Technology advances fast - and makes the world of finance much easier. Here we discover the five latest launches that serve to fast track and streamline the way we handle our finances.
1. Get a mortgage in half an hour
Santander has launched a new online mortgage application system where a virtual adviser can offer a mortgage in just 30 minutes.
Previously, customers needed to call the bank's helpline and post documents to remortgage their property. The new service allows customers use their own computer to complete an online form and answer questions about their monthly income and expenditure.
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2. Open a bank account with a selfie
Bank customers can now open an account using a photo taken on their mobile phone. HSBC has launched this service for business banking customers, who will be invited to provide a self-portrait shot on their phone, which the bank will then verify using facial recognition software before allowing them to make deposits and withdrawals.
If it is successful, some banks could open the service up to personal customers.
The banking giant already uses fingerprint and voice recognition technology for millions of customers.
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3. Track down lost pensions
A new online tracing service is available from the Pensions Advisory Service that will help match the owners with around £1.4 billion estimated to be forgotten and hidden away in private pension schemes.
The new technology will find pension pots left behind from when workers move between jobs, particularly at the start of their careers.
You will need to answer a few questions online and have some knowledge or evidence of what you’re looking for.
Tracking down small-sized funds can take time – so doing it far in advance of retiring is good practice to make it easier to claim the money when the time comes.
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4. Keep track of children’s spending
A new app helps parents and grandparents monitor children’s spending.
The new app Nimbl lets adults transfer a set amount of “pocket money” every week and then see what they spend it on via their own Mastercard debit card, as the app sends notifications every time money is spent.
It's aimed not just at young children but university students, and has users reaching into their twenties.
There are some restrictions to ensure safety. Cards are automatically blocked from being used at pubs, gambling sites and inappropriate websites and shops.
There are some charges too. An account is free for three months and costs £10 a year per child after that. Topping a child's account up directly using a debit card costs 15p. Children get one free cash machine withdrawal each month, after which they cost 49p each.
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5. Goodbye cash, hello mobile payments
A new study shows British people carry just £22 with them on average.
Experts say this is down to more people using mobile payments, as well as contactless. It is estimated that some 20 million adults will use their mobiles to pay for goods and services by the end of the decade, according to the Centre for Economic and Business Research.
It works in a similar way to contactless payments, where you wave your phone above the card reader which picks up your payment and charges your bank account.
You simply need to add your payment card details to your iPhone or android phone to use Apple Pay or Android Pay.
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