All posts by Rebecca Grewcock

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Couple having a meeting with a debt specialist
ArticlesFinance

How Debt Settlement Works

Couple having a meeting with a debt specialist

That mountain of credit card debt is threatening to ruin your financial life if you don’t make a move – and soon. You’ve been hearing about debt settlement, a strategy that lets you skirt the last resort that is bankruptcy. But you’re unsure of what the approach entails. Well, here’s all about how debt settlement works.

 

What is Debt Settlement?

Also called debt relief, debt settlement is when you pay a firm to go to your creditors – typically credit card issuers – to see whether they’d be down for letting you pay a portion of what you owe to have your obligations marked “settled” on your credit reports. Why would they agree to that? Well, because they know your next move could very well be bankruptcy. If you file that, the companies you owe realize that they very well could wind up with nothing.

 

How Does Debt Settlement Work?

You’ll have a consultation with your debt settlement company during which your financial situation will be assessed, and a payment plan will be created. After that, you’ll be asked to make monthly deposits into a savings-like account that you control. That account will be used for leverage during negotiations with your creditors. Once you’ve saved enough, your negotiators will approach each company you owe for a settlement. After each settlement is reach and approved by you, the creditor will be paid through the account.

 

Doesn’t Debt Settlement Hurt Your Credit?

The process of debt relief will depress your credit scores – temporarily. Your scores will rebound and then some once your debts are satisfied and you’ve begun to rebuild your portfolio.

It’s good to keep in mind that your scores aren’t the best now anyway, are they?

 

How Long Does Debt Settlement Take?

Depending on the company, debt settlement takes between 24 to 48 months. That may seem like a lifetime but it’s not nearly longer than the time it would take you to try to pay the debts off yourself. That could literally take … forever. And remember, your financial slide didn’t occur overnight.

Check out recent Freedom Debt Relief reviews for more insight on this and the benefits of debt settlement.

 

What Kind of Debt Does Debt Settlement Accept?

Again, it depends on the company, but it’s usually any debt that isn’t secured – not attached to collateral such as a car or your house. Usually we’re talking credit cards, personal loans, or medical bills, and the like. Whatever the kind of unsecured debt, you’ll usually need around $7,500 of it.

 

How Much Does Debt Settlement Cost?

You can expect to shell out between 15% and 25% of either your settled or enrolled debt. Don’t pay anyone any fees up front – before settlement are reached. Charging such fees is against the law and a red flag that you might be dealing with a scam company.

 

How Can I Avoid Scams?

Yes, the industry does have a few bad actors who are more than willing to take advantage of your vulnerable financial and emotional state. So, make sure the company you choose is accredited with the American Fair Credit Council and the International Association of Professional Debt Arbitrators.

You also want to give a wide berth to any company that over promises or makes breathless “guarantees” about how it can save you money for pennies on the dollar and by a time certain, particularly if it hasn’t even gone over your financials. While debt settlement has saved scores of people like you from financial ruin, negotiations are by their very nature unpredictable.

 

Now that you know how debt settlement works, you can proceed with eliminating those burdensome debts and getting your finances in order. Just make sure you pick a credible, reputable, and established company to guide you.

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ArticlesFinanceRegulationTax

If You Freelance By the Hour, Should You Receive a Pay Stub?

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As a freelancer, you are responsible for all the duties of your profession. But, you are not provided with benefits. When you freelance by the hour, it’s important to keep track of your time spent on various projects. You can use an online time tracker or download an app to help you see how much time is spent on each project.

Keep track of all this information so that you have it for tax purposes and invoices at the end of the year. If you have questions about whether or not you should receive a pay stub, read on to learn more about what they are and their importance.

 

1) Pay stubs help keep financial records tidier for everyone

If you have a client pay you a set hourly rate for a specific project, then a pay stub is something you can generate to help organize and track financial transactions. You’ll still deal in invoices, but pay stubs are a good place to keep track of hours you spend on specific projects.

Pay stubs are one of the easiest forms of documentation you can create for freelance work. They usually take about five minutes to create using an online paystub generator.

