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The Boeing 737 Max's return to the air has reportedly been delayed by regulators looking into emergency procedures on older Boeing jets (BA)

Fri, 05/24/2019 - 6:05pm

  • The Boeing 737 Max's return to commercial-airline service is reportedly being further delayed by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
  • US government officials told The Wall Street Journal that the FAA is evaluating the emergency procedures for not only the Max but also the older generations of the 737, including the hot-selling Boeing 737 NG.
  • "While we are working with the FAA to review all procedures, the safety of the 737 NG is not in question, with its 20-plus years of service and 200 million flight hours," a Boeing spokesman said in a statement. 
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

The Boeing 737 Max's return to commercial-airline service is reportedly being further delayed by the Federal Aviation Administration.

US government officials told The Wall Street Journal's Andy Pasztor that the FAA is evaluating the emergency procedures for not only the Max but also the older generations of the 737, including the hot-selling Boeing 737 NG. 

According to the officials, the broadened evaluation will take a look at how pilots of all 737 variants are instructed to respond to emergency situations.

"While we are working with the FAA to review all procedures, the safety of the 737 NG is not in question, with its 20-plus years of service and 200 million flight hours," a Boeing spokesman said in a statement. 

The FAA was not immediately available for comment.

Read more: A Boeing executive reportedly shut down a theory during a meeting with American Airlines pilots about what might have led to the fatal Ethiopian 737 Max crash.

The Boeing 737 NG is the third generation of the 737 and first entered service in 1997 with Southwest Airlines. It remains in production today. The NG, or Next Generation, includes the Boeing 737-600, 737-700, 737-800, and 737-900/900ER. 

With more than 5,000 aircraft sold over the past few years, the 737 Max is the fastest-selling airliner in Boeing history. One of Boeing's strongest selling points for the Max is its commonality with the NG, which makes operations cheaper for airlines because they don't have to extensively retrain their 737 pilots.

The major issue for Boeing and industry regulators is the flight system that is triggered by a sensor. MCAS, or the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System, is a new control system found on board the 737 Max that was not disclosed to airlines and pilots until the Lion Air crash in October. Boeing confirmed in April that faulty readings from malfunctioning angle-of-attack sensors triggered MCAS ahead of both the Lion Air crash and the Ethiopian Airlines crash in March.

In March, Boeing rolled out a series of proposed software updates designed to roll back the intrusiveness of MCAS, along with additional pilot training on the differences between the previous generation 737 NG and the 737 Max.

All 371 Boeing 737 Max airliners in operation have been grounded around the world since March 13 after the crashes of Lion Air Flight JT610 and Ethiopian Airlines Flight ET302, which occurred less than five months apart. A total of 342 passengers and crew died in the two crashes.

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Palantir was expected to IPO in 2019, but that dream is now reportedly on hold until next year

Fri, 05/24/2019 - 5:46pm

  • Palantir was expected to go public in 2019, but it looks like those plans have been pushed off to 2020, Bloomberg reported on Friday.
  • The secretive data-analytics startup, which counts the US government as a client, still faces a handful of hurdles before it can IPO.
  • The company still needs to build out its board with independent directors, and it needs to hire more sales and finance employees before it will be ready to IPO, according to the report.
  • Read more on the Business Insider homepage.

One of the most highly anticipated initial public offerings of 2019 is turning into the most highly anticipated IPO of 2020.

Palantir, the 15-year-old data startup run by CEO Alex Karp, is unlikely to go public in 2019 despite earlier comments from the company, according to Bloomberg

The startup, which sells secretive data-analytics tools to clients like the US government, grew its revenue by 40% last year up to about $1 billion and has about $30 million in losses, according to the report, which cited anonymous sources. 

Despite its growth, a number of ongoing factors have slowed Palantir's march toward an IPO, according to the report. Among them, Palantir has just one independent board member, and it's lacking the staff on its sales and finance team that are needed to move forward with IPO preparation.

Read more: A Silicon Valley stock exchange backed by Peter Thiel and Andreessen Horowitz just got SEC approval

Both the Nasdaq and the New York Stock Exchange require that the majority of a company's board is independent. At Palantir, three of the four board members are founders, according to Bloomberg.

Palantir did not immediately respond to a request for comment on its IPO plans.

It's unclear how much the company will be worth when it eventually does hit the public markets. Palantir last valued itself at $11 billion as recently as last year, though Morgan Stanley has pegged the company's valuation as high as $41 billion, according to the report.

Palantir's delay follows the mixed reception of other mega tech IPOs. Uber, which went public with a market cap of $75.5 billion, is still trading below its IPO price more than two weeks after its big debut. Its competitor Lyft has also struggled to keep up since getting a major pop on Day 1. 

But the IPOs keep coming. Next in line is Slack, which is expected to start trading in June through a direct listing. On Monday, Slack filed updated registration paperwork changing its IPO ticker from "SK" to "WORK."

SEE ALSO: Investors have seen triple-digit returns on some 2019 IPOs, but UBS think there are 2 key reasons it could cool by midsummer

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9 incredibly successful companies founded by military veterans

Fri, 05/24/2019 - 5:17pm

  • Some of the world's most recognized companies have founders who served overseas. 
  • The companies include retail giant Walmart, whose founder Sam Walton served as an Army captain.
  • Here are other successful businessmen with roots in the military.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

It should be no surprise that skills learned in the military such as decision-making under pressure, organization, and leadership translate well to the corporate boardroom. 

People like FedEx CEO Fred Smith or Walmart founder Sam Walton have become household names for their business success. Less known is their service prior to founding major companies.

After World War II, nearly 50% of veterans went the entrepreneurship route, though that number has substantially declined today. Still, there are currently around 2.5 million majority-veteran-owned businesses.

Here are nice companies started by military veterans.

Paul Szoldra wrote a previous version of this article.

SEE ALSO: This man built a cutting-edge stealth boat for the US Navy. Then the government tried to put him out of business.

Real-estate giant RE/MAX was cofounded by Air Force veteran Dave Liniger.

Prior to founding "Real Estate Maximums" — better known as RE/MAX— Dave Liniger served in the Air Force during the Vietnam War.

From 1965 to 1971, he served as an enlisted airman in Texas, Arizona, Vietnam, and Thailand, according to his LinkedIn.

"The military really gave me the chance to grow up. It was fun. I thought it was a fabulous place," he told Airport Journals. "It also taught me self-discipline and a sense of responsibility."

After he got out of the military, he started flipping houses for profit, and eventually got his real-estate license. He cofounded RE/MAX with his wife Gail in 1973.



Sperry Shoes was founded by Navy veteran Paul A. Sperry.

You can thank a former sailor in the US Naval Reserve for inventing the world's first boat shoe.

In 1917, Sperry joined the Navy Reserve, though he didn't stay very long. He was released from duty at the end of the year at the rank of Seaman First Class. 

Still, his experience there and further adventures sailing led to the founding of his company, which eventually created the first non-slip boating shoe. He founded Sperry in 1935.

During World War II, the Navy purchased Sperry Top-Sider shoes by the boatload. Nearly a century later, they are still a favorite of sailors everywhere.



FedEx was founded by Marine Corps veteran Fred Smith.

Back before FedEx was the behemoth logistics company it is today, founder Fred Smith was observing how the military was getting things from point A to point B.

After graduating from Yale University, he was commissioned as a Marine Corps officer and served two tours in Vietnam. He earned a Bronze Star, Silver Star, and two Purple Hearts, according to US News.

Only two years after he left the Corps, he started Federal Express.

"Much of our success reflects what I learned as a Marine," he wrote for Military.com. "The basic principles of leading people are the bedrock of the Corps. I can still recite them from memory, and they are firmly embedded in the FedEx culture."



Walmart was cofounded by Army veteran Sam Walton.

Walmart is the largest retail company in the world.

It was founded by a former Army intelligence officer named Sam Walton. From 1942 to 1945, Walton was in the Army and eventually rose to the rank of captain. His brother (and cofounder) Bud served as a bomber pilot for the Navy in the Pacific.

According to the company's history, Sam Walton's first Walmart store, called Walton's Five and Dime, was started with $5,000 he saved from his time serving in the Army and a $25,000 loan from his father-in-law. Walton passed away in 1992.



Web-hosting company GoDaddy was founded by Marine Corps veteran Bob Parsons.

The company responsible for registering a large portion of the world's web domains, GoDaddy, is the brainchild of Marine veteran Bob Parsons.

