Want To Shop At Amazon.com Without A Credit Card?

BusinessWeek says Amazon is buying a stake in “Bill Me Later” a firm that offers open lines of credit to customers so they can shop without using a credit card.

The deal should be final by the first quarter of 2008. Anyone used “Bill Me Later”?

Amazon buying stake in Bill Me Later [BusinessWeek]

Comments

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  1. levenhopper says:

    You can already use a check.

  2. theninjasquad says:

    Or they could let us use interact. I’d prefer that.

  3. UpsetPanda says:

    I kind of see the ‘bill me later’ options on shopping sites as being big problems for people who don’t have the funds at the moment, kind of like how credit cards are also a problem. Credit cards are sort of like bill me later options…if you have the credit card, you can charge it and pay it later, when it is due. With a bill me later, you don’t have a card, but you’re still saying that you’ll pay it later. What’s the difference, exactly, other than the fact that you can use a check with the bill me later option?

  4. GothamGal says:

    I tried to use Bill Me Later, I think is why with Newegg.com. I was denied. I have a credit score over 700 and no debt. They said send they would send me a letter explaining why, and I never received this letter. So they can blow me now.

  5. GothamGal says:

    I think is was with newegg.com – duh! Too fast on clicking the Submit button.

  6. johnva says:

    @CaffeinatedSquint: You can use a check with most credit cards too…mine all send me “purchase checks” constantly, which immediately hit the shredder.

    I really don’t see what the point of this is, since it’s pretty much the same thing as a credit card except without the plastic card. Maybe the retailers like it because it charges a lesser fee than the credit card companies or something? I still don’t see how it helps me as the customer.

    Also, I would be concerned about whether they check your credit every time you use it. If they do, and you use this a lot, the inquiries could hurt your credit badly.

  7. UpsetPanda says:

    @johnva: I really just never saw the point of bill me later because it’s the same as a credit card, like you said, but just without the card. What’s the difference between using a card online and asking them to send you a bill, aside from the fact that you won’t be using a credit card online. From a security standpoint, I understand, though I always wonder about whenever I put a check in the mail whether it will get stolen or read at some point. I mean, there’s my account number on the check, plus my name, address, bank, etc.

    Purchase checks are annoying, and they hit my shredder too. I used to send checks for payments and now that they’re reducing the number of days between issuing t he statement and payment due date, I’ve taken to paying online. But that has its own headaches.

  8. fuzzycuffs says:

    I used Bill Me Later for my DSLR + accompanying lens at B&H Photo.

    Not that I didn’t have the cash on hand, but they had a bargain if you used it. I felt like I was taking a risk, but in general it was a fine experience.

    Surprisingly, the Bill Me Later website and the payment is very barebones. Basically, log into the site, you give it routing information to your bank, and you can pay off any debt. It keeps a running tally, gives you your due dates and balance due at each (mine was a 0% for 6 months, but we all know what happens if you don’t make any payments for 6 months…), and everything went smoothly.

    Would I use them again? Maybe for large purchases, and they were still giving that 0%, sure. I still wholeheartedly stand by the idea of never buying anything unless you really have the money for it, but it’s nice to spread out the payments of something even if you have all the cash on hand at the moment. But for small purchases, maybe $500 and under, a regular CC is fine.

  9. robdew2 says:

    Isn’t Bill Me Later just a revolving credit account without the card?

  10. popeye_doyle says:

    @GothamGal: They can blow you? How does that work?

  11. Copper says:

    Woohoo! Another way for consumers to get further into debt.

  12. Shadowman615 says:

    @GothamGal: You screwed the sentence up the second time too!

  13. gingerCE says:

    Why would they do this? It seems like a fraud disaster waiting to happen.

    Plus, with amazon as someone wrote they take checks AND you can also pay directly via your bank account if you don’t have a credit/debit card. And I’m not sure, but I think they take money orders too.

  14. johnva says:

    @robdew2: That’s what I’m wondering. This particular article is pretty thin on details. Do you have to sign up for an account with them in advance, or is it done transaction by transaction?

  15. GothamGal says:

    Ha, yes I did. One more and I have to repeat first grade.

  16. Skiffer says:

    I’m trying to think if this has any benefit for business use – i.e., not needing a corporate card or needing to establish a Net 30 account, etc….

    But I can’t think of any good business uses, either…

  17. johnva says:

    @CaffeinatedSquint: I don’t buy the “security” argument they are making. They’re solving a problem that doesn’t exist from the customer perspective (since we aren’t liable for credit card fraud anyway). My guess, like I said earlier, is that it’s all about trying to cut Visa/MC out of the loop in order to save the merchants money. This could save them some serious cash in interchange fees if they can successfully convince people to use this service. So I know why merchants might want to offer it. But I don’t see any reason why I should as a customer. Moreover, it might actually be a more risky form of credit for whoever is actually loaning the money (I’m still not sure from looking at their website) because it might attract people who have poor credit and can’t get a credit card through normal channels.

