Cheques to be Paid in via Smart Phones

Cheques to be Paid in via Smart Phones
Plans have been announced to allow bank customers to pay cheques into their account by taking photos on their smartphones. Rather than go to the bank in person, customers will be able to photograph the cheque, and send it electronically.

The government is to launch a consultation on the idea, with a view to making the necessary legal changes.

The technology will also allow cheques to be cleared in two days, rather than the six it takes at the moment.

Banks say the new transfer method will be more convenient, and more secure. “Moving into a virtual world will actually create a more secure customer experience than the paper experience today,” said Antony Jenkins, the chief executive of Barclays. Such photos would not be stored on the phone itself, so there should be no security risk if a phone was stolen.

Similar technology was introduced in the United States nine years ago, following the attack on the World Trade Centre. A new law known as Check 21 was passed, to enable banks to process cheques electronically, rather than having to transport paper versions across the country.

The government believes a change in the law in the UK would also promote the continuing use of cheques.

The UK Payments Council was originally planning to abolish all cheque payments by 2018, but was forced to change its mind after public opposition. “We want to see more innovation so that customers see the benefits of new technologies,” said Sajid Javid, the financial secretary to the Treasury. “We want cheques to have a crucial role in the ongoing success of the UK,” he added.

In 2012, 10% of all payments by individuals were made by cheque, and 25% of payments by businesses.

The industry says most younger account-holders already use electronic systems of payment, and rarely use cheques. However all customers will still be able to pay in cheques by posting them to their bank, or by visiting their bank directly.

Barclays is planning to launch a pilot programme for paying in cheques via phone from April 2014.

It hopes to launch a service for all its customers later in the year. But the new technology is likely to raise further questions about the size of the branch network, as customers turn to banking via PCs and mobiles.

Last month Barclays announced 1700 further job losses in its High Street branches, as a direct result of mobile technology. In the year to July 2013 it closed 37 branches, and it has hinted at more closures to come.

“I think people are going into branches less and less, particularly as a result of mobile banking, and that’s going to accelerate the process,” Antony Jenkins told the BBC.

The bank is in the process of moving eight of its branches into stores operated by Asda.A spokesman said customers would always be able to pay their cheques in at a branch if they wanted to.

Guaranteed Car Credit & Finance Service

Guaranteed Car Credit & Finance Service
As the current recession continues to bite, a lot of people are simply fed up of being declined for car finance and have had enough of everybody doing credit searches, which are then placed on your credit reference file, just making everything worse for you! If this sounds like you, then you have definitely come to the right place!

Here at Northumbria Car Sales, our Guaranteed car Credit service our sole aim is to assist everybody get the car finance they need to help them drive off in the vehicle of their choice.

When buying a used car it’s important that you can trust the garage you’re buying it from. Here at Northumbria Car Sales we’re a family run business which has been established for over 22 years offering a wide selection of quality used cars, vans and motorhomes.

Working closely with some of the most well-known and reputable financial service lenders, banks, leasing companies and private lenders who are ready, willing and able to do business with you regardless of your previous credit issues.

With our unique approach, Northumbria Car Sales aims to ensure that each applicant is assured the best interest rate and terms for their specific car finance application.

And remember, if you have good credit, we will get you approved at highly competitive interest rates.

The Car Finance Application Service is Fast, Free, and Easy. Once you have applied, you will hear back from us within 24 hours with a credit limit. Then you will be assigned a personal advisor to you to help you through the whole process. It’s never been so simple to get guaranteed car finance!

Don’t let getting declined stop you from contacting us because you think that yet again you will be turned down because we accept everyone no matter what your credit history is like.

Here at Northumbria Car Sales we will always go that ‘extra mile’ to help you get you the car finance and the motor vehicle you deserve. As well as GUARANTEED CAR FINANCE when you buy a car from Northumbria Car Sales you also get 1 Year MOT on all car sales as Standard, 6 Months Road Tax as Standard on all cars sold, 3 Months Warranty as Standard on all cars sold and all Cars are Fully Serviced.

