How to shop online without a credit card

We all hear stories of how online shopping is killing the high street – but then when you go to the high street they never have what you need, and if you ask for it, they tell you to ‘go online’.

But how can you shop online without a credit card? Maybe you don’t want to spend money you don’t have, or your credit rating isn’t good enough to get approved for a credit card?

Unfortunately, card payments have become the main way to pay for goods and services you buy online – but all is not lost, as there are a few alternatives that can help you to live the lifestyle you deserve, the way you want.

PayPal and E-wallets

PayPal is one option. It’s an e-wallet or ‘electronic wallet’, which is a bit like a separate account for you to store some money electronically.

It’s accepted quite widely, although not everywhere – just look for the PayPal logo on websites or check if it is listed in the checkout options.

To use PayPal, you need to authorise a way for it to take money from your account and move it into your electronic balance instead.

You can do this using a card – but of course in this case you are trying to avoid doing that – but you should also be able to link your bank account directly to your PayPal account.

If you manage to set this up, then when you spend using PayPal online, the correct amount of money should automatically transfer out of your account, into PayPal, and then across to the retailer.

There are other e-wallets too, but PayPal is the best known and probably the most widely accepted of them all.

Drawbacks include the awkward setup and authentication process, which includes PayPal taking a small amount from your account upfront, and as mentioned, it’s not accepted everywhere online by any means.

Prepaid cash cards

An alternative to credit cards is to buy a prepaid cash card, which you can then use online in the same way that you would use a credit card.

They’re not too difficult to purchase – petrol stations usually have them available – and they’re used quite often internationally for all kinds of security and privacy reasons.

One of the big advantages is that they are prepaid, so you are not running up any debt when you spend using one of these cards, and you can buy them no matter what your credit rating is.

However, there is the inconvenience of having to physically go out and buy a card, plus once you make your purchase, you will often be left with a small amount of almost useless loose change on the card.

On top of this, they are not universally accepted, so you may need to check upfront that a particular prepaid cash card issuer is compatible with the site you want to buy from.

Arro Personal Account with MasterCard® debit card

Looking at the drawbacks of the methods already mentioned, you might reasonably want a method that lets you:

  • Buy directly from your current account – not a separate e-wallet, credit card or prepaid cash card.
  • Does not run up unnecessary debt or a credit card bill you have to pay off at the end of the month.
  • Is fast and easy to set up, without having to physically go out and buy a card from a petrol station.
  • Can be used immediately, without waiting for a physical card to arrive in the post.
  • And crucially, is a widely accepted payment method with a recognised and trusted brand name.

An Arro Personal Account ticks all of these boxes. With every new Arro Personal Account, you receive a MasterCard® debit card, which is used across the internet in the UK and abroad, wherever MasterCard® Debit is a payment option.

You can open an account in three minutes, without leaving the house – just fill in our quick signup form and we will run an automatic online ID check to make sure you are eligible. If you are, we promise to accept you.

We immediately send you your new account number and sort code, plus a login to the Arro Money online dashboard so you can fund your account – and we send your MasterCard® debit card details via SMS so you can use them online even before the physical card comes in the post.