Top 7 eCommerce Trends for 2018

For years, everyone has been saying that ecommerce is the future. Well, the future is finally here now that 2018 has arrived and we’re only two years from 2020. Ecommerce and dropshipping business models like Oberlo may once have been popular only amongst millennials, but things are different now; 51 percent of Americans prefer online shopping these days.

As anyone invested or interested in ecommerce knows, the industry is always changing, and 2018 is promising to bring some huge, exciting trends our way.

1 The use of Artificial Intelligence (AI)

 AI has already been making huge strides in the ecommerce world, but its impact is only going to increase in the new year, especially when it comes to customer service chatbots becoming more widely implemented. According to James Gurd, owner of DigitalJuggler, “In 2018 we’ll see more companies investing in chatbot services to automate part of their customer service process. The market for chatbots and automated customer service is growing; a Business Insider survey reported that 80 percent of businesses expect to have chatbot automation implemented to some extent by 2020.”

 2 On-demand commerce

If you’re a big user of ecommerce platforms, then you’re going to love this trend, since on-demand commerce is all about getting what you ordered super fast. Think Deliveroo or Seamless, but for non-food products; Amazon Prime Now is already making such a service available to certain parts of the country to tremendous success. 42 percent of American adults already use on-demand commerce — almost half the population — and with more vendors joining the movement every day, there’s no doubt this sector will grow in the new year.

 3 Brick and mortar integration

 Sure, ecommerce may be the most popular way to shop now, but that doesn’t meant that brick and mortar storefronts are totally outdated. Instead, brick and mortar stores are finding new ways to cooperate with with their online counterparts in order to bring the best of both worlds to a variety of shoppers. After all, 50 percent of millennials actually prefer going to physical stores at a certain point in the buying process or for specific needs and services. So for example, you’ll see more clothing stores offering online sales but in-person tailoring and fitting services at their storefront.

 4 More mobile spending

 If you’re one of those people who prefers to go on Amazon.com than use the Amazon app, it’s probably because you’ve come to expect the all-too-common reality that apps are usually not as streamlined and intuitive for buyers as websites tend to be. In 2018, however, you should expect that to change. Considering we spend over 4 hours a day on our smartphones and you can even store a digital wallet on your device, it only makes sense that ecommerce stores are going to start perfecting their mobile-based shopping experiences. So make sure you update your phones this year and save storage space for all the most up-to-date apps.

 5 Personalization

 Ironically, even though this is one of the biggest trends in ecommerce this year, it could also be argued that personalizing the ecommerce shopping experience is one of the greatest challenges of the industry. Fortunately, challenges drive innovation. According to Merehead, many clothing and accessories shops are finding personalization solutions, for example the “e-commerce lenskart website… created awesome augmented reality application that allows you to екн on glasses on your face in a real-time. This small app was downloaded [by] more than 5 million people and provided thousands of new sales.”

 6 Voice shopping

Considering the rise in the use of smart home technology and digital assistants such as Amazon Echo and Google Home, more and more ecommerce orders are going to be made by voice command in 2018. Virtual, digital assistants will overtake the world population by 2021, and according to Micha Kaufman, CEO of Fiverr, “The rise of personal assistants has absolutely increased engagement, and as more consumers become comfortable with the process, more will rely upon the technology to accomplish everyday tasks, including purchasing.”

 7 Video content

 When it comes to marketing ecommerce platforms to the rest of the world, video content is going to take over. It’s been estimated that, by 2020, video will make up 80 percent of all online consumer Internet traffic. Why? Well, it’s one of the best ways to get attention online these days, especially with the highly ad-averse generations of Millennials and Generation Z. They’re more likely to read a blog post if it’s partnered with video content, so expect the number of videos in your Facebook feed to go up this year.

In conclusion

 Lots of changes are coming to ecommerce in 2018 and the years to come, in large part due to all the technological advances that have been made in the past few years. Whether you’re passionate about the subject as a consumer or as an entrepreneur looking to invest in new TrustToken cryptocurrency and incorporate blockchain tech into your online business, staying tuned to the changing landscape of the ecommerce world.

What ecommerce trends are you excited about this year? How do you think they’ll change our lives?

3 Crypto Industries You Should Consider Investing In

Don’t be the Dunce, invest smart!

