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  • Wed, July 18, 2018 5:50 AM | Deleted user

    In a further sign of legitimacy for the cryptocurrency industry, the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) exams are adding cryptocurrency and blockchain-related topics to its curriculum for next year. Adding cryptocurrency to the CFA curriculum is a massive boost to the whole industry given the global recognition of the CFA exams.

    CFA adding cryptocurrency

    The CFA has a long history as one of the most prestigious and comprehensive exams covering all aspects of financial theory. People with a CFA accreditation are respected as experts in the field of finance, as the exams are difficult and cover a wide variety of topics. Over 189,000 people across 91 countries enrolled for the June 2017 CFA exams.

    The material for the 2019 exams will be released in August. Level I and II are to include blockchain and cryptographic forms of money. According to managing director Stephen Horan –

    “We saw the field advancing more quickly than other fields and we also saw it as more durable…this is not a passing fad.”

    Along with cryptocurrency, machine adaptation, computerized exchanging, and man-made consciousness are to be included. Other cryptocurrency related subjects are to be added at a later date, such as the intersection between economics and digital currencies.

    Currently, there is a dearth of cryptocurrency expertise and material across all sectors of the newly emerging field. Blockchain related courses are rising, which should help to develop a baseline of blockchain knowledge and a formal standardized credential system for blockchain expertise.

    The relationship between blockchain and traditional finance

    Cryptocurrency is a gamechanger in many ways. It is disrupting the financial industry and has largely operated completely outside of the financial sphere for the past ten years since the bitcoin genesis block was released. Though this is now changing, it has largely been unregulated for the longest period of its existence.

    Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are generally taken as hedges against fiat market unrest, much like gold. It is a volatile asset, though its price is expected to stabilize as adoption increases. Practically all coins are positively correlated to bitcoin, meaning as bitcoin goes up or down, the rest of the industry typically follows. As the industry grows, this correlation will lessen.

    It will be interesting to see how the CFA Institute will classify cryptocurrency. The question of whether cryptocurrency is a commodity, currency, property, or security has not been definitively answered. This is because each cryptocurrency is unique, and it is a new industry that does not easily fit existing paradigms that were designed for an old financial system. Additionally, each jurisdiction will have its own perspective and there are many coins to be reviewed.

    The problem seems to be that institutions are trying to fit cryptocurrency into an existing financial structure built for an old mode of operation. But with the people choosing bitcoin and ether as their primary means of exchange, it is the financial regulatory industry that needs to wrap itself around the socially voted cryptocurrency infrastructure. Developers are creating revolutionary projects where code is law. The regulation will need to come after the fact to accommodate the code.

    Adding cryptocurrency to the regulatory infrastructure can have benefits as adoption will increase. But both the CFA and regulators are going to have a hard time keeping up to date with the many innovations in the cryptocurrency industry. By the time a new classification system or theory is established, a new type of project will develop that does not conform to it.

    Source: https://cryptodisrupt.com/cfa-adding-cryptocurrency-to-its-curriculum/?cn-reloaded=1

  • Wed, July 18, 2018 5:13 AM | Deleted user

    When it comes to mobile payments, it's no secret that China is in the lead globally.  In 2016, mobile payments totaled $5.5 trillion in that country, according to iResearch Consulting Group. In comparison, Forrester Research estimated that the U.S.'s mobile payments market was $112 billion – clearly a significant difference. 

    The success in China is largely driven by consumers' adoption of mobile wallets like Alipay and WeChat/Ten Pay, which make up the majority of the mobile payment market. While there are some mobile wallets in use here in the U.S., they are not nearly as widely adopted.  

    Getting consumers to change payment behaviors can be challenging, but people almost always have their mobile phones with them. With the right motivation, merchants can capitalize on the growth opportunity and cost savings that mobile payments present.    

