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Barclays develops contactless payment wristbands

June 10 ,2014 | by Hari Sri

Barclays develops contactless payment wristbands

Barclays says it will roll out wristbands that can be used for contactless payments in the next few months.

It is no secret that wearable technology is one of the key research areas for many tech companies. From Google Glass to patents suggesting that Samsung is still working on a smartwatch design, businesses are seeking ways to make technology more personal than ever.

Now, Barclays has announced that it is planning to extend the use of wearable tech into payment processes.

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Economic boom in sight as global shares hit all-time highs

Economic boom in sight as global shares hit all-time highs

Recovering economies and low interest rates have pushed world shares to their highest ever levels.

World shares were close to their highest levels ever yesterday, 9 June, as low interest rates in key economies and moves towards economic recovery buoyed investor confidence.

report from Reuters shows that MSCI’s 45-country All-World share index, an important benchmark for the performance of shares around the world, edged up 0.15 per cent to stand at 427.11 points. That was not far away from 428.63, the previous peak figure achieved before the financial crisis in 2007.

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European Central Bank imposes negative interest rates

European Central Bank imposes negative interest rates

Low inflation and a strong euro have driven the European Central Bank to impose negative interest rates.

The European Central Bank (ECB) took the dramatic step on imposing negative interest rates on 5 June.

Instead of paying out extra to banks that deposit money at the ECB, calculated according to the base rate, institutions will now actually have to pay financial penalties relative to the size of their deposit. Given the sizes of the sums involved, it is likely the move could prove very expensive for some banks.

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British retail calls on UK government for business rate reform

British retail calls on UK government for business rate reform

Small businesses would no longer have to pay business rates under proposals from the British Retail Consortium, but will the government listen?

Business rates have been a recurring theme for small firms over the past few years, with continual calls for the government to overhaul the current system.

But under proposals submitted to a government consultation on administering company taxes, more than 100,000 small businesses would no longer have to pay the notoriously high fees.

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Post Office and Travelex run out of Brazilian Reals ahead of World Cup

June 06 ,2014 | by Sarah Parkin

Post Office and Travelex run out of Brazilian Reals ahead of World Cup

Two major foreign exchange suppliers, Travelex and the Post Office, have run out of Brazilian reals ahead of the World cup.

The World Cup is fast approaching, and with only a week left to go excitement is mounting within the UK and the rest of the world. It’s expected to pull in 3.7 million visitors to Brazil, just over half of whom will actually be attending events linked to the tournament.

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Queen’s Speech aims for business vote

June 06 ,2014 | by Sarah Parkin

Queen’s Speech aims for business vote

UK government uses the Queen’s Speech to unveil pro-business measures for the coming year.

It’s one of the highlights of the Westminster calendar, when the Queen descends on the House of Lords to unveil the government’s plans for the coming session.

Behind the pomp and ceremony of the most glamorous event that takes place in the Houses of Parliament, decision-makers have been working tirelessly on a list of measures that David Cameron described as “unashamedly pro-business”.

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SMEs and startups reap benefits of crowdfunding

SMEs and startups reap benefits of crowdfunding

Crowdfunding has grown considerably in the years since the financial crisis, and businesses are reaping the rewards of this alternative source of finance.

The years since the financial downturn have seen a considerable rise in the number of new businesses and self-employed people, both in the UK and around the world. Yet at the same time, low confidence and reluctance on the part of many banks to lend to riskier businesses has made it much harder for some small firms to obtain finance.

It is hardly surprising that companies have shown more and more interest in alternative forms of finance.

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$48 trillion investment needed to meet world energy needs

$48 trillion investment needed to meet world energy needs

A new report shows that meeting the world’s energy needs could come at a much higher cost than most people might have imagined.

As the population grows and developing economies become more industrialised, the world’s energy needs are increasing every day. Yet governments are keenly aware that fossil fuels will run out eventually, and pressure is rising to make renewable energy more common and affordable.

But a new report from the International Energy Agency (IEA) indicates that meeting the world’s energy needs might be even more costly than we thought.

