Monday, November 23, 2015

Bitwalking Dollars: Digital Currency Pays People to Walk


Digital Crypto-Currency Generated by Human Movement

A digital crypto-currency which is generated by human movement has been recently launched. Bitwalking dollars could be earned on walking unlike the other digital currencies like Bitcoins which have been mined by the computers.

To begin with, users would be given the opportunity to spend what they have earned in an online store or trade them for cash. A phone application tends to count and verify user’s step with walkers with the opportunity of earning around 1 BW$ for around 10,000 steps – about five miles.

At first users would be provided with the opportunity of spending what they have earned in an online store or trade the same for cash. Nissan Bahar and Franky Imbesi, the founders of the project have got over $10m of preliminary funding from largely Japanese investors in order to aid the launching of the currency and develop the bank which verifies steps together with any transfers.

Murata, the Japanese electronics giant has been working on wearable wristband which would be providing an alternative option of carrying a smartphone to show how many BW$ the wearer has earned.

Bitwalking - Additional Incentive to Keep Fit

Shoe manufacturers are ready to accept the currency while a UK high street bank is in talks in partnering with the project at one of the UK’s largest music festivals to be held next year.It is said that the founders have a track record in disruptive technology which tends to help developing nations as well as the richer ones.

 Keepod had been launched last year, a $7 USB stick which performs like a computer in Nairobi, Kenya. The purpose of Bitwalking is to take the benefit of the trend for fitness followers by providing additional incentives in order to keep fit.

The global scheme intends to partner with sportswear brands health insurance firms, health services, environmental groups as well as advertisers who may be offering unique insights in the audience they may be focusing on. Employers in the future may be offered a scheme to provide to their employees in encouraging them to stay fit, with the currency they tend to earn converted and thereafter paid along with their salaries.

The average person in developed countries tends to earn around 15 BW$ a month, it is expected that in poorer countries where people need to walk further to school, work or to collect water, the Bitwalking scheme would be beneficial in transforming lives.

Currency to be Earned by Anybody

The influence Bitwalking would be making in developing countries does not seem to be lost on the founders and is the main reason in creating the currency. One of the African nations to join at the launch of the project, in Malawi, the average rural wage is about US$1.5 per day.

Carl Meyer, Bitwalking manager for Malawi, has set up the first two Bitwalking hubs in Mthuntama and Lilongwe for local people to be trained on how to trade the BW$ online for US$ or Malawi Kwacha, the local currency.

Bitwalking has not released the procedure used in verifying steps, officially but states that it utilises the handsets’ GPS position and Wi-Fi connection for the calculation of the distance travelled. Transfers of the new currency would be monitored cautiously with transactions going through a central bank which would verify individual deal utilising the block chain system used in transferring other crypto-currencies like Bitcoin. It is a currency which can be earned by anybody irrespective of who they are, or where they come from, according to Franky Imbesi.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Payment Wallet Companies See Red in New Game Plans


Some Payment Wallet Firm – Locked out of e-commerce Segment

Some of the payment wallet firm are of the opinion that they get locked out of the successful e-commerce segment since companies running marketplaces tend to prefer their own subsidiaries or are determined in ensuring that customers spend any cash-back money on their own sites.

Oxigen for instance has said that it is no longer available on one of the biggest shopping sites of India. According to CEO of Oxigen, Ankur Saxena has stated that they are presently on Snapdeal prior to acquiring Freecharge and have decided to take them down.

He further stated that at one point of time they accepted wallets but now they want to come up with their own wallets. Freecharge seems to be the only wallet option on Snapdeal that has also launched cash-back options which tends to direct consumers to the unit’s offerings. Freecharge was acquired by Snapdeal in April this year, for almost 2,400 crore.

Snapdeal had refrained from responding to queries and Flipkart informed that it would not comment on its wallet practices. Saxena had mentioned that the trend would hurt Oxigen and that there would be an impact on the business if the customers are unable to use the wallet on a particular site, they would be compelled to utilise another mechanism to process the payment.

Paytm – Its Own e-Commerce Platform

According to managing partner, Ashvin Parekh of Ashvin Parekh Advisory Services, stated that striking boundaries on the e-commerce evolution could be envisaged as a restrictive exercise and that they have still not achieved anything with regards to permeation of e-commerce.

Market leaderPaytm, though does not seem to be too worried. Vice President Products, Paytm, Nitin Misra had commented that they have better acceptability and more consumers. Why would customer put money in a wallet which can be used only on that particular site and the cash back too cannot be utilised elsewhere?According to him the consumers is not dumb and if someone does not intent to permit them as a payment option on their site it is entirely their choice.

