It's no secret that end of year gift shopping can be stressful. Rushing around between stores and aisles, the anxiety of not knowing if there's stock remaining of your desired gift, fighting off other shoppers like rabid dogs — it all seems tailor-made to raise your blood pressure.
Increasingly, Aussies are deciding to leave this state of affairs behind and buy their presents from the comfort of their homes — or just about anywhere, in fact. According to PayPal's 2014 Christmas Study, more and more Australians are making use of their smartphones to shop for Christmas.
"One in five (21 percent) intend to use their smartphone more this year to search for and buy Christmas gifts," states the study.
There are a variety of different ways Australians can turn their phones into roaming credit cards this Christmas, which can do everything from transferring money easily between friends and making shopping simpler, to letting shoppers virtually jettison their existing wallets wholesale. Here are a few.
The latest iteration of the PayPal digital wallet app released in September last year can open credit lines for users, store their credit cards, as well as let you order your morning coffee or bagel while you're commuting to work, so they're ready for pick-up when you arrive. You can also order takeaways to be delivered, pay for taxis and even pay at the counter by simply waving your phone.
There are apps similar to this out there, such as Google Wallet and Apple Pay, but these are thus far only available in the United States.
Visa released this payment service earlier this year, allowing Australians to make payments for goods online, anytime, anywhere and on any device.
Rather than needing to fill out lengthy online forms or remembering countless passwords — one of the biggest frustrations for Aussie online shoppers — consumers need only enrol in Visa Checkout, remember their details for the service, then make their payment.
Enrolling involves the typical username- and password-choosing process and entering payment and shipping information, which is only done once. Shoppers then keep an eagle eye out for the Visa Checkout button located at different online retailers.
MasterCard's MasterPass was originally released back in April 2013, making it the oldest of the three options discussed here. It's available through a number of different banks, including Commonwealth Bank, NAB, Bendigo and Bankwest, which means you can carry out a credit card comparison beforehand to see where you can most effectively make use of it.
Like Visa Checkout, MasterPass lets you make secure payments to retailers online, as long as the website has its logo displayed — and you can use it with a PC, tablet or phone.