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Updated: 44 min 37 sec ago

Virtually Everywhere -- Your Cash May Be a Thing of the Past

Thu, 02/12/2015 - 13:18
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(NewsUSA) - Coins jangling in a pocket is likely to be a thing of the past if companies that promote virtual currency (VC) have anything to say about it. The attraction of using VC stems from massive credit card hacks to retailers, such as Home Depot and Target -- all of which have raised questions among consumers about how safe their personal information is.

Currently, consumers have much of their information on display with their credit card company of choice and, for anyone with mediocre knowledge of technology and a laptop, it means open season. This is why it makes sense to consider how blockchain technologies (i.e., virtual currency) may help.

One of the problems is that there are only about 80,000 merchants worldwide that recognize and use VC, but from a business standpoint, it is worth exploring. Not only does it fit into a global economy, but it also offers consumers a higher level of security. The upside for retailers like Overstock and Dell (which support the use of virtual currency) is that it reduces credit card and debit card fees from 3 percent to 1 percent after the first $1 million in sales, which in turn defrays outgoing business costs and puts that money back into retailers' bottom line.

While much has been made of VC, it is clear that companies are using it and creating better ways to bridge old-world payment systems and new, coming technological advances. As an example, MovoCash (www.movocash.com) is a digital currency that allows consumers to link peer-to-peer (P2P) transfers that can be spent in-store, through e-commerce and m-commerce.

Consumers link their bank accounts to their MovoCash account for mobile payments with no limitation on the number of supported merchants. Eliminating the need for merchants and consumers to adopt closed-loop systems like near field communication (NFC), such as that used by Apple Pay.

Another benefit of MovoCash is that consumers' personal credit or bank information is not stored on merchant servers, but rather in a PCI-compliant environment, where tokenized form factors are generated to secure transactions using gateway technology and existing merchant POS terminals.

MovoCash follows bank rules and regulations, which are designed to protect consumers and merchants. The reality is that both are hesitant to adopt VC, which is why MovoCash is working on a product feature called BARK -- Bitcoin Account Relay Key -- which will allow consumers to convert Bitcoin to MovoCash (in a PCI-compliant environment) and enable them to spend anywhere Visa & MasterCard are accepted.

In this way, MovoCash catapults itself to the forefront of payments by integrating the old-world way of doing payments with new-world technology and advancement, with the opportunity to take a bite out of a $190 billion annual fraud problem for consumers, banks and merchants.

Eric Solis is a fin-tech entrepreneur and innovator, with three award winning start-ups under his belt.

3 Ways to Give Your Business a Competitive Edge in 2015

Wed, 02/11/2015 - 14:41
Five words or less

(NewsUSA) - In case you are unaware, major changes to the shipping industry are afoot this year, which could cost businesses big bucks.

To better understand the transformation that is coming and find ways to save, read on:

* Beware of FedEx and UPS's New Pricing. The two shipping giants recently implemented dimensional weight pricing for all Ground shipments. What that means for business owners is that the cost of shipping a package will be based in part on how much space it takes up in a truck, as opposed to just its weight. As a result, sending large, lightweight items by UPS or FedEx could end up costing as much as 50 percent more. With this new pricing in place, businesses should re-examine how they send merchandise or risk paying extra to ship some of their packages. Companies should consider alternative carriers, such as the U.S. Postal Service (USPS), to offset this new pricing model.

* Get Lower Rates With the Post Office. The U.S. Postal Service chose to forego a price increase in January and also recently lowered rates for Priority Mail, making it an affordable option for packages weighing as much as 40 pounds. Priority Mail is a great alternative to FedEx and UPS Ground, which takes five to six days to deliver coast-to-coast. To compare, Priority Mail generally takes only two days to cross the country.

* Make Money on Returns. According to a survey conducted by Endicia, a provider of ecommerce shipping solutions, 89 percent of shoppers say they will revisit an online store following a positive returns experience. To this end, business owners need to offer a convenient returns process or risk losing customers to competitors. One option is to use Endicia's Pay-on-Use Returns, which allows retailers to create USPS return shipping labels to include in an outbound package or send via e-mail upon request from your customer. Postage for the label is deducted only if and when it is actually used. This means business owners won't have an outlay of money in pre-paid shipping labels and can take advantage of low shipping rates from the USPS.

"It's important for businesses to take a look at their shipping mix this year since there are many significant changes happening in this industry," said Endicia Chief Technology Officer and co-founder Harry Whitehouse. "If not addressed, increased shipping fees will certainly impact a business's bottom line."

For more small business shipping tips, visit endicia.com/edge.

5 Ways to Be Sweet and Healthy on Valentine's Day

Wed, 02/11/2015 - 08:00
Five words or less

(NewsUSA) - NewsusaInfographic - Get healthier this Valentine's Day by following these five healthy alternatives from Kaiser Permanente's registered dietician, Ricia Taylor. For more information, visit kp.org.

See full-sized image here.

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