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Avoid being hit by the Government’s credit card surcharge ban with Cheaper Pay!

As of January 2018, businesses will be stripped of their ability to add any surcharges to their card transactions.

Airlines, fast-food chains and small businesses will be those who suffer most from the ban, but there are ways in which these companies can make up for this potential loss of capital.

Cheaper Pay’s industry-leading payment solutions come in at a staggering 40% cheaper price than the likes of WorldPay, Barclays and Lloyds – offering terrific value for money, as well as bearing the costs that may be lost in profit once these government changes come in to fruition next year.

Having provided UK businesses with the crème de la crème of payment technology for over a decade, Cheaper Pay are well placed to install the ideal payment system that is perfect for your business’s needs.

For a FREE no-obligation quote, get in touch with one of our specialist advisers today on 03301 242 537.

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Sole Trader? There’s no need to go it alone – and employing these three people could help!

Many small business owners run their entire enterprise alone, which is perfectly understandable when it comes to keeping costs down.
However, going it alone as an SME is difficult to say the least – and employing these three people can help you take your business to the next level.

1) Accountant
As a small business owner, your goal is to make money–so it only makes sense to consult a professional to help you manage this crucial aspect of your business. Becoming a business owner naturally adds complexity to your tax scenario, so at tax time, an accountant can be crucial for making sure you’re in full compliance and are filing correctly.

2) Assistant
Being a solo business is difficult. Tasks and communications that don’t have to do directly with the day-to-day of customer relations, creating or offering your products and services, and other immediate tasks might become backed up, or even fall by the wayside.
This is where an assistant can come in handy. By employing a loyal employee, you can leave the simple store transactions while having more time to deal with the important things!

3) PR and Marketing Assistant
Getting your name out there is a key factor in achieving a successful business; and a PR and marketing executive can help achieve just that.
Having someone directly available to create social media content, produce flyers and leaflets, manage marketing and deal with outside queries can hugely improve your business reputation as you progress up the success ladder!

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Why the new £1 coin could be the last ever made as Britain moves towards a cashless society

The two-tone pound coin boasts innovative security features which supposedly make it the most secure on the planet. It is also the first UK coin in circulation since the threepenny bit to feature a design of octagonal proportions.

But despite its impressive design, there’s every chance that this will be the last £1 coin in the history of our currency.

Why?

The decline of coins and notes is not just being driven by the convenience of alternative, more high-tech payment methods – it’s also because of the simple fact that cash costs money to make!

The UK is a world leader when it comes to alternative payments. In 2015 alone, Brits spent over £21bn via contactless payments – more than any other country on the continent.

This explains why every business, from popular chains to pop-ups, know that their customers expect to be able to pay by their card, mobile, or wearable device – and over 17.m UK businesses now accept payment cards.

As if we needed any more proof that it’s time to convert to contactless and mobile payments, we now officially have it!

Get in touch with a member of our team today to identify the payment solutions that are perfect for YOUR business.

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Pepare for the next generation of card payments

Paying for your shopping using your smartphone just got even easier as Mastercard expands the reach of its mobile payment app.

The humble credit and debit card may be a step closer to extinction thanks to a new announcement from Mastercard.

The company has revealed a major expansion to its Masterpass digital wallet service that will allow customers for the first time.

Going forward, Masterpass should now work seamlessly on your smartphone, wearable device or tablet, letting you pay online, in-store, or using the NFC-enabled app with just one touch.

Masterpass makes paying for goods even easier

Masterpass makes paying for goods using your smartphone even easier

Mastercard says that the new service, which links to your current account, is perfect for a wide ranges of use cases, from paying for the tube in the morning to splitting the bill at lunch and ordering your weekly shop online.

Banks will also be able to build Masterpass into their own apps, bringing together all your various digital payment methods and apps in one place.

The company says that around 80 million people around the world will be able to benefit automatically from the new service, which launches in the US today before expanding to Europe later next year.

The news comes as competition in the mobile payment market continues to increase, as big players such as Apple and Samsung throw their weight behind the technology.