    So, what can U.S. retailers learn from China's success in mobile payments, and how can they can apply these learnings to their businesses? Following are some considerations:

    • Consumer preference is key.  Chinese consumers want to pay with their preferred method of payment.  And that often means whatever wallet best suits their needs at a particular time.  Many Chinese merchants accept more than one wallet as a method of payment, so consumers can choose which to use based on the promotions and incentives offered.  U.S. merchants should consider accepting several wallets as means of payment, allowing consumers to use their preferred choice at that moment.
    • Ease and convenience are priorities. In China, through the use of these kinds of wallets, payment can easily happen via QR code. It's much easier to pay with a quick scan of a QR code than fumbling around for a credit card, debit card or cash. Offering convenience options like these to U.S. shoppers can help retailers drive payments via mobile devices.  
    • Social plus shopping keeps users engaged. WeChat/TenPay is quickly gaining ground on Alipay in China by including online shopping and e-payment into its widely used instant messaging app.  This helps to keep users on its platform, rather than going elsewhere to shop.  

    A company recognizing the benefits of having a social component – and doing it successfully in the U.S. – is Venmo.  For a wallet to be successful, it needs to offer a value-add for both the merchant and the shopper. The merchant can use it as a marketing tool to attract more shoppers either through discount offers, suggestions or review features in the app itself. And the shopper benefits from these discounts and can share his shopping experience with his network. This creates a win-win scenario for both sides.

    Overall, China is leading the way in offering payment options like these kinds of wallets that present many benefits to both merchants and consumers alike, helping to drive the explosion in mobile payments. While nothing is bulletproof, mobile wallets are more secure than credit cards, especially given that chip and PIN are not completely adopted in the U.S. They are also more attractive to consumers given the incentives and social components they can include.  In addition, they are more convenient to use. And a final, significant benefit — wallets don't typically have chargebacks, unlike credit cards, saving merchants money.

    While there is still consumer education to be done regarding the benefits of mobile wallets in the U.S., retailers should strongly consider offering them as a method of payment so they can leverage the many advantages they present both for their businesses and their shoppers.

    Source: https://www.mobilepaymentstoday.com/blogs/what-can-us-retailers-learn-from-china-about-mobile-payments/

  • Wed, July 18, 2018 5:01 AM | Deleted user

    India is going through a transition phase from wallet to e-wallet and we are very fortunate to be a part of this revolution.

    During demonetization when everybody was running out of cash “e-wallet and digital payment” came to the rescue which proves we cannot simply ignore cashless revolution.

    Cashless Economy is the point in which the stream of money inside an economy is non-existent and all exchanges or the transactions must be through electronic channels for example debit credit and platinum cards, electronic clearing, online payment like Paytm and Freecharge and installment frameworks and other payment system, such as “Immediate Payment Service (IMPS), National Electronic Funds Transfer (NEFT) and Real Time Gross Settlement (RTGS) in India”.

    As per the data received, Now the cashless economy has the only theoretical importance. The Indian Economy keeps on being driven by the utilization of cash under 5% of all payment happen electronically. in India, the proportion of money to total national output is 12.42% in GDP, which is one of the most highest in the world.

    During demonetization when everybody was running out of cash “e-wallet and digital payment” came to the rescue which proves we cannot simply ignore cashless revolution.

    Cashless Economy is the point in which the stream of money inside an economy is non-existent and all exchanges or the transactions must be through electronic channels for example debit credit and platinum cards, electronic clearing, online payment like Paytm and Freecharge and installment frameworks and other payment system, such as “Immediate Payment Service (IMPS), National Electronic Funds Transfer (NEFT) and Real Time Gross Settlement (RTGS) in India”.

    As per the data received, Now the cashless economy has the only theoretical importance. The Indian Economy keeps on being driven by the utilization of cash under 5% of all payment happen electronically. in India, the proportion of money to total national output is 12.42% in GDP, which is one of the most highest in the world.

    To convert India into cashless society there are various mode of digital payment available:-

    • Banking cards
    • USSD
    • Mobile Wallets
    • Micro ATMs
    • Mobile Banking
    • Internet Banking
    • Point of Sale
    • Bank Prepaid Cards.