Paytm has expanded to begin its own e-commerce platform and the government as well as the Reserve Bank of India have made financial presence significant, making for an ecosystem wherein payment wallets would play a role together with various other elements. However, what is serious for such companies is having a large subscriber base.

Several Banks Launched Own Wallets

Towards the last week of October, Vijay Shekhar Sharma, founder of Paytm had received a message from State Bank of India which was not good news. The message stated that the nation’s largest lender together with its associate banks would not permit their customers to load money onto the Paytm wallet from their accounts.

The reason provided to their query was that the net banking services were only for shopping and not for uploading wallets according to Sharma. After independent wallet companies have started operating in India and gained reputation, several of the banks launched their own wallets.

SBI in fact according to reports by The Economic Times, recently, even planned to launch a wallet for feature phone users known as Batua, by next month. Chairman of Payments Council of India and the managing director of ItzCash, Naveen Surya, had stated that some players would always think that they are big enough and that they have adequate customers. However as one tends to go deeper and begin running independently the payment business, when it is separated from the core business, one would realize that it is difficult to create scale.

Friday, November 13, 2015

The Latest in the Battle to Own Your Digital Wallet


Digital Wallet – Now Standard Features on Smartphones

The fight to own digital wallet is on and 2016 is foreseen as a vital year for mobile payments and according to eMarketer, its total transaction values reaching 210%. Mobile wallets such as Android Pay, Apple Pay, Samsung Pay as well as MCX would now be standard features on smartphones with more merchants adopting point-of-sale systems which would be accepting mobile payments.

Recently in a keynote, JPMorgan Chase had unveiled a payment service together with retail partners comprising of Wal-Mart, Shell and Target. Chase would be needing help and skipping into mobile payments would means competing with companies like Apple, Google, PayPal and Samsung.

Chase Pay seems to be the outcome of a new partnership with JPMorgan Chase and MCX, a multinational of major retailers which has so far been unsuccessful in gaining much transaction in digital payments. The app is said to be made available by mid-2016 and could be utilised for in-store, online and in-app purchases and would be available to all with a Chase credit, debit or a prepaid card account.

Chase Pay to Solve – Pain Points for Consumers

With this kind of scale it could be advantageous and according to CEO of consumer and community banking at JPMorgan Chase, Gordon Smith states that `Chase Pay tend to solve a number of pain points for consumers as well as merchants and will improve the customer experience driving down the cost of payments’. Besides scale, consumer trust could also help chase initiate adoption.

According to latest Phoenix study reported at Money20/20, it was observed that banks and card issuers, followed by PayPal did enjoy a trust benefit against other digital payment players. The research also found that 64% of smartphone payment app users or those preferring to try it would contemplate downloading a bank’s payment app.

Around half the number stated that they would ponder on trying Apple Pay or Android Pay.Google is keen on changing that relative level of comfort and Sridhar Ramaswamy, the company’s senior vice president of ads and commerce would be delivering a keynote wherein he would lay out a vision to drive mobile commerce adoption with Android Pay which is the newly re-launched Google Wallet.

Brought Together NFC/Tokenization/Biometrics

Google had partnered with American Express, Discover, MasterCard and Visa in order to assist them in integrating Android Pay in the U.S. and is also working with AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon Wireless in training sales representative to get consumers in setting up with Apple Pay prior to leaving the store with a new device.

Apple however not officially represented at the event was also the focus of many surveys and panels.Brendan Miller, Forrester Research analyst praised Apple for kick-starting the mobile wallet fight with the launch of Apple Pay, believing that it is best positioned to win stating that they have the consumer base and they have the users.

He further added that they had brought together NFC technology, bringing together tokenization as well as biometrics and combining those three things in creating a frictionless consumer experience at the point of sale. PayPal, according to Miller has been at this longer than anyone else and they have more mobile users than any of these competitors Anu Nayar, senior director of communications and customer engagement comments that `as we move to a mobile first world, digital wallets would be moving from a nice have, to a must have, as people tend to tap rather than type for their purchases and PayPal innovations like One Touch could make it easier to buy from mobile.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Perks That Might Be Hiding in Your Credit Cards

Credit cards tend to have its advantage as well as disadvantage if not used rightly. At times even the most responsible people could meet up with problems if they are faced with a dismissalor in a situation of an expensive treatment. If all tends to go well and the user is well aware of what they are doing, credit cards could save them with a lot of money. One need to know their credit card well because if not, they may be unaware of the various perks which some of the credit cards tend to offer and hence will not be able to take advantage of them resulting in losing money. The fine prints should be checked since there are some of the hidden perks, which an individual may be entitled to, while utilising the credit card