Since its launch in 2014, Apple Pay has helped popularize the idea of paying for good using a mobile phone in the UK, with thousands of businesses across the country supporting the technology.

 


Moore, M. (2016) Home. Available at: http://www.express.co.uk/life-style/science-technology/689626/mastercard-masterpass-contactless-shopping-payment-app-nfc (Accessed: 15 July 2016).

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Selfies And Contactless Rings: New Ways To Pay

The way we pay for goods is changing. Get ready for Selfie Pay, contactless payment rings and iris scanners.

What if you could use a selfie to pay for things? How about the rhythm of your heart?

New technologies that could change the way we buy things have been shown off at the Gherkin as part of London Tech Week.

Selfie Pay takes everyone’s favourite vanity exercise and makes it useful: allowing you to authorise a transaction with your face.

The app requires you to blink so it knows you’re really there and someone isn’t using a photo of you to fraudulently authorise a transaction.

The idea is to get rid of the need for passwords, instead using biometrics: unique data based on individual characteristics like your face, eyes or fingerprint.

“If you think about passwords, they’re a standalone measure,” said Jane Khodos from MasterCard. “They’re easily lost, stolen or forgotten.

“Here you’re authenticating with what you have: your phone and also who you are.”

You could use this kind of tech to buy goods, pay for bus or train fares, or to log into your computer.

We also saw more of Nymi: a wearable wristband that can identify you by the unique rhythm of your heart, found in your electrocardiogram (ECG).

Your heart rhythm is not to be confused with your heartbeat, so the band would still work if you had just run for a bus, for example.

“We’re also very concerned about the security issues, it’s something that’s top of the mind for us,” said Amy Neal from MasterCard Labs, the company’s research and development division.

It is not just biometrics that could change payments.

Kerv is said to be the world’s first contactless payment ring: a simple piece of technology that essentially means you are wearing a contactless payment card.

Payment tech inventors emphasise that there is no need to choose just one of these products.

“You can start to bundle biometric authentication together,” says Ms Neal. “So you might have Selfie Pay, but also the electrocardiagram for additional security.

“We hear stories like people are concerned that they may have an identical twin, so what does that mean if you’re doing selfie pay?

“For us this is ensuring that we have a full suite of biometrics available.”

The Kerv ring is due out in July, Selfie Pay comes out in the UK this year and the Nymi band and iris scanner are both still in development.

 


Team, T.S. (2016) Selfies and Contactless rings: New ways to pay. Available at: http://news.sky.com/story/selfies-and-contactless-rings-new-ways-to-pay-10323052 (Accessed: 15 July 2016).

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London’s contactless Tube payment system is going global

Other cities will soon be able to use TfL technology to develop their own contactless payment systems.

The contactless payment system used on London’s transport network will soon be modified for use in other cities.
A deal between Transport for London (TfL) and transportation firm Cubic will see the latter adapt the contactless ticking system and license it around the world. The deal, worth up to £15 million, will help TfL ensure fares don’t rise for the next four years, the mayor’s office said.

Cubic will be given access to London’s contactless system to allow it to tailor it to other transportation networks. The company first worked with TfL in 2003 to develop the technology behind Oyster and has since helped upgrade the system to support contactless payments from debit cards, Apple Pay and Android Pay.

Outside London, CTS provides similar ticketing technology to Brisbane, Chicago, Sydney and Vancouver. The non-exclusive deal with TfL will allow the company to integrate technology developed for London’s network into other transport systems.
According to TfL, more than 500 million journeys have been made by more than 12 million unique credit and debit cards since the contactless system launched on London’s busses in December 2012. The technology was expanded to cover Tube and rail in September 2014 and has been used by customers from 90 different countries with one in ten contactless transactions in the UK made on TfL’s network.

Cubic continues to run TfL’s ticketing and fare collection services on 8,500 busses, 1,900 Underground and Overground ticket gates and 1,600 ticket machines across the network.

