FinTech Has a Daily Impact on Our Lives

FinTech Has a Daily Impact on Our Lives

What is FinTech?

Money is what makes the world go around, or so they say. Everyone is in business to make money, but the degree to which the organization deals with it might vary. For example, some companies, like banks, are designed to make money by helping others manage theirs. Banks and marketplace lenders take advantage of what is called financial technology, or FinTech, to more effectively provide services to individuals or organizations that want to manage, borrow, pay, see, or use their money in more efficient ways.

Banks are more subject to specific regulations, whereas marketplace lenders, or MPLs, are still somewhat on the upswing. FinTech helps them lend, collect, and distribute capital. MPLs have risen in popularity in recent years, and it’s likely because an estimated $7 trillion is at risk of being displaced from the financial services market. They take advantage of modern technology, which ultimately means that they are at less risk overall than with any other non-regulated financial transaction. Legislators are hard at work creating ways to regulate these organizations without keeping them from innovating, but this proves challenging, as there needs to be something in place to protect consumers.

What is FinTech?

Simply put, FinTech is any sort of technology that is used to track or manage your finances. This includes your credit card, online banking systems, and even applications like PayPal. While technology isn’t anything new in this regard, the drastic changes to hardware and software in recent years have fostered growth in this sector, providing new mediums outside of the traditional banking infrastructure. Whereas banks have been run in largely the same way for a long time now, MPLs have a considerably larger amount of virtual capital that allows these companies to invest in ways that other independent organizations could only dream of. Basically, thanks to FinTech, investors have more options than ever before.

These days, most money is flowing through asset managers who take the money and invest it in non-traditional methods through technology systems. Even defining FinTech is an issue at times due to the scope of what it covers, including where the company operates and what kind of lending facility it is. Overall, regarding federal regulations, the latest FinTech models present questionable situations that need to be addressed by legislators. Federal investigators have had their eye on this sector for around five years now, so compared to banks that are somewhat limited in what they can and cannot use their capital for, marketplace lenders have been able to bypass these restrictions to create new opportunities.

Payday Loans

Independent lenders are certainly nothing new for the financial industry either, but they have always had a negative connotation associated with them. One of the more controversial lending organizations out there is the payday loan market, which lets users take advantage of fast money in the form of a short-term, high-interest loan. If the user can pay it back before their next paycheck, then the lender only charges them a small fee. If not, it gets ugly. The loan can be renewed with interest added into the equation. Generally speaking, most people would only need a couple hundred dollars that can’t wait until their next paycheck, but those who need more might find themselves in a questionable position before long. Several U.S. states have outlawed such loans specifically due to how predatory they are, but other locations that have yet to do so are seeing major challenges from FinTech lenders.

Some FinTech lenders are attempting to make getting a payday loan much different. These lenders, including LendUP and Elevate, are offering services where the big difference is that they work with borrowers rather than purposely get them into situations where they are in over their heads. This new FinTech model aims to help borrowers repair their credit by turning toward data analytics.

What FinTech services do you currently use? Would you recommend one to others? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.

Computer Tip of the Day: Internet Speed And Your Business

Computer Tip of the Day: Internet Speed And Your Business
Internet Speed

If a positive internet “surfing” experience is desired, whether at home or at the place of employment, the following points should be considered:

  • Bandwidth
  • Latency
  • Computer health
  • Internet Browser Extensions

Bandwidth is the allowance of data that may be downloaded per given unit of time. For example, if a typical DSL plan of 1-20 Megabits/sec is purchased, that means the ISP (internet service provider) will allow downloading approximately 1-20 megabits of data per second. To put that into better perspective, contrast it with the speed of a dial-up Internet connection plan of approximately 20-30 kilobits per second, which is only a very small fraction of 1 megabit. Therefore, if high-speed internet is desired, it’s probably better to not choose a dial-up internet connection plan.

