The many ways to pay.
Here’s a quick look at your choices, along with some reasons you might want to rethink your current payment habits.
Cash and checks.While their use is declining, these “old reliables” are still good alternatives for some payments. Cash is often your best bet for small retail transactions or face-to-face exchanges with friends or family. While personal checks are frequently used to pay for groceries or rent, some retailers no longer accept them, preferring methods that enable them to verify that customers have sufficient credit or funds to cover their purchases. Checks are also one of the slower methods of payment – as the people behind you in line will likely attest.
Credit and debit cards.We all know that a credit card allows you to buy goods and services on credit, while a debit card immediately deducts the funds from an account linked to the card. But did you know that an increasing number of plastic cards can now also be used for fast “contactless” payments? In addition to swiping them or inserting them in a chip-reading terminal, these cards can simply be waved above card terminals that feature a contactless icon. Approvals are virtually instantaneous, and transactions offer the same security protections as chip payments.
Some banks also offer specialized credit cards that enable you to schedule automatic payments or link specific types of purchases to specific accounts. Others allow you to select the account from which funds should be drawn at the point of sale.