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Services that Offer Payment Plans

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Are you struggling to make ends meet? Are you finding it difficult to pay your bills on time? If so, you may want to consider using a payment plan service. Payment plan services can help you get ahead of your finances by allowing you to break up your bill payments into affordable monthly installments. If you’re looking for a way to get back on track financially, keep reading!

What services offer payment plans

If you’re struggling to pay for a service all at once, there’s no need to worry – many businesses offer payment plans. This way, you can spread the cost of the service over a period of time that suits you, making it more affordable.

Payment plans are often available for services such as web design, social media marketing, and SEO. There are also payment plans for almost anything in life, such as a used car extended warranty, Amazon purchases, and Instacart is now offering payment plans on grocery delivery!

Many companies will tailor their payment plans to meet your needs, so it’s always worth asking about payment options before you sign up for a service. With a payment plan in place, you can get the service you need without putting strain on your finances.

How to qualify for a payment plan

If you find yourself struggling to make ends meet, you may be able to qualify for a payment plan. This can help you catch up on missed payments and avoid late fees and collections.

In order to qualify for a payment plan, you will need to contact your creditors and explain your financial situation. Be sure to have a budget in mind that outlines how much you can afford to pay each month.

Once you have reached an agreement with your creditors, be sure to make your payments on time and in full each month. If you do not, you may be subject to late fees and additional interest charges. However, if you stick to your payment plan, you can get back on track financially and avoid damaging your credit score.

The benefits of using a payment plan

When it comes to making major purchases, few things are as helpful as a payment plan. A payment plan allows you to spread the cost of a purchase over time, which allows you to buy now and pay later. This can be especially helpful if you’re making a large purchase, such as a car or a piece of furniture.

But even small purchases can benefit from a payment plan. For example, if you’re buying a new phone, you may be able to get a lower monthly price by signing up for a payment plan.

Payment plans can also help you avoid interest charges. Many store credit cards offer interest-free financing for a set period of time. This can allow you to pay off your purchase without incurring any additional costs.

How to make monthly payments

One way to stay on top of your finances is to make monthly payments. This means setting up a budget and sticking to it.

  • Start by identifying your income and fixed expenses, such as rent and utilities.
  • Then, figure out how much you have left over for variable expenses, such as food and entertainment.

Once you have a clear picture of your finances, you can start setting aside money for monthly payments. You may want to consider opening a separate savings account or using a budgeting app to help you stay on track.

By making monthly payments, you can avoid late fees and interest charges, and you will always know exactly where your money is going.

What to do if you can’t make a monthly payment

If you’re in a situation where you can’t make your monthly payments, it’s important to take action as quickly as possible. The first thing you should do is contact your creditors and explain your financial situation. Many creditors are willing to work with you to create a new payment plan that fits your budget.

If you’re unable to reach an agreement with your creditors, you may need to consider other options, such as borrowing money from friends or family, taking out a personal loan, or filing for bankruptcy.

No matter what course of action you decide to take, it’s important to keep communicating with your creditors and let them know what you’re doing to try to resolve the situation.

Alternatives to payment plans

For many people, payment plans are a helpful way to budget for large purchases. However, there are some drawbacks to this approach.

  • First of all, interest rates can add up over time, making the total cost of the purchase much higher than the original price tag.
  • Additionally, missed or late payments can result in hefty fees, and it can be difficult to keep track of multiple payments.
  • Finally, payment plans can be inflexible, making it hard to adjust if your financial situation changes.

Luckily, there are some alternatives to traditional payment plans that can help you avoid these pitfalls.

  • One option is to save up for the purchase in advance. This will help you avoid interest charges and give you more flexibility in how you use the money.
  • Another option is to use a credit card with a 0% introductory APR offer. This can help you spread out the cost of the purchase without accruing any interest charges.

Keep in mind, however, that you will need to make all of your payments on time and in full to take advantage of this offer. If you’re not sure which option is right for you, talk to a financial advisor to get started.

