Experian Enhances Hunter Fraud Prevention System

Experian, the global information services company, has announced the launch of a new version of Hunter, its industry-leading data-sharing fraud prevention system, improving the effectiveness and efficiency of anti-fraud operations.

The upgrade – available from the end of February 2012 – enhances Hunter’s anti-fraud investigation and collaboration capabilities with more than 30 new and enhanced features. These include integration with Google Maps, automated completion of fraud submissions to CIFAS and greater sharing of fraud intelligence and investigatory capabilities across multiple business units within an organisation.

The integration of Google Maps into Hunter allows fraud investigators to see how the addresses on a number of connected applications relate to each other geographically, through the use of its Street View, Satellite and Standard map views. This will, for example, enable investigators to spot geographic connections that are not obvious from the data, such as potential fraud collaboration between residents of neighbouring properties located on different streets, and ensure that commercial properties are not passed off as domestic residences.

Experian’s new CIFAS Autofile functionality will enable Hunter users to automatically populate fraud submissions to CIFAS with the required information. This minimises the time spent keying duplicated data and can reduce filing time by 80 per cent, dramatically improving efficiency and reducing the margin for human error.

Large organisations running Hunter across disparate business units will also be able to benefit from new collaboration capabilities and take advantage of opportunities to centralise fraud investigation operations internally. Investigators are now able to pull together a greater level of fraud intelligence from other parts of the same organisation and investigate cases across all business units, increasing productivity across the group and providing richer data through sharing of information between departments and offices.

Nick Mothershaw, UK director of Identity & Fraud at Experian, commented: “Fraud continues to represent a clear and present danger to the bottom lines of banks, insurance companies and other financial services and credit granting organisations. The enhancements Experian has made to Hunter will improve the efficiency and effectiveness of fraud prevention capabilities with additional tools for investigation and even greater collaboration. We have enabled users to better understand the location of potentially fraudulent applications with a single click within the Hunter environment and to share fraud intelligence far more easily.”

Experian’s Hunter fraud prevention system has been used across the UK’s banking, financial services and insurance sectors for more than 20 years to detect, investigate and record fraud at the point of application.

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Admiral Has Revealed That The First Year Of Driving Poses Risk For New Licence Holders

Admiral has revealed that motorists driving within the first year after passing their driving test are considerably more likely to obtain a conviction or make a claim than when learning, according to new research.

Car insurance specialist Admiral looked at data from 1 million car insurance quotes and found that drivers in the first year of driving on a full licence are more than one and a half times as likely as those on provisional licences to have a conviction, and are a staggering three times as likely to make a claim.

Dave Halliday, Admiral acting managing director, said: “These statistics make worrying reading. It’s exciting to be out on the open road on your own once you’ve passed your test, however, new drivers mustn’t forget they’re inexperienced and although they now have a full licence, it certainly doesn’t make them expert drivers.

“When learning, you’re under supervision, so have your mistakes pointed out to you, but the ability to drive independently means confidence can soar, particularly with peer pressure when a new driver is carrying passengers. New drivers also need to remember that if they build up six or more penalty points within two years of passing their test, their licence is taken off them and they go back to being a learner.”

The research also showed there’s a difference between men and women when it comes to provisional compared to full licences as well.

Women within their first year of driving with a full licence are 1.9 times more likely than women on a provisional licence to have a conviction, and equivalent men are 1.3 times more likely. However, it’s important to note that men with a full licence are 2.8 times more likely than women to have a conviction in their first year.

For claims, women within their first year of driving with a full licence are 4.5 times more likely as those on a provisional licence to make a claim, and men are 2.2 times more likely. However, women with a full licence are twice as likely as equivalent men to make a claim.

Dave continued: “It’s not a surprise to see that men are more likely than women to have a conviction in their first year of driving on a full licence. It may be a surprise to some people that women are more likely to make a claim, however, although men claim less, their claims are more likely to cost more and be more serious.”

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New “Buy Now” form for actinspro.com is launched

It is now faster and easier to purchase liability insurance using the new form on the ACT Insurance Program website.

Now buying a policy is even more simple and quick than before! The revised purchase online process on ACTinsPro.com will get you covered in one simple step. The new form was launched a couple of days ago and is already showing great results and positive feedback from users. Statistics in Google Analytics show that the purchase process used to take 35 minutes to buy either a show or annual policy! Now with the new form it takes less than 5 minutes for new users and even less than that for returning customers.

“I renewed my annual policy faster than I ever realized I could!” a customer said in a recent phone call.

What is really good about this new form is that it allows customers to switch between annual and show policies quickly without needing to go back to the homepage, and without having to re-enter any information. Everything a customer needs to purchase an annual or show policy is on one page, in one simple step.