Parsons enlisted in the Corps in 1968 and later served in Vietnam, where he earned a Combat Action Ribbbon, the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry, and the Purple Heart for wounds he received in combat.

"I absolutely would not be where I am today without the experiences I had in the Marine Corps," he writes on his website.

In 1997, he started GoDaddy. In 2014, it filed for a $100 million IPO. He left the company around that time to focus on his philanthropic efforts.



WeWork was founded by Israeli navy veteran Adam Neumann.

Coworking company WeWork's CEO Adam Neumann served in the Israeli navy.

Adam Neumann started a coworking office space for entrepreneurs in New York City back in 2011. Today, the company has 466,000 members across 28 countries, and it is valued at $47 billion.

Born in Tel Aviv, Israel, Neumann served as a navy officer there for five years before moving to the US in 2001.



Taboola was founded by Israeli army veteran Adam Singolda.

Another veteran of the Israel Defense Forces is Adam Singolda, the founder of content-recommendation engine Taboola.

Like many other successful Israeli entrepreneurs who served in the IDF (military service is mandatory in Israel), Singolda developed many of the skills that would help his company later on in the military intelligence field.

He ended up serving for seven years as an officer with the elite Unit 8200, the Israeli military's version of the NSA.

He started Taboola back in 2007, and you've probably seen his work under the many millions of articles that feature "Content You May Like." The company projected over $1 billion in revenue as well as profitability in 2018.



Kinder Morgan, a North America energy infrastructure company, was cofounded by Army veteran Richard Kinder.

Vietnam veteran Richard Kinder cofounded one of the largest energy companies in North America, Kinder Morgan. Along with his business partner, William Morgan, he started the company in 1997.

He earned his law degree at the University of Missouri before serving in Vietnam as a US Army captain. He was in uniform for four years as a Judge Advocate General officer (aka a military lawyer).



USAA was founded by a group of Army officers.

It may not be a huge surprise that USAA — a company that exclusively caters to military veterans and their families — was started by veterans.

Interestingly, though, it doesn't have just one founder: It has 25.

Back in the 1920s, it was pretty hard for military service members to get (or keep) auto insurance, since it was either way too expensive or likely to get canceled because they moved around so much.

That's why Maj. William Henry Garrison and 24 of his fellow Army officers got together in 1922 to form their own mutual company to insure themselves, according to Encyclopedia.com. Today, the United Services Automobile Association provides insurance, banking, and investment services to 12.4 million members.

Disclosure: Former Business Insider editor Paul Szoldra has USAA insurance and use its banking services.



Share your opinion — become a BI Insider!

Fri, 05/24/2019 - 4:14pm

As a dedicated Business Insider reader, we’d like to invite you to join our BI Insiders Panel, an exclusive online community of Business Insider readers!

Here are some of the TOP benefits of being a BI Insider!

  • Earn points towards cutting-edge research reports from the Business Insider Intelligence report store.
  • Special reports and content from Business Insider Intelligence, like The Next Smartphone and The Internet of Everything.
  • Results from the surveys that you helped create paired with expert analysis from Business Insider Intelligence.
  • The satisfaction that your input will help guide decision-making at the most influential companies around the world.

As a BI Insider, you'll be invited to take online surveys via email a few times a month to provide opinions and insights on a variety of topics and emerging trends, based on your personal and professional experiences. 

To become a BI Insider, you'll be asked to complete a short survey, after which you'll receive a notification within 24 hours to let you know if you've qualified. We want to hear from you!

 

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You’ll receive an exclusive slide deck from Business Insider Intelligence, Business Insider's premium research subscription service. Currently sold for $495, "The Future of Fintech Slide Deck" can be yours today FREE.

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Robinhood, a trading app loved by millennials, is reportedly nearing funding that would value it at over $7 billion

Fri, 05/24/2019 - 3:56pm

  • Robinhood, the commission-free trading app, is close to raising funds at a $7 billion valuation, according to The Information.
  • The app is particularly popular among younger investors, with over 4 million active users.
  • Visit MarketsInsider.com for more information on Robinhood Markets.

Robinhood, the trading app popular among millennials, is close to securing an investment at a valuation of at least $7 billion, according to a report from The Information's Zoë Bernard. The funding may be followed by a larger round at an even higher valuation, potentially $10 billion, the report said.

Robinhood has become popular through its promise of no fees for stock trading, as well its a simple and stylish user interface. The app has also attracted attention for offering the trading of cryptocurrencies like bitcoin, ethereum, and litecoin. Robinhood's user base has grown to over 4 million since its founding in 201, with an average age of 32, indicating the company has significant room to grow as the savings of this cohort increases.

In 2018, the company completed a Series D funding round of $363 million at a valuation of $5.6 billion. Despite the company's outsized recent success, Robinhood founders Vlad Tenev and Baiju Bhatt struggled to attract initial investor interest in the company.

"There were a lot of people who didn't believe in it, and we had to bang down a ton of doors. We were really relentless," Tenev told Business Insider US Editor-in-Chief Alyson Shontell on the " Success! How I Did It" podcast. "We probably knocked on 75 doors before we actually made it work."

Investors in the company include Index Ventures, DST Global and Snoop Dogg.

Check out the full story at The Information.

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Here's exactly how to borrow money with a personal loan

Fri, 05/24/2019 - 3:47pm

Personal Finance Insider writes about products, strategies, and tips to help you make smart decisions with your money. We may receive a small commission from our partners, but our reporting and recommendations are always independent and objective.

  • Anyone wondering how to get a loan should take the same first step: checking their credit score, and making sure their credit is as high as possible.
  • Lenders look at your credit score and your debt-to-income ratio to indicate how trustworthy you might be as a borrower, so it's smart to know what to expect.
  • Once you have those numbers, make sure to get a few different rates before you commit. You can compare rates directly through sites like Credible, or contact individual lenders for quotes.

While rates vary from lender to lender and from borrower to borrower, personal loan interest rates can often be lower than credit card rates, and once you get approved for a personal loan, the rate is fixed.

"This means your rate won't go up or down every month unlike credit cards, which can fluctuate," says Dana Marineau, VP brand, creative and communications at Credit Karma.

Another benefit of personal loans is they have a fixed term, which means you have a set amount of time to pay off what you borrow. "The fixed term can vary but we see many run from three to five years, and you pay it off monthly," says Marineau. "A personal loan can be a good option for budget-conscious borrowers since the amount is predictable and consistent every month."

If you're looking at taking out a loan, here's how to do it:

How to get a loan 1. Check your credit score

If you're beginning the loan process for the first time, start by getting your credit score.

You can check it for free at any time at sites like Credit Karma, Credit Sesame, and Credit.com. You don't need a perfect credit score of 850 to get a loan, but lenders see your credit score as an indication of your trustworthiness as a buyer and adjust their offers accordingly — so the higher your score, the better.

2. If something looks amiss, pull your credit report

Your credit score is three-digit shorthand for the information contained in your credit report, which monitors all of your credit-related activity. According to the Federal Trade Commission, you're entitled to one free copy of your credit report every 12 months from each of the three nationwide credit reporting companies: Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion.

Considering a loan? Our partner Credible can help find the best options for you »

Note that there are plenty of opportunities to pay for your credit report, but annualcreditreport.com is the best place to get your report for free (or call 1-877-322-8228). Be prepared to provide your name, address, Social Security number, and date of birth to verify your identity.

3. Boost your score as much as you can before putting in your application

Checking your score is easy, but the next step can be harder: boosting it as much as you can before applying for a loan.

"Anything you can do to improve your credit score, like taking care of overdue bills or paying down credit card balances, can help you get a better interest rate," says Jamie Young, personal finance expert and writer at Credible, an online loan marketplace. "Your credit score is the most important factor in deciding what interest rate a lender will offer you. Although many lenders offer personal loans to borrowers with only fair credit, you can expect to pay higher interest rates."

4. Understand your debt-to-income ratio

Your debt-to-income ratio is how much of your monthly income is required to pay recurring expenses like your rent or mortgage, car loan, and other bills. Credit.com has a free calculator to find your debt-to-income ratio.

Knowing your ratio can help you get an idea of what to expect from lenders.

"A debt-to-income ratio below 36% is considered healthy," says Young. "If the monthly payments on a personal loan would push your debt-to-income too high — over 45% or 50%, say — you won't be approved for a personal loan by most lenders, no matter how good your credit score is."

