Monday, April 16, 2007

How to pay online with no credit card

My colleague, Michelle, at Scotiabank will be happy to know that I read all of their digital marketing and educational material. As such, I recently noticed that it is now possible to use your debit card online, through Interact Online.

I use my credit card to shop online, as I am not worried about the security (particularly since I don’t do business with those types of merchants in the first place) and I love/am obsessed with Air Miles, which my credit cards offers with every purchase.

For those without a credit card or reluctant to use it online, however, buying products or services online has long been a fundamental roadblock.

While Interact Online helps remove some e-payment obstacles, there are still roadblocks:
  1. one has to bank online (which is granted a large and growing number of Canadians)
  2. only Scotiabank, RBC, TD, and soon BMO customers can use it
  3. only a small number of merchants and few major businesses offer it (looking at the list of participating merchants, there wasn’t one I would be able to use)
Considering the last two limitations, it explains why I hadn’t heard of this service before, even though it launched in Dec. 2005!

The winner in alternative online payment is still, unquestionably, PayPal.

PayPal, in addition to allowing service via credit cards also hooks up with one's online bank to facilitate online payment. PayPal is offered at more, and more important merchants than Interact. (There are lots of things to love about PayPal. PayPal earned my loyalty ever since I first used it to buy my cherished Simpsons' Halloween figures on eBay, but that’s another post)

Finally, another option is emailing money. Scotiabank offered this service at least a couple years ago and I love it. Granted, I don’t like the additional service charge, but it sure is an easy way to send money. Never could figure out how to do an online bank transfer, but emailing money only takes a couple minutes – essentially all you need is a online bank account, your payee’s email address and a question to pose to the payee that only they will know the answer to. The downside of the ease of this service is there is no excuse now when borrowing money to not pay it back!

1 comment:

Steve Fetter said...

Hi Glen

RBC allows you to do an Interac transfer too ... I've used it to loan money to some friends in Bancroft, and all I needed to do was get an email address for them ... and then let them know the password. It worked really well ... and only cost $1.50

With my daughter in the States, though, Paypal is a better option, since Interac is only a Canadian service, and there are bigger fees for going cross-border