Tag Archives: Finance

How Apple Pay Doesn’t Help Personal Finance

Bruce Heen

Through the eyes of personal finance, Apple Pay is not as exciting as it was projected to be. Although boasting numerous pros, its plaguing cons have dubbed the program disappointing.

Apple had a wonderful opportunity to accomplish what Google failed with Google Wallet. It was widely anticipated, and nearly error-free as a mobile payment standard that is better than swiping a card. Apple Pay’s NFC token-based system which is based on a relatively new and important standard called, EMV Payment Tokenization, ensures that no party except your card issuer ever stores your personal card info. If Apple Pay becomes popular enough, it could mean that hackers would have a much harder time accessing accounts and fraud could fall significantly.

Cards for Apple Pay and transactions made with Apple Pay appear in iOS’s Passbook app, which could be transformed from tickets and coupons aggregator to the nexus of many iPhone users’ financial lives. A step in the right direction, it makes it far easier for us to check in on our accounts wherever we are and help us gain an often elusive sense of control over our money.

However, this is where the pros end. Apple Pay only shows you in passbook the most recent purchases you have made on its own network. Because such a small amount of merchants have the capability for Apple Pay, most of the spending will not come up on Passbook which was never designed as a personal finance account aggregator.

Apple Pay launches for in-app payments, we may finally see micro-payments take off. That will make the challenge of tracking your spending from multiple sources even more acute. Aside from the great security potential of the Apple Pay, is it worth it? It looks like a revolutionary technological security and environmental innovation that has the potential, but needs more work.

For more information, check out the full article here.

via Bruce Heen

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Posted by on October 28, 2014 in Bruce Heen


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Personal Finance Game Leads to Scholarship Money


The financial industry has struggled to restore its image since its destruction six years ago. One common approach to do so has been developing programs to inform students about financial education. Tax preparer H&R Block released its $3 millions in college scholarship money to give to high school students who get all the answers right in an online budget game.

Block is following the lead of numerous national banks that sponsor some form of financial education. Visa has also made big commitments to the cause as well. This push has been a way to teach young people practical monetary skills while improving the financial industry’s damaged reputation.

Block is not a bank nor a credit company. However, the company is still passionate about teaching youth about finances. “It’s appalling how clueless many teens are about money,” says Block CEO William Cobb. He is not shy about admitting that Block’s “budget challenge” is as much about smart marketing as it is about helping teens get smart about money. The challenge concludes on Tax Day, April 15. But Cobb says educating high school kids about student loans and more is also “the right thing to do”.

Block’s program is constructed around an online game that simulates real life problems and situations. It is apart of a class with a teacher that teaches lessons for youth personal finance. The push for the high school students is a college scholarship. The first challenge will begin Oct. 3 and last for nine weeks. Five more challenges will run through mid-April next year. Students need about 30 minutes to set up their profile and about 30 minutes per week after that in order to compete.

Although its goal is to teach, the Block program seems not only engaging but fun. Participants will have access to a leaderboard to see where they stand amongst their competitors. Youth will need to figure out what the best choices are and to try to make sense of the world of money so they can make good choices in the future.

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Posted by on September 24, 2014 in Bruce Heen


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Keeping Travel Cheap

Ever wondered how you can save money so you can budget funds for travel?

I came across a great article on CBS that explains some helpful tips. The first tip is to simply create a budget for your trip. Where is it that you’d like to go? What activities are you planning on doing while away? For instance, you would like to go skiing. You’ve figured out the amount of money it will cost to get to the mountain via car or airplane. Where will you be staying? How much does a lift ticket cost for how many days? Are you going out to eat most nights or cooking dinner? There are a lot of questions to ask and if you can answer most of them before going, you will have a great sense of how much you will need to set aside for the trip.

The next tip is to save. If you don’t have a timeline of when you need to go away then you can take your time raising the necessary funds. Some simple ways to save your pennies is to sacrifice a few luxuries in the short-term. Stop impulse buying, keep yourself from eating out, pack a lunch, and carpool. These are just a few things that you can do to save a little bit of cash incrementally. It doesn’t have to be all at one time. If you take the time to change the way you spend money over a period of time you will see a vacation fund increase.

The third tip is to plan far ahead. If you know when you’d like to go away, try and plan it for the future instead of last minute. Airlines and hotels raise prices around the holidays. The earlier the better.

Another tip that people don’t consider is their payment cards. If you are traveling outside of the country, you could receive a surcharge or transaction fee. Be sure to check with your bank beforehand. You could also seek out credit cards that don’t have processing fees like a Capital One credit card.

These are just a few tips to help you save a bit of money when traveling.

via Bruce Heen

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Posted by on January 22, 2014 in Bruce Heen


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