Originally posted 11/8/08

With credit card companies cutting limits and closing accounts, many are finding that they are going to be forced into using cash and debit cards more often this holiday season. Using your debit card or checking account for online purchases is generally not advised, however. If you find yourself in a situation where you would like to shop online, but not use your credit cards, here are a couple of other options for you.

One choice for online shoppers is to use eBillme.com. The company has been in business since 2005 and offers another method of online billing. When buyers purchase something online and select eBillme as the payment method, they then log directly into their checking account to pay. This effectively allows you to pay for something directly from your checking account without having to have that sensitive information sent to the retailer. eBillme also offers various other benefits such as fraud protection, shipping protection, and a “best price” guarantee.

A similar service is BillMeLater.com which also allows for online purchases without using a credit card. The company’s services are offered through CIT Bank and allows you to pay for your online purchases with a check in the mail or through your checking or savings account online. Again, BillMeLater keeps you from having to send sensitive banking information to the online retailer and keeps it in one place.

Until credit begins to loosen up, you should strongly consider keeping your credit cards free for unexpected or important purchases. In the current economic environment, many Americans are finding themselves unable to pay for necessary items because their bank cut their credit limit and the account is maxed out. The holiday season can be especially difficult to avoid using credit for purchases, but this year you should try do so as much as possible.

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