Reasons Why Online Bill Payment Is a Must

There was a time when people did not feel at ease with paying their bills online. Most of them find it hard to trust the security of transacting on the web, and thought they have no control over their money with online bill payment. When you submit your checking account details to your insurance company or utilities provider, there is a risk that you could be overbilled or that your identity could get stolen. It seemed safer to write checks and stamp envelopes, which is why many people stick to that practice.

However, this is no longer the case. More individuals are paying almost all bills you can imagine online – like credit cards, loans, mortgages, rent, tuition and utilities, to name a few.

Why then should you choose to pay your bills over the Internet? As a start, you will be able to save on time as well as costs of postage and late payment charges. Also, paying online is safer than through snail-mail. Your personal details are more prone to risks like theft when on print and in motion via the postal system. When you pay your bills with your credit card, it is easier to monitor your finances and, furthermore, you can save airline travel miles as well as win cash-based rewards.

There are three simple ways to make an online bill payment: via your bank, on the website of the biller or through a third-party. Each comes with pros and cons so the method you decide on depends on your personal choice. There are good reasons why you should move forward and pay your bills online.

Whenever online bill payment comes to mind, you might think it involves setting up automated drafts from your bank account to pay your bills. However, more and more people are choosing to pay their bills online using their credit cards. More merchants, as well, accept credit card payments online, so if you prefer to pay your bills – including mortgage or rent – using your plastic money, you can do it.

Without a doubt, online bill payment is easier and quicker than check and snail-mail method. Essentially, it gets rid of issues involving procrastination. You do not need to worry about forgetting that your bills are way past their due date. You can arrange a monthly payment schedule via your bank or billing company and therefore, always pay on time. Even if you pay your bill online every month rather than do automatic payments, you can still save on time, stamps and disappointment. Granting you are paying online at the last minute, you still save precious time because online transactions are faster than processing mailed payments.

Once you are online, you could possibly face the risk of hacking, viruses and spyware (automated payments reduce these risks), but there is a considerable risk when it comes to mail theft. It is better to avoid mailing paper statements, personal information and checks. Moreover, when you make an online bill payment, you always have an option if ever there is a dispute because you can track records of paid amounts and pay dates.

Therefore, in contrast to the former belief of other people, online bill payment is a lot safer than snail mail, coming with additional protection whenever you pay your bills with a credit card.

Personal Finances Is All About Breaking Bad Habits And Creating New Ones

People are often tempted to give unsolicited advice to others about the best way to manage finances. You’ll come across ideas that work and get you places, but often people are offering up such generalized advice. Trying to put together bits of information and use it in a meaningful way is not usually the best plan, as some of the information may be flawed and other parts confusing.

How can you take good care of your money and your finances so that you do not end up frittering away your savings on things you don’t need?

Generally, the problem is that most people lack a good understanding of just how important saving for the future is. Most people are going to do everything else with their money first before they even think about saving. Although saving in this way is better than not saving at all, it is in fact a highly ineffective way to build any kind of financial independence or security.

Managing Your Personal Finances

If you want to save money for the future, you’ll want these tips to help you on your plan. Many people who practice these methods are surprised at how easy they are to follow.

Simply set aside 20% of your paycheck.

Just reverse your spending and saving habits, instead of putting away your savings after you spent what you thought you needed from your income. Take 20 percent of your earnings first and put it towards savings before spending it all. Make sure to deposit this money as soon as you get paid. Whatever is left after the 20 percent has been saved can then go to paying bills, buying groceries and even getting yourself a new pair of shoes.

This method ensures that you’ll have the cash on hand that you need for your future and helps you to be more effective when you develop your budget. It’s a good feeling when you know that you have cash on hand for emergencies.

Keep Things Simple

There are too many people who are going to look at the latest gadgets and get wooed. You cannot let others around you dictate what you are doing with the money that is in hand. You want to buy the latest iPhone, but there is something you must ask yourself. Think about it, do you really need to spend the money on one?

