Money never sleepsPosted on: 19 August 2014 by Steve Wanless
Embrace the technology that enables you to relax while your money works!
Getting away from it all! Do you remember those happy and distant days?
Unfortunately, today’s technology means there is no escape. Even those parts of the Cornish coast that never got a mobile signal seem to be accepting phone calls these days.
Does it matter that we never quite cast ourselves adrift from family, friends and work responsibilities, even for a few days? It does when those next to you on the beach, or in a restaurant, or are on a train or just feeding the ducks close by are happy to answer and chat loudly on their mobile phones after responding to an annoying, penetrating ringtone.
The news that railways operator CrossCountry was scraping the “quiet” carriages on its trains caused uproar, as did the news that First Western are taking some of those carriages out of service.
The “Daily Mail” declared this was a “victory for yobs”; we have all sat on trains with gritted teeth as one passenger has a non-important, meaningless and boring conversation on his mobile at the top of their voice – or listen to the grizzled, unrecognizable noise emanating from the earpieces of someone’s iPod.
It’s all about stress, and noise and the fact that at times it seems impossible to find anywhere that is just quiet and free from all the must-have gadgets of the 21st century.
Perhaps we want the best of both worlds - the old and the new. Or more likely, we are after the best of the old world and the best of the new.
While looking for this tranquility, most of us also want the wifi so we can use our iPad online. As this nation moves to online banking, there is dismay when the big banks start closing rural branches. You can’t have it both ways, no matter how you try.
Barclays Bank has a Digital Eagles team that helps its customers with questions about new technology. The members of this team are cashiers and the quest is to get you to bank online and familiar with banking apps on your phone.
Barclays are not alone. Santander have discovered the favourite time for accessing your mobile banking appliance is between 7-8 am, with the peak-time use at 6.55am.
As Gordon Gekko declared in the movie “Wall Street”: “Money never sleeps, pal!” – which was later used as the title of the follow-up film which featured Gekko’s life after jail.
Not surprisingly, all the research and study work shows that it is the young who are leading the way. The typical user of the banking app is aged 27 and uses it around 20 times a month.
The older generation, not unnaturally, are slower, more careful about jumping on new bandwagons and tend to wait to see if the technology works. That said, one in ten of Santander’s mobile banking customers are over now 55, and use it between five and ten times a month.
Fraud is clearly an issue; and one that concerns the older generation, who are not as savvy with the technology as youngsters. How many passwords can one brain store – remembering that writing them down somewhere is not recommended for financial accounts and can invalidate a claim.
It may not be in their normal brief, but your Independent Financial Adviser (IFA) is always a good sounding board when thinking of trying something new financially. They are normally the first to hear the problem stories.
Worries over online security persist
Security is crucial, of course. The banks and financial organizations have considered earprints, as well as fingerprints and voice recognition, but the password remains the favoured option for the present.
The financial institutions are spending fortunes trying to keep ahead of the fraudsters, with good reason. In 2013, there were 40 million transactions totaling £1.7 billion conducted on the internet and by mobile phone each week. That amount is certain to increase dramatically and rapidly.
Last year, those using mobile banking doubled to 18.6 million – and now only 16% of people have never used online or mobile banking.
The service called PayM, which allows you to transfer up to £250 a day to individuals using just their mobile numbers, attracted over a millions subscribers in its first 100 days.
It is clear that since the financial crisis of 2008, the man and the women in the street has become much more considered, not just in their financial affairs.
The British Retail Consortium’s recent study showed that food prices in July cost 1.9% less than a year ago – the biggest drop in eight years; and that those prices are rising at 0.3% annually, the lowest level ever seen.
Inflation falls but prices still rising
Those who use the internet to find special vouchers and coupons are actually paying less. Clothes and shoes are 11.2% less than a year ago, electrical items 5% less and furniture and carpets down by 2.7%.
These surveys were first carried out in December 2006 – and these current falls are the biggest ever, as well as recording the 15th consecutive month of deflation.
But back to the beach, or getting there in the first place. The security problems of air travel means many are staying at home this summer, and the weather has not be half bad.
Yet, even new technology has not stopped the main car argument that afflicts families as they head for the coast or the hills or the big city. A recent poll of 23,000 of its members by the AA found that two out of three people argue in the car.
Amazingly, the main topic of dispute, even in this day of the “sat nav”, was deciding which route to take. You would have thought that particular topic was almost existent with all the technological aids available, but it came top in all age groups.
The survey also revealed that it’s people in Northern Ireland who argue most in the car, while those in the South-West that are at the other e3nd of the scale. Not surprisingly amongst the 35-44s, it was “noisy children” that came second to navigational problems.
We know the technology is here to stay in all aspects of our lives; we have to learn to live with it as best we can. The key is making these new gadgets work for us, or at least with us – rather than against us.
What about this for a holiday treat? Don’t switch on your phone, your laptop, your iPad, your TV or your car engine for a whole day! I’m not sure many of us could manage that anymore, and we would probably feel deprived!
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