Finance

Tips to Save on Credit Card Processing

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woman-paying-with-credit-cardThe costs for small business credit card processing can add up pretty quickly if you’re not careful, but there are some things you can do to try and lower those costs.

Review Your Contract

Most payment processing companies will require you to have some kind of contract filled out in order to process your new account. Usually, these contracts hold you to a period of about two years and contain language that defines your fee structure. Pay close attention to any discounts, to be sure you can meet the requirements to utilize them, and make sure your account is setup properly to take advantage of the fee structure.

If you have the option to utilize phone support during setup, do so.

Reduce Fraud Risk

Payment gateway services process transactions at a set rate, but fraudulent transactions can cost money when they are reversed. Get too many of these transactions and it may even trigger removal of your merchant account. If you become a high risk, reducing your fraud risk will eventually help to correct that status and get lower fees on transactions as well.

The best way to stop fraud? Swipe as many of your customer’s cards as possible!

Shop Around

If your first option is to go to a bank, then definitely shop around. Banks usually contract this processing to another company, so you’re paying extra fees to cover those costs and using a branded terminal. Why pay those extra fees if you can just go to the source yourself? Shopping around will ensure you find a contract with a good fee structure, and discounts you can actually use.


For more than 20 years, Charge.com Payment Solutions, Inc. has been the easiest and most affordable solution for accepting credit cards online.

Financial tips for young adults

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eharperfinanceUntil personal finance becomes a subject in high school or college every young adult needs to learn how to manage their finances. Unfortunately, most don’t and as a result go out into the world without any idea on how to manage money. Here are a few tips to get your started:

Learn self-control

It is important to learn the art of delayed gratification. It will make managing your finances and saving money that much easier. Credit cards make it very easy to buy something immediately, even when you cannot afford it. Avoid those traps and only buy something that you have the money for. If not, then save up and buy it.

Setup an emergency fund

One of the smartest mantras in personal finance is “pay yourself first”. Regardless of how much your commitments are, always put away something. The starting point is your emergency fund. Set yourself a target of an emergency fund that will cover your expenses for three or six months. Once that target is hit, then look at other saving accounts.

Start saving for retirement

Thanks to compound interest, the sooner you start saving the less money you will have to contribute to hitting your retirement targets. The sooner you hit your retirement target the sooner working becomes optional and you can do anything else you want. Some companies provide retirement plans for their employees. This is beneficial as the money goes in pre-tax and some even match your contribution.

Six ways to protect you and your clients from financial fraud

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eharprefinanceBusinesses should learn to protect themselves and their clients from financial fraud.  Here are six tips and tricks that can help you and your clients secure your financial future.

For you;

Reconcile your accounts – You should make the time every month to personally review your accounts, although an accountant my handle your financials. You should do this by calculating a list of financial formulas each month and review the information against the previous months/years. This way if there are any large changes, you can look into the information in more detail.

Look at your credit report – Use online services to review your credit report to identify any fraudulent behavior.

Set up alerts – Alerts through mobile banking will give you up to date information on how your money is being spent. Apps such as Dasheroo and PowerWallet are good, to give you accurate information. These apps are also accessible through your computer.

For clients;

Inform your clients of mismanagement – If you hear of any mismanagement in the industry, inform your clients by email or mail.

Back up your notices – If you have sent an email or mail notice, it is good practice to call your clients over the phone and recheck if they are aware of the notification.

Sample notifications – Save samples of notifications that can be quickly amended and sent to clients. This will save you time and avoid errors that can be made when writing fresh content.

 

5 Financial tips for young adults

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eharprefinance.Most young adults are clueless on how to manage their money and most often find themselves living an existence of barely managing from one paycheck to the next. Here are 5 financial tips for young adults that will leave you comfortable and prosperous.

Learn self control – It is important to learn the art of delayed gratification. Instead of buying an item on credit as soon as you want it, try saving up the money and buying something straight off. Use your credit card only for emergencies and for the special offers that they provide.

