Thursday, October 22, 2015

How to Create a Scalable Payments System


Multitude of Companies – Attempts on Scalable Payment Systems

A whole multitude of companies in Fintech have been making attempts in developing scalable payment systems. As per EY, one of the largest markets in UK Fintech is payment at around £8bn per year. In order to make money new payment provider should measure quickly for the purpose of economics to operate.

This would need proposition which would be knowingly convincing for consumers as well as merchants together with the different other players in the value chain. Currently though payment tends to work, it is not perfect by any means but all the same it works.

It is essential to add value to a payment system in order to make a successful business from it. It has been observed that by just making payment is great but not good enough. Should the option be given of paying with your phone through contactless instead of a credit card, at a restaurant, the difference would not be big. One would have to go through the procedure of asking for the check, viewing it and instead of paying with the credit card it could be paid with the phone. Hence the motivation of utilising the phone is not strong.

Technology Incorporated Into Restaurant Apps

This technology for instance has been incorporated into restaurant apps, permitting consumers to pay for the total bill or split the bill with others through Apple Pay, PayPal or any registered card on a MyCheck account, without the need of staff. Moreover, it also permits sophisticated incentive as well as loyalty programs created to personalize the dining experience for the consumers.

For instance, when a customer tends to visit a restaurant, they would need to view the menu which can be done through the restaurant’s app, powered by MyCheck. If the customer prefers to redeem his coupons or offers or even participate with loyalty programs, he could do the same through the app without the need of involving paper vouchers or loyalty cards where the accumulation and redemptions seems to be automatic.

When the consumer wants to pay, the need of asking for the check does not arise, since the MyCheck platform has been incorporated so that the consumer can pay as well as split the bill utilising their smartphone.

Payment Apps do not Generate Revenue from Consumers

With plenty of competition around, individuals tend to comprehend that it is not just about food but also about the experience. Making an effort of leveraging the potential of the smartphone, one could develop an engaged though discreet association with the guests. With regards to monetizing an app, the same is based on what the app is attempting to achieve.

Several of the payment apps do not generate revenue from their consumers, the merchant tend to pay them. The effect is that since there seems to be many platforms on the market, one would have to prove the value that would be added to a business for them to get involved. The amazing thing regarding MyCheck is that it is partnered with chains that have been already functioning where their success would be success for all.

The challenge lies in how to be loyal and how the visits are repeated while at the same time offer better customer experience. According to data, it has been observed that once a user tends to utilise the app more than twice they get hooked to it. A bit of convincing is needed to let them use it twice and thereafter they tend to get used to the experience and like it.

Monday, October 19, 2015

8 Bad Money Habits and How to Break Them

bad money habits

Handling Finances – Money Habits

Managing your funds is often related to the habit one may cultivate and money habits could decide how a person handles their finances. The following could help in comprehending some of the money habits which one may not be aware of, but which would be draining away your finances

1. Spending more than the earnings

This is could be the most awful habit which could hurt the well-being of your finances when one tends to continuously spend beyond their means and when the expenses exceeds the income coming in, towards the end of the month one realises that they have overspent. The remedy is that one should monitor the spending habits and keep a tab on overspending.

This could be done by checking on the expenses and segregating them into `need base’ and `want base’ opting on what is essential and refraining from unwanted purchases. A budget could be prepared to keep the spending activity under control. If the need base on essentials tend to make you spend more than the earnings, one would need to focus on increasing their income either through loans or credit card debt. However this too should be taken into consideration with regards to repayment.

2. Postponing financial decisions for tomorrow which may never come

Often we tend to put off investment plans for a later date which never turns up or it tends to get pushed off every month since no savings have been done. And postponing financial decisions is worse than making bad choices. Since the earnings saved tend to generate additional income by way of interest earned, the sooner the investment is made, better are the chances of increasing your savings. The right opportunity of investing should be done when one tends to have the funds. Delaying in investments could lower your ultimate corpus.

3. Falling into debts for wants instead of needs

We live in a competitive world and very often we tend to get carried away with lifestyle based purchases and indulge in purchases which may not be needed, leading us into unnecessary debt. If the much needed purchases tend to constantly run you into debts, it is a habit which needs to be kept under control to save from future distress. Debt is for the vital and planned purchases which could be indulging in manageable debt for the purchase of a home or a child’s education though it would not be appropriate to fund for luxury items.

4.Gambling instead of investing

Several people indulge in experimenting in the stock market without really comprehending its concept which could be dangerous and as the saying goes `little knowledge could be dangerous’, this could be applied here. Often a person may get a tip on some particular stock which may be a good bet or someone may inform that Options are a good way of making money.

If one intends putting saving into investments without any knowledge about it or the risk involved and just speculating, it could be one form of gambling and not investing. Several people have been indulging in this unknowledgeable move and have repented in doing so. The best remedy is to place your investments on your goals. Ensure to refrain from investment option which may seem too good to be true. There are no shortcuts to investment and prudent disciplined investment tends to work in growing wealth.

