How Social Payments Are Transforming Financial Transactions As We Know Them

In honor of arrival of the Year of the Dog in February, I sent my nephew in China a gift of money through a chat app on my phone. He pocketed it happily, using the same app to express his appreciation, thanks and best wishes back at me for the new year.

It was another day, another dollar, as they say, or the everyday sort of transaction that people in some countries like China don’t think twice about. For people in most Western nations, though, this sort of payment system is still something of a curiosity.

That’s changing fast, though. And as the social sharing economy continues to evolve, look for such peer-to-peer transactions over people’s social feeds to become the norm. It quite possibly may disrupt the traditional banking system as we know it.

Venmo, PayPal’s free digital wallet, was an early player in Western economies, launched in 2009, but really taking off in 2014 as Android Pay and Apple Pay made their much vaunted debuts. Other entries since – Facebook Pay, Google Wallet, Square Cash – speak to a concept whose time has come. Case in point: Venmo handled $17.6 billion in transactions in 2016; that almost doubled to $34.2 billion last year.

If there’s a model for the rest of the world to follow, it’s China’s. Its system was a response in a country that had no credit card use, and whose banks were inefficient and underused. In less than 10 years, two rival payment services, Tencent’s WeChat and Alibaba’s Alipay, have transformed China’s financial ecosystem by making mobile payments – especially social mobile payments – an easy and accessible option.

As social payments continue to catch on in the U.S., the U.K., Canada and other nations, it’s moving us ever closer to becoming cashless economies. In fact, Sweden may be an example today of how we’ll all be operating in the not-to-distant future. A mere 1 percent of the value of all payments made in Sweden are in coins or notes. Its citizens live for their bank cards, but over half Sweden’s population depends on the leading social payment smartphone app, Swish.

It’s not just the world’s more privileged societies that stand to benefit from this evolving financial ecosystem. Social payments stand to bring much needed financial services to countries with significant populations of unbanked or underbanked people. Financial inclusion, of course, is key to lifting them from poverty.

Even if traditional banking services aren’t available to such populations, mobile phones increasingly are. Their pace of adoption is on a positive trendline, at 37 percent of the populations of underdeveloped economies.

Not surprisingly, both Tencent and Alibaba affiliate Ant Financial (formerly known as Alipay) see an opportunity to make inroads in countries where people may be unbanked, but not unphoned. Both are moving aggressively in Southeast Asia as part of that quest; at the end of last year, the Alipay service reportedly had 280 million users of its four local payment platforms in Thailand, India, Hong Kong and the Philippines.

The sharing economy is real and expanding rapidly. By 2025, a PricewaterhouseCoopers study found, spending in the five components that comprise it (travel, car sharing, staffing, streaming and, no surprise, finance) may hit $335 billion – or half of total spending in those areas.

It’s not just social payments that will help to reshape the financial sector. Cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin will be another facet, a means for settling payments directly and without much hassle or effort.

Either way, though, if this new social order we’re developing can advance those who currently have no access to things the rest of us take for granted like financial services, then it’s all to the good.

Finding a Solution for ‘Unbankability’ through Blockchain

TORONTOFeb. 28, 2018 /CNW/ – A Change.org petition has been launched by Toronto’s Bo Zou as a means of securing buy-in and, ultimately, funding to counter an issue that plays a significant role in global poverty: a lack of access to banking services.

“Financial inclusion is critical in order to reduce poverty,” says Bo Zou, a specialist in customer experience strategy and design who has worked extensively in financial services. “This shouldn’t be happening in the 21st century. But technology may pave the way to effecting change.”

Lack of access to banking services puts the gap between the world’s haves and have-nots in sharp distinction, Zou points out. Most adults (94 percent) in OECD high income countries have bank accounts, but only 54 percent in developing countries do, with the lowest proportion in the Middle East at 14 percent, according to World Bank data.

The outcome is a reduced capacity for saving to create a cushion to help finance an education, business or home.

Read the full press release HERE.

How to get the best foreign exchange rates for your business

If you carry out business transactions with countries other than your own, you’ve probably come across the phenomenon of exchange rates. You are likely to have had to deal with small losses when converting from one currency to another, and sometimes it’s just a fact of life. But luckily, there are ways to deal with the problem. So, what exactly are exchange rates, and how can you find the best deals?