    People living in urban area are very much  comfortable as a part of cashless society, but people living in rural area still needs to be educated towards cashless transaction and we the people can reduce this communication gap by educating them.


    Time has come to start using wallets for keeping Debit & Credit Cards instead of cash.

    Source: https://swikblog.com/cashless-economy-go-digital/

  • Mon, July 16, 2018 6:45 AM | Deleted user

    Consumer use of mobile banking applications is accelerating at a rapid pace. In the U.S., nearly one-third of people (31 percent) use mobile banking more than any other app on their smartphone. Only logging onto social media (55 percent) and checking the weather (33 percent) are more common mobile activities.

    This is according to the 2018 Mobile Banking Study from Citi, which revealed that 46 percent of U.S. consumers have increased their use of mobile banking in the past year. Eight out of 10 people (81 percent) now use their phone to manage their money on nine days in every month, on average.

    Nine out of 10 mobile banking users (91 percent) said they preferred using apps over going into a branch, while 68 percent of millennials said they could see their smartphone replacing their physical wallet.

    Alice Milligan, chief digital client experience officer for U.S. consumer banking at Citi, said: "Mobile banking use is skyrocketing as more consumers experience the benefits of greater convenience, speed and financial insights driven by new app features and upgrades.

    "Over the past year we've witnessed this increase in engagement first-hand, with mobile use in North America increasing by almost 25 percent, and we don't see this trend slowing down any time soon."

    These exciting growth trends give rise to inevitable questions about where mobile banking could go from here. What areas of innovation could shape the channel, and how can financial institutions keep users engaged and satisfied?

    New service offerings

    Consumers regularly log onto mobile banking to conduct routine tasks such as checking their balance, transferring funds between accounts and making P2P payments.

    But in order to keep people engaged and foster brand loyalty, banks need to show that the range of services available via this channel is constantly expanding — which means more choice and convenience for users.

    In-app account opening, instant replacement requests for lost or stolen cards and analytics-based financial insights for individual users could all become more common in the coming years.

    Unparalleled security

    Among those who have not yet embraced mobile banking, lack of confidence in security is often cited as one of the key factors holding them back.

    The onus is therefore on financial services providers to demonstrate that mobile banking and apps are not only secure, but potentially the safest option of all where user authentication is concerned.

    Development of smartphone technology has allowed banking app developers to embrace biometrics, for example, offering a new and highly reliable way for users to confirm their identity.


    Most modern-day consumers are accustomed to every app and function on their mobile device being tailored to their unique preferences and needs.

    Banking solutions should be no different. In fact, personalization is arguably more valuable in financial services than in any other aspect of consumers’ lives, given the level of importance attached to even the most basic banking processes and financial decisions.

    Using data analytics to gain insights from past interactions, customer choices and habits is likely to prove a key part of personalization in the mobile channel. Banks that are able to do this successfully will earn the loyalty of their users.

    Frictionless and faster than ever

    A fast, easy and frictionless service is a basic necessity of mobile banking for most (if not all) consumers.

    For banks, one of the key priorities in the coming years should be finding new ways to maximize speed, simplicity and convenience for app users. This could be driven by the wider deployment of biometric authentication, more effective in-app search functions and fundamental, ongoing processes such as regular updates to make the most of new operating system capabilities.

    Continued innovation and evolution on the part of providers will drive increasing mobile banking adoption by consumers in the years to come. Consequently, it might not be long before mobile becomes unrivaled as the primary channel through which people engage with their banks.

    Source: https://www.mobilepaymentstoday.com/blogs/with-use-surging-what-comes-next-for-mobile-banking/

  • Mon, July 16, 2018 4:12 AM | Deleted user

    In today’s on-demand world, we expect to be able to spend, move and receive money instantly.

    For this reason, real-time payments (RTP), also known as 'faster payments' or 'instant payments', are gaining momentum globally. Accenture estimates that there are now 35 countries with real-time payment schemes in operation or under development.