 

2) Pay stubs give you a place to categorize hours worked and help you reconcile your hourly compensation to your weekly cash flow

When you get paid for a project, you’ll have to come up with some way to track and reconcile the time you spent on a particular project with the money you received. You can think of an invoice as an itemized list of what you’re being paid for, but a pay stub can be easier to track and reconcile your hours spent on different projects.

Simply put, an important benefit of pay stubs is that they make it easy to reconcile the hours you worked and your hourly compensation.

 

3) It’s easier to establish proof of income and apply for credit loans

One problem freelancers have is showing proof of income when they want to apply for credit loans. In many cases, companies won’t consider your PayPal balance alone as proof of income. Pay stubs are one of the easiest ways to prove that you are being regularly paid and that your income level is reliable and consistent.

When you generate a pay stub, you can also include details such as the date, amount, time worked, and more. This will help you demonstrate that you’ve worked for a client and that the payment you received was for work that you did.

 

4) It’s an easy way to understand how you are going to bill clients, if you invoice a project separately from hourly rates for the same client

There are several different ways freelancers can bill for their work. Hourly rates are the most common, but many also choose to bill “per item” or “per project”.

If you generate pay stubs for a particular project or one of your clients’ projects, you can always break your hourly rate down into an itemized bill for clients who need more details, and you can easily split an hourly rate into an itemized bill for each client.

 

5) If you are paid on a percentage basis, it’s often more intuitive to receive a pay stub with the hours worked designated for that percentage

If you receive a client or project’s payment in a flat fee or per hour amount, it can be a challenge to calculate how much you worked. On the other hand, when you’re receiving payment for a percentage of the work that you’ve done, it’s much more intuitive to know how many hours you’ve worked and be able to divide that number by a particular percentage.

For example, if you work a certain amount of hours per week on a project, you’ll likely receive a bill based on an hourly rate, which makes it a lot easier to calculate how much you worked on a specific project. It’s a good idea to send clients a pay stub with the hours worked designated to a specific percentage.

 

6) Pay stubs help establish how much you are earning for each client, and therefore, why it makes sense for you to set up direct deposit

By utilizing your hourly compensation, you can know exactly how much you are being paid per hour for each client, and that can allow you to charge clients the appropriate hourly rates for their projects. If your client pays you per hour, you’ll know exactly how much they are paying you to perform each task. This is an important way to ensure you’re billing your clients appropriately.

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Articles

How to Stand Out in a Future of Seamless Payments

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When customers are shopping online or in-store, they may not pay attention to the simple process of paying for their purchases. But subconsciously, it could spell out the difference between a sale and a missed opportunity for a business. Nothing stings a merchant quite like shopping cart abandonment.

For an ecommerce business, seamless payments are vital. According to one study, 18% of US online shoppers have ditched their cart in the last three months due to long and complicated checkout processes. So how do we get this 18% back? How do we make them valuable (and paying) customers? Quite simply: up your seamless payments game.

Now is the time to improve seamless payments for your ecommerce business. Only by doing this can you guarantee your success and survival in an increasingly competitive online market space. So, let’s check out how you can improve your checkout.

 

Ways to pay

How do your customers pay when shopping on your ecommerce store? As of January 2019, 82% of shoppers in America used credit cards or debit cards to complete their online transactions. Meanwhile, only 11% of online shoppers in the U.S. would use e-wallets such as Apple Pay or Google Wallet. However, as fintech continues to innovate, we can expect the growth of digital payments to continue.

How can businesses offer a better user experience and create an improved seamless payment process then? The answer is choice. Giving customers the ability to choose will allow them to pick the way they want to pay. As e-wallets become more present in the online marketplace and more integrated with the devices we use to shop, it’s essential to offer a viable alternative to card payments and money transfer platforms. Digging out a purse, locating a credit card between IDs and loyalty cards, and finding the CSV number can be an arduous task. Just like that, it’s become a barrier that prevents a seamless transaction. Ultimately, this could be the difference between a sale or a cart abandonment.

