I have been challenged to find various ways to shop online without a credit card. Here's how I do it.
How to Buy Things Online Without a Credit Card
Many view the credit card as the key to the gate that will lead them down the path to riches. With a credit card they can buy whatever their hearts desire. They can earn money if they have a credit card, seeing as you can link a credit card with PayPal or another merchant account and receive donations and payments from other people. Without a credit card, it would seem, you are excluded from the internet elite. You’re nothing but a pariah; an outsider who can only look on helplessly as others reap the benefits of possessing this golden ticket.
But owning a credit card isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, and using one online, it would seem, carries tremendous risk. Somebody’s credit card details can be sniffed quite easily through using a free VPN service, or if a website insists on not using encryption (HTTPS) to ensure a secure connection for whatever balmy reason.
I’ve explored a few other ways of buying things online, and I’ve discovered that not owning a credit card or a cheque card doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll be forever banished from the wondrous online shopping experience.
1. Use a Debit Card
I have tried in vain to link a PayPal account with my debit card for some time, and I’ve received mixed opinions on the subject. My bank flat out told me that I cannot use any debit card with their bank with PayPal.
That’s where Capitec and it’s Global One card comes in. It’s a debit card that behaves like a credit card and can be used for online shopping, and you can link it with PayPal if you want a more secure shopping experience. Generally speaking if your debit card is approved for online shopping and has the Visa (not Visa Electron) or Mastercard (not Maestro) logo on it, as well as meeting other requirements like possessing a CVV number, you should be good to go. But check with the bank first, definitely. Preferably before opening and account and getting a card.
If you don't want to open an account with a bank, you can just use Payoneer instead. Payoneer allows you to receive funds from certain partners like Google, Amazon, and many others, and there are several ways you can top up a Payoneer account. The debit card they give you can be used to shop online with.
2. Use Electronic Funds Transfer or Instant EFT
Some stores online offer you the option of EFT or electronic funds transfer for paying.
This usually involves adding your desired items to a cart as usual, and then logging into your online banking account, where you can then make a once off payment to the stores, filling in the details that they (hopefully) have provided you with.
Regular EFT payments might need up to a few business days to process, and usually after this period you will receive your item or it will be shipped.
Instant EFT usually goes through a payment gate of sorts and means that the seller won’t be able to see any of your banking details. Just be wary of services that require that you enter your online banking login information, including username and password, on a third party website or application. You should only ever do this on your bank’s website.
EFT isn't universally liked because you have no guarantee when purchasing this way (like you can with a credit card by disputing a charge and reversing a transaction, which is called a chargeback), and if you EFT funds to the wrong account, there are no refunds! So make sure if you do use EFT, that you triple check the merchant or payment gate's details.
3. Use a Virtual Credit Card
This is a highly recommended way of getting around having a credit card.
Even if you possess a credit card but don’t want to use it online, you can make use of this option. You basically set up this virtual card and EFT funds on to it from your bank account, or you can top it up with your credit or debit card.
Some virtual credit card services even allow you top up with cash at a till point in a store, so you wouldn't even need a bank account in this case.
From there you can use it online like you would a regular credit card, except it won’t work with stores that require AVS (Address Verification System). Virtual credit cards do sometimes employ the use of mobile devices, but you can get around this by using emulation software so you can even run it on your PC, like Bluestacks.
4. Use a Prepaid Card
You can buy prepaid credit cards from several places nowadays.
Locally in SA, you can buy them at your nearest Dis-Chem pharmacy. You have to take along your ID, and that is scanned, and then once you’ve paid for the card you can pay to have a certain amount of money put on the card, which you can then use online to buy from places. In SA it's restricted to local merchants only though.
One of the better known examples would be Paysafe, but this isn't available in all countries.
You can even try xapo.com or a similar service, and fund the card using bitcoin.
This is safer than using a real credit card – even using a virtual credit card in most cases – because it doesn’t involve your bank account at all.
5. Use a Prepaid Voucher
You can buy Ukash vouchers in store and use them online to pay for things. They’re valid for 2 years from the date of purchase, but buying them may prove costly since they wholly depend on the exchange rate, so you will have to pay whatever they’re worth in your local currency ($25 may be more expensive or less expensive the next month, etc.). In SA they can not be used internationally though. It seems to restricted to the country you're in.
You can also buy Amazon vouchers and iTunes vouchers which you can use at those companies’ online stores. Steam wallet vouchers can be used for buying games or software from Steam. You can usually buy these items not just in store but also online from vendors who offer payment methods such as EFT if you don’t possess a credit card or don’t wish to use it online.
6. Use Merchant Accounts (Like PayPal)
The most famous example of this is PayPal. But there are plenty of others too, including Skrill. PayPal just happens to be the most widely used by merchants.
In some countries you don’t need to link a bank account (which requires a credit card or at least a cheque card in some places) with PayPal, and you can spend money right out of your PayPal account, and even earn money and have it sent to you PayPal account – or people can donate or send you money.
7. Use Store Credit
Store credit can be given to a customer as part of a rewards program for purchasing items, or completing other tasks like writing product reviews for items sold in their online catalogue. I have been able to survive on at least one or two stores by just earning store credit and buying products, rarely ever spending my own money!
The most notable example is Green Man Gaming, which gives you money for reviews, referrals, and you can also earn store credit from their Playfire Rewards program too!
