Watch out: Your private health app data may impact your credit report

Image result for Watch out: Your private health app data may impact your credit reportIt’s a sad fact of our late capitalist world that data is one of the hottest currencies. Every move you make online–and sometimes off, too!–is likely being tracked in some way and then sold to the highest bidder. New research shows that even health apps, which often store users’ most personal information, are also sharing the data they collect. To make matters worse, for many of these programs, it’s simply impossible to opt out.

The study was performed by a team of researchers in Australia, Canada, and the U.S., reports Gizmodo. They decided to download 24 of the most popular health-related apps on Android. For each app, the team made four fake profiles and each used the programs 14 times. On the 15th time, they slightly changed the information they provided to the apps and tracked if the network traffic changed. This way, the researchers were able to see if the apps shared the data change, as well as where they shared it.

The findings were depressing. Writes Gizmodo:

Overall, they found 79 percent of apps, including [popular apps Medscape, Ada, and Drugs.com], shared at least some user data outside of the app itself. While some of the unique entities that had access to the data used it to improve the app’s functions, like maintaining the cloud where data could be uploaded by users or handling error reports, others were likely using it to create tailored advertisements for other companies. When looking at these third parties, the researchers also found that many marketed their ability to bundle together user data and share it with fourth-party companies even further removed from the health industry, such as credit reporting agencies. And while this data is said to be made completely anonymous and de-identified, the authors found that certain companies were given enough data to easily piece together the identity of users if they wanted to.

Essentially, most of the apps were sharing the data users’ input in some capacity, and often that information was shared once again with another entity. Sometimes the data would be used for advertising, other times for something related to credit reporting. (According to the study, only one credit reporting agency had an agreement with a third party: Equifax. Of course, it’s not terribly comforting that the company had one of the largest hacks in recent memory.)


 

The sad part is that these findings aren’t terribly surprising, nor are they illegal. Most apps broker user data in some capacity. Usually they use it for marketing and advertising, yet, as the credit report agency example shows, the data could be shared with truly anyone for myriad purposes. While third parties claim to anonymize the data, it’s been repeatedly proven that it can easily be re-identified.

As for disclosure, the companies behind these apps likely tell users in legalese that they share data with third parties. Every app has a privacy policy, but they are usually designed so that people glaze over the words and reflexively click “accept.” Meanwhile, this study found that all of the apps that shared data made it impossible to opt out.

The two real lessons from studies like these are that users of digital health programs need to be vigilant with the programs they use. It’s possible to protect your data, but it takes a lot of homework. But most of all, there needs to be a heightened call to protect consumers from these predatory practices.

Today, we dig deeper into your health privacy as part of our series The Privacy Divide, and find that what you don’t know about your health data could make you sick.

[“source=fastcompany”]

7 ways to get more (and better) creative ideas from your credit union team

Credit unions are a unique business. However, there are certain things that all businesses share. One of these is the need for innovation. Because the credit union business is constantly changing (now there’s an understatement!), it’s vital that credit unions keep innovating to stay ahead of the curve. And all innovation begins with a single, creative idea. But how do you get those creative ideas? Here are 7 ways that you, as a credit union leader, can get more (and better) creative ideas from your credit union team.

  1. Get them out of the workplace.

A change of location helps shake the brain out of its routine. It also gets people away from the multiple distractions of the workplace, which are not conducive to creativity. So try having a lunch meeting at a local restaurant. Maybe a nearby hotel has a nice lobby area for a small, informal meeting. If it’s nice outside, go to a park! Anyplace other than your credit union’s version of “Meeting Room C.”

  1. Give them the “What”; let them give you the “How.”

Nothing kills the creative spirit more than being micromanaged. Creative people (and we are all creative people) love being challenged. As a leader, it’s your job to set the goal (the “What”). Now, ask your team to come up with the “How.” Tip: prepare to be surprised by some brilliant ideas that you would never have thought of!