Instead, the likes of Apple Pay and Google Wallet offer a quick and secure payment, using face scans or fingerprint checks to identify the payer. In an instant, you’ve got yourself a sale. So why does your ecommerce store not cater to the 11% of shoppers that use this payment option?

 

Seamless security

People want to know that their money is safe when they shop with you. Plus, as a business owner, you want to know that your customers are genuine. According to ecommerce protection platform Signifyd, 61% of all CNP chargebacks are payment fraud-related. Even then, your business could also be open to other avenues of fraudster abuse.

How can an ecommerce business create an improved seamless payment process while protecting the business?

It begins by understanding your customer. Patterned behavior and identity marks are recognized and can be collated as data. Is the delivery address of the order the same as usual? Has this customer made similar purchases before? And do they have a history of chargebacks? These are all questions that an ecommerce platform could ask and solve during the checkout process—without having to do any lengthy checks. In fact, Signifyd says that 98% of all online purchases today have been made by customers that their platform has seen before. A connected marketplace helps businesses to be more secure.

By using ecommerce protection platforms, your business can combine its seamless payment strategy with its fraud protection strategy. This makes it easier for your genuine customers to buy from you but more difficult for fraudsters to take advantage of you.

 

Getting ahead of the trend

While technology continues to make seamless payments easier, it’s important to remember how customer-centricity will be affected. While fintech is making transactions quicker and more secure, it is also allowing many people to gain access to financing options that had once been closed to them. This includes the development of Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL) platforms, where customers can delay or stagger payments for their purchases. These small, no-interest loans could create opportunities for fraudsters to abuse a convenient service.

As digital payment options have become so ingrained in our lives, it’s surprising to remember that services such as Apple Pay have only been available in 2014. Their existence is infantile compared to card payments. More payment options are likely to reveal themselves and creating a marketplace that accepts a variety of these options is essential. Ultimately, understanding consumers and their buying behavior is key to blocking fraudsters before they attempt to abuse your business.

Seamless payments aren’t just the future of online transactions. It’s happening right now. As the online market grows, your business must not get left behind. Start thinking about how easily you would like to shop at your store, and then think about how you could improve your processes. From frictionless checkouts, user experience, and fraud prevention, your growth strategy should center around a future of seamless payments.

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ArticlesFinance

How Customers’ Attitudes to Fintech Are Shifting

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It’s amazing to think how far we’ve come in terms of financial technology in a few short years. Only in 2018 did debit cards overtake cash as the most popular form of payment. Since then, the number of digital transactions, payment methods, and online sales have exploded.

According to a 2019 survey, while credit and debit card payments were used by 82% of people in the Americas, other digital payment methods are showing popularity. Sixty-six per cent use the likes of PayPal and Alipay. Meanwhile, 11% use e-wallets such as Apple Pay and Google Wallet. As our transactions venture further into the world of digitization, fintech innovation growth is accelerating among businesses.

Did you know that 96% of global consumers are aware of at least one fintech platform? It’s clear that customer attitudes toward financial technology are changing – and fintech is quickly catching up to more traditional payment methods. So, let’s take a look at how our behavior is shifting, how fast fintech is growing, and what we think about it.

 

A first time for everything

The global pandemic has changed many things in our lives, and according to a survey of American adults, we can see how perceptions of fintech have changed in the past year. The survey revealed that 37% of people ordered groceries online or through an app for the first time during the pandemic. Equally, 37% of people said they were likely to continue ordering their groceries online. The pandemic has not only changed what we buy, but also how we buy products online.

It’s important to understand that, while financial technology has been useful during the pandemic, it’s not going anywhere anytime soon. Fintech is here to stay. 73% of Americans say that fintech is the “new normal” for payments and managing money. The reasons for this are clear: 57% of people said fintech helps them save time, 42% said it saved them money, and 37% believe that fintech reduces the stress around money management.

But how has this increasing confidence in fintech evolved? And what will guarantee financial security and the technology’s viability in the future?