5. Refraining from saving regularly

Most of the people do not save regularly which is common while indulging in spend first and save later. Organising your expenses before saving makes your saving an unreliable matter. Hence adopt a habit on how much one can save regularly keeping aside the saving as soon as the income comes in. This would be helpful in saving habit instead of spending.

6. Being risk averse

One may consider not taking risks could be good and would make you cautious of bad investments. But if risk aversion prevents you from investing in some risky though essential investments it could be nothing a bad habit. Risk aversion seems natural though it should not hold anyone back. Not taking risk is not like understanding risk and several investors understand risk instead of avoiding it. If one intends to beat inflation and increase wealth, then risk taking seems to be essential. Here again what matters is the risk profile of investment goals instead of your own risk profile wherein one could invest in safe options such as Bank FD though could expect lower than inflation returns.

7. Paying dues after the due date

If one tends to constantly make late payments against credit card bills or utility bill you would be incurring additional expenses by way of interest which could probably lead you to being broke paying up the hefty interest rates charged against late payment. Payment of bills needs to be made on time to avoid late payment charges.

8. Indulging in habits which are financially taxing

Smoking, dining out too often or drinking spree could lead to a substantial financial burden and though these habits could be considered as small expenses but over a period of time could add up to weighty amounts. This needs to be stopped to avoid further tension on health and money.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Why US Banks soon will be singing the Blues


Analysts Apprehensive – Quarterly Profits Reports

Estimates seem to be moving in the wrong direction with Wall Street banks about to report on how much money they have been making. The industry had jointly reported $43 billion in profits, coming off a quarter and analysts are expecting a rising rate environment with increased demand which would tend to keep things moving for $15.1 trillion sector.

But with declining expectations for a rate hike in 2015 together with other factors, it tends to make the analysts apprehensive with regards to how the quarterly profit reports would turn out. For the Big Four coming up, JPMorgan Chase would get things started with the others following during the week, like Bank of America, Wells Fargo, Citigroup, Goldman Sachs and PNC. S&P 500 financials, as a sector is expected to indicate a 3.8% annual growth in profits as per S&P Capital IQ.

This seems to be an improvement than the 5.1% decline predicted for the total index and is a big disillusionment from early forecasts. The revenue is said to grow by 4.4%. As per July, analysts had been predicting 9.9% growth which a year back the expectations seemed to be a showy 27%.

Bank Earning – Increase – Based on Performance of Bank Stocks

Hence the results showed better than expected and are likely to remain below the earlier high hopes for financials which were expected to be the best performing sector of 2015. Bank earnings are increasing based on the performance of bank stocks recently and one would think that the earning could be a disappointment. However, it is not the same for all bank stocks.

Two great concerns for bank earnings are the weak trading and low interest rates. Trading profits being low seems to be correct. Trades in government bonds and the equity trading could be alright in the quarter though activity in the range of other financial areas could have been weak to awful.

In the case of awful, one could point to agency, asset backed bond as well as commodity trading. With regards to the weak side, one could view at corporates, currencies and municipals.

Substantial Revision – Individual Companies

Substantial revision has been seen in individual companies recently. According to FactSet, analysts have reduced MetLife estimates from 88% a share to 77 cents, while Goldman Sachs from $3.46 to $3.20, Morgan Stanley from 68 cents to 63 cents. In the S&P 500’s financial sector, expectations on earnings have been condensed for 53 of the 88 companies.

The weakness tends to come since loan growth has been steady due to strong climate in the commercial real estate. According to Federal Reserve data, in the third quarter, the sector increased by 9.7%, the greatest of the year after rising 6.7% in 2014.

Moreover, investment banking has been fairly strong all through the year and though the global revenue has been down by 10% year after year, it has been in level at $28 billion in the U.S. This was due to a record of $9.7 billion haul by way of mergers and acquisition revenue, as per Dealogic.

Banks stocks seem to have failed in 2015 with KBW NASDAQ Bank Index off 4.8% a year to date as against a 2.2% less in the S&P 500. In October, the index was up by 1.3% trailing behind the broader market’s gain of almost 5%.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Storm Clouds Gather Over Global Economy as World Struggles to Shake Off Crisis


IMF Framed Forecast – 2015, UK Growth Among Downgrades

According to the International Monetary Fund, Britain is among some of the shining lights in the global economy and as the world views, the slowest period of growth since the financial crisis. The IMF framed up its forecast in 2015, for UK growth among downgrades `across the board’ for emerging and advanced economies.

It stated that China’s slowdown, dropping commodity prices together with an expected increase in the interest rate in US would tend to weigh on output. It is now expected that the world economy would expand by 3.1% in 2015 from a forecast of 3.3% in July. Since 2009, this would represent the slowest expansion when the global growth came to a halt.

