Shopping
 

 online shopping

What does it allow me to do?


You can practically order anything online whether its groceries or a flat screen telly.

 

Advantages

 


By trading online business do not have the overheads of a shop and subsequently can sell goods cheaper. By using a combination of price comparison sites and making an online purchase you can potentially make a dramatic saving compared to a “bricks and mortar” shop.

 

Disadvantages

Sometimes it’s nice to handle a product before purchasing particularly items of clothing or footwear wear they need to be tried on for size; at best all you will get online is a 3D rotating picture. If you need to return the item this will either entail arranging a collection or a visit to the post office.

 

Online Banking

online banking

 

What does it allow me to do?


Depending who you bank with just about everything you can do at your local branch or via telephone banking. Alongside this again depending on your bank you can set up email and text alerts to notify you when your account dips below a predefined balance or large amounts leave your account. Just about the only thing you cannot do is withdraw cash although you can transfer balances between accounts.

Advantages


thumbs-upThe biggest advantage has to be the flexibility and freedom to be able to do your banking at a time the suits you, allowing you to pay your bills while sat in your pyjamas eating your cornflakes or check out your balance after a night out on the tiles!

Disadvantages


thumbs-downAlthough all banks provide a secure method to access your account security should always be your priority. Just like leaving a signed blank cheque lying around so can leaving your login details for anyone to view. Also various phishing emails purporting to be you bank trying to extract you of your login details.

 

Financial Products

loan pic
 

What does it allow me to do?


Financial organisations now allow us to purchase almost if not all of their products online. This includes loans, insurances of all types, mortgages, investments and credit card applications

Advantages


thumbs-upProducts purchased online generally have an incentive over those made in a physical branch or over the phone. The incentive can include a lower interest rate, reduced or removed setup fee, a free gift or some form of cash back. Some decisions can be immediately for example if you are eligible for a loan or credit card.

Disadvantages


thumbs-downIf you’re applying for a loan for example you won’t be able to discuss part of the application with an individual like you can in a branch or over the phone.

 

Book A Holiday

internet travel

 

What does it allow me to do?


You can book all or parts of the holiday experience including transfers, foreign currency, flights, accommodation and travel insurance.

Advantages


thumbs-upSaves the trips round the travel shops, the pile of brochures. Foreign currency can be ordered online and delivered to your home address. Online prices can be compared and the best price found online. No waiting for tickets in the post, these can be received electronically and printed.

Disadvantages


thumbs-downYour consumer rights can be stronger if a package holiday is booked in a travel agent as opposed to “separates” online. Any problems once at the holiday location and you can’t ring your friendly travel agent.

 

Gas & Electric

gas

 

What does it allow me to do?


Receive your bills online and print a hard copy if required. Instead of having your meters read or the need to phone in meter readings these can be entered online. You can manage how you pay your account and the amount you pay. You can check whether your account is in credit or debit and by how much.

Advantages


thumbs-upMost utility providers provide a cheaper tariff for those managing their gas and electric online these can either be cheaper units or a refund credit at the end of the year and in some cases both particularly when you have both gas and electric with the same provider. Rather than phoning customer service you can message them either by email or securely after logging into your personal account.

Disadvantages


thumbs-downSome people prefer to automatically receive a hard copy of the bill in the post; unfortunately an online account will not provide this. After all this is how the provider is able to offer the online account with savings or at least one of the methods.

 

Social Networking

 

facebook-twitter

 


What does it allow me to do?


Social networking sites like Facebook and twitter allow you to keep in touch with all your friends.

Advantages


thumbs-upMessages can broadcast to all your friends in one swoop rather than ringing round everyone on the phone. Pictures and videos can be easily shared.

Disadvantages


thumbs-downWithout controlling your privacy settings your details can be available to anyone with a Facebook or twitter account. It’s easy to post a comment and regret it later, once it’s been posted and read.

 

Selling Online

ebay

 

What does it allow me to do?


By using auction sites like eBay you can sell any unwanted presents or items you no longer need.

Advantages


thumbs-upYou will attract a worldwide audience for your items. Payments are secure and safe using PayPal. You can sell your items without have to get up early and go to car boots or place ads in the paper and wait for strange phone callers!

Disadvantages


thumbs-downLike any auction there a fees to pay, these are charged for both listing and a percentage of the selling price, so bear in mind you will pay for your item to be listed even if it fails to sell. PayPal will also take a fee from your earnings. Although eBay does have a dispute resolution service these can take time to resolve issues. You will have to parcel up the item and pay a visit to you local post office. Again items lost in the post take time to resolve and if you insure the delivery this will cost extra.

 

iTUNES

 

itunes logo

 

What does it allow me to do?


iTunes is an application that allows you connect, purchase, download, organize digital music, videos and applications from apples online store.

Advantages


thumbs-upYour favourite tracks can be purchased individually rather than having to purchase a whole album that will inevitably include tracks that you do not like. Purchases made electronically are cheaper than their shop bought counterparts.

Disadvantages


thumbs-downOne of the reasons electronic media is cheaper is because there are no shop overheads, physical case and sleeve artwork. For some people the packaging is part of the product but a download is just that it’s just the media in electronic format.

Conclusion
There is no doubt that managing the various areas discussed in this feature online is easier and in some cases cheaper than doing the same in the “real world”. However as pointed out this can mean certain parts we have become used to are missing such the CD album sleeve on the latest album or the human interaction at your local bank branch when applying for a loan. If you do choose the online option then always keep in mind that you need to make sure any login details are kept securely.

 

 


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