YouTube Challenger Vessel Details Subscription, Ad-Supported Service

by Shelton on December 31st, 2014

filed under Cash Advances

Vessel launched an early version of its much anticipated online-video service Wednesday, looking to attract producers and performers ahead of a planned mass-market launch early next year.

The company, led by former Hulu CEO Jason Kilar, said it will offer both a $2.99-per-month subscription service with exclusive short-form videos and an ad-supported service like Google ‘s YouTube.

Vessel is among several Internet and media companies racing to build video libraries, including Facebook , Yahoo and Dreamworks Animation . The offerings will largely try to mimic the success of YouTube, some of whose stars have built huge followings and cut deals for movies, books and endorsements.

YouTube executives are particularly worried about Vessel, which has raised more than $75 million, according to a person familiar with the matter, and aggressively sought to poach YouTube stars. In response, YouTube has raced to lock up some of its stars to exclusive deals.

Vessels subscription service will offer exclusive access to videos for three days or more. Thereafter, the same videos would be viewable for free, accompanied by advertising.

Producers who have agreed to place content on Vessel include Alec Baldwin, who will produce and star in a show called “Love Ride,” where he advises couples while riding with them in a taxi. Some YouTube stars, including musical group Boyce Avenue and entertainment duo Rhett and Link, have also agreed to exclusivity periods with Vessel.

Vessel has struck deals for music videos from the big three recording labels — Sony Music Entertainment, Warner Music Group and Universal Music Group — though none will offer exclusive content to start.

The early version of the service — which looks like a less-cluttered version of YouTube is only available to video creators. Unlike YouTube, where anyone can upload videos, Vessel will select the videos on its site, aiming for higher quality, Kilar said. Advertisers include Frito-Lay, Geico and Gap.

Kilar says the inexpensive subscriptions and strong fan bases of Vessel’s performers will attract subscribers, even though Internet users are not accustomed to paying for short-form video content.

But first Vessel must attract more video makers. Some have hesitated because they are skeptical of Vessel’s business model, according to people familiar with the matter.

To entice them, Vessel has offered cash advances and a portion of subscription fees to some video makers, depending on how often their videos are viewed. Video-makers will also get 70% of advertising revenues associated with their videos, more than the 55% they typically receive from YouTube.

YouTube, which has more than one billion users, has responded by offering bonuses to lock up some of its own stars to exclusive content arrangements. It is also planning its own subscription services; it began testing a music subscription service last month.


For the latest news and analysis, follow @wsjd

Get breaking news and personal-tech reviews delivered right to your inbox.

More from WSJ.D: And make sure to visit WSJ.D for all of our news, personal tech coverage, analysis and more, and add our XML feed to your favorite reader.

Alleged Credit Card Conman Exposed in Patong by Phuketwan Reader

by Shelton on December 31st, 2014

filed under Cash Advances

The Phuket case raises the issue of whether more people who face serious allegations could be changing their names via deed poll to flee to Thailand and other countries.

Using the name Taylor Grainger, the Kiwi was arrested last week after Patong police allegedly caught the 41-year-old with 1.2g of methamphetamine and 0.95g of cocaine.

New Zealands Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade said there had been confusion over his name, which is actually Grainge Taylor.

A Phuketwan reader alerted the editor to the possibility the man had another identity and NZ Herald inquiries showed Taylor was originally known in New Zealand as Grainge Marriott Madgwick.

He took what is believed to be his wifes surname after police began investigating allegations of credit card fraud against him in 2010, the Herald reported.

Births, Deaths and Marriages officials in NZ have since confirmed Madgwick changed his name on December 13, 2010, to Grainge Taylor.

The Herald understands that Madgwick left the country the following month under his new name, before a warrant was issued for his arrest in August 2012.

The warrant was issued due to Mr Madgwick failing to appear on a number of fraud-related charges, said a police spokesman, who confirmed the warrant was still active.

The revelations follow the case in New Zealand of convicted murderer and child abuser Phillip John Smith, who fled to Brazil while on temporary release from Springhill prison using a passport he obtained under his birth name.

Madgwick was alleged to have spent more than $100,000 using credit card accounts belonging to up to 10 other people – including family members – sparking an overhaul of a banks online application process back in 2010.

Investigators stated Madgwick used the details of others to get credit cards and applied for them online.