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New virus GameOver Zeus threatens to steal personal data

June 04 ,2014 | by Hari Sri

New virus GameOver Zeus threatens to steal personal data

Web users need to tighten up their security to protect against another new bug – GameOver Zeus, the National Crime Agency has warned.

Consumers have heard plenty of stories about online security in the past few months. But after the Heartbleed bug and eBay getting hacked just last month, the UK National Crime Agency (NCA) has once again urged consumers to rethink their security settings since another new bug has emerged.

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Apple iCloud and iMessage take on Dropbox and WhatsApp

Apple iCloud and iMessage take on Dropbox and WhatsApp

Apple has announced new cloud and messaging developments aimed squarely at some of its key competitors.

Apple has announced a raft of new features for its software platforms, all of which appear to be aimed at getting ahead of major competitors such as WhatsApp and cloud-based file-sharing service Dropbox.

Speaking at the Worldwide Developer Conference on 2 June, senior vice-president of software engineering at the firm Craig Federighi told the audience that the upcoming OS X update will include some significant additions to messaging and cloud services.

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UK customers spend less cash than ever as digital payments rise

June 03 ,2014 | by Hari Sri

UK customers spend less cash than ever as digital payments rise

Consumers are turning away from cash to use other means of payment, data shows.

Cash has been the principal method of payment in the UK for centuries, but the advent of new technologies means that this is slowly changing.

According to figures published yesterday by the British Retail Consortium (BRC), shoppers in the UK are actually using less cash than ever before as they turn to alternative payment methods. In fact, the proportion of sales transactions conducted in cash declined by 3.3 per cent last year compared to 2012. As a percentage of total sales turnover, cash transactions slipped by 4.5 per cent.

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Employment set to pick up for UK graduates; finance leads

June 03 ,2014 | by Hari Sri

Employment set to pick up for UK graduates; finance leads

Finance is at the forefront of an upturn in graduate recruitment this year, according to new figures.

It’s an anxious time of year for many students, as exams give way to the inevitable period of waiting before results are published. In spite of the career advantages that a degree can bring, too, many will also be worrying about finding their first job. But for those who are concerned about their employment prospects once they graduate, some good news has appeared over the horizon.

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From the world of business: May 2014 highlights

June 02 ,2014 | by Thiago Kiwi

From the world of business: May 2014 highlights

Welcome to our news round-up for May 2014. In this round-up of the most important business news from around the world, we point you to some of the biggest news stories that have had people talking during the past month.

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Lloyds gets closer to ‘40% women leadership by 2020’ target

June 02 ,2014 | by Sarah Parkin

Lloyds gets closer to ‘40% women leadership by 2020’ target

Lloyds Banking Group has hired a top female executive as it pushes towards its goal of increasing female representation in leadership roles.

The group has continued with its plans to hire more women in senior roles last week, after it announced the appointment of another top female executive.

Mary Hall will become the new group audit director at the firm, one of its most senior roles. She will also become the second most senior women in the organisation after Alison Brittain, who runs the bank’s retail side.

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Argentina sets plans to repay $10 billion Paris Club debt

May 30 ,2014 | by Sarah Parkin

Argentina sets plans to repay $10 billion Paris Club debt

Argentina may have established a path back into the global community with a plan to settle its debts.

News has emerged that the Latin American country has reached an agreement with the Paris Club, an organisation which represents the creditor governments of industrialised countries.

The terms of the deal make clear that the nation will pay off some $10 billion in arrears over a period of five years, with the first repayment due in May 2015.

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Twitter founder’s startup set to offer financial support for small businesses

Twitter founder’s startup set to offer financial support for small businesses

Twitter founder Jack Dorsey’s payment platform startup Square has announced that it plans to start a credit service to give small firms and businesses, and SMEs in general, a boost.

The past few years have seen an explosion in alternative finance. As firms have been forced to look away from banks and traditional lenders for credit, the likes of crowdfunding and venture capital have shot up in popularity.

Now, mobile payments platform Square has announced it plans to start offering its own small credit service.

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More jobs for UK graduates prompts rise in hiring

More jobs for UK graduates prompts rise in hiring

Vacancies for graduates in the UK are increasing, figures show, prompting an uptick in hires.

