Which category of shopper do you fall into? Would you rather purchase everything you need from the comfort of your home over the internet, or do you enjoy the sensory and tactile experience of venturing out to a store? Despite predictions of a coming “retail apocalypse,” in which online shopping would do away with our need for bricks and mortar stores, retail establishments continue to thrive in the digital age. Yet, a new report commissioned by UK law firm Womble Bond Dickinson, suggests that by 2028, 53 percent of all retail sales will be made online. If this statistic is correct, the global retail industry will undergo unprecedented change in the near future as retailers innovate and cater to the changing desires of shoppers.
From its humble beginnings in 1994 with the sale of the Sting album “Ten Summoner’s Tales,” to the creation of the platform economy which includes companies like Airbnb, DoorDash and Uber, e-commerce has rapidly evolved into a trillion-dollar industry. Advances in mobile technology, artificial intelligence and faster internet speeds are poised to push e-commerce even further. Already, on-demand delivery, auto-replenishments and augmented reality are slowly finding their way into the industry, giving online businesses improved ways to interact with their customers.
Your Private Data is Under Threat
Despite these exciting advances, it may surprise you to learn that e-commerce is under threat. These sites are a favourite target for hackers who will do whatever it takes to gain access to your personal data. According to a report by cybersecurity firm Shape Security, more than 90 percent of an e-commerce site’s global login traffic comes from cybercriminals. Hackers use specially designed programs to flood a site’s login fields with stolen data procured from the dark web. These attacks are called “credential stuffing” and are successful as often as 3 percent of the time. This may not sound like a high percentage, but the costs quickly add up for online businesses. Last year, this type of fraud cost the e-commerce sector around $6 billion.
In a credential stuffing attack, criminals will purchase usernames, email addresses and passwords from large data breaches and test them on nearly every website and mobile app that they can access. Eventually, hackers will input your stolen information in a login field and gain unauthorized access to an account. They will then collect any pertinent information about you that can be monetized. Credit card numbers, addresses, phone numbers and answers to security questions are all desirable targets because hackers can use this information to access additional accounts you may have or bundle the data and sell it to other nefarious criminals.
If you believe e-commerce sites are doing their best to safely secure your personal information, new research questions that common assumption. According to Magneto, roughly 22% of online merchants are neglecting security best practices and are putting their customers’ data at risk. Overlooking PCI compliance, requesting unnecessary information and failing to keep software updated are the most commonly overlooked practices. And if you think that a business will promptly notify you about any data breaches, thereby enabling you to quickly change your login credentials on accounts that may be vulnerable to a hack, think again. On average, it takes 15 months from the day credential data is stolen to the day an intrusion is revealed. This means that criminals often have more than a year to try out your credentials on an endless number of sites before you are even aware that your personal data has been compromised.
Don’t Fall Prey to Credential Stuffing Attacks
So, if you can’t trust e-commerce sites to protect your personal and financial information, what can you do to prevent yourself from falling victim to a credential stuffing attack? The easiest solution is to change your passwords often. Cybersecurity experts now recommend that you change your passwords every 30 days and store them in a secure password manager like KeePass or LastPass. These services not only ensure that you don’t have to remember your passwords, but they can also automatically generate complex passwords for you.
You will also want to avoid using the same password for each of your online accounts. This way, if one password falls victim to a data breach, your other accounts remain secure. Ideally, you should have unique login credentials for every site you use. Finally, it’s important to create strong passwords. Safe&Secure is a poor choice for a password because it can be easily cracked by a brute force attack. Instead, try the sentence method. First, think of a random sentence and transform it into a password by taking the first two letters of every word. So, “I was born in South London on Saturday,” becomes IwaboinSoLoonSa. You can also add numbers and special characters to make the password even more secure.
It is our hope that this post has encouraged you to reevaluate how you create and use online passwords. As one of the easiest steps you can take to safeguard your personal and financial information on the internet, we urge all of our valued members to use strong, unique passwords for each of your critical accounts.
Introducing SolidTrust Pay’s Exclusive Member Rewards Program
At SolidTrust Pay, we’re always looking for ways to give back to you, our valued members. That’s why we’re excited to let you know about our TrustPoints Rewards Program. As a SolidTrust Pay member, you’re automatically enrolled in our rewards program. For every $10 worth of funds you transfer to a member or merchant account, you earn 1 TrustPoint. Your points never expire and you can redeem them when your balance reaches as little as 100 points.
So what can you do with your TrustPoints? A lot! You can redeem them for gift cards, receive a cash credit to your SolidTrust Pay account, transfer them to another STPay member, or donate them to a charity. Of course, you don’t have to rush to redeem your points all at once. You can watch your TrustPoints pile-up and save them for larger rewards.
To view your TrustPoints balance, log in to your secure SolidTrust Pay Account and go to Rewards > My TPoints Rewards. There, you can view your transactions and redeem your points.