While payment plans are a great way to budget for your dental care, it’s important to make sure you understand the terms and conditions before signing up. Be sure to ask your dentist or office staff about what services offer payment plans, how to qualify, and the benefits of using one. And if you ever find yourself in a situation where you can’t make a monthly payment, don’t hesitate to reach out and ask about alternative options.

Business

Ransomware chokes COBRA: How AI-powered data analysis can support financial services’ plight

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By Toby Butler, Financial Crime Solutions Manager at Ripjar

 

Ransomware attacks are on the increase in the United Kingdom. Most of the British Government’s COBRA meetings have been convened in response to ransomware attacks, showing how cybersecurity breaches are as pressing as national emergencies and crises. The National Cyber Security Centre’s (NCSC) annual review found this year that the country was hit by 17 ransomware incidents that were so impactful they “require a nationally coordinated response”. That extends to the financial services sector, which saw an increase of ransomware attacks with 55% of organisations hit in 2021.

Where does this leave the sector and how can artificial intelligence and machine learning be instrumental in understanding the risks companies face against future ransomware attacks?

Toby Butler

Company information is being stolen and sold to different threat groups, who prey on the individuals in that organisation who are more likely to pay them. The UK is one of the most cyber-attacked countries in the world and the Government has been criticised for being “ill-equipped” to deal with this exponential rise of fraud cases.

 

Ransomware-as-a-Service

Ransomware is one of the most common forms of cybercrime. Fighting it has become one of the biggest problems that organisations today face during their everyday operations. For instance, Malware (malicious software) encrypts the files of a single computer, then works its way through an entire network to reach the server and inflict maximum damage. Company information is being stolen and sold to different threat groups, who prey on the individuals in that organisation who are more likely to pay them.

When these attacks occur the victims, more often businesses, are left with minimal options. If they have substantial backup solutions already in place, they can attempt to restore the encrypted data to their servers. But if that data isn’t already secured elsewhere, they may need to pay a ransom to the criminals behind the attack. Thereby allowing the business to function once again and restoring their reputation. The cost of paying the ransom will feel considerably smaller compared to starting a business again from scratch. Sophos’ State of Ransomware in Financial Services 2022 report found that 52% of financial services organisations paid the ransom to restore their data, the average remediation cost in financial services was US$1.59M.

Cybersecurity Ventures estimates that ransomware is set to cost global businesses more than $256 billion by the end of 2031. By that token, organisations need to be extremely mindful of the potential threats they may face. Businesses need to understand the methodologies these hackers use, to address the weaknesses within their domain and take measures to isolate and prevent further ransomware attacks from happening again.

 

The rise of WAMs

According to a recent report by security firm CyberSixgill, 19% of the 3,612 cyberattacks that took place in 2021 were traced back to Wholesale Access Markets – or WAMs for short. WAMs are, in essence, underground internet flea markets. These markets are where aspiring attackers come to purchase network access from threat actors – the individual or entity involved in carrying out the cyber-attack. Types of threat actors include insiders, cybercriminals, rival organisations, or even nation states stealing data.

WAMs sell access to multiple compromised endpoints (or pathways) for around 10-20 dollars. Researchers found that WAMs listed access to approximately 4.3 million compromised endpoints in 2021, which include access to both provider and enterprise software (for example, an organisation’s Slack channel) up to 180 days before the attack itself took place. This shows how long these compromised endpoints remain undetected without proper internal analysis.

 

How can Financial Services stay ahead of the curve?

The use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning is undisputed across modern businesses and sectors, and continues to revolutionise processes across the board. AI is a significant player in the financial services industry, building the ‘cyber-wall’ against nefarious users. It gives organisations optimal insights into reducing the likelihood of a ransomware attack in the future.

Namely, AI and machine learning collects and analyses vast amounts of messy (structured and unstructured) data from disparate sources. The challenge for the sector is to understand the volume and variety of the raw data collected from any source to build better protection in the future.

