Talkmobile Now Operates On the Vodafone Network

Written by Karen Bryan

Talkmobile are one of several virtual mobile phone providers in the UK. This means that they piggyback onto the network of one of the major mobile phone providers such as Three, O2, Vodafone or EE.

I’ve been a Talkmobile customer since March this year. I use their £15 a month X-Large 30 Day SIM with offers 15GB per month, with tethering permitted. That plan also includes 2500 minutes and 5000 texts.

When I joined Talkmobile, they were piggybacking on the O2 network. Talkmobile only offered a 3G signal. I didn’t see that as a huge issue, as I have only rarely been able to connect to a 4G signal on my other mobile phone contract with Three.

I recently received a text from Talkmobile saying that they had now partnered with Vodafone and that I would soon be able to receive a 4G signal. That’s fair enough, if I am ever able to find a 4G signal.

My concern is that Talkmobile will use offering 4G as an excuse to increase the price of my mobile phone plan from the current £15 a month. At least I am on a 30 day contract, so I have the option to give 30 day’s notice to quit Talkmobile.

7 Things You Need To Look Out For When Purchasing Payments Technology

Written by Karen Bryan

Businesses need to be on constant lookout for the latest technologies to make their operations easier and significantly smoother than before. Whether it’s about their core competencies or support functions, businesses that take time to adapt to the latest trends and technologies are ruthlessly left behind. At the same time, incorporating the most recent payment tools into a business without having prior knowledge about the specifics may end up harming the company, especially when it comes to businesses for whom financial transactions are an integral part of the daily services.

To avoid the bane of a bad decision, businesses need to take into account the following factors when purchasing payments technology.

1. Launch Date and Frequency of Updates

One of the foremost things to consider when buying payments technology is the balance between how up to date the technology is and how long it has been in the market. Due to the changing pace of e-commerce and digital evolution, technology tends to become obsolete within a matter of months.

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Not All Tourist City Cards Are a Good Buy

Written by Karen Bryan

It can be tempting to purchase a city card for sightseeing when you are on a trip. Most city card promote themselves as a way to save money.

However, it’s a good idea to check out if buying a city pass will actually save you money.

Before my recent trip to Porto, I did attempt to do some research into the Porto Card. But the website wasn’t very user-friendly. The Porto Card listed 170 benefits and discounts.

As a four-day Porto Card, including transport on the buses, Metro and local trains, only cost 33 Euro, I decided to buy one.The price for a four-day Porto Card with no transport included was 15 Euro.

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I’m Not Impressed by Waitrose

Written by Karen Bryan

As Halifax Cashback Extras was offering 10% cashback on shopping at Waitrose, I decided to go to do some food shopping in Waitrose. I was also attracted by the free coffee on offer to customers who are members of  the myWaitrose loyalty club. Plus I wanted to have a look around the adjacent TK Maxx.

Now I am aware that Waitrose doesn’t promote itself as a cheap supermarket, its focus is on quality and customer service. But I expect to find some basic items such as a 4 pint carton of milk at the standard supermarket price of £1.

I was incredulous at the prices in Waitrose. The cheapest peanut butter was well over £1,  I can buy it in Tesco for 65p. The cheapest pack of 24 breakfast wheat biscuits were also well over £1, I can buy them in Tesco for  75p.

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How the SEPA Payments Initiative Is Transforming European Business Transactions

Written by Karen Bryan

Financial transactions are an integral element of an economic system, be it of a highly developed country or a state that is struggling to make ends meet. One can’t do enough when it comes to refining the world of transactions; there is always room for improvement and always a capacity to innovate. The European Union recently took an initiative to revolutionise the region’s payment system by introducing the Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA). The change is still ongoing when it comes to the payment procedures via mobile and online payments, but has been implemented completely when it comes to Credit Transfer and Direct Debit systems.

The introduction of the Euro enabled the citizens of the European region and the businesses in it to make payments in cash all across the euro area by use of only one currency. SEPA is an attempt to enable them to be able to make cashless payments across the European region by using only one payment account, without having to take care of a separate set of conditions based on the location as long as it’s within Europe.

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Hike in Nationwide FlexPlus Account Monthly Fee

Written by Karen Bryan

I was annoyed to read that the present £10 monthly fee charged on the Nationwide FlexPlus current account is to be hiked by 30% to £13 a month from 21 September 2017.

As if that weren’t bad enough, Nationwide are ditching the current 12 month extended warranty available on many household electrical items costing more than £50. For me, this was one of the most valuable benefits of having a Nationwide FlexPlus current account.

So it’s pay more to receive less from the Nationwide FlexPlus current account.

