PennyStockPayCheck.com Rss

Featured Posts

Chase Bank Limits Cash Withdrawals, Bans International... Before you read this report, remember to sign up to http://pennystockpaycheck.com for 100% free stock alerts Chase Bank has moved to limit cash withdrawals while banning business customers from sending...

Read more

Richemont chairman Johann Rupert to take 'grey gap... Billionaire 62-year-old to take 12 months off from Cartier and Montblanc luxury goods groupRichemont's chairman and founder Johann Rupert is to take a year off from September, leaving management of the...

Read more

Cambodia: aftermath of fatal shoe factory collapse... Workers clear rubble following the collapse of a shoe factory in Kampong Speu, Cambodia, on Thursday

Read more

Spate of recent shock departures by 50-something CEOs While the rising financial rewards of running a modern multinational have been well publicised, executive recruiters say the pressures of the job have also been ratcheted upOn approaching his 60th birthday...

Read more

UK Uncut loses legal challenge over Goldman Sachs tax... While judge agreed the deal was 'not a glorious episode in the history of the Revenue', he ruled it was not unlawfulCampaign group UK Uncut Legal Action has lost its high court challenge over the legality...

Read more

Stocks: Economy data could set tone

Category : Stocks

Investors have a lot to chew on Thursday as new data is released for inflation, housing, jobless claims and consumer sentiment.

Read more: Stocks: Economy data could set tone

Post to Twitter

Post Office warned on account fees

Category : Business

Consumer group Which? warns that a monthly charge could discourage people from opening bank accounts at the Post Office.

Read the original post: Post Office warned on account fees

Post to Twitter

Cold snap boosts profits at British Gas owner

Category : Business

But Centrica says it will try to avoid more price rises for ‘as long as possible’ as it faces protests at its annual meeting on Mondayx

British Gas-owner Centrica enjoyed a huge boost from the cold snap, as consumers turned up the heating, driving consumption up by almost a fifth compared with last year.

The company, which raised prices by 6% shortly before the harsh winter set in, said any benefit from the “exceptionally cold weather” would be used to prevent further price rises “for as long as possible”.

Finance director Nick Luff said: “The fact is we make a margin selling gas. We will have made a higher margin because of the extra volume and we will use that to keep prices down during the rest of the year.”

But he said the cost of implementing the government’s energy efficiency scheme and higher transport costs would hit profits, while the gas price remains unpredictable – meaning there may be little extra to invest in keeping prices low.

Energy comparison and switching service uSwitch.com still welcomed the news at a time when consumers are struggling to pay bills. Ann Robinson, director of consumer policy at uSwitch.com, says: “British Gas has recognised the pressure facing customers and is using the financial gain from the extended cold weather to maintain its competitiveness. In plain English, this means that British Gas customers should expect no further increase in prices at least for the foreseeable future.”

Centrica faces protests at its annual meeting in London on Monday afternoon, as campaigners gather to challenge the company on price hikes, multimillion pound payouts to British Gas bosses, and plans for a new generation of gas power stations instead of cheaper, clean renewable energy.

Households’ average gas consumption was 18% higher in the first four months of 2013, compared with the same period last year, while electricity consumption was 3% higher. Residential customers in the UK also rose by 28,000 in the first four months of the year, which Centrica put down to competitive pricing and good customer service.

The company said this “strong performance” put it on course to meet expectations and deliver full-year profits before tax of £602m, down 1% on last year.

As an oil and gas producer, Centrica also benefited from higher commodity prices, and the group’s full-year earnings after tax are expected to be 2% higher at £1.4bn.

Will the stock market momentum continue?

Category : Business

After fresh records last week, investors will have slew of data on on the housing market, manufacturing sector and the consumer.

See the original post: Will the stock market momentum continue?