    With account-based fraud on the rise, however, the move from standard to real-time transactions is causing significant security challenges for central banks and clearing houses.

    Understanding account-based fraud

    Most fraudsters will usually follow the path of least resistance.

    The success of anti-fraud measures like EMV chip, EMV 3-D Secure and payment tokenization in mitigating card fraud in-store and online means fraudsters are turning elsewhere.

    For various reasons, demand deposit account (DDA) credentials, which relate to current, savings or checking accounts that are used for direct credit transactions through automated clearing house processing, are an increasingly attractive target.

    DDA credentials are already stored in their raw form across various locations, such as e-commerce websites, mobile and P2P wallets, invoices and payroll.

    While the frequency and public awareness of ACH fraud is much lower than credit and debit compromises, the average value of unauthorized ACH transactions is actually much higher. This creates the potential for very large value frauds, and even systemic attacks against national payment systems.

    Despite the threat, many central banks don't actively monitor some of these types of fraud, with losses below a certain limit written off as a cost of doing business.

    The move from standard to real-time transactions adds another layer of complexity and creates further opportunities for fraudsters. Quicker transaction times increase the chances of fraudulent transactions going undetected.

    Faster payments = faster fraud?

    This is because banks currently rely on a layered approach combining various techniques. But somewhat surprisingly in today's automated world, checking payment mandates and unusual account activity manually remains a mainstay of the traditional clearance process.

    The problem is, manual review is simply not feasible when the clearance time for account-to-account transactions is measured in seconds, not days.

    Importantly, fraudsters recognize the challenges facing banks when transitioning and are ready to exploit any vulnerabilities as soon as a RTP scheme goes live.

    Banks need to get ahead, be proactive and protect the account data itself, rather than simply be reactive and wait for the fraudsters to strike.

    Securing real-time payments with tokenization

    Enter tokenization.

    Tokenization has been hugely successful in safeguarding payments in-store and online by replacing the consumer’s primary account number (PAN) with a unique payment token that is restricted in its usage, for example, to a specific device, merchant, transaction type or channel.

    By removing account numbers from the transaction process entirely, tokenization can significantly reduce the risk and impact of account-based fraud to support the development of a safe and secure instant payments framework.

    The good news is that tokenization is easily transferable to account-based transactions, is complementary to other anti-fraud measures, and is easily compatible with existing systems.

    Account data, faster and safer

    For banks, ACH fraud represents a bigger financial risk than card fraud and is going to become harder to manage as real-time payments become the norm. The ecosystem must work to mitigate fraud before it has been attempted. Tokenization, therefore, is primed to play a pivotal role within the broader security mix.

    Source: https://www.mobilepaymentstoday.com/blogs/how-can-real-time-payments-be-secured/

  • Mon, July 16, 2018 3:59 AM | Deleted user

    If you've kept pace with the commentary I've written on this site over the last four years, you'll know that I've become somewhat pessimistic about a couple of key topics in the payments industry. 

    It's no surprise that proximity mobile payments and the proliferation of a cashless society are joined at the hip like Kim Kardashian and Kanye West. You can't talk about one without at least mentioning the other. 

    However, one thing that gets lost in this particular conversation is the fact cash is still a major force not only in the U.S., but in other countries worldwide. That shouldn't be ignored because as executives from different industries such as banking and retail tout the ways they're pushing us towards the future, consumers continue to show they're not going to completely give up on cash. 

    This seems like a clash in the making, especially as more restaurants continue to become cash-free zones. And if you read some of the comments on a recent LinkedIn post from Union Square Hospitality Group CEO Danny Meyer, consumers at the very least want the option to pay with cash.

    Meyer's group owns 18 restaurants. He's also the founder of my go-to chain for a burger, Shake Shack. 

    Meyer wrote in the post how four of the group's restaurants are cashless, with more on the way. The reasons he gave for this are ones we've all heard before.

