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July 26, 2017

Save Tax with Mutual Funds: 5 ELSS TO Help You in Tax Saving

save your taxEquity-linked saving schemes, or ELSS, are essentially close ended mutual fund schemes that offer tax benefits under the section 80C of the Income Tax Act, which means that you can reduce your tax liability. Such funds do not have any restriction on number of shares issued. They are diversified thereby allocating capital in a variety of assets in a way that reduces exposure to risk thereby mitigating loss schemes offered through mutual funds.

The unique feature of this scheme is that one can avail a maximum deduction of Rs. 1.5 lakh invested into these funds from his/her income during a financial year. This in turn, would help in saving tax of up to Rs. 46,350/- (if one falls in the highest income slab) during a financial year. ELSS also offers greater liquidity as the lock in period in these funds is only 3 years in comparison to PPF which has lock in period of 15 years. Further, by choosing for the ‘Dividend Payout’ option in the ELSS, investors can receive tax free dividends from their investment prior to the maturity of the scheme. Thus, these funds are efficient tax saving investments with the least lock in period and a superior performance track record.

This is a hugely underappreciated advantage of investing in an equity-linked saving schemes. Many prefer instruments such as Public Provident Fund, life insurance policies that are comparatively long term instruments where the primary goal of investing is either safeguarding your loved ones after you are no more or in the case of PPF whereby the idea to save for retirement.

While one can look at ELSS purely from a tax saving perspective of saving taxes, they can also serve as investments towards long term goals. The equity element in ELSS allows investors to systematically create wealth in the long run.

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July 17, 2017

8 Common Misconceptions About Setting Up a Merchant Account

merchant account set upWhen you run your own business, staying in touch with the times isn’t just a good idea. It’s a necessity if you’re serious about succeeding. This is especially the case when it comes to the payment options you offer your customers. Cash and checks are becoming less and less common by the day. In fact, many consumers don’t even carry them anymore. They simply assume they’ll be able to use their credit or debit card wherever their day happens to take them.
In other words, you need a merchant account if you want to stay relevant. If you’re not willing or able to offer your customers the convenience they’re looking for, you can bet your competitors will be. The good news is getting a merchant account isn’t nearly as complicated or difficult as you may think it is. Let’s go over a few of the most commonly held misconceptions about the process and address the truth behind each one.

1. Merchant accounts are too difficult for certain types of businesses to get.

Back in the early 2000’s, ecommerce was a relatively new concept. Not only were consumers not yet used to doing the bulk of their shopping online, but the entities in charge of granting merchant accounts weren’t sure what to make of it either. It didn’t exactly help that the only real way to set up a merchant account was to go through a traditional brick and mortar bank. There were certainly a lot of hoops to jump through if you were in ecommerce or ran any other business that could be considered high risk.

These days, that’s no longer the case. To begin with, there are lots of different merchant account providers to choose from when you’re ready to open yours. Many of these specialize in setting up accounts for small businesses or ecommerce companies.

Also, the requirements attached to the process are relatively easy to satisfy. For instance, registering your business as a sole proprietorship instead of incorporating is a great option for self-employed service providers. Modern business bank accounts can be obtained with little hassle and at a very low cost. Even registering a business name is pretty simple and inexpensive. You don’t need much else to qualify for a merchant account here in 2017!

2. You can’t get a merchant account if your business is a start-up.

Traditionally speaking, a bank sees a start-up business similarly to the way they’d see a person with no credit history. Although there’s no tangible reason to think that business isn’t a good risk, there’s no positive track record to definitively prove it is one either. In the past, this made getting a merchant account notoriously difficult if your business was still just getting started.

Today, people are more entrepreneurial than ever and many merchant account providers recognize this is a chance to connect with an emerging market. Some of those providers actually specialize in working with smaller, newer, or independent entities. They pride themselves on their ability to provide personalized service, strong client relationships, and unique solutions designed to help start-ups succeed.

3. The application process is always difficult and confusing.

In actuality, the application process could be difficult if the criteria attached to your unique business are very complicated. However, in most cases and for most businesses, the application process itself really isn’t that daunting or complicated. The key to success lies in making sure you select the right service provider.

A good merchant account provider that’s right for your business will pride itself on simplifying the application process for its would-be clients. Many allow you to begin the process online by entering basic information about your business via a web form. They then use what you’ve told them to prepare the correct documents for you. All you need to do is read them, sign them, and return them along with anything else you’re asked to send (i.e. a void check).