5. Get a grasp of interest rates

When shopping for a personal loan, realize interest rates can range from 5% to 36%, says Marineau. Your interest rate is set when the loan is granted, and that rate is for the life of the loan. 

6. Assemble your personal information for your application

When applying, have the following information:

  • personal contact information
  • date of birth
  • Social Security number
  • employment and income information — including recent pay stubs or W-2 tax forms
  • loan amount needed
7. Shop around before you commit

Before applying, take time to shop for a personal loan by comparing rates, fixed terms, and fixed payments.

There are sites, like Credible or Credit Karma, where you can comparison-shop for personal loans from banks and credit unions. You can also ask your community bank, friends or family, or do your own research from individual lenders.

How much would a loan cost you? Find out with these offers from our partners:

8. Get at least two quotes before committing

Before choosing a loan, you should always receive at least two quotes from lenders. "That's really the only way to know if you're getting a good deal," Lou Haverty, CFA with Financial Analyst Insider, tells Business Insider. "After you receive the better quote, go back to your original lender and let them know the terms of the other offer. You'll be surprised at how often they will come back with a better offer," he says.

9. If you can't get a loan, try applying for a smaller amount

If you're checking rates with lenders and keep getting turned down even though you have a good credit score, try applying for a smaller loan, says Young from Credible. It will have a smaller impact on your debt-to-income ratio, and you might be approved.

Or, look for lenders that offer longer repayment terms, which will have smaller monthly payments. "Lenders available through Credible offer repayment terms of two to seven years. Just remember that the longer you take to pay back your loan, the more you'll pay in interest charges. Choose a loan with the shortest repayment term," Young says.

10. Make a plan to keep up with your loan payments

Once you decide which loan is the right one for you, make sure you have a plan in place to pay your loan on time. "Think about ways you can stay organized, whether it's with automatic payments or setting up reminders every month," says Marineau. "Remember: Personal loans need to be paid back on time every month, so make sure to stay on top of payments."

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NOW WATCH: There are 7.7 billion humans on Earth today. Here's what would actually happen if Thanos destroyed 50% of all life on the planet.

Latest fintech industry trends, technologies and research from our ecosystem report

Fri, 05/24/2019 - 3:02pm

This is a preview of a research report from Business Insider Intelligence,  Business Insider's premium research service. To learn more about Business Insider Intelligence, click here.

In recent years, we've seen a ballooning of activity in fintech — an expansive term applied to technology-driven disruptions in financial services. And 2018 has been no different, with fintechs' staggering influence on the market evidenced by record funding levels for the industry — by Q3 2018, overall funding was already up 82% from 2017’s total figure, according to CB Insights.

Additionally, this year marked a watershed moment for the industry, with the once clear distinction between fintechs and financial services proper now blurred significantly. Virtually every incumbent financial institution (FI) is now looking inward and engaging in an innovation drive, spurred on by competition from fintechs. As such, incumbents are now actively investing in, acquiring, and collaborating with their fintech rivals.

In this report, Business Insider Intelligence details recent developments in fintech funding and regulation that are defining the environment these startups operate in. We also examine the business model changes being employed among different categories of fintechs as they strive to embed themselves further in mainstream finance and prove sustainability. Finally, we consider which elements of the fintech industry are rapidly rubbing off on incumbent financial services providers, and what the future of fintech will look like.

The companies mentioned in this report are: Funding Circle, GreenSky, Transferwise, Ant Financial, Nubank, Cellulant, Oscar Health, Stripe, One97, UiPath, LianLian Pay, Wacai.com, Gusto, Toast, PingPong, Flywire, Deposit Solutions, Root, Robinhood, Atom, N26, Revolut, OneConnect, PolicyBazaar, WeCash, Zurich, OneDegree, Dinghy, Vouch Insurance, Laka, Cleo, Ernit, Monzo, Moneybox, Bud, Tandem, Starling, Varo Money, Square, ING, Chase, AmEx, Amazon, Monese, Betterment, Tiller Investments, West Hill Capital, Square, Ameritrade, JPMorgan, eToro, Lendy, OnDeck, Ripple, Quorom, Chain, Coinbase, Fidelity, Samsung Pay, Google Pay, Apple Pay, Bank of America, TransferGo, Klarna, Western Union, Veriff, Royal Bank of Scotland, Royal Bank of Canada, Facebook, ThreatMetrix, Relx, Entersekt, BNP Paribas, Deutsche Bank, Gemalto, Lloyd's of London, Kingdom Trust, Aviva, Symbility LINK, eTrade, Allianz, AXA, Broadridge, TD Bank, First Republic Bank, BBVA Compass, Capital One, Silicon Valley Bank, Credit Suisse, Ally, Goldman Sachs.

Here are some of the key takeaways from the report:

  • Fintech funding has already reached new highs globally in 2018, with overall funding hitting $32.6 billion at the end of Q3.
  • Some new regions, including South America and Africa, are emerging on the fintech scene.
  • We've seen considerable scaling in older corners of the fintech ecosystem, including among neobanks and alt lenders.
  • Some fintechs, including a number of insurtechs, have dipped into new markets to escape heightened competition.
  • Emergent areas like blockchain and distributed ledger technology (DLT), as well as digital identity, are gaining traction.
  • Many incumbents are undertaking business transformations that aim to reimagine everything from products and services to front-end systems and back-end processes.

 In full, the report:

  • Details the funding and regulatory landscape in the US, Europe, and Asia.
  • Gives an overview into a number of fintech segments and how they've changed over the past year.
  • Discusses how incumbents are reacting to fintechs in order to stay relevant in the changing financial services sector.
  • Evaluates what the future of fintech will look like and what trends to look out for in the coming year.
Subscribe to a Premium pass to Business Insider Intelligence and gain immediate access to: This report and more than 250 other expertly researched reports Access to all future reports and daily newsletters Forecasts of new and emerging technologies in your industry And more! Learn More

Purchase & download the full report from our research store

 

SEE ALSO: How the largest US financial institutions rank on offering the mobile banking features customers value most

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I pay $550 a year for my AmEx Platinum and I'm always excited to take advantage of one of its coolest perks

Fri, 05/24/2019 - 2:44pm

Business Insider may receive a commission from The Points Guy Affiliate Network if you apply for a credit card, but our reporting and recommendations are always independent and objective.

  • The Platinum Card® from American Express charges a high $550 annual fee, but comes with wide-ranging benefits including the ability to book hotel stays through the American Express Fine Hotels and Resorts program.
  • Booking through the program gives cardholders benefits including 4 p.m. late check-out, a room upgrade (when available), daily breakfast for two people, and noon check-in (when available) at over 1,000 properties worldwide.
  • Cardholders who book through the portal also get a rotating amenity specific to the hotel worth about $100, such as a spa credit or credit to the hotel's fine-dining restaurant.

The Platinum Card from American Express is one of my favorite credit cards, even despite its $550 annual fee. With an annual fee that high, though, the card better have benefits to back it up! In my option, they are, and that's why I keep this card around.

One of the coolest perks I always want to use is the ability to book hotels through the American Express Fine Hotels and Resorts program.

There are plenty of opportunities: Over 1,000 hotel properties worldwide participate in the Fine Hotels and Resorts program.

Booking through AmEx Fine Hotels and Resorts as an AmEx Platinum cardholder gives you access to a bunch of guaranteed benefits, including 4 p.m. late check-out, a room upgrade (when available), daily breakfast for two people, noon check-in (when available), and a unique property amenity that varies by hotel. And booking through the Fine Hotels & Resorts program is super easy — it works like any other hotel booking engine.

Learn more about the AmEx Platinum from our partner The Points Guy »

The unique property amenity, generally valued at $100, can be extremely worthwhile. For example, on a random search of Las Vegas hotels, I found that if you book a one-night stay at the Delano at Mandalay Bay, you can get a $100 spa credit during your stay, and one-night stays can be as low as $119 plus taxes.

In the past, I've personally used Fine Hotels and Resorts to book the Delano in Las Vegas when the unique amenity was a $100 dining credit, so you may see different amenities available. It's great to be able to get a nice meal and a hotel room for a bit over $100 in a city where it is easy to spend that much just on a meal.

While the trip to Vegas would have happened with or without this dining credit, it was nice to treat ourselves to a lovely dinner instead of taking the opportunity to pinch pennies. Not to mention, I probably would have opted for a less expensive hotel if it hadn't been for the dining credit. 