However, don’t be fooled by only looking at the data allowance per second when choosing a plan. There’s a variable one must consider called network latency, and can usually only be determined by reading the reviews of a given ISP. Latency refers to the delay that data must endure after given the command to transfer, and many different factors can contribute to latency. For example, if one is considering purchasing a satellite internet plan, keep in mind that although the data allowance per second might look good, it just so happens that the latency of a satellite network could be such that it will not feel like you are using a high-speed internet connection; the internet connection will feel very slow.

After the above is considered and the internet plan is purchased, it’s pretty much up to the computer user to make sure the device being used to access the internet is in good health. Even with the fastest internet plan available, a computer in poor health will diminish the speed of the internet service being used such that all that glorious speed will not be noticeable. This means making an effort to become familiar with computer maintenance. An internet service provider might offer computer maintenance as part of a purchased plan, but it would save a lot of money to do a little research and become familiar with maintenance.

Using the internet typically happens via an internet browser. With the explosion of internet usage in the last decade, internet browsers such as Internet Explorer, Firefox, and Chrome have made available extensions or add-ons which can enhance the internet experience. Adding these to your browser, each with a specific purpose, can come with a negative side. Sometimes these extensions can cause a browser to become slow or to crash, therefore, using too many of these simultaneously can greatly diminish the speed of the internet. It would be in a computer user’s best interest to learn how to turn extensions and add-ons off.

Please contact us for a consultation.

Gmail Only Gets Better with These Extensions

Google is well-known in the technology industry for providing great tools not only for the average computer user, but professional organizations all around the world. One of the largest is Gmail, Google’s signature email solution. If you pair it with the right extensions, Gmail’s usefulness far exceeds what it can achieve on its own. Today’s blog will help you optimize your efficiency using Google Chrome extensions for Gmail.

Some Background Information

Before we tell you which applications to download, we want to provide a little background information about where to get apps and how to acquire them. First thing’s first; you’ll want to use the Google Chrome web browser, as it provides the most seamless connectivity between Gmail and the extensions we’ll be discussing.

As for the extensions, you can find them on the Chrome web store. If you’ve never visited the web store before, you might be surprised by the sheer volume of applications and extensions that you can leverage to your advantage–all with the ability of improving your user experience. To access the Chrome web store, just search for Chrome App Store in the bar at the top of the web browser. Once you’ve done this, just follow the links. You can also browse it through your Gmail inbox by clicking the nine-button menu in the title bar. If you already use Chrome often, you will see your most used apps here as well.

Once you’re in the Chrome web store, you should notice the search bar in the left column of the interface, with a display for the applications on the right.

All you have to do is search for our suggested apps (see them below) and you can improve your Gmail experience exponentially.

Boomerang

Boomerang is an extension that allows you to check if an email hasn’t been responded to within a certain amount of time. It can also allow for many other functions such as scheduling a message to be sent at a later date, tracking responses, requesting receipts, and AI integration to help write better emails.

Todoist for Gmail

Todoist is a task manager with Gmail integration. You can transform your emails into specific individual tasks which can then then be aggregated and finished. If you are someone who needs lists in order to remain productive, Todoist is a great tool for you.

Ginger

Ginger is a great spelling and grammar checker for your Gmail. It’s perfect for someone who doesn’t use proper grammar or spelling.

Mailvelope

Mailvelope is a security solution that can keep your Gmail messages safe from interference. It encrypts emails and attachments so that sensitive information remains safe from prying eyes.

Checker Plus for Gmail

The Checker Plus for Gmail extension lets you access your Gmail inbox right from the extension bar at the top of your browser. You might be surprised by how much time you’ll save. This even allows for many of the same functions as the normal version of Gmail.

What are some of your favorite Google Chrome extensions? Let us know in the comments.

Tech Terminology: Chromebook

Tech Terminology: Chromebook
Tech Terminology Chromebook

Chromebooks are a pretty common device at this point, and this popularity only makes sense. For many, the Chromebook offers basic features that serve their purposes well, but there are those who wouldn’t be satisfied with their capabilities. This week, our Tech Term is Chromebook, so let’s take a closer look to gain a deeper understanding of them.