4. Merchant accounts are expensive, both to set up and to maintain.

Here we have another myth rooted in a distant past when ecommerce businesses still weren’t understood or accepted as a valid concepts. This meant they were almost always considered high risk ventures by default and high risk often also means high cost.

These days, all sorts of people are in business for themselves and the fees associated with having a merchant account often reflect that. Many account providers provide options that don’t call for set-up charges or continuing monthly fees. Instead, you pay a small fee each time you actually process an associated transaction – perfect for very small businesses or sole proprietors that only process credit card transactions occasionally.

In other words, there are options out there that were designed with your business and budget in mind. You no longer have to be a big corporation or a large company doing lots of volume when it comes to credit cards to benefit from having a merchant account.

5. It takes forever to receive funds attached to a credit card transaction.

Back in the day, it wasn’t uncommon for credit card processing agencies to deliver a merchant’s deposits once a week or even once every other week. The perceived risk attached to a given transaction was a lot higher then. Holding onto funds a little longer gave that processing company a bigger buffer against possibilities like chargebacks, fraud, or merchants that closed their accounts while still owing service fees.

The more common credit cards, debit cards, and the like become as payment options, the lower the perceived risk of such transactions. Here in a day and age that finds most consumers using credit or debit cards to complete their everyday transactions, processing companies are often on a daily (or near daily) deposit schedule. Depending on where you bank and who you work with as far as credit processing, you’ll probably see funds hit your account within 48-72 hours of the original transaction.

If you choose the right merchant account provider, you’ll have some choice as to when and how often you receive your deposits though. Most business owners do prefer to receive daily deposits, but if you actually prefer weekly deposits instead, that can be arranged.

6. Establishing PCI compliance is also difficult and expensive.

If you’re exploring the possibility of opening a merchant account, you may already be familiar with the concept of PCI (Payment Card Industry) compliance. The term refers to the standard every merchant needs to meet in regards to data security if they’re going to accept credit cards as payment options.

The cost and effort required to continuously meet that standard can be complicated or costly… for some businesses. For others, this is hardly the case. For instance, you’d expect a really big retail company like Macy’s or Wal-Mart to have more different tech requirements to meet than an independently owned dress boutique across town. You’d also be right to expect that. What is often super involved for a large business is usually pretty simple for a small one.
Again, your choice in merchant account providers can really help you here. Look for companies that go out of their way to educate clients about how to achieve PCI compliance and make the process simple. Many are happy to provide individual clients with additional help or advice if needed or desired as well.

7. Processing rates are the only factors that are important.

Ask a business owner that still isn’t accepting credit or debit cards as payment why they do things that way and they’ll probably tell you they don’t want to waste money on processing fees. They assume they’re being smart and saving while money is actually walking right out the door in the form of dropped sales and lost business. It’s not uncommon for such business owners to assume processing rates are all that matter when it comes to a given merchant account option.

As you would when opening any other kind of financial account, it’s important to look at the big picture which includes monthly minimums (if there are any), possible cancellation fees, and setup fees. Sometimes additional fees are charged for online access or changes made to your account as well, so make sure you’re looking at your final tally when evaluating options.

8. One merchant service provider is as good as another.

Just as there are lots of different ways to price merchant services attached to an account, there are lots of different providers out there. Some will be better fits for you than others. Some specialize in working with specific types of merchants like non-profits or businesses in a certain industry. Some focus on customer service as a selling point while others may offer clients free equipment, flexible rates, or other incentives.

Just take the time to carefully evaluate each of your options from top to bottom. No matter what business you’re in or what your needs are, there’s a merchant account provider that’s just right for you. Explore the possibilities today!

MobiusPay specializes in high-risk merchant activation, domestic and international processing. MobiusPay helps online businesses with payment processing, high risk merchant accounts, chargeback & fraud prevention, online check ACH processing and with maintaining PCI compliance. Please visit https://mobiuspay.com/ to learn more.

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June 30, 2017

What to consider when applying for a personal loan?

loans for personal reasonsWhat is a personal loan?

Personal loans are unsecured loans. A lack of collateral, like a car of house, is what makes unsecured loans different from secured loans. Unlike a mortgage or student loans, a personal loan is personal. And unlike like other loans, it can be used at your discretion.

Personal loans are most ideal for long-term purchases. Which is unlike something like a payday loan that is more short-term. Personal loans can also be used for debt consolidation, to finance vacations, or even unexpected expenses like home repairs. They can even be used towards real estate, like one of those forest beach homes for sale.

A personal loan, that you can use at your discretion, sounds good. But there are some things to consider before taking out such a loan.