 

Safe and secure

After reasonable fees, security was named as the top feature that Americans expect from their financial institutions. But is there concern that fintech will not be able to ensure the same levels of privacy and security that traditional banking and payments currently hold? Innovation shouldn’t come at the expense of security, after all.

While fintech continues to innovate, online and digital fraud are becoming more sophisticated. For ecommerce businesses, this is represented in increased chargebacks and return fraud, which take advantage of digital and automated services. For consumers, identity theft and stolen personal information mean that fintech can appear as a risky alternative to traditional banking and shopping. In fact, in a survey of financial decision-makers, 27% of respondents said that safety and security was the top threat to fintech innovation. This was also the top concern, beating other threats to fintech such as regulation and technology itself. So, how is this being tackled?

One fintech business, Signifyd, believes that driving innovation in commerce protection is as important as increasing the capabilities of financial technology.

“Increasingly the future of commerce is online. As we continue to innovate to protect our merchant customers from payment fraud and consumer abuse we remain focused on protecting the commerce experience both for the merchants in Signifyd’s Commerce Network and for their customers,” said Stefan Nandzik, Signifyd senior vice president of brand experience. “This is best achieved through data and the technology that makes it actionable.  Today, 98% per cent of all online purchases are made by consumers that have been seen before on Signifyd’s network. That allows us to provide unmatched identity-centric fraud protection.”

 

Growing trust for trusted users

It’s clear that fintech services are becoming increasingly popular and more trusted. Since the start of the pandemic, every section of financial technology has increased its user share. Banking excels in the scene, with 23% of Americans using technology to access their money. This is followed by payment services, investment, and lending. Interestingly, payment technology services have the largest percentage of fintech users with more than one account. This shows how technology is allowing consumers to vary their payment options.

While only 16% of Americans use fintech for payments, 19% have more than one account with payment providers. This suggests that among fintech users, trust is growing. Those who find utility in the technology are more likely to continue expanding their use of platforms, applications, and online services to manage their money and payments.

 

Are you a fintech enthusiast? Or have you been using fintech all this time without realizing it? As financial technology continues to innovate and its use increases, it’s important that we shift the attitudes of customers to a positive view of this essential service. Fintech is only getting safer, more secure, more convenient, and useful for our everyday transactions and banking needs.

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ArticlesBanking

The Evolution of Frictionless Payments

Woman in a cafe paying contactless through mobile on a card machine

 

Frictionless payments are essential for e-commerce platforms to reduce the barriers between online shopping and completed checkouts. The buying process needs to be easier for both the customer and the seller, as an enjoyable user experience causes higher conversion rates and fewer abandoned shopping carts.

Effective frictionless payments are essential for both large and growing businesses, where the checkout process eliminates waiting times, creates a faster checkout experience, and reduces the barriers and steps towards a completed sale. Ultimately, frictionless payments should feel like a natural part of the customer experience.

Understanding how frictionless payments have developed and reviewing the history of buying processes allows us to recognize how businesses will be able to continue their growth in the digital age. Here, we explore the evolution of frictionless payments and predict how businesses will drive higher conversion rates and create better customer experiences in the future.

 

1950: Debit and credit cards

While the credit card was developed in the mid-twentieth century, it was only in 1973 when the system for using card payments was computerized. This frictionless payment reduced transaction times to just one minute and gave rise to the era of electronic consumer payments. Computerized payments would eventually allow for future online transactions to take shape, where e-commerce businesses could contact banks to finalize payments with ease. In 1994, Stanford Federal Credit Union was the first financial institution to offer online internet banking, leading the way for online transactions to begin in 1995.

 

1999: 1-Click

Bookseller turned global conglomerate Amazon patented an online transaction process called ‘1-Click’ in 1999. This allowed customers to buy products with just a click of a button. No items are added to a shopping cart, meaning that customers can buy a product in a flash. Voila: no shopping cart abandonment. Personal details and your bank account details are stored online, safely assuming that users are content with the same delivery address and bank account being used for every transaction.

