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[ The PC Guide | The PC Buyer's Guide | Purchasing PCs and Components | Payment Methods | Immediate Payment Options ]

Online Payment

There are a number of new companies that have sprung up on the Internet that specialize in allowing payments entirely online. Individuals maintain their own "cyber-accounts" and can send payments to others using the company's web site. These payment systems are very popular with smaller vendors and those who sell on auction sites. One of the most commonly used ones is PayPal.

The attraction of this sort of payment is its convenience--it's as "good as cash" to most sellers, but the transaction takes place entirely over the Internet, so it is quick and efficient. It's also inexpensive, because the better companies of this sort have no fee at all for someone making a payment using the service.

Recognize that these services do still boil down to one of the other payment methods I mentioned above. You will have to either use a credit card or send the company a money order to get funds into your account, unless you first sell something at auction or get someone else to send you some money, so your account has a positive balance.

These services are attractive to smaller vendors who otherwise could not afford the costs and hassles associated with a true merchant credit card account. For example, if a buyer uses PayPal to pay a seller, the buyer can use a credit card to get funds into his or her PayPal account and then send those funds to the seller. The buyer gets the convenience of the credit card but the seller does not get charged a percentage of the order total as would occur with a regular merchant credit card account.

The drawbacks? Not many actually, except that unfortunately, most vendors still do not accept payment from these firms, especially larger vendors. I think it is quite likely however that this will change over time, as online purchases become more popular, and these payment services are more widely adopted.

Warning: Many of these services are entirely free to both the buyer and the seller, but some may not be. Be sure to read the details before you sign up.

Next: Delayed Payment Options

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