Top tips for a fail-safe electronic financial transaction

When you use electronic financial transactions such as Online banking and phone banking in your everyday enterprise, always take note that you are placing yourself at risk of fraud and security breaches which could lead identity theft or worse to an expenditure of your entire bank account balance.

electronic financial transactionsTo protect yourself from all these dangers, always remember these helpful tips when doing electronic financial transactions.

  1. Always install security programs provided by your financial establishment.
  2. Do not record or expose your personal information such as in a diary or your wallet where they can easily be seen by anyone and do not give out your personal information to anyone including the employees of your financial establishment.
  3. Always use a different login or password for your bank accounts and certificates. Reset and change them occasionally for added protection.
  4. Visit financial transaction websites by typing the URL unto the address bar or through the use of your Favorites link.
  5. Avail and register for the service which notifies you of electronic transaction history.
  6. Always remember to avoid accessing Online banking from public places such as Internet cafes or from shared computers.
  7. Do not open spam or suspicious emails that could contain phishing links. Always see to it to scan files before opening or storing any email attachment.
  8. If you received notices or emails concerning bank loans, promos or an anomaly in your account always see to it to contact your financial establishment for confirmation.

Simply follow the tips above and you are assured of a worry- free electronic financial transaction every time.


One Step Closer To Its Grave: Google Starts Removing Links To Reader From Its Top Menus



Google is shutting down Google Reader on July 1 and to say that quite a few people are unhappy about this move would be an understatement. Today, Google Reader moved one step closer to its grave as Google is now quietly removing links to it from the black menu that graces the top of virtually every core Google product. Google Reader itself, of course, is still available for the time being.

For now, it seems the link is only gone from Gmail. It’s still available from other products (including Reader itself) and the main search page, but judging from the reaction on Twitterand other sites, it’s clear that this was the main gateway to Reader for many of its users. Chances are, it’s just a matter of time before any mention of Reader will be gone from all of Google’s menus. These changes, after all, always tend to take a while to propagate across Google’s properties.

Oddly enough, Google is still allowing new users to start using Reader, but that may just be because there is nobody left on the team to make any major changes to its code.

Google didn’t waste any time after it announced the closure of Reader. Right after Google’s CEO Larry Page made the announcement, Google already removed its official app from its Play Store and we’ll likely see more of this in the near future.


How to make an infographic online: five essential free tools

Given the popularity of infographics, you’d be wise to consider using them to help achieve your content marketing goals. They can be great for social sharing, blog fodder and inbound links.

The last time I created an infographic I used – wait for it – Microsoft Excel. Thankfully there are now some far better options, and they’re surprisingly easy to use.

I have compiled five of online tools that will help you to create infographics. They’re all free, though some require registration (or to connect your Twitter or Facebook account) and most have the upgrade options.

Hold on a moment!

Before you begin, consider that many infographics are often – to quote Econsultancy Research Director Linus Gregoriadis – “high on graphics and low on information”.

As such it is important to map out your story / message / goals before starting to work on the design itself.

There’s a great post on the LEWIS PR blog that explains how to optimise an infographic, based around three key questions, which are:

1. What type of infographic do we want, and what type of data will we be collecting?

2. What parts of the infographic do we know already, and which parts will the designer determine?

3. What basic graphic elements would we like to use and how?

Sound advice, and it’s worth remembering that old proverb about “he who fails to plan, plans to fail”.

Ok, let’s now take a look at these lovely tools.


Easelly allows you to create your own infographics using its ‘Vhemes’, which are infographic templates that you can customise. It does a good line in icons and graphics too.


We’ve used Piktochart to create some of our own infographics. It provides you with a choice of six free templates (more are available if you upgrade). Colour themes are easy to change, and you can create charts manually or by uploading CSV files.


Infogram is very easy to use, with six templates, and – infographics aside – it is also great for creating standalone charts.


Creately is a ‘diagramming’ tool, which can help you to wireframe an infographic before putting it into production. It includes a new real-time collaboration feature, allowing you to work on a design with a colleague or client simultaneously.


Visually has templates that allow you to create infographics based around Twitter or Facebook data. Alternatively, and if you don’t have the time to produce your own infographic, then check out the Visually marketplace. They start from $1,495 and typically take at least 18 days to produce.

I’m sure there are some others out there but these tools are all useful in helping you to quickly make infographics online. What others have you seen?

Reposted from:Chris Lake is Director of Product Development at Econsultancy, an entrepreneur and a long-term internet fiend. Follow him on Twitter, Google+ or connect via Linkedin.

3 Low-Cost Tools for Better Virtual Meetings


3 Low-Cost Tools for Better Virtual Meetings

Between clients, consultants, and telecommuters, chances are you work with a lot of people who never step foot inside your office — if you even have a physical office at all. Plenty of entrepreneurs run virtual companies that exist only in cyberspace.

One way to keep employees and clients on the same page is by conducting virtual meetings. But how do you get started? Beyond much-used digital conferencing tools such as Skype or Go2Meeting, a crop of new options have emerged that allow entrepreneurs to efficiently collaborate over video.

Here’s a look at three tools that can help you keep everyone in the loop:

1. Google Hangout 
All your team members or clients need to join a Google Hangout is a Google login and a webcam. Launch the application from inside Google Plus then invite up to 10 people to join you.

What makes Hangout unique is that it allows you to view and collaborate on Google docs while still maintaining visual contact with multiple people on the webcam. You can also add voice-only participants by clicking the “Telephone” tab at the top of the page, or the “+telephone” link on the left side of the invite screen.

Voice calls are free in the U.S. and Canada. International fees range from 2 cents to $1 a minute depending on the country and if it’s a landline or mobile phone. Since no download is required, Google Hangout is one of the fastest ways to set up a virtual meeting.

Related: 4 Tools for High-Def Video Conferencing

2. WebEx Meetings
Cisco’s WebEx Meetings can be a handy tool for group projects. The selling point for this app is a feature they call Meeting Spaces. It’s a cloud-based file sharing site that houses all the documents your team needs for the meeting. Upload presentations, checklists, budgets and agendas. Team members can access the information prior to the meeting so there’s no wasted time once you get started.

Since it’s cloud-based, participants can log on through the browser of their PC, tablet or smartphone. While you’re on the call, you can use the instant messaging feature to have a side chat with another member. This is an excellent way to have specific questions answered that don’t pertain to the whole group.

WebEx Meetings if free for up to three people per meeting. The premium plan includes up to 25 people for $49 a month.

Related: Video Conference Etiquette for Dummies (Video)

3. FuzeBox
Fuzebox is a glossy, high-tech tool for conferencing that can handle any kind of high-definition content including slide shows and movies. You can have up to 12 participants, each on their own HD video feed so it’s as close as you’re going to get to a face-to-face meeting.

The secret to Fuzebox is using its native apps. Instead of sending everyone to a browser site, users connect through apps specifically designed for the iPhone, iPad, Android phone, PC or Mac. That means no connection or compatibility issues.

When you run a Fuzebox conference, you can share your desktop or files, annotate on screen and control another computer remotely. You can also assign permissions to users blocking some participants from engaging directly with the content or and mute mics during a presentation.

Fuzebox starts at $15 a month for up to 15 non-HD attendees and goes up to $69 a month for full-featured service. If you routinely share videos or large files in your meetings, Fuzebox might be worth the price.

image credit: Shutterstock

Read more stories about: Virtual Assistant, Tools, Video conferences, Virtual Business