Plus, hotels sometimes offer a third, fourth, or fifth night free in addition to all of the other perks.

If you book your stay with your AmEx Platinum Card on prepaid hotels booked on amextravel.com, you'll earn five Membership Rewards per dollar spent on your hotel stay, getting you even closer to your next reward. You can also use your Membership Rewards to book hotels through AmEx Fine Hotels and Resorts —but this isn't generally the best use of Membership Rewards points. The best way to use Membership Rewards is generally to transfer to airline partners like British Airways, KLM/Air France Flying Blue, and Singapore Airlines.

However, if you want to get the most value from a resort stay, booking through Fine Hotels and Resorts is a no-brainer.

Learn more about the AmEx Platinum from our partner The Points Guy »

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NOW WATCH: There are 7.7 billion humans on Earth today. Here's what would actually happen if Thanos destroyed 50% of all life on the planet.

The US birthrate is the lowest it's been in 32 years, and it's partly because millennials can't afford having kids

Fri, 05/24/2019 - 2:39pm

Baby fever has taken a back seat in America.

The US birthrate is at its lowest in 32 years, Bill Chappell for NPR reported, citing a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The decline is represented in nearly all racial and age groups.

While experts found these findings surprising in light of a healthy US economy and job market, some told Chappell that job security, today's political climate, and a negative view on America's future are contributing to the decline.

"Not a whole lot of things are going good, and that's haunting young people in particular, more than old people," Dowell Myers, a demographer at the University of Southern California, told Chappell. 

Many parents expressed their thoughts via social media in response to the report, citing high insurance costs, the search for childcare, and lack of parental leave as challenges to having kids, Chappell wrote.

Their sentiments state the obvious: Kids are expensive. And they've only gotten more expensive as the cost of living continues to rise.

Kids are expensive, so millennials are waiting longer to have them

To raise a child to age 18 in America, it'll cost parents an average of $230,000, according to a Merrill Lynch report. The percentage of respondents (2,500 American parents) who said their finances played a role in becoming a parent has increased by 40% since 1970. Having kids can cause family spending patterns and investment patterns to shift, according to the report. 

Finances are one of the top reasons why American millennials aren't having kids or are having fewer kids than they considered ideal, Business Insider's Shana Lebowitz reported, citing a survey by The New York Times.

The survey polled 1,858 men and women ages 20 to 45 — 64% said childcare is too expensive, 44% said they can't afford to have more children, and 43% said they waited to have kids because of financial instability. (Multiple answers were allowed).

Shelling out money for children is even harder when spending money on other increased costs. Millennials, the generation at prime childbearing age, are already struggling financially from the ongoing fallout of the recession, increasing student-loan debt, and rising living costs like rent and housing.

The effects are palpable: More 30-something women are having babies than women in their 20s for the first time ever — a difference that grew in 2018, according to the CDC report. Ultimately, a delay in having kids, and getting married, gives millennials more time to get their financial affairs in order first.

SEE ALSO: The cost of raising a child is at an all-time high, and it's partly because parents feel pressure to buy kids what their friends have

DON'T MISS: The Bay Area is so expensive that employees at Apple, Uber, Google, and other tech giants are putting off having kids — and it's a sign of a much larger trend

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REGTECH REVISITED: How the regtech landscape is evolving to address FIs' ever growing compliance needs

Fri, 05/24/2019 - 2:05pm

This is a preview of a research report from Business Insider Intelligence, Business Insider's premium research service. To learn more about Business Insider Intelligence, click here.

Regtech solutions seemed to offer the solution to financial institutions' (FIs) compliance woes when they first came to prominence around 24 months ago, gaining support from regulators and investors alike. 

However, many of the companies offering these solutions haven't scaled as might have been expected from the initial hype, and have failed to follow the trajectory of firms in other segments of fintech.

This unexpected inertia in the regtech industry is likely to resolve over the next 12-18 months as other factors come into play that shift FIs' approach to regtech solutions, and as the companies offering them evolve. External factors driving this change include regulatory support of regtech solutions, and consultancies offering more help to FIs wanting to sift through solutions. Startups offering regtech solutions will also play a part by partnering with each other, forming industry organizations, and taking advantage of new opportunities.

This report from Business Insider Intelligence, Business Insider's premium research service, provides a brief overview of the current global financial regulatory compliance landscape, and the regtech industry's position within it. It then details the major drivers that will shift the dial on FIs' adoption of regtech over the next 12-18 months, as well as those that will propel startups offering regtech solutions to new heights. Finally, it outlines what impact these drivers will have, and gives insight into what the global regtech industry will look like by 2020.

Here are some of the key takeaways:

  • Regulatory compliance is still a significant issue faced by global FIs. In 2018 alone, EU regulations MiFID II and PSD2 have come into effect, bringing with them huge handbooks and gigantic reporting requirements. 
  • Regtech startups boast solutions that can ease FIs' compliance burden — but they are struggling to scale. 
  • Some changes expected to drive greater adoption of these solutions in the next 12 to 18 months are: the ongoing evolution of startups' business models, increasing numbers of partnerships, regulators' promotion of regtech, changing attitudes to the segment among FIs, and consultancies helping to facilitate adoption.
  • FIs will actively be using solutions from regtech startups by 2020, and startups will be collaborating in an organized fashion with each other and with FIs. Global regulators will have adopted regtech themselves, while continuing to act as advocates for the industry.

In full, the report:

  • Reviews the major changes expected to hit the regtech segment in the next 12 to 18 months.
  • Examines the drivers behind these changes, and how the proliferation of regtech will improve compliance for FIs.
  • Provides our view on what the future of the regtech industry looks like through 2020. Get The Regtech Revisited Report

     

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A longtime industry expert explains why Trump's attack on Huawei could end up hurting Google and other US tech giants (GOOGL, FB, UBER)

Fri, 05/24/2019 - 12:21am

  • The Trump administration's assault on Huawei could end up harming Google and other US tech giants, said Gregor Berkowitz, a tech industry consultant with extensive experience in China and Asia.
  • The US government's move to bar the Chinese device maker from using US tech products and services could encourage it to promote Chinese apps and services outside of China, Berkowitz said.
  • That could give companies such as Baidu a leg up over Google and Didi one over Uber in areas of the world where Huawei is strong, he said.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Investors have already started to worry that Apple may get caught in the crossfire of the Trump administration's attacks on Huawei and the broader US-China trade war.

But the iPhone maker may not be the only tech giant that suffers collateral damage in the conflict, warns Gregor Berkowitz, a longtime tech-industry consultant. The administration's moves against Huawei could end up giving a leg up to the Chinese competitors to US behemoths such as Google and harm those tech giants' ability to compete, particularly in the developing world, he said. 

"There are many secondary effects" of the attack on Huawei "that are maybe more significant than the primary effect," Berkowitz said.

US officials have charged that units of Huawei have conspired to steal trade secrets from T-Mobile, and have cautioned that the company's equipment could be used to spy on people and companies on behalf of the Chinese government.

Last week, as part of its targeting on Huawei, the administration issued an order barring US companies from supplying Huawei with their products and services. That move not only barred smaller component makers from dealing selling their products to the Chinese company, but it also will prohibit Google and other tech companies from offering their software to Huawei. On Monday, the US government gave Huawei a temporary repreive from the restrictions, allowing it to continue to work with US companies to serve current customers.

Read this: President Trump's national emergency likely won't stop you from buying a Huawei phone, much less an iPhone. Here's what it means for you.

As part of the restrictions, Huawei will no longer be able to use the Google-supplied version of the Android operating system, nor will it be able to offer its phone users access to the Google Play app store. The company has said that it is working on its own homegrown alternatives to both.

Chinese alternatives to Google and Facebook could get a boost

Huawei is the second largest smartphone maker. Although its phones haven't gotten much traction in the US, they're popular in China and in many other countries around the world.

Inside China, Huawei already offers local alternatives to US tech services, because Google's Play store and many US apps and services — such as Facebook and Uber — are unavailable there. But now that it's unable to work with US companies, Huawei will likely start promoting those Chinese alternatives outside of China, Berkowitz said.

"People like Google begin to lose out, because Huawei will point its search [box] at Baidu, not at Google," Berkowitz said. He continued: "As the conflict or trade war between the US and China [heats up] ... we're going see that set of Chinese suppliers begin to spread throughout the world."