I feel that there has a been a steady stream of bad news from financial providers in the last year. There have been dramatic reductions in the rate of interest paid on accounts e.g. the 3% interest paid on balances of up to £20,000 in the Santander 123 Current Account halved to 1.5%. That was an annual loss of interest of £300 if you held the full £20,000 in the account.

When you factor in that inflation (measured by CPI) is close to 3%, savings earning less than this rate are losing their spending power. As far as I can see, that is almost all savings accounts, except some monthly saver accounts in which the maximum balance is usually only a few thousand pounds.

The only saving grace for my finances is that my annuity is linked to inflation, as measured by the generally higher RPI, so at least it is maintaining its spending power.

Using BT SmartTalk On Your Mobile Phone

Written by Karen Bryan

I’d vaguely heard of the BT SmartTalk app, which enables you to use your BT landline inclusive minutes on your mobile phone.

At present, I have 2,500 minutes a month on my TalkMobile X-Large 30 Day SIM. So I wasn’t sure how useful BT SmartTalk would be, as your mobile phone has to be connected to the internet before you can use BT SmartTalk.

I decided to try decided to try BT SmartTalk for two reasons.

Firstly, the fact that 0845 and 0870 numbers are included in my BT Anytime Calls package, so I’d be able to call them free of charge using BT SmartTalk. Whereas, I would have to pay for calls to 0845 and 0870 numbers on the TalkMobile plan.

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Why Discount Vouchers Are Better Than Cashback

Written by Karen Bryan

I recently purchased a fridge freezer on the website. The price was £279. were offering £30 cashback on the model of Hisense fridge freezer which I decided to purchase.

I always prefer discount codes to cashback. As long as the discount code is valid, the money off is guaranteed at the point of purchase. Whereas, with cashback, you can never be sure that you will receive the cashback.

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Beware of Sending Long Texts on TalkMobile

Written by Karen Bryan

I set up a maximum £1 additional spend limit on my TalkMobile X-Large 30 Day SIM account.

I wasn’t anticipating spending any more than the £15 a month, as the package included 2,500 minutes, 5,000 texts and 15GB of data.

There wasn’t an option to set the additional spend to zero, which would have been my preferred option.

However, one month I was charged 60p for two picture messages. I couldn’t understand this, as I don’t even know how to send a picture message, but I didn’t get around to querying it.

The following month, when I logged in to check how much data I had used, I saw that there was another 30p charge for a picture message. I contacted TalkMobile to try to get to the bottom of these additional charges.

Evidently, TalkMobile charge you for a picture message if you send a text comprising of more than 160 characters.

I found this strange as with both my other current provider Three, and my former provider BT Mobile, when I sent a text message which was  over 160 characters it was sent as two separate messages, thereby avoiding breaching the 160 character limit.

TalkMobile were unable to give me a reason why they didn’t split a longer text message into separate texts.

I can only assume that it is make a bit of extra revenue by charging unsuspecting customers who send an occasional long text message.


Recycling Has Become an Complicated Pain

Written by Karen Bryan

Recycling your rubbish has become such a pain. It was so much simpler when you had one black bin which was emptied every week.

Now with most bins being emptied every fortnight, or even every four weeks, if you miss a bin day e.g. you are away on holiday, your bin could be sitting umemptied for weeks. This isn’t ideal, especially with food waste in the Summer. Also if you are a large family, your bin is likely to be overflowing.

In Berwick upon Tweed, Northumberland Council don’t even offer roadside recycling for glass. You are supposed to take it glass recycling points yourself.

Why am I paying so much in Council Tax to be told that all the rubbish won’t be collected from outside my home?

It’s confusing remembering what can go into your blue recycling bin in Berwick-upon-Tweed. You can put in thin cardboard .e.g. a cereal box, but not thick cardboard. I thought that all types of cardboard could be recycled.

I’ve never sure if all plastic wrapping can go into the recycling bin.

Tetra packs (used for long life milk and fruit juice cartons), can only be recycled in a few areas of the country, which doesn’t include Berwick upon Tweed.

What a palaver. And that’s living in a house where your bins are just outside the back door. What about living in a flat? Where are you going to find the space for several containers into which to place various categories of rubbish?

In some flats there are communal bins for some types of rubbish. Who is going to wheel out these bins on the correct bin days? Whereas if each flat only has one refuse bin, it is the responsibility of the occupier of each flat to take out their own bin weekly.

Then you have the expense to the local authority of buying different bin lorries for the different types of rubbish, plus buying all the different bins. Wouldn’t it be simpler to force food suppliers to use less packaging?