 


Temperton, J. (2016) London’s contactless tube payment system is going global. Available at: http://www.wired.co.uk/article/london-underground-contactless-payments-licensing-deal (Accessed: 15 July 2016).

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Visa: Most People Back Biometric Payments

Majority of people want to use biometrics when making payments, with fingerprints the favoured option.

New research from Visa has revealed that a clear majority of people are in favour of combining biometrics with their payment process.

The Visa Biometric Payments study surveyed over 14,000 consumers across seven European markets. And it comes at a time when the use of biometric technology is being actively debated as a way to improve transaction security.

Safer Transactions

Biometric technology of course has been around for many years now, but thanks to some high-profile launches of late such as Apple’s TouchID system and Windows Hello, the technology is being used by more and more people.

And the Visa survey revealed that two thirds (73 percent) of people believe that two-factor authentication, where a form of biometrics is used in conjunction with a payment device (i.e. a mobile device or card reader), would make for a more secure payment authentication.

Half of people (51 percent) believe that biometrics would make payments faster and easier, and 68 percent want to use biometrics as a method of payment authentication. The survey revealed that biometrics would mostly help online retailers, as nearly a third (31 percent) of people have at some stage abandoned a browser-based purchase because of the payment security process.

And it seems that 33 percent of people appreciate the fact that biometric authentication means their details would be safe even if their device was lost or stolen.

“Biometric identification and verification has created a great deal of excitement in the payments space because it offers an opportunity to streamline and improve the customer experience,” said Jonathan Vaux, Executive Director of Innovation Partnerships. “Our research shows that biometrics is increasingly recognised as a trusted form of authentication as people become more familiar with using these capabilities on their devices.”

“Biometrics work best when linked to other factors, such as the device, geolocation technologies or with an additional authentication method,” said Vaux. “That’s why we believe that it’s important to take a holistic approach that considers a wide range of enabling technologies that contribute to a better end-to-end experience, from provisioning a card to making a purchase to checking your balance.”

What type?

Fingerprint recognition is viewed as the most favourable secure option by 81 percent of respondents. Iris scanning is backed by 76 percent of people.

But most people are comfortable with fingerprints, as 53 percent of people expressed a preference for fingerprint over other forms of biometric authentication when using it for payment. The other biometric choices such as voice or facial recognition as a payment method are much less popular.

The survey also found that 48 percent of respondents want to use biometric authentication for payments when on public transport. 47 percent want to use biometric authentication when paying at a bar or restaurant, and 46 percent want to use it to purchase goods and services on the high street at a coffee shop or fast food outlet for example. 40 percent want to use it when shopping online and 39 percent when downloading content.

Biometric Uptake

Biometric technology is seeing increasing use of late, not just because of its incorporation into mobile and computing devices.

Earlier this year HSBC launched new biometric logins for its customers. Barclays also allows some of its corporate clients and Wealth customers to log in to their accounts using a biometric reader, and also has voice recognition software, enabled for certain users, with RBS and NatWest also offering fingerprint technology to some customers.

Previous research has found that younger British consumers are the most comfortable with using biometric data to verify their accounts.

 

 


Jowitt, T. (2016) Visa: Most people back Biometric payments. Available at: http://www.techweekeurope.co.uk/security/authentification/people-biometric-payments-195063 (Accessed: 15 July 2016).

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Contactless payment coming to Birmingham buses and trams

The way we pay for public transport will become a lot more straight forward.

Catching the bus in the West Midlands is about to get a lot easier.

National Express West Midlands has announced plans to fit their buses with technology to allow contactless payment.

Their 1,500 buses in the area with take payments from bank cards, smartphones, smart watches, cash and Swift cards.

Peter Coates, managing director of National Express West Midlands, said: “We know our customers want the choice of using contactless when they travel.

“Only a month ago, we introduced it on the Midland Metro and already 7% of passengers buying a ticket on board are using contactless.

“So, as part of our pledge to the West Midlands Bus Alliance to get more people travelling by bus, we are investing in contactless because it makes journeys quicker and easier for passengers.”