ACTinsPro stands for Artists, Crafters & Tradesman Insurance Program and is managed by Utah-based Veracity Insurance Solutions, LLC, the experts in the commercial liability insurance industry with over 30 years of experience. The ACT Insurance Program provides information and online insurance options for those in the Arts and Crafts industry in all 50 states.

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IPP advises agents on Flight Plus Liability as Airlines collapse by the week

Global travel credit specialists and UK market leader International Passenger Protection Ltd (IPP) have highlighted to new Flight Plus license holders that they will be liable for the financial collapse of any suppliers they sell such as Airlines, Hotels, Car Hire Companies, Rail journeys, Amusement parks, Ferries etc.

“Flight Plus presents a fresh direction in giving some form of clearer consumer protection, however we are seeing many agents still not grasping the actual liabilities they could face, no different to existing ATOL holders with agents still convinced that their ATOL covers the collapse of not only them but anything they sell”

“ATOL will only cover the collapse of anything the agent sells if the agent themselves collapses at the same time, otherwise the agent is always responsible for anything they sell which financially collapses which is part of a flight package” continued Mclean.

However IPP’s concern continued with the fact that the new ATOL certificate will only be issued to the public if they buy an ATOL holiday. “This seems to defeat the ultimate objective of an informative sale for all people purchasing travel, it’s a shame the certificate could not have gone a step further to clarify a trip not being protected so consumers can make an informed choice on their purchase and if they wish to protect or not.”

The warning comes as the 8th collapse in a matter of weeks with Air Australia leaving thousands stranded abroad, and with at least one airline collapsing each week in the last four weeks. “Collapses are not just stretching to Airlines, we have seen companies such as Sea Ferries and Hotels collapse or currently in dire financial strain” commented IPP’s Director Paul Mclean.

Protecting agents exposures can be simply covered with an annual policy covering scheduled flights and or end suppliers for very little costs per passenger. But IPP pointed out that agents should ensure they only take out insurance with Insurers whom are UK registered and members of the FSA and it would be prudent for them to check out the credentials of the Insurer providing the cover.

With the eurozone crisis, rising fuel costs and an increased tax burden, IATA forecast Europe’s airlines would lose at the best $600 million this year. The recent collapse of long established caries such as Malev and Spanair demonstrated how even governments are willing to let a state supported airline wither away. Numerous governments have shown their reluctance to continue support national carriers by seeking new investors such as Malev, LOT, SAS, TAP, and CSA Czech Airlines. This does not mean these carriers are at risk necessarily but investment from the banks is simply not there anymore which the whole industry depends on not just airlines.

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Virgin Money launches new ‘early bird’ ISA service

Virgin Money has launched a new ‘early bird’ ISA service for savers. By opening an Early Bird ISA Feeder, customers can use the service to start earning interest on next year’s ISA allowance now – without having to wait for the new tax year to start in April. The Early Bird ISA Feeder offers a competitive interest rate of 3.57% gross**/AER***, or 2.85% net, giving savers the same return as Virgin Money’s current variable cash ISA. The interest rate is fixed until 5 April 2012, following which the funds will automatically transfer into an Early Bird ISA for the new tax year.

The Early Bird ISA is a variable rate instant access cash ISA, paying 2.85%. This attractive headline rate offers good value for customers and it does not include a short term introductory bonus.

Accounts are available to open through Northern Rock branches, by post or by telephone, and savers can invest between £1 and the new 2012/13 cash ISA limit of £5,640.

Anthony Mooney, Mortgage and Savings Director at Virgin Money said: “Our new early bird ISA service means customers can take the hassle out of arranging their ISA for the next tax year by sorting it out early. Savers can earn an attractive interest rate between now and the start of the new tax year in our Early Bird ISA Feeder, safe in the knowledge that their money will automatically transfer into a tax-free ISA account in April.”

Interest earned on the Early Bird ISA Feeder will be paid to a nominated account on 5 April 2012, and does not allow any withdrawals or closure until the new tax year. Additional deposits can be made to the Early Bird ISA Feeder until 30 March 2012 up to a maximum of £5,640 per account. Once the funds have transferred into the Early Bird ISA, withdrawals can be made without notice, and additional deposits and transfers in from existing ISA accounts are permitted within HMRC regulations.

The Virgin Early Bird ISA Feeder and Virgin Early Bird ISA are personal deposit accounts with Northern Rock plc. The Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) provides protection to customers with these accounts under Northern Rock plc’s existing FSCS membership up to a maximum of £85,000 per person. The £85,000 limit relates to a customer’s combined deposits with Northern Rock plc under the Northern Rock and Virgin Money trading names.

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Payday Express supports staff volunteer work

Lauren Johnson discovered senior staff at Payday Express were more than happy to help support her after she said she wanted to volunteer as a Metropolitan special constable.

The UK payday loan company places great importance on staff development and wellbeing and didn’t hesitate when it became clear that Lauren would need greater flexibility to combine her job as a contact centre agent with her voluntary position as a special constable with the Metropolitan Police.

