Monday, October 6, 2014

Mobile Payment ~ A new way to pay.

I love modern technology and access the internet several times a day from either my laptop, PC, tablet,smart phone and even our TV. And with the development of apps technology has made life simpler with most things a tap of your screen away. 

You can do everything from shop online, check out what's showing at your local cinema, order pizza and pay your bills. There is even an app that allows you to collate all of your store cards, therefore freeing up space in your wallet or purse.

But it seems that this convenience is being taken one step further with the development of a new type of app from some of the BIG developers out there.

NFC mobile payment

Mobile Payment

Who's the prime mover in this new way to pay?

"Gone are the days of searching your wallet. The wasted moments finding the right card. The swiping and waiting. Now payments happen with a single touch. Apple Pay will change how you pay with breakthrough contactless payment technology and unique security features built right into the devices you have with you everyday."

That's if you believe the trumpeting on the website accompanying the Apple Pay launch that was announced on 9 September. Their blurb obviously leans towards their brand new mobile payment system that's just slapped its money down on the counter in the mobile payment market, allowing you to (according to Apple, again): "Use your iPhone 6 or Apple Watch to pay in an easy, secure, and private way."

But oranges (or apples) are not the only fruit. So we thought we'd take a look at the options in what looks like the latest technology war where the big names fight to help you spend your dollars on your mobile whilst taking a little slice along the way.

What's it all about?

Okay, let's start on page one. What exactly is mobile payment?

Well, the concept has been around since before mobile phones became the indispensable item they are today. In fact, you've been able to make payments to people using just your mobile number for a few years.

What we're talking about are NFC (Near-Field Communication) payments, which allow you to use your phone to pay for things by simply waving it in the direction of the till.    

To use, simply install an app, then top up your phone with cash from a credit card or your bank account and start spending.

Those early adopting Scandinavians are already way ahead in the payment race. According to this blog on The Economist site, Sweden's four big mobile-phone operators clubbed together to launch WyWallet, their own payment system, in the the middle of 2013.

In Australia, it looks like the usual suspects will be vying for top spot in the mobile payment market.
Step forward Google and Apple.

The two main contenders

Apple Pay

Apple Pay uses payment tokens - randomly generated numbers that mobile devices use for transaction instead of your credit card number. Somebody managed to compromise your token number? No worries, as that number was unique to that transaction and didn't contain any sensitive details such as your credit card number.

Where Apple - or more specifically, the new iPhone 6 - steals a march is with their integral Touch ID feature, a security measure that uses your fingerprint as a pass code to allow access to the phone.

When it comes to extracting their cut, Apple won't be charging shoppers or retailers. In an FAQ page on Apple's site, the company confirms that Apple Pay fees will not be charged to "users, merchants, or developers." So it looks like banks will be the ones footing the bill.

Google Wallet

Google Wallet has been around for a couple of years in the US and does pretty much an identical job as Apple Pay on the Android platform. In case you didn't know, that's the operating system that everyone else but iPhone owners use.
Problem is, Google haven't been shouting about it and accordingly, only the uber geeks amongst us appear to know about it.

If Google's other innovations are anything to go by, it looks like this service will soon become available in Australia, and roll out will no doubt be spurred on by Apple's recent announcement.

According to their blurb (just to keep things balanced): "Google Wallet is an easier way to pay in stores, pay your friends and pay online." A little shorter and sweeter than Apple's info, but pretty much the same offering.

It also uses payment tokens, but depending on the model of your phone, won't have the touch security feature that Apple's latest offers.

Payment-wise, again it's spot the difference. Their FAQs section states: "It's free. Their are no fees for you to set up Google Wallet and use it in stores and online. You can even send money for free from your bank account or Wallet Balance. If you'd like to send money or add to your Wallet Balance using a credit or debit card, there is a small per-transaction fee. Receiving money is always free."

So once more, it looks like they're banking on the bank to make Google Wallet pay out for them.

Same difference?

On first impressions, yes. Both systems use a very similar system and work in pretty much the same way. They allow you to spend the money in your Apple Pay or Google Wallet account online, in shops and send money to other people without any fees.

So which one's better?

Well, the only tangible difference appears to be the integral security of Apple Pay as it will only work on iPad 6 devices which, as mentioned earlier, benefit from Touch ID fingertip recognition. A bit like having a padlock straight from Bladerunner on your wallet. Google Wallet, however, will work across most Android devices, many of which don't benefit from such a high level of security.

Summing it all up

In our humble opinion, the adoption of the system by retailers will be what makes or breaks this new way of paying, not the method of payment itself. NFC readers - the clever in store gadgets that allow retailers to accept payments from mobile phones - have been quietly making their way onto shop counters for the last few years. However, they're not proving popular, particularly with the big retail chains who will have the deciding vote.

