There was a time when I would get paid on a fortnight Friday, and spend all day Saturday paying bills; I'd fight the traffic, the lines and the dangers of walking around with my hard-earned cash. Then I would spend my Saturday evening reviewing all the receipts I had collected and reworking my budget for the cycle ahead. I absolutely do not miss the old days.
Today, all my bills are sent to me by email. No paper, no postal delays. And instead of joining long lines, I pay my bills online. My advice is to skip the individual utilities and creditors - they do allow you to pay them directly - and consolidate all your bill payments through your commercial bank. No bank? No problem. Log into BillExpress or PayMaster to accomplish the same goal.
Real savings, at least in terms of time, come with paying taxes online. Kudos to Inland Revenue for improvements that reduce wait times, but still, I would rather avoid the office altogether.
With the time (and transportation costs) I have saved, I shop online; something else not possible a few years ago.
In addition to the still popular credit card, Jamaicans can take advantage of online deals by paying with the locally based VCard (a prepaid access card), the ubiquitous PayPal or Google Check-Out. American Express launched yet another option, Serve, expected to be available later this year.
Setting up a PayPal account is easy and it is accepted by thousands of merchants on the Internet. Of course, you will need a credit card to transfer funds into you PayPal account and it could take several days to activate.
All this talk of virtual payments is great, but humans live in the real world. We leave our computers at home and buy goods and services from physical 'brick and mortar' stores. And there has never been a more exciting time to shop! Ditch your purse or wallet, grab your phone and hit the mall!
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