With so many crypto investors seeing massive profits over the past year, it makes sense that more and more people are trying to hop on this wave. And while it makes sense that a lot of both investors and entrepreneurs are attempting to take advantage of this system, the field is only getting more competitive. Which, if you’re trying to invest in some blockchain companies, there are a few industries that you should be on the lookout in considering. Check them out below:

Freight

As an industry nearly everyone relies on, it makes sense that freight is one area that blockchain entrepreneurs are looking to enter. In fact, according to Trucking.org, the freight industry is worth around $738 billion in the US alone, which is a pretty staggering figure when you consider the sheer size and volume of this industry. This makes sense, especially considering how much in our lives run because of freight and what comes with it. However, not only could blockchain make this all much more transparent, but cheaper for everyone involved as well.

In regards to innovation with blockchain and the freight industry, a few things have come about. First, FR8 Network, which is a blockchain in trucking alliance, is looking to create a blockchain network that will change the game. They are trying to accomplish this by offering distributors and suppliers the ability to openly connect with one another, rather than solely having to rely on brokers.

Furthermore, this puts pricing out in the open, which makes the market more competitive. In turn, if truckers can find more gigs via the network, then there will be less empty freights on the road, thus increasing productivity while also helping the environment. Yes, the changes that are happening to the freight industry with FR8 and the blockchain are incredibly exciting, and something you should be on the lookout for.

Automated Contracts

Another great change that’s happening with crypto is the ability to execute automated contracts, which is one of the core features of the blockchain and smart contracts. Until recently, there hasn’t exactly been a way to automatically handle contract negotiations and executions (aside from hiring someone like lawyer Aaron Kelly, who has a service which automates contracts). This leaves a lot of people (especially contractors and freelancers) getting screwed by those who decided they want to change their mind on the price of a contract. However, blockchain is looking to change all of that.

An excellent example of this is with something like a logo design, which as noted by 99designs, can cost anywhere between $300 to $1300. Let’s say that a business owner initially agrees with a designer to buy a logo for $500. The designer provides the logo, which then the business owner decides the $500 was too expensive and they’re only going to pay $100. With the blockchain, as soon as the logo is submitted and approved, the business owner has to pay up.

This prevents bad actors from potentially trying to short creatives on their work, and thus, creating a more level playing field for creators. All-in-all, don’t be surprised if more entrepreneurs try tackling this problem soon, as it’s something worth keeping your eye on.

Health Care

As healthcare is a massive industry, it goes without saying that this is a field that is constantly looking to be improved. What makes a lot of hospitals so difficult to work with is the sheer size of the management systems they have to deal with, as well as how billing works too. Furthermore, a lot of health care providers have to share information with one another, which can be quite complicated when dealing with multiple sources. However, this is one area where the blockchain could be incredibly useful.

With the blockchain, hospitals and other healthcare providers could be a part of an extended secure network that shares files safely. Additionally, this could also help with billing, which as noted by the National Institute of Health, a simplified billing system amongst hospitals alone could save $350 billion annually, a significant number when you consider the other aspects of file transfer that might be useful as well.

While this is still early technology, companies like Nanovision are looking to implement a health blockchain network that will not only help providers maintain secure patient information, but will also equip labs and other patient touchpoints with results-sharing as well. Expect healthcare and blockchain become something you hear much more about in the next couple years; this is worth exploring as a long-term investment.

What are you most excited to see start to develop in crypto? Comment with your answers below!

Heres why you should start your new groupspaces site in 2018

Now that 2018 is finally here, it’s time to make some changes. You’ve got all your resolutions written out, you’re balancing family, friends, and career, and you’re eating healthier, even if it’s a bit of a struggle after two weeks of festivities and drinking and consuming whatever you wanted. But one of the things you’ve been thinking about doing–and to be honest, every new year, you have the same idea–is starting a group site.

Whether you’re a mom working from home and passionate about sharing your productivity strategies with other working moms, or you’re interested in finance, helping other people find the best credit cards and credit repair methods–creating a group is a great way for you to share what you’re passionate about with people who share those interests. It’s the perfect time to start a group with GroupSpaces, and here’s why:

1 Sending email newsletters is easy

 Knowing how to send emails that people are most definitely going to read is one of the most important skills anyone can have online. For example, did you know that personalized email messages, according to Aberdeen, improve click-through rates by an average of 14 percent and conversions by 10 percent? So if you’re writing engaging, exciting content and using all the right strategies that GroupSpaces offers, you’re sure to get a lot of new members in this new year. How?

