Cashing in Online

by Braden Kelley

Why do dead presidents have no value in the online world? In other words, why can I not pay cash online anywhere I want in the same way I can in the physical world?

For years now, when I am not busy serving paying clients, from time to time I bang the drum for my vision of making all online stores like brick and mortar stores where people can ‘walk’ in and pay cash. Now why is this so important for online retailers?

Online shopping is growing in popularity under current conditions, but it could grow even faster if the final barriers were eliminated. Enabling customers to pay cash online would eliminate barriers to online shopping posed by fears of:

1. Stolen credit card information
2. Identity theft
3. Invasion of privacy

Online merchants are missing out on shoppers who may never join the cashless society (UK statistics provided for illustration purposes) by not allowing shoppers to pay with cash:

1. 40% of the population doesn’t have a credit card, yet 80% of online purchases are made with one
2. Not everyone can get a credit card – In 2000, 4 million 12-16 yr olds spent $6 billion

I saw an article in the Seattle Times about Amazon inking a deal with a partner to allow people to shop online and pay without a credit or debit card, and so I started to think “hurray!” – after four years somebody has finally realized the opportunity. I was so disappointed to find out that the ‘solution’ of serving people who do not want to pay with debit or credit card, was to allow people to pay directly from their bank account (ala PayPal) via a partner called BillMeLater.

As an entrepreneur and professional adviser, you would think I would be excited to hear that my vision still has not been widely implemented. I am excited, but at the same time I know that the true ‘solution’ is not workable for a new entrant.

What do you think?


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