Understand how they work

Before you can hunt out the best rates and get good deals as part of your financial planning, you need to understand how the exchange rate mechanisms work. Firstly, it’s important to remember that governments around the world often take actions that affect their currency exchange rate. In addition, factors outside the immediate control of governments also cause movements in rates. For example, the exchange rate a country’s currency has against other currencies is linked to the rate of inflation in the country, as well as interest rates and unemployment figures.

Keep an eye on the news

Once you get a feel for what factors can affect exchange rates, you’ll be able to pinpoint times when they’ll work in your favor. Ideally, you will be able to time your transactions so that they occur at those times. For example, if you’re aware that there’s a push on domestic exports at the moment then there’s a good chance exchange rates will be lower – and if that benefits you, it may be time to strike.

Use an online resource

As foreign exchange rates are constantly fluctuating, you will need an up-to-date guide that helps you to pinpoint the exact figures you want to transfer. A currency’s valuation is determined by how much money is flowing in and out of a country, and there will be a matrix of socio-economic factors impacting on rates. With Brexit making its mark in the UK, the pound sterling is a great example of a dominant currency undergoing volatile changes. So, to obtain a favorable exchange rate for a US to UK money transfer in the current climate, it’s wise to use a reliable online foreign exchange resource.

Manage risk

Whatever happens, foreign exchange rates are likely to provide some uncertainty for your business. Nobody knows what’s around the next corner, but everybody can plan to cover themselves whatever comes their way. For that reason, why not set a budget at the start of the year to cover foreign exchange fees? By setting aside enough cash to cover the worst-case scenario, you’ll be able to relax safe in the knowledge that you’ve planned for the fees – and if rates turn out to be better, you’ll have a nice cash injection for your business once the year has ended.

Even if you’re a business-savvy person running a successful company, exchange rates can still seem complex and intimidating. Luckily, there are plenty of ways you can work this mechanism to your advantage when carrying out business transactions: with a bit of strategy and knowledge on your side, you’ll be able to find the best deals and secure attractive rates.

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RRSP.ORG Registered Retirement Savings Plan

Registered Retirement Savings Plan – RRSP.ORG the original website that best describes everything you wanted to know about Canadian registered plans and schemes has taken a turn for the best. The information and knowledge base on RRSP.ORG is more than ready for change and a complete overhaul.

MONEY.CA the leading Canadian money and personal finance website has acquired the aging website for all the right reasons. RRSP is just one of many keyword subject sites that most of Canada wants and needs. For over 20 years this small and meaningful site providing news and information in the world of Registered plans for Canadians has now been taken over by people who know and care dearly about the subject matter and the benefits and advantages it brings to Canadian’s, the government and the country as a whole.

Look forward to the changes and updates as Canadian financial consumers will learn how to make, save and preserve more of their hard earned wealth. The advisor channel is more than welcome to contribute news, information, stories and articles that make sense and pays dividends to the average Canadian.

Top 6 Benefits Of Online Installment Loans

Finding the best and the most suitable loan is always a cumbersome process for most people in need. There are many banks and companies offering loans through some schemes or other. However, finding the right loan is never an easy task. There are numerous things to compare between various loan options and in the end, the borrower reaches an end of thinking capability and chooses the option which appears easiest to him. The borrower doesn’t often understand the entire pros and cons of a loan type because in most cases the representative from the loan company tries to abstract all essential details and presents only the lucrative part to the customer. That’s one of the main reasons behind a gradual shift of loan seekers from offline to online loans. These days’ online installment loans are increasingly taken by borrowers and in this article, we present to you the top six benefits of an online installment loan.

1. Better than traditional borrowing options

Many people rely heavily on credit cards for dealing with the financial crunch they are in. Credit cards charge a higher rate of interest in lieu of the credit amount they offer. You may think it’s always better to have an option of credit and repay it back when you get your payment. This can keep continuing but the point is you end up paying an annual fee and a higher interest rate in the end. With an online installment loan, you can choose the number of installment and complete your loan installments at lesser rates.