After extensive training to become a special constable, volunteers are required to carry out at least 16 hours of work per month. Cash advance loans provider Payday Express offered to support Lauren’s volunteer work by giving her flexibility around her hours of work in order for her to carry out the voluntary hours required within a month.

Lauren wanted to train as a special constable so that she could give back to her local community in Bromley.

“I wouldn’t have been able to honour my volunteering hours without the support I’ve been given by the company, for which I’m really grateful,” said Lauren.

Operations manager Sarah Carroll said: “We are very supportive of staff members who take on volunteer work in the community and are really pleased that Lauren is feeling fulfilled by the post.”

In addition to the support offered to those staff wanting to volunteer in their local community, Payday Express, provides internal training programmes to ensure all those within the organisation achieve their full potential.

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Credit Suisse Provide Q4 Market Commentary on European ETFs

European ETFs ended a challenging 2011 with total assets of USD 259.88 bn and net new assets of USD 18.23 bn. Positive inflows in the first seven months of the year began to reverse in August. A divide opened up between physically replicated funds, with continued positive inflows, and synthetically replicated ETFs which – coming under intense regulatory scrutiny – experienced large outflows. Relatively speaking, the European ETF market weathered the storm much better than the larger UCITS industry.

Credit Suisse ETFs Sales Strategist Ursula Marchioni reviews the ETF industry trends in her quarterly market commentary. Key findings of the quarter are:

Political uncertainty in Europe

Political uncertainty and the lack of a comprehensive solution to the euro sovereign debt crisis continued to impact European ETFs in Q4. After a flat October, outflows accelerated in November and December. In contrast, the US ETF market – facing similar underlying macroeconomic issues to Europe – did not experience the same crisis of confidence. Most likely due to its more mature and less fragmented status, the US ETF market, recorded a very different year to Europe, with inflows of USD 115.76 bn and only one negative month (May). The US ETF result reinforces our opinion that ETF growth will continue globally, and will gain strength in Europe when the underlying market uncertainty and regulatory scrutiny experienced here subsides.

Regulatory scrutiny intensifies

The increased regulatory scrutiny of synthetic ETFs highlighted in our Q3 market commentary continued to contribute to the outflows from these funds seen in last quarter. Since the publication of a European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) discussion paper in July addressing the risks of synthetic funds, a big divide has opened, with positive results for physically replicated funds and outflows mostly concentrated in synthetically replicated funds. Investors appear to prefer cash-based ETFs, placing USD 21.50 bn into physically replicated ETFs, in contrast to redemptions of USD 3.27 bn from synthetically replicated ones.

ETFs remain relatively attractive

Despite the negative flows in Q4, the European ETF market remains attractive to investors – illustrated by the USD 18.23 bn total inflows for the year – and particularly when compared to the much larger European UCITS fund industry. In contrast to the inflows recorded in European ETFs in 2011, by the end of November UCITS funds had recorded an outflow of EUR 84.5 bn. The disparity between the performance of the two investment vehicles is even more marked due to the fact that nearly 90% of European ETFs’ AUM is constituted in UCITS funds .

Credit Suisse expects 2012 to be a positive year for the European ETF industry

Some headwinds remain with respect to the health of the global economy and while a solution to the Eurozone crisis remains elusive, macro tools such as ETFs should continue to hold their position as a wrapper of choice for a variety of risk/return profiles. On January 30th, the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) clarified its position on ETFs, and this should allay some of the investor concern over regulatory risks that was prevalent in the market in 2011. Ultimately, we expect to see a return to the fundamentals of indexing, with both the industry and regulators taking further action in clarifying the risks of different types of exchange traded instruments.

For a detailed account, please download the full Year End 2011 Market Commentary on European ETFs.

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Event agency’s online site is just the ticket thanks to SecureTrading

Ticketline UK, a Cardiff based independent ticket agency and tour operator has chosen SecureTrading, the UK’s leading independent payment processor, to process its online payments, and provide its customers with first rate customer service especially during peaks in demand.

Ticketline UK’s website is designed by Imaginet which has over fifteen years’ experience in web design and development, specialising in the delivery of custom-built eCommerce websites and other digital services. By combining its expertise with SecureTrading’s online payments solutions, merchants are able to sell online quickly and securely, taking funds safely via a variety of methods including Visa credit and debit, MasterCard, American Express and Maestro cards.

Paula Dauncey, Sales and Marketing Manager at Imaginet, said: “We liked the fact that SecureTrading was UK based, they have very competitive rates we can offer our customers and an excellent website integration system – it is a ‘win win’ situation for us. SecureTrading has always stayed ahead of the game, developing a partner scheme, improving services and integration processes and being flexible to our changing needs. We need our partners to be responsive, technically advanced and supportive, and SecureTrading ticks all the boxes.”

