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How to Make Online Purchases Without a Credit Card

Updated on November 28, 2012
How can you make purchases online without a credit card?
How can you make purchases online without a credit card? | Source

There are some instances when you want to purchase something online, but you either don't have a credit card or you prefer to not use your credit card online. Fortunately, online sellers want your business, so they have provided a number of ways for you to be able to make purchases online without having to use a credit card.

PayPal is a secure way to make purchases online and sellers never get your financial information.
PayPal is a secure way to make purchases online and sellers never get your financial information. | Source

How to Use PayPal for Online Purchases

PayPal allows you to link your credit cards, debit cards and bank accounts to your PayPal account and then make purchases by simply using your e-mail and password. When you make purchases with PayPal, the seller does not collect your financial information.

Once your sign up for a PayPal account, it can be a simple way to make purchases online. Many sellers and retailers accept PayPal as a form of payment. When you go to checkout, you click on the checkout with PayPal option and you'll be sent to PayPal's secure server to complete the checkout process. Some sellers even provide discounts if you pay through PayPal.


What Is Bill Me Later?

Many online sellers provide a Bill Me Later option. If this option is available, you will usually see it after you enter in your shipping info but before you have to enter in any credit card information.

If you select the Bill Me Later option, you complete the purchase using your address, birth date and sometimes the last four digits of your Social Security Number. After you complete the purchase, you are sent a bill, usually within 30 days. Some sellers offer 6+ months of interest free financing through Bill Me Later. These offers may be subject to credit approval. Be sure to read the terms and conditions before completing your purchase, if this is the option you choose.

The Bill Me Later Option when checking out with Ebay.
The Bill Me Later Option when checking out with Ebay. | Source

Using Gift Cards to Make Purchases Online

Gift cards are probably the closest option to cash when it comes to making purchases online. Many retail, grocery and drug stores now have Gift Card Shops, usually located at an end-cap near the front of the store, oftentimes by the card section. These gift card shops have tons of gift cards to choose from, frequently including retailers like Target, Amazon, and Home Depot. Usually, there are no fees associated with using gift cards.

To use your gift card online, continue to checkout like normal with your purchase. When you get to the payment section, you will see an option where you can enter in a gift card or promotional code.

Coinstar allows you to purchase gift cards from the deposited change if you wish. So, if you have some saved up extra change laying around, this might be a good option for you.

You can also purchase Visa/Amex gift cards and use them like you would a credit card.

Most websites accept gift cards and/or promo codes as a form of payment.
Most websites accept gift cards and/or promo codes as a form of payment. | Source

Using Prepaid Cards Instead of Credit Cards for Making Purchases Online

Prepaid cards are cards that you can use as a debit or credit card. With prepaid cards, you load and reload money on your card as you go. Visa, Mastercard, American Express and many banks offer prepaid cards. Prepaid cards are a great alternative to debit or credit cards. The downside to prepaid cards is that many of them charge fees. Compare your options of prepaid cards before you choose one. You might be able to find a prepaid card that doesn't charge monthly or annual fees and doesn't require a credit check, like the ServeĀ® card by American Express.

Bluebird is another convenient prepaid card that has just recently been released by American Express and Walmart. With Bluebird, you can deposit checks, pay bills, make purchases online, use ATMs and there are no monthly, annual, overdraft or minimum balance fees. Bluebird is an excellent alternative to a checking account or debit card.

Bluebird is a new checking and debit alternative by American Express and Walmart.
Bluebird is a new checking and debit alternative by American Express and Walmart. | Source

Shop Online with Your Bank Account

Instead of using your debit or credit card, some sellers are able to deduct the purchase amount directly from your checking or saving account by using your bank's routing number and you account number.

If the seller you would like to purchase from has this option available, you will see it in the payment section during the checkout process. If you choose this option, you will be asked to enter a routing and account number. In the photo below you can see an example of how to find your routing and account numbers on a check.

How to find your routing and checking account number.
How to find your routing and checking account number. | Source

Credit Card Alternatives with Amazon

Amazon has a number of alternatives to paying with a credit card. These alternatives include: gift cards, bank accounts, shop with points, Amazon Payments and Visa/American gift cards.

With Amazon Payments, you add money to your account with bank accounts associated to your Amazon Payments account. There are hundreds of merchants on the web that accept Amazon Payments beyond

Fortunately, more and more online sellers are adding more options to help you make purchases online, even if you don't have or don't want to use a credit card.


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    • KawikaChann profile image

      Kawika Chann 

      6 years ago from Northwest, Hawaii, Anykine place

      Great info during the seasons. Nice job. Peace. Kawi.

    • Jenna Estefan profile imageAUTHOR

      Jenna Estefan 

      6 years ago from Seattle, WA

      That's a good tip that I should have mentioned, Alison! ALWAYS make sure the website where you are shopping is secure. Thanks for commenting!

    • Alison Graham profile image

      Alison Graham 

      6 years ago from UK

      Useful tips here. As a rule of thumb, I NEVER shop online with any web site that does not have https secure designation and almost always use Paypal if this service is offered - because of the reasons Jenna stated above.

    • Jenna Estefan profile imageAUTHOR

      Jenna Estefan 

      6 years ago from Seattle, WA

      Thanks! I know, sometimes I'm unsure about the credibility of some websites, so I'm glad to be able to use PayPal so I don't have to give them my financial information, plus they have their purchase protection, which makes me feel much better.

    • Dreamhowl profile image

      Jessica Peri 

      6 years ago from United States

      Thanks for this! I love Paypal, but didn't know much about Bill Me Later (which Paypal frequently sends me emails about). I feel so much more comfortable paying online through Paypal than I ever do using my debit card. Voted up.


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