Paying cash is a popular option for in-person purchases to avoid add-on transaction fees and credit card debt. But there might be times when you need to make a pricey purchase but must pay without cash.
Here are some things to consider on your next big expense–whether it's planned or unplanned.
Consider- Is cash on the way out?
Some would argue that carrying cash and using cash to pay these days is becoming a thing of the past. More people pay via credit cards, debit cards, and online, and these days fewer and fewer people are paying with cash.
While some people do still enjoy paying with cash, some still do so because they do not yet trust the online methods and only pay via card. What we want to know is, are there other ways to pay, besides card payments, online, and cash?
There are many ways to pay these days, and we will explore all of them, including some ways that you may not know even existed, such as money orders and cashier's checks. Let’s have a look at how different payment methods can influence you, and how you can go about them.
How else can I pay?
For centuries, we have used cash to pay for everything, however, these days we grow more and more security conscious and there is so much going on online that it's hard to know which is best.
Do you remember the good old days of paper checks? Well, they’ve taken a step back and have all but disappeared. However, there are ways online, offline, and relative to checks that we can still use to pay for things.
Debit/ Credit cards/ contactless.
These are the most common ways to pay now. Card payments, most people will do their grocery shopping and pay by card, buy a car, and pay by card, it's all by card.
No matter what type of card it is and if you are putting your pin in or paying via contactless. This is without a doubt the most popular way to pay in the 21st century.
Online- bank transfer/ Google Pay/ Apple Pay.
The second most popular way to pay is online. Google and Apple have both come out with ways to pay, in this way if shopping online you do not need to remember your bank details or squint at your card to read the details and put it in.
There is also PayPal, Cash App and Payoneer, or you can just transfer straight from your bank, avoiding all of these apps.
This is very commonly used in online purchases and can often be used for other things, many people will accept ‘Bacs’ payment, which is a bank transfer.
Cashiers-check/ Money orders.
However, this is the one we really want to talk about. While the other two options are so common and so heavily used nowadays. These two are less well known.
If you once paid for many things by check, and you want there to be a solution to financing that is similar to that, cashier's checks and money orders are there for you. And these do still have a role in our financial lives, though we may not know it. So, which is best for you, money orders or cashier's checks?
Ok, but, what are cashier's checks?
Cashiers checks are not unlike paper checks, the biggest difference is that while a traditional check is associated with your checking account. A cashier's check pulls money from the bank's funds. Then a teller or cashier at the bank will sign it and the bank will guarantee the funds.
You may use a cashier's check for substantial purchases.
Instead of buying a car at a “buy here pay here” dealership that accepts cash or card, a cashier's check might be a better option for you.
This form of payment adds additional security, which keeps you safe from fraud and theft. They often have security watermarks, and they HAVE to be signed by bank employees.
So if you are drifting from cash due to safety concerns, but don’t feel all that comfortable with the online financial world because of security issues, using a cashier's check might just be the answer you were looking for.
What about money orders?
A money order has similarities to a cashier's check and a traditional check.
It is a paper-based payment, however, it differs in that a customer will purchase a money order in advance, for the exact amount they are sending. As the sender pays for the amount BEFORE they send it, the payment is guaranteed, and unlike a personal check, it won’t bounce.
This method is also very secure, and many people who use this form of payment will do so because they do not have a bank account, or they may simply not have any way of sending large sums of cash to someone else.
If you are not a member of a bank or a credit union, money orders are a great way to send money that is owed.
We often forget not everyone has a bank account and when they don’t a money order is just the thing they need.
As you can see, there are several different ways to pay without cash besides a credit card that can result in high interest rates if you can't pay the balance in full. These other options can still let you get what you need, protect your credit, and keep your ongoing expenses low.
Josh founded Money Buffalo in 2015 to help people get out of debt and make smart financial decisions. He is currently a full-time personal finance writer with work featured in Forbes Advisor, Fox Business, and Credible.