There can be little doubt that online security is a hot topic at the moment. The European Commission has recently spoken about its desire to put consumers at the centre of financial service delivery and says it wants to continue tightening up consumer protection.
Meanwhile, the UK’s Payments Council has discovered that concerns about security are among the most common barriers discouraging people from using the internet for shopping or banking.
So, how can businesses go about establishing strong security for their websites, and how can they inspire confidence among consumers?
The Great Online Migration
Technological development is changing the retail landscape for homes and businesses. More products and services are being bought and sold online, and it’s becoming difficult to underestimate the degree to which online activity is transforming the retail financial service market.
That’s because most consumers are quick to realise the benefits of performing their chores online. Once they begin using digital banking and purchasing services, they are likely to continue doing so.
What this means is that businesses will be judged on the experience of their digital delivery, and that retailers and small businesses will face increasing pressure to show that they are secure and safe to use.
The Payments Council has issued a new guide, ‘Pay Your Way’, as part of its consumer education campaign. This includes basic details as to what consumers should look for to ensure a website is secure.
As knowledge builds of online security, it’s going to become second nature to check for the presence of an SSL certificate from a respected provider such as Thawte.
So, where do small businesses begin, and what might influence their choice of security certificate?
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40% of homeowners believe they could do a better job of selling their own home than agents and save up to £6,000 on the cost of moving at the same time, according to a new property website.
John Candia, of the iProperty company, believes that with the right knowledge and a bit of effort, it will become progressively easier to bypass estate agents and make a considerable saving by listing your home yourself.
To find out more about how this is done, check out the discussion below with John and personal finance expert Holly Thomas. (We’ve condensed it down into a straightforward Q&A to make it easier to follow.)
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It’s been an eventful time for the credit card market. Competition is hotting up in the market for balance transfer cards (with the longest 0% offer now at a whopping 33 months). And constant technological advances are making credit cards both faster to use and multifunctional.
You may have heard that Transport for London are no longer accepting cash on London buses. If you haven’t got an Oyster card, a contactless card is your next best bet.
If you’re interested in the technology behind the construction of your credit card, it’s all listed here in this fascinating infographic provided by Sainsbury’s Bank.
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The Government has convinced major banks to support the creation of a new tool that will direct people towards the best value current account for their needs.
Britain’s biggest current account providers will help to create a tool that can read data from a customer’s existing current account and identify which are the best value accounts for that customer.
Barclays, HSBC, Lloyds Banking Group, Nationwide, the Royal Bank of Scotland, and Santander have all agreed to participate in the new state-backed system.
How will it work?
Under the new system, customers will be able to export a year’s worth of transaction data from their account in a format that can be read by the comparison tool. Once the tool has analysed this data, it will then suggest the most suitable account from a wide range of providers.
So, a customer with high council tax or domestic bills might be recommended the Santander 123 account, which offers cashback on these categories of spending.
A customer with a high average in-credit balance is likely to be recommended an account that offers interest, such as TSB or Nationwide, which both offer 5% for at least the first 12 months.
On the other side of the coin, customers that dip into the red frequently should also be able to discover through the new tool whether there are accounts with cheaper overdraft facilities available.
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When we choose to switch banks, it’s normally due to one of a few factors. We may be fed up of poor customer service; we may be seduced by the rewards on offer from another provider; or we may prefer the convenience of a closer branch. The quality of mobile banking apps is rarely considered – but recent trends suggest that it’s about time we factor this in to our decision making.
There’s been a noticeable shift towards mobile banking in the last twelve months. The number of transactions conducted on a mobile app reached 18.6 million per week in 2013, according to the British Banking Association – more than double the levels seen in 2012.
Customers of the five largest banks – Barclays, HSBC, RBS, Lloyds and Santander – downloaded over 12.4 million apps last year. Santander, which has gained a lot of new customers since the new current account switching system launched, saw a sizeable increase of 40% in the number of people using its banking app.
Clearly, we’re becoming much happier with the idea of using a smartphone for our banking needs rather than whiling away our lunch hour at the local branch. And with new services like Paym set to transform the way that we exchange money with others, we can expect the world of mobile banking to keep growing exponentially for some time to come.
It stands to reason, then, that the functionality of a mobile app will soon begin to have a major effect on how and why people choose their bank account.
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Nowadays, it is becoming harder and harder to keep track of your finances. The average person has in excess of seven bills a month to pay, so it’s not surprising that many of us get confused about who is owed what and when. But help is at hand in the form of your smart phone (that you probably pay for monthly as well). James McAllister of UKPower takes us through the best money-saving apps.
We are starting to see an increase of advanced and helpful apps becoming available that help you not only keep track of your finances, but they can even schedule your outgoing payments for you. Below are our top 5 favourite apps to help you become better with money and keep on top if your monthly bills.
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