Buying and selling products or services online just got a whole lot easier. Using only a person's e-mail address, you can pay for purchases and receive money owed to you without ever touching an actual green dollar bill. Of course, not touching it might take some of the fun out of getting paid, but it's still your money just the same. It's virtual money.
So, you're saying to yourself right about now, “How is this magical feat performed?" A variety of online payment services have sprung up to make virtual payment a reality (no pun intended).
If you need to pay someone or someone needs to pay you all you need to know is their e-mail address and which service they are using. If someone sends you money through a service you're not currently a member of, no problem. You simply register (which is most always free) and collect your hard earned cash.
Payments are made either by tapping into your offline bank account or using your credit card. Of course, once enough people start using this option, your electronic service account balance will enable you to pay your debts without tapping into your credit card or bank account. Converting your virtual money to the real thing is as simple as requesting a check for an amount not exceeding what's in your account, and a “real" check will show up at your “real" house in less than a week.
Let's take a look at some of the more popular services and how they work.
PayPal, a part of online bank X.com, has got to be the largest online payment service today. They claim over 3 million customers to date. Free to register, but business accounts are charged 1.9% to receive funds.
Payments can be made using Mastercard, Visa or your offline bank account. They also pay a 5.00 referral bonus for every friend you get to sign up with them. At this time PayPal does not take International payments but does have plans to expand into that arena shortly.
Free to register and use. eCount payments can be made with Discover, Mastercard or Visa. Transactions are limited to $1,000.00 a day at this time.
YAHOO PAY DIRECT:
Free to register and use, Yahoo allows you to accept payments with American Express, Discover, Mastercard, or bank transactions from your existing offline account. They do have a monthly transaction limit of $1,000.00 for all transactions.
Boosting over 20,000 users Emoney Mail's service is not free to use. They charge $1.00 to send money and transactions are limited to $500.00 a day. The only way to send money is using your Visa. No Visa, no money for you. . . . that reminds me of an old Seinfeld episode, but that's another story.
This service charges 3.5% of total, plus .35 to move funds to your bank account. Transactions are limited to $250.00 a day. Only two ways to send money with this one; Mastercard or Visa. One nice perk of this service is they'll pay you $10.00 for every person you send to them who registers. Not a bad referral program, if I do say so myself.
This is E-Bay's service and is the preferred method to use if buying or selling on their auction site. No registration is needed for auction buyers to use this service, but sellers must register and pay .35 per transaction for amounts up to $10.00, and .35 and 3.5% for transactions over $10.00.
Transactions can be paid using Visa, Mastercard, Discover, or online check.
As you can see, buying and selling online no longer requires you to have a merchant account, which levels the playing field for home based businesses to accept online payments. Many electronic shopping carts are starting to implement PayPal as a payment option when checking out of online stores.
Now there's no excuse for not paying your debts on time. You may not be able to touch it, but believe me, “virtual money" is just as good as the real thing. Being paid electronically might not feel the same as someone placing “cold hard cash" in the palm of your hand, but it's still there: you just won't have to wash your hands as often.
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