The Anonymous Widower

A New Excuse!

This morning I received a bill, that I had been expecting, so I paid it immediately.

I sent the company, an e-mail saying that the transfer was in cyberspace!

Is that a new version of the cheque is in the post?

October 2, 2013 Posted by | Finance, World | , | Leave a comment

The Future Of Cash Machines

This article raises a few questions about cash machines and how they will look in the future.

I  don’t have a problem with the machines themselves, but increasingly over the last few years, I’ve had problems with the placement of a few machines, due to being unable to read them in the sun. And it’s not just cash machines, as this post shows.

I also have problems with some touch-screen technology.

And of course, if they insists on a smart phone in some way, they can forget it!

As they can, if I get charged to take out my money!

I think we’ll see the standard design last a few more years yet!

July 16, 2013 Posted by | Finance, World | , | Leave a comment

A Multi-Currency Toilet

On my trip this morning I needed a pit-stop and as I had to surface at Green Park station to find of the maps, I used the excellent toilets there.

A Multi-Currency Toilet

A Multi-Currency Toilet

Note how the entrance gate sensibly accepts both pounds and euros. They’ve even put the instructions in a selection of languages.

A Multi-LingualToilet

A Multi-LingualToilet

We need to do more things like this, to make London as tourism-friendly as possible.

June 13, 2013 Posted by | Transport | , , , , | 2 Comments

Theft At Cash Machines On The Rise

This story says that thefts at cash machines are on the rise. I’ve never been targeted and I usually make sure I get my money out at machines I know well and often in the morning, as prejudice says that criminals always lie in bed as they drunk too much last night. I also often use a machine inside a branch of Nationwide, because there are comfortable seats there to sit down, whilst I sort it all out. This paragraph from the article is telling and shows how to use a stolen card to get cash.

The perpetrators used the card to lay £400 in bets at Ladbrokes and withdrew £240 in cash.

As someone, who once held a licence for a betting shop, I know the fiddles that go on in these places.

Incidentally, a fraud expect told me, that he’d analysed card thefts and subsequent withdrawals.  He felt that if customers used an easy pin like  1234, it was more likely to be discovered. My pin jumps about all over the place, so I hope if someone watches they can’t get it.

I have said before in this post, that I wish my bank statement gave me more information about my withdrawals, with perhaps the location of the cash machine. I think, if this was done, it would alert customers, that perhaps their card had been skimmed.

June 6, 2013 Posted by | News | , , | Leave a comment

The Cleanest Cash Point In The World?

I saw this cash point at the branch of Barclays in Rose Green on my trip to Bognor.

The Cleanest Cash Point In The World?

The Cleanest Cash Point In The World?

I’ve never seen one so clean. it was also very welcome, as I needed to get some money.

May 1, 2013 Posted by | Transport, World | , , | Leave a comment

Winston Churchill To Be On A Fiver

It is being reported that the new five pound note will feature Winston Churchill.

I always thought that to be on a British banknote, you needed to have a lot of unruly hair, so that the note was more difficult to forge.

Whatever he was known for, it wasn’t for being particularly hirsute!

April 26, 2013 Posted by | Finance | , , | Leave a comment

So What Is M-Pesa?

In the post on the Scottish currency, I mentioned M-Pesa.  So what is it? I started by reading the Wikipedia entry. Here’s the initial paragraph.

In April 2007, following a student software development project from Kenya, Safaricom launched a new mobile phone based payment and money transfer service, known as M-Pesa. The service allows users to deposit money into an account stored on their cell phones, to send balances using SMS technology to other users (including sellers of goods and services), and to redeem deposits for regular money. Users are charged a small fee for sending and withdrawing money using the service. M-Pesa has spread quickly, and has become the most successful mobile phone based financial service in the developing world. By 2012, a stock of about 17 million M-Pesa accounts had been registered in Kenya.
The initial work of developing the product was given to a product and technology development company known as Sagentia. Development and second line support responsibilities were transferred to IBM in September of 2009, to where most of the original Sagentia team transferred.

It sounds a lot more sophisticated than anything we’ve got here! Especially, as it works on the humblest of Nokia mobile phones!