    From the post:  

    • Safety: We've mitigated the very real security risks associated with having large quantities of cash on-site, so we can become a safer place for our team and our guests.
    • Efficiency: We've streamlined our operations, eliminating cash-counting, and facilitating easier shift transitions (team members can jump on the register without the time-consuming security steps involved in cash-tray change-outs.)
    • Speed: Without handling cash and making change, we can serve more guests in far less time, meaning you spend less time waiting in line to place your order and pay.

    The pushback in the comments section shared a common theme: consumers want choice. 

    Meyer has faced this at Shake Shack.

    In October, Shack Shake launched its first-ever cashless kiosk at a new restaurant in Astor Place in New York City. But in May, the Eater published a story about how Shake Shack walked back a plan to go cashless after customers complained of the decision at the Astor Place location that featured only the self-ordering kiosks.

    "In the first rollout at Astor Place (in Manhattan), we did not accept cash at all, and there are people who have told us very clearly 'we want to pay with cash'," Shake Shack CEO Randy Garutti said about the decision during an earnings call. "So in this next phase, we're going to go ahead and have cashiers as well as kiosks."

    Shake Shack patrons went so far as to complain about the decision at this particular location on Yelp. But that kind of pushback clearly doesn't scare Meyer with the restaurants in his group.

    He did note in his LinkedIn post that “policies can be broken in the name of hospitality, and if someone wants to enjoy our food and drink, yet is only able to pay with cash, it is unlikely that we would turn them away.”

    I would certainly hope not. But Meyer's view of cash is yet another case of how perception does not match reality of how everyday consumers transact. Consumers want choices. And if cash is still a viable option, we will use it. 

    I'll leave you with one piece of data that came from the U.K. this past week that illustrates cash's staying power.

    While U.K. debit card use surpassed cash in 2017 as the most used payment method in region, paper money is in a healthy second place.

    Around 2.2 million customers mainly used cash for their day-to-day shopping in 2017, although nine out of ten of them had a debit card they could use if they chose, and the majority used other payment methods to pay their regular bills.

    The thing to pay attention to here is what U.K. Finance said about cash's standing.

    "We're far from becoming a cash-free society and despite the U.K. transforming to an economy where cash is less important than it once was, it will remain a payment method that continues to be valued and preferred by many," Stephen Jones, U.K. Finance CEO, said in the press release about the study.

    It's safe to say that sentiment exists in the U.S. as well. 

    Source: https://www.mobilepaymentstoday.com/blogs/are-consumers-pushing-back-against-the-cashless-trend/

  • Thu, July 12, 2018 4:59 AM | Deleted user

    The plastic payment card was once thought to be the pinnacle of consumer convenience and security. However, with 87% of all US adults now owning a smartphone or web-enabled tablet,1 consumer trends are increasingly moving towards a digital payment process. But where does that leave traditional plastic cards?

    The Growth of Digital Wallets as a New Payment Method

    From online shopping to social media, the growth of smartphone ownership has undoubtedly changed the way consumers interact with retailers.

    The introduction of digital wallets like Apple Pay, Google Pay, and Samsung Pay has given consumers an opportunity to store multiple cards and make more secure payments with a single device.

    Digital wallet adoption may have been slower than anticipated but, according to a Juniper Research study on contactless payments, mobile only transactions are projected to reach 28.6 billion by 2021, a more than tenfold increase from 2016.2

    Digital payments have grown beyond the typical interactions between merchant and consumer. Peer-to-peer (P2P) money transfers via mobile messaging, for example, have added a social twist to payments. Friends can now seamlessly transfer money to one another using their debit or credit card as simply as sending a text message, even if they don’t belong to the same bank.

    This streamlining of monetary interactions looks to be the natural progression of digital payments.

    What are the Benefits to Digital Wallets?

    They are convenient – According to the New York Post featuring a study by Asurion, Americans check their phones 80 times per day.3 Excluding the average eight hours for sleep, this means that Americans check their phones once every twelve minutes.