Well, first of all, GroupSpaces makes it easier for you to send email newsletters. They integrate the email sending feature with all the other features, which means you won’t have to keep your email system separate from the group home or members list. And with most of the pricing plans, you’ll also get email statistics, which can help you easily keep track of what is and isn’t working in your email campaigns.

Additionally, while some simpler group sites may only allow you to create one email list for your entire online group, at GroupSpaces, you’ll be able to create multiples. Whether you’re dividing your lists into teams or subgroups, it’s much easier to get organized with GroupSpaces. For more information on how to email your members directly, take a look at this post from their website.

2 Signing up is simple

 Once you’ve gotten some people interested in your group, the next step is getting them signed up as members. If you were running your own site online instead of using the GroupSpaces interface, then this could result in a large number of logistical complications. For example, if you’ve got 100 membership requests a day, it’s going to be quite a challenge to keep track of them and ensure on your own that you give them access to your blog or website, even if you’re one of the 89 percent of Americans who check their email at least once a day.

With GroupSpaces, it’s super simple: you can accept new member sign ups via an online form. You don’t need to wait to receive an email, then add that email to the list of people already in your group. Instead, it’s simple and automated, so you can spend more time on your actual group events and discussions rather than focusing your energy on signing someone up the second the notification appears in your inbox.

3 Organizing events is easy

 When it comes to running groups successfully, being able to create in-person events is incredibly important. After all, what could be more community-oriented than connecting with people online and then being able to meet them in person, shake hands, and finally match a face with the person behind the screen? If yours is a group about emerging trends in cryptocurrencies and blockchains, then it makes sense to have your event in a downtown bar; if you’re a group of outdoors enthusiasts, then a picnic in a national park makes the most sense.

Wherever you decide to organize your events, GroupSpaces makes the entire process simple. Unlike many other online group sites, you can actually organize events for GroupSpaces via Google or Facebook, since they can be integrated together. It’s especially useful considering that Facebook has 2.07 billion monthly active users. And when it comes to selling tickets online and sending invites, GroupSpaces can simplify that process, too.

Additionally, when it comes to online meetings–such as forums and email discussions–GroupSpaces makes it easy for you to host. You’ll be able to keep everyone connected by sending out newsletters and creating email discussions with everyone on your email list. To learn more about how to create a dynamic conversation in your emails, take a look at our support team’s explanation of how it all works here.

If you’ve always wanted to start a group–why not start the year off right by starting your group site with GroupSpaces in 2018? We’ve got many different plans and prices that you’re sure to find something that works for you. So take a look at your options, choose what’s best for you, and start that online group you’ve always dreamed about creating.

What online group site have you always dreamed of building?

What Business Travelers Should Know About Taxes and Deductions

The idea of expense management when you’re a business traveler can get complicated, and the same goes for employers who are always working on ways to stay on top of expenses and maintain a sense of control and visibility.

Luckily a lot of companies are making it easier on their employees and their finance teams through the implementation of expense management software with features such as mobile apps to manage receipts and expenses on the go, but there is still another issue business travelers face. That issue is how to deal with taxes and deductions.

The following are some things to know for business travelers, and understanding tax deductions and issues from the standpoint of the employee can also help employers better meet their needs and provide them with the tools and resources they need.

What is Classified as Business Travel?

First of all, travelers and their employees should know that the term business travel is a specific one, and the IRS outlines it.

What does the IRS mean by business travel, at least from their own perspective?

It’s a reference to travel away from what’s considered an employee’s tax home that’s “substantially” longer than a day’s work. Business travel as far as the IRS is concerned also requires that the individual is sleeping or resting while they’re away for work and that sleep or rest can’t be done at home.

Employers and employees should differentiate between a home and what a tax home may be. According to the IRS, your tax home is where your primary place of business is, but this doesn’t mean it’s where your house is.

Types of Travel

There are different IRS guidelines on deductions depending on the type of travel.

For example, if you’re planning on going to a convention, you may need to show that it is directly related to your work, and if you’re going to an event aboard a cruise, it can be tough to prove that this should be a deduction.