2. Don’t fall into a debt cycle

Sometimes people take a loan and exhaust the entire amount before they could pay the loan premium amount. This leads to either a penalty or forcing the person to take yet another loan to come out of the financial burden. When your expenditures and methods of loan amount repayment are not defined, there are risks of falling into a debt cycle. With an online installment loan you know your loan tenure and during the application process, you can set it to a value you are comfortable with. Thus risks for falling into a debt cycle are lesser.

3. Online installment loans are available as unsecured loans

While considering the option of online installment loans many people would definitely like to know if they can get the loan amount as an unsecured loan amount. There are wide varieties of options available for both secured and unsecured loans. You don’t have to risk your car or home. Getting an unsecured loan requires one to have a decent credit score though.

4. Quick funding

Online installment loans are quick and easy to obtain than any other form of a loan. The application process is online and hence you can save yourself the time and effort of going to meet someone in person. The credit is made available to your account very soon. Once your loan is approved, the loan amount is credited within a day or on the same day itself. Further, it is easy to track your application and request status online too.

5. Multitudes of options

The advantage of an online installment loan is that it can cater to the needs of a borrower at any part of the country. The bank or the online lenders doesn’t require a physical presence everywhere. This increases the number of options to consider.

6. Easy comparisons and much more

In an online installment loan, you can do all the comparisons you want in a private mode. Generally, with traditional options, the executive you talk to does not give you all the hidden details. In an online mode everything is present and available right in front of you and making comparison becomes easier for you as a borrower.

Conclusion

In the end, you should always choose a loan option with a calm and composed mind. Above benefits make online installment loan as a top choice. The lenders or the loan giving companies might advertise their loans as the best ones but you need to do your research well enough and make a wise decision.

Understanding the Differences Between Financial Advisors and Brokers

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As a fee-only financial advisor, I am surely biased to this type of advisor. I do think everyday investors are much better off if they have someone in their corner who is recommending a particular investment product because it actually is the best product for them, given their circumstances and life stage. Not because there’s a commission on the sale at the end of the day.

That doesn’t mean, though, that you shouldn’t be mindful of possible issues – and that’s for any financial advisor, whether fee-based or full-service brokers. For that matter, you also should be mindful of potential drawbacks to other options that may seem (superficially, at least) appealing.

Let’s look at the options.

Fee-only financial advisors are considered advantageous because there’s no inherent conflict of interest as there can be with full-service or commission-based brokers. Brokers often recommend investments owned by their company, which is an inherent conflict.  You simply have to consider whether the products recommended are going to be best for your personal financial goals.

What you pay for is financial guidance, planning and assistance. This may be a flat fee. Some advisors charge a percentage of your account’s assets. You may be able to negotiate the amount. But, the fees you pay do not fluctuate according to the type of investments that are being recommended. What you get with this approach is objectivity and investment advice that’s unbiased. Your interests and your advisor’s are aligned.

The commission-based approach to financial advisory services is less the norm today than in the past. You open an account or buy a stock or bond and your advisor gets a percentage. Recurrent trading may also be encouraged – which may not be good for investors with a longer-term perspective. This all can pose a conflict with your best interests and goals.

And on the do-it-yourself front? Well, as attractive as this might sound on the surface, consider the relevance of the saying about the attorney who represents himself. For investment purposes, you might find good information online, but it’s just as likely you’ll find speculative information, if not real fake news. Investing is a risky business; if you don’t have the time or the expertise to do an adequate job of qualifying research, get a professional to help. Your future – financial and otherwise – depends on it.

Speaking of your financial future, it’s never too early to start planning for it. That means Millennials – and even the oldest Generation Zs who are just entering the workforce – should be putting money aside as they think about their long-term financial goals. It’s a challenge, of course, especially for those who are still trying to pay off college. Retirement is maybe too much to think about, right?

With that said, I’ve developed a service package to make it less painless. My new Robo-Advisor Professional service package is specifically targeted to the needs of Millennials and utilizes an in-depth financial data collection sheet, as well as a plan discussion with myself, to collect essential information about your financial background and goals.  This provides a strong base of understanding for clients to invest in ETFs through WealthSimple with a superior portfolio manager with a track record of beating the index.

ETFs are ideal for those with more limited resources, as a “wrapper” around a group of securities. They have a cost advantage over individual stocks and can be traded commission free. They’re similar to mutual funds, but with more flexibility as they can be traded throughout the day, not just once.

