As the internet grows in importance and useability, we are spending more and more money online every single day. Businesses are aware that they need to be able to provide an online service, whether that is for online shopping, groceries, food, or games.
If you are spending money online, you need to know the best and safest way to do so – and this is where knowing more about the different payment options that are available to you will help you make the right decision.
When you are considering the best way to spend money online, whether it’s to buy your groceries or to top up your online gaming account, you need to consider the following:
- Is it safe? Can my details be accessed and used by third parties?
- Is it fast? Immediate transactions are always best, but not every payment option allows a transaction to happen straight away.
- Is it simple? Some payment options might require in-depth setup to start with, while others will need ongoing management.
There are three ways that you can spend money online, including the likes of stores and online casinos, and we will have a look at them below to help you make your decision.
Most of us probably came across PayPal when it became a subsidiary of eBay back in 1998 – but since then, this payment processor has gone from strength to strength when it comes to making online payments.
With PayPal, you can create a free account and link it to both your bank accounts and your debit cards. This process is simple and straightforward.
Once the account is set up, you can then use it to pay for goods and services from online companies and even send money to family and friends using the service. You can hold monetary balances in your PayPal account, transfer them to your bank account or to your card balance, or spend from them.
When it comes to making online purchases or topping up online accounts, companies that have a PayPal payment option are usually safe and reliable places. With PayPal becoming so popular, even casinos allow PayPal to players as a banking option.
Paying with PayPal is simple and safe, with transactions happening immediately. They are also safe – PayPal acts as an intermediary, so your bank or card details are not shared with the site that you are using, giving an extra layer of protection.
Unless you have been living under a rock for the last few years, you will have at least heard of cryptocurrency.
Essentially, crypto is a digital currency that is cryptographically secured and is based on blockchain – making it secure, decentralized, and essentially untraceable. You can buy cryptocurrency using a crypto broker, and you’ll hold your digital coins in a wallet that you can only access using a combination of a public and private key.
Cryptocurrencies have made headlines as being the currency of the future for many reasons. Firstly, they are completely independent of government control. Unlike physical (fiat) currency, crypto is not bound to a government or a commodity, so the value cannot be controlled by banks. This makes it less likely to be affected by sociopolitical events and means that you can use it in other countries without needing to worry about foreign exchange fees.
However, there are many downsides to using cryptocurrency instead of fiat currency. The decentralized and unregulated nature of the coins makes them volatile – they are only worth what someone will pay for them, so as coins fall out of favor their buying power will drop. They are also not protected in the same way that fiat currency is.
The other thing to consider is that they are not a widely accepted form of payment, and many online retailers and legitimate sites will not accept them. While cryptocurrency might become the currency of the future, there is probably too much uncertainty about it to rely on it for now.
Sometimes, the simplest option is the best one. When you can top up an account using your bank details, all you are doing is transferring a sum of money from your account into the account of the company you are paying.
It really couldn’t be simpler – but that doesn’t mean it is safe, however. You should expect the company you are dealing with to have a duty of care to protect your personal and financial information, but even the biggest businesses are at risk of hackers – so it is up to you to take steps to protect yourself.
Remember that with bank transfers, you need to share your bank account number and sort code with the provider, and this might be a risk that you don’t want to take unless you are certain you are protected via encryption and that your account has multiple-step verifications in place.
For most people, the safest option is to use PayPal, and once set up, it couldn’t be easier to use.