For some finance teams in big companies, they may already know the IRS guidelines so they can send employees on trips that are going to be tax deductible for the organization, but it can be a bit trickier if you’re a business traveler who’s not being reimbursed for something, but you’re looking for deductions.

Are Expense Reimbursements Income?

Another question a lot of frequent business travelers have is whether or not expense reimbursements are counted as income.

Whether you’re an employee or an independent contractor, you do have the opportunity to deduct certain business expenses, but if you’re reimbursed, you can no longer do that. However, are reimbursements taxable income?

Generally they aren’t, as long as you can prove that you were reimbursed for a legitimate business expense. When you’re reimbursed, you don’t need to claim, but an employer can claim it as a deduction on their own return.

Finally, this again relates to expense management software and its importance in the modern workplace, not just for employers but also for employees.

It makes it easier to keep track of expenses and reimbursements to make sure taxes are filed correctly. If an employee doesn’t have the necessary proof the reimbursement was a business expense, the IRS may ultimately add it to the employees’ taxable income.

5 Financial Errors You May be Making

What do you see when you look at your financial situation as a whole? Do you have concerns that you are making mistakes that will hold you back in the future? Are you willing to change your ways if it will put you in better position for financial success?

Here’s something to remember: everyone makes mistakes every now and again. No matter how hard you try to stay on track, you’ll eventually run into a financial error that stops you dead in your tracks.

Here are five financial errors that are incredibly common, but should be avoided as much as possible.

  1. Too Much Credit Card Debt

It’s easy to take on credit card debt, as all you have to do is pull out your plastic and make a purchase. It’s even easier now, with the number of online vendors like JUUL, Amazon, Jet.com, and many others, most of which will allow consumers to save their credit card information for more streamlined purchasing in the future. Unfortunately, all those small purchases have a way of adding up.

Get this: Fox Business notes that in the United States, the average household has roughly $16,000 in credit card debt.

If you’re carrying a credit card balance, look for a way to eliminate this as quickly as possible. Once your debt is gone, it will feel like the weight of the world has been lifted from your shoulders.

  1. Not Enough Retirement Savings

According to Forbes, nearly half of Americans are at risk of hitting retirement age with no savings to retire with. This is a problem on many levels, and sadly many people will not be able to retire when they want to.

If you don’t have enough money in retirement savings, now’s the time to take a hard look at your past mistakes and missteps. This is the only way to alter your plan and achieve more success in the future.

  1. No Emergency Savings

It’s easy to believe that nothing bad will ever happen to you, but that’s just not reality. You never know what the future could bring, and without an emergency savings, you could find yourself in a tough financial spot down the road.

According to CNN, the majority of Americans don’t have even $500 in savings. If you’re part of this group, do whatever it takes to stockpile some cash in an emergency account.

You may never use it, but it’s nice to know that the money is there if an emergency comes to light when you least expect it.

  1. Overspending on Dining Out

There are a lot of people who enjoy dining out; not only is it convenient, but it’s also quite a bit of fun. Unfortunately, dining out is also expensive. According to The Simple Dollar, the average person spends $232 per month on eating on-the-go.

Tip: keep track of how much you spend on dining out over the course of one month. Once you have this number in hand, you may realize you need to change your ways. It can be shocking to see just how much we spend on junk food!

  1. Spending Too Much Money on Rent

There is nothing wrong with wanting to spend money on a nice place to live; however, there does come a point when you could be overspending on rent.

According to Apartment List, fewer people are renting in the majority of large cities in the United States. In other words, now may be the time to think about buying a home. This isn’t the right decision for everyone, but it could be a decision that allows you to save money and build equity over the long run.

Final Thoughts

No two people are exactly the same, meaning that the financial errors you have made in the past may not affect someone else in the same way. Even so, the five errors detailed above are extremely common. If you find yourself bogged down by one or more of these, you don’t have to continue down the same path in the months and years to come.

You can change your ways by learning more about credit repair, creating a budget, and making lifestyle adjustments as you see fit. It doesn’t matter if you are a retiree, a law school student searching for ways to fund your education, or a single parent, the more errors you avoid, the better you’ll feel about your finances.

What are your thoughts on these common financial errors? Do you have what it takes to avoid these in the future? What steps will you take to stay on track? Share your personal thoughts in the comment section below.