Ticketline UK is well regarded in the event and ticketing industry providing packages for major events across the UK including Take That’s recent nationwide tour.

Tim Rich, Director at Ticketline UK, says: “We have been working with Imaginet for nearly five years on our website and their partnership with SecureTrading provided the smoothest, cost efficient route to a new sales channel. Their online dashboard, customer service and support has been excellent.”

Tim Allitt, Head of Sales & Marketing at SecureTrading, says, “We are delighted to be working in partnership with Imaginet on Ticketline UK’s website by ensuring they offer a safe and secure online payment process and hope to work with them on future projects.”

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Payday Express makes British Heart Foundation charity of the month

Payday loans company Payday Express has made British Heart Foundation its charity of the month for February – a choice inspired by St Valentine’s Day.

In addition to the company’s regular Friday dress down days –when staff are asked to donate £1 each for coming to work in casual clothing – Payday Express held an additional dress down day on St Valentine’s Day, specifically to raise money for the British Heart Foundation.

All staff were asked to wear red clothing and donate the usual £1 each. Those who chose not to wear red were asked to donate £2. For St Valentine’s Day, the office was adorned with red balloons and decorations. This and the workforce’s red outfits made the office look very romantic. In addition to red clothing and decorations, team leaders across the business organised themed incentives. High achieving team members were given the chance to play a version of the TV game show Red or Black, with the winner of the red card receiving a prize. These rewards included a meal for two at London restaurant Marco Pierre White.

Marketing assistant at Payday Express, Cigdem Husseyn, said: “Whether people had partners to celebrate Valentine’s Day with or not, they all had fun at work!”

Carl Mountain, contact centre manager at the cash advance loans company, said: “Payday Express staff are always great at getting into the spirit of occasions and Valentine’s Day was no exception.

“The team leaders did well to link their incentives into the theme, and we were all pleased to extend the theme to our chosen charity of the month, the British Heart Foundation.”

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Payday Express holds internal Trainee Team Leader Program for 2012

UK provider of payday loans online, Payday Express, has once again demonstrated its commitment to staff development with the hosting of the first Trainee Team Leader Programme for 2012.

Emma Furlong, group trainer at Payday Express, and the company’s operations manager Sarah Carroll, began the first programme for 2012 on February 10, with the aim of developing budding team leaders in different areas of the business. Six staff, from the company’s contact centre, collections, marketing and business development teams, will participate.

The programme involves weekly catch-up sessions in which participants receive coaching on management skills, as well as the chance to discuss exactly what the team leader role entails. They also get to share ideas and experiences and impart knowledge they have learned. They will work as acting team leaders while on the course in order to put their learning into action and will also get the chance to swap roles and run different teams as part of their on-the-job experience.

Operations manager, Sarah Carroll said: “Staff development is extremely important to us at Payday Express. This course gives high-achieving agents the chance to take the next step in their careers.

“Its success comes from giving them the chance to take what they learn in the training room each week and immediately practise it on the job. It’s also valuable for them to get the chance to discuss mistakes and difficulties with people in the same position as them,” she added.

Marketing executive, Therese Rydberg, said: “I am excited to get the opportunity to take part in this programme as it will help me to grow and take the next step in my career.”

The programme is designed to be suitable for employees from all departments within the payday loan company and is geared towards developing broad skills that can then be applied to their own jobs and teams.

To kick-start the programme, each participant is required to produce a SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) analysis on his/her own team, along with a personal development plan, which is then re-visited at the end of the course.

The programme also includes the following sections:
– Conducting monthly staff reviews
– Handling and steering conversations – this is a vital section in the programme and is revisited throughout, as it covers conversation and communication with peers, staff, management and customers
– Effective reporting
– Carrying out effective team incentives
– Interview techniques
– Coaching and development
– Absence management and operational overview
– Dealing with expressions of dissatisfaction
– Reporting upwards (to management)
– Process suggestions and implementation.

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Investment Firm Assetz Aims To Show Property Can Still Be The Key To Unlock A Wealthy Retirement

Smart investors can still build a good nest-egg for their retirement with help from expert advisers.

That’s what Assetz for Investors hopes to prove when it hosts a members’ day event on London on Saturday March 3.

Assetz for Investors will show you tips and tricks for spotting the most likely investments to achieve the best returns, based on the company’s bosses’ own extensive experience of property investment, and the knowledge gained over several decades as a result.

Stuart Law, founder and chief executive of Assetz, himself a successful and high-profile property investor, will be on hand to greet members, as well as give a keynote speech on the day.

The topics to be covered will be wide-ranging, from how to plan a property portfolio for retirement, through an overview of the current buy-to-let mortgage market, to how to use pension funds to buy investment property.

“We take a real ‘hands-on’, proactive approach to seeking out the best investment for our members, and in turn, they know that our commitment is to ensuring, as far as possible, the long-term success of their investment strategies,” said Stuart Law.

