Payment methods in the USA

Hello everyone,

Once you're settled in the USA, you will need to make some basic purchases, like groceries or pay bills. Hence, it is essential to know the payment methods available in your host country.

Which are the most common payment methods in the USA? Why would you prefer some forms over others?

Does the amount of money or the type of paid services (groceries, bills, rent, etc.) determine the choice of payment methods?

Are there any apps at your disposal which make the payment process easier in the USA?

Can certain foreign currencies be used to make payments?

Have your habits in terms of payment methods changed since moving to the USA?

Thanks for sharing your experience,


To my mind, credit cards are the most common method of payment here. Cash is sometimes used. And, to my constant surprise, many payments are made by check, even for small amounts at the supermarket.
For me, the amount does not have any influence on my method of payment.
Foreign currnecies cannot be used to make payments.
I don't have/use any apps for my payments.
My habits have not change since I moved.

Cards, 100% of the time.  Debit cards for small amounts and credit cards for large amounts. 

There are many apps for mobile payments.  My children use Google Pay and Apple Pay often, but I don't.

In my case, my methods of payment has changed since I moved overseas.  For 2/3 of my life living in the States, I rarely had more than $25 in my wallet, now I rarely use my cards.

When u get to us, find a bank and deposit your money. A week later they will send you a debit card.

This is a prevalence payment methods. Later on you can upgrade yourself with credit cards (visa/Mastercard/etc).

Paper checks are hardly being used nowadays. Many people don't carry cash ... I don't.

I personally like to pay all my expenses with the credit or debit card,  it is easy to keep track. Venmo and Zelle has become very popular to pay for some services, retails,  or to transfer money. Venmo is an app,  Zelle is through a bank, there is no extra charges.  I use Both of them, but not very often.

I rarely ever carry cash with me but when i do, it is never more than 10 or 15 USD. When i get gas, grocery shopping or just generally out to an actual store to buy stuff, i just use my bank's debit card. A debit card is like a credit card but it takes the money out of your bank account unlike a credit card where it lets you borrow money that you will have to pay interest on if not repaid within a certain time frame. Lets say you have a netflix subscription or a repetitive bill that comes every month, most can be set up for electronic bill pay which is done by logging into your bank account and following their prompts on setting up that repetitive payment(s). Some people like my mother is old school and still writes a paper check to pay her bills like utilities, credit card bills and what not. I too still have some paper checks but rarely ever use them because it is am inconvenience to write them out and then mail them out. It also costs money to send out mail which adds up and then you are at the mercy of the postal system; what happens if that paper check never arrives?Using bill pay, you can schedule when you want the payment sent and then it doesn't cost you anything unless you are in rush to pay on it.

Now back to the credit card or debit card; if you shop around when you open your account, some of those banks will give you rewards for using their card. Like i earn 1 dollar for every 100 spent so whenever i go grocery shopping with mother, she just gives me the cash and i charge it to my card; i am earning back some of the money we just spent. Major purchases are also done this way to conserve actual liquid cash. A lot of companies will also give you so many months no interest on purchases over a certain  dollar amount so long as you use their card.

I can go on and on about this topic but i wanted to just reply back and give you the basics.

Credit and debit cards are the most common methods used in stores or to pay for services, but many people, myself included, use online banking to pay for utilities, mortgages or rent, insurance, phone, internet, etc. I only keep around $20 in cash in my wallet.
I love online banking because I can schedule payments ahead of time and never worry about forgetting to pay a bill. For fixed payments that are the same every month, I schedule three months of payments in advance.

If am am buying something in person, I always pay with cash. The amount is irrelevant. If there is a cashier, I pay in cash. Cards are for things I cannot pay in person; utilities, online payments.

Apps are everywhere in the United States. I have seen people pay for anything and everything with apps.

To my knowledge, no foreign currency can be used anywhere outside of a bank/currency exchange. Americans do not even want Canadian money.

My habits are mostly the same as they were in Israel, except that I am spending far more money.

Using Stripe, I built my own payment portal. On the back end, I produce a link to such portal with the amount, client's email, and description. I provide the link via email. Client clicks on it and enters their payment card information. I'm paid quickly!

The backend also provides the option of generating a subscription portal, where they can join up for monthly services like as support or hosting.

The only thing I don't like are the stripe fees.

I used to use PayPal, but even with their invoicing and things, clients would be slow to pay me.