Do More With Your SolidTrust Pay eWallet
In addition to our TrustPoints Rewards Program, you can take advantage of our Buyer Protection, Emergency Account Funding and Beneficiary Services. We always strive to exceed your expectations, and for this reason, we offer Buyer Protection to all our members. We will tirelessly work with you and our merchants to resolve any product or service disputes until you are completely satisfied with the outcome.
Additionally, our Emergency Account Funding program prioritizes your funding and withdrawal requests, ensuring that your transaction is completed in under 24 hours. Finally, SolidTrust Pay’s exclusive Beneficiary Program safeguards your funds against automatic account suspension due to extended periods of inactivity. This service further guarantees that all assets in your account become part of your estate.
The SolidTrust Pay Advantage
Our TrustPoints Rewards program is yet another reason why millions of satisfied users have chosen SolidTrust Pay for their e-wallet and online payment processing needs. We are continually looking for ways to improve our members’ experience and strongly believe that a personal touch remains the hallmark of great service. We also recognize our corporate responsibility in the world and donate significantly to charities, both near and far. Your SolidTrust Pay account is so much more than a convenient e-wallet; it’s a gateway to a thriving global community dedicated to service!
Whether you need to pay household utility bills, medical expenses, insurance premiums or school fees, making payments to a service provider located in another country can be both challenging and expensive. But if you think that your options are limited to using an international money transfer service to make cross-border bill payments, you should keep reading. There are many cost-saving services that can help you quickly and easily pay bills in another country.
Credit Card Payments
If speed is your priority, then using a credit card should be at the top of your list. You will likely be charged a percentage fee ranging from 3 to 5 percent but it’s a convenient and cost-effective way to pay bills under $100. What’s the drawback? Many service providers still don’t accept credit card payments, and if they do, they often request that you make the payment in person. Clearly, this is not an option if you’re 1,000 miles away from home.
Local Bank Accounts
If you’re making payments to the same country month after month, setting up a local bank account may be the perfect solution. Because most banking can be done online, you can easily deposit money into your foreign account and use it to pay bills. One disadvantage is the hassle of opening the account and maintaining a balance, which may be impossible if you are not a resident of the country.
International Money Transfers
If you know your recipient’s banking details, sending an international money transfer can be a fast and affordable way to pay overseas bills. This is also a great option if you need to pay bills in excess of $200 because the exchange rate will be better than what your bank or credit card provider will charge. The largest drawback of this method is that it can be an expensive way to send money overseas for small, recurring payments.
International Payment Apps
Technology has transformed how we send and receive money, and it’s now changing how we pay our bills. New services like Xoom and MyBillAfrica are making it easier for millions of users to make cross-border bill payments in countries that lack a well-developed banking sector. Despite many advantages, using these service providers can be expensive as the exchange rates and fees they charge can vary considerably from region to region. Additionally, they often lack the reach of other payment options. For example, with Xoom you can pay bills in only 10 countries and MyBillAfrica has only partnered with 8 African nations.
Is There a Better Alternative?
Absolutely! Bill Pay Your Way allows you to pay bills in 18 countries with no transaction fees directly from your secure SolidTrust Pay e-wallet. You’ll get instant access to more than 800 service providers around the globe and your payments are not limited to utility companies. In addition to making payments for electricity, water, gas, cable, satellite, landline, mobile and internet services, you can pay insurance providers, educational institutions, government departments and transportation companies. To make a payment, you only need to provide the billing account number. The balance owing will be automatically provided to you and your payment will be confirmed with the billing company within 48 hours.
When choosing an international bill payment provider, there are two important factors that you do not want to overlook: fees and network size. Hidden charges can quickly take a toll on your financial bottom line, while taking time to register for an account only to discover that the provider possesses a limited payment network can be a disappointing experience.
Bill Pay Your Way solves both problems. We have partnered with over 800 major service providers in 18 countries, and our network of providers and regions is rapidly expanding. Already, we’ve partnered with 159 companies in the Philippines, 114 in India, 41 in Mexico, 36 in Nigeria and 34 in Pakistan, and more are coming. We’ll also save you more money than the competition. You’ll never pay a transaction fee and our competitive exchange rates mean that it’s less expensive to pay a bill using Bill Pay Your Way than it is to send an international money transfer.
With Bill Pay Your Way, you can effortlessly make international bill payments wherever you are and on any device you use. Not only will you ensure that your expenses are easily taken care of, but you can also help guarantee that your family has access to the vital services they need by making payments directly to their service providers. Sign up for your free SolidTrust Pay account to make your first cross-border bill payment,
If you already have a SolidTrust Pay e-wallet, log in to your STPay account and go to My Money > Pay Your Bills. Click on the Bill Icon at the bottom of the page and your payment will be processed within 48 hours. See why thousands of members love Bill Pay Your Way, try it for free today!
