There are so many ways to pay for goods and services. These include:
  • Cash
  • Credit card*
  • Money order
  • Debit card*
  • Direct debit*
  • Gift voucher
  • Lay-by
  • Personal or bank cheques
  • Internet banking*
  • Phone banking
  • BPAY*
  • Paypal*
  • Direct payment from Centrelink (called Centrepay)

*includes options to pay online

Which of these forms of payments do you use and why? Have you had any problems using any of these payment methods? If so, perhaps you should consider looking at other payment options. For example, if you’re worried about using a credit card, a debit card can be a good option as it has similar benefits such as convenience and online purchasing, however you’re using your own money rather than borrowing someone else’s.

Three common forms of payment compared
Method Advantages Disadvantages
  • No debt
  • Only spend what you have it
  • No interest or charges
  • Quick
  • Unsecured
  • Might lose it
  • Can only pay in person
  • Can be bulky to carry
  • No written record of payments
  • May attract transaction fees to withdraw
Credit card
  • Easy to use
  • Convenient
  • Can use over phone, Internet or in person
  • Creates a debt
  • Attracts interest, fees and charges
  • Easy to forget how much is spent
  • Spends money you don’t have and buy things you probably can’t afford
  • Can be stolen
Debit card
  • Easy to use
  • Convenient
  • No interest
  • Only spend what you have
  • Can use over phone, internet or in person if it's a debit card
  • May attract charges with frequent use

Direct debit
Paying bills via direct debit is a great way to keep on top of your bill due dates, and you may save on ‘manual payment’ fees. But, as with any payment method, there is a catch - ensure you have enough funds in the nominated account to cover your bill, otherwise you may be charged for a missed or ‘dishonoured’ payment.

See ’7 ways to pay a bill’ for more great tips.