Paying by Cash
By David Dorf on Mar 30, 2010
I'll grant you paying by cash in the context of stores isn't particularly interesting, but in my quest to try new payment methods I decided to pay by cash at an online store. Using a credit card means I have to hoist myself off the couch, find the card, and enter all those digits. Google Checkout certainly makes that task easier by storing my credit card information, but what happens to all those people that don't have a credit card? What about the ones that are afraid to use credit cards over the internet.
There are three main options for cash payment, not all of which are accepted by every merchant. The most popular is PayPal. The issue I have with them is that returns and disputes have to be handled with PayPal, not the merchant. I once used PayPal at a shady online store and lost my money. Yeah, my bad but they wouldn't help me at all. PayPal was purchased by eBay in 2002.
BillMeLater is best for larger purchases, because at checkout they actually run a credit check to make sure you're credit worthy. Assuming you are, they pay the merchant on your behalf and mail you a bill, which you better pay quickly or interest will start to accrue. That's nice for the merchant because they get paid right away, and I presume there's no charge-backs. BillMeLater was purchased by eBay in 2008.
Last night I tried eBillMe for the first time. After checkout, they send you a bill via email and expect you to pay either via online banking (they provide the instructions to set everything up) or walk-in locations across the US (typically banks). The process was quick and easy. The merchant doesn't ship the product until the bill is paid, so there's a day or two delay. For the merchant there are no charge-backs, and the fees are less than credit cards. For the shopper, they provide buyer protection similar to that offered by credit cards, and 1% cashback on purchases. Once the online bill-pay is setup, its easy to reuse in the future. Seems like a win-win for merchants and shoppers.