He was listed on credit card application forms as an additional cardholder and under bank rules at the time, any spending was charged to the primary card holder.

Among those who were stung by Madgwicks alleged con was a man he met at an Auckland bar.

The man, who became friends with Madgwick and drank regularly with him, said he was astounded when a collection agency called and demanded $22,000 for debt on a banks credit card.

The man, who asked to remain anonymous, said Madgwick spent the money during a two-month splurge in 2009. He bought groceries, liquor at bars and at wholesalers and made many cash advances.

The man recognised Madgwick when he saw his picture in Phuketwan on Boxing Day and emailed the editor.

New Zealands Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade said Madgwicks family were receiving consular assistance.

Madgwick was being held in Phuket Prison today, jail officials confirmed. He has denied selling drugs and says he kept them for personal use only.

Its likely an extradition order will be sought by New Zealand officials.

The comment on an earlier article from the Phuketwan reader, passed on to Phuket police and the New Zealand Herald, read: Let the cops know his real name is Grainge Madgwick (spelling) from Taranaki.

Couple tried to use stolen credit cards at Monticello raceway, police say

by Shelton on December 30th, 2014

filed under Cash Advances

Coleman and Durham were then recognized by security personnel due to previous incidents in the use of stolen credit card numbers to obtain cash advances and Monticello police were then notified. Police said Coleman and Durham had used stolen credit cards on at least two previous occasions at the same location to get cash advances using stolen credit card numbers.

When Coleman was searched by arresting officers, he was found with 13 various credit cards in his name, all with stolen credit cards numbers. Coleman was also in possession of marijuana and hashish oil when he was arrested, police said.

Coleman was charged with 13 counts of criminal possession of a forged instrument, 13 counts of identity theft and 13 counts of grand larceny, all felonies. He was also charged with misdemeanor criminal possession of a controlled substance and unlawful possession of marijuana, a violation.

Durham was charged with two counts of criminal possession of a forged instrument, two counts of identity theft and two counts of grand larceny, all felonies.

Both were sent to the Sullivan County Jail, with Durham#x2019;s bail set at $10,000 and Coleman#x2019;s bail set at $50,000. Coleman is also currently on probation in Queens for a prior felony conviction of weapon possession..

The Sullivan County District Attorney Office was assisting Monticello Police in an ongoing investigation.

BT rides to top with super cover

by Shelton on December 30th, 2014

filed under Personal Funding

Offering life insurance via its superannuation wrap has secured BT Financial Group (BTFG) top spot in both Super Risk categories (See also: Adviser Choice Super Risk Disability Income Product 2014).

BTFG, Life Insurance Products, National Manager Scott Moffit said advisers were able to access the same Term Life, with linked TPD Benefit directly from BTFG or via the platform and could offer flexibility in how the client paid for it.

He said while BTFG now also offered life insurance through super on the Asgard as well as BTFG platforms the focus had been in ensuring and reinforcing that the quality of Term Life, with linked TPD Benefit was the same on the platform as it was off the platform.

The Russell Super Solution secured Silver with Russell Investments Business Strategy amp; Operations Director Jason Marler stating that its default cover and great scale were able to provide excellent terms for super fund members accessing the product.

I think thats one thing we do quite well. We have got a really good balance between excellent default cover and automatic acceptance terms but also where people want to take out more cover we encourage them to do that but its properly risk assessed, Marler said.

We have focused on keeping things fair and having the right members pay the right level of premiums, providing good default cover, and keeping effectively our premium rates in that default setting as competitive as they can be.

OnePath has also continued its strong showing in this years awards with a Bronze in this category for its OneCare – Life Cover Super product.

ANZ Global Wealth head of life insurance Gerard Kerr said linking insurance to superannuation has been part of its success as has been the willingness to take large positions with business insurance of up to $10 million in TPD cover.

We recognise that people use life insurance for different reasons. Some use it for, say, funds protection. Quite often people use it for business protection. And what you need in a business environment can be slightly different to what you need in a personal funding environment, Kerr said.

We try and focus on is how much product flexibility or product functionality we can introduce because quite often advisers when they help their clients like the ability to be able to tailor to their needs as much as possible.

How Working on a Cruise Ship Could Boost Your Finances

by Shelton on December 30th, 2014

filed under Finances

Are you drowning in
debt and ready to consider a pretty drastic
alternative to get rid of it? If you’re ready to leave your regular
nine-to-five life behind, let your lease expire and go on an adventure, cruise
ships could be the place for you.