Take control of your own financial future – It is better to understand how to control your money better, than letting your family or friends dictate your financial future. Read a few books on how to make the most of your personal finances.

Know where your money goes – Budgeting is a very good way to understand where your money is being spent. Once you understand where your money is going, you will understand that making small changes can make a big difference at the end of the month.

Start an emergency fund – It is good to pay yourself first, so that you have some money saved in case of an emergency. Set aside a percentage of your earnings, which are transferred from your account automatically to a savings account every month.

Start saving for retirement now – Saving up now for your retirement, will mean that you will have a stable income once you get old and are unable to work

3 Best online Banks of 2016

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eharprefinance july 2016Online banks provide you with the ease of doing your banking with less visits to the bank. This gives you the flexibility to complete your transactions in a very short time, in the comfort of your own home. Here are the 3 best online banks that have been selected on the basis of their fees, interest rates, yields and customer service.

Ally Bank – Ally bank is one of the best online banks, mainly because they have no maintenance fees on checking, high savings and CD yields. They also offer 24/7 telephone customer service support with live online chat and a mobile app. You can also use any Allpoint ATM for free. If you use another ATM the bank will reimburse you up to $10 for any ATM surcharges.

Bank5 Connect – Bank5 Connect is known for its competitive rates, no monthly checking fees and great customer service features. Although the bank does not offer 24/7 customer service, they do provide live online chat features, a mobile app and remove check deposit. You can also use any ATM and bank surcharges up to $15 will be reimbursed.

EverBank – With attractive rates on its checking, savings and CD accounts, this is a good choice for people who have funds of $1,500 or more. With 24/7 phone customer support, no monthly maintenance fees and no ATM fees, this is good bank to consider. The bank will also reimburse all ATM fees, if you have over $5,000 or more.

7 ways to save money at Costco

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eharprefinanceCostco is a retailer that will give you the best prices and the most savings. However, save even more at Costco with the tips below;

Split bulk items with a friend – If you are living alone and have little space, it can be hard purchasing and storing in bulk. But you still can enjoy the savings at Costco, by buying in bulk with a friend and splitting the packages.

Look for Costco coupons – Check your monthly coupon book as well as your Costco mobile app for items discounted. Clipping coupons are not necessary, since the cashiers keep copies of the coupons at their registers.

Shop summer closeouts before the season is over – Stock up on summer essentials at the end of the season. For example, items like barbecues, beach chairs and camping equipment are marked down up to 50%.

Non-members can access Costco discounts – If you do not like to spend the annual Costco membership, you still can have access to the pharmacy, immunization services, eye and hearing exams and eat at the Costco food court (if it’s located outside of the store).

Buy discounted gift cards and movie tickets.- There are discounts in restaurants, movie tickets and local attractions. For example, you can get a coffee bean gift card worth $100 for $79.99.

Take your lunch break at the Costco food court.- If you have forgotten to bring your lunch a good affordable option can be found at the Costco’s food court.

5 ways to save money at Walmart

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eharprefinanceWalmart has been providing over 260 million customers with low prices daily. If you are looking to make further savings on your Walmart purchases, here are 5 strategies that will help you get the best prices.

Walmart’s price matching policy – Walmart will match any price from stores in your area. To make use of this policy, the items should be identical and be in stock at the other retailer. This method is a great way to save on perishables such as fruit, meat or other items such as paper. The store will also match prices from Amazon.com, BestBuy.com, Target.com and TigerDirect.com for home goods and other items.

Online prices in store – As a policy the Walmart.com prices will be matched for in-store purchases. To get your priced reduced, pull the better price on your phone and show it to the cashier when checking out.

Saving catcher app – If your too busy to check the prices of competitors, you can use the Saving Catcher app. You just need to scan the receipt with your app and compare competitor advertised rates. If the item you purchased is cheaper elsewhere, you can be credited in Savings Catcher Reward Dollars. These can be redeemed as Walmart gift cards.

