Your Guide to Fast Payment Methods

By  //  January 22, 2020

Once upon a time, there was a very limited number of ways to make or receive payments. Cash was king, checks were routine, and debit and credit cards were used in moderation or for certain large purchases.

Once upon a time, there was a very limited number of ways to make or receive payments. Cash was king, checks were routine, and debit and credit cards were used in moderation or for certain large purchases.

Now we are moving towards a cash-free society, with checks set to become obsolete – some countries have already abolished this way to pay. 

Now cashless and electronic payments are the norm for most of us, with the move away from cash and checks driven by the speed and convenience of these transactions.

However, the sheer range of methods available can be a little overwhelming. Added to this, technical jargon and concerns over issues such as security and hidden charges can make choosing a fast payment method quite daunting. This is a guide to just a few of the best and most widely used fast payment options available to individuals and businesses.

• ACH Payments for Electronic Transfers

You have almost certainly made or received payments using an automated clearing house (ACH), whether you’re aware of it or not. That’s because it’s a system widely used by banks around the world to process electronic transactions such as direct debits and bank transfers quickly and with minimal fees. Transactions through the ACH network do not use card networks like Visa.

ACH was originally conceived in the USA as a way to replace paper checks, making the process faster and using fewer resources. If your employer pays you directly into your bank account, or if you have a monthly automated payment to a service provider, it’s almost certainly going through an ACH system.

ACH goes by different names around the world, and in many countries there have been moves to make the process almost instant. In the USA, the introduction of Same Day ACH guaranteed that transactions under $25,000 are processed within a few hours and no later than 5 p.m EST.

It was recently announced that the dollar limit will soon be increased to $100,000. In the UK, the older ACH system known as BACS now has an alternative called Faster Payments Service, which typically reduces the transaction time to just a few seconds. 

•  Alternative Online Payment Solutions

Around the world, billions of people now make online purchases. While making direct payments using a credit or debit card is still the most popular way to pay, it is neither the fastest or the most secure option.

\These days, there are plenty of fast alternatives that also give an extra layer of security to consumers. 

• E-Wallets and Payment Apps

There are a huge number of e-wallets and mobile phone payment apps on the market, but what exactly are they and how do you choose the best one?

In simple terms, an e-wallet is an online account linked to your bank or credit card, where you can deposit, store and manage money used to make online purchases, as well as withdraw money back to your physical account.

Payment apps are similar, but they are housed on a mobile phone and there are some that are available only to users of certain devices or operating systems. Digital wallets can often be used for peer-to-peer (P2P) payments as well as for online purchases. 

Deciding on an e-wallet depends on what you primarily wish to use it for. If you like to make international purchases or payments, for example, choose one that can be used in other countries and that charges minimal fees on currency conversions. 

• Online Casino with Fast Payments

Many people who use an e-wallet do so for very specific reasons, one such example being online casino sites – and the main incentive here is security and speed.

A lot of such sites advertise themselves as fast payout casinos, but still impose holding periods when making withdrawals direct to bank accounts or cards.

In this case, payouts to an e-wallet such as PayPal, Skrill or Neteller often take just a matter of minutes. You can find out more on fast withdrawal casinos in this article in order to know what e-wallets they accept and what advantages they offer to players. 

PayPal and Skrill remain two of the most popular e-wallets because of their global reach and reputation, but owners of various mobile devices may prefer to use one of the dedicated phone payment apps available to them.

These include Apple Pay for iOS users, which makes use of fingerprint or facial recognition for instant, secure transactions in shops or online; P2P payments are also possible in the USA. 

• Peer-to-Peer Fast Payments

Most of us have stopped carrying cash, which makes things like splitting restaurant checks and taxi rides more of a hassle. Enter P2P payment apps, which are designed to transfer small amounts between friends and family.

With these apps, transferring money is as quick and easy as sending a text message – although the receiver may need to wait a day or so before the money is cleared into their account. 

Which P2P payment provider you choose will depend largely on where you live and how many of your peers also use the same provider.

In the USA, Venmo has risen rapidly in popularity since it integrated a social network aspect to the platform in 2012. Other popular services include Zelle, Square Cash and even Facebook Messenger. 

• The Future of Fast Payments

Today, the USA is one of the few countries in the developed world that still relies relatively heavily on checks to make payments, but that is expected to change as time goes on.

Checks are seen as secure and reliable; in fact, the ACH network is not only much faster at processing payments, but more secure and comes at much less cost to all parties.

While the older generation may still wish to use their checkbook, younger people are increasingly relying on fast electronic payments.

We may not become a cashless society as soon as was once predicted, but there is an ever-growing number of fast, secure online payment methods available to us.

As more people, companies and financial institutions embrace these new fast payment methods, we may find less and less use for that twenty in our back pocket.