One of the great advantages of credit cards is that they can be used for online transactions. People who provide online services have found that the ability to accept credit card payments means that they are guaranteed to be paid while at the same time they are able to get a person to pay easily.
This has meant that a bewildering variety of goods and services have been offered online and that consumers have been offered a great variety of goods that can be conveniently ordered at a very good price.
However some people do not have a credit card, and so often wonder whether there are alternatives to using a credit card online. There is an alternative, and this is a debit card.
Debit cards are different from credit cards because the card does not have an account of its own, but actually has access to a bank account of some sort. Debit cards are starting to be offered by a variety of bank accounts. Although traditionally they were offered by transaction accounts, it has become more common recently to offer them through any number of accounts that offer instant access. This includes savings accounts, home loans, investment accounts, lines of credit and overdrafts. This is because debit cards are very low cost to a card provider as they charge a merchant fee.
Debit cards are also very similar to credit cards in some other ways. Although a debit card looks like a credit card, this is only one the least aspect in which they are similar. Debit cards use the same system, and processors, as credit card providers. This means that to most merchants they will not see the difference between a VISA credit card and a VISA debit card. They will both pay as soon as the transaction is accepted and they both accept the same types of card numbers and security codes as the credit cards do.
It used to be the case that some bank issued debit cards were not accepted by some web sites, but currently most debit cards are issued either by MasterCard or VISA. In these circumstances most shopping carts for websites accept both MasterCard and VISA, and debit and credit cards. There is rarely much difference in the charges that are suffered by the retailer and so the question is whether they want to turn away paying customers with good money.