Here are the best—and worst—ways to pay for an auction.
It's your money, and you can do anything you want with it. That said, I don't want to see any of you stuffing dollar coins up your nose or sending cash through postal mail.
Electronic payments have become the most popular method of paying for auctions on eBay, and for good reason—sending money online is by far the safest, quickest, and cheapest way to pay, for both buyers and sellers.
When deciding how to pay for an auction you've won, or when choosing an auction in the first place, look for any payment method that can be funded by a credit card. Although some people are downright terrified of the prospect of transmitting credit card numbers over the Internet, credit cards are indeed the safest way to pay online because you can dispute any charge on your statement.
You can dispute any unauthorized charge, any payment made to a seller who doesn't ship, or any payment that was not refunded after you returned an item. It's as simple as making a phone call to your credit card company, and is undoubtedly more productive than trying to find out what happened to a check you mailed six weeks ago. Some cards even offer extended buyer-protection services, such as replacement insurance.
Sellers choose which payment methods to accept, so make sure you review the seller's instructions before you bid. Once you bid, you're pretty much locked into whatever payment terms the seller has specified (although ...