The new technology will appear first on buses in Coventry by the end of the year before coming to Birmingham and the rest of the West Midlands over the following two years.

It is predicted to speed up bus journeys because passengers will spend less time buying a ticket at bus stops.

A report into the effects of congestion on bus passengers recently said: “If London-style cashless buses with contactless payment and smart ticketing could be extended to the rest of the UK, bus journey times could be improved by up to 10% by halving dwell time at bus stops.

Soon you will be able to pay your bus fare with your debit card.

“In urban conditions, dwell time makes up between 25% and 33% of total journey time. The big five bus operators in the UK have set a target to introduce contactless bus transactions by 2022.

“They should do everything possible to accelerate this, and it is realistic for them to achieve this goal in the large conurbations within three years.”

 


Beardsworth, L. (2016) When will contactless payment be available on Birmingham buses?Available at: http://www.birminghammail.co.uk/news/midlands-news/contactless-payment-coming-birmingham-buses-11609505 (Accessed: 14 July 2016).

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Festival-goers snap up contactless technology as Qpal launches

QPAL, an Aberdeen-based start-up that has created an innovative technology solution for the events industry, officially launched on Saturday with its first successful deployment at a music and ale festival near Edinburgh.

Aiming to enhance event experiences for both organisers and attendees, Qpal is bringing its innovative web application, which enables efficient, smart and cashless payments via contactless technology, to the UK events industry.
Craig Buchan, founder and managing director of Qpal, comments: “The Qpal team is thrilled to officially launch after the first full deployment of our technology at the inaugural Hops in the Garden event, which took place near North Berwick.

“We developed this solution with the core aims of reducing queue times, increasing revenues, and giving event organisers access to real-time data – with the overarching mission of boosting and enriching live events for everyone involved. This is exactly what we achieved at Hops in the Garden, and we are set to do the same at upcoming events across the country.

“We were delighted to work alongside an early adopter of the Qpal technology, who fully embraced what we are trying to bring to the industry, and bought into our vision.”

Ian Stokes, manager of Hops in the Garden, adds: “From initially meeting the Qpal team, we knew this unique solution would be a great fit for our event. As our venue is relatively isolated with no cash machine on-site, Qpal was the perfect solution to ensure our attendees could easily purchase food and drink throughout the festival.”

The Qpal technology allows event attendees to load cash onto a branded card, and use its contactless technology to quickly and easily make payments throughout an event. This eliminates the need for cash or token systems, which are currently used across the events industry, and brings about a whole host of benefits to event organisers and attendees alike.

Ian continues: “We plan to host Hops in the Garden again next year, so the access to the data analytics is invaluable, enabling us to make key decisions based on a better understanding of our customers and their purchasing behaviour.

“We wish Craig and his team all the best for the future, and thank them for helping us to deliver a better event experience.”

In February this year, Qpal was accepted onto the exclusive 12-week Accelerator Programme in Aberdeen, which is run by Elevator UK, a business support organisation and centre of entrepreneurship based in Aberdeen.

 


 

Festival-goers snap up contactless technology as Qpal launches, via: http://www.scotsman.com/news/festival-goers-snap-up-contactless-technology-as-qpal-launches-1-4175705 (Read 13/07/2016)

 

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Apple Pay is coming to the web – but there’s a catch

Apple Pay will soon be available on in browsers on macOS and iOS, but payments will still have to be authenticated on an iPhone.

Following months of rumours, Apple has confirmed it is launching Apple Pay on the web.

The feature was unveiled at the annual Worldwide Developer Conference and will let you pay for goods through Safari on macOS and iOS. Payments will still need to be authenticated using a fingerprint-enabled iPhone or the Apple Watch.

When customers are browsing on supported websites – such as Crate and Barrel and lululemon – an Apple Pay button will appear. It will work in a similar way to Apple Pay on apps.

