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ZDNet News reports that a number of online retailers have begun offering a “bill me later” option for purchases.

The alternative is designed to appeal to people who either don’t have a credit card or would prefer not to use it; it requires shoppers to enter a Social Security number and birth date. The company that processes the transactions pays the retailer within two weeks, and allows the consumer to either pay in full or in installments at almost 18 percent interest.

According to the news story, one advantage to the retailers is that they generally are charged a lower transaction fee than by the credit card companies.
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