The patent has since expired, meaning a flurry of businesses can now utilize this frictionless payment method. Given the global average rate for shopping cart abandonment is 69.8 per cent, skipping over the shopping cart means that e-commerce businesses can maximize their conversion rates and generate more sales through this simple process.

 

2003: Chip, pin, and tap

Going back to credit and debit cards, a more recent development contributed to the evolution of frictionless payments. In 2003, the introduction of Chip and PIN in the UK allowed cards to store data in a small chip on the face of a card. This data could then be accessed using a four-digit PIN, authorizing the payment. The American conversion to chip and PIN was announced in 2012 and completed in 2015.

Not only did this process increase efficiencies for both customers and businesses by automatically authorizing payments rather than signing a receipt, but it also curated a secure form of payment. Only those with access to the card and the secret PIN could access the account. This demonstrates how frictionless transactions can be made easier, but importantly, more secure at the checkout.

Contactless payments were introduced in 2007, further making the checkout process even easier. Today, one in five card payments is now contactless.

 

2011: The mobile revolution

As mobile phones became smaller, they became as much an essential accessory like a wallet or purse. They’re with us all the time. It’s unsurprising, therefore, that these handheld devices have become ingrained in the checkout culture. Leading mobile manufacturers, Google, Apple, Android, and Samsung all launched digital wallets between 2011 and 2015, allowing users to complete transactions in place of their debit or credit cards.

These transactions had the added security benefit of authorizing payments through a fingerprint or facial scan. Furthermore, these digital wallets could be used in-store or online, storing your personal data to automatically fill in those arduous forms with personal details, delivery addresses, and billing addresses. This helps to further speed up online sales and transactions.

 

Now and the future…

As online transactions become easier and quicker on the customer side, some obstacles for businesses to achieve a completely frictionless payment remain. Businesses must ensure that every transaction is genuine, blocking attempts of fraud and abuse.

As the popularity of digital wallets and one-click buying continues to develop, innovative ways to maximize sales without being affected by fraud have been developed. Commerce protection platforms, such as Signifyd, drive automated decisions on the best transactions, approving more good orders and recovering lost revenue from chargebacks. This streamlines the customer experience, limiting the need for authentication forms and processes. Overall, commerce protection platforms feel like a natural part of the checkout process, going unnoticed by customers, and they can increase conversion rates by four to six per cent on average.

 

Frictionless payments will continue to improve, creating better customer experiences and improving business performance. As more sales move online, and while transaction speeds and efficiencies increase, it’s important to tackle attempts of fraud and abuse. At every stage of the evolution of frictionless payment, new processes are helping to make every transaction safer and more worthwhile for customers and businesses.

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ArticlesBankingPrivate FundsTransactional and Investment BankingWealth Management

Minted Launches Market-First Precious Metals Savings App

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Minted, an FCA licensed UK-based fintech company, has launched a new savings app, aimed at making precious metals accessible to all. The platform’s easy-to-use app allows customers to invest as much or as little as they want each month, and to withdraw their physical gold if they wish.

 

The brainchild of founders Hamzah Almasyabi and Haroon Siddiq, Minted is tapping into a national savings mindset and breaking down traditional barriers to investing in gold. Through the platform, savings plans start from as little as £30 per month, with users buying gold of the highest purity from an LBMA approved delivery partner. Minted also provides customers with free insurance and the option to store their gold for free in a high-security London vault.

 

Gold is well-known globally as a ‘safe haven’ asset, which holds its intrinsic value and performs well compared to equity investments on a short and long-term basis. At a time of significant stock market volatility and low interest rates, gold offers investors stability and growth potential.

 

Minted’s app has been designed with user experience in mind, making it easy to open an account and start saving. The app allows users to control regular savings plans and see detailed insights into account balances. Once they have saved enough for a gold bar, customers can then withdraw or sell their physical gold, if they choose. Users can pay by credit or debit card, as well as PayWithMyBank and other e-wallet options.

