We're fast becoming a cashless society. Well, maybe that’s not quite true, but it certainly feels far less important to carry a decent amount of cash around with you these days. And with more of our purchases taking place online and on our phones, there are now lots of different ways to make payments, many of which seem much more secure and quicker to use than sharing your credit card or bank account details directly with retailers and service providers. So, what are the payment systems of choice these days, and why?
Apple has introduced its own contactless payment system that enables iPhone, iPad and Apple Watch users to pay for items in stores and online using their mobile device.
Apple Pay works by using the near-field communication (NFC) chips which are embedded in iPhone 6, 6 Plus and the Apple Watch. You don’t need to open the Apple Pay app - it automatically wakes up when you hold the device to a card reader. To verify the payment, you just press a finger on the Touch ID sensor which is built into the phone’s home button. When the payment has been made, the phone vibrates and beeps. If you’re shopping within apps, you can make single-touch purchases with Apple Pay too. For any iPhone user, setting up an Apple Pay account is a no-brainer and can be linked to numerous different credit and debit cards. This autumn, Apple plans on introducing Apple Pay on Mac with the new Sierra operating system, though you’ll still need to use the fingerprint sensor on your iPhone to verify a payment.
Opening a Bitcoin wallet is another way you can make payments without using cash or a credit card, and although the digital currency has only been in existence since 2009, it’s gaining in popularity all the time, with more and more retailers accepting bitcoin payments. Buying bitcoins used to be complicated but now it’s straightforward to top up your bitcoin wallet - with a bank transfer, credit card or through a bitcoin exchange.
Where bitcoin differs from other online transactions is that it’s a ‘push’ payment system, rather than a ‘pull’ one. In order to make a payment using bitcoin, you are provided with a merchant’s bitcoin wallet address, and you ‘push’ the funds to them, rather than allowing the merchant or retailer to ‘pull’ money from your account. Recipients usually receive payments in less than a minute. No personal or identifying information about you is sent with the payment, so you can make payments to a third party without providing any bank account or credit card details.
The security that bitcoin offers makes it an ideal currency to buy online goods and to participate in activities such as online gaming as they provide instant returns. Playing casino games with bitcoins also means that you can keep track of how much you’re spending, and makes it easy to separate out from the rest of your daily budget. BitcoinPokies has some useful info on how to set up a bitcoin wallet and where you can play bitcoin slot games.
Spending with Paysafe is another way you can pre-load funds to a separate ‘account’. In this case you can physically buy a Paysafecard from a local provider (globally, there are half a million sales outlets) and then use the card to pay online at thousands of different businesses. All you need to do to make a transaction is enter a 16-digit pin code. In a similar way to pre-pay phone cards, the Paysafecard is a convenient way of separating funds and budgeting to pay for online items.
These are just three alternative payment methods that we have available to us today. Of course there are others - such as Neteller and Skrill - which offer both consumers and retailers similarly quick, easy and secure payment options. Although some may sound unfamiliar at the moment, just think back to the days before Paypal existed, and how universally accepted that is nowadays. With more of us running our lives through our smartphones today, it’s inevitable that the digital wallet will become ever more commonplace and cash will eventually become redundant.
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