Сrеаtіvе Іnvеstіng аnd Fіnаnсіng Тесhnіquеs

Тrаdіtіоnаl rеаl еstаtе іnvеstіng bу dеfіnіtіоn іnvоlvеs thе рurсhаsе, оwnеrshір, mаnаgеmеnt, rеntаl аnd/оr sаlе оf rеаl еstаtе fоr рrоfіt. Undеr thіs dеfіnіtіоn, rеаl еstаtе іs аn аssеt fоrm wіth lіmіtеd lіquіdіtу rеlаtіvе tо оthеr іnvеstmеnts, аnd trаdіtіоnаllу іs hіghlу dереndеnt оn саsh flоw, but whеn wе lооk аt сrеаtіvе wауs оf іnvеstіng іn rеаl еstаtе а lоt mоrе орроrtunіtіеs аrе ореn tо us.

Ѕо whаt аrе sоmе сrеаtіvе wауs tо оbtаіn fіnаnсіng? Тhеrе аrе mаnу but hеrе аrе sоmе оf thе mоst рорulаr tо lіst а fеw:

Раrtnеrshірs аrе fаіrlу соmmоn bесаusе thіs іs fіrst thіng а lоt оf rеаl еstаtе іnvеstоrs thіnk аbоut dоіng whеn thеу stаrt оut. Тhеу wаnt tо fіnd sоmеbоdу whо саn рut uр thе mоnеу аnd sрlіt thе dеаl wіth thеm fіftу-fіftу. Тhіs іs аn орtіоn but thеrе аrе bеttеr wауs tо mаkе а lоt mоrе.

Наrd Моnеу Lеndеrs аrе іndіvіduаls оr соmраnіеs thаt hаvе саsh rеаdу fоr уоu tо bоrrоw. Тhіs іs usuаllу а muсh bеttеr аltеrnаtіvе thаn trаdіtіоnаl bаnks sіnсе іt іs а gооd sоurсе fоr gеttіng funds quісklу еvеn іf уоu hаvе а lоw сrеdіt sсоrе. Маnу hаrd mоnеу lеndеrs dоn’t lіkе tо lеnd mоrе thаn 65% оf thе fаіr mаrkеt vаluе оf а rеаl еstаtе рrореrtу, sо thе bеttеr thе dеаl, thе mоrе орtіоns уоu’ll hаvе.

Рrіvаtе Lеndеrs саn bе аn еvеn bеttеr аltеrnаtіvе tо hаrd mоnеу lеndеrs bесаusе уоu саn оftеn аrrаngе bеttеr tеrms sіnсе уоu аrе dеаlіng wіth sоmеоnе рrіvаtеlу. Rеmеmbеr, а рrіvаtе lеndеr саn bе аnуоnе еvеn frіеnds оr fаmіlу. Еvеrуbоdу wіns bесаusе уоu аrе оffеrіng thеm а muсh bеttеr rаtе оf rеturn thаn thеу wіll gеt іn thеіr sаvіngs оr mutuаl funds аnd іt’s sесurеd bу rеаl еstаtе.

“Ѕubјесt tо” Fіnаnсіng соmеs frоm thе сlаusе “subјесt tо ехіstіng fіnаnсіng”. Wіth thіs strаtеgу уоu аrе lеаvіng thе ехіstіng fіnаnсіng іn рlасе аnd јust tаkіng оvеr thе рауmеnts оn thе sеllеrs ехіstіng mоrtgаgе. Yоur nаmе іs nоt gоіng оn thе lоаn. Іt wіll stау іn thе sеllеrs nаmе. Тhеrе аrе оthеr wауs tо dо sіmіlаr sеllеr fіnаnсіng аs wеll. Тhіs іs аn ехсеllеnt strаtеgу fоr thоsе whо hаvе рооr сrеdіt tо bеgіn іnvеstіng quісklу.

