Mind of Money

The Top 3 Checkout Technologies Set to Shape Retail

Credit card being swipedWith the intense competition among retail brands in the market, businesses often have two choices: innovate or die. The percentage of new businesses that close down after the first year remains the same. About 50 percent of the new players die. On the tenth year, about 96 percent may have closed down.

Fortunately, innovation doesn’t have to come at a steep price; you can remain competitive and still manage costs by using technology in certain processes.

Whether you run a new shop or own a string of stores, these three checkout technologies can help improve your business:

POS Finance

The growth of retail tech also increases the number of people not bringing cash. In a Blumberg Capital survey, about 50 percent don’t use it anymore. But not all stores are ready to adopt the cashless system.

For retails stores that don’t, there’s the point of sale finance system. It provides the customers access to different lenders. One can integrate the service in the POS, so the customer doesn’t go through a time-consuming application process.

No Checkout

A lot of people think the self-checkout terminals are already the future of retail. One bus in China begs to disagree. The vehicle is a rolling store with no staff and checkout. Customers enter by scanning a QR code. A hologram of a woman appears to give transactions a “personalized touch.”

Virtual Shopping Carts

E-commerce boomed for one reason: convenience. But can the same benefit extend in the offline world? The answer is yes, thanks to Amazon.

Amazon’s first physical retail store features two technologies now found in others: cashless and no checkouts. But it took innovation to a whole new level by creating a virtual shopping cart. Customers can walk in and shop. The cameras around the shop then pick up the goods and place them in virtual carts. The system then allows the customers to pay through their credit cards with digital receipts.

These retail technologies are meant not only to appeal to the young consumers. They’re also necessary to improve customer service and experience.

February 14, 2018 at 1:36 amMind of Money

How Does the Tax Reforms Affect Obamacare?

Judge gavel, stethoscope, and calculatorObamacare insurance providers will raise premiums in 2019 after the U.S. government implemented tax reforms, which repealed a mandate of the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

The mandate refers to the requirements that every American should have health insurance. DECO noted that it remains uncertain how this will affect ACA assistance, as insurers remain divided on renewing their participation in Obamacare’s exchanges next year.

Individual Insurance

Obama insurers will need to reach a decision by spring at the earliest whether to renew its involvement in the insurance exchanges. As for the insurance premiums, it will increase as the mandate’s repeal will cause four million Americans to skip coverage next year, according to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO). Standard & Poor predicts that between three to five million people will not apply for insurance in the next 10 years due to the repeal.

By 2027, the CBO expects 13 million people to forego insurance. This will trigger an annual rate hike of 10% every year beginning in 2019. CBO based its forecast on the fewer number of insured healthier individuals, as they will no longer need to pay penalties if they fail to sign up for insurance.

Obamacare Enrollment

The number of people who signed up for Obamacare under the 2018 enrollment period reached around 8.8 million people, down from 9.2 million Americans year over year. However, this could be because of a shorter enrollment period.

The deadline for applications on the 2017 period lasted until January 31, while the open enrollment period for this year ended by the end of 2017. The deadline for 2018 originally fell on December 15, although publicity for the extended period became ineffective as even insurance brokers were unaware of it.

Hospitals and medical providers need to prepare for the tax reforms’ impact on ACA assistance. On the other hand, more Americans will have to find ways on how to pay for potentially higher insurance premiums in the future.

January 25, 2018 at 4:04 amMind of Money

5 Budgeting Ideas Students Should Consider While on Debt

a student posing with a piggy bankHigher education in the U.S. is one of the most expensive investments a person could have. It continues to increase every year, leaving 44 million people in debt. What’s worse is that many people, including senior citizens, are still tied up to their student loan debt. Nowadays, students will have to spend between $9,650 and $49,320 annually to complete a four-year college degree.

Expensive as it may seem, there are ways students can do to save funds and greatly reduce their debt while in school.

  1. Students may consider writing all their fixed expenses and source of income. This is important especially if the parents of these students in Utah used to take cash and payday loans for them to determine where they could adjust their spending. Usually, rentals, food, and allowances are some of the fixed expenses of students.
  2. Academically achieving students may consider applying for scholarship grants or other programs in their school to reduce college cost. Schools also offer grants to achievers and athletes.
  3. Exert effort to lessen daily expenses. There are students who learn to cook and bring packed lunch instead of eating in costly restaurants that are often unhealthy. Vices like smoking and habitual drinking should also be avoided as those are just waste of money and bad for the health.
  4. Try looking for some menial part-time jobs. Students may want to scour the internet for easy clerical jobs for them to maximize their idle time. It will not only earn them additional income, but it could impress some potential employers if part-time jobs are indicated on the resume.
  5. Students may want to re-evaluate their belongings and sell the things they no longer need. This is worth considering for students who want to declutter their place and at the same time earn a little by selling old books and other things could still have some value for other people.

Currently, student loan debt has increased to more than $1.45 trillion, and if you are a student, you may want to reconsider your budgeting to break free from such debt.

January 11, 2018 at 9:26 amMind of Money