“Turbulent and changing markets demand a flexible yet measured approach to investment,” Mr Law added. “They also help distinguish the real winners from the also-rans.

“So we hope to prove to our investors at this members’ day event that there are many reasons to be confident that wise property investments are still not just possible, but that they are key to us helping our members achieve the financial independence they want.”

The event on Saturday March 3 takes place at The Mint Hotel, 30 John Islip Street, London, SW1P 4DD (nearest underground station Pimlico, Victoria Line).

Places must be booked in advance, and cost £30, including refreshments. Booking can be made online here, and the full day’s itinerary is available here.

If you can’t make it to our March 3 event, find out how easy it can be for you to put in place a solid foundation for your own future by investing in in-demand UK properties by contacting Assetz today, at www.assetz.co.uk, or by calling 0845 400 9000.

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Barclays Bankers May Lose £1bn Bonus To PPI Claims Says PPI Claims Company Simple Financial Solutions

Barclays bank is considering a move that will see the bonuses planned for its staff cut to pay the fines and compensation claims for PPI mis-selling, and may even institute a claw back of bonuses already paid, says PPI Claims Company Simple Financial Solutions.

In the wake of Sir John Vickers banking reform report, Barclays Chief Executive Bob Diamond has put forward the idea that some of the large fines for PPI mis-selling could be met by withholding the bonuses of its staff as a type of penance and using the money to meet its PPI mis-selling commitments instead.

In a meeting with the MPs of the Treasury Select Committee, Mr Diamond was taken to task by Committee Chair Andrew Tyrie about PPI mis-selling. In explaining that the staff responsible for the mis-selling had now gone, Mr Diamond added in reference to the PPI fines: “We are taking into account in our businesses that impact in our remuneration.”

Some believe his comments have come following the decision of Lloyds bank to claw back some of the bonus its chief executive, Eric Daniels, received because of the heavy financial toll of £3.2bn the PPI mis-selling scandal  is predicted to have on the lender.

However, Mr Diamond appeared to be losing patience with proceedings when later asked about bankers’ level of pay and remarked that it was ‘disappointing’ to be asked about it again. ‘I was looking forward to a discussion on the Independent Commission on Banking and its report and we’re right on to the same issues as last time, which I do find disappointing,’ he said.

A spokesperson for PPI Claims Company Simple Financial Solutions, said: “It seems that the bankers wish everyone would just shut up and forget about the PPI mis-selling scandal, as if it is water under the bridge, old history, best forgotten. Nobody has forgotten Mr Diamond’s comments earlier this year when he proclaimed the time for‘remorse and apology’ was over. The trouble is, it isn’t and it won’t be. Barclays has been identified as being one of the worst offenders for dragging its heels over settlingPPI claims and until the matter is fully concluded and Barclay’s customers are properly and fairly treated, Mr Diamond will hear a great deal more on the subject.”

“Cutting staff bonuses for poor performance is just the start of the steps Barclays should be taking to get its house in order. A bonus claw back from those senior manager who time and again failed at their jobs and caused this mess would be a good idea and might see Barclays earn a little lost respect back from customers.”

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Confused.com Launches New Partnership With Quotemehappy.com

Confused.com has launched a new partnership with Quotemehappy to offer insurance to careful drivers. Quotemehappy.com is an insurer that is specifically set up for careful drivers who want reliable, low-cost policies.

Confused.com’s comparison service makes it easy for customers to compare car insurance and with the new relationship with Quotemehappy.com, customers have even more choice.

Quotemehappy.com offers a comprehensive policy to careful drivers. The insurance brand keeps its costs as low as possible by operating online and premiums are also kept down as Quotemehappy.com is very clear about who it will and won’t insure. For example, it will not insure new drivers, those with older or more expensive cars or drivers who have had more than one at-fault claim in the last four years.

Marco Distefano, Managing Director of Quotemehappy.com, said: “Quotemehappy was created to give careful drivers a fair pricing and personal service when getting car insurance.

“At Quotemehappy.com we have negotiated some fantastic premiums with our specialist panel of insurers and see Confused.com as the ideal partner to ensure that this brand continues to reach the maximum number of potential customers as possible, whilst further enhancing Confused.com’s commitment to provide a specialist quote for every client, from every background with any specific needs.”

Gareth Kloet, Head of Car Insurance at Confused.com, continued: “At Confused.com we want to offer our customers the right cover at the right price by offering genuine value for money, a quality product and competitive prices for careful drivers. Adding Quotemehappy.com to the ever increasing number of insurers that we compare prices for is a great result.”

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Finding the Best Place to Sell Your Precious Gold Jewelry

If you are observant enough about financial markets, like most people who sell gold in Oakland Gardens, NY, you would probably be aware now that prices of gold have been skyrocketing the past few years. In 2003 alone, gold went for $400 per ounce. Most recently, it went above $1,400 per ounce. While the country and the rest of the world were reeling from the economic crisis, gold rose rapidly due to some factors. One of these factors is that gold is a secure haven, Investors in this precious gem ran after its tangible value in the wake of an uncertain economy that is based on fiat currency.