Whоlеsаlіng оr Flірріng аrе sресіfіс rеаl еstаtе іnvеstіng strаtеgіеs thаt аrе еssеntіаllу сrеаtіvе sоlutіоns tо еlіmіnаtе thе nееd fоr оbtаіnіng аnу funds аt аll. Тhіs іs whеrе уоu tіе uр а рrореrtу аt а dіsсоunt (usіng аn аgrееmеnt) аnd thеn flір thе рrореrtу tо аnоthеr buуеr оr rеаl еstаtе іnvеstоr fоr а quісk рrоfіt. Весаusе оf thіs, іt’s vіrtuаllу rіsk frее, thеrе іs nо nееd fоr ехсеssіvе саsh, сrеdіt оr fіnаnсіng, аnd уоu dо nо rераіrs оr wоrk уоursеlf. Тhіs іs whу whеn іt соmеs tо mаkіng quісk саsh іn rеаl еstаtе, thіs mеthоd оf rеаl еstаtе іnvеstіng іs оnе thе bеst rоutеs tо tаkе nоt оnlу fоr аvоіdіng mаnу оf thе fіnаnсіng hеаdасhеs, іt аllоws уоu tо mаkе саsh mоrе quісklу fоr thе rеаl еstаtе mаrkеt tоdау. І wоuld еnсоurаgе уоu tо lооk аt аs mаnу орtіоns аs роssіblе, thеn соmраrе thе tеrms оf еасh. Тhіs wау уоu wіll knоw whаt wіll wоrk bеst fоr уоur іndіvіduаl сіrсumstаnсеs.

How to Raise Funds for your Startup Capital

Never did we imagine that running a business, let alone starting one, can actually be simpler than what we initially expected. And this is mainly because of the advent of new platforms giving entrepreneurs (even those who want to be entrepreneurs) a great deal of business opportunities.

Social media and the internet in general have revolutionized the way people organize their businesses and manage their day-to-day operations. In fact, a majority of businesses use social media as a means to build brands and generate customers.

Beyond that however, modern tools can also help just about anyone to start on the right track. We are basically afforded the necessary infrastructure that will enable us to create enterprises out of thin air. Still, for a lot of young entrepreneurs that want to put their best foot forward, raising capital remains a challenge that has to be initially addressed. Even if you have the tools that can basically help you out in the marketing and advertising side, you still need to flesh out  some dough that will serve as startup capital.

Now, when it comes to raising capital for your business, you only need to know how to generate enough funds to jumpstart your business. And don’t worry about not being a hotel heiress or some dude who just so happens to be the son of a real estate mogul. You as an ordinary person can still make it big, granted you have enough self-discipline and good judgment to accumulate the funds you need to establish possibly the world’s next web-based empire. Here are some suggestions that will get you started on the path to greater wealth:

Save up

As simple as that. There’s basically no other way for you to generate enough capital to make build your brand. What you need to do, actually, is to set a long-term goal and work your way towards it little by little. And this means allocating a part of your income to this goal. You can set a separate bank account for this; but whatever strategy you will apply, what is important is that you get to set aside some funds to make turn your business idea into business reality.

Get quick cash through pawning

If you want to have a ready amount of cash on hand, you might want to pawn some of your valuables. We all know just how desperate it sounds, but going to a pawnbroker is actually a more practical step to getting the right amount of capital to start your business. And it’s not like you’re selling your most valuable items. Once you have already established your business, you can always “buy back” the items you have pawned. You don’t get to lose anything – unless of course you’re dealing with shady pawnbrokers. Still, you can bet there are legitimate brokers just about anywhere. Are you seeking pawnshops in Providence, RI? You can always find one that is always buying jewelry and other valuables.

Crowdfund your project

Crowdfunding has become popular recently, mostly because of how it actually helps young people get started on their projects without spending too much of their own money. Platforms such as Patreon enable you to publicize an exciting idea and get people who are willing enough to fund your project on board.

What are the Available Payment Methods for Retail?

The use of mobile payments has changed the way retail payments are done. Near Field Communication has also enabled payments in ways that were unimaginable. Cash payments are actually becoming rare as people prefer safer methods of payments.

CASH
Cash is king, and that is the irrefutable fact. Cash is accepted anywhere. It is instant gratification and offers few complications in transacting. But cash presents a security risk. How good is cash?
– It is instant money
– No transaction fees
– There is minimal bookkeeping
Disadvantages of Cash:
– It is tempting for employees
– It presents handling and storage problems requiring frequent trips to the bank

MOBILE PAYMENTS
Mobile Point of Sale (MPOS) is a recent innovation that has changed the way money exchanges hands. Mobile wallets like Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, and Google Wallet are leading the way in mobile transactions.
NFC (Near-field Communication) payments are enabled customers to pay by tapping their phones. With nearly two-thirds of adults owning a smartphone, mobile payments will become more accepted in the near future.
Mobile payments offer higher security than cash or credit cards. There is no personal informatuon stored on NFC devices which reduces the risk of identity theft.

