There’s an Easier Way to Make International Bill Payments

BillPaymentWhether 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.

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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.

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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!

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How To Achieve Your New Year’s Resolutions

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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.

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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!

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