Leaving the Plastic Behind – Alternatives to Credit Cards

By Leni Parrish on May 17, 2013

Alternatives to Credit CardsNot too long ago, credit cards were considered a technological wonder. As the functionality and availability of credit cards increased, the market became saturated and for the most part, cards became mainstay. These days, however, technology is chipping away at credit cards much like they did with checks and cash. If you want to abandon the plastic in pursuit of a better, safer alternative, then there are a variety of payment solutions that can be considered. Here, we have compared and outlined the four best alternative payment solutions to credit cards that are currently viable and well-accepted.

Google Wallet

If you want to keep access to your existing cards but not have to keep up with them, then Google Wallet with a NFC-compatible mobile phone is a great solution. You can safely encrypt debit and credit card information into the wallet and use it anywhere – online and in stores. With a mobile phone, just swipe the device alongside a pay and go credit card reader and the purchase is done without revealing your credit card details to anyone. The wallet can even be disabled remotely if you lose your phone, so there will be no worries if your phone suddenly comes up missing.

Dwolla

One of the newer and most trusted alternatives to powerhouses like PayPal, Dwolla is a system designed to allow friends to pay one another as well as make a variety of purchases online. If you need to pay back a friend for cab fare, for instance, a linked credit card to the Dwolla account can be used to forward money to the friend instantly. Likewise, you can access your bank account directly after using Dwolla’s verification process. Payments can even be sent to those who do not have a Dwolla account via email, Facebook and Twitter. Dwolla charges $0.25 per transaction, so receiving money is not a costly affair.

Prepaid Cards

Cheap and simple to use, prepaid cards are becoming popular for those who want to ditch their credit cards entirely and live solely within their means. In the past, these cards were finicky, but major credit card issuers have jumped on the bandwagon and provided a reliable network through which these cards now function just as well as normal debit and credit. Whether you want to keep your kids’ finances under scrutiny, reduce impulsive spending or travel more safely while on vacation, prepaid cards can be an attractive option.

Bitcoins

A rather novel way to make payments, Bitcoin is a decentralized currency that allows you to make payments anonymously to anyone who accepts them. Both buyer and seller each have a Bitcoin address: the buyer sends the Bitcoins to the seller’s address in exchange for products and services. While this has been confined to online sources only for several years, much attention surrounding Bitcoin has led to a number of brick and mortar businesses accepting the currency as well. Considering that the value of a Bitcoin fluctuates, those holding them for longer periods of time can also earn dividends on their investment.

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