Previously, to use Apple Pay iPhone users could store their card details into the contactless system and use NFC to tap and pay for goods in participating stores. Alternatively, they could use Apple Pay to buy items on selected iPhone apps.

Today’s announcement expands this to the web. People shopping on a website on a Mac, or via Safari on their phones, will get a notification on their iPhone to confirm the transaction, which this is done using TouchID.

 

Apple Pay will be limited to £20 until September, when payments up to £30 will be allowed

Apple Pay will be limited to £20 until September, when payments up to £30 will be allowed

This means users won’t have to manually enter credit card information on individual websites or store them online when buying goods because the payment – and security – is routed through the Apple Pay system.

The new features are due to start rolling out to the UK and US countries “soon” and WIRED has contacted Apple to get more information and details of supporting websites.

Apple Pay launched in the UK last year and brought the contactless payment system to stores including Boots, Costa, Lidl, Marks & Spencer and Nando’s.

More than 250,000 shops across the UK now accept Apple Pay, with Transport for London also supporting the payment method on its network. The UK was the second country to get Apple Pay after the service launched in the USA in October 2014.

 


Woollaston, V. (2016) Apple pay is coming to the web – but there’s a catch. Available at: http://www.wired.co.uk/article/apple-pay-web (Accessed: 12 July 2016).

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WIRED Money 2016 Startup Stage: new ways to pay

Want to save £1 every time you run a mile? How about a keyboard that lets you pay from WhatsApp?

What will be the next fintech breakthrough? On June 23, 16 startups from around the world gathered at the British Museum in London to pitch on the WIRED Money Startup Stage.

From blockchain to alternative lending and working in emerging markets, the startups had five minutes to pitch their ideas to our expert judges. On the panel, Marisol Menéndez Alvarez, open innovation manager at BBVA; Yann Kandelman, head of investment at Orange Digital Ventures and James Temperton, acting deputy editor of WIRED.co.uk.

These pitches are all focused on digital-only banks and new ways to pay.

Modern Lend

WIRED Money 2016 Startup Stage winner

If you’re coming to the US to work or study, getting credit and loans can be tricky. Kobina Ansah, co-founder and CEO of ModernLend is trying to change that. His startup uses alternative data metrics to provide credit cards and loans to creditworthy international citizens shut out of the US system.

Traditional banks may decline borrowers who lack a US credit history, says Ansah. These people, hugely creditworthy in their home countries, are unable to borrow in the US as they lack a credit history or social security number. The startup is already working with the international student offices at the University of Pennsylvania and NYU and will launch its first card for international citizens this autumn.

Oval Money

Saving is a $35 trillion global market, but only 18 per cent of young adults save with a major financial institution. Benedetta Arese Lucini, co-founder and CEO of Oval Money, wants to make it more fun. The savings app uses MangoPay to create a digital wallet that lives on a user’s smartphone.

Oval Money gamifies saving using an ‘If This Then That’ model to tap into pretty much any API: run five miles? Save £1. Buy something from Amazon? Save five per cent of the total purchase. Oval Money can also use micro-transactions, making it easy to save tiny amounts regularly to build up a large pot.

PayKey

Herzliya, Israel-based PayKey wants to make it easy to pay for goods within any app. The idea is simple, Dario Mutabdzija, president and head of business development: a white-label keyboard for iOS that lets anyone transfer money to anyone else in an app. According to Mutabdzija, incumbent banking and payment apps aren’t contextual or “integrated into the daily lives of consumers”.

As PayKey is totally service agnostic, it can work anywhere, so users can pay within Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, WhatsApp – wherever.

Robin

If you’ve got kids, there’s a chance you already provide them with financial services – but you probably call it pocket money. Robin aims to “connect kids to the financial world through their parents in a safe way,” says Robin CEO Rogelio Valdés Garcia. The app, which links a wallet with a parent’s bank account, uses gamification to encourage responsible saving and money management.

When it launches Robin will charge £2 per month to use the service and hopes to partner with banks to move children onto real accounts when they are old enough.