Is there something in the newer model that is not there in your present one? There is no shame in being rewarded with luxurious items, but you need to keep it under control. You should never forego important expenses to purchase luxuries, and your twenty percent savings rule mustn’t be violated.

You Want Cash Over Credit

Don’t fall for fancy credit card marketing. So many people end up with huge debt due to starting to buy small items using their credit cards. It’s easy to get lured into the trap that a $50 purchase won’t wreak financial damage in the future because it can be paid off within the month. Actually, once the billing cycle rolls around, you are probably like most people who just pay the minimum amount of money towards the bill, making that $50 dress cost close to $100 in interest.

Try to use cash whenever possible. Save your credit cards for emergencies only. Replacing your credit cards with debit cards is an even better idea if possible.

Streamlining Balance Sheet: Key to Efficiency and Productiveness

Balance Sheet, which tells us about the financial position of a company, is one of the most significant financial statements for analyzing the solvency and liquidity position of any company. Often it has been noticed that in order to curtail costs of an organization, the main focus is on Income statement or profit and loss account, but in reality, a tight management of balance sheet results in surplus Cash and provides a good investment return to the shareholders. Inefficient balance Sheet management or Asset – Liability management often shows inefficiency and ineffectiveness on part of management. It shows that there is either over or underutilization of capital and unproductive fixed assets in the company which is resulting in tying up of capital in low-value projects. It might further reflect a poor liquidity position of the company and show that it does to have enough funds the meet its short-term liabilities. By managing the following key areas a company can liberate cash and put it in productive ventures.

1. Capital Structure-Capital Structure of a company shows the way finance has been raised in a company. A company can raise money through internal or external sources. A highly levered firm would reflect that the funds have been raised through external sources like loans, debentures, and it also suggests that the company has the capacity to take risks, aims at having a high growth and has more money for growth and expansion. On the other hand, a low-levered firm would the money invested by the shareholders in form of common equity, preferred stock and retained earnings for making investments in various assets and projects. Depending upon the company’s stage of development and nature of business,a right mix of internal and external sources should be there so that a company has a good solvency position and is able to meet its long-term obligations. Capital ratios such as Debt-Equity, Total Debt to Total Capitalization provide an insight into company’s capital position and further help in strengthening the balance sheet,.

2. Capital Deployment and Management-Often it has been seen that although the directors of the company are aware of the money raised but they are unsure of the places where the funds have been deployed which often lead to a decrease in economic profitability of resources. Tracing of capital to each department, unit or division helps the management to make sure that each penny is being utilized to the optimum and also helps in releasing of capital from the units where they have been over-allocated. Further, effective control measures of capital allocation can be implemented in the company to achieve a higher return on investment for the shareholders.

3. Fixed Assets Management- Resources of the company must be invested in those fixed assets, which are profitable and give return to the company in the future years. With the help of capital budgeting, a company can decide whether to make an investment in a particular asset or not.Some of the widely used capital budgeting techniques are Net Present Value, Internal rate of Return, Pay back method which help in evaluation of various long-term assets, and the cash flows that they will generate during their useful life. If a company has assets which are inefficient or on longer in use, steps should be taken to dispose of, so that the surplus cash from those assets can be used for productive purposes and value creation for the company.

4. Working Capital Management- Working Capital Management forms an integral part of a company as it ensures that a firm has enough current assets to meet its current liabilities. If a company has a high working capital it shows that there is an ineffective use of short-term assets, which might be used for some other purpose. And again, too low working capital results in a liquidity crunch and reflects the firm’s inability to pay off its short-term debts.

With the help of financial analysis, a company can maintain the right level of working capital and have good liquidity position. Current ratio, liquidity ratio are some of the tools which help the managers in knowing that the company’s current and liquid assets are used economically and they would have no problem paying their short-term liabilities.

Asset -Liability management has become an integral part of every company as it ensures freeing up of cash and using it productively to have higher returns. Proper management of working capital, right kind of financing mix, liberating cash from unproductive assets help companies in streamlining their balance sheet and redeploy the resources to generate higher returns and maximize shareholders wealth.