 

Becky Hutchinson, MD at Minted, said: “Right from the start, we wanted to make investing in gold a possibility for absolutely everyone. There is no reason why it should still be thought of as the preserve of the extremely wealthy or experienced investors. These are uncertain times and investing in precious metals can provide stability and the prospect of strong growth.

 

“We’ve worked hard to ensure that our app is easy to use, intuitive and gives customers just the right amount of information to guide their investment decisions. The fintech sector is evolving rapidly and the boundaries are constantly being pushed in terms of the investment products and services coming to market. It is extremely important to us that our platform stands out from the crowd.”

 

Unlike other investment options, which simply offer investors exposure to gold prices, Minted’s customers actually own physical gold and can withdraw or sell at any point they choose. By investing incrementally, even customers with relatively little disposable income can build their own precious metals portfolio over time. Currently, Minted offers gold bars ranging in size from 10g to 1kg and is set to add other precious metals to its platform.

 

Hutchinson continues: “People may have various reasons for choosing gold: diversifying their investments, building an emergency fund, putting away money for their families in a safe place or simply saving enough to splash out on a big purchase. We believe Minted offers options for everyone, and we are extremely proud to be bringing this new product to market.”

 

Minted’s platform is live in the UK. Visit www.theminted.com for more info or search for ‘Minted’ on the App Store and Google Marketplace.

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ArticlesFinance

3 Viable Financing Options for Small Businesses

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It’s no secret that traditional lenders tend to be hostile to small businesses. Things are even worse if you’re in a business with a high failure rate. Small businesses are sadly those who are the most in need of a loan. If you’re a new business and don’t believe you have the history needed to get a loan, know that there are many options out there you can choose from. It’s all about knowing where to look and what to do to be an eligible candidate. Here are a few viable financing options for small businesses.

SBA Loans

SBA loans are loans that are backed by the Small Business Administration. We say backed because you will still have to go through an SBA-approved third-party lender.

The requirements are different than with other loans, but a lot of it will rest on your personal credit score. So, this is one is something you should consider if you’re been handling your personal finances responsibly and amassed a respectable history.

If you want to access SBA loans for your business, you also have to be prepared for a long and strenuous process. It will likely take weeks before your application is processed, and you get a response. But if everything is in order and you filled your application correctly, there is a strong chance you’ll be accepted, so we suggest you look into it more in detail.

Invoice Factoring

Invoice factoring is a special type of financing that allows you to borrow money against your accounts receivable. You can borrow money against invoices that are due to you at a later date. The factoring company will take part of that money as a fee and will also collect the invoice themselves.

This is a great option for those who have very poor credit. That’s because your client’s credit, and not yours, will be used to determine if you’re eligible or not. So, if you have a lot of accounts receivable and good clients, this could be an option.

Equity Financing

Then you have the option of offering equity in your business in exchange for money. The stake in your business will usually be proportional to the money that will be put up. For instance, if you have a business that is valued at $100,000, you could ask for $10,000 for 10% of the company.

This also means, however, that you’ll be welcoming new owners on board and will have to split your profits from now on. This can be both a good or a bad thing.

If you bring in someone with expertise in areas that you need, you could end up saving money by not having to hire outside help. They might also help make your business more profitable. On the other hand, you could end up bumping heads with them and they could become disruptive. You could also become frustrated by their lack of participation.

There are also cases where you might have to contemplate giving majority control of your company. Again, this is something you’ll need to evaluate yourself about, as they may be better equipped to run a business. Many will also refuse to give the reigns to someone who doesn’t have a formal finance background, so you have to prepare for that.

These are all financing options that you could explore as a small business owner. Look at each one of those in detail and see which one would be the best depending on your situation.

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ArticlesInfrastructure

Best Service Management Conversational Tech Company 2020

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Increasing productivity and efficiency for its clients, Aisera’s cloud-native management software is becoming the go-to option for companies across the board. With a vast array of capabilities that is only growing, its work is one of the most exemplary when it comes to intuitively automated personal interactions. 

