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Consumers are delighting in credit card spending these days, and are also wisely paying their credits debts as they create them.

3 women happy to spend with theri credit cardThis is a great formula for current businesses; not only should we see our profits mounting with this safer credit card trend, but we can better rely on long-term gains as consumers learn to not allow debt to grow.


"Consumers in the U.S. are stepping up purchases on their credit and debit cards, while delinquency rates on the credit side have reached a "new low," said analyst Robert Napoli of William Blair in a research note Wednesday." [Napoli] noted that overall credit card spending for the card networks — led by giants Visa (NYSE:V) and MasterCard (NYSE:MA) — accelerated to 10.6% in Q2 from 8.7% in Q1. Overall debit-card spending grew 7.9% in Q2, up 50 basis points from Q1."


First Data reports:


"Overall retail spending growth was at its strongest levels in a year as nearly all retail categories turned in improved numbers. Led by categories such as Building Material & Garden Equipment and Furniture & Home Furnishings, the growth suggests the impact of fewer foreclosures and increased construction. Still, consumers remained hesitant to make big ticket and non-essential purchases." 


Only a few years ago, in 2009, the spending climate was so depressed that the nation wondered if economic growth was on an endless decline: "They've [Americans have] just cut back. They are really changing," says Minnesota-based author and financial consultant Ruth Hayden. "They're not eating out, they're giving up the second car, they're shopping at consignment stores and getting their hair cut every two months instead of every month."


Back then, as consumers stopped spending, the credit card companies increased rates to recoup their losses. This reaction encouraged consumers to cut up their credit cards, pay with cash - and subsequently start to learn the benefits of "pay as you go". As a result of their loss of customers, credit card companies countered again with "cashback" programs, 18 months interest-free purchases, and other very enticing features, which have lent to a great deal of spending. This attractive programming also rewards the most responsible of the customers who pay their credit card bills upon arrival.


Let's hope the trend of thoughtful credit card spending continues!



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What to do now that MS Windows XP OS is not supported?

Last fall (2013) TRI published a blog warning about the end of Microsoft Windows XP’s operating system (OS) support in April; i.e., no "fixes", adjustments, new features, not even security updates. Oddly, 10% or more of the computers online are still running with the increasingly vulnerable XP OS.


XP-gravestoneSo you ask, "What can I do with my business computer with XP now?" The primary answer is, "Nothing online.” i.e., forget banking, credit card processing, etc.


It's risky to keep this now non-supported operating system:  


  • Your PC may become vulnerable to harmful viruses, spyware, and other malicious software which can steal or damage your business data and information. Anti-virus software will also not be able to fully protect you once Windows XP itself is unsupported.

  • Businesses that are governed by regulatory obligations such as HIPAA may find that they are no longer able to satisfy compliance requirements. 

  • When software vendors can't obtain XP updates then neither will they support their products running on that OS. For example, the new MS Office does not run on Windows XP. Your payment processing software installed on a computer with XP will also be excluded from software vendor support.

  • Most PC hardware manufacturers will stop supporting Windows XP on existing and new hardware. This will also mean that drivers required to run Windows XP on new hardware may not be available.


We've paired down Microsoft's content on the bullets above. Microsoft explains the risks in more detail. Visit End of Support Help pages.


There's no need to dispose of the XP OS computer if you stay offline (i.e., you do not connect with the Internet). You'll be able to use it, and its software for some time. If you do want to get rid of it however, there are both: free drop offs and free pick up services by companies who benefit from the recycling of the contents of the computer and its CRT (cathode ray tube) monitors.


Please read the original article. There are additional insights, such as using Windows 7 as a possible OS versus Windows 8. Though we are not making recommendations, TRI ventures to provide options to help support your business computor’s function and security.

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We have our share of amateur athletes at TRI, but none so dedicated as to venture a summer's cauldron-hot 200-mile mile bike ride!


tom summers lotoya racerOne of TRI's guru technicians, Tom Summers, is training now to embark on his first LOTOJA bike ride on Saturday, September 6th in Utah. In addition to the great heights he'll encounter, an elevation gain of 7133 feet, LOTOJA is the longest one-day USAC-sanctioned bicycle race in the United States.


tom summers lotoya"Sometimes it’s hard to find the time to ride as much as I need to be in good enough shape to finish the ride." Tom explains. Though Tom enjoys the training overall, he is crossing his fingers for favorable weather. "The part of the training I would rather skip is when the temperature is more than 96 degrees. When it is that hot, the fact that you always have a breeze blowing on you doesn’t help in cooling you down!"


We all wish you the best of cool breezes and constant hydration, Tom! (photos by Ronalee Summers)