    Based on the frequency consumers are already using their phones, utilizing a digital wallet at checkout simply feels faster and more convenient than inserting a chip card.4 With one tap, consumers can make a payment and be on their way, helping reduce friction at checkout.

    The use of a near-field communication (NFC) enabled smartwatch allows consumers to add a personal flair to the payment process. This convenience extends to much more than bank and credit cards, as prepaid cards, loyalty cards and reward cards can be utilized with the same technology.

    They are more secure – Multiple levels of encryption and tokenization are used to ensure digital wallet information stays more secure.

    In short, tokenization is an advanced security measure that aims to reduce credit card fraud by replacing a user’s credit card information with a randomly generated string of numbers, or a “token,” so that the true data remains hidden.

    Advances in technology have produced another layer of digital payment security in the form of biometrics. Biometric authentication utilizes a person’s physical features to secure personal information. This can be seen in current mobile phones and computers with implemented iris scans, facial scans and fingerprint scans being made necessary to access information on the devices or the devices themselves.

    How Prepaid is Driving the Growth of Digital Payments

    Prepaid cards continue to be a driving force behind digital payment growth and adoption among consumers. In 2017, 73% of all digital payment users loaded a prepaid card into their wallet, a 9% increase over the previous year.1

    According to a 2017 study by Mercator Advisory group, four out of five consumers who used a mobile device to initiate a payment also purchased a prepaid card in the same year.5

    This is not surprising seeing that many retailers, such as large coffee chains and department stores, have combined the success of their prepaid offerings with a digital wallet solution, providing in-app rewards for any purchase made with a prepaid card.

    In fact, two out of three smartphone owners claim they would be more likely to use a digital payment app over traditional payment methods if they were to receive better discounts or loyalty rewards. As digital payment adoption continues to grow, building a unique payment ecosystem catered to the customer experience will be a critical step for any retailer looking to increase sales and customer retention.

    What Does This Mean to the Future of Payments?

    With the steady increase of Americans that own and actively use a smartphone or internet-enabled tablet, mobile payments are projected to see an increase in the coming years. More people are using their smartphones to make purchases from home and on the go, which means less overall usage of physical plastic. It is clear that the future of payments will reside with the flow of mobile payments.

    The information provided herein is sponsored by Discover® Global Network. It is intended for informational purposes, and is not intended as a substitute for professional advice.

    Source: https://paymentweek.com/2018-6-22-will-digital-wallets-overtake-plastic/

  • Wed, July 11, 2018 5:17 AM | Deleted user

    South Korea has moved to recognize cryptocurrency exchanges as legal entities in their own right for the first time, cementing their position in the local economy.


    As local news outlet The B-Chain reports, new “classification” of Blockchain-related industries means exchanges are now considered “cryptoasset exchanges and brokerages.” Previously, as local commentator Joseph Young notes, lawmakers treated them as “communications vendors.”

    Blockchain platforms such as Ethereum and EOS will be known approximately as “Blockchain-based software supply and development businesses.”

    Various “subdivisions” will exist within the main classification areas, with full details expected to appear later this month, B-Chain reports.

    “We are considering a plan to release the standard later this month. It is difficult to talk about the details,” the publication quotes a government source as saying about the prospective full introduction of the new classifications.

    South Korea Issues Ban on ICOs


    The move marks a further step forward in South Korea’s increasing legitimization of cryptocurrency.

    After a raft of regulatory measures beginning around the new year, exchanges have seen the landscape transform as they comply with taxation and security demands.

    Those demands have not always met with universal approval, with Ripple calling for a relaxation of some parts of the framework to allow for easier building-out of the still-nascent cryptoeconomy.

    Some of the more stringent government policies, such as the ongoing full ban on ICOs, are meanwhile the subject of review at policymaker level, Bitcoinist reported in May.

    Meanwhile, an equally palpable desire to commandeer Blockchain technology’s potential has seen the government earmark $230 million for research purposes. A wide variety of use cases is on the table, these ranging from online voting to customs clearance to document processing.

