How credit card fraudsters are adapting to the Pandemic, and how you can be safe

While many businesses had to adapt during 2020, including a major shift from physical to online retail, payment card fraudsters also had to adapt. COVID-19 lockdown restrictions, especially in the first two quarters of 2020, dramatically changed the way shopping was done around the globe. 

 

Payment card fraud numbers from the first two quarters, according to BPFI, are quite concerning. The latest credit and debit card fraud losses for the first half of 2020 amounted to €12.2 million across more than 143,000 fraudulent debit and credit card transactions. While consumers dramatically changed their shopping behavior from physical retail to online, fraudsters followed suit. Because of this, there was a 21% increase in ‘card not present’ fraud transactions. These transactions occur online when a fraudster uses the details of a credit or debit card they have stolen without the card being physically present. Following the trend from in-store retail to online, there was also a parallel decrease in physical instances of fraud. In-store, or point of sale, cases of fraud were down 52% in the first half of 2020, when …

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Mortgage switching: how, when, why

What does it mean to switch mortgages? Why would someone want to switch? What can be gained from switching? Finally, if one wants to switch, how should they go about doing it?

The first question is easy to answer, though oftentimes “switching” can get conflated with “remortgaging.” Don’t be fooled; these refer to two different things that, while similar in concept, can have different implications for the borrower.

“Remortgaging” simply refers to getting a new mortgage to replace a previous one; this can be done with one’s existing lender or a new one.

“Switching” is the process of taking one’s existing mortgage and moving it to a new lender.

Now, for the next question: why would a borrower want to switch mortgages? There are a number of reasons for doing so. Firstly, a borrower might be dissatisfied with their current lender for one reason or another, like poor service or lack of responsiveness to inquiries. If borrowers think another lender will provide better service, tat would be a good reason for switching mortgages to said lender.

Another reason for switching …

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Covid-19’s impact on mortgages

The covid-19 pandemic has had a massive impact on all areas of the financial world, including banks, loans, and mortgages. Mortgage arrears, or payments failed to be made by their original specified due date, had been consistently falling every year since 2013. However, Fitch predicts that arrears of at least 90 days will constitute about 14-16% of Irish home loans this year, their highest rate since the financial crisis.

Additionally, the pandemic has led to widespread payment breaks for mortgages in Ireland. Payment breaks involve the deferring of repayment of a loan to a later date; they do not change, however, reduce the total amount to be paid. In March of last year, the major banks in Ireland agreed to industry-wide payment breaks for those facing financial hardship as a result of the pandemic. This was done out of consideration for borrowers’ situations and lenders’ own desire to avoid high default rates. Ultimately, by May 2020, one in nine owner-occupier mortgage payments was on such a break.

Though this measure was taken of the industry’s own volition, soon after, the …

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The fastest way to get a mortgage

What is the fastest way to get a mortgage in Ireland today? To those unfamiliar and/or engaging with the process for the first time, it can seem drawn out and overly complicated. However, it doesn’t have to be that way. While different people will likely want to use different approaches, but there are some general rules that everyone can follow to ensure their application goes as smoothly as possible.

The first thing one should do is make sure their financial situation is otherwise well and accounted for. In addition to employment and income, this can include things like home insurance and valuation of the property. One should also consider how long they’ve lived in Ireland; depending on the lender, this may be important in their consideration of an application. Borrowers should furthermore ensure that they have good credit and are not too heavily in debt. Lenders are likely to be more apprehensive regarding borrowers with unstable financial backgrounds, as they seem less likely to be able to ultimately repay their loans.

The next things one should keep in mind are …

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State of the European Stock Market

European stocks have seen better days than the dip they are currently experiencing. This dip has largely been due to the rising bond yields seen in the market. These have spurred hopes of seeing a solid economic recovery in the European markets. As of this past Thursday, the Dublin market closed virtually unchanged compared to recent numbers. Banks, on the other hand, had been affected more wildly with the Bank of Ireland up nearly 2.5% and the AIB up nearly 3.6%.