Many US tech companies have struggled to gain traction in China or, finding themselves in untenable positions due to the country's censorship and domestic surveillance policies, have abandoned the market. Now, they may find themselves in losing out to Chinese firms in developing countries also, Berkowitz said. Huawei could promote Didi's ride hailing services instead of Uber's, or Chinese messaging service WeChat instead of Facebook's WhatsApp, he said.

US tech companies may find themselves not just facing trouble in China, but also "that Baidu becomes the default search engine for India and for consumers in Africa and the email provider and online transaction provider," Berkovitz said. 

In the developing world, price trumps all

At least right now, the US tech services in general tend to be better known and more popular outside of China than their Chinese rivals. But that brand strength may not matter all that much in developing countries.

Much of Huawei's success in the smartphone market has come from offering devices with top-end features at prices that are significantly lower than their rivals. If a Huawei phone is selling in a developing country at a steep discount to the price of an iPhone or Samsung phone there — but is perceived to offer similar features — it's going to be attractive to consumers in those countries, regardless of whether it has the Google Play store or Google's search app, Berkowitz said.

What's going to matter to such customers is "more pure economics and the cost of the phone," he said.

SEE ALSO: These 2 stark charts show why Huawei's attempt to build a replacement for Android will fail

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A new Intuit survey says 68% of SMBs use an average of four apps to run their businesses — here's how they're choosing payment providers

Thu, 05/23/2019 - 11:05pm

In an increasingly digitized world, brick-and-mortar retailers are facing immense pressure to understand and accommodate their customers’ changing needs, including at the point of sale (POS). 

More than two years after the EMV liability shift in October 2015, most large merchants globally have upgraded their payment systems. And beyond upgrading to meet new standards, many major retailers are adopting full-feature, “smart” devices — and supplementing them with valuable tools and services — to help them better engage customers and build loyalty.

But POS solutions aren’t “one size fits all.” Small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) don't usually have the same capabilities as larger merchants, which often have the resources and funds to adopt robust solutions or develop them in-house. That's where app marketplaces come in: POS app marketplaces are platforms, typically deployed by POS providers, where developers can host third-party business apps that offer back-office services, like accounting and inventory, and customer-retention tools, like loyalty programs and coupons.

SMBs' growing needs present a huge opportunity for POS terminal providers, software providers, and resellers. The US counts roughly 8 million SMBs, or 99.7% of all businesses. Until now, constraints such as time and budget have made it difficult for SMBs to implement value-added services that meet their unique needs. But app marketplaces enable providers to cater to SMBs with specialized solutions. 

App marketplaces also alleviate some of the issues associated with the overcrowded payments space. Relatively new players that have effectively leveraged the rise of the digital economy, like mPOS firm Square, are increasingly encroaching on the payments industry, putting pricing pressure on payment hardware and service giants. This has diminished client loyalty as merchants seek out the most affordable solution, and it's resulted in lost revenue for providers. However, app marketplaces can be used as tools not only to build client loyalty, but also as a revenue booster — Verifone, for instance, charges developers 30% of net revenue for each installed app and a distribution fee for each free app.

In this report, Business Insider Intelligence looks at the drivers of POS app marketplaces and the legacy and challenger firms that are supplying them. The report also highlights the strategies these providers are employing, and the ways that they can capitalize on the emergence of this new market. Finally, it looks to the future of POS app marketplaces, and how they may evolve moving forward.

Here are some of the key takeaways from the report:

  • SMBs are a massive force in the US, which makes understanding their needs a necessity for POS terminal providers, software providers, and resellers — the US counts roughly 8 million SMBs, or 99.7% of all businesses.
  • The entrance of new challengers into the payment space has put pricing pressure on the entire industry, forcing all of the players in the industry to find new solutions to keep customers loyal while also gaining a new revenue source.
  • Major firms in the industry, like Verifone and Ingenico, have turned to value-added services, specifically app marketplaces, to not only build loyalty but also giving them a new revenue source — Verifone charges developers 30% of net revenue for each installed app and a distribution fee for each free app.
  • According to a recent survey by Intuit, 68% of SMBs stated that they use an average of four apps to run their businesses. As developers flock to the space to grab a piece of the pie, it's likely that increased competition will lead to robust, revenue-generating marketplaces.
  • And there are plenty of opportunities to build out app marketplace capabilities, such as in-person training, to further engage with users — 66% of app users would hire someone to train and educate them on which apps are right for their businesses. 

In full, the report:

  • Identifies the factors that have changed how SMBs are choosing payment providers.  
  • Discusses why firms in the payments industry have started to introduce app marketplaces over the last four years.
  • Analyzes some of the most popular app marketplaces in the industry and identifies the strengths of each.
  • Breaks down the concerns merchants have relating to app marketplaces, and discusses how providers can solve these issues.
  • Explores what app marketplace providers will have to do going forward in order to avoid being outperformed in an industry that's becoming increasingly saturated. 
Subscribe to an All-Access pass to Business Insider Intelligence and gain immediate access to: This report and more than 250 other expertly researched reports Access to all future reports and daily newsletters Forecasts of new and emerging technologies in your industry And more! Learn More

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Trump repeats the false claim that China pays tariffs, after rolling out a $16 billion bailout package for farmers

Thu, 05/23/2019 - 8:35pm

  • US President Donald Trump on Thursday again falsely claimed that foreign companies pay for tariffs.
  • American consumers and businesses pay the cost of tariffs on Chinese products.
  • All this came hours after the Trump administration announced a $16 billion bailout package for farmers.

US President Donald Trump on Thursday once again pushed what has emerged as a central message in his yearlong trade dispute with China, falsely claiming that foreign companies pay for tariffs.

Speaking to farmers and ranchers in the Roosevelt Room, Trump touted a $16 billion bailout package for the agricultural sector that his administration unveiled hours earlier. He claimed its funding "all comes from China," even though study after study has found that Americans bear the costs of tariffs.

"We'll be taking in, over a period of time, hundreds of billions of dollars in tariffs and charges to China and our farmers will be greatly helped," Trump said. "This support for farmers will be paid for by the billions of dollars our Treasury takes in.

"We'll be taking in, depending on what period of time we're talking, many billions of dollars. Far more than the $16 billion that we're talking about."

Trump also sought to walk back recent statements from within his administration that had contradicted that claim. White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow earlier this month acknowledged on FOX News Sunday that Americans pay import tariffs.

"In fact, Larry Kudlow was quoted but they didn't have the second part of the quote, which was a very good quote," he said. A spokesperson confirmed the show aired the interview in full.

SEE ALSO: Trump rolls out a $16 billion bailout package as the trade war stings American farmers

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This pitch deck helped a 65-year-old company raise $50 million and show investors why its personality testing service was suddenly growing like a hot startup

Thu, 05/23/2019 - 6:19pm

  • The Predictive Index is an old company that's growing like a startup.
  • Its owners — Mike Zani and Daniel Muzquiz — bought the company, which offers personality assessments, in 2014 with the idea of turning it around.
  • They soon discovered that its core service — helping companies find, promote, and group together the right people for their organizations — had even more potential than they originally realized.
  • Below is the pitch deck Zani and Muzquiz used to raise $50 million in venture funding and to show investors their vision for injecting even more growth into the business.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

A 65-year-old company isn't exactly a startup. But The Predictive Index has started to look a lot like one to its CEO, Mike Zani.

Zani and his business partner, Daniel Muzquiz, bought the venerable personality testing company five years ago with the idea of reinvigorating it. Having been customers of The Predictive Index for 10 years, they were fans of its product and believers in its value.

But then the company started growing rapidly, with revenue jumping by nearly 40% annually. And Zani and Muzquiz started to think the company had the potential to grow even faster.

"When we bought the Boston-based company in 2014, we knew it was a great company. We knew it was a great product. But I don't think we fully saw the size of the potential," Zani told Business Insider in an interview earlier this month. They eventually realized, he continued, that "the idea was bigger than we originally saw."

Since its founding, The Predictive Index has offered tests that allow companies and organizations to assess the personalities of their executives and employees. The tests, distributed through a network of partners, are designed to be used to help companies hire the people whose personalities best fit their culture or needs and to help them organize teams with people who mesh together.

It took a lot of work to revamp The Predictive Index

When Zani and Muzquiz took over The Predictive Index, they found a company in need of a lot of work. They set to work rebuilding its partner network, boosting it from 47 to 160. They worked on getting new studies done that would verify the scientific validity of the company's tests. And they rebuilt its technology infrastructure.

