Secret documents reveal potential dark side of prepaid debit cards

Laveta Brigham

The collapse of Choice Bank, an obscure entity in Belize, went largely unnoticed in 2018.

But Americans were among the uninsured depositors filing claims in its failure, totaling $100 million. Some said they were startled to learn that their money was trapped in a small bank in Central America. They thought they were doing business with a U.S.-based company called Payoneer.

“Losing out on money that I’m not expecting to lose is very upsetting, even still,” said Mara O’Halloran, a Pennsylvania mother of two who said she is out thousands of dollars as a Choice Bank depositor.

Not everyone was shocked by the Choice Bank collapse. Years before, an array of banks were raising questions to regulators about its practices. In 2014, for example, Bank of America characterized Choice Bank as “an issuer of prepaid cards for program managers with inherently high risk.”

Related: Prepaid debit cards can work more

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The best online learning courses, if you feel like doing something new

Laveta Brigham

Photo credit: Getty Images
Photo credit: Getty Images

From Cosmopolitan

This year has been a strange one, and it’s totally understandable if self isolation, furlough or other external factors have left you wanting to try new things. Maybe your job isn’t satisfying you anymore, or you’re finding yourself with way more time on your hands. Which could be where an online learning course could come in.

We are very much firm believers that you don’t have to commit this time to self improvement (hey, just existing right now is good too), but if you feel like you want something to fill some of your free time, or help you make your next job move, a short virtual learning course could be just the ticket.

Photo credit: Cosmopolitan UK
Photo credit: Cosmopolitan UK

“Online courses are a great way to fill the ‘skills bridge’ as we call it,” Director of Insights at FutureLearn Hanna Celina explains. “Often, people need

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28 Tips for Negotiating With Car Dealers

Laveta Brigham

Getting a new car is exciting. Buying one, on the other hand, is stressful, time-consuming, overwhelming and riddled with ways to lose money. When you’re considering getting into a new set of wheels but you’re not sure what to expect or how to handle yourself, consider the following tips before you walk into your first dealership.

Last updated: Sept. 22, 2020

Do Your Shopping at Home

Never begin your shopping journey in a dealership showroom. In fact, visiting a dealer is one of the last steps in the process. Always start by narrowing down your choices based on your needs, wants and budget — at home online, not at the dealership. Know the exact make, model and trim package you want. If you walk into the dealership blind and announce that you’re just “looking around,” you give all the leverage to the salesperson who will then gladly “help” you find

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Deichmann defies high street gloom and plans more UK shoe shops

Laveta Brigham

The UK arm of shoe retailer Deichmann has defied the gloom on the high street to record higher sales and commit to opening more shops.

Expansion plans by the family-run business, which is headquartered in Germany, were outlined as the UK division filed accounts that showed turnover here in 2019 rose to £103.6 million from £98.1 million. It narrowed losses to £948,000 from a loss of £1.4 million.

Nine new stores were opened by Deichmann-Shoes UK during the period, and two closed, bringing the estate here to 109 stores.

In London it has a number of branches, including in Stratford, Walthamstow and Wood Green.

The firm’s strategic report said the chain entered this year in a good position to continue with expansion plans.

Growth plans come at time when a number of other retailers are looking to reduce shop numbers, amid tough conditions. Retailers are grappling with competition from online

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Average UK home and car insurance costs to fall under watchdog plans

Laveta Brigham

A watchdog will tell car insurance firms not to charge existing customers more to renew than they charge new customers. Photo: PA
A watchdog will tell car insurance firms not to charge existing customers more to renew than they charge new customers. Photo: PA

Home and car insurance firms are set to be banned from charging existing customers more than new ones, under a watchdog’s “radical” plans that could save customers £370m ($473m) a year.

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) announced a proposed crackdown on “harmful pricing practices” on Tuesday, as it unveiled a consultation on plans to shake up the home and car insurance industries.

Around 6 million customers pay “high or very high” prices for such insurance, according to the FCA. They would save a total of £1.2bn a year if they paid the average cost for customers of the same risk level.