Aside from that, gold is also considered as hedge against staggering inflation. Gold proved to be a good choice while central banks all over the world engaged in practices aimed at kick-starting inflation. And there’s also the widespread fear of what would happen to countries with huge debt problems. Countries with existing debt before the crisis happened plus the new debt incurred during the crisis look to gold for hope.

The hope placed on gold is also felt by the individual consumer. Many people who have been hit really hard by the crisis are now thinking of selling their gold jewelry. After all, that’s $1,400 per ounce, isn’t it? Not really. If you plan to sell gold in Oakland Gardens, NY, the reality is that you may not get that amount per ounce.

Reality Check: What to Expect When You Sell Your Gold

It is important to determine the reasonable amount to expect from your gold. Get somebody to inspect your gold. An independent jewelry store can evaluate your gold’s worth. Have an estimate of how much pure gold content your jewelry has. Pure gold is 24K. You only have a partial gold if what you have is a 10K, 14K, or 18K. The rest of it is less valuable metals added in. Ask the jeweller how much he is willing to pay for your jewelry item. Don’t forget the exact weight of your jewelry’s gold. Then take your jewelry item to another independent jeweller to compare the different estimates.

Also visit a pawnshop before you decide to sell gold in Oakland Gardens, NY to know what prices are reasonable in your area. The basic rule would be not to get less than 70 percent of your gold’s market price. So that’s about $980 for every ounce of pure gold.

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Confused.com Reveals £203m Worth Of Car Damage Caused By Misleading Sat Navs

New research from Confused.com has revealed that Sat Navs have caused over £203m worth of damage to drivers on UK roads, through accidents caused by misleading directions. With the Department for Transport holding its first ever Sat Nav Summit in March, the issue of misleading Sat Navs has become an ever-increasing problem across the nation.

A staggering 83% of British drivers have admitted to being misled by their Sat Navs, resulting in over half the country (52%) screaming at their devices. 68% of the drivers end up with longer journeys and clock up unnecessary miles while 45% of British drivers have confessed to feeling angry and frustrated while behind the wheel, which in turn has led to 31% of British motorists red faced, spending between£100 – £500 on Sat Nav related car damage.

Whilst it’s mainly men who blame their car damage on their Sat Nav, women are more likely to admit that it leads them astray. Women also get more frustrated than men, with 57% of female drivers freely admitting that they scream at their Sat Navs, a shocking 12% higher than male drivers.

On a national scale, drivers in the East Midlands fared the worst with their Sat Nav relationship, with 57% shouting at their Sat Navs and 50% feeling frustrated behind the wheel. Northern Ireland has proved the most docile with only 31% getting angry at misleading Sat Nav directions. 80% of Scots claimed to be given misleading directions constantly by their Sat Navs leading to over half (51%) of Scottish drivers screaming at their devices. The research did however pinpoint the Welsh city of Aberystwyth as the worst for Sat Nav anger management with an alarming 75% admitting to regularly losing their temper.

With the amount of Sat Nav accidents occurring across the country, and the pending Sat Nav legislation, Confused.com is calling for British motorists to register their Sat Nav blackspots from around the UK on Confused.com.

Gareth Kloet, Head of Car Insurance at Confused.com, said: “As car insurance costs continue to rise, it’s never been more important to keep your motoring costs as low as possible. Our research has shown that the Sat Nav is not always the blessing it was once hailed to be and increasingly, motorists appear to be sighting the device as a source of frustration and danger. We hope that our Sat Nav blackspot map will not only help reduce risk, but we also hope that frustrated drivers get back behind the wheel a little happier.”

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Confused.com Reveals Young Male Drivers Pay Almost Double For Insurance Compared To Women

Confused.com/Towers Watson have revealed that the cost of car insurance for young men continues to go through the roof, with 17-20 year olds paying almost double what women drivers of the same age are paying.

Male drivers in the 17-20 year old age group are suffering as female drivers pay£1,771 less than the men UK-wide: it currently costs an average of £1,959 for women aged 17-20 to insure a car compared to £3,730 for men. These are the findings of the Confused.com/Towers Watson Car Insurance Price Index (Q4 2011), which is based on more than 4 million quotes.

