In the 1960s, more than half of the total amount of money consisted of banknotes. In 2010, that is only 16.9%, and this percentage is still falling. This is because today, in many cases, it is no longer necessary to cash cash because there are more and more alternative methods of payment. In addition, cash payments, payments directly from the bank account, are safer than cash money, which is a favorite target for pickpockets. What alternative methods of payment are there when you do not have cash in cash?
Use your bank card or credit card
The bank and credit card are by far the most popular ways to pay without paying cash.
- Bancontact / Mister Cash Bank Card : This is the most popular means of payment, as it is easy, almost every Belgian has a bank card and is accepted by most traders. With your bank card, your payment will be taken immediately from your current account, so you will not be surprised at the end of the month. If your bank card has the Maestro logo, you can also make money abroad and make payments. Even if you travel outside Europe, you need to activate this feature.
In addition, some bank cards are equipped with the new NFC technology – in which we go deeper below – allowing us to pay contactless. By keeping your bank card at the payment terminal, you can pay such small amounts quickly and safely. KBC was the first to introduce these types of cards, but it is expected that other banks will follow. If the amount exceeds € 25, KBC will request a code. Also traders who allow NFC payment limit the amount often paid by this way. For example, contactless payment with your bank card at Carrefour is only possible up to € 75.
- Credit Card : With a credit card – Visa, Mastercard and American Express are the main in Belgium – Do not make your payments immediately. Depending on the credit card and the time in the month you make your purchases, you have up to one month interest-free payment. In the case of non-credit cards, all your expenses will be charged to your current account at one time. With credit card cards, you have the option to spread the refund over time, with interest payments.
Read our article: How to choose the correct credit card
The advantage of the credit card is clear: you must not have the money you spend on the day you make your purchases. However, there is a maximum amount that you have agreed with your bank. In addition, the Visa and Mastercard credit card is accepted by most traders. Payments must usually be confirmed by your PIN or with your signature.
Read more: 5 benefits that your credit card can offer
When you want to buy something online, there are several options. We’ll put them in line for you.
- Credit Card : This is the most important form of payment online.
- Bancontact / Mister Cash : Since 2006, you can also use your bank card to pay online.
- PayPal : PayPal is an easy way to make online payments and organize money transfers. You open a free account, confirm your email address, enter a payment method and complete! For example, you can link your PayPal account to your credit card or bank account, and then you can make payments in 202 countries and in 25 different currencies without having to pick up your bank or credit card with your email address and password.
- Online Banking : All banks nowadays have an online banking platform for your PC or tablet, which you can not only manage your money with at the same bank, but can also make bank transfers. To log in to the platform and to transfer, you often need a card reader.
Read our article: 7 tips for safe online shopping
Use your smartphone
Since a large number of Belgians have a smartphone, there are many initiatives to make your smartphone also a means of payment:
- First of all, most Belgian banks have mobile banking applications that allow you to check your money at the bank and sometimes also transfer your smartphone or tablet. The advantage of PC banking is that you can use it anywhere, and without having to pick up your card and card reader. On the other hand, the ability to make payments is often more limited, because for example, there is a maximum amount per day or per transaction. Ideal for smaller amounts, such as overbooking pocket money for example.
- You can also use your smartphone for SMS payment, which you do not need to access the internet. This can be used for small amounts, such as payment of your parking ticket.
- There have been a number of techniques in recent years that allow your smartphone to be used as a payment card. One of these techniques is the Near Field Communication technology (NFC). This allows you to make payments by keeping the smartphone close to the payment terminal. This is a fully developed technology and can only be limited to a limited number of payment terminals. Apple also allows smartphone smartphones to only pay NFC payments through its own payroll system Apple Pay. An alternative form of mobile payment with smartphone is via a QR code (Quick Response). This is an app that can be paid by scanning the QR code on the account and confirming it on your app.
Paying between smartphones is an easy way to pay small amounts, which pass through the NFC or QR technology. Ideal so to quickly pay your friends after a meal at the restaurant. The applications offered by banks do require that the payer (eg Easy Transfer at BNP Paribas Fortis or KeyKash at Keytrade Bank ) is a customer at the bank or is both a payer and a beneficiary (eg, KBC / CBC Scashing ).
The Bancontact / Mister cash app is currently one of the most promising mobile payment apps in Belgium because it not only allows pay between smartphones, but also payments to an ever-increasing number of online and offline merchants, such as Delhaize and Colruyt. For payments between individuals, it’s a lot more flexible than the bank apps, because it’s enough for both people to have a Bancontact / Mister Cash card from any bank. The app works through the QR technology.
Finally, there are the mobile payment methods that Apple and other smartphone providers have already rolled out in other countries, such as Apple Pay, Samsung Pay or Android Pay. These payment systems are expected in Belgium soon.
Checks are still interesting in some cases
A check as a means of payment is becoming less and less used because the paperwork is rather cumbersome. However, a bank check for larger purchases, such as a car or home, is still common. It is the bank that checks this check, which means that the supplier is sure that the payment will be made. The disadvantage of the (bank) check is that he can only be used in Belgium and risks being lost or stolen. This is why most people today choose a bank transfer instead of a check.
Clearly, within five years, we will not pay the same way as today. Whichever way you choose, the most important thing is that you feel comfortable!