The Mortgage Broker

The Mortgage Broker
The Mortgage Broker – Canadian Mortgage Broker – Mortgage Broker Canada

Make save and preserve more of your money with The Mortgage Broker. Home of the “Best Rate Around”. The independent mortgage broker in Canada is usually allies with a national brokerage to get better and lower rates by volume. Join your local mortgage broker to get the best rates. MONEY often refers Canadian financial consumers to licensed and reputable mortgage brokers and not to big banks directly in order to save you more and get better information, benefits and privileges. Learn more for a direct referral for your mortgage and real estate needs with professionals that know and understand that price and service rule the day. Call us toll free 1-800-789-1011 x101 to know more and get more value for service.

3 Reasons You Should Consider Switching Banks

There are many options when it comes to banking, but when it comes to financial services, people tend to stay loyal to their current institutions. The time and effort it takes to switch financial institutions often prevents many of us from making a change. Here are 3 reasons why you should consider switching banks today.

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Fees, Fees and More Fees

A bank that is nickeling and diming you all the time is eating into your savings and draining your bank account. It isn’t reasonable to charge you a constant stream of fees to hit the ATM, get cash back at transactions or even check account balances.

There are material and handling costs when new checks and debit cards are made, so fees there are reasonable. Account maintenance fees are common if you don’t maintain a minimum balance or arrange direct deposit of your paycheck or pension checks at the bank. If you’re maintaining a sizeable balance there and they still bill you to manage the account plus every little transaction, you should look for someone who won’t charge you continually to keep your money there.

Security? What Security?

A bank that has suffered a security breach is not unique. What can differ radically is the importance banks put on security and how they treat affected customers. Banks that don’t bother securing ATMs from skimmers and make customers jump through hoops when they think their account information has been stolen aren’t worth your time, though it may take a while to transfer your remaining assets to a new bank. If your bank has been lax on security and slow to provide assistance, switch.

This is aside from whether or not the FDIC covers the bank. If the FDIC doesn’t cover the bank, it isn’t a legitimate bank. Note that the National Credit Union Share Insurance Fund offers the same protection for credit unions. If no such group insures your money, move it to a real institution now.

Not Rewarding Your Loyalty

If a bank doesn’t care about your loyalty, you should consider going somewhere else. For example, refusing to look at a ten year history of never bouncing a check and then having hefty fees applied because they processed your bills before your deposits is failing to reward your loyal service, much less provide customer service. Bad or non-existent bank loyalty programs can be a factor in deciding where to go as well.

Remember that you need to be careful about the rewards they give, since a “cash back” or “point rewards” credit card comes with a higher interest rate. That means the $5 cash back on that $500 purchase comes with several dollars more paid in interest on the borrowed money, and you’re spending ten thousand dollars to get that “free” plane ticket.

Just because you’ve been with a bank since forever, doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t consider switching. If you feel like your bank is neglecting you, or that the fees don’t match the benefits, you should consider switching banks right away.

The Loonie and the Greenback: A Tussle for Dominance


Some surprising developments have taken place in global currency trading markets this month. On Thursday, 2 November 2017, the Bank of England (BOE) and its Monetary Policy

Committee (MPC) voted by margin of 7-2 to raise the bank rate by 25-basis points. This pushed the UK interest rate up to 0.50%, from historic lows. It was also the first time in 10 years that the Bank of England moved to raise interest rates.

This is a significant decision which has far-reaching implications for the UK economy, and currencies that trade against the sterling. When interest rates rise, speculators and currency traders tend to purchase that currency, given that it becomes inherently more attractive than competing currencies. Unfortunately for the GBP, conventional theory has not held true.

CAD Jumps as BoE Raises Rates

The AUD and the CAD both spiked against the GBP in trading sessions earlier in November. Unfortunately for sterling, the Bank of England statement to the effect that the currency markets had already priced in the interest rate hike and possible future rate hikes softened any growth prospects for the GBP. The statement issued by Mark Carney – BOE governor – had a negative effect on the currency.

