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Banks and other entities with interest on credit cards
often like waxing lyrical on the supposed many and
manifold benefits the cards bring to the holder. And
they have not been unsuccessful.

The major credit card holders (Visa, MasterCard and
American Express) handle transactions of over US $ 6
trillion each year, according to The Economist
magazine, and more than a third of American adults
hold at least one credit card.

But now it may be the time to move on from the cards.
Online payment systems are beginning to catch on. And
the mobile phones operators are also giving the
payment market a long and hard look (Safaricom, a
mobile operator in East Africa, already allows
subscribers to send money to third parties by using a
SMS).

As for online payments, a Silicon Valley firm, PayPal,
has become an undisputed leader of online payments,
and currently boasts of over 150 million accounts
worldwide.

Other players who are fast catching on include
Google's Checkout and MoneyBookers.

But credit card companies have clout and won't give up
without a fight. Many online transactions using some
of the modes mentioned above will still require you to
"verify" the payment, preferably using your credit
card information.

And online payments are not without their risks, and
many people have lost their money by entering their
financial information onto some phony websites
masquerading as the real thing. But as technology
changes, credit card?s edge on convenience will look
more and more beatable.