    Fundraising for the plans is set to run until 2022, with the government also planning an ambitious training program involving 10,000 professionals and 100 businesses.


  • Wed, July 11, 2018 4:57 AM | Deleted user

    It’s 11 p.m. and I’m ensconced on a fake leather banquette at a restaurant in Saint Germain des Prés, relaxed and comfy after a fine dinner and good wine. In mid-conversation, though, I remember that I have this article to write. Good timing. The two longtime French friends on either side of me are probably the best interviewees I could ever hope to find. Pen poised, I pop the question: “What do you think about the difference in the French and American attitude towards money?” I ask them brightly.

    Leaden silence, as a palpable pall fell upon what has been an animated talkfest.

    One of my friends looked up in the air as if he’d suddenly seen a fascinating giant bird fly in. The other feigned not to hear. Finally the latter, a former Communist and well-known journalist, turned to me and laughed: “You’ve just got the lead for your story, Harriet. You can say that this is a subject we French don’t like to talk about!” His buddy, one of the wealthiest entrepreneurs in France, agreed: “It’s not in our culture to talk about money.”

    You can say that again. I’ve often wondered why, in France, you can animatedly discuss just about everything but loot and lucre. If you want to squelch conversation, clam people up, turn a fun evening into a downer, just bring up money! French journalist François de Closets, a brilliant observer of French behavior, opined that the French silence about money “is not that of indifference, but of passion. It translates into kind of a secret and guilty obsession…a censored desire…a taboo in the strongest sense of the word.”

    In other words, the French like money just as much as the rest of us—they just don’t like to talk about it.

    This means that if you want to meld into French life, don’t ask people what they do for a living or how much they earn (of course you wouldn’t) or even how the stock market is doing (you might). Babbling about bucks is deemed to be vulgar, tacky and/or boring—except by the nouveaux riches of course, but the nouveaux explains why they haven’t yet figured this out.

    One reason for the silence that greets any conversation with a finance theme is a fear of the tax authorities that goes far back in French history. The French have spent centuries devising ways to avoid them. For example, the narrow buildings in the pretty southwestern city of Bayonne have few windows—the more windows, the more the building was taxed.

    “The taxman,” says French journalist Isabelle Quenin, “is the big bad wolf.” Flaunting wealth is considered one surefire way to bring on a tax inspection, which is why the French have the saying “Pour vivre heureux, vivons cachés” (to live happily, live hidden).

    Ostentatious wealth, of course, may also attract the envy of one’s peers. In the words of the famous fictional character Major Thompson, created by the late French humorist Pierre Daninos, “The American pedestrian who sees a millionaire going by in a Cadillac secretly dreams of the day that he will get in his own. The French pedestrian who sees a millionaire in a Cadillac secretly dreams of the day that he will be able to get him out of the car so that he will walk like everyone else.”

    Over the top? Well, this is the country in which François Hollande, the former head of the Socialist Party, looked into the cameras during a 2007 presidential election debate and stated with a straight face: “I don’t like the rich, I have to confess.” When asked how he defined “rich”, he came up with “€4000 a month”. The story died down rapidly, especially after it became clear that Hollande himself was quite “rich” by his own standards. But the anecdote showed that class war and disapproval of rampant capitalism are far from dead. One survey showed that 60% of the French have a good image of the heads of companies with fewer than 250 employees; however, a mere 25% have a good image of multinational managers. When asked to whom companies should be responsible, almost 80% answered “to clients and employees” and only 6% “to shareholders”.

    Things may be changing, though. France’s president, Nicolas Sarkozy, shook some sacred taboos early in his mandate when he spent a few post-election days drifting off the coast of Malta on the yacht of a French millionaire friend, and later whisked his family off to yet another millionaire’s hideaway in the US. Quelle horreur! Well-heeled friends, Ray-Ban sunglasses, Dior suits, Breitling watch, weekends in Deauville, a victory dinner at flashy Fouquet’s—the new French chief seemed out to show that he, at least, has no complexes about money.