It may surprise you to learn that some 60 percent of us make New Year’s resolutions. The practice of committing to, and for many of us breaking, our January 1st resolutions has a rich history dating back over 4,000 years to the ancient Babylonians. They were the first culture to hold recorded celebrations in honour of the New Year, although, for the Babylonians, the New Year began in mid-March when the crops were planted and not in January. During the 12-day festivities, the Babylonians made promises to their pantheon of deities to pay debts and return borrowed objects. This was believed to keep them in good standing with the gods. Long considered to be a forerunner to our current custom of making New Year’s resolutions, no matter which country you call home, the practice of resolving to do and be better during the forthcoming year is universal.
Equally universal is our tendency to succumb to temptation and quickly slip back into our old habits. Numerous studies have shown that less than 25 percent of us will actually stay committed to our resolutions after just 30 days. This means that three out of four of us will have abandoned our quest for personal betterment before the first day of February. And for those who successfully get past this hurdle, less than 8 percent will actually fulfill their resolution before the next year rolls around. Surely we can do better?
Change How You Approach Your Resolutions
If you’re like most people, your resolutions centre on improving your health and finances. Roughly 55 percent of our New Year’s resolutions are related to health and fitness, with just under 20 percent tackling financial goals. Year after year, the top three New Year’s resolutions are eating healthier, getting more exercise and saving money. Losing weight, spending more time with family and friends and learning a new skill or hobby round out the top six personal improvements.
So what should you do differently to make 2020 your best year yet? For starters, forget about making resolutions and instead create goals. Resolutions are overly broad and lack definition, whereas goals are much more actionable. Let’s say one of your resolutions is to lose weight. Congratulations, you’ve made a commitment to improving your wellbeing. But where do you start? Losing weight requires planning and summons a host of questions that need to be answered. For example, how will you increase your physical activity? What strategy will you use to control food cravings? How will you stay motivated through the year ahead?
Setting SMART Goals
The act of creating goals necessitates that you clarify your intention, focus your efforts and use your time and resources productively to achieve what you want. To supercharge your goal setting, you should create SMART goals. SMART is an acronym that stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely. A SMART goal incorporates these five essential criteria to increase your chances of success.
SMART goals are:
Specific: Well defined and clear. Make use of real numbers and deadlines.
Measurable: You can easily measure your progress towards the completion of your goal.
Achievable: The goal is attainable. You want to select a goal that is challenging but also possible.
Realistic: Your goal should be realistic. Be honest with yourself, you know what you are capable of.
Timely: Your goal should have a clearly defined timeline, including a starting date and a target date.
Using the weight loss example above, a SMART goal would be: “I want to lose 15 pounds in the next 4 months. I will measure my weight on a scale to track my progress. I will exercise 6 days a week for no less than 30 minutes and follow the Mediterranean Diet, limiting my calories to 1,400 per day. Once I reach my goal, I will re-evaluate and consider setting a new target for continued weight loss.”
To make this goal even more actionable, you could define the type of physical activity you will engage in and what you will do should an unforeseen circumstance arise, for example, you become ill or the restaurant you’re at lacks a healthy, low-calorie alternative. Guided by this action plan, it becomes much easier to follow through and achieve your desired goal. And remember, when it comes to goal setting, less is more. For optimum results, limit your focus to two or three goals. Your chances of success will skyrocket as you will not become overwhelmed with making too many changes at once.
Is There An Easier Alternative?
If personal goal setting elicits feelings of boredom and disinterest, there’s another tool that personal change experts make use of: the power of small changes. The idea of small changes asks that you swap your ambitious New Year’s resolutions for small achievable improvements. With time, these bite-sized intentions can snowball into enduring behaviour change.
Let’s say your resolution is to eat healthier in 2020. Instead of overhauling your entire kitchen pantry and embracing the latest diet, you can create a list of healthy foods that you enjoy eating and post it in areas that you frequently look at. The fridge and around your computer screen would be ideal spots. Studies have shown that visual reminders can encourage us to make small changes to our daily routines, and over time, these changes can have profound effects on our health and well-being.
If you want to exercise more, leave your workout clothes and running shoes in a visible area. If getting more sleep is a priority, do some light reading, listen to a meditation, or write in a journal before you go to bed. This will help you wind down before bedtime and ensure that you fall asleep quicker. If you want to learn a new skill, set aside 5 minutes every day for the new task. As your new habit grows, gradually increase your scheduled time. This ensures that even the most time-crunched among us can still find the time to improve ourselves.
It is our hope that this post will help make 2020 your best year yet. May the New Year bring you and your loved ones happiness, peace and prosperity. From everyone at SolidTrust Pay, we would like to wish you a joyous year filled with much success!