The Cost of Christmas

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There has been a lot of discussion in the UK  about the cost of Christmas and whether we are spending more than ever over the Christmas period. The answer seems to be in most cases – LESS.

A survey by YouGov at the end of 2015 has shown that UK households spent less in 2015 than in 2014 – £796 on average. (Approx €1000 euros) It is the lowest level since 2012 and a drop of £24 on 2014. People cut back on food, drink and gifts, as well as cards and decorations.

The reason is thought to be fierce competition between retailers and the thought in people’s mind that they really shouldn’t get (further) into debt.

Marc Gander of the Consumer Action Group said: “I’m sure that parents are in a huge dilemma. It breaks their hearts when they get themselves into debt simply to bring their children a little magic and to make sure that their kids feel that they’re not left out or inferior to their friends. I have always thought that this time of the year is really Christmas for payday loan companies. It’s happy Christmas for the parents and the children – and a prosperous New Year for the payday loan industry.

Hopefully the FLY project will add to peoples’ knowledge and understanding of the dangers of payday loans …

Beware of your information and payment cards

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In these days people consider using debit and credit cards as a routine. You can pay and withdraw from your credit card if you have enough money on your account. You can also draw a loan from a bank with your credit card and so you should use it wisely and give the money back to earn on it. So the credit cards contain all information and also identification data, chip and the newest one – contactless – called RFID – technology / radio frequency identification.

There are a lot of methods by which you can lose your data and money.

  1. Share your data carefully.

If you provide your data to different companies – you might have a card collecting points, you do react to various „great“ offers. Then you SHOULD realize that you provide your personal data. Are you sure that the company has saved your personal data carefully? Are you sure that you did not let this company to share that data? Do you get more and more emails and phone calls with offers? Then you should reassess your approach to whom you usually give your personal data.

  1. Providing your credit card information on a website, e – shops.

Then watch out. Use only well known sites if you want to pay by credit card on the internet. If it is necessary to do that it is better to separate the money on your account, bigger part put into savings account and the rest of money leave to normal operating minimum. Look for other ways of payment.

  1. Visit just secure sites, open only requested and safe emails.

It means that only the sites where the address starts ‘https’ are secured. If the address starts ‘http’ it means that it is not probably saved. If you open a site or email whose sender you do not know (phishing) so your computer can be „infected“, your operation and data from your computer can be exploited (beware that your mobile can be also „infected“).  Remember the attempts to send faked entrance sites to internet banking on behalf of the bank. As a result of this there could be a risk of fraud and theft.  You should always thoroughly check the transaction SMS from the bank if the amount and account is correct. By the way it is also important to have an antivirus program in your smartphone if you want to make a banking transaction via it.

  1. Skimming, copying data from the credit card and PIN tracing

It is well known that ATM are the subjects of attack and the reader / scanner can be installed on them. The reader / scanner is a device that is able to copy the card for the subsequent production or just use it. The attackers are trying so that you can see the cameras newly installed that are invisible and are able to read the PIN. So be careful when you use your PIN. Protect your keyboard so that the PIN can’t be traced from any side.

And if you have a contactless card that contains RFIP technology (radio frequency identification technology) so you can only put your card to the reader and the payment is done (up to a certain limit). Yes, it is true that this kind of technology is very comfortable but there is also a risk that data can be misused if a scanner is close to a reader/scanner of data. The security workers argue about it but there is always a risk. What can we do about it???

  1. First of all you should make a limit for one transaction and also a limit for a daily use.
  2. You should check your account balance and when there is any doubt or suspicion, react immediately.
  3. There exist special cases or purses that can block the risk of storing card data.

The purpose of this article is not to frighten, but to raise caution. Yes, convenience, speed, simplicity and lower related costs to the modern times, but it is necessary to monitor risks. And that is one of many attributes of today’s modern financial literacy educated person.