Housebuilders have also seen some changes in the market with Bairn Homes closing at nearly 1.9% higher. For other industries such as food stocks, Glanbia closed at nearly a 1.6% increase. For London’s Ftse 100 reversed, they were able to close with a relatively strong week. The total of the Gtse 100 index closed at 0.4% higher, which is the second consecutive week that investors have seen a rise despite the coronavirus still being prevalent. Even though there has been looser COVID-19 restrictions and the vaccination program picking up speed.

Other Bank stocks such as HSBC, Lloyds Banking Group, …

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It is an Emergency! Do you have an emergency fund?

Oh no, you just got into an accident on Tuesday during the rush hour during the rain. Do you have the money you can come up with right now to pay for the accident, could you do it? Although it might not be a greatly rewarding goal or cool, the emergency fund is the foundation of what your entire financial health is built upon. Without it, it could be a matter of time before it comes tumbling down.

Many common unexpected costs come weekly or monthly for an individual. Your car could break down in the middle of the highway, maybe your toilet broke, or many other things that could have happened. Most commonly, people throw these unexpected costs on to their credit card rather than paying out of their emergency funds. That’s to say the same as running but with a backpack full of books. Financing is on a credit card can easily climb not the thousands when people could have easily paid it off in one year.

The lack of an emergency fund costs you more than just …

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Money Questions for Couples

Things are going great with you and your significant other. You have been dating each other for a while and things seem to be going great, but until you start asking about their financial history. Being asked or asking about someone’s financial history can always be daunting. Many young couples spend hundreds of hours planning their fabulous wedding but forget to prepare for their financial mergers. People treat money as a scary monster, so we tend to avoid bringing it into the conversation.

Almost one-third of couples say finances cause the most stress in their relationship. Couples who fight about money once a week are 30% more likely to be divorced than those who fight about money a few times a month. This can all be avoided in the beginning by having an honest and open conversation about their finances before getting married. Here are some questions to ask to start the conversation.

What do you earn, owe, and owe?

It may be hard to open up about this question, but the lack of money is better than the lack …

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Is combining Finance the right thing to do?

Finally! Today is the day, your significant other is moving in with you!  A dream that finally came true and you both are dancing happily. But then, the first rent bill comes, and you are stuck. How should I handle or now how do WE handle it? Back in the day, typically couples were married and combined all aspects of their lives together. All was now family property. Times have changed, couples are moving in together before marriage without any legal binding and it leaves them wondering, how do we handle our finances? Should you and your significant other consolidate your finances or maintain your own finances independently?

How many couples have their finances shared, separated, or some of both? Millennials that live together are more likely to keep their finances separated than any other group. There are many advantages to keeping them separate. One may be in a situation where they hold debt. With debt in their shadows, it is easy to understand why they may feel guilty to burden the other with their problems. Or you may have …

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What does “Get Rich Quick” even mean?

It is not uncommon that you probably have stumbled upon these ads where people claiming, “Want to know how I got rich quick? Watch my video for more!”. They show off their riches while standing in front of large mansions and Lamborghinis and if you continue to listen, they most likely tell you an inspirational story about how they came from rags to riches. We know this cannot be real, but we all have a small voice in our head saying, “Is it actually possible?”. Are they actually teaching us useful financial advice that could put us in jeopardy or are they just a regular old conman?

We may typically think of a conman to be the same thing as a thief or a liar but a true conman does not force us to do anything. They do not forcefully steal our possessions away from us, rather they trick us into giving up our own things. They are manipulators and we are obsessed with them. We see them in movies and comics but fail to see them in our day …

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What is the Real Cost of your Pet?

Aww is not the puppy cute? Dogs, cats, and many other little creatures have been our companies for many years now. Especially during these times, many people are adopting to have someone to keep us company at home. Humanity has had these animals for tens of thousands of years. It started off as a mutual relationship, the animals receiving shelters and food from us to eat and in return, they keep predators away from us and our homes. In today’s word, that is not the case anymore. Now it is more of a one-way relationship, as we choose to bring them home in reward for companionship.

We spend lots of money on our furry friends, but we do not receive any financial reward back from them, excluding the internet sensation pets. What is shocking is 98% of pet owners significantly underestimate the lifetime cost of their pet(s). Well, how much are we expected to spend on our pets? According to the PDSA in the UK, the average lifetime cost of a furry friend is about 30 thousand euros on dogs …

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