The past few years have been tough for graduates seeking their first roles after university. An increase in the number of people pursuing further study and an economic downturn that put businesses off hiring new staff has kept competition fierce, though it varies from sector to sector.

But figures released on 28 May show that hiring intentions are finally increasing for graduates.

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Regional SMEs close to matching London growth

Regional SMEs close to matching London growth

Small businesses across the country are getting close to growth rates seen in London.

Businesses in the UK have often said that they are concerned about the dominance of London when it comes to economic growth.

But while companies in the capital remain ahead overall, a report in the Telegraph shows that some smaller businesses across all regions are not far behind London firms’ success.

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Lloyds Bank confirms TSB IPO float on London Stock Exchange

May 28 ,2014 | by Hari Sri

Lloyds Bank confirms TSB IPO float on London Stock Exchange

Lloyds Banking Group has confirmed that it will be selling off a 25 per cent stake in TSB next month.

The London Stock Exchange has seen a flurry of flotations recently, but the latest company to have announced its intention to list is set to be one of the most closely watched this year.

To comply with the divestment that was mandated by the European Union, Lloyds Banking Group has confirmed that it is planning to sell the first round of shares in TSB next month.

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UK plans opening business centres across Pakistan

May 28 ,2014 | by Hari Sri

UK plans opening business centres across Pakistan

UK Trade and Investment (UKTI) has announced its plan to open a series of business centres across Pakistan in a bid to encourage trade.

The government has been trying to rebalance the UK economy in favour of manufacturing and exports to kickstart a fresh period of economic growth. Now, the body set up to encourage greater trade with foreign markets has taken another step towards closer trading links between the UK and Pakistan.

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Spain and Greece get higher credit ratings

May 27 ,2014 | by Sarah Parkin

Spain and Greece get higher credit ratings

Spain and Greece were among the eurozone countries that suffered the most during the recession. Both have had their credit ratings raised last week.

The past few years have seen many European economies take serious hits as a result of the economic downturn. But for Spain and Greece, news emerged on 23 May that may give their slow recoveries a much-needed boost – both have had their credit ratings upgraded.

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EU and US restart talks for transatlantic trade deal

May 27 ,2014 | by Sarah Parkin

EU and US restart talks for transatlantic trade deal

European Union (EU) and United States (US) officials are involved in a new round of talks to establish a huge new trade deal. After remarkable results in the latest European Parliament elections, what will this mean for businesses?

This week has seen the launch of a new wave of talks to create the biggest trade deal in history. Officials from the world’s two most developed economies, US and EU, are coming together to discuss the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP).

Both governments claim that TTIP would lead to huge economic benefits for each side. So what is this vast agreement and where could it lead?

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Big firms flock to be listed in London's stock exchanges

May 23 ,2014 | by Sarah Parkin

Big firms flock to be listed in London's stock exchanges

A raft of companies have announced plans to list in London over the past few days and weeks.

London has been a global financial centre for centuries, but the past few weeks have seen its status cemented as a wave of companies have announced that they plan to pursue initial public offerings (IPO) on London’s stock exchanges.

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World Cup 2014: How can Small Businesses make the most of it?

World Cup 2014: How can Small Businesses make the most of it?

Strict licensing rules may be in place, but small and medium enterprises (SME) can still use the World Cup as a major opportunity.

It’s one of the biggest sporting events on earth, but although it arrives only once every four years, many smaller businesses tend to dread the Fifa World Cup.

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eBay hacked, urges 128 million active users to change passwords

eBay hacked, urges 128 million active users to change passwords

E-commerce giant eBay has had to ask 128 million active users to change their passwords after it emerged that it had fallen victim to a cyber attack and its database had been compromised.

Since it emerged that many of the web’s biggest sites had been hit by the Heartbleed bug, potentially compromising a vast amount of personal data, web users have been even more concerned about where the next big data breach was coming from.

But on 21 May, eBay admitted that not even the e-commerce giant itself was immune, after it emerged that one of its databases was compromised during late February and early March.

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