You 'Turn Off' Card to Beat Scams; PayPal Co-Founder Makes the Next Credit Card Killer; Cer
Debit Card Control Lets You 'Turn Off' Card to Beat Scams
High Street bank Barclays is allowing customers to "turn off" their debit card to online purchases or set daily ATM limits to reduce scams. It believes that cardholders would be more protected from con-artists if they could block the card from remote purchases at certain times. The bank's app now includes an option to reduce daily ATM withdrawal limits, from the typical level of £300. Such a move would reduce any losses from thefts at cash machines. Fraud losses across all payment cards, remote banking and cheques in the UK totalled £769m in 2016, according to Financial Fraud Action, the industry's anti-fraud body - an increase of 2% on the previous year. There were a total of 1.9 million cases of financial fraud during 2016. Barclays said that while frauds, such as identity fraud, led to full compensation to customers, this was often not the case from scams. Online shopping scams, for example, could lead to significant losses for victims, if banks were not able to step in before payments went through. The bank claims that its option to control debit card use - such as blocking remote use and plans to introduce a temporary block on any transactions - was a first among High Street banks. Barclays has 24 million UK customers, of which about five million have the app. The official launch of the service coincides with a major advertising campaign by the bank about the threat of fraud. "As a society our confidence in using digital technology to shop, pay our bills and connect with others has grown faster than our knowledge of how to do so safely," said Ashok Vaswani, chief executive of Barclays UK. "We all need to boost our digital safety levels in order to close the gap."
Is PayPal Co-Founder Max Levchin Making the Next Credit Card Killer?
He's the visionary entrepreneur behind some of the top names in tech – PayPal, Yelp, Slide and others. As a board member, he's helped steer Yahoo and Evernote. Now, Max Levchin's latest venture, the financial technology company Affirm, is seeking to bring more accountability and transparency to the banking industry through what he calls “fair and honest financing.” According to CreditCards.com, the average amount of credit card debt is about $9,600. If you make the minimum monthly payment, you could pay more than $11,615 in additional interest during the life of the loan — which is more than you originally borrowed. Levchin wants to change that. Affirm lets shoppers pay for purchases — such as a Casper mattress or Peloton bike — over time with simple-interest loans that are free of any penalty or late fees. Unlike payment options that have compounding interest and unexpected costs, Affirm shows customers upfront exactly what they’ll owe. Is Affirm (a member of the Forbes Fintech 50 for 2016) the next credit card killer? Last month, the San Francisco-based company completed its 1 millionth consumer installment loan. Affirm has also attracted some of the top names in venture capital, including Andreessen Horowitz, Founders Fund, Khosla Ventures, Lightspeed Venture Partners and Spark Capital, among others. Levchin co-founded Affirm with Palantir co-founder Nathan Gettings and Jeff Kaditz.
Certified Accountants Say Blockchain Could Change the Way They're Paid
Blockchain could change the way accountants generate revenue, according to a report published yesterday by the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA). The group, which boasts more than 180,000 members worldwide, said in its report that the kinds of services accountants provide may evolve depending on how the technology is adopted. These changes, the report's authors note, may impact the income of accountants as well. While the report notes that "it will take time" to see how distributed ledger adoption affects revenues for accountants, it does caution that "the most likely effects on the revenue mix may be clear sooner". The report’s authors write: "There may be a gradual move away from low-margin activities (for example, transaction checking) towards a greater emphasis on higher-margin work (for example, interpreting technical accounting policy to a given situation). Over time, this may affect the revenue model, with greater emphasis on paying for expertise and advice (outputs-based rate card) rather than for time (inputs-based, per hour billing)." As mentioned above, the ACCA tempers these predictions by arguing that the full ramifications won’t be known in the absence of "large scale and mainstream adoption". The next five years, the paper’s authors argue, will provide telling evidence as to what the actual impact will be. "If it looks likely that the revenue mix will evolve, then accountancy firms may want to evaluate their structure and organise themselves differently to prepare for the future," the authors go on to recommend. That line of reasoning – that organization and information-seeking can help accountants prepare for the future – is reiterated, as the authors indicate that ACCA members may want to begin their education if they haven’t already. "Blockchain presents new areas for analysis and consideration, and the sooner professional accountants increase their awareness, the better prepared they will be to engage with it," they note.