"It was a huge lift on many fronts to reenvision and reinvent and re-found the company," Zani said.

Today, The Predictive Index offers a subscription software service that allows customers to administer its tests and collect and analyze the data from them. Its partners help sell its service, offer workshops to help clients use the tools, and consult with companies about how to interpret and act on the results. 

As they revitalized The Predictive Index, Zani and Muzquiz realized that the company was really in what Zani calls the talent optimization business. In that market, they had few competitors and lots of opportunity, he said.

Nearly every CEO has a business strategy for his or her company. Most also have a financial plan to support and further than strategy. But few have worked out a high-level hiring plan that can guide who they hire and promote, Zani said. That's where The Predictive Index comes in.

Its service allows companies to design a plan for building out their talent base and then use that plan to help them figure out who to hire and promote and how to group those employees together.

"Our platform really enables a talent strategy to happen," he said.

Zani sees a huge opportunity ahead

The Predictive Index already has 7,100 clients, who represent a wide range of different industries, sizes, and types of organizations, including churches, professional sports teams, startups, and mining companies. But Zani thinks the total potential market for its services is much, much larger.

"There are hundreds of thousands of entities — companies — that would benefit from this," he said.

When Zani and Muzquiz took over The Predictive Index, they funded its expansion and revitalization with its operating cash flow. But they decided that in order to take advantage of the opportunity they saw, they were going to need a boost. So they went out looking for outside investors.

In January, they raised $50 million from venture capital firm General Catalyst in a Series A funding round. They're using the funds to further develop the service and the partner network. They also brought in General Catalyst to sit on The Predictive Index's board to offer advice on how to grow the company, Zani said.

Read this: Here's the pitch deck a Silicon Valley startup used to raise $15 million to promote its edge-computing service

Their focus is on "how do we turn this into a multi-billion dollar revenue company," Zani said, "because the total addressable market could easily support that."

Here's the pitch deck The Predictive Index used to raise its $50 million funding round:

SEE ALSO: This Silicon Valley founder is an expert in designing presentations. Here's what he thinks your startup needs to include in a pitch deck — and what you should leave out.

































Got a tip about a tech company? Contact this reporter via email at twolverton@businessinsider.com, message him on Twitter @troywolv, or send him a secure message through Signal at 415.515.5594. You can also contact Business Insider securely via SecureDrop.



9 mind-blowing facts about Venezuela's economy

Thu, 05/23/2019 - 6:07pm

  •  Venezuela is going through one of the worst political and economic crises in modern history.
  • Once a stable democracy and economic powerhouse, Venezuela is now on the brink of collapse and the country is effectively insolvent.
  • Read on for nine hard-to-believe facts about Venezuela's economy today.
  • Visit Markets Insider's homepage for more stories

The nation of Venezuela is in a state of crisis.

Over the past few years, corruption and failed government policies have led Venezuela's economy to collapse, causing infrastructure to crumble and leaving millions of Venezuelans in poverty.

The hardships faced by residents include catastrophic nationwide blackouts, hyperinflation, food shortages, and disease. The New York Times recently called the crisis the worst the world has ever seen outside of war. More than 3 million Venezuelans have fled the country since the crisis began, many of them walking out on foot.

Nicolás Maduro remains president of the country, though several nations including the United States now recognize opposition leader Juan Guaidó as the legitimate head of state.

Meanwhile the production and export of goods have dropped off dramatically, leaving an economy that was once the strongest in Latin America in dire straits.

We compiled nine hard-to-believe facts about Venezuela's economy that illustrate the devastating effects of the nation's crisis:

Inflation in Venezuela may hit 10 million percent this year

According to Euro News, IMF experts estimate that inflation in Venezuela will reach 10 million percent in 2019. That means a product that at one point cost the equivalent of one dollar will now cost the equivalent of $10 million. Under present circumstances, many Venezuelans' monthly salaries cannot cover the cost of a single gallon of milk.



Venezuela has the world's largest proven oil reserves, but its production today is 2.3 times less than it was in the 1970s

Venezuela may sit on more known oil than any other nation, but it produces relatively little oil these days. From a high of 3.5 million barrels per day in the 1970s, the country produces only about 1.5 million barrels per day at present, according to Forbes. The drop-off in production can be attributed largely to poor handling of the industry following state takeovers under former presidents Hugo Chávez and Maduro.



Venezuela used to be the wealthiest country in South America.

During most of the decades following Venezuela's adoption of a democratic government in 1958 through the 1980s, the country was the richest nation in South America, according to PRI's The World. The collapse of oil prices in the 1980s and failed economic policies brought an end to its financial primacy in the region.



President Maduro has ordered 26 minimum wage increases in his six years in office, including a 300% increase earlier this year

In what has largely been a futile effort to keep citizens out of abject poverty, Maduro routinely decrees an increase in the country's minimum wage. In January of 2019, Merco Press reports, he ordered wages raised from 4,500 to 18,000 sovereign bolivars per month, a 300% increase.



In 2018, experts estimate that in Venezuela, a roll of toilet paper cost 2.6 million Venezuelan bolivars

Experts estimated that a roll of toilet paper cost Venezuelans 2.6 million bolivars in 2018.

For reference, in terms of US dollars, that 2.6 million bolivar roll of toilet paper would have cost 40 cents. And at the time of the assessment, in mid-2018, inflation in Venezuela was around 1 million percent, according to NBC News.



Venezuela's 2018 GDP was smaller than that of Connecticut's

According to World Economics Ltd.,Venezuela's gross domestic product in 2018 was approximately $276 billion. That same year, the GDP of the state of Connecticut was about $279.7 billion.



Venezuela's estimated unemployment rate stands at a staggering 44%

Bloomberg reports that experts estimate Venezuelan unemployment will surpass 44% this year and will likely hit the 50% mark next year. The state, however, has not released an official unemployment figure since 2016, when it claimed a 7.3% unemployment rate, according to Reuters.



Venezuela's commercial output may contract by 25% this year, the worst performance seen in any nation since Libya's civil war

Production, agriculture, and exports in Venezuela are so stymied that the country's output may fall by a quarter this year alone. That's the worst performance of any economy since Libya fell into civil war in 2014, and about the worst contraction ever experienced by any country not in a war, as calculated by the IMF.



As of 2017, oil production accounted for about 95% of Venezuela's export earnings

According to the CIA Factbook, in recent years oil has accounted for almost all of Venezuela's exports, and is responsible for about half of the Venezuelan government's annual revenue.



SEE ALSO:

9 mind-blowing facts about North Korea's economy



The companies disrupting the payments industry in major markets through digital

Thu, 05/23/2019 - 6:04pm

This is a preview of the Global Payments Landscape report from Business Insider Intelligence. Current subscribers can read the report  here.

  • Noncash payments are on the rise worldwide.
  • As new players emerge to capitalize on consumer appetite for digital payment methods, three mature markets — the UK, Australia, and Sweden — have become standouts for what a more cashless society could look like.
  • The UK, Australia, and Sweden are transitioning to digital particularly well, and can serve as a roadmap for other mature markets seeking to overcome the legacy channel of cash.

Noncash payments have been gaining popularity around the world for the last decade. And though cash isn’t anywhere near dead, its global growth is slowing as consumers turn to emerging cashless alternatives.

But there are a few key markets - Australia, Sweden, and the UK - where annual noncash payments have already surpassed traditional cash transactions altogether — and they’re stong early indicators of what a truly cashless society could look like.

Why are digital payments on the rise?

The growing adoption of noncash payments is a direct result of the rise of e-commerce, but that’s not the only factor. Consumers today are adaptable to disruptive technologies and are generally open to trying new types of digital payment methods.

This consumer appetite is compounded by their access to infrastructure, as well as the emergence of government-backed initiatives, such as real-time transfers and the backing of electronic currencies, that make digital payments more enticing to both consumers and merchants.

How are Australia, Sweden, and the UK driving the world towards cashless payments?

Australia, Sweden, and the UK are emblematic of opportunities for payments players to lead the world away from cash. The Global Payments Landscape from Business Insider Intelligence, Business Insider’s premium research service, provides a snapshot of the payments industry in each of these three markets.

The report shows that several leading payments players have already emerged or are dominant within each of these regions — and they’re finding success in different ways. For other mature markets seeking to overcome the legacy channel of cash, the digital transformations of Australia, Sweden, and the UK can serve as a roadmap.

