Online Payments

Why don't we have a better method for making online payments yet? Credit cards are dreadfully insecure, and many people don't have them. Money orders are slow, and many people won't take them.

Aren't the mobile phone companies planning to use phonecards as "reverse" cash cards. I.e. hook up a system where credit can be deducted from a phonecard for e-commerce payments. Increasing numbers of teenagers have mobile phones these days even though they don't have credit cards. -- some guy

Some countries have vending machines that allow you to buy Coke by pointing a sufficiently enabled cell phone at them. Your phone bill is charged. One wonders what BlueTooth will make possible. -- AnonymousDonor(?)

In Europe paying by mobile starts to be possible (i.e. not only technical, but also in reality by the support of those you can pay to, f.x. taxis). URL: (this is a blatant ad for my employer ;) -- JuergenHermann

There's a lot to be said for technologies that support "MicroPayments" -- the ability to efficiently perform financial transactions for small amounts. "ElectronicCoins?" of various flavors have been proposed.

There are also electronic cash applications on smart cards: Mondex, from MasterCard?, and JavaCard from Visa & SUN.

There are lots of good ideas floating around out there, but none have reached anywhere near the "critical mass" of market acceptance needed to be successful.
Credit cards are dreadfully insecure,

Are they? If someone buys something using the information on my Visa card, I just have to tell my bank that it was not me, and they will return the money. If I lied, and it was me after all, it is a matter between me and my creditor. I may have made a DanishLegalAssumption? here, of course.

...and many people don't have them.

That is true, but I don't think it will stay true. -- OleAndersen

What happened to the arena of OnlinePayments since November 2000 when this page was last edited?

The DotComBubble burst. CreditCard?s of various sorts are still common practice, although PayPal, FirePay?, and other assorted web-based companies have done well. The only wireless real world devices I've seen have been the credit-card-based key fobs used to pay at gas stations. SmartCards? also seem to have gained acceptance in enclosed communities (i.e., universities, office complexes, transit systems).

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