As one of the leading car finance specialists in the North East of England, even if you have been refused vehicle finance in the past, we guarantee to be able to help you.

With over 22 years’ experience in providing high quality used cars and, Northumbria Car Sales have already helped thousands of clients drive away! Call us now and let us help you drive away the car you’ve always promised yourself.

Business:             Guaranteed Car Credit


Twitter’s Jack Dorsey to join Walt Disney’s Board

Twitter’s Jack Dorsey to join Walt Disney’s Board
Twitter founder, Jack Dorsey, has been nominated as an independent board director at Walt Disney.  Shareholders will be able to vote on his selection at the company’s annual meeting on 18 March.

Aged 37, Mr Dorsey would become the youngest member of Disney’s board, the majority of whom are in their 50s.

Over the last few years he has been running Square, a company which offers credit card payments service for small businesses. “Jack Dorsey is a talented entrepreneur who has helped create ground breaking new businesses in the social media and commerce spaces,” said Robert Iger, Disney’s chairman and chief executive. “The perspective he brings to Disney and its board is extremely valuable.”

Twitter sold shares on the stock market for the first time in November and Mr Dorsey’s near 5% stake in Twitter is worth around $1bn. He founded Twitter along with Ev Williams, Biz Stone and Noah Glass.

Mr Dorsey sent Twitter’s first tweet in 2006: “just setting up my twttr”.

Making a Website Work for your Business

Making a Website Work for your Business
In a perfect world, SEO would be developed while a website is still in infancy. While this ideal situation rarely occurs, the following steps summarise the process as it should occur every time.

Key Phrase Strategy and Website Development
Before building your website, you must have a keyword strategy. Select key phrases that are relevant to your business and receive an acceptable level of traffic. It is often appropriate, particularly for smaller / new businesses, to avoid the most competitive phrases where the level of competition you would be up against would be significant. You can always develop to these phrases as your business grows.

Once you have selected your keywords you can begin to develop the website using basic SEO site structure principles. These include the Meta titles, Meta descriptions, linking strategy, clear site navigation, optimised coding and great content.

Web Analytics
Try to include some web analytics platform that will allow you to monitor users are coming from and what search terms they are using. One free example is Google Analytics which provides a reasonable level of feedback on the traffic levels and sources to your website. This information will enable you to monitor and update your website to try and achieve the best results possible within your market sector.

Driving Traffic to the Website
Obvious really, but look to get your web pages listed in the main search engines as quickly as you can.  You can submit the website, but also look to get your URL linked to from websites already in the search engines. Subscribe to directories and develop a strategy for effective link building. Remember, with links, it’s about quality, not quantity; a handful of links on top-notch sites is worth hundreds of links on irrelevant, insignificant sites.

Incorporate off site and traditional marketing methods. For example, include your web address on your stationary and have it displayed on the side of company vehicles.

Consider employing the services of an Internet Marketing specialist to help with the Search Engine process. At Direct Submit we regularly see clients who have spent thousands on a website assuming, the traffic will just come, only to find their lovely looking website is not SEO friendly and they have no identifiable SEO strategy in place.

Monitor, Evaluate & Refine
After you campaign has run for a time, review and look to assess how the project has been working. Are your keywords receiving the most traffic and bringing in the best ROI, is your website listed in the major search engines and do you need to update /refine the website content.

Business:             Direct Submit Internet Marketing


Spain Levies Maximum Fine over Google Privacy Policy

Spain Levies Maximum Fine over Google Privacy Policy
Google has been fined 900,000 euros (£751,000) for breaking Spanish data protection laws. The fine is the maximum it is possible to levy on a firm that has broken the nation’s privacy laws. It was imposed after Google changed its privacy policy and started combining personal information across its online services.

Google said it had co-operated with the Spanish inquiry and would act once it had seen the agency’s full report.