  1. Ask crazy questions.

When looking for creative solutions to your next credit union challenge, ask your team “crazy” questions. Questions like: “How would we solve this problem if we had $20 million to throw at it?” “How would a professional dancer solve this problem?” “How would three cats, working together, solve this problem?” Not only will this force your team members’ brains into their naturally creative space, you may just find the germ of an actual solution in some of the answers they come up with!

  1. Make a “play space.”

Creativity needs stimulation to thrive. People are more creative when they play. If possible, furnish one of your meeting rooms with a few toys (Nerf® balls, Legos®, etc.) and interesting, colorful magazines (not credit union—or any industry-related—magazines!). And, if you’re really serious about this, paint this room a shade of green. Studies show that the color green boosts creativity!

  1. Invite an outsider.

Every now and then, invite someone from outside the credit union (and, preferably, from outside the financial services industry) to sit in on a meeting. An artist, a comedian, an art historian. Someone who sees the world through a completely different lens than you or your team. This person might see solutions, or come up with ideas, that would never occur to someone from the credit union industry.

  1. Send your team out for a walk.

According to recent research done at Stanford, people do their best creative thinking while in motion—outdoors, down a corridor, or even just a treadmill. Many leaders have discovered the multiple benefits (including, of course, health) of holding “walking” meetings.

  1. Initiate “Plagiarism Friday.”

(Full disclosure: I plagiarized this idea from someone else, but I can’t remember whom.) Every Friday, have each member of your team bring in one great idea from outside the credit union industry and share what makes the idea creative and innovative. Then ask your team how that idea could be incorporated into the credit union.

  1. (a bonus tip!) Let your team know that ideas are welcome, encouraged, even required, from everyone.

No one has a monopoly on great ideas! That next breakthrough idea—the one that takes your credit union to the next level—can come from anyone on the team.

Creativity and innovation are the keys to your credit union’s success. Every new challenge (and it seems like there’s a new one every day) requires a creative solution. It’s up to you, as a credit union leader, to encourage, support, and value creativity from everyone on your team!
[“Source-ndtv”]

What is PM Narendra Modis credit card killer BHIM Aadhaar platform and how it works 5 things to know

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi today launched BHIM-Aadhaar platform for merchants. This biometric-based payment system makes paying with the help of thumb impression a reality, in Nagpur. On the occasion, PM Modi said that soon people’s mobile phone will become ATMs. “The day is not far when premises-less banking will become and reality and mobile phones will play the most crucial role in it.”

The launch of the biometric-based payment system on the occasion of the birth anniversary of the Father of Indian Constitution Dr Bhim Rao Ambedkar is expected to mark the start of a new transaction culture in the country. While launching the BHIM App, a digital payments app, on December 30, PM Modi had talked about the Aadhar Pay for the first time. “Download it (BHIM) on a smartphone or on a feature phone. It is not necessary to have the internet for this app. In the next two weeks, one more work is being done, which will increase the power of BHIM so much that you would be able to withdraw money even with your fingerprints,” PM Modi said at the event.

The BHIM-Aadhaar payment platform is expected to make digital payments easy even for people who cannot read or write. Moreover, it is expected to end people’s dependence on credit or debit cards and reduce cash transactions. In the start of this month, IDFC Bank had first launched the Aadhar Pay within its network.

Here are five things you should know about the Aadhaar Pay:

1. What is BHIM-Aadhaar payment platform, or Aadhaar Pay: Aadhaar Pay is the merchant version of the Aadhaar Enabled Payment System (AEPS). It will especially benefit those who do not have debit cards, mobile wallets and mobile phones.

2. Only merchants need to have Aadhaar Pay: Aadhaar Pay is an app that needs to be carried by the merchants only. Users just need to have an Aadhaar-linked bank account and mobile phone, credit or debit cards. Merchants can download the Aadhaar Pay app to take payments online from customer’s bank account to their own account using the 12-digit unique Aadhaar number of the clients where clients can choose any of their bank accounts to do the transactions.

Each transaction will be authenticated by the fingerprint of the customer. Transactions can be made through Aadhaar-linked bank accounts (AEBA) only.