Pros of Ship Life

The number one reason
to join a cruise line is to save money. Your housing is covered the entire time
you’re at sea. You will also be fed in the crew mess. Some lines allow certain
positions to mingle with the guests and eat in their areas. This allows you to
put nearly everything you make into paying off any existing debts and saving
up a nest egg.

You get to travel the
world for free. Cruise ships go nearly anywhere there’s water – from
transatlantic crossings to tiny river cruises. It’s not uncommon on many lines
for crew members to be allowed to escort tours for free.

Another perk is the
crew bar. Whereas the rest of the ship often marks up drinks and food at a
steep price to passengers, in the bowels of the ship where the crew bar
resides, refreshments are served nearly at cost. That helps you save money
while you unwind, too.

Another benefit is that
you get to work with people from all walks of life, from recent
college grads getting a taste of the world to cruise ship lifers from
third-world countries. You’ll have the chance to broaden yourself and your own
life through your new friends.

Cons of Ship Life

The biggest con of
working for a cruise line is your schedule. The majority of positions work four
to six months on and two months off. It’s not unusual to find that during your
four to six months on, you do not have a single day off.

Another downside is
that the hours can be very long. Cruise lines are required to adhere to laws
set forth by the International Maritime Organization, but even then it is not
unusual to work multiple (perfectly legal) 12 hour days in a row.

To get a job on a
cruise ship, you have to submit to a rather extensive physical, complete with
blood work. Some companies will cover all or part of this expense, while others
will expect you to foot the bill which can be upwards of $300. Cruise ships are
also germ magnets and if you haven’t heard of Norovirus before, you will, and
you don’t want to go out to sea without making sure you’re up on all available

You may also have to
pay for any luggage fees to get your belongings to and from the ship. If you’re
applying with an extreme budget line, you may even have to pay your own way to
and from the ship, so that’s another startup cost to consider.

That being said, don’t
apply to one of those lines! Covering your transportation to and from the ship
is pretty standard with most reputable cruise lines, so make sure you’re
heading out with the best.

Types of Jobs to

There’s a good chance
that almost any job you do on land has a cruise ship counterpart. Are you a teacher?
You could work as youth staff member in the summer on a ship.

Got waitressing or
bartending experiences? Cruise lines have multiple restaurants and bars on
every ship. Been
an accountant for the last 10 years? Each ship has a purser and a crew
purser who deal with all the funds onboard.

Experience with
security? Every line has a fleet of security guards employed to keep the
passengers and crew safe. Ships have a wide variety of other positions like
information technology officers, medical personnel, musicians, housekeepers,
cooks, art auctioneers, tour guides, front desk help and many more roles.

How to Find Them

Is your interest
piqued? The best way to find a job with a cruise line is to apply directly
through each different line’s website. There are also companies that work as
cruise line recruiters and can help you get a job on a ship through them. Here
are a few of the larger ones include Viking Recruitment, Steiner, Proship
Entertainment and Stiletto Entertainment. Working on a cruise ship could be
just what you need to get
your finances back on track.

Govt Warns Property Speculators

by Shelton on December 29th, 2014

filed under House Loan

The finance ministry also agreed with the housing ministrys subsidy proposal that houses will be allocated to successful applicants according to income brackets in order to ensure fair distribution amongst the different income groups.

For example, if someone earns N$7 500 per month and qualifies for a house loan of N$360 000, then this person should not buy a house of N$200 000. This will ensure that houses are allocated to the intended beneficiaries as per income levels and prevent those with higher incomes to benefit at the expense of those with low incomes, she said.

Meanwhile, NHEs choice to rush decisions of awarding the mass housing tenders at inflated prices has been criticised by senior officials in government.

They pointed to the fact that State institutions such as the Namibia Statistics Agency- which did extensive research on the housing conditions in the country-had been sidelined by the housing parastatal.

Efforts to get comment from the housing ministry were unsuccessful as Namoloh is on leave.

6 ways to build credit without a credit card

by Shelton on December 29th, 2014

filed under Secured Credit

Whether youre new to using credit or have made a few dire credit mistakes in the past and need to rebuild, growing a robust and positive credit historycan dictate the interest rates youre offered when financing a big-ticket purchase, like a car or home, or whether you can obtain a loan at all.