Comparing Laptops and Chromebooks

While they might look similar in structure, there are a few considerable differences between the Chromebook and the conventional laptop computer. Overall, the Chromebook will be generally more limited than many laptops, based on the make and model of each. This can vary, though, so it is important to completely understand your requirements for the device before you decide on one option over another.

Generally speaking, there are three differences that will most likely shift your decision one way or another.

Available Operating Systems and Software

Based on the manufacturer of the device, a conventional laptop will either have Windows or Mac OS installed on it. Once in a blue moon, you may come across a laptop with Linux installed. As for Chromebooks, it should come as no surprise that they exclusively leverage the Chrome operating system – after all, that is where they get their name. Depending on your requirements, this could be a pro or a con.

For instance, consider how much you rely on third-party applications to accomplish your business’ goals. As the Chrome OS doesn’t play nice with most of them, a Chromebook may not be the best choice for a third-party heavy workflow, as tempting as the cost savings over a Windows laptop may be. On the other hand, if you more or less only use web applications and Google’s offering, a full-powered laptop may not be the most cost-effective option for you when compared to a Chromebook.

Also, today’s newest Chromebooks allow the use of mobile apps and Google Play integrations, providing users the freedom to choose between Chrome OS-specific apps or their mobile counterparts.

Available Storage

While both of these devices usually feature an SSD, or solid state drive, their storage capacity is typically dramatically different. A laptop can be scalable in terms of its storage, making it a more flexible option, but this also impacts the cost of the device. Alternatively, Chromebooks frequently have no on-board storage beyond the small SSD that holds the device’s operating system, relying on cloud storage to store files. This tends to lead to both reduced prices for the simple Chromebook, as well as a much faster boot time than one would find in a regular laptop.

Price

Of course, if you’re trying to supply a business with equipment, one of your first concerns will be how much that equipment is going to cost that business. As one might expect, the minimalist Chromebook has a much lower price-point than a comparable laptop, especially if the full functionality of a laptop isn’t required. This often makes them a great solution for business purposes.

Having said that, it is important to remember that you get what you pay for. If there is a chance that you will need a device to do more in the near future, it may be a better strategy to proactively purchase the laptop, as it will be capable of keeping up with your shifting usage.

If you still can’t pick which device is best suited to your circumstances, reach out to the professionals at AE Technology Group. We have the experience to make the right call for your needs. Give us a call at (516) 536-5006.

Tech Term of the Week: Motherboard

Tech Term of the Week: Motherboard
Tech Term Motherboard Chipset

Your computer is built from countless parts and intricacies, one of which is the motherboard. In this weeks’ tech term, we’ll go in-depth into what the motherboard does for your computer, as well as why it’s so critical for continued operation.

What the Motherboard Does

The motherboard is essentially the computer’s internal control center, or its “brain.” It’s the communication hub of your device. It’s basically the central circuit board that your device’s components connect to and share data with, helping your computer do its job. Without a motherboard, you can’t really call a computer, a computer.

The motherboard is the first part of the computer that receives power. Once it has booted up, it will then power up the other components.

The Parts of the Motherboard

Each motherboard has several parts that are needed in order to function properly. Depending on the model, you may have different parts or specifications. Regardless, all motherboards will contain the same basic components.

  • Chipset: The device’s chipset is what allows your data to be transferred to other components throughout the motherboard. You’ll see two different sides of the motherboard’s chipset: the Northbridge and the Southbridge. Communication to other components is made possible through the chipset.
  • CPU: The CPU (Central Processing Unit) is the part of the computer that transfers data from the Northbridge to the different parts of your PC. A more powerful CPU creates a faster and better experience for the user.
  • Slots: The slots of the motherboard are used to hold together its parts. Here are some of those parts:
    • Random Access Memory, or RAM
    • PCI(e), which connects to expansion cards, like video, network, or sound cards
    • SATA, which connect to storage drives like HDD and SSD

Let us know what you think we should cover for future tech terms in the comments below.