Ben Todd | Jun 2, 2017 | 1
How to Use Bitcoin to Pay for Stuff Online – Have You Tried Using Bitcoin To Pay
There are websites that accept different card payments and PayPal payments, but only a tiny minority that accept bitcoin payments. Some larger companies are trying to make the bitcoin buying experience something similar to the PayPal buying experience. Others are simply trying it out in a haphazard manner. In this article, you will discover different ways of using bitcoin to pay, but you should firstly look into companies that accept bitcoin directly. This article starts with stories of companies that do accept bitcoin before moving on to other methods of using bitcoin to pay.
The Big And The Small
There are a few smaller companies and online websites that are accepting bitcoin. It seems that companies may be more willing to accept bitcoin if the price of bitcoin were not so unpredictable, and if there were a way to accept recurring payments from bitcoin. These two problems alone, not to mention tax problems and fraud problems, are going to hold up bitcoin payments for a long time. Plus, they are not easy problems to solve as it took PayPal (a large and successful company) quite a while to set up their
PayPal direct debit (recurring) payment system.
The largest company by far to take bitcoin payments is Overstock. Smaller retailers are slightly keener than larger retailers. The most curious and interesting thing I discovered was that single companies within a franchise were trying out bitcoin. Specifically, I saw it with pawn shops and secondhand trading shops.
There is an international shop that is like a pawn shop and a second hand shop. It is called CEX, though it is pronounced Sex, which is fun because when I am the grocery store I can turn to my girlfriend and say, “Let’s go to the CEX shop” and she gets all embarrassed.
The franchise company itself doesn’t accept bitcoin, but I have seen single stores in different countries that are willing to accept bitcoin. The managers of these stores have made an independent decision to start accepting bitcoin, and their franchise bosses have not tried to stop them.
The Story Of Overstock
As of August 2017, the most impressive company to accept bitcoin is Overstock. It is impressive because they are a global company that sells all over the world and they have taken the risk of accepting bitcoin payments when other large international companies dare not. In addition, they have made the bitcoin payment process as easy as possible by making it very similar to the PayPal payment process. The image below is similar to what you will see.
It isn’t all smooth sailing for Overstock. When they started accepting bitcoin, they had a great many new accounts and new customers. They were mostly made up of people who were looking to try buying things with bitcoin.
This success drew the attention of the IRS, who have been hounding Overstock ever since.
Many large companies are sitting back to wait and see how Overstock handles the many questions that the IRS are throwing at them. Overstock then have the problem of international consistency. The way that the US tax system treats bitcoin may differ wildly from the way that other countries treat bitcoin, which is going to make Overstock’s life very difficult. Yet, Overstock are simply doing what many other larger companies are going to have to do eventually, so I say we should support them.
What Are The Benefits Of Buying With Bitcoin?
If you have trouble buying internationally, then bitcoin may offer an answer if you cannot get a PayPal account for some reason, or if you are unable to fund your PayPal account. Paying with bitcoin is also handy if you have bitcoin currency and you want to avoid the fees that come with bitcoin conversions.
Fees With Bitcoin, Am I Crazy?
Despite the fact that Bitcoin is being celebrated for allowing people to transfer large sums of currency for very small fees, I can’t be the only one that has noticed that exchanging bitcoin is expensive.
There may be a fee for adding your bitcoin to the exchange and for the Bitcoin network transfer process itself. There may be a fee for the currency conversion and there is almost always a crappy exchange rate. In addition, there may also be a fee for withdrawing your US dollars.
What with the crappy exchange rates and numerous fees, it may be cheaper to buy things with your bitcoin rather than exchange your bitcoin for US dollars.
A Quick Warning Before Getting In To Further Ways Of Using Bitcoin To Pay For Stuff
I mention things such a bitcoin purses and cards in the section below. I am mentioning them because this article is all about how to use bitcoin to pay for stuff online. These methods are not being mentioned because I endorse them because at the time of writing I do not. At the moment, they simply seem like ways to beat people over the head with more fees. In some cases, it is cheaper to convert your bitcoin to US dollars than it is to use one of the methods listed below.
Most Companies Do Not Accept Bitcoin Directly
Before you consider any of the methods listed below, try to find companies such as Overstock that accept bitcoin directly. Even if you are looking at a retailer that doesn’t accept bitcoin, consider looking for retailers that do and checking to see if they have the product you wish to buy.
Using Bitcoin To Pay With Bitcoin Debit Cards
There are Bitcoin debit cards that are like prepaid bank cards. You can top them up with different types of currency, which includes topping them up with bitcoin. You are able to fund your card with your Bitcoin wallet.
- It seems to be a very flexible way of paying with bitcoin
- The process is just as easy as paying directly with bitcoin
- May be used in any store that accepts prepaid credit or debit cards
- Funding isn’t that much more complicated than funding with PayPal
- Fees when you make purchases
- Some transactions require a conversion from bitcoin
- You are at the mercy of the card issuer’s exchange rate
- Some charge fees for funding
I was going to recommend a few different bitcoin debit card providers after having the research team try them out. However, something about them got me a little concerned.
I read a few online articles and went to visit the bitcoin debit cards they recommended, but the ones they recommended had all changed their names. For example, there was CoinsBank (formally Bit-X) and then there was ANXPRO (Formally ANXBTC), and they got me thinking. Is it really worth testing out a bunch of bitcoin debit cards if they will have changed hands, management or company brand within a few months? In short, if you are looking for a bitcoin debit card, you should use Google to find the latest version of whichever bitcoin debit card is popular.
Using Bitcoin To Pay With Gift Cards
There are some online and offline retailers who allow you to buy gift cards with bitcoin. Is this simply another way of converting your cryptocurrency? Yes it is. When you convert your bitcoin into a gift card (by buying a gift card), then you are converting your cryptocurrency. If you can get a better deal for your bitcoin by buying a gift card rather than converting your bitcoin to US dollars, then consider it. There are situations where you may get a better deal with a gift card than by converting your bitcoin to US dollars.
- You may purchase anywhere that the gift cards are accepted
- Online gift cards are becoming more common
- There are bitcoin cash-back schemes that involve bitcoin
- You may be able to get large discounts with certain giftcards
- Many giftcards only allow you to shop in one store
- Giftcards need to be purchased in advance
- You are committing yourself to spending a certain amount of money
- Applicable discounts may not be in place for what you wish to buy
Conclusion – There Are Still Very Few Options
Unless a company is willing to accept bitcoin payments, you are either going to have to go with a bitcoin debit card or bitcoin gift card. We are not yet at the stage where bitcoin is genuinely a currency like cash is a currency. When you use something such as a bitcoin debit card, you are actually selling your bitcoin to a company that is placing dollars on your debit card. You may be better off, and you may have more control, if you were to convert your bitcoin to dollars yourself.
Even though bitcoin has been around for a few years, we are not yet in a place people are walking around with two wallets, (one crypto and one regular). I have seen websites and companies that are trying ideas such buying regular gift cards off of people and then sell them for bitcoins online, but none of them are popular or successful enough to matter. If they were, then you would already know their names.
At some point in the future, we will be using bitcoin to pay for much more, but at the moment it is more convenient to buy things with regular currency.