 


Temperton, J. (2016) WIRED money 2016 startup stage: New ways to pay. Available at: http://www.wired.co.uk/article/wired-money-2016-startup-stage-digital-banks (Accessed: 11 July 2016).

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Could you be the next victim of identity fraud?

We explain the different types, how they are committed and ways to keep your money safe.

  • ID fraud claimed more than 148k victims last year – a 57% annual rise
  • One couple had £8k stolen from their joint account by criminals
  • We explain all of the ways you can fall victim – and how to prevent it

The rate at which individuals’ personal details are being stolen by criminals is rising fast. Fraud experts say the public need to be more vigilant than ever.

Laura Shannon explains the different fraud types, how they are committed, and explains ways to keep your money safe.

Identity fraud claimed more than 148,000 victims last year – a 57 per cent rise compared to the year before. Cifas, the financial crime prevention service, says every demographic is being targeted – with fraud affecting all age groups.

But how it happens remains a mystery to many victims.

This was the case for retired couple Mike and Sheila Fairholm, both 67, who had £8,000 looted from their joint account with NatWest while they were on holiday in Berlin last December – and where they had not used their cards and only took cash.

When they returned to their home in Wallsend, Newcastle upon Tyne, they found Mike’s log-in password for online banking had been changed.

After using Sheila’s log-in, which was unaffected, they discovered £8,000 had been spent at a spread-betting company. Curiously the sum was returned to them in three instalments – all while they were still away.

The Fairholms also noticed £1,000 had been transferred from their savings account to their current account.

Despite not having lost any money, the couple are concerned about how this could happen and keen to get answers. Sheila says: ‘The bank cancelled my husband’s debit card, which had been compromised.

Mystery: Mike and Sheila Fairholm had £8,000 ¿looted¿ from their joint account while they were on holiday

Mystery: Mike and Sheila Fairholm had £8,000 ‘looted’ from their joint account while they were on holiday

‘But it seemed unconcerned that someone had been able to access our online banking details, change passwords and spend a huge amount of money leaving us overdrawn for a couple of days. We were astonished at its reaction and worried it was not taking the fraud seriously.’

It was suggested to the couple there was a virus or malware on their home computer. But they took it to PC World to be checked over, at a cost to themselves, only to be told the device was secure.

The Fairholms also use F-Secure software to help keep their information protected.

 Mike visited his local NatWest branch to discuss the fraud with a manager, only to discover the couple also had a £10,000 overdraft on their account, which they weren’t aware of and did not ask for. This has now been reduced.

The manager suggested Mike’s card had been compromised in the run-up to Christmas when he had bought items online, but Sheila says this does not explain how someone could access their account and change passwords.

NatWest says: ‘We take fraud extremely seriously. We are working with the Fairholms to ensure their accounts are kept secure.’

The couple took the computer to PC World to be checked over only to be told the device was secure

The couple took the computer to PC World to be checked over only to be told the device was secure

The different types of fraud: 

Identity fraud 

Criminals glean personal information about an individual to open accounts in their name, order a mobile phone contract, request other goods in their name or empty their current account.

Investment fraud 

Sometimes known as ‘boiler room’ fraud.

Savers are convinced by phone or email to invest in ‘unbeatable opportunities’ and with high yields ‘guaranteed’.

The fraudsters will try to build a rapport with their victims over time, and may even produce sham brochures and make false claims about how the company is regulated.

The investment itself will often be a high-risk unregulated product – such as wine, art or diamonds – if it exists at all.

Scams 

This is a general term covering a broad number of rip-offs affecting people in the UK on a daily basis.

They range from bookings for holiday homes advertised by fake landlords, a sham adviser promising to unlock money from a pension before the age of 55, or demands for payment by doorstep tradesmen for ‘urgent’ property repairs.

Scams can include demands for payment by doorstep tradesmen for 'urgent' property repairs

Scams can include demands for payment by doorstep tradesmen for ‘urgent’ property repairs

All scams and frauds combined are thought to cost individuals nearly £10billion a year – the equivalent of £202 for every UK adult and more than £300 per second.

