Using cash is probably pretty familiar since it is one of the more common types of payment. However, just to be clear, cash is exchanged directly for products at physical retailers. (Cash is not redeemable for online purchases. The bill for your purchases will come to a certain amount. Paying for your products is as easy as counting out that much money in cash and handing it to the cashier. If you give too much money, the retailer will give you back the “change,” or the difference between what you paid and the total cost of your product. Retailers will accept any combination of bills and/or coins. Therefore, you could conceivably pay for your entire purchase in coins, but for the sake of time and convenience, this is not recommended.
A debit card can be used at any physical retailer or website that accepts Mastercard or other major credit cards. (Debit cards are not credit cards, but they are accepted at all the same places.) If you’re making purchases at a website, the checkout page will ask for your payment information. When paying with a debit card, make sure that the billing address and the address linked to your debit card are the same. If you’re unsure of the address linked with your debit card, this information can be found on your bank’s website. Select pay with credit card, enter the type of card it is (Mastercard, Visa, etc.), your name as it appears on the card, the expiration date, the number on the front of the card, and the three digit number on the back if prompted to do so. Again, even though a debit card is not a credit card, you enter it as such on websites. The money will be taken directly out of your bank account. If you’re making a purchase at a physical retailer, hand the cashier the card and tell him/her it is debit. He/she will swipe the card, and you will either have to sign your receipt or enter your ATM pin number to verify it’s your card.
A credit card can be used at any physical retailer or website that accepts Mastercard, Visa or other major credit cards. It will usually say somewhere on the cash register which types of credit card, if any, that store accepts. If unsure, just ask. If you’re making a purchase at a website, the checkout page will ask for your payment information. Enter your billing address, and make sure the billing address matches the address associated with the credit card. If you’re unsure this information can be found on your credit card profile page. Select pay with credit card, enter the type of credit card (the logo can be found on the front of the card), your name as it appears on the card, expiration date, the card’s specific number, and the three digit number on the back if prompted to do so. The purchase will be added to your monthly bill sent by your credit card company. If you’re making a purchase at a physical retailer, hand the cashier the card. Say it’s a credit card. You will have to sign the receipt to verify it’s your card, and you will sometimes have to provide photo identification as a further measure of caution.
If you have a gift certificate redeemable at physical retailers, simply hand the card to the cashier at the time of purchase. He/she will swipe the card, and the total amount of the card will be deducted from your bill. If you end up with money left on your card, it is generally redeemable at a later date. Check with your specific card to make sure of this. Unlike debit or credit, you will not need to sign any receipt, enter any pin numbers, or provide photo identification. For this reason, make sure your gift certificates are in a secure place. If they are lost, anybody can redeem them. For more information about how to redeem an online gift certificate, please see “Redeeming your Coupon” and click on the “How to Redeem an Online Gift Certificate” link.
Paypal accounts are easy to establish and easy to use. Simply go to www.Paypal.com, and follow all the instructions about setting up an account. If you want a personal account, there are no fees to set up or maintain your account. There are, however, fees associated with business accounts Even with a personal account, every time you receive a payment through Paypal, a small percentage will be taken. It varies with the size of payment you receive, but it’s generally about 3-4%. To send a payment through Paypal, simply go to your account and click the “Send Money” tab. You can use the funds in your account, or link it to your bank account, credit card, or debit card. Simply enter the Paypal address of the person you’re sending money to, enter the amount you’re paying them, and click send. If you’re ever unsure about how to use Paypal, simply click the “Help” button in the upper right corner of your account page. There will be detailed pages about how to perform any task associated with Paypal.
If you want an additional way to accept and/or pay money in addition to Paypal, or if you don’t want to use Paypal at all, there are various alternative websites you can use. Simply go to any major search engine and type in “Paypal alternatives” to obtain a list. Each of these sites runs differently, but going to the help section is always a great place to try to find answers to your questions. If your specific question is not addressed on the help page, there is almost always an email address or number to contact for further inquiries. When using any of these alternatives, it is essential the site is reliable. You are giving your financial information to this institution, so you have to be able to trust the website. Sites that don’t charge any fees whatsoever could be legitimate, but do your research before you enter any sensitive information.
Money orders can be obtained from many different institutions including major grocery stores, chains, and financial institutions. If unsure, call ahead to confirm a specific store issues money orders. To obtain, simply tell the cashier you would like to purchase a money order. Payment will need to be provided upfront, and it needs to be with cash. You will then be asked to provide the appropriate information—the recipient’s name, your signature, date, and address. Once all this is completed, you can send the money order to the recipient through the mail. Money orders are a more secure alternative to sending cash through the mail. If you’re receiving a money order in payment, all you need to do is cash it. Take it to the grocery store, and they will give you the amount of the money order in cash. (Call ahead to see if your grocery store cashes money orders.) Photo identification will almost always be required to verify you are the recipient. Depending on the type of money order and your bank, they can also be deposited into an ATM like cash or a personal check. Inquire to see if your bank allows this.
A web certificate is used almost exactly like a debit or credit card. When ordering a web certificate, you can choose to have it in card form or opt to have the number simply emailed to you. If you choose the card, it can be used online or at physical retailers. If you choose to have the number emailed, it is valid at websites. When making a purchase at a physical retailer, hand the cashier the web certificate card. Exactly like a gift certificate, the total amount of the bill will be deducted from your card. You will not need to enter any pin numbers, sign any receipts, or provide photo identification. When making an online purchase, treat the card like a credit card. At the checkout page, enter pay with credit card, and then provide all the information it requests. The information can be found on your web certificate account page. Again, web certificates are not credit cards. Even though you select “pay with credit card,” it will just deduct from the amount on the card. For more information about this type of payment or how to redeem it at retailers, please visit www.webcertificate.com.
A personal check can only be redeemed at physical retailers. You cannot apply personal checks to online purchases. There is also an increasing trend for retailers and restaurants not to accept personal checks. However, assuming the retailer accepts it, paying with a personal check is quite simple. All you have to do is fill out the check. Put the date, the recipient’s name or the retailer, the amount of the check, and your signature. Give them the check, the company or individual will deposit it at the bank, and in a few days, the funds will be withdrawn from your account. You may have to provide photo identification to verify they are your checks.
If you’re making an international purchase online, foreign currency may or may not be an issue. The website will put the price of the item in that nation’s currency, and if it accepts foreign currency, it will usually have the exchange equivalent for other nation’s currency. Check with the specific website to make sure you can pay with your currency. If you’re making purchases at physical retailers in another county, your currency will almost always be rejected. Before you travel, go to your bank and exchange for that nation’s currency. At that point, it becomes just like paying with cash. (For more information about paying with cash, please click on the “How to Use Cash” link in this category.)
When you’re done shopping at a merchant’s website, go the checkout page. Select Bill Me Later as your method of payment, and follow the instructions that will appear. You will be prompted to give two pieces of readily available information—your birthday and the last four digits of your social security number. Enter these and you’re approved. A few weeks later, you will receive a bill in the mail for all your purchases made using the Bill Me Later option. You can pay this bill through your checking or savings account. At this time, Bill Me Later does not accept Paypal or credit cards as a form of payment. For more information, please visit the Bill Me Later homepage found at www.bill-me-later.com.