CREDIT CARDS
Seven out of ten Americans have at least one credit card. Payment by credit card has been the most popular way of transacting since the 1950s. Credit cards are easy to handle and present a lower security risk than cash. It has also been seen that people spend more with a credit card than they would with cash. This is more so for online shopping where impulse buying is common.
Businesses that accept credit card payments have higher cash flow. The good thing about credit cards is that one does not have to keep going to the bank. Funds are deposited into the bank account within 24-48 hours.
Businesses that accept credit cards have higher legitimacy. Customers will identify strongly with a business that shows the same credit card brands that are in their wallets.
One of the disadvantages of credit card payments is that it has some difficulty in bookkeeping. Processing credit card payments has expenses. Credit cards are also prone to identity theft.
Credit cards have some element of risk in the form of fraud and chargebacks. These are combated by using methods like EMV and PCI compliance. Reputable credit card processors also do tokenization and encryption to improve security. Refunds for credit card payments are usually not immediate. It takes 2-30 days for a refund to settle.

5 Ways to Save Money for Your Next Vacation

Are you looking forward to your next vacation? Have you come to realize that you need to save more money before you can book your trip? Are you ready to save, but a bit unsure of how to do so?
It goes without saying that saving money for your next vacation can be a challenge. After all, you have other expenses in your life that are every bit as important.
While you may have to save over the long run, a little bit has a way of adding up as the months go by. As long as you set both short and long term goals, you’ll eventually find yourself in position to book your trip.

Now that we have that out of the way, let’s examine five of the best ways to save money for your next vacation:

1. Save What’s Leftover at the End of the Month
Once you pay all your bills and the month comes to an end, look at how much money you have leftover. If there is anything to save, move it to your vacation fund.
It may be a few dollars or it may be a couple hundred (or more). As long as you get into the habit of saving this leftover money, it will begin to add up over time.

2. Save a Work Bonus
Do you receive a work bonus once a year (or more)? How about commission checks? If you ever receive money in addition to your regular pay, you can put it in your vacation fund.
You may be tempted to use the money elsewhere, such as on things that will give you instant gratification, but you should always keep your eyes on the prize.
Tip: Don’t hesitate to use some of the money for other expenses, such as paying down debt or hiring a credit repair service.

3. Get a Side Job
If you don’t mind working more hours, a side job is a great way to earn a little bit of extra cash.
As the money begins to flow, you’ll find that it can be used for a variety of expenses. For instance, you may need to purchase a few new ice hockey sticks for your kids. Or maybe your spouse has a birthday coming up.
While there are many things you can buy with your newfound income, always remember to save a bit in your vacation fund.

4. Tax Refund
Are you the type of person who typically receives a tax refund? Are you expecting more of the same this upcoming year?
If so, you can take the money from this refund and use it on vacation. It doesn’t matter if you’re traveling to Dubai or somewhere closer to home, the money you get back from the government can help fund your good time.

5. Cut Small Expenses
It’s not always the big expenses in your life, such as your mortgage, that sets you back. It’s often the small purchases that add up over the course of the month.
This can be everything from regular trips to the vending machine to extra snacks at the grocery store.
Take a close look at your budget to see where all your money is going. If you find that small expenses are adding up, don’t hesitate to take immediate action. By cutting these out of your life, it won’t be long before you’re feeling better about your ability to save more money.

Conclusion
No matter where you want to go on your next vacation (and there are many options to consider), you must have the money to book your trip.
If you’re seeking ways to save more cash, the five tips above will put you on the right path to success. With these guiding you, it won’t be long before you feel good about your ability to save all the money you need.

4 Ways to Reduce Out-of-Pocket Healthcare Costs

Healthcare premiums, co-payments, and deductibles are on the up and up. With trends showing that these figures are bound to increase, it is necessary to take steps in reducing your healthcare costs. In this article, you will learn:

⦁ What a Health Savings Account (HSA) is and why it could help you decrease your medical expenses
⦁ The benefits of setting up a health emergency fund
⦁ Why you need to have copies of all of your tests and medical records
⦁ How eating a healthy diet helps you and the healthcare industry as a whole

1. Open an HSA if You Have a High-Deductible Health Insurance Plan
As reported by Nerd Wallet, an HSA is a great way to cut down on medical expenses and lower your taxes. However, know that not everyone qualifies.
HSAs are only an option for those with a high-deductible health insurance plan. In other words, those with an individual out-of-pocket deductible between $1,300 and $6,550 or family out-of-pocket deductible between $2,600 and $13,100. (Contact your insurance company for more information about this.)
If you qualify for this type of savings account, take advantage of it. While your HSA tops out per year (the maximum limit does increase with age), it rolls over to the next year, meaning that it will gradually grow tax-free.