Important Things You Must Know About Fixed Capital Investment

It can be quite daunting to decode the jargon of financing businesses. In most cases, because of the similarity in the objectives of the different financing solutions, many have a tendency to exchange one for the other.

To simplify these very technical terminologies, most especially when you just have ventured into business and you do not have enough knowledge about it, here are some useful information regarding a fixed capital investment, which is one of the relevant business solutions businesses, either big or small, can opt for.

Facts About Fixed Capital Investment

First, they are often used to launch or perform businesses. Over a long period of time or about 20 years, they depreciate on the accounting statements of the company.

Second, though these investments can depreciate over time, they won’t depreciate the same way. Be reminded that there are investments that lose their value faster than the others. The perfect examples of those that devalue fast are communications equipment or devices since there is a rapid turnover of technology for these. Another excellent example is the company vehicles. Within the year of purchase, the value of a brand new company vehicle can depreciate by as much as 40%.

Third, fixed capital investments won’t devalue rapidly. There are actually cases where it can even increase in value. Real estate properties like the company’s office buildings and land are among the examples.

Fourth, these will include the acquisition of tools and equipment required for daily operations, along with the real estate properties where the goods are to be produced and stored. Remember though that the materials used in the production of goods are not included due to the fact that these aren’t retained by the company.

Sixth, the amount of fixed capital will be different from one industry to another. There are enterprises that would require higher fixed capital investment than the others. These will include oil companies, telecommunications providers, and the engineering and manufacturing firms. On the other hand, businesses that will just require limited fixed capital are those that within the service industry. And these will include the law and accounting firms since they require more compact devices, tools and regular office appliances.

Lastly, getting fixed capital often takes a considerable amount of time. Thus, it is crucial to work with a reliable, competent financing institution that can efficiently minimize the risk of financial losses through a wide variety of proven methods.

Skimmers at Gas Pumps

Recently NBC News did a report on the increase of Gas Pump skimmers. According to this report they are showing up at more gas stations across the country. So what is a gas pump skimmer? This is a device that is placed inside the pump. It usually goes between the card reader and the rest of the pump. The access panel is unlocked, the card reader is unplugged and the skimmer is plugged into the reader with the remaining cable plugged into the other end of the skimmer.

So the question is how do the thieves get the gas pump panel key in the first place? The majority of pumps in the market place use an inexpensive lock. These locks have been in use for so long there is no longer any key control. This is changing very rapidly. Pump manufacturers are installing high security locks on their pumps. This will increase key control and help prevent thieves from opening the card reader panels. The keys that the thieves have will no longer work on these high security locks.

Many gas stations and convenience store chains are being pro-active by changing the locks on their current pumps, rather than waiting until they purchase new pumps.

So how does the consumer know if the pump is secured with the new high security locks? The average consumer doesn’t know. This can be helped by the gas station posting signs saying what they are doing to prevent skimming. Until then the consumer should be smart about where they purchase gas. Try using pumps that are well lighted and close to the attendant’s line of sight. If you don’t feel comfortable you could go inside and pay. Look at the pumps themselves; do any panels seem loose? Some stations put security seals across the panel. Are they there and not broken?

You should also consider using a credit card rather than a debit card. If you use a debit card a thief can empty your bank account. Credit cards offer more protection, the major one being that they are not attached directly to your back accounts. I have written about using debit cards in the past, this is just another reason why I am not a big debit card fan.

It appears over the next few years gas pump security will increase quickly. Companies like Locking Systems International are helping both manufacturers and gas stations to secure their pumps as fast as possible.

George Uliano is a security professional with years of law enforcement and security experience. He earned a Bachelors Degree in Criminal Justice and Business graduating with honors. George holds three U.S. patents on different locking principles. This combination gives George and His Company Locking Systems International Inc the unique ability to provide its customers with the correct security at an affordable price.