Does it make sense for me?

Before you consider a personal loan, you need to ask yourself why you need the loan. And if a personal loan is the type of loan you need. As mentioned above, a personal loan is ideal for more long-term purchases or consolidating high-interest debt. If you’re not looking to consolidate debt, or need a little help purchasing one of those forest beach homes for sale, it might not be worth it.

Do I qualify?

After you’ve considered whether a personal loan is right for you, next is to determine if you qualify for one. These qualifications can vary by lender. For example, credit ratings, maximum debt-to-income, and interest rate. Typically requirements can be:

A credit rating between 640 and 750
A maximum debt-to-income ratio of up to 45% (depending on loan amount, income, and credit rating)
An interest rate from 8.5% to 18% (which also depends on your credit rating)

What are the Interest Rates?

A personal loan could be a great way to save on high-interest debt from credit cards. Depending on your credit rating you could be eligible for low interest rates on your personal loan. A lower interest rate could save you a lot of money in the long term. It might even be beneficial for you to shop around, to find the best deal available to you.

Are the fees and terms associated with the loan?

When a applying for a loan, it’s important to do your research. Before you sign to anything, make sure you’ve read and understood everything outlined in the loan agreement. Is there a term agreement? Or are there any fees associated with the loan?

A personal is debt!

A personal loan sounds great on paper, and in the grand scheme of things. It has the potential to offer you a great solution to a problem. But it’s important to remember that it’s still a loan, and therefore a form of debt. Debt that eventually needs to be paid off.

How do you plan to pay it off?

As mentioned above as great a solution a personal loan sounds, it’s important to remember that it’s still a form of debt. And like all debt, it can easy for it to get out of hand. When you’re looking into getting a personal loan, it’s important to have a plan for paying it off. A personal loan has the potential to simplify a sticky situation, and if not used appropriately it could make a sticky situation stickier.

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June 29, 2017

7 Tips on How to Buy a Luxury Home

luxury home buyingLooking for a luxury home or condo? Don’t know how to find the best deal. The following 7 tips can help you buy your dream home.

1. Get familiar with the search process

Many luxury homes do not protect the privacy of their sellers. Those properties are quite often found later through the personal connections of Realtors. The large search engines don’t always cover everything you need. So, you may need to check a lot of online sources when searching for a real estate.

2. Go beyond the photos

Do not dismiss a real estate based on its front elevation photographs. The large homes and condos are often not photogenic. Your best bet would be to see a property in person. It’s also a good idea to do some search on Google Earth. This computer program can help you explore the property itself and its vicinity as well. This way you will be able to see what is around the home you’re looking for. You can also use the online search tools when searching for the luxurious properties. If you’re looking for a real estate within Hilton Head Island, make use of such a tool to find the best sea pines real estate.

3. Contact a local expert and reliable adviser

Once you’ve determined the location of your property, you should contact a buyer agent. A local expert can provide you with important info about the property you want to buy. Some high-end areas have a controlled access with the fewer open houses. Sometimes, you will have to make a few appointments to get access. Besides a local buyer agent, you should also hire a reliable Realtor for some suggestions.

4. Gather your financial documents

It is critical to document everything before heading to the high-end market. Pay attention to financial documentation in particular. People who are making a lot of money have an accountant or a manager to shelter their money.

5. Bank on your relationship

The banks keep the portfolios of their clients for many years. So make sure to go to the bank(s) you have the relationships with. It’s good to know the difference between the prequalification letter and pre-approval letter.

6. Don’t forget your title insurance

The title insurances ensure that you’re protected against possible issues that may occur. Before closing time, you need to take a look at the exceptions page. This page is included in the title insurance, but many people are not aware of it.

7. Get familiar with co-ops and condos

You need to know in advance what to expect with condominiums and cooperatives. Your attorney should represent you for condos and co-ops when you enter the field. The attorney should also do a thorough research on the financial viability of the real estate you are interested in. There is always a room to negotiate before you make an offer. Let your agent investigate the comparable real estates that have recently sold in that area. That will help you get the more affordable closing price.

Look into the future. Try to find out what buildings are planned around your property in the near future. And be aware of the timeline. Don’t tie your money up for an extended period of time. You may miss a good opportunity due to the construction delays.

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June 1, 2017

UK pensions map: how much is being saved?

On average, we add £325 to our pension pots every month, but which area of the UK is best at saving? Find out more from the infographic below from personal pension provider, True Potential.

True Potential - UK Pension map

Created by online investment service company, True Potential

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