Structured information could be best understood as the clear data we see in a table. For example, the following attendees made a business meeting: first name – Joan, surname – Smith, age – 46. But unstructured information is information presented in a complex manner. For example, ‘there were five people who attended the business meeting, one of whom was forty-six and called Joan Smith’. Naturally, due to the complex nature of the prose, it would be more difficult for a machine to process that data into a digestible format for further risk analysis. This is where AI continues to prove invaluable.

AI uses natural language processing to understand the information provided on the web. As the software continues to evolve, natural language processing reads the information in a way a human would to extract the key information from the text. By incorporating AI and machine learning within an organisation’s IT infrastructure, companies operating within financial services can be better equipped to handle cybercrime.

These tools are flexible and adaptable, they can be configured to analyse different types of data from different sources to curate key insights. This collated information provides a better analysis of the organisation’s exposure, allowing them the opportunity to get upstream in preventing future attacks. This kind of approach is essential to processing listings on WAMs.

The power to analyse data to identify weakness is vital in the battle against cybercrime. It gives organisations a better understanding into what they could expect to see in the future. Hosting the correct data, and with the analytical skills, financial organisations can gain a better understanding of the methodologies and weaknesses in-house that attackers use and exploit to hold them to ransom. Organisations can then use this as a reference to pinpoint compromised endpoints, giving them a chance to reduce access before this route can be exploited and ruin their business.

With cybercrime and ransomware continuing to remain prevalent, it’s vital that financial services companies understand how they can get ahead of the curve and build a robust security platform within their IT infrastructure that can withstand an attack. In 2022, a ransomware attack occurred every 40 seconds. The mindset for the sector needs to be one of when, not if.

Organisations need to be thinking about an attack now – before it’s happened. Pre-planning and preparing for the worst possible outcome from future threats and adversaries. The introduction of AI and machine learning in the fight against cybercrime is a must, and the sooner the industry gets behind in implementing AI, the safer it will be through the next decade.

 

 

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Business

SVEA BANK ACQUIRES AREX’S FINTECH OPERATION IN FINLAND

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AREX Markets, the data-driven FinTech company that drives financing costs down for SMEs and enables them to get paid quicker, has announced the sale of its Finland operations to Swedish payment and financing institution Svea Bank.

With the deal, Svea will further strengthen its position as a corporate financier, as AREX’s c.1200 Finnish customers and partnerships in the areas of financial management and financial management software will be transferred to the bank’s portfolio. The Finnish operation of AREX has financed over EUR 500M worth of invoices.

AREX’s Spanish and UK operations remain unaffected and remain focused on building embeddable financing products for third party platforms. Customers in Finland have been informed of their transition, and their contracts and service details will port across to Svea.

Svea is reshaping the playing field of corporate finance in Finland, and taking on the operations of AREX in the region is a natural step to strengthen their own business and at the same time offer AREX’s partners and customers an easy path to a wider range of services than before.

“Over the years, Svea has grown a lot also through business transactions, therefore acquiring AREX’s business operations in Finland was a good and natural solution for us. In addition, the deal is pleasant for us at Svea because the focus of our activities is to help partners and customers succeed – offering AREX’s partners and customers a wider range of services is exactly that,” says Pasi Väre, country manager of Svea in Finland.

The deal also brings new opportunities for AREX to focus on the UK and Europe in its roll out of embeddable financing products, which can be white-labelled by neobanks, ERPs and accounting software alike. The business is seeking to bridge the liquidity gap faced by most small businesses in the face of a recessive economic climate.

UK SME’s can continue to access AREX’s core invoice financing product through the Xero marketplace.

“For us at AREX, this is a great step: we are developing a stronger presence in the field of embedded finance, which is underpinned by our sophisticated marketplace software, our strongest point,” says AREX’s CEO, Airto Vienola.

“For the AREX team it was extremely important that we find the best possible corporate financier to take care of the business’ customers and partnerships in Finland. Svea convinced us with their customer and partner-centric approach”, adds AREX’s co-founder Perttu Jalkanen.

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