This figure comes from the UK Fraud Costs Measurement Committee, and is based on academic research by the University of Portsmouth’s Centre for Counter Fraud Studies.

Consumer group Citizens Advice is running Scams Awareness Month throughout July to help people learn more about common scams and how to spot them.

For more information visit citizensadvice.org.uk or call the charity’s consumer helpline on 03454 040506.

The methods used 

Social engineering 

Specific details about victims are taken from information freely available online, such as addresses and ages posted on social media.

Often this will be all that is needed to open an account in that person’s name or to tease more information needed from an account holder.

Phishing/smishing 

People are tricked into clicking on links in emails or texts – perhaps because it looks to be from an official source, such as Revenue & Customs, a popular shop or someone they know.

Clicking on the link downloads ‘malware’ on to a computer or phone. This is software that lets crooks see account numbers and passwords that have been used on that device.

Pressing issue: Clicking on a dodgy link downloads 'malware' on to a computer or phone, which is software that lets crooks see account numbers and passwords that have been used on that device

Pressing issue: Clicking on a dodgy link downloads ‘malware’ on to a computer or phone, which is software that lets crooks see account numbers and passwords that have been used on that device

Phone fraud 

Skilled scammers impersonate bank employees or police to find out a person’s account PIN or password.

The caller will suggest there is evidence of fraud on an account and recommend the person phones their bank’s fraud department.

When the account holder hangs up and dials the number, the original call is never disconnected.

The fraudster then plays out a script pretending to be a bank employee and once they have the householder’s trust, will ask for a PIN or password.

Hacking

Customer data, such as debit or credit card details, are traded by criminals in hidden corners of the internet not visible to the average computer user.

This information is available because of data breaches by companies or hackers targeting businesses – such as what happened with TalkTalk last October.

Hackers can also tap into public wi-fi hotspots.

Wi-fi hotspots are not secure and a fraudster would be able to see whatever other users are looking at

Wi-fi hotspots are not secure and a fraudster would be able to see whatever other users are looking at

Stephen Proffitt, deputy head of Action Fraud, the UK’s national reporting centre for fraud and cybercrime, says: ‘These internet connections are not secure and a fraudster would be able to see whatever other users are looking at – such as internet banking and passwords. It is better to use your mobile phone’s data allowance for this as it is more secure.’ 

A flaw in NatWest’s security was highlighted earlier this year by BBC Radio 4 programme You And Yours, which found it was possible to hack into a person’s account using a stolen mobile phone, with no need for log-in or password information.

The programme demonstrated how a criminal could take a victim’s phone, contact their bank claiming to have lost log-in details, and then be sent a unique activation code that gives access to the account.

The fraudster was then free to change the account password and PIN so only he or she could access it. NatWest consequently made changes to its security to address these concerns.

Card skimming and shoulder surfing 

Cloning technology on debit and credit card terminals or on cashpoints copy a user’s card details. A camera or someone hovering over a customer’s shoulder at a till or ATM will then pick up what PIN is entered – giving them easy access to the account and its contents.

Proffitt says: ‘There may be a device on a cash machine that you are unaware of. Always cover your hand when entering your PIN.’

Customer fraud and failure

Customers are often blamed for fraud as a result of being careless about their details. But sometimes the bank’s lax security and crooked employees are responsible.

The Mail on Sunday has been told privately by a bank employee that staff need to be trained about the dangers of ‘phishing’ just as keenly as their customers.

In other words, customer details have been or could be compromised just as easily by bank employees falling for fraudsters’ tricks.

Insider fraud is another problem, where rogue employees drain customer accounts.

Less than a fortnight ago a Barclays apprentice cashier working at the Kensington branch of the bank in London was sentenced to 33 months in prison at the Old Bailey for using details of 25 customer accounts to open new accounts, take out loans and request new cards and PINs.

He intercepted the post and used these new cards to empty customer accounts. Victims all received refunds but the loss to Barclays was £167,370.

