Mobile card payment is something of a buzzword now, with many merchants looking to modernise their business by accepting card payments in a new and innovative way.
There is definitely some confusion about how existing mobile payments work, especially those that rely on near-field communication (NFC). For example, a recent YouGov survey of over 1000 UK adults shows that only one third are even aware of NFC technology (a figure that has barely risen since last year). Only one fifth of the people surveyed have ever used their phone to make payments using NFC technology. Over 56% did not believe the technology was safe. These numbers have serious implications for merchants and the type of mobile payment solution they decide to implement.
However, the question is: how can merchants continue to be innovative and cost effective in their choice of payment methods when such technologies are mistrusted by the British public?
The answer is to take an established, widely used technology and turn it on its head in a technologically innovative way.
The facts of life, as the saying goes, are that we live, we die, and we pay taxes. To refine that slightly for 2013, we might say that savings rates are simply too low while energy prices are too high. Perhaps a common solution lies somewhere in-between. Through renewable energy schemes, companies could cut their energy bills by half and investors could generate returns of 6.5% per year.
An interactive panel broadcast featuring Nick Hanna, author of the Green Investment Handbook, and Gerry McGowan, executive chairman at CBD Energy, has looked at how renewable energy schemes work. An abridged version can be seen below.
Over on Which4U, we’ve started a monthly ‘What’s Hot’ review of the best mortgages available on the market. It won’t surprise most readers to learn that many of these offers are provided by mutuals rather than by major banks. And though eligibility for these offers tends to be limited to those based solely in the vicinity of the lender, there is far greater coverage than many will suspect. Check out some of the highlight offers below.
Skipton Building Society has launched a 2-year tracker deal at just 1.78%, which enters at the top end of the market. The initial rate falls slightly behind HSBC, but the fee of £995 outstrips rivals, who (with the exception of Nationwide and the Post Office) are charging £1,500 or above.
If the Bank of England is able to hold off on raising interest rates until 2016 (though it’s hardly a certainly), it’s the ideal window of opportunity for a cheap tracker mortgage, and such low-cost deals won’t last much longer.
The Norwich & Peterborough Building Society is offering an impressive 65% LTV 2-year fixed-rate mortgage at just 1.99%, taking the fight to the major banks in the lower-risk mortgage sector. The fee of £295 offers terrific value compared to similar products in this sector, where fees are now sky-high.
For this low-risk category, major banks are offering lower rates but much higher fees. Mortgages like N&P’s become most competitive when the value of the loan is smaller (up to £200,000), because it’s only when borrowing large sums that the lower rate is able to offset the high product fees (of up to £1,999) over the course of the offer period. For lower value loans, a slightly higher rate and lower fee can prove a better option.
Given the pressure for banks to build capital requirements while they are losing cash as a consequence of scandals, what will it take to boost lending?
Mr Drayson rightly suggests that the vast payouts from numerous scandals have proven problematic because this leakage from the system has removed funds that could have been used to secure banks’ capital bases without such a detrimental impact on lending.
At Which4U, we’ve had an interesting inside-view of the complexities of crowdfunding over the last 12 months. We’ve seen models that have been successful and some that have fallen away.
But there’s still a considerable funding gap for businesses – more than the government can expect to cover alone. And while the Funding for Lending Scheme has improved the availability and affordability of residential mortgages, it has failed to tempt banks into higher-risk lending to new and small businesses.
This is where initiatives such as FundTheGap come in. FundTheGap is a newly-launched equity fundraising platform for UK start-ups and small businesses that enables entrepreneurs to raise up to £2 million in capital while allowing qualified investors to support businesses and potentially benefit from tax reliefs.
Companies are charged a fee to feature on the platform. The benefits of this include an assessment of the business plan, a screening process, and a pledge of investment from FundTheGap itself. FundTheGap insists on meeting the management teams behind each company face-to-face if they are to be accepted. For investors, the platform is free of charge.
Which4U put 10 questions to the company’s CEO, Derek Uittenbroek.