Google changed its privacy policy in March 2012 and began the process of combining the data that people surrendered when they used its many services.

The change led many European data protection authorities to look into Google’s privacy policy. The investigation carried out by Spain’s privacy watchdog has now led to it imposing a fine – the maximum possible under Spanish law.

Google collected information across almost 100 services, said the Spanish data protection agency, but had not obtained the consent of people to gather information nor done enough to explain what would be done with the data. The “highly ambiguous” language Google employed on its privacy policy pages made it hard for people to find out what would happen to their data, said the agency in a statement. Google also kept data for too long and made it far too hard for people to delete data or manage the information they surrendered.

The 900,000 euro fine is made up of three separate penalties of 300,000 euros each for breaking different parts of Spanish privacy laws.

Google said it had worked closely with the Spanish data agency during its investigation and said it would await publication of the full report before taking any action.

The search giant could also face further action from other European data protection bodies. In late November, the Netherlands data protection authority said Google’s 2012 policy change also broke its laws. France is also believed to be contemplating levying a fine over Google’s data handling policies.

The Importance of Choosing and Researching Keywords

The Importance of Choosing and Researching Keywords
It can be difficult to choose the keywords that describe your company and its products or services so that users will see your website when they perform an online search. Obviously, you want people who are searching for what products or services you provide to find your website near the top of the search engine results pages, so how do you achieve this?

The answer is “by using keywords and key phrases in your website content.” These are the words that people type into search engines when they are looking for something.

Choosing and researching good keywords is a process that takes several steps that can essentially be broken down into the following stages:

Initial keyword Research. Have a brain storming session with your staff and, if possible, customers. Ask other people for ideas, too, including your family, try to get as many opinions as possible. You will often discover that what you consider your optimal key phrases are not those typically used by your customers.

Use Key Word Research Tools. There are several online keyword research tools that offer information about the number of times users perform searches for specific words. These can help you identify key phrases ‘related’ to your products or services that might help generate quality traffic to your website.

Selecting of Key Words. Use the research you have done and select the most appropriate key words that is likely to deliver the best results for your business. Note this may mean you choose a key phrase that isn’t the most searched for (which will probably be the most ‘competitive’ in terms of achieving a page 1 result on the web) but which will bring you high quality traffic in numbers that should help generate you business.

Analytics. After you’ve chosen your keywords and optimized your site, you need to perform measurements to see whether it’s delivering the amount of traffic and conversions you expected. You can use this information to make adjustments and refine your keyword strategy. The above represents a fairly basic overview of choosing effective key phrases for your website and the web is full of more in depth articles and guides to help you.

For more information on choosing the right key words for your website call Direct Submit Internet Marketing and see how we can help you make the most of your Internet project.

Internet Marketing by Direct Submit

Broadband Pledge as Firms mark Small Business Saturday

Broadband Pledge as Firms mark Small Business Saturday
Help for local retailers, such as faster broadband, has been announced by the government as the UK marks Small Business Saturday.  Ministers pledged to spend £100m on internet connections to mark the UK’s first celebration of small firms.  It aims to encourage spending in local shops, which provide almost two thirds of private sector employment.

David Cameron, shopping in Buckinghamshire, said high streets were the “lifeblood of our country”.

The government has pledged to remove some of the barriers faced by small businesses, such as accessing faster and better broadband and making it easier to switch energy suppliers. Business Secretary Vince Cable said it was committed to freeing small businesses from “unnecessary burdens” – with help to include providing more finance and improving access to advice and support. He added: “In particular we are tackling the issue of late payment, which can threaten the survival of otherwise healthy businesses. “We are enforcing prompt payment through the entire public sector and asking what more we can do to get credit flowing in the private sector.”

Meanwhile, a bus has been touring the country promoting the idea of getting people to shop on their local high streets. Based on a model which started in the US and spearheaded by shadow business secretary Chuka Umunna, Small Business Saturday aims to support smaller retailers as they struggle against larger chains.