Generally, shoppers turn to conventional credit cards to build and demonstrate creditworthiness, but if you dont have a strong credit history, some creditors are unwilling to risk granting you a line of credit. This catch-22 makes it difficult for someone with good intentions to improve his credit score.

Learning how to build credit isnt a talent reserved for a lucky few, you just have to take deliberate action to positively change your credit score. Here are six helpful tips from credit professionals and real people whove had success building good credit.

Related: Heres How to Get the Highest Credit Score Possible

1. Safeguard Your Credit With a Secured Card

Unsecured credit cards are a riskier option for banks and creditors to approve, since they offer no security should you default. A helpful option for those starting with poor or no credit is to apply for a secured credit card instead.

A secured credit card often requires you to provide a certain amount of cash to the card issuer as collateral. This amount then establishes the available credit on the card.

New York resident Tonya Rapley took advantage of this helpful credit-building tool, among other approaches, to help increase her credit score by more than 120 points.

I got a rebuilder card and paid it in full each month, then used that [credit] history to get two premium cards and paid those in full each month, Rapley said, which helped her steadily develop a positive history.

Keep reading: How Bank Secured Credit Cards Really Work

2. Make a Name for Yourself

When starting out with credit, its helpful to start off small. Utility services operate in a similar fashion to other lines of credit because they are giving you service in advance and relying on your promise to repay them each month when its billed.

Having this type of credit under your name is essential, however, so handing over your share of the utility bills to your roommate isnt going to cut it. This practice is really only beneficial if the account is under your name.

You might get a competitive interest rate with the help of a cosigner, but piggybacking off someone elses credit can create sticky situations and be unrewarding when building your credit.

3. Phone in a Favor

Naming yourself responsible for your households utility services is a good habit to maintain, but theres still another step to take in order to reap the benefits of putting this type of account under your name.

Some utility companies only report your payment history to credit report bureaus (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion) when an account has become so far delinquent that the balance due has been reported to a collections agency.

Usually, service providers will send this information to credit bureaus upon request, so contact your providers customer service hotline to see if it can accommodate this favor.

4. Ask Companies to Cut You Some Slack

If youre trying to learn how to build credit because you made a few bad decisions in the past, theres no harm asking creditors for a bit of flexibility by letting your transgressions slide this onetime (hopefully you stay true to your word by keeping your creditworthiness on the up and up).

State your case and, if theyre willing to give you a pass, ask them to send a goodwill letter to the three credit reporting bureaus to erase the misdeed.

5. Mix Up Your Credit

In addition to applying for a secured credit card and having your utility payment history reported, look into opportunities to mix up your lines of credit with a rebuilder loan. These loans are usually small personal loans offered by banks and credit unions to help boost borrowers Fair Issac credit scores in a healthy, manageable way.

Mixing the types of credit under your belt, like revolving credit (eg a secured credit card) and installment credit from rebuilder loans, can positively affect your credit score by as much as 10 percent.

Related: 4 Best Credit Cards to Build Credit Fast

6. Review Your Credit Report

The most important step when it comes to how to build credit is knowing your starting point. You cant know how much you need to raise your credit score without first referencing your credit report. This is the most basic, yet practical, step that even professionals ensure their customers perform.

One of the first things we do when preapproving a client is check his credit score with all three bureaus, said Sean O. McGeehan, an Illinois-based mortgage loan officer. Many credit reports have errors due to someone having a common name like lsquo;John Johnson, or a similar name as his father, like a Mike Henderson Sr. and Mike Henderson Jr.

We can have these things corrected in 48 hours with the credit bureaus with something called a rapid rescore. We just show them paper documentation supporting our claim.

Mistaken identity is all too common, which is why checking reports for errors is an effective way to build good credit.

Dan Nainan, comedian and self-taught credit expert, learned the value of correcting credit report errors first hand. While requesting an increase on his credit card limit, he was denied due to two negatives on his report. Upon further investigation, he found that two accounts one from a doctors office and another from DirecTV belonged to his father, who has a similar name, and were erroneously put under his credit report.

I sent a [certified] letter to Equifax disputing two items that were erroneous, Nainan said. Sure enough, I was pleasantly surprised to receive a letter that the items had been removed from my file and my credit score increased from 715 to 785.