Mashable's opinion of NFC in the USA is that "Not everyone is sold on NFC. Walmart is taking a pass and Best Buy, which had NFC readers at checkouts years ago, then pulled them out in 2011 because it cost too much to maintain them."

So if the big retailers don't buy in, it looks like Google and Apple may have to spend more time developing a mobile payment system to rival the cash and plastic that we're quite happily using already.

{This article was brought to you by Fair Go Finance who provide fast and simple online loans.}

 I never wanted a smart phone and when Mr Pete suggested buying me one, I told him flat out that they were a waste of money and I'd never use it as anything more than a regular phone. A week or so later I got caught out at the Dr's office unable to pay my bill, as I had accidentally transferred the money into the wrong account (I totally blame baby brain), he ignored my decision and went ahead and bought me a smart phone.

I have to say I love it. I use it daily and couldn't imagine being without it but I'm not so sure about using it as a method of payment. Perhaps the idea will grow on me, or be forced on me like many mobile apps but for now I'm happy with cash and card.

What about you? Do you think that Apple Pay and Google Wallet are something you would use?


Friday, September 26, 2014

Buying a car for your teen ~ Which features are important?

Aside from Jaidyn preparing for her HSC (senior High School exams) she has also been preparing to get her licence. These are both pretty monumental moments in a teens life and in a parents.

It has gotten us thinking about what it will be like to have a 3rd licensed driver in the house when we only have 2 cars and as Abbey is only a couple of months off getting her Learners, we are only a year or so away from going through this all over again.

Jaidyn is obviously going to need her own car, especially for work or study next year and while I’m thankful she’s not one of those girls who is all about having a “cute” car, there are certain features that we’ll have to take into consideration.

I asked around some of my Large Family mum friends, who have gone through or are going through the same situation, to see what factors they thought were important when buying a car for their newly licensed teen.

So some of the questions I had were:
  • What features do you look for when buying a car for your teen?
  • Do you prefer a small/compact car or would you rather a larger car with more “protective cushioning”?
  • Are you brand loyal?
  • Is it about the features or the price?
  • Would you go new or second hand when purchasing a car?
  • Would you buy them the car, make them buy it themselves or do a dollar for dollar type deal with them?

And lastly
  • Would you have rules for them regarding the use of the car if they are under 18?

For starters, and one question I didn't specify, nearly all of the mums I spoke to wanted their kids to get their licence in a manual and drive a manual car. The main reasoning for this was that should they ever be in an emergency situation or have their “driver” have a few too many drinks, they can jump into pretty much any vehicle and be able to drive it. Another reason was that an automatic licence could limit job opportunities if work vehicles were manual.

Next up it was pretty unanimous that it was all about the safety features. This concern would override brand loyalty, new v’s second hand and even price in most cases.

Size of the vehicle was less important as a safety feature for some who just wanted plenty of air bags, while others were all about size, wanting 4WD or SUV’s for their kids.

Most would love to buy their children a car, but this option was not exactly viable for them as they have large families but they would happily go into a dollar for dollar purchase with their children.

As for new or second hand, it would be an issue of features as well as current financial situation but they did not rule out buying a new car for their children with the advantage of new car warranty.

Regarding rules, I think a lot of us believe that if they are mature enough to own and drive a vehicle (and we have raised them well) then they don’t really need rules. In some states there are laws regarding passengers after a certain time, zero tolerance for drugs and alcohol and speed limits, so it seems that most concerns for parents are already covered.

I’m sure if I had taken the time to question the dad’s these answers would have been very different. Mr Pete is not only brand loyal but all about the learning experience, whether it be paying for the car themselves or learning to change the oil etc. That doesn't mean he isn't super excited about what’s coming from #guesswho and tomorrow all will be revealed.

{ This was a sponsored post for #guesswho }

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Stress less, Princess ~ Simple tips for destressing

Today's post is a guest post from my eldest daughter, Jaidyn. She has some great tips on how to deal with stress.

stress relief tips

We all deal with stress. Every day. For numerous reasons. It’s something that plagues our lives and why? Because we worry, we think too much and we over-analyse. All of these contribute to more stress. As a senior in high school, I’m generally stressed. It’s only worse this time of the year with HSC exams around the corner (final exams for senior students).

So, how do we deal with stress?

Well, first we have to identify what’s stressing us out in the first place. Is it exams? Is it an upcoming event? Is it our children, our bills, our jobs? It could be all of those things. In any case, as soon as you've identified what’s stressing you out, it becomes easier to stress less.