    Sarkozy may succeed in chipping away at this unique French taboo. But there’s one thing even a French president might not be able to do and that is to get some kind of equation between service and money. Logically, if you use your hard-earned money to buy something, you expect some service, attention from the sales staff, perhaps even a smile. In France, this is up for grabs.

    Many visitors, and certainly all of us who live here, have dozens of anecdotes about odd French notions of customer service—salespeople chatting away with one another while clients cool their heels, or the waiter who assiduously clears up every empty table but never looks your way.

    Years ago, in his book The French, Sanche de Gramont told of a saleswoman in a stationery store who in winter greeted customers with “Shut the door quickly, you are letting the heat out.” “The customer,” concluded de Gramont, “is that barely tolerable nuisance who is responsible for drafts.”

    Not always, of course. Some customer service in France is exquisite, close to perfection. But, as my French husband points out, “In France, it isn’t about money. It’s about relationships.” That’s a stunner for most Americans, for whom business is business, time is money and the customer is always right.

    Here, building up relationships with shopkeepers does have its rewards. Now that I am very thick with my local cheese vendor, he won’t sell me a fromage I ask for if it’s not in season or up to standard that day. He’ll steer me to something better. If I didn’t know him—or rather, if he didn’t know me—he’d sell me whatever.

    Back to my night at the restaurant, I asked my French friends one final question. “What do you think about President Sarkozy urging the French to ‘work more to make more’?”

    “Revolutionary!” my journalist friend piped up, adding with a wink, “Personally, my slogan is to work less to make more!” And then, barely concealing his joy, he changed the subject.

    Source https://www.francetoday.com/travel/practical-information/funny-about-money/

  • Tue, July 10, 2018 4:54 AM | Deleted user

    Even though we have a myriad of ways to transfer money online, many people are still reluctant to use them. Perhaps it's the relatively young age of online money transfer methods, the numerous frauds extensively covered by the media or the lack of education about the safe and secure banking options available today that holds them back. Those who feel that paying online is not by far as safe as actually handing over cash in real life, there are always new ways to secure transfers in the works. Among them, there are numerous that intend to use unique features of the payer - the iris, the fingerprint, and their likes - to authenticate transfers. Could biometrics be the future of online payment security?

    Where we pay online

    Shopping and real money gaming are two online businesses that handle a vast number of online money transfers. Web shops usually limit the list of their available payment methods to just a handful - payment on delivery, credit and debit cards, and a handful of online wallet services (with PayPal being the most widespread). When it comes to online gaming, the range of available services is far more diverse - the methods listed on the Red Flush Canada website range from traditional wire transfers and paper checks to numerous e-wallets, as well as global and local online money transfer services like Neteller, Skrill. Some of them, like PaySafe for example, are completely anonymous, thus considered to be the safest of them all: users can purchase a PaySafe PIN code from a local retailer, introduce it to the appropriate section at the Red Flush website... and that's about it, the rest will be handled by the payment processor. Thus, Red Flush players need not give out credit card numbers, e-wallet accounts or bank accounts.

    Biometrics could make all these payment methods even safer, offering peace of mind for a large number of users.

    Biometrics and payments

    A study conducted in 2016 by VISA has shown that two-thirds of European consumers would like to use biometrics to make their payments more secure. Most of them consider two-factor authentication methods that involve biometrics to be a secure way to make payments, and many of them think biometrics will make payments not only safer but faster as well.

    The introduction of biometrics as a payment authentication method would benefit online retailers the most. The study shows that nearly a third of the people interviewed have abandoned an online purchase because of the payment security process. Fingerprint reading is seen as the most secure form of authentication by the majority of those interviewed (81%), followed closely by iris scanning (76%). And almost half of the 14,000 participants say that they would use biometric authentication when purchasing goods online.

    Source: https://www.econotimes.com/Is-Biometrics-the-Future-of-Payment-Authentication-630003

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