Post to Twitter

Nationwide failed to act against identity fraudsters

Category : Business

Standing order scammers have taken £1,300 from my account, but Nationwide has not been helpful

I recently logged in to my online Nationwide account, only to discover that two unknown standing orders had cleared more than £1,300 out of my current account, leaving me with just £21. As I had had nothing to do with them – they were both to estate agents I had never heard of – I printed the statement and rushed to my local Nationwide branch. There was no manager available but a cashier cancelled the two standing orders. I asked whether I had signed the forms indicating I had consented to them being set up, and she said I hadn’t.

My card was stopped, and I was put in a cubicle and told to ring Nationwide HQ to sort out the problem. No one offered any support.

After lengthy waits and several more questions, I was told that once it was proved that I had not set up the standing orders, I would be refunded. Someone would ring me on Friday or Monday. When I arrived home, I had a message from a woman who worked for the Carlisle branch. She wanted to know if I had set up a standing order to Alpha Lettings. She said the signature very clearly did not match mine, so she had declined it.

Since then it has emerged that someone – or a group of people – has tried to set up a string of standing orders on my account, all to estate agents around the country. A second trip to a bigger branch wasn’t much good, either, and promised call-backs have not materialised. It seems to me that Nationwide doesn’t know what it’s doing when it comes to identity fraud of this kind. Can you please help? CB, south-west London

It’s clear from your letter that the building society hasn’t exactly covered itself in glory when dealing with this problem. The staff seemed to have no idea how stressful it was to discover £1,300 had gone from your bank account, and you should have been treated more sympathetically.

Standing order fraud is, according to our research, relatively rare, but your case has highlighted how easy it is to commit. You later realised that one of your bank statements failed to arrive around Christmas and, armed with this, the culprit probably set up the standing orders, relying on staff not looking at the signature too closely.

We suspect that although estate agent names were used, the money ended up in an unrelated, non-business account. For some reason, these frauds often seem to lead to a Barclays account at a branch in east London.

Nationwide accepts it should have handled the matter better. “While we have measures in place to prevent standing order fraud, and the overwhelming majority of attempts are prevented, it is clear we have let CB down on this occasion. It is important to note any innocent victim of fraud will always be refunded,” says a spokesman.

The money taken from your account has been returned, with an additional £200 to make up for the poor service.

We welcome letters but cannot answer individually. Email us at consumer.champions@guardian.co.uk or write to Bachelor & Brignall, Money, the Guardian, 90 York Way, London N1 9GU. Please include a daytime phone number

Stock market momentum continues

Category : Business, Stocks

This week, investors will have to digest economic reports on the U.S. consumer and manufacturing.

Link: Stock market momentum continues

Post to Twitter

US consumer spending beats forecasts

Category : Business

US consumer spending unexpectedly rose in March, up 0.2% on the month, but growth was slower than in the first two months of the year.

Read more: US consumer spending beats forecasts

Post to Twitter

Mobile networks see bright future for electronic wallet

Category : Business

Britain’s big three mobile networks have united on a project to make debit cards of our smartphones. And they’re even planning to outsmart Google

There is a scene in the 2002 film Minority Report where Tom Cruise walks into a clothes store and a computer scans his eyes. “Hello Mr Yakamoto, welcome back to the Gap,” chirrups a sales assistant in hologram form. “How’d those assorted tank tops work out for you?”

Brands from Nokia to Bulgari collaborated in the Steven Spielberg film to paint a picture of what a shopping trip might look like in 2054. But we may not have to wait that long – science fiction could become reality later this year.

In the real world, though, individual shoppers will be identified not by iris scans, but by the portable devices in our pockets. The UK’s three largest mobile phone networks, EE, Vodafone and O2, have joined forces to turn smartphones into virtual wallets that know who we are, where we are and what we buy.

“Imagine: you are walking past Topshop and an alert pops up on your phone offering you a discount in store today,” says David Sear. The new chief executive of Weve, the company set up by the networks to manage the mobile wallet project, is giving his first interview.

You’d then walk into the store, pick out a purchase, scan the barcode, and pay by tapping your phone on an Oyster-card-style reader, rather than at the till.

