Cash, Credit or Bitcoin? More Merchants Are Accepting Digital Currency

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Do you want to pay by Visa, MasterCard or bitcoin?

The digital currency bitcoin is not as readily accepted as major credit cards, but it’s getting there. CheapAir.com now accepts bitcoins for hotel bookings, reports USA Today. It has accepted the virtual payment for flights since November.

So what’s the attraction to the virtual currency available through online exchanges? Well, it spends like cash, and merchants that accept it aren’t charged transaction fees as they are by credit card companies, says a guest blog post on The Christian Science Monitor.

Although many associate bitcoin with purchases of virtual products, such as playing social network games like Zynga’s Farmville, those accepting bitcoin payment for actual goods tripled between November and December 2013, says Bloomberg.

That growth is international but also included some major U.S. retailers, such as Amazon and Victoria’s Secret, the Monitor post said. Although those retailers don’t accept bitcoins directly, shoppers can use bitcoins to buy gift cards for purchases at those stores.

Jerry Brito, a senior research fellow at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, told USA Today:

We’re going to see an ever-growing number of merchants begin to accept bitcoin. Bitcoin is a network … Facebook is a network. Why do you join Facebook? Because everyone else is on Facebook. The more people will own and spend the bitcoin, the more merchants will accept them, and more people will use them.

Have you made any purchases with bitcoins? If not, do you see that in your future? Comment below or on our Facebook page.

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Comments & discussion

We welcome your opinions, but let’s keep it civil. Like many businesses, we reserve the right to refuse service to anyone. In our case, that means those who communicate by name-calling, racism, using words designed to hurt others or generally acting like an uninformed bully. Also, comments that include links to email addresses or commercial websites typically aren't posted. This isn't a place to advertise your business.

  • ponce

    Bitcoin has a big advantage for retailers beyond the no, or low, processing fee structure. When the transaction goes through, it can’t be reversed. What is an advantage for the retailer, however, is a potential problem for consumers. No chargebacks if you receive merchandise in poor condition or inferior quality. No chargebacks if the retailer doesn’t provide the advertised service or fails to ship the item you order. Use them, particularly online, at your own risk.

  • http://midasmarni.com/ Marni Melrose

    This is one of the reasons why “socially verifiable” testimonials and reviews are going to be very important. We use software on our website that hooks up with the reviewer’s social network when they leave a review, so that people can be sure that it is a real review and not stuffed. I think a lot more companies will be using software like this soon.