Prepaid, Debit Cards Now Allow U.k Citizens To Shop Online
With the advent of the Internet came a new economy that has allowed people from all walks of life to shop and purchase in new and different ways. For the most part Internet shopping has been limited to those primarily in the U.S. who have a major credit card or debit card. Those outside of the U.S., for instance in the U.K, have not had the luxury of using credit card options because they have been limited to those with higher incomes and those with good credit scores.
Products like debit cards are only now beginning to be made available to the United Kingdom. This of course opens up a huge opportunity for those living in the U.K. to shop online without past restraints. The prepaid card industry is now ready to explode across international lines.
What is a prepaid debit card?
There are many types of cards but most cannot be used for online purchases except those issued by Visa and MasterCard. The best way to explain what a Prepaid Visa or a Prepaid MasterCard is to think of it as a personal bank account. Just like a bank account, you are allowed to deposit funds onto the card and withdrawal funds at will. As long as you have sufficient money deposited in your account you can use the card up to that amount.
When you visit a website to make a purchase you are asked to use a major credit card. If you have a Prepaid Visa or a Prepaid MasterCard with money deposited on the card you can now purchase as well.
What has stopped prepaid cards like Visa and MasterCard from launching in most countries is the limited ability for merchants to process sales and transactions electronically. What this means is that when you go into a store and use your card to make a purchase, your transaction is not processed immediately. Instead your card is manually processed and turned into the bank for processing at a later time, usually when regular deposits are made. Using this method the store has no way of telling if that card has enough funds available for the purchase.
Because most online merchants now use electronic means of processing transactions, they can easily process purchases instantly without the problems related to manual processing. This of course does not limit you to only using a prepaid Visa or MasterCard online. There are many offline merchants who now have the capability of processing transactions immediately.
Companies like Visa International and MasterCard certainly understand the importance and potential of expanding its vision globally. They estimate that on a global basis US$3 trillion in payments can best be handled using prepaid payment products such as Visa and MasterCard products instead of through other methods used in the past.
· Did you know that more than 20 million Europeans visited business and finance sites from their homes in May of 2004, according to research released by Jupiter MMXI?
Countries like Sweden, France, Spain, UK, Germany and even Switzerland are on the list of people who would purchase a Prepaid VISA product if given the chance!
· Did you know that 94 million Chinese on the mainland became Internet users by the end of last year, a new survey shows. [AFP/file] Chinadaily.com.cn?
· Here is a sample of other total internet users in various countries of the world:
Australia -13.01 million, Brazil - 22.32 million, New Zealand - 2.34 million, South Africa - 4.78 million. AND MILLIONS MORE....
In the U.S. over the past decade, debit card has grown from accounting for 274 million transactions in 1990 to 8.15 billion transactions in 2002, to challenge the credit card as the preferred payment card in the United States.
In 2003 Americans used VISA- and Master Card - branded debit cards for more than $576 billion in purchases and cash advances, a 16% increase over the previous year. From 1998 to 2003, consumers have racked up more than $2 trillion in signature debit card transactions.
Where can you purchase a prepaid Visa / MasterCard?
Most websites that market a prepaid Visa or prepaid MasterCard are being issued through a U.S. bank. This creates a problem for those living outside of the U.S. because of U.S. laws and restrictions. Banks inside of the U.S. will not send a card to you if you do not live inside of the U.S. This limits your ability to locate a company or bank where you can get a prepaid card to just a handful of locations, including www.debit-master-card.com and www.edebitcard.net
About the Author: Scott Johnson is an author and speaker who has worked within the prepaid card industry for a number of years. He is the owner of Direct Pay International (www.DirectPayLine.com) a company who is a major prepaid card distributor to the international market.