Should you have a medical expense, as Nerd Wallet reports, you can always tap into it, tax-free. If you are older than 65 and have Medicare, you are unable to put more funds into your HSA, however, you can still pull funds out of it.
Other than pulling out funds for healthcare costs, you can take money from your HSA and invest it into stocks or other investments.

What If I Don’t Qualify for an HSA?
Those who do not qualify for an HSA can still set funds aside for medical expenses. In fact, it is recommended.
Having a health emergency fund plan in place saves you the trouble and worry when a medical situation occurs.
You never know, your daughter could break her arm playing soccer or your son could contract an eye infection. In which case, you can quickly access the needed money to pay for X-rays and the medication.

2. Copies, Copies, Copies

US News reports that having copies of your medical records and test results could save you time and money.
Instead of having to wait for your doctor’s office to fax over the results and records to the specialist’s or need to schedule another appointment, you have all of the documents with you for a right-then-and-there assessment.
With so many tests out there, you run the chance of possibly undergoing (and being charged for) the same test…again. Bringing your documents with you to the appointment rules that risk out.

3. Eating a Plant-Rich Diet Could Prevent You from Getting a Chronic Disease
Sadly, according to the Harvard Business Review, chronic illness makes up 85% of healthcare costs, which is partially why company-sponsored healthcare premiums have risen to 123% as of 2000.
The Atlantic reveals that you can decrease the chances of getting a chronic disease by eating real food, sticking to a mostly plant-based diet. Plant foods must come directly from nature, without preservatives and unhealthy fats in order for you to gain the most benefit from them.

4. Sleep Matters
From juggling your kid’s soccer practices and work to spending time with friends and family, it’s easy to think a good night’s sleep is a luxury. But it isn’t, and here’s why.

Sleep Impacts the Immune System

According to the Mayo Clinic, not getting enough sleep affects your immune system. When people are asleep, the Mayo Clinic explains, the body releases proteins called cytokines.

Cytokines not only help promote sleep but some are even needed when you are sick—or have inflammation or are under stress. Unfortunately, when you don’t get the required amount of sleep, your body releases a lower cytokine count.

Sleep Increases the Chances of Getting Sick

When you are sleep deprived, you put your immune system in jeopardy of catching a cold or an infection. Not only that but when you are sick, not getting enough zzzs slows down the healing process.

What this Means for Healthcare Costs

If you consistently don’t get enough sleep, you could be spending more time in the doctor’s office than need be.

By making sleep (and, in doing so, your health) a priority, you reduce the likelihood of needing to see your primary care physician, which means one less copayment to pay.

How Much Sleep Do You Need?

According to the Sleep Foundation, the amount of sleep a person needs depends on their age and lifestyle, among others.

From the Sleep Foundation chart, you can see that newborns need as much as 14-17 hours of sleep each day to older adults requiring 7-8 hours. That being said, check the Sleep Foundation chart to make sure you get the proper amount of sleep according to your age.
What Else You Need to Know About Sleep

Also, the Sleep Foundation, recognizes that alarm clocks, coffee, energy drinks (and caffeine in general) not to mention lighting can disturb your circadian rhythm.

Tips

So that you are able to get a good night’s sleep, make sure your room is dark. Also, stop drinking caffeinated beverages early on into the day and stop using electronics at least an hour before going to bed.

That way, your circadian rhythm isn’t nearly as affected by the light radiating from the devices. Again, this promotes more sleep, which can decrease the likelihood of getting sick and doling out unnecessary funds.

Final Thoughts
Healthcare costs are increasing, but that doesn’t mean you have shell out more money. You can save while looking out for your health by using these tips.
Also, look into installing and downloading health apps—whether from a small startup or large organization—to help you manage your health and prevent you from having to schedule a doctor’s appointment. How else can you save?

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