 

Aisera’s AISM Architecture is a fully optimized team management service that is completely cloud enabled and fully end-to-end. Using a single AI platform across a multitude of services and allowing the accomplishment of multiple tasks all supported by the same software, it is multi-function and an invaluable business tool for the streamlining of processes across the board. Aisera provides service automation and empowers its clients to operate faster and more accurately. Improving business uptime, improved productivity, cost reduction, and consumer-like self-service for employees and customers, it cuts down on the manpower needed to handle basic processes and in-house operations by automating those with an intuitive and teachable AI interface. 

 

With Aisera, a client can turn their business into a high-volume resolution engine that is scalable to their business. This is one of the ways in which it makes itself highly cost effective, as its product can be scaled to match any company and their operations, ensuring that no client receives something too big or too small to handle what they need it to. Its self-service resolutions are quick and accurate, whilst allowing both customers and employees to enjoy a personalized and proactive AI service experience. In this way, it seeks to go against the notion that AI query resolution programmes are impersonal and clunky, ensuring its solution is empathic and well-designed. The platform itself is efficient and organized, allowing all encompassing AI Service Management that drives an efficient and automated service experience. Based on the principles of conversational engagement and workflow automation, it gives all users direct access to the tools their need to be more productive easier. AI and RPA solutions handle the direct interactions with end users. 

 

These programmes are concierge-grade, and with the technologies behind them being top of the range, they can help with everything from HR and sales to customer service and internal operations. Furthermore, AI Service Management integrates seamlessly with existing ticketing systems, knowledge bases, call centres, and customer service processes to automate those resolutions in a matter of seconds. Programmed with the ability to understand intent, sentiment, and ambiguous messages that other AI solutions find difficult, its clients and their end-users find themselves impressed by Aisera’s digitized multistep employee conversations. This has been especially pivotal in the past year with the advent of a majority work from home culture. Without the ability to simply cross an office and ask a colleague, Aisera’s services allow them to get an answer quickly and efficiently without having to wait for a co-worker to be available to chat. 

 

Aisera’s services also learn quickly and efficiently, picking up on nuances and working practices exclusive to the company it is managing so it can adapt to them. Aisera combines user and service behavioural intelligence with supervised and unsupervised NLP, NLU, and NLG in order to do this. Furthermore, it connects to existing systems, tailoring itself to work with over 400 different connections such as ITSM, CSM, Alerting, Monitoring, Chat Provisions, and RPA. It is also both no-code and cloud-native, requiring no additional resources or onboarding for getting it set up – it just works. Aisera also offers clients the option of improving productivity by use of its catalogue of over 1200 pre-built workflows. With all this in mind, it’s no wonder Aisera has become the trusted AI integration platform for so many businesses, and it looks forward to helping streamline the work of many more businesses in
the future.

 

For business enquiries contact Kim del Fierro at AISERA vai aisera.com

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ArticlesReal Estate

Study Reveals: First-Time Buyers’ Biggest Fears

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● Over a third of first-time buyers fear experiencing a ‘house value drop/negative equity’
● More than a quarter (26%) of first-time buyers worry they won’t be able to match their deposit saving rate to the rate of house price rises
● 11% of people fear ‘breaking up with someone after buying together’

Figures* show that there are approximately 39,000 Google searches on average for ‘properties for sale’ in the UK per month. Despite clear interest in the property market, this buying process can be particularly challenging for those getting onto the property ladder for the first time.

But what are first-time buyers really worrying about? The mortgage experts at money.co.uk surveyed 1,501 first-time buyers to discover what they are most fearful of when it came to buying their first home.

Top Five First-Time Buyers’ Fears Revealed:

Fears %
1. House value drop / negative equity
31
2. Saving enough deposit vs rise in house price
26
3. Unable to afford your mortgage long-term
22
4. COVID-19 influencing a spike in prices
13
5. Breaking up with S.O. after buying together
11


The biggest concern raised by first-time buyers is experiencing a ‘house value drop/negative equity’. In fact, 31% of respondents said they are worried about their property becoming less valuable than the remaining value of their mortgage.