Rental insurance 

Spokesman for Clear Point Credit Counselling solutions, Thomas Nitzsche, headquartered in Atlanta, had been faced with a problem when on renting a car to drive from Missouri to Georgia had to street-park it for three days while staying in Atlanta. He had noticed that it had been hit on the rear bumper and the cost to fix it amounted to $800. Though he had not bought the expensive rental insurance, the rental company offered help.Nitzsche’s credit card, VISA Signature comprised of rental insurance and the entire bill was paid after he had submitted the paperwork with proof that the car had been rented by him and was being asked to pay a claim.He informed that Visa was capable of reducing the $800 by around $50 and they probably had some negotiating power.

Airline incidentals 

Matthew Coan running the financial comparison website, informed that he was overwhelmed with a recent perk provided by the American Express Premier Rewards Gold Card, a $100 annual credit for covering airline incidental fees. According to him, these fees comprised of checked bags, flight refreshments, airport lounge passes and much more. A few things need to be kept in mind in order to utilise the perk wherein for the reimbursement of any of these fees, the same has to be paid separately from the airline ticket and can only obtain the fees reversed for one airline for the calendar year.

Dispute resolution 

If the individual feels that they have been overcharged for something, they could contact their credit card and get help. If the dispute resolution service is offered with the card, you stand a chance of getting the charge reduced.

Trip cancellation insurance 

According to Jared Blank, chief marketing officer of the retail website, states that with Chase Ink Plus card, they offer this facility of trip cancellation insurance. He narrates that his parents had booked a cruise and a non-refundable flight for a holiday and had paid with the Chase Ink Plus card. His mother had been ill and the trip had to be cancelled. The airfare and the cruise cancellation fee were reimbursed by Chase that was done without any difficulty.

Extended warranties 

At the time of purchase of a computer or any expensive product, one would often be asked if they would prefer purchasing an extended warranty. They would then get engaged with their associate on, whether the offer would be worthwhile. Four of the major credit card networks, namely MasterCard, Visa, American Express and Discover tend to offer extended warranties on several, though not all of their credit cards.

Saturday, November 7, 2015

7 Common Money Traps Even Smart People Fall Into


Important Aspect - Cash Flow Management

Handling cash flow is very important aspect since all work hard for money and tends to make the most of our income. In order to avoid spending mistakes and help to stretch the cash for a longer time the following tips could be helpful –

1. Buying things on sale

Buying things on sale tends to be a mistake and can actually be a huge money waster. Whatever the price or bargain may be, if one purchases something which would not be used, it would be like throwing away your money. Before indulging in the sale purchase, one need to ask oneself whether the said product would had been purchased if not put up for sale and will be used after purchase. One should indulge in sensible
purchase and not go on a shopping spree for anything on sale.

2. Buying stupid products

Sometimes one tends to indulge in purchasing useless things and then repent for having done so. Prior to purchasing any of these unwanted commodities, one could hold onto to purchases for a later date if essential. It is best to limit them by having certain standards for the purchases especially big purchases.

3. Spending money on problems one cannot solve with money

Stop to think if by going shopping or indulging in some purchases, would help in resolving certain issues in life. There could be other options which could be more beneficial than in shopping and wasting money.

4. Refraining from spending when one has the opportunity

Your hard earned money needs to be spent on what could add great value to your life. It would be pointless if one cannot spend the money earned on important things in life and miss out on opportunities that come your way.

5. Not maximizing rewards and points 

Reward credit cards are of various shapes and sizes enabling the user to collect points on purchases like merchandise, gift cards, airline miles or cash back which could be utilised at the appropriate time when needed. One could opt for a card which offers points while shopping for basic like the grocery which when accumulated could be used for gas fuel or if travelling, an airline miles reward card which could be beneficial in the long run and take advantage of the points or cash back.

6. Not setting up automatic savings outside your 401(k) 

One should discipline oneself in setting up an automatic investment plan to come up after the pay check comes to your bank account every month. We often tend to pay the bills and other non-essential things leaving our savings till the last, if there is anything left after all. This needs to be avoided if keen on a good future.

As the saying goes -Money Saved is Money Earned. You could check with an investment company to set it up which would be very beneficial over a period of time. Automate your savings and investing inside as well as outside of your 401 (k) and set a direct deposit from pay check to bank account and monthly automatic transfer to your investment account.

7. Not spending enough

Sometimes we tend to compromise on our purchases by not buying the essentials when the need arises. We look out for other options which at times could be dissatisfying on purchasing. If one can afford it, go in for the best quality which will satisfy your requirements even if you have to delay the purchase.