“It is a bit of joy,” claims Sear. Bargain lovers would agree; others might find it intrusive. To those standing in line to pay, it could seem downright rude.

The idea is not a new one, but despite the efforts of companies ranging from Google to Barclays it has yet to gain traction with consumers. Google Wallet, launched in the US in 2011, has not made it to these shores. But Weve says 15 million mobile phone customers have already opted in to its service.

At the moment, those users receive nothing more than text messages alerting them to offers. But within months, Weve says it will have opened its database, allowing companies that buy advertising slots on web pages access to data ranging from users’ physical location to the websites they visit on their phones.

Before the end of the year, Sear hopes to have created an app capable of holding dozens of virtual loyalty cards, and to have recruited its first brand. Payment mechanisms will follow.

“My background is in disruption,” says Sear, who has made his career with payments firms that challenged the big banks. An early venture used data to help retailers spot cheques that would bounce. At online transactions firm WorldPay he helped shoppers in one country buy goods in their own currency from sellers abroad.

“I succeeded with the cheque business because we enabled people to do things at the point of sale which they couldn’t do before,” says Sear. “I have 17 loyalty cards sitting in my sock drawer because I can’t be bothered to carry them all around. I think there’s a real opportunity to create one place where you might hold competing loyalty mechanisms.”

But why should an unwieldy coalition of mobile phone firms, more used to competing than collaborating, succeed where a digital native like Google has so far come unstuck?

“People in the loyalty industry know what Google wants: their data. One of the large US supermarket chief executives said the thing he didn’t want to do was give Google his data. Whatever we do, it has to be a coalition of the willing.”

Weve claims it will share details of every purchase with the relevant loyalty card issuer. The system will also ask mobile phone customers to opt in, rather than acting like Facebook and Google and assuming users will accept advertising in exchange for a free service.

For the networks behind Weve, this is one of the advantages of having paying customers. Facebook has to presume we want advertising because it has few other sources of revenue, but mobile phone companies can afford to be a little less pushy.

“We want consumers to have bought into the value of the service,” says Sear.

He is particularly critical of Facebook Home, a new app from the social network that takes over a smartphone’s home screen to display ads alongside news and photographs from friends. “I personally do not want to see ads popping up on my phone when the screen is locked. In Facebook’s case I don’t think they are really asking for permission; it’s just part of the deal you sign up to on that system.”

Weve will not be a consumer brand. The networks will sign up customers themselves, using a dashboard of information-sharing options. Details shared could range from the first part of a postcode to age, gender, location, web browsing history and likes or dislikes. Some will be compulsory, some optional, and the requirements will vary by network. Google has a similar dashboard, but few users are aware of its existence.

“The consumer is more powerful in this stage of our digital revolution than I think they have ever been, and they will decide whether or not something is appropriate,” says Sear.

Security is another factor. When Weve is ready to link a customer’s debit card to their phone so that they can make payments, those details will be held on the Sim card. Should the phone be lost or stolen, the data can be remotely deleted by the operator.

Memory wiping was a favourite theme of Philip K Dick, on whose writing Minority Report was based. The film was made not long after the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Centre, and Spielberg remarked at the time: “People are willing to give away a lot of their freedoms in order to feel safe. But the question is, where do you draw the line? How much freedom are you willing to give up?”

This applies increasingly to the trade-off between free services and private information. Those signing up for Weve’s service will at least be offered the choice.

VIDEO: US economy growth reaches 2.5%

Category : World News

The US economy grew at an annual rate of 2.5% in the first three months of the year, helped by the strongest consumer spending figures in two years.

Follow this link: VIDEO: US economy growth reaches 2.5%

Post to Twitter

US economic growth reaches 2.5%

Category : Business, World News

The US economy grew at an annualised pace of 2.5% in the first quarter of the year, weaker than expected despite strong consumer spending figures.

Continued here: US economic growth reaches 2.5%

Post to Twitter