Free shipping from Walmart – To get free shipping at Walmart, spend upto or more than $50 which will incur a charge of only $4.97. To get around this fee you should have your online purchase, shipped to your local Walmart store.

Increase your Income

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eharperfinanceOne of the most common themes people talk about when asked about goals for the new year, is to earn more. Higher income is associated with more happiness, lower debts and a more stable financial future. Sadly there are no easy solutions but with a bit extra effort you can increase your income.

Ask for a raise

If you work for someone or a business, when was the last time you asked for a raise? While the chances are that you will be unsuccessful, it does not hurt to ask. Sometimes employers don’t see the value in an individual until asked to consider how much they are willing to compensate them.

Look into your field

Before you can expect more income from your workplace research your field and your position. Find out if there is room for higher earning in your chosen profession and what you can typically expect to get paid at higher positions. You might be in the wrong field in terms of income potential.

Change careers

If there really is a limit to the income potential of your current profession then a career change is needed. Sometimes changing careers might see an immediate rise in income levels. It is never too late to change careers, so even if you are later in your career don’t be afraid to explore your options.

The message here is to take stock of where you are and figure out where to go from here. Once you have that information, take action and you can definitely increase your earnings.

Creative ways to save for a vacation

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eharperfinanceMaking a yearly travel plan can be a great idea, but saving for travel can be difficult. However, a vacation, at least yearly, can really help you rest and recover, while creating a sense of excitement and adventure. Here are a few tips to help you save for your next vacation;

Open a travel account – Creating a separate bank account for travel, is a great way to save. This will give you a clear idea of how much you have saved so far and how much more you will need to save. Once you open the account and have some money saved, just remember that these savings should only be used for travel. Online access together with an ATM will be useful to transfer funds into the account and to withdraw money for tickets and accommodation.

Automatic Transfers – Your travel account should be funded monthly, therefore transfer a standard amount of money via an automatic transfer. By just transferring $14 a week, you will end up $730 by the end of the year. This is sufficient for a week long getaway.

A change jar- Your trusty change jar can accumulate a lot of money. If you just put in $1.37 a day you will be up to $500 in a year.

Budget – This means that you will have to track your expenses, including food, clothing, accommodation, utilities and any other spending done by you doing the month. This way you would have a clear idea of how much you would be able to save. You will be surprised to find out where your money is spent and where you can cut back.

How Capital and Reserve Requirements Work in Banking

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By Phin Upham

db-capital-web1-master1050

Banks are some of the most regulated institutions in America, and much of that is done to help mitigate risk on the part of both the borrower and lender. As we saw in the 2007 financial crisis, banks who were deemed “too big to fail” presented some of the riskiest propositions. Often, as was the case after 2007, banks are required to up their capital reserves in order to help reduce that risk.

The aim of this kind of regulation is to ensure a firm is managed responsibly. When capital reserves are raised, it’s typically done to protect the bank and its customers. However, it also serves the important function of alleviating some of the burden placed by the cost of deposit insurance. Since the government is liable for that, it’s a good way to help put some distance between risk and the taxpayer who would pay for it.

Financial firms typically express these numbers as economic capital, which helps to represent the amount of risk a bank can take on to ensure that it will function under a failing system.

The most comprehensive accords used in the regulation of reserve requirements are the Basel Accords, named after the city in Switzerland where the accords were drafted. We are currently on Bazel III, which is scheduled to be phased out between now and 2019.

It’s important to note that regulation of this type has to be carefully balanced to ensure the opposite doesn’t happen. Capital regulations are meant to keep banks whole. Today, we are seeing some of those regulations contributing to the dissolution of larger companies to pave way for several smaller entities.


Phin Upham is an investor from NYC and SF. You may contact Phin on his Phin Upham website or Facebook page.