3. How to use: Merchants can download the app from play store or iTunes. After that, they can login with their Aadhaar number using the fingerprint scanner. Once the app is validated, merchants can use it to take payments.

4. Security concerns: According to the Niti Aayog, the Aadhar Pay is a highly secure app which will use two main platforms – Aadhaar Payment Bridge (APB) and Aadhaar Enabled Payment System (AEPS). APB will act as repository between the banks and the customers to provide a smooth flow of transactions, while AEPS will help in authenticating the online process.

5. Customer benefits: Customers do not need a debit card or credit card for payments through Aadhaar Pay. Also, Aadhar Pay would end the need to have an internet connection, many payment apps, or POS machines.

Aadhaar Pay would not charge Merchant Discount Rate (MDR). MDR is the charge paid by the merchants to a bank merchant for accepting digital transactions through credit or debit cards.

[Source:-financialexpress]

Paytm to Charge 2 Percent Fee on Adding Money to Wallet Using Credit Cards

Paytm to Charge 2 Percent Fee on Adding Money to Wallet Using Credit Cards

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Paytm found that some credit card users were abusing that 0-fee transfers
  • To combat this, Paytm is charging all CC deposits a 2% transfer fee
  • It is refunding this money in the form of a coupon you can use on Paytm

On Wednesday, wallet company Paytm announced that it will be charging a 2 percent deposit fee from credit card users going forward. According to Paytm, this was being done to combat misuse of its zero-fee transfers, explaining that savvy users were rotating their cash through the wallet to earn essentially “free” money in the form of reward points. Paytm said that to ensure that genuine users don’t lose money, it will return the 2 percent charge in the form of coupons that can be used on Paytm.

Later, its founder Vijay Shekhar Sharma clarified that the coupons can also be used on third-party sites to pay Swiggy or Uber, although this mechanism has not been activated yet.

As noted in the post announcing this decision, since November, Paytm has been allowing users to take cash out of the wallet to their bank accounts at no charge. Typically, cashing out has attracted a fee from wallets. At the same time, Paytm and other wallets haven’t charged fees for depositing cash into their systems. This meant that credit card users could fill up their Paytm wallets using the card, then transfer that money back to their bank accounts, at no charge. “They were not only getting free loyalty points which effectively is free cash but also getting access to free credit,” Paytm noted.

This would be subsidised by Paytm’s own costs, as the company pointed out.

Incidentally, Paytm pays fee to card networks or banks whenever you use any payment instrument like any other online commerce company. Paytm pays a hefty charges when you use your credit card to card networks and issuing banks. If user simply adds money and takes to bank, we lose money. Our revenue model requires users to spend money within our network and we make money from the margins available to us on various products/services we offer.

For this reason, Paytm is now charging a 2 percent deposit fee from credit card users, and refunding them the same in the form of a coupon that can be used on the Paytm app. As we mentioned, on Twitter, Sharma has clarified that the coupons can work on third-party sites as well, and added that you will be able to use these with apps such as Swiggy, Uber, although the FAQ on the page currently still states that it can only be used on the Paytm app.

There are a couple of other caveats listed on the FAQ page. For one, these refund coupons will only be given when the amount you’re filling up is more than Rs. 250. If your transaction is lower than that, you will not get a coupon. Also, you will get a fresh coupon every time you top-up Paytm using a credit card, these coupons can not be clubbed, and have to be applied manually and individually. Also, these coupons can only be used in a single transaction. Also, the coupon isn’t applied as a discount on the transaction – it gives you an instant cashback to your Paytm wallet.

The coupons can also be used for bill payments, recharges, and so on, these are not limited to shopping on Paytm Mall. The vouchers will expire on December 31, 2017, but the FAQ mentions that this can be extended on request.

These charges are only being applied on credit card users, so if you’re using a debit card, net banking, or UPI/ IMPS payments, then you are not affected by this move.

Disclosure: Paytm’s parent company One97 is an investor in Gadgets 360.

Tags: Paytm, paytm wallet, cashbacks, Transaction fees, Credit cards, Loyalty points
[“Source-Gadgets”]