Young people are feeling the impact most, with car insurance for young drivers seeing huge rises from the previous year. Regionally the picture is even more surprising: young men passing their driving tests in inner London can expect to be quoted an average of £5,523 to insure their car if they are aged 20yrs or younger which is more than 48% higher than the average for this group and 5.7% more than they paid in Q4 of 2010 meaning taking the time hunting around for the cheapest car insurance even more worthwhile. Their counterparts in Manchester and Merseyside fare even worse, with average costs of £5,724 facing them to insure their cars when they throw away the ‘L’ plates, a shocking rise of 10.6% year-on-year (Q4 2011 compared to Q4 2010). A 17-20 year old female in inner London can expect to pay £3,261 on average: a rise of 4.4% year-on-year, and they are paying an average of £3,307 in Manchester/Merseyside – a 9.9% rise year-on year. A high cost, but this is still more than £2,000 less than men of the same age.

When a driver adds another person to their comprehensive policy, average costs come down, so a 17-20 year old man pays £3,907 (UK average) as the only driver, but when they add on another driver the costs fall to an average of £3,345, a saving of more than £500. For 17-20 year-old women the UK average is £2,046 if they are the only driver and this falls to £1,819 for 17-20 year olds with another driver on their policy.

Comprehensive car insurance for women across all ages and regions fell marginally in quarter 4 of 2011 (-1.3%), but prices continued to rise for men, although by just 1% in quarter 4. Year-on-year, it was 61-65 year old men who saw the biggest jump in costs, with a 7.4% increase, bringing the average premium for men of that age group to £504. For women drivers it was the 26-30 year olds who saw the steepest jump in prices with 7.2% hikes, giving an average of £789.

Gareth Kloet, Head of Car Insurance for Confused.com commented: “From December, EU legislation will mean that insurers can’t use gender as a factor in setting prices. The differences highlighted in our report show that there is still a huge disparity between what men and women are being charged for their car insurance. Insurers clearly still have a long way to go to comply with the new legislation. It’s more important than ever to shop around and we’re committed to making it easier for people to save money on their car insurance.”

Via EPR Network
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BMAC Finance Releases Their List of the Top 5 Most Dependable Cars on the Road Today

BMAC Finance, known world-wide for financing quality vehicles for drivers with bad credit, also gives valuable advice in an ongoing blog. In their latest blog post, the customer service team gives their opinion for the top 5 most dependable car brands on the road today.

“Even with a new car, you can’t be 100 percent certain that you won’t have trouble as soon as you drive it off the lot”, said Jose Felix, Finance Manager for BMAC Financing. Felix also added, “With more people feeling the pinch of government cutbacks, finding the funds to afford auto finance is tougher than ever. So when making the purchase of a car, you need to make sure it will turn out to be a dependable vehicle that won’t cause you any unnecessary future expense”.

According to a recent survey by J. D. Power and Associates, the Ford – Lincoln brand drives in at the top of the list. This manufacturer has now been crowned the winner for four years in a row. The four remaining places in the top 5 rankings were won by Lexus, Jaguar, Porsche and Toyota .

However, many cars failed to make the grade and found themselves at the bottom of the list of dependency. Mini, Jeep, Land Rover, Dodge and Chrysler were named as the five least most dependable vehicle brands in the survey.

According to the blog post, “One of the main reasons vehicles are more dependable now is because manufacturers have began engineering vehicles and parts to last longer. Fuel, water pumps and engines are now developed to last well over 100,000 miles”. Some of the top brands in this survey have made vehicles that have been known to keep running after 200,000 miles or more.

BMAC Finance leads the way in auto loans for bad credit as well as car loans for bad credit. To read their blog for more great tips and to find out more about their services, please visit: http://www.bmacfinance.com/.

Via EPR Network
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Masterseek Estimated IPO Soars to 18-20 USD Per Share, Could Reach 35

With the success of business search engines and business profile sites, startups have become like rabbits out of a magician’s hat. How many of these companies have the database and programming acuity to really make an impact though? The answer is few and the reasons are varied from poor functionality to vague address names, bad marketing and a basic lack of interest from those who would post a profile. The truth is, as we’ve seen with the dominance of sites liked LinkedIn, it only takes a couple of good ones to corner the market and all others more or less fall by the wayside.

There is one site to keep your eyes on when it comes to giving LinkedIn some real competition, and some stock analysts are already starting to pay attention.

Masterseek.com is an extensively successful B2B search engine already, the largest online with over 100 million business profiles and growing much faster than any of the competition. Recently financial experts have valued it at 18-20 USD per share and this could easily reach 35 very soon according to most forecasts. This new evaluation is coming on the coattails of rumors that Masterseek.com will be joining the likes of LinkedIn, Xing, Google+ and Facebook with a professional profiles section added to their already massive database.

How much truth is there to the rumor? It’s been confirmed that they’ve already compiled a database of 150 million professional profiles. That puts them right on par with LinkedIn and ahead of LinkedIn in sheer numbers when you include international profiles. Recently in another interview Masterseek President Rasmus Refer would not comment on the timing of this release; “We are working on many new activities with the objective to become the largest global provider of business information, but cannot tell you more about our plans right now.” They may be playing their cards close to the vest for now, but it appears the new release of a professional profile site is immanent.