8. Use Cryptocurrencies
Bitcoin is a cryptocurrency which is supported by some stores online. Opening up an account with Coinbase, the leading Bitcoin wallet, is completely free. You can only buy and transfer bitcoins to and from your bank account if you live in the USA, but you can still use the service from anywhere in the world, and receive payments to and spend from a Coinbase wallet. And Coinbase now has a vault which will securely store bitcoins for you.
Obviously there are other wallets, and there are ways to buy bitcoins outside the USA, with websites such as localbitcoins.com.
9. Pay by Cheque or Money Order
Some online stores even still accept cheques or money orders, hard as it may be to believe. Although the number of places is slowing dwindling.
10. Get Someone to Buy It for You
You can get a friend or family member who has a credit card or some other method of buying items online to buy the product for you, and then you can pay them back in whichever fashion you both agree on, like cash, or a bank deposit.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.
© 2014 Anti-Valentine
Dzyn on March 21, 2020:
I dont even have a Credit card or any card ....But I've won digi 100 customer price...Its iphone 11 but I dont have a card or bank number
Fabian on January 30, 2020:
I don't have any of the above stated but I want to shop online.
Ghizlane on December 09, 2018:
I love love shopping and I would love to shop online because but I don't have any bank account or credit card nor paypal account so I want to know of there s a way to pay or transmit the money. Is there such sites that allow the client to buy stuff without a bank account?
CHRIS on November 29, 2018:
PAYPAL IS BEST
Paolo Costantini on October 23, 2018:
These are all quite good options and choosing the best one depends on the reason for not using credit card. Is it the cost? Is it the privacy? As Steve Gordon says below some alternatives are like Big Brother asking you to send them light bills.
I personally like using Bitcoin and crypto, even despite the fluctuating prices. There are some nice services where you can use crypto to buy something in a very easy way. For example https://www.cryptorefills.com allows you to buy mobile phone credit with bitcoin.
I wish more ecommerce stores had at least the option of using crypto. I think it will happen sooner or later and bitcoin will become mainstream. For the moment it seems that you can mostly use crypto to buy mobile top ups, and stuff like vouchers for netflix, spotify and games. Wouldn't it be great if you could just pay for everything like your uber ride, your starbucks coffee with bitcoin?
Ragini Sarkar on April 04, 2018:
I have asked several family members but non of them are ready to give me credit card details:'(
M bates on March 10, 2018:
steve gordon on March 06, 2018:
Fuck and double Fuck Paypal - Their customer service sucks and you need to walk their line to even access your money or money you try to add via secure methods to the Paypal wallet. Their need to know basis - sending them copies from regular bills etc.. to prove you live at a certain address - is much too Big Brother IMO. At the end their system has far too many security hoops to jump through because you need to comply with their absurd self imposed rules. No wonder that there are websites who put them on the numer 1 list of most hated companies to do business with. Give me Sofort anytime of the week.
Rashid Mallah on December 30, 2017:
Nice article Bro So Helpful For peoples thanks.. I also find best article about payoneer, These article helping peoples much Thanks both..
Mastuh OSCG 8845 on December 14, 2017:
I wanna use my money to get those things. NOT a credit card!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
BODYLEVIVE from Alabama, USA on January 28, 2017:
I use pay pal for shopping online. I use to have their master card debit but got tired of paying 10 bucks a month to use it.
Anti-Valentine (author) from My lair on November 27, 2015:
Thanks to all for your lovely comments, guys.
Oztinato on November 27, 2015:
Due to serious flaws in net security and identity theft scares I scrapped all cards and went back to direct bank transactions. This retro method offers peace of mind, unbreachable security and it also stops impulse buying.
Internet ssecurity is an illusion costing honest consumers millions every month.
Murtaza Abbasi from Pakistan on November 27, 2015:
I am fan of Paypal though I can't use it in my country so the only best choice for me Payoneer Prepaid Debit Card. BTW usefull information.
Also I have information that might be usefull for people here who are willing to purchase from E-Commerce Stores. Their are some cheaters.
Liz Elias from Oakley, CA on November 27, 2015:
Congrats on HOTD! Well done, and most informative.
The methods you describe are interesting, but I only use PayPal, as that is my only "extra" money. We barely make our bills from our regular bank account, and PayPal is where my HP $$ goes, and I don't have their debit card, as it required a credit check, which I would fail, for various complicated reasons involving our personal situation.
So, I am effectively blocked from using merchants who don't accept PayPal, such as Amazon. My work-around, if it is something I really want, is to have my daughter get it for me...
Kristen Howe from Northeast Ohio on November 27, 2015:
I have a Paypal account and had it for a few years. This is an interesting hub on how other ways to buy stuff online like EFT and virtual credit cards. I never heard about it. Congrats on HOTD! Thanks for sharing!
RTalloni on November 27, 2015:
Congrats on the Hub of the Day award for this post highlighting options for online purchase payments. Didn't realize there were so many!
Chitrangada Sharan from New Delhi, India on November 27, 2015:
Congratulations for the HOTD, well deserved!
I usually pay by net banking or debit card. You have provided some very useful information with regard to online payments.
Thank you for sharing!
Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on November 27, 2015:
Congratulations on your HOTD award. Very useful information. Thank you for sharing.