Nisha Vaidya, mortgage editor at money.co.uk, said: “There are a few things you should keep in mind if you want to avoid negative equity. Firstly, it’s important to make sure you pay the market value for the property, so don’t shy away from negotiating on the asking price.

“Secondly, the larger your deposit, the more equity you will have in the property. So, if you are able to save enough, putting down a bigger deposit is a good idea.”
While putting down a larger deposit is a great way to unlock lower interest rates and better mitigate shifts in house prices, over a quarter of first-time buyers said they are worried that they wouldn’t be able to save at the same pace as the rise in house prices.

Nisha Vaidya, a mortgage editor at money.co.uk, offered these tips for saving for a deposit:
● Setting a budget: In addition to understanding how much deposit you’ll need, there are other costs to consider when purchasing a home, such as survey costs, solicitor or conveyancer fees and insurance. But by setting a budget, you’ll be able to plan out your savings targets and start saving for your ideal home.
● Cut the cost of your rent: You’ve probably asked yourself the question ‘How to save money for a house’ multiple times, but one way is by paying less rent to free up more cash for your deposit fund. If you live alone, consider moving into a house share or living with family to save on rental costs.
● Get a lodger: If you live alone and have space, taking in a lodger can be a great way to help subsidise the cost of renting and give you extra money to save for a deposit. Before you begin your search for a new flatmate, check your landlord is happy for you to share their property and sub-let a room.

The third most common worry experienced by first-time buyers is being ‘unable to afford your mortgage long-term’ – a concern experienced by 22% of respondents. 

Nisha Vaidya added: “If you are worried about affording your mortgage, there are ways a buyer can get support. This type of support can include: a payment deferral, an extension to your mortgage term and a change to your mortgage type. If you are looking to buy a new home but have financial worries, using the Help to Buy scheme could offer you the support you need. 

This Governmental scheme offers buyers an equity loan they can use to help buy a new build home, allowing buyers to purchase a property with a 5% deposit and receive a loan for up to 20% of the property value, which will be interest free for 5 years. The buyers must then take out a standard mortgage for the remaining 75%.”

Moreover, the pandemic has affected us in many ways, and it has created new concerns in different aspects of our lives, including financial ones. The survey conducted by money.co.uk reveals that 13% of first-time buyers fear ‘COVID-19 influencing a spike in prices’.

This is not the only fear people have as a result of Covid-19. With many people becoming remote workers, confusion has arisen in regard to where it’s best to buy, in the eventuality of going back to the office. 5% of respondents have said they have concerns regarding the ‘uncertainty about location with working from home [WFH]’. 

Couples who buy together have also admitted that a big concern is ‘breaking up with someone after buying together’, with 11% of people fearing a separation could create difficulties with property related matters. 

Nisha Vaidya, a mortgage expert at money.co.uk, said:

“Getting on the property ladder can be a nerve-racking experience for first-time buyers, as being misinformed can cost greatly – whether it’s losing out on a dream home or losing a lot of money in the process. However, the best thing first-time buyers can do is do their homework thoroughly before embarking on this journey.
“Being equipped with the right information will cut the risk of encountering unpleasant scenarios that many first-time buyers fear, such as experiencing negative equity or being unable to afford a mortgage long-term. Once you are confident in your knowledge the process should be less risky and more exciting.”

Methodology
● Mortgage experts at money.co.uk conducted a survey in which 1,501 people participated. The question “As a first-time buyer, what is your biggest fear?” was asked.
● The survey sample is broken down as follows: 56.5% male respondents, 43.5% female respondents. 8.5% were aged 18-24, 19.5% were aged 25-34, 13.7% were aged 35-44, 17.0% were aged 45-54, 22.9% were aged 55-64 and 18.4% were aged 65+.
● Geographically, 77.7% of respondents were from England, 15.6% of respondents were from Scotland, 6.1% were from Wales and 0.7% of respondents were from Northern Ireland.

*Figures provided by https://ahrefs.com/.