David Cameron marked the day by visiting family butcher A Cobb in Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire – near his official country residence Chequers – where he bought 10 lamb cutlets in advance of his mother joining him for dinner. He said: “Small businesses are the lifeblood of our country – essential for building a resilient, sustainable economy and a central part of my long-term economic plan for Britain. They account for 99 in every 100 businesses and keep more than 11 million people in work – so this isn’t about sentimentality, it’s about the future of Britain, creating jobs and turning our economy around.”

Labour leader Ed Miliband was due to visit south London on Saturday, where he was expected to pledge to help small firms by cutting cut business rates for 1.5 million small business properties, freezing energy bills and getting tough on late payers if his party were to win the next general election. He was expected to say: “Labour is changing so that we can go into the next election as the

Retail guru Mary Portas conducted a review of the high street two years ago – resulting in the creation of 12 government-funded “Portas Pilot” towns. She told the BBC that independent shops were a vital part of the “social infrastructure” of local communities. “It’s the small things that matter,” she said. “The chance of bumping into somebody you know, getting to know local shopkeepers, using local cafes, restaurants and libraries. It’s important we recognise how important they are.” She also said that it was “not more expensive” to buy from local retailers. “I’ve done surveys of local fruit and veg and local butchers compared to supermarkets and it’s not more expensive,” she said. “If we can get local councils to look at parking and get retailers behind that too – there’s a real joy in shopping in your local community.”

Enterprise and skills minister Matthew Hancock said independent firms were the “lifeblood” of the British economy and responsible for “nearly half the job creation in the UK”. “That’s why we are removing barriers to growth and supporting them, so that they can create jobs and compete in the global race,” he added.

Dr Adam Marshall, director of policy at the British Chambers of Commerce, said that the government needed to focus on helping small firms to expand. “The government is right to say that Britain is a great place to start a business,” he said. “Now it needs to become a great place to grow a business too.”

John Cridland, director general of business lobbying organisation the CBI, added: “Small and medium-sized businesses are at the heart of communities across the UK and are the job-creating dynamos of the recovery. “Small Business Saturday is a great way for people up and down the country to back their local high street in the run-up to Christmas and I would encourage everyone to get involved.”


UK Services Growth Remains Strong

UK Services Growth Remains Strong
Growth in the UK services sector remained strong last month, a survey has suggested. The Markit/CIPS Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) for the service sector recorded a level of 60 for November.

Although this was down from October’s 16-year high of 62.5, it still marks buoyant growth in the sector. A reading above 50 indicates expansion.

Markit said recent surveys suggest the UK economy may grow by more than 1% in the fourth quarter of the year. This would represent an acceleration from the 0.8% growth recorded in the third quarter.

The strong PMI services reading comes on the back of similarly upbeat surveys of the manufacturing and construction sectors, and is another piece of positive news for the Chancellor, George Osborne, who will deliver his Autumn Statement on Thursday.

Mr Osborne is expected to announce improved official growth forecasts in the statement.

Chris Williamson, Markit’s chief economist, said: “Further buoyant growth of the services economy hands the chancellor a further piece of good news ahead of the Autumn Statement.

“When looked at alongside the upturns in the buoyant manufacturing and construction sectors, the three PMI surveys indicate that the pace of economic growth will have accelerated in the fourth quarter, rising to above 1.0%. “Job creation is also surging as companies report increasingly buoyant demand. Rising employment will help sustain the upturn through improved consumer confidence and spending.”

Markit’s survey also indicated that inflationary pressures were beginning to build. Input cost inflation hit a nine-month high and output charges also rose. David Tinsley, UK economist at BNP Paribas, said: “The UK services PMI dropped back in November, but the fact that it remained at 60 suggests that the service sector is still growing at a rapid pace. “The signs from the PMI surveys this week are that strong activity is feeding through into higher domestic prices, but it is debatable this is at a pace to raise anxieties.”