Here are the strategies these regions are implementing in the race to become the world’s first cashless society:

  • Australia is launching government initiatives and instating new regulations. The Australian government has banned purchases over AU$10,000 ($7,500) from being made in cash, as well as launched the New Payments Platform (NPP) to allow real-time funds transfer as a means of replacing transactions typically made in cash, such as paying back a friend.
  • In Sweden, consumers are rapidly abandoning cash in favor of cards. In fact, only 2% of the total value of transactions in Sweden consist of cash — a figure that’s expected to decline to less than half a percent by 2020.
  • Contactless payments are leading the shift away from cash in the UK. Nearly the entire population has a debit card, and debit card transactions surpassed cash payments for the first time at the end of 2017. This milestone was largely fueled by the surge in contactless cards, which grew 97% annually last year to hit 5.6 billion transactions.

Want to Learn More?

The Global Payments Landscape from Business Insider Intelligence compiles various payments snapshots, together illustrating how digital payment methods are supplementing or replacing cash in each market.

Each snapshot provides an overview of the payments industry in a particular country, and details the evolution of its development. They also highlight notable payments players in each region and discuss the opportunities and challenges that players are facing in their respective markets.

Get The Global Payments Landscape

 

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Southwest Airlines is going to allow people who don't want to fly on the Boeing 737 Max to switch planes for free (LUV)

Thu, 05/23/2019 - 5:59pm

  • Southwest Airlines Chief Marketing Officer Ryan Green told CNBC that his airline won't make passengers who don't want to fly on the Boeing 737 Max pay additional airfare to switch flights.
  • Southwest does not charge passengers a fee to change their tickets, but it does usually charge customers the difference in airfare. 
  • All Boeing 737 Max airliners have been grounded since March 13, with the jet pulled from Southwest's flight schedule until August 5. 
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Those who don't want to the fly on the Boeing 737 Max won't have to. According to Southwest Airlines Chief Marketing Officer Ryan Green, passengers who find themselves booked on a 737 Max flight will be allowed to switch flights free of charge.

"If they're uneasy about flying on a Max aircraft, we'll be flexible with them," Green told CNBC. "We'll be understanding of that and allow them to fly on a different flight without paying any difference in fare."

The Dallas, Texas-based low-cost carrier does not charge passengers a fee to change their tickets, but it does charge customers the difference in airfare. But in the case of concerns around the Max, an exception will be made.

Read more: American Airlines CEO reveals when he would feel safe flying on the Boeing 737 Max again.

All 371 Boeing 737 Max airliners in service around the world have been grounded since March 13 following the crashes of Ethiopian Airlines Flight ET302 and Lion Air Flight JT610. Southwest Airlines is the largest operator of the Boeing 737 Max, with a fleet of 34 aircraft. All 34 planes, which are in desert storage in Victorville, California, have been pulled from the flight schedule until at least August 5. However, in a recent statement, Southwest CEO Gary Kelly said the company does not have a confirmed timeline for the 737 Max's return to service. 

Southwest's concerns about passengers who may not want to fly on the 737 Max are reasonable. A poll conducted by Business Insider a week after the Ethiopian Airlines crash showed that 53% of American adults surveyed would not want to fly on a Boeing 737 Max, even after the Federal Aviation Administration clears the aircraft for service.

SEE ALSO: American Airlines CEO reveals the most important lesson he learned from the legendary founder of Southwest Airlines

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Mark Zuckerberg says the Chris Hughes solution to break up Facebook would actually 'make it a lot harder' to solve election and privacy problems (FB)

Thu, 05/23/2019 - 5:22pm

Mark Zuckerberg is pushing back after his fellow Facebook cofounder Chris Hughes called for the social-networking giant to be broken up.

On a conference call with reporters on Thursday to discuss Facebook's content-moderation efforts, the 34-year-old billionaire chief executive was asked about Hughes' argument, first publicized in a New York Times essay, that the $514 billion company had grown too powerful and regulators needed to take antitrust action against it.

Zuckerberg's argument was twofold: There is still plenty of competition in the market, and Facebook's massive scale helps it to fight abuse.

"Whether it's iMessage for those of you in the US, or Snapchat, or YouTube or Twitter or TikTok, or any of those different folks, the average person here I think uses seven or eight different services to communicate in different kinds of context," Zuckerberg said. "So I think it almost goes without saying that we live in a very competitive and dynamic environment where these services are constantly coming up."

The difference between Facebook and the others, however, is one of scale: The size of Facebook dwarfs just about all of the competitors Zuckerberg mentioned, whether in terms of active users, revenue, activity, or just about any other metric (YouTube is close in scale to Facebook, but there is relatively little overlap in their functionality for most users, and it is owned by Google).

Zuckerberg also said antitrust remedies wouldn't help solve safety issues — something he cited as one of the key issues any regulation should seek to solve. In recent months, the CEO has become increasingly vocal about his theoretical support for increased government oversight — though he has focused on areas such as content moderation that wouldn't fundamentally limit Facebook's power.

"[The] reaction I have when I hear this question is, 'what problem is somebody trying to solve when they raise the issue what kind of regulation should exist around the internet?' ... If the problems you are most worried about are the ones about ... harmful content, making sure that we prevent election interference, making sure that we have the right privacy control ... I don't think that the remedy of breaking up the company is going to address those, I actually think it's going to make it a lot harder."

Facebook's sheer size and colossal pots of cash aid it in this, he said: "The success of this company has allowed us to fund these efforts at a massive level. I think that the amount of our budget that goes towards our safety systems, I believe, is greater than Twitter's whole revenue this year."

There's a curious tension to this answer: After downplaying Facebook's outsized power and pointing out all the competitors that he said give it a run for its money, Zuckerberg pivoted to emphasizing just how much larger Facebook is than everyone else and saying it would be dangerous to interfere with that scale.

And many of these problems are such big problems precisely because of Facebook's scale and its historic slowness in responding to abuse of its platform.

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I drove a $50,000 Chevy Colorado ZR2 Bison to see if the ultimate midsize offroading pickup could handle everyday life — here's the verdict (GM)

Thu, 05/23/2019 - 5:13pm

  • The 2019 Chevy Colorado ZR2 Bison is the hardest of hardcore offroading pickups from the bowtie brand.
  • The Chevy Colorado ZR2 Bison has about $6,000 of upgrades from American Expedition Vehicles, all designed to improve the pickup's ability to go where no midsize pickup has gone before.
  • The offroading extras are probably too much for most weekend warriors — they'll do fine with the regular ZR2. But for a tough, tough truck, the ZR2 Bison is remarkably easy to live with day to day.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Once you get into offroading, you invariably start to look for bulletproof vehicles capable of handling any terrain. 

When it comes to midsize pickups, a versatile choice, few are more bulletproof than the Chevy Colorado ZR2 Bison, an upgraded version of Chevy's already robust Zr2. The Bison trim went on sale in early 2019.

Although the Bison is brilliant, it does raise a question: "Can a pickup that's this ready for rock-busting deal with everyday life?"

I set out to answer that question when Chevy let me borrow the truck for a week. I didn't have a choice, and proper offroad testing is somewhat outside our capabilities at Business Insider. But I have no difficulty dropping kids off at school and making weekend runs to rescue houseplants from relatives.

Here's how it went down:

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Say hello to the Bison! The 2019 Chevy ZR2 Bison, to be precise. In a "Red Hot" paint job — truth in advertising, by the way — this test truck stickered at $49,745.

The Bison wasn't our first ZR2. We tested the slightly less hardcore regular ZR2 last year.

Read the review.



We also spent some time with the performance-oriented Colorado Z71.

Read the review.



Our Chevy Colorado ZR2 Bison tester came with a crew cab and a short box.

It was nearly identical to the previous ZR2 I sampled, at least on the outside.

One major difference was the front grille treatment. The Bison carries the proud Chevrolet name, while ...

... The previous truck rocked a big ol' Chevy bowtie badge, chrome-edged gold.

So what makes a ZR2 Bison a member of a special herd of pickups? Basically, it comes down to a collaboration with American Expedition Vehicles, a Montana-headquartered company with close ties to Detroit.

"For maximum protection of key undercarriage elements while driving over rocky, jagged terrain, Bison features five skid plates covering the engine oil pan, fuel tank, transfer case and front and rear locking differentials," Chevy explained when the new ZR was launched.