Here are my tips for stressing less:

  • Identify what’s making you stress.
  • Practice yoga (beginner to advanced—I recommend the Tara Stiles videos from YouTube)
  • Try deep breathing.
  • Drink more water and green tea.
  • Take time for yourself. This one can be hard if you’re a busy person, but it can be as simple as taking a walk or spending a few extra minutes locked in the bathroom.
  • Try a sport. It’s been proven that sport or exercise of any kind can reduce stress due to the       endorphins released.
  • Like above, exercise! You can run, swim, bike, use the Wii (Wii Fit!) or anything you feel up to.
  • Take the time to do something you enjoy. This could be scrapbooking or reading. Just               something to take your mind off of things.
  • Journal! Now, my mum generally journals every day and she had told me that it’s like a mind   dump. It doesn't have to make sense. Just write whatever comes to mind and I guarantee         you’ll feel better. The internet also has online journals if you’re not into pen and paper.
  • Lastly, if all else fails, eliminate the things that are stressing you out. This can be hard, but         even taking a step back from the things stressing you can make a different.

Author’s Secret—chocolate works wonders, too.

I hope these tips work for you. They've worked for me!


Simple tips for destressing

Monday, September 22, 2014

Impulse Fragrances … Ahh the memories

I remember when I was 11 or 12 and Dolly magazine was warning us about the dangers of using aerosol cans because of the chlorofluorocarbons (CFC’s) and the dangers they posed to the ozone layer.

We thought we were being very environmental and cool by switching to pump spray hairspray in an effort to save the environment, but what about our beloved Impulse? It was a necessity as a preteen and teen girl going through puberty. PE lessons were like an Impulse ad with girls spraying their favourite Impulse fragrances and sharing their cans with those who had either forgotten theirs, or hadn't yet convinced their mums that Impulse was a teen girl’s best friend. I’m pretty sure my first can was a Christmas stocking filler when I was 11 and it became a recurring gift for many years.

Well thankfully we were saved from the horror of giving up our beloved and must have Impulse when they as part of the Montreal Protocol (1987) stopped using CFC’s.

Fast forward twenty plus years and Impulse is still a must have in my home, but it’s not just me that enjoys the fragrances that Impulse has to offer. No, I now have 3 teenage girls who adore their Impulse fragrances as well.

The cute little purse size cans have become a favourite for the school bag, hand bag and toiletry bag while the regular size cans can be seen lining the dressing table for everyday use.

Impulse Deodorant Fragrances
Impulse Fragrances image courtesy of

Impulse fragrances are ever evolving and changing but it’s easy to find one to love from their range.
Do you have a fond memory of Impulse Fragrances or a favourite fragrance?

{This was a sponsored post for Impulse Fragrances but all opinions are my own.}

Saturday, September 13, 2014

10 Benefits of Oil Pulling

Recently, my kids and I have been looking for a way to whiten our teeth without the unnecessary costs. Most treatments reach well into the hundred dollar mark and for a family our size, that just wasn't an option. Not to mention that they tend to be loaded with bleach and other chemicals.

Then I remembered oil pulling. I had discovered it years ago as a way of treating mouth and tooth infections and new it had whitening benefits as well.

oil pulling health benefits

Oil pulling involves swishing a tablespoon of oil around your mouth, forcing it between your teeth, for ten to fifteen minutes and then spitting it out. It is recommended that you brush your teeth before and after for maximum results. It is also recommended to do it in a morning on an empty stomach as the oil pulling will stir up some toxins and can cause weird or bad dreams if done before bed.

Grossness aside, oil pulling has many more benefits than just teeth whitening.

10 Benefits of Oil Pulling

  1. White, bright teeth
  2. Healthy gums
  3. Fresher breath
  4. Increased energy - something we all strive for
  5. Clearer mind and decreased headaches
  6. Clearer sinuses, reduction of infections and alleviated allergies
  7. Better sleep
  8. Clearer Skin
  9. Regulated menstrual cycle and alleviated PMS symptoms
  10. Improved lymphatic system

I couldn't believe it, but after just one week of oil pulling every day for 10 minutes, my skin was clearer, my teeth were whiter and my allergies were almost non-existent. The kids were seeing great results as well.

As well as these amazing benefits, oil pulling can also reduce the instances of illness and infections throughout the body, which is a definite plus in my book.

Recommended Oils

  • Coconut Oil - you can melt it first or just let it melt on your tongue. The smell and taste may be too much for some, in which case I suggest buying the version that has been processed to remove flavour.
  • Sunflower/Vegetable Oil - This is what we have been using and have seen amazing results, but from a health perspective we will be switching to coconut oil.
  • Grapeseed Oil - We have also tried this one and it works just as well as the Sunflower oil.

Beware of peanut, canola, soy, corn and cotton seed oils. These tend to be highly processed and genetically or chemically altered.

Olive Oil, although a great oil, is not recommended for oil pulling as it can leave a green tinge on your teeth.

If you would like to read more about the wonders of Oil Pulling, you can check out Wellness Mamas awesome post here and Delicious Obsessions post all about oil pulling with Coconut Oil here

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