It’s developments like this, that will empower individuals and kill off the unnecessary wunch, that some still call bankers.

April 23, 2013 Posted by | Business, Computing, Finance, World | , , , | Leave a comment

The Scottish Currency Question

If I could have ten pence for every politician, who’s put forward his view on the question of what currency Scotland has if they vote for independence, i wouldn’t be just a rich man, but a very rich man.

Surely, the amount of energy expended by politicians, would power a reasonably-sized city like Glasgow.

All of these politicians are flying in the face of the new reality, which is starting to sweep the world.  Just read this article on the web site; about the future of banking. Here’s the first paragraph.

I was recently invited onto Evan Davis’ BBC radio and TV show ‘The Bottom Line’ for a discussion on alternative finance. Alongside me was Zopa founder Giles Andrews, the founder of Zopa – a UK peer-to-peer lending platform, and Michael Joseph, the former CEO of Safaricom, which set up M-Pesa, a mobile payment system, in Kenya. 

It is the last bit that is the most significant. It also says this about banking and particularly M-Pesa.

The day-to-day of banking is changing world-wide and banks are not the ones driving the innovation. For instance, by some measures, Starbucks is among the 200 largest banks by deposits in the US, having $3 billion on their in-store card in 2012. Both Google and Amazon are also talking about providing finance to users of their marketplaces. At the other end of the economic spectrum, 31 per cent of Kenyan GDP now flows through M-Pesa, which is so simple it can be operated on a very modest Nokia phone and has no physical bank branch presence.

So does it matter about whether an individual or a company has their bank account in pounds, dollars, euros, thistles or beans? It only matters to the individual concerned.  As someone living in and spending most of his money in the UK, I would probably keep my account in pounds! Although switching to euros, should be just a choice on the account.

Unfortunately, this transparent and convenient system would be unacceptable to the banks, as they make so much money on currency conversion.

I do wonder, if my new-found liking for cash, may be a personal reaction to the greed of the banks.  If I pay by cash in Carluccio’s, I can leave a tip easily. It also seems to get good service, as the staff in many restaurants know me and have the gluten-free menu ready immediately I walk in.  It’s also faster to settle up and there is nothing worse than waiting to get away, whilst a dim waitress struggles with a credit card terminal.

So to me, in a few years time, the Scottish currency question will be irrelevant to most people and companies in Scotland.  They will pay their taxes in whatever currency the Scottish government uses or is forced to use and keep their bank account in whatever is convenient for their lifestyle or business.

So let’s get going on research to capture all that hot air being spoken to generate lots of electricity.

April 23, 2013 Posted by | Business, Finance, News, World | , , , , | 1 Comment

Passing It On

I mentioned in this post, that my Aunt Gladys paid for our marriage licence, as I was totally skint, on condition that I passed it on.

Some years later in Ipswich in about 180, a young guy wrote to me asking for sponsorship for Operation Raleigh. I passed the loan from my Aunt on, adding a bit more, and I received a series of letters as he traversed the globe. I did say, that if he ever was a success to pass the loan on to another person, who’d make use of it.

then about seven or eight years ago, he found me on the Internet and said that the loan had been passed on again with the same conditions.

I should say, this is not the only chain I’ve started, but none have kept going so long.


April 2, 2013 Posted by | World | , , | 2 Comments

The True Cost Of My €100 Withdrawal

I withdrew €100 from a cashpoint in Bishopsgate before I went on holiday.

I got a rate of 1.157 euro to the pound, which for my € 100 worked out at £86.42.  I was then charged a Non-UK commission fee of £1.72 and a Non-UK cash withdrawal fee of £1.00. The main transaction incidentally was labelled Ulster Bank.

So as I was in Bishopsgate and did a transaction with a bank in Ulster, surely I was in the UK.  So why did I get slapped for an extra charge of £2.72?

On the other hand it was probably a better transaction, than I got in Morocco, when I changed a few pounds into the local dirham.

If I was in charge of this world, I’d create a universal token, that was worth about a pound, a dollar or a euro, that you could use for small transactions on public transport, pay toilets and with street vendors. After all, many machines now accept a one pound or one euro coin.

April 1, 2013 Posted by | Finance, Transport, World | , | Leave a comment