Do I Need a Credit Card to Shop Online?

These days you don’t have to have a credit card to shop online. There are numerous ways to pay for items you buy online. Let’s review most popular payment methods you can use to pay for items.

1. Credit Card.  This is the most commonly used form of payment when shopping online.  Most websites take Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Discover Card, and others.

2. Debit Card.  While this is the second most widely used card offline, you have to check the websites online to find if they accept the debit card.

3. PayPal.  Some websites, in particular eBay and other auction sites, provide you the opportunity to pay with PayPal.  However, in order to sign up with PayPal you need to give them a credit card and savings or checking account.  The credit card is for payments and the savings and checking accounts are for items you sell for which the proceeds are transferred to either account.

4. E-Check.  Fewer sites utilize this form of payment; however, it is available.  This is primarily for those who want to pay with their checking account.  You will be required to give the last four digits of your check, as well as the last four digits of your social security number. 

5. Money Order.  Again, fewer sites offer this as a form of payment.

6. Check-Free is primarily used by Macy’s department store.  It is a service that allows you to receive a monthly bill via email and have the payment taken out of your checking account.   You can also use it if you have a Macy’s Visa card.

Certainly, the best way to shop online is to use one credit card only.  In this way you can keep track of purchases, check them against your credit card bill, and hopefully pay off the balance as soon as possible. Remember to check your credit report on an annual basis.

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