 

Carney failed to mention the need to increase interest rates at a rapid pace. The BOE cited tightness in labour markets as the reason for the recent rate hike, yet scant mention was made of this or possible future rate hikes after the 25-basis point movement in November. Recently, inflation figures for October were released, and they also surprised markets. The UK’s CPI inflation remained unchanged at 3%, the same as the September reading. This dampens expectations of future rate hikes by the BOE and it’s MPC, and downgrades any growth prospects for GBP bulls.

 

For currency traders, it’s all about future projection. According to Olsson Capitaltrading expert Kyle Courtney, ‘…the lack of guidance on additional rate hikes is deeply concerning. As a GBP trader, you take your cues from BOE governor Mark Carney, and it’s not only what he says that matters – it’s what he omits from statements that speculators are looking at.

Where to next for the GBP and the CAD?

Canadian traders seeking to go long on sterling will be looking carefully at the Bank of England governor and any talk of additional rate hikes in 2018. For now, it doesn’t appear likely that the Bank of England will act. The current interest rate in the UK is 0.50%, and this is 0.50% lower than the bank rate in Canada. Recall that in October 2017, the BOC retained its interest rate at 1%.

For 2017, the Bank of Canada has already raised rates twice, in July and in September. Provided no additional rate hikes take place, neither the loonie nor the GBP will benefit from Central bank activity. Leading up to the bank rate hike in Canada, the central bank indicated that the economy was heating up. Since then however it has cooled to a degree, tempering expectations of further rate hikes in Canada.

Based on the current economic realities in Canada, the monetary policy decision-making processes are deemed correct. The Canadian economy does not require monetary stimulus at this juncture; currency traders will be eyeing the Monetary Policy Report for indications of which way the CAD is likely to move against the USD, the GBP and the AUD. If expectations prove true, the economy will expand by 3.1% through 2017, and slow to 2.1% GDP growth next year.

Canada’s economic policies have tended towards protectionism, and with NAFTA in doubt, further contractions in overall economic growth could be on the cards. There is little urgency to hike the bank rate in Canada at this point in time, as that would cause a contraction in economic activity at a time where uncertainty is growing. At the time of writing, the CAD/USD pair was trading at 0.7825 up from 0.74 at the start of the year. The CAD/GBP pair is currently at 0.59364 with no noticeable appreciation in 2017.

Ordering Custom Cheques: The Easy Way

It turns out that the interest in business and personal custom cheques is growing every year. This is quite natural because many individuals and organizations have realized how useful this type of cheques can be. For instance, with their help, people can remain in their spending limits. In addition, they are usually much safer compared to credit and debit cards. Some people love them because they can help them reveal their personality. To put it in simple words, people can create something unique. The good news is that there are many customization options related to these cheques. In case you want to order custom cheques, you should definitely take some time to analyze certain things. This is the only way to ensure that you will get the most from these trendy items.

Select an adequate design

As we have already mentioned, there is a wide range of themes, styles, and shapes that are provided by cheque printing companies. If you select a serious company with a good background, you can expect a selection of professional themes and styles. In case you are not interested in creating a personal design, then you should feel free to select a premade design offered by the company. Of course, you can add a personal touch to these cheques too. Once again, it would be better to stick to well-established companies that have different premade designs for their clients.

Design customization according to your needs and requirements

The market is full of cheque printing companies which are providing a comprehensive customization feature to all their customers. With the help of this feature, you will get a chance to create a cheque that you can call your own. In case you are interested in using this option, you should know that you can customize literally every element by choosing a design and adding different fonts, images, graphics etc. Keep in mind that if you are using visual elements like images, you have to avoid copyrighted images. Another good advice is to change the background of the cheque to make it look more original.

Use security features

It is possible to get custom cheques with extra security features. In this way, you can prevent forgery and avoid situations that can harm you and your organization. Before you place an order ask the manufacturer about the security features they are offering.

Talk to a bank representative about the customization

It is necessary to talk to a bank representative before cheque customization. This is necessary because there are banks which accept only specific designs used in business and personal cheques. So, design cheques that your bank will accept. Even though the customization process is virtually limitless, you should avoid adding every element you can. It is not a good idea to create a cheque that will look too extreme or extravagant. Unleash your creativity, but consider the bank’s requirements.

Hopefully, this article will help you make the smartest moves when ordering custom cheques.