Online Payment Alternatives to PayPal

I’m a little more than a casual online shopper, so I make lots of electronic payments. I prefer to avoid stores, so I buy almost everything aside from food via the Internet. I frequently use eBay. I’m also something of an airline mileage fanatic, so I prefer to pay with a credit card that earns me miles and free upgrades.

PayPal is great but the various fees they charge you to receive payments are not so great. And if, like me, you prefer not to connect your PayPal account to your bank account, they certainly don’t make it easy for you.

You can link your PayPal account to a credit card, but once you’ve spent or received a total of $10,000, you are required to connect a bank account. PayPal will draw funds from that bank account from then on, which means no more credit card rewards. If you look closely, there is an option for PayPal to draw funds from your credit card instead, but it’s an obscure link that most people miss.

PayPal’s ubiquity makes it hard to avoid, but there are a few other options.

Amazon WebPay allows you to make online or mobile payments using your email address, just like PayPal. This is a no-brainer. There are no fees for sending or receiving money, and you can add funds with a bank account or credit card. Not everyone accepts Amazon WebPay, but I use it whenever it’s an option.

Square is an application for Android and iPhones. The app, along with Square’s external attachment, turns a mobile phone or tablet into a credit card terminal, allowing anyone to accept person-to-person payments. I use Square when someone owes me money after a night out. Instead of splitting a dinner check with a large group, I can pay with my card and everyone else can pay me. There is, however, a 2.75% fee per transaction.

Dwolla charges a 25-cent fee for each transaction, which can take place online or at a brick and mortar store. Their mobile application allows smartphone users to find nearby merchants that accept Dwolla.

Take five or ten minutes to investigate each of these options in order to determine which makes the most sense for your particular online payment needs.

Robert Siciliano, personal security expert contributor to Just Ask Gemalto, discusses hackers hacking hotels on CNBC. Disclosures

Filed Under: just ask gemalto Leave a Comment Signals of PC Failure and Contingency Plans 0 Published: Aug 16, 2011
Tags: back up, cloud, computer

Has your computer ever refused to turn on when you hit the power button? Or maybe it turned on, but only to display a blue screen? The best (really the worst) is when you’ve been working on a document or presentation all day, and your hard drive crashes.

If this has yet to happen to you, you’re likely overdue. The following signs indicate your computer may be close to death:

A blue screen is often a sign of a driver conflict or hardware issue. When your formerly fully functional PC displays a blue screen informing you that a serious error has occurred, it could mean total failure, or require a simple reboot. Lengthy start up or shut down times may mean that your computer is overwhelmed by too much software, or particular programs are not shutting down properly. Or it could mean that motherboards or hard drives are not long for this world. If you hear strange noises, like beeping, whirling, or grinding, during startup or when computing, this may be a sign of hardware failure.

If you fail to plan, you plan to fail. Like a Boy Scout, be prepared. Here are a few things to keep in mind to prepare you and/or avoid issues with your computer.

Back up your data. There are many options for real-time automatic backups to the cloud, as well as for local backup. Combine both, and you’ll never lose your data.

Back up your set-up. A great way to do this is by using something like Belarc Advisor, a free program, to take a snapshot of all your software and serial numbers. Set a monthly reminder to take two minutes and do this manually. It will provide an easy guide of what to install when you replace your computer.

Replace your personal computer every two to three years. If you are a casual user, you can ignore this. But if you’re on your PC for four or more hours a day, it will need to be replaced eventually. And setting up your new PC will be far easier to do if the old one is still functioning.

Computers are like shoes. They wear out, and replacing is preferable to repairing. And like shoes, once you break your new computer in, you’ll be happy.

Robert Siciliano, personal security expert contributor to Just Ask Gemalto, discusses hackers hacking hotels on CNBC. Disclosures

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