“The FCA is proposing that when a customer renews their home or motor insurance policy, they pay no more than they would if they were new to

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Why online voting will have to wait

As the U.S. frets about counting mail-in ballots in November, some say there’s an easier way to hold an election: voting by smartphone app. After all, Americans already use their phones to order lunch, do their banking, and crown reality-show winners from the comfort of their couches. Why not extend this convenience to real elections? 

The idea is not a new one. In Estonia, voters have been casting ballots online for more than a decade while West Virginia has let overseas military personnel vote with an app. But despite such innovations, most Americans still vote much like their great-grandparents did—marking ballots and then stuffing them into a box. Many people believe it’s time for the U.S. elections to enter the 21st century. 

“The U.S. is living with a voting system designed 200 years ago,” says Aggelos Kiayias, a cybersecurity professor at the University of Edinburgh.  

A number of tech companies

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How to get the most out of attending a digital event

Digital events are fairly new and have won in popularity due to the pandemic. As with in-person events, you have good ones and horrible ones. I like to drop the phrase “not all digital events are created equal” into the many conversations I’m nowadays having about digital events.

Say, you’ve done the research and you’ve decided on signing up for a digital event, great! Now what?

Having organized multiple digital events under the TNW brand (e.g. TNW Re:Brand, Sprint), a global C-suite event together with the Financial Times (The Global Boardroom), as well as produced events for thirds parties (governments, public companies), we’ve learned a lot about organizing these online experiences. It goes without saying that we’ve also attended dozens of online events and learned a lesson or two about how to attend a digital event.

Based on that, I’ve created a framework with seven steps

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Swedish Solution Firm Tipser Talks North American Expansion

Tipser, a Swedish e-commerce solution, recently said it opened a New York office to meet increasing demand from the U.S. market — and North American expansion is a “dream fulfilled” for the brand that currently operates in eight European markets, including the U.K., Germany, Spain, France and the Nordics.

Its monetization solution for the media industry enables direct-to-consumer e-commerce sales across all devices, apps and platforms from an inventory of more than 100 million products, the brand said, which can be a panacea for global media industry members that have witnessed “a long and steady decline” in advertising revenue, and naturally, has sparked interest in the pursuit of alternative revenue sources.

More from WWD

That’s where Tipser’s solution steps in, as it connects publishers and brands to reach consumers directly through integrated “buy buttons” placed within content. The direct-to-consumer market is also having a moment as lifestyle brands seek to

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Level-up your customer service with these 4 dynamite strategies

No matter what kind of business you run, a huge part of your business’ success ties back to your customer service strategy; according to a 2017 Microsoft report, more than half of consumers have stopped doing business with a company due to poor customer service. And as industries continue to get more and more competitive, building a dedication to customer service into your brand DNA is more important than ever.

At the core, customer service is just what it sounds like — servicing your customers. If you consistently provide the kind of high-level service that leaves a mark on your customers, it’s going to build a sense of trust and drive brand loyalty with your audience. And if you don’t? Well, let’s just say your customers are going to be less than impressed — and more than likely to abandon your company in favor of

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As The Hut Group floats, here are six shares and funds to buy to profit from the online shopping boom

This week, retail investors finally got the first chance to buy shares in The Hut Group, the giant online retailer and Internet shopping outsourcer for giant companies like Procter & Gamble and Coca-Cola.

To say its arrival stirred up excitement in the City was an understatement.

Firstly, it’s a major coup for London that this Manchester born and bred giant chose to list here rather than the US.

Let’s hope others follow.

But, patriotism aside, it also offers investors rare “pureplay” access to the profits from online shopping – a phenomenon that was massive before Covid, and has since accelerated phenomenally.

Around 6.5 million households tried grocery shopping online for the first time since covid-19 hit.

Even if you think many people will go back to High Street shopping and retail malls (and some undoubtedly will), it would be extraordinary if many don’t stick with digital too.

This is

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