Mystery Shopping - To Certify or Not To Certify

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					                                                Presented by Daniel Toriola

     In many ways, mystery shopping is the perfect job. Mystery shoppers can be virtually any age or gender. It is
     the perfect opportunity for stay at home moms, for example, but there are also of plenty of mystery shoppers
                                                    who are men.
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                                                      To Certify or Not to Certify
                                                               By Ted Belfour

To certify or not to certify? That’s a good question.

If you are a mystery shopper, or hope to become one, you may have heard about mystery shopping
certification. The Mystery Shopping Providers Association of North America provides such certification
which the organization states simply lets potential clients know that you possess the basic skills
needed to provide the shopping service. The basic skills test can be taken online and the fee is
nominal. A more expensive certification is available and for that fee you get a certain amount of training
and updated mystery shopping industry literature for the ever changing field.

Is certification necessary? No.

It might help you get a foot in the door if a company is hiring mystery shoppers and has had a bad
experience with an unqualified shopper in the past. Other than that, certification won’t get you any
more shopping gigs than if you don’t have it. On the other hand, being certified and part of an
organization like the Mystery Shopping Providers Association might keep you posted on additional

While it is always true that you should not have to pay to be a mystery shopper, certification is a little
different. When you choose to get certified, you are not paying to get more mystery shopping gigs.
Instead, you are paying to receive updated information about a job area that is changing as rapidly as
the need for mystery shoppers is. In other words, you are paying for learning materials. And, since
knowledge is power, that makes for a good case in favor of certification.

Please note, too, that not only does certification NOT guarantee you more jobs, it does not guarantee
you more pay either. Maybe some day certification will raise the standard in the mystery shopping
industry, but for right now, that’s just not the case.

If you are trying to decide whether or not to get certified, it’s basically your call. Weigh out the pros and
cons of your particular situation. If you think you would benefit from the training that certification would
offer but you don’t want to put any money up front, wait until later.

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                                Presented by Daniel Toriola

Mystery shopping can be a fun and rewarding job. Many people are making additional income by being
a mystery shopper part time. The job is one that is easily tailored to fit your work, school or family
schedule. In most cases, you can take your family along as long as the assignment is family oriented.

Dave is the owner of and websites
that provide information on mystery shoppers.

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                                  Presented by Daniel Toriola

                                What Is A Self-Certification Mortgage?
                                           By Michael Sterios

A self-certification mortgage is a method a declaring income that will be suited to an applicant who may
have sources of income which are not easy to prove. Many people believe that a self-cert is a type of
home loan but it is important to note that self-certification is not a type of product, rather it is a method
of declaring income.

 There are a number of different situations in which a mortgage applicant may not be able to provide
full and verifiable proof of their income. This includes applicants who are self-employed, company
directors, freelance workers, or workers who receive their income on an irregular basis through
commissions and bonuses.

 In many cases the actual income of the applicant may have been minimized for taxation purposes.
Self-employed workers, for example, may utilize various tax minimization techniques in order to save
on income tax and company tax. When it comes time to apply for a mortgage their actual earnings may
be understated, leading to a situation in which they are able to borrow a smaller amount than they can
actually afford.

 In addition to this, many self-employed workers do not keep accurate or complete records of income
earned and therefore may not be able to supply several years of trading accounts to lenders upon
application for a mortgage. This can make it difficult to secure a full-status mortgage from a high-street

 A self-certification mortgage is designed to help people in situations such as these. The mortgage
application is based on affordability and the ability of the applicant to repay the loan, but does not
require proof of income. Instead of providing trading accounts, payslips or any other proof of income,
the applicant must certify that they have sufficient income to service the repayments when they
self-certify their income.

 At any one time, there are a variety of home loan products available from various lenders with which
applicants can self-certify their incomes. The products are usually available in a form in which income
is not self-certified but instead is fully declared and proven. The self-cert option is sometimes made
available to self-employed applicants on the same products so they are not excluded from the market.

 Often lenders will require self-cert applicants to pay higher interest rates than their standard applicants
for the same products. This is because of the perceived higher level of risk for applicants who are not
asked to prove their incomes. For the same reason a larger deposit is also often required and
depending on the loan to value ratio applied for a higher lending charge may also be levied.

 Because terms and conditions vary so much between products it is always a good idea to speak to a
mortgage broker to receive up to date information and advice. The terms and conditions attached to
home loans are also subject to frequent changes. An astute broker will keep abreast of the market and
will therefore be an invaluable source of information for mortgages which allow self-certification of
income. A qualified broker will also help with the application process, usually for a small fee.

Michael Sterios is a writer for

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                                  Presented by Daniel Toriola

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