The turnaround time to correct the errors on Nainans report was just six weeks. And its this level of sleuthing that can make the difference in ensuring your credit score is correct and improves.

Photo credit: Tax Credits

Best Secured Credit Cards to Rebuild Bad Credit

by Shelton on December 28th, 2014

filed under Secured Credit

If you’re trying to get your finances back on track, applying for a bad credit credit card is key to achieving this goal. As you probably know, none of these are the best credit cards on the market — in fact, many don’t even offer rewards. But opting for a secured credit card is still the way to go because it will help you rebuild your credit score.

Not sure how, or which one is right for you? Check out the details below for all the information you need about secured credit cards for people with bad credit.

Why choose a secured credit card?

If your goal is to rebuild your credit score, choosing a secured credit card over a prepaid debit card is a wise move. Here’s why: Secured cards require you to tap a credit line and build up a small amount of short-term debt when you make your purchases. By repaying them on time and in full each month, you’ll be creating a track record of responsible credit use.

In time, this will help your credit score improve. But with a prepaid debit card, you’re simply using the funds you’ve loaded onto the plastic – there’s no credit line involved. As a result, your credit score won’t be affected.

The key takeaway here is that as soon as you can get together the funds to put down a deposit on a secured card, you should apply for one of the products below. Otherwise, your credit will stay stuck in the doldrums.

Best secured credit cards for bad credit consumers

Secured credit cards have a somewhat dodgy reputation because many of them charge high interest and fees. While none of the rates on the cards we’ve chosen are low, you can avoid them altogether by paying your bill in full each month. Given this, we based our choices mostly on fees and other card attributes.

Here are our top picks in secured credit cards:

Wells Fargo Secured Visa Card

More Than 120000 Homeowners in Fear of Foreclosure

by Shelton on December 27th, 2014

filed under House Loan

Almost 120,000 homeowners who are unable to pay their house loans are in danger of foreclosure as of January 1, 2015.

The bill that was protecting the primary residence from foreclosure expires on December 31, 2014, leaving about 120,000 debtors in fear of having their homes auctioned off.

The Greek government has received pressure from the troika of international creditors to withdraw the bill that was protecting the primary residence of those who fail to pay their house loan. Even though the Ministry of Development and Competitiveness had promised to protect the primary residence, the latest political developments have put the issue on the back burner.

Greeces creditors are not backing down on the issue. The previous development Minister Nikos Dendias had taken measures for bad business loans, but not on bad house loans. The new minister, Costas Skrekas, has not acted on the issue, despite promising to propose an amendment to help those unable to service their house loans.

The four major Greek banks state that they wont proceed to foreclosures of primary residences. However, they say that homes worth more than 300,000 euros or excessively big houses may be foreclosed.

The government insists that there wont be any foreclosures of primary residencies because according to law 4224/2013, banks have to cooperate with noncompliant debtors and come to settlements based on their income and living expenses. The new agreements will have a longer repayment period, therefore lower monthly payments.

Also, the development ministry says that the 2010 Katseli law, that protects the primary residence for a period of time, is still in effect to aid those who really cant afford their house loans.

Indiegogo’s new Life site offers no fee crowdfunding for personal causes

by Shelton on December 26th, 2014

filed under Personal Funding

Crowdfunding services like indiegogo and Kickstarter have become very popular among startup companies and indie product developers. While we have seen our fair share of unique and somewhat comical ideas that exist outside of typical product campaigns, Indiegogo has decided to launch a separate service focusing specifically on personal funding.

The new Indiegogo Lifesiteis reserved for more personal funding like special celebrations and medical emergencies. Campaign categories found on the Life site include Medical, Celebrations, Emergencies, Animals, Memorials, Educational campaigns and Volunteer work, among others. Unlike the 4-9% fee Indiegogo usually takes from traditional funding, the company will take nothing on Life campaigns.

Along with a host of community based campaign building tools and the Indiegogo Customer Happiness agent staff, the company also says the process to create a campaign is easier and more intuitive than ever before.

As some have pointed out, we are already seeing some higher profile campaigns that would fall nicely into the new Life bracket. Ashya Kings battle with cancer was very successful and likely part of the driving factor behind Indiegogos move to separate its personal and business-like campaigns.

After launching its first Android app a few weeks back, Indiegogos new Life site is now open for business and accepting campaigns.