"Designed by AEV, these skid plates are constructed of hard, durable hot-stamped Boron steel. AEV-designed stamped steel front and rear bumpers further shield the truck from obstacles. The front bumper contains winch provisions and standard fog lights, with recovery points integrated into the rear bumper."

The upshot here is that while the ZR2 is extremely capable, the ZR2 Bison is capable and then some. If you spend your spare time busting over rocks, climbing hills, and fording rivers — in other words, if you consider pavement something for the weak — then you'll be interested in what the Bison spec has to offer. 

Effectively, the ZR2 Bison is a Colorado ZR2 with an armor-plated underside. Hot-stamped Boron steel! That sounds pretty impressive.

The ZR2 also has locking front and rear differentials and some other offroad goodies; the Bison upgrade adds about $6,000 in extras, including some rather stout-looking floor mats.



The AEV shout-out is genuinely modest, given how robust the modifications to the ZR2 are.

The rear liftgate gets the Colorado V6 badging and the blacked-out bowtie from the Z71.

So, how about that bed? Well, it's as versatile as you'd expect, even if it's a short one (which actually helps with offroading, making the ZR2 Bison easier to handle). I made a long run from New Jersey to the East End of Long Island to fetch a pair of houseplants. As you can seem, I had plenty of room for a hammock, too.

These tires aren't messing around. They also aren't the best from highway cruising, but they weren't outrageously rough or noisy in my testing.

Look behind the rear wheels and you'll find Multimatic offroad-ready DSSV shocks, a leaf-spring suspension, and a full-size spare.

Getting into and out of the lifted ZR2 Bison is tricky. There's no step, but there is a steel tube, designed to provide some assistance without being a mud-magnet or a component that could get ripped off by a boulder.

Let's take a look at the engine!

The 3.6-liter V6 is all motor — no turbos. The engine makes 308 horsepower with 275 pound-feet of torque. A turbocharged four-cylinder, 2.8-liter mill is available, making 181 horsepower but a juicy 369 pound-feet of rock-crawling torque.

My tester sent the power through a stout eight-speed automatic. This combo yields less-than-great fuel economy: 16 mpg city/18 highway/17 combined. My jaunt to Long Island plus a week driving about town meant that I had to top off the tank at least once.

You want old school? How about an ignition key?

Like the ZR2, the ZR2 Bison has a nice — but not overly premium — interior. My tester's was "Jet Black." Front seats were heated, as was the steering wheel.

The infotainment system runs on an eight-inch touchscreen. It lacks map-based navigation features, but it can provide OnStar turn-by-turn directions. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are available. Bluetooth connectivity is a snap, and there are USB/AUX ports for devices. The pickup has 4G LTE WiFi, too.

So what's the verdict?

In my review of the non-Bisonized ZR2, I wrote, "You can sort of think of the ZR2 as a less intense, junior-ized version of the Ford Raptor or the Chevy Silverado Z71."

And I added: "Not that it isn't intense on its own. I think the smaller size and sportier demeanor would quite a lot of fun to take to the desert, maybe more so than bigger and far more powerful high-test pickups."

The ZR2 Bison is the midsize equal of the Raptor — a sort of Raptor junior, with the most extreme offroad market for midsizes to itself until Ford brings out a Raptoradelic version of the new Ranger.

Obviously, I didn't rock-crawl or even get off the pavement in my tester pickup, so I have to give the folks at AEV the benefit of the doubt and suggest that their mods would serve ZR2 owners well. 

So how does the ZR2 Bison function for more mundane duty? 

Like the Raptor, it handles freeway cruising and errand-running quite well. Climbing in and out is a pain, and the MPGs are woeful, but you have excellent small pickup versatility to go along with the offroading cred — and the ZR2 comes with enough creature comforts to take the edge off the truck's rougher demeanor.

The Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro, a major ZR2 and ZR2 Bison rival, can't give you this. The Taco is a challenging truck to live with when you aren't busting through uncharted territory. Awesome, to be sure, but also uncompromising.

That's a good thing for ZR2 owners. But what about ZR2 Bison folks?

Well, comfort is an added perk. But then again, people who drop the $6,000 extra are likely to spend more time offroad in their ZR2 than on pavement. If you're trying to make a choice, be real: the ZR2 is plenty of truck for folks with day jobs that don't entail daily dirt and jagged rocks.

The bottom line is that right now, Chevy and Toyota offer the most comprehensive lineups of midsize pickups. And in Chevy's case, the brand has really taken the lead in reviving the segment. If you're a serious offroader and you thought Toyota was the only small pickup in town, I've got news for you: the bowtie brand can loosen up and take to the trails — and then some.

 



Apple made a mistake by killing the iPhone SE (AAPL)

Thu, 05/23/2019 - 5:04pm

  • Apple's current iPhone lineup includes the iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, and iPhone XR.
  • Apple quietly discontinued a few older iPhones to make room for the new models, including most notably the iPhone SE.
  • The iPhone SE was Apple's last 4-inch iPhone, and the only phone made at an incredibly accessible price point of just $350.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.
  •  

SEE ALSO: 9 reasons you should buy an iPhone XR instead of an iPhone XS

Last September, at the same event where it unveiled three new iPhones, Apple quietly killed off one of the best smartphones it's ever made: the iPhone SE.

At $350, the iPhone SE was one of the best "budget" smartphones you could buy.

It didn't have a big, flashy high-definition screen like so many modern smartphones, but it had great performance in an adorable package.

The iPhone SE wasn't just a "small phone" — it provided an alternative for people who didn't want to buy a large-screened iPhone.

The first iPhone models had screens no bigger than four inches.

The original iPhone, iPhone 3G, iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, and iPhone 4S all had screens that measured 3.5 inches.

In 2012, with the arrival of the iPhone 5, Apple bumped the screen size up to 4 inches. Even that was a huge shift since developers had to re-size all their apps.

The iPhone 5S and 5C the following year kept that same 4-inch screen.

Then, in 2014, Apple introduced the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, its largest iPhones ever, with 4.7- and 5.5-inch screens. They were huge!

Lots of people loved the larger screens of the iPhone 6-era phones, but plenty of customers who preferred the smaller designs worried about the eventual retirement of the iPhone 5S, the last remaining iPhone with a 4-inch screen.

To the surprise of many, Apple in late 2016 announced the iPhone 5S would get a true successor, called the iPhone SE. It would feature the same internals as the year-ago iPhone model, the iPhone 6S, but in the package of the 4-inch iPhone 5S.

Since 2016, the iPhone SE remained in Apple's lineup as not only the last "small" iPhone, but also its most affordable, at just $350.

This, in turn, gave Apple an incredibly diverse iPhone lineup: In 2017, Apple's iPhone lineup featured models priced from $350 all the way to $1,149, giving customers a wide range of options to choose from.

Having so many different iPhone models gave Apple a big advantage: While most smartphone makers could only afford to focus on one phone launch at a time, Apple was selling phones for just about everyone, whether you wanted something affordable or high-end, big or small.

But as of now, you can no longer buy an iPhone SE directly from Apple.

This means the most affordable — and smallest! — iPhone is now the iPhone 7, which, at $449, is actually a steal. The iPhone 7 is not very old at all, even if 2016 feels like a long time ago, and it's an incredible design and overall experience.

To be fair, as much as I lament the discontinuation of the iPhone SE and that particular design, Apple almost certainly has more data to support the fact it made the right decision. Who knows, maybe Apple will sell more iPhones this holiday season than ever before with the adjusted lineup.

But the iPhone SE was still clearly serving a significant number of people: Back in 2016, Apple announced it had sold 30 million 4-inch iPhones in 2015, despite the availability of the newer and larger iPhone 6 and 6S models.

So, as much as I love the current iPhone X-style designs, I do believe Apple got it right with the iPhone SE, and hope to see 4-inch iPhones eventually make a return. Maybe we'll see an iPhone X-style redesign at some point.

(I think an iPhone SE redesign would have to be called iPhone XSE — a.k.a. "iPhone Tennessee" — as it most certainly could not be called iPhone SEX).



But even if a redesigned iPhone SE costs more than $350, having a new 4-inch iPhone would satisfy customers who want a smaller smartphone that runs iOS, and customers in general would benefit by having more options to choose from.

This Apple ad from 2012 had it right when it called the 4-inch iPhone design "common sense":

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