  18. Chazon says:

    @GothamGal: I had pretty much the same situation. I have a great score (720) and little debt – yet was denied with the promise of a letter why that never came.

  19. mollyblack says:

    I have used Bill Me Later for three years now, usually at B&H Photo for camera related purchases. My credit is in the upper moderate range and I have only once had a purchase denied. Three months later I re-applied for that same purchase and had it pass. As a disabled housewife with a husband who gets periodic bonuses and has a successful career both as a programmer and as a book writer we make the payments due before the interest kicks in. We managed to do that for all our house furniture when we finally purchased (with a split 15/30 year fixed since I have a family who would kill me if I ever even looked at an ARM).

    So I like Bill Me Later for the assistance it gives me in getting lenses earlier than I might and allowing me to pay it off in installments before the interest kicks in.

  20. marike says:

    I use Bill Me Later when I’m too lazy to get up to get my debit card or when they offer 6 months no interest on certain sites. I’ve had zero problems with them and the few times I had to call their CS line with a few questions, they were always helpful and really nice, but I don’t get why Amazon.com would need to use it.

  21. phantomfly says:

    You can already pay using your bank account.

  22. chartrule says:

    isn’t this “bill me later” kinda like paypal ?

  23. Snarkysnake says:

    I ‘ve used BML a few times and it works fine. Basically,they check your already extant credit profile and decide whether to set up an account based on that.There are some pretty heavy hitting companies that are offering this now and I think that it’s a good thing because ANY system that gives customers more options is a plus (Even Paypal,despite the fact that they are the WORST company in the world for customer service). That said,I hope that they succeed in their business model.Taking the long view,it may forestall a day when Visa/MC have such a stranglehold on payment systems that “convenience” fees begin to become standard upcharges at merchants.(Remember when ATM’s were free to use?)As for getting in over your head in debt,my advice is -Don’t…

  24. julienne says:

    And why doesn’t Amazon take Paypal? I’d like to take the money I get selling useless crap on ebay to buy shiny new crap.

  25. comopuedeser says:

    Sounds like another way for the consumer to not only purchase a product but also to go into even more debt. Final answer: Good for businesses, bad for consumers.

  26. nrwfos says:

    @julienne: Paypal is owned by eBay. I dislike Paypal as well. I was so glad when Amazon started accepting automatic checks – I didn’t want to open a new credit card just for Amazon and I was paying off all the ones we had, closing them as we went. Didn’t want unneeded credit checks either. This BML might be good as one person said for occasional big purchases, but I don’t want anymore credit extended to me. I don’t like these services like Paypal and BML because it’s so hard to keep track of them and when mistakes happen – it’s really messy.

  27. aikoto says:

    It would be nicer if Amazon would just stop putting us at risk by storing our credit card information.

  28. surgesilk says:

    I use Bill Me Later for some work related expenses (like plane tickets), I can delay payment til I actually get reimbursed by the company without using any available credit on a card.

  29. harryhoody says:

    How about buy only that which one can afford? You can also pay with your bank account!

  30. BigHeadStu says:

    I have used Bill Me Later several times for Purchases from Newegg.com, and have been unilaterally satisfied by the speed and ease of the process. Its a nice way of spreading out the payments so when I make a 300-400 dollar purchase I can keep the majority of that money in my high interest savings account and pay it down in increments, rather than paying all of it at my next credit card bill cycle.

    I was declined once, but that’s because I had just moved, and BML compared my address info with that at the credit bureaus, and they didn’t like the fact that there was a mismatch between what I had supplied and what the big three had on file.

  31. Buran says:

    @julienne: They do, if you use the option (at paypal) to generate a virtual credit card tied to your balance. I’ve bought stuff on amazon that way before, right after selling something on ebay (I don’t keep money in my paypal account).

  32. Teknojunkie says:

    I’ve used Bill Me Later several times to make online purchases. As long as you manage your debt wisely, it works out nicely. I have a credit score of 638 and have never been turned down for any purchases. Granted, I’m not buying $2500 HDTV’s or anything, but I have bought plane tickets from Continental and electronics from Newegg. I’d recommend it as an option, and I hope more sites start using it.

  33. UsefulThings says:

    @johnva: “I really don’t see what the point of this is, since it’s pretty much the same thing as a credit card except without the plastic card.”

    Read your account terms! Most banks have their terms set up so that interest starts accruing on your “convenience check” purchases the date of the transaction, not after 30 days (next cycle).