ClickandBuy Launches Its Web Cash Service

ClickandBuy launches its web cash service, giving users the ability to physically deposit and spend with cash online, at thousands of top brand websites, like - iTunes, Skype, Disney and BT. Using cash online should be instantly familiar to millions who top-up their "Pay-As-You-Go" mobiles at convenience stores and newsagents up and down the country - as ClickandBuy has teamed up with payzone, the market leader in branded retailer payment outlets with 29,000 locations.

Using a wallet like ClickandBuy is already one of the most flexible and safe ways to shop online. Financial details are kept hidden while shopping and users can pay in a multitude of ways - debit/credit card, bank direct debit or even charge to their BT phone bill. However, buying with cash goes one stage further and completely eliminates the need to enter personal card or bank account details online. Online shopping is now the fastest growing area of card fraud up 32% to ?154.5m in 2006 (APACS the UK Payments Association, 2007). This has grown steadily since the introduction of Chip 'n' Pin.

50% of teens already buy online, typically using their parents credit cards and often without permission. With ClickandBuy, parents are able to open an account for family members, set content restrictions and even set monthly spend limits, while allowing the freedom to top-up and spend responsibly without the chance of spending more than their available balance.

With twice as many purchases made with cash compared to card (APACS 2006), the much-heralded cashless society looks as distant as ever. However, the vast majority of web merchants only accept card payments. This may be because of the practicalities of previously accepting cash, or perhaps in the belief that the UK, with 132m cards in issue, has close to universal card penetration. Either way, the latest evidence shows the UK to be far from the card wielding society many people imagine. According to recent research, 45% of UK consumers don't have a credit card while 35% don't have a debit card (nVision Research 2006 UK, base: 11,000 aged 15+). This means that millions of UK consumers have been unable to take advantage of the lower prices and the sheer convenience of buying online, echoing concerns raised in recent years about the opening up of a digital divide.

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