Meanwhile, two bank insiders at Halifax and Lloyds were jailed on June 8 after working with a wider gang on a series of frauds to steal more than £400,000 from customers.


Shannon, L. and Laura+Shannon+For+The+Mail+On+Sunday (2016) How to spot an ID thief. Available at: http://www.thisismoney.co.uk/money/guides/article-3682199/Could-victim-identity-fraud-ways-spotting-ID-thief.html (Accessed: 11 July 2016).

 

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Contactless payments in vogue for Barclaycard and Topshop accessories

News: Card payments on the increase as mobile and contactless take off.

Barclaycard and Topshop have teamed up on a range of contactless payment accessories.

The NFC-enabled bracelets, phone cases and keychains come as part of the bPay collection that was launched in 2014.

Users that have a UK registered Visa or MasterCard, debit or credit card will be able to add funds to their digital wallet using a mobile app, online through the bPay web site, or set up an automatic top-up, which will add funds to their balance one it falls below a pre-set level.

The accessories contain a bPay chip by Barclaycard that links to the digital wallet.

Britain is clearly a big fan of contactless payments and paying by card instead of cash, with rising online and contactless transactions increasing spending on debit and credit cards by 10% to £660 billion in 2015.

Online card spending increased by 20% to £210 billion from £175bn in 2014, this means that almost a third of plastic spending takes place on the internet. Paying by mobile is also on the increase with half of online spending taking place on tablets and smartphones, up from 37% in 2014, according to figures from the UK Cards Association show.

Contactless payments are also on the increase, partly thanks to the increase in the payment limit to £30 and nearly half of all cards issues now having contactless capabilities. In 2015 £7.75bn was spent via tap and pay, compared to £2.32bn in 2014.

Graham Peacop, CEO, UK Cards Association, said: “With the amount spent using contactless cards almost trebling between 2014 and 2015 and the payment limit increasing to £30, it is clear 2015 was the year contactless went mainstream.

“Whether buying a sandwich on the go, or paying for a round of drinks or a tube journey, contactless has become the default way people choose to pay for every day shopping.”

 


Nunns, C.J. (2016) Contactless payments in vogue for Barclaycard and Topshop accessories. Available at: http://www.cbronline.com/news/internet-of-things/consumer/contactless-payments-in-vogue-for-barclaycard-and-topshop-accessories-4919256 (Accessed: 8 July 2016).

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Balance transfer war hots up as Tesco Bank launches fee-free 24-month deal

Tesco Bank has launched a new 24-month fee-free 0% balance transfer card, matching the market-leading deal launched by Halifax earlier this week.

As with the Halifax deal, the new Tesco ‘No Balance Transfer Card’ charges no interest on debts transferred from other cards for up to two years, and there’s no balance transfer fee either.

However, people looking to shift a credit card debt might find the Tesco Bank deal the more attractive of the two, as all successful applicants will receive the full two-year interest free period.

Halifax will only offer the full 24-month 0% period to 51% of people who qualify for the card. Other successful applicants will only get a 13-month interest-free period.

The Tesco No Balance Transfer Card charges 18.9% APR once the 0% period is up, but while “most” successful applicants will receive this rate, some borrowers will be charged 20.9% APR or 23.9% APR, subject to their credit history.

Halifax’s two-year fee-free balance transfer card also charges 18.9% representative APR, though borrowers that don’t qualify for the advertised rate will also be charged higher interest rates, at 21.9% or 25.9% APR.

While this is the strongest deal, if you can repay your card debt over two years, anyone looking to pay down a larger credit card debt might want to consider a longer interest-free period. Several lenders offer interest-free balance transfers for up to 40 months.

 


Moneywise (2013) Balance transfer war hots up as Tesco bank launches fee-free 24-month deal. Available at: http://moneywise.co.uk/news/2016-07-07/balance-transfer-war-hots-tesco-bank-launches-fee-free-24-month-deal (Accessed: 8 July 2016).