You’re probably asking, what would make this different than the dozens of other professional profile sites that tried to go up against LinkedIn and failed miserably? There is a lot that sets Masterseek apart, even when compared to big time LinkedIn competitors like Google+. Here are just a few of the reasons Masterseek’s professional profile section will give LinkedIn a run for its money:

Masterseek already has a larger database than LinkedIn. LinkedIn is estimated to have around 125M profiles where Masterseek has 150M. A deeper look at these numbers shows that LinkedIn still has more U.S. profiles, but as we’ll show you that is likely to change fairly quickly after release. Add to that the growing number of business professionals actively seeking expertise from around the globe and being majority U.S. based is not necessarily a good thing anymore.

Masterseek uses an entirely different platform. Anyone familiar with their business listings already knows it is probably the most functional platform on the internet. It is easier to use, offers more customization and gives individuals and businesses full control over their own profile.

Masterseek has search capabilities far superior to any B2B search engine, and when compared apples to apples to the search functionality of the most popular consumer-based search engines like Google, Yahoo and Bing, even these juggernauts could learn a thing or two about relevant, fast and customized search results.

It’s free. While the big ones always are, it’s one of the sure signs of a professional profile site’s impending failure that they believe people will actually pay to be listed or that companies will pay for the information contained therein. Masterseek keeps their service free, which online is almost always the smart financial choice in the long run.

Perhaps most important of all, Masterseek is not going to be strictly a professional profiles website. Google+ attempted in its release to bridge the chasm between email, social network and professional business profile. It appears the gap is too great. After all, how many want to mix their business profile with pictures they send family and friends or their personal email? The same is true for Facebook’s professional profiles. Many a job has been lost because an employer found out what employees were up to on their social network. People don’t like to mix business and personal. LinkedIn on the other hand has had more success concentrating on one thing and one thing only, professional profiles. Masterseek by contrast is attempting a far more symbiotic relationship; a massive business search engine combined with professional profiles. Presumably this will be in large part employees and decision makers within those businesses already listed, contractors seeking work, freelancers and more. It will be a virtual hub of business activity. This just makes more sense. The more pressing question is why on earth has it not been attempted prior to this?

Via EPR Network
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Payday Express Hold Graduate Recruitment Day To Grow Analytics Department

UK provider of cash advance loans, Payday Express, has held its first graduate recruitment day to attract young analytical talent to its rapidly expanding company.

The payday loan company invited 15 university graduates to attend the day and to undergo an intensive assessment process, consisting of a group task, presentation, interview and case study discussion. The objective of the recruitment day was to find promising analysts to join Payday Express’s analytics team, to help support and shape important business decisions.

After the gruelling process, one candidate was successful and has been offered the position.

Tim Trailer, managing director of risk and analytics, said: “It’s important to put a lot of effort into making sure we recruit the right talent, as the risk and analytics team plays a crucial role in giving management the information it needs to make business decisions, and in ensuring our processes are optimised.”

Analytics has been identified as a key focus area for the payday loans lender in 2012, with the aim of optimising operations and business strategy based on in-depth reporting and analysis.

The business plans to hold regular recruitment days, to offer high-achieving graduates entry level positions within the analytics team.

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Leading Payday Loan Company Implements New And Improved Induction Plan

Payday Express, a UK provider of payday loans online, has announced the implementation of a new and improved staff induction plan.

The move was made to ensure that staff training and development remains high on the agenda for Payday Express, a business that prides itself on understanding the value of ensuring all staff are equipped with the knowledge and skills they need to effectively and efficiently carry out their roles.

Richard Turner, HR adviser at Payday Express, said: “Payday Express is passionate about learning and development and makes every effort to ensure that this starts from the moment a new recruit joins the organisation.”

The induction, which marks the start of a training programme, involves being introduced to the company, its mission statement and its principles, before being given extensive training on anti-money laundering, data protection, customer service, learning styles and other key skills and knowledge areas.

After a revamp of the process by operations manager Sarah Carroll and group trainer Emma Furlong, the induction is now much more interactive and people-focussed – a change that has been introduced to ensure all new starters feel part of the team straight away. While the old induction programme involved open discussions, the new one takes interaction to a new level by incorporating group break-out tasks and quizzes designed to ensure that information has been taken in and understood.

The process also involves interaction between experienced team leaders and new starters, after which each group of new employees must deliver a presentation on what they understand about the different roles and teams within the company to be.

Sarah Carroll of Payday Express said: “Getting the new starters to engage with tenured staff is very effective as it means they’re not passively absorbing information and instead are actively participating in their own learning.

“So far this has proved to be a successful addition to our induction programme,” she added.

Group trainer at the payday loan company, Emma Furlong, said: “The induction is beneficial as it provides a great platform for new starters to integrate into the company, and gives them knowledge and insight into company values and functions to foster the right mindset for their role and future career.”

Via EPR Network
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