According to the IMF’s chief economist, Maurice Obstfeld, who stated that `six years after the world economy came from its broadest and deepest post-war recession, the holy grail of robust as well as synchronised global expansion remains elusive.

Inspite of differences in country specific outlooks, the new forecasts tend to mark down expected near-term growth marginally though nearly across the board. Besides, downside risks to the world economy seems more pronounced than it was a few months back’

Risk of Recession over Next Year

The Fund had also cautioned that the risk of recession in the US, Eurozone as well as Japan over the next year seemed to have increased in the past six months since emerging markets face a fifth year of slow growth.

The year of weak demand as well as anaemic productivity development meant the probability of damage to the development on medium term was a great concern, warns IMF. Further drop in global demand would be leading to near stagnation in advanced economies should emerging markets tend to continue faltering, it added.

The UK economy is anticipated to grow by 2.5% this year, slightly up on the IMF’s forecast of July by 2.4% and its expectation for 2016 growth remained unchanged at 2.2%. IMF had stated in its latest World Economic Outlook that `in the United Kingdom constant steady growth is anticipated which is supported by lower oil prices as well as constant recovery in wage growth’.

Fund Cautions – Countries Need to Be Prepared for Higher Interest Rate

The outlook also portrayed US growth for 2015 had been higher than expected three months back when Italy envisaged upgrades for 2015 as well as 2016. The biggest economy of the world is expected to lead growth in the G7 this year but the UK and US economies have shown indications of slowing down, recently. The latest health-check of IMF portrays that it anticipates the UK government to balance its books by 2020.

Mr Obstfeld had stated that the UK and the US seemed `not totally immune’ to a probable slowdown in China but were less open than countries with closer trade connections. As per the Bank of England, should China’s grown be 3% lower over the next three years than it present forecast, it would knock 0.1% off the growth of UK.

IMF has stated that the risk of a recession would now be higher in the Latin America 5 – Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Peru when compared to the rest of the world group. The Fund has informed that countries need to be prepared for higher interest rates in the US which is expected by the turn of this year. It also added that the Bank of England would probably raise rates by 2016.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

The Truth about China's Dwindling War Chest


China – The World’s Largest Creditor

China is considered to be the world’s largest creditor and the enormous money reserves of Beijing presently stands at a $3.6 trillion, which is still the leading owner foreign holder of US government debt. For over two decades, China, the world’s second largest economy had developed a war chest of foreign currency assets as a shield against the global winds.

However, on August 11, the decision taken to tweak its exchange rate regime to engineer the biggest single devaluation of the renminbi in 21 years has put forth the query of reserve depletion in severe aid. After deserting its peg with the US dollar for anachieveddrift, those in authority have been compelled to get involved on a huge scale to prop up the renminbi.

China had gone through reserves due to this failed devaluation, at an unmatched pace this summer wherein the reserves had dropped by $93.9 billion in August. This was the biggest monthly fall on record as well as the largest with regards to percentage terms since May 2012. This is set to continue for at least the remaining of the year. China would be slowly moving towards a much flexible exchange rate though not yet willing to feature a considerably weaker renminbi

Quantitative Tightening

As per UBS analysis, almost 70% of China’s reserve accumulation between 2005 and 2014 was from the country’s enormous present account excesses. The total reserves emaciated at $4 trillion in August 2014 had been on a steady decline since then.

As for the composition, UBS note that almost two-thirds around 62% was held in US dollar assets with about $1.27 trillion in the US treasury bonds. China had shifted from being a net buyer to a net seller of dollar assets to defend the value of the renminbi and this has given rise for concern that Beijing’s actions tends to have a stifling effect on the global credit as well as liquidity conditions.

This occurrence named as `quantitative tightening has been seen as concern when China can no longer play a part as the driver of global economic prosperity, at a time when the Federal Reserves is ultimately poised to begin normalising the monetary policy. In the midst of the trouble surrounding China’s prospects, economist tends to remain optimistic, speculating the fears of a dwindling war chest are possibly overdone.

China/Emerging Markets – Offload Foreign Currency Assets

Bumper reserves of Beijing, at $3.6 trillion, seem to be adequate in continuing to establish the currency and covering 20 months of imports of goods and services. All this, states, Tao Wang at UBS, `while the country continues running a current account surplus of over $300bn a year’.

Others consider that Beijing’s intensive reserve accumulation had been developed to confront precisely the kind of headwinds presently facing the country and are not surprising that the Politburo is now organizing them for the same purpose.

The authorities have also other various tools to fight off tighter monetary conditions. With regards to the impact on the growth of China on the rest of the world, the QT theory for intuitive appeal is still to be materialised in the form of rising bond yields with higher debt costs in the developed world.

China together with the other emerging markets could be offloading their foreign currency assets to handle their individual exchange rates though these may not be destined to drive up the bond prices according to economists.