has provided a detailed step-by-step guide for merchants to get ready for the EMV transition. Most of the steps involve carefully assembling a transition team and working with experts, such as your IT team and the bank or payment institution that processes your credit cards. One of your team’s major goals will be to select which point-of-sale equipment and software, PIN pad devices and EMV solution you will use. For instance, Sage Payment Solutions is an EMV-compliant debit and credit processing option that handles both mobile and point-of-sale purchases.

After selecting a solution that meets your company’s needs, Visa recommends that you develop an implementation plan and test your system first. Once your system is working, train your staff how to use the new payment processing method. Then, perform a pilot store or pilot register installation to gain some live experience on a small scale before rolling out on a large scale. This will give you a chance to debug, document your procedures and make adjustments to ensure everything is working correctly.

If your business hasn’t already switched to EMV card readers, you may be at risk of being liable for any fraud that occurs. Educate yourself on the process and be ready for the transition comes October 1.

Image credit: https://www.paymentplusinc.com/EMV.shtml


The Cost of a New Addition to the Family

Most people growing up dream of meeting their one true love, marrying, starting a family and living happily ever after. For some it happens and in later life they can sit back and think about the wonderful life they have had together. Sounds easy don’t it? Well it is important from the outset to stress that it isn’t; indeed there are few better words than ‘stressful’ to describe the periods that everyone goes through in life, especially if they find themselves in financial difficulties with no obvious solution to their problems.

Money Management

Money cans certainly a source of discord between couples; two people growing up in different environments may have a completely different view of money, its value and management. On the one hand some children are taught the value of money from a very early age and recognize the importance of not spending money that they cannot afford. Some grow up with a less disciplined view of money. The complacency that prevailed prior to the recession created an environment where easy credit produced a level of spending that was unrealistic. It soon became evident to all when the Collateralized Debt Obligation Crisis struck and misery followed.

Anyone making a decision will draw on experience; at least they should. The economic environment in recent years has resulted in many people having debts and more restrictions in obtaining credit. For a couple just starting out on married life and expecting their first child it is important that they look at their personal financial situation. Suddenly household costs may be about to rise just as their income falls; if a two income family suddenly loses one of those incomes money will inevitably become tighter. If both partners have always been careful with their money they are more likely to automatically plan for the future.

Credit Card Problems

Ordinary couples coming from a working background may not have a great deal of money to start their married life. In the USA statistics suggest that there is still considerable credit card debt, some that appears to be out of control. That debt is expensive. At the end of every month a high rate of interest is applied to a balance. Those who can only afford to pay the minimum required by the credit card company each month will hardly scratch the surface in reducing their debt and their credit card can easily become a burden. As a matter of urgency young couples should address any credit card debt, especially if they are expecting an addition to the family.5474213121_2dce5e59b3

Few are likely to have an equity in real estate if they have bought in the last few years. The recession hit the market badly and many people found themselves in negative equity; owing more money than the current value of the house. It means that re-mortgaging is rarely an alternative for obtaining the finance to settle debt. A mortgage is a sensible way to build up assets; in the medium to long term real estate should appreciate in value and mortgage interest rates are very competitive. However there are other loans that can play a positive role in a financial strategy. Personal loans have interest applied but it is far less than credit card holders are paying to their card companies.

Online Lenders

Modern day online lenders will look favorably at applicants who can show he or she has a regular monthly income and the ability to repay the monthly instalments on time for the whole term of the loan. Such loans used to pay off credit card debt will remove stubborn balances and ultimately result in a better financial picture. It is a simple and quick way to borrow money. Online applications require some basic information and decisions will be made extremely quickly; the funds are likely to be transferred within a single working day after approval.

Every young couple should have a budget and follow it. If one of the two has been fairly complacent about money in the past the other should definitely make sure it is an argument with only one winner. With a new addition of the horizon there may be economies to make, every day things like socializing and eating out may have to go. What must also be achieved is a manageable debt situation and credit card debt is rarely manageable. Pay it off and have the determination and self-discipline never to build it up again; a personal loan at a competitive interest rate is an excellent way to do it.


When Banks Don’t Play Fair With Your Money

If you’re like most people, you probably like to think you can trust your bank to help with your finances. All too often, though, we are seeing stories in the news of banks behaving badly.

One such story you may have read about is the Libor rigging scandal. That was when banks were found to be falsely inflating or deflating their rates so they could profit from trades.

That’s certainly bad enough. But a scandal far worse — both in terms of its scale and the affect it has had on individuals — is that of mis-selling payment protection insurance (PPI). As a result of the widespread mis-selling that occurred over the course of several decades, many people are looking for?help and advice in claiming back their premiums from mis-sold PPI.?

How This Might Affect You

One of the problems with the whole PPI scandal is that many of its victims aren’t even aware that they are victims. To put it into greater perspective, around 45 millions PPI policies were sold between 1990 and 2010. The premiums for those policies were worth around £44 billion ($67 billion) to the banks.Forex

The reason so many people are unaware they were duped is because one of the many ways in which PPI was routinely mis-sold was to tag it on without the customer’s knowledge. People applying for loans or mortgages were presented with the document to sign, unaware that a checkbox indicating that PPI was required had already been ticked.

The payment for the insurance policy was then added to the finance, which the customer paid on monthly basis without knowing about it. Quite often, the interest alone came to more than the actual PPI itself cost.

Why It’s Important To Claim Soon

Since the scandal exploded into mass awareness in April 2011, banks have already paid out around £25 billion ($38 billion) in refunds and compensation. Not surprisingly, they are keen to introduce a deadline for which claims can be made, which has so far been rejected.

The rejections are looking more and more tenuous as time goes on, though. George Osborne, the UKs chancellor, recently ousted the head man of financial regulator the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). It’s widely known that Mr Osborne is keen to “draw a line” under the whole PPI mess. Ousting the regulator’s chief was the first step in

opening the door to a change of policy there.

While a deadline hasn’t been introduced yet, it’s really only a matter of time before it is.

Double Check Your Finance Agreements

As you read earlier, PPI was often tagged on without the customer’s knowledge or agreement. For this reason alone, it’s important that you double check your finances. If you find PPI that you weren’t previously aware of, there’s a good chance it was mis-sold.

While it’s impossible to say how much money you are entitled to get back, it’s worth keeping in mind that the average payout is around £2,750 (£4,200). If you have more than one policy that was mis-sold, you can claim on each one.

While not so common, there have been a number of refunds that have been in the tens-of-thousands of pounds. So get your paperwork out soon and start double checking.


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