Posts Tagged ‘online payment’

Things That Can’t Be Done Online That Should

Tuesday, June 28th, 2011

I recently received my US Census paperwork in the mail and I was frustrated that I had to fill it out with a pen and then mail it back. I realize that the census is done on a per home basis, and that its execution goes a long way back, but what a waste! I think it would be quicker and more efficient if the form could be filled out online. I know, there are several problems with that, but snail mail bothers me.

It occurred to me that there are many things I can’t do online that I should be able to. My first on this list is rent. I can pay all of my bills (internet, credit card, electricity, student loans, etc.) online with the sole exception of my apartment rent. I have two used checkbooks where the only checks written from them were rent. This is the one time a month I have to pull out my checkbook and write a check. I’ve never lived in an  apartment that had a way to pay online. My current complex has modernized slightly by allowing auto-debit from a checking account, but I’ve never trusted auto pay systems.

Another thing I should be able to do online is order Chinese food. This may be possible in downtown Dallas or Fort Worth, but I haven’t seen any where I live in the suburbs. Most of them will accept fax (HAHA… fax…), but I know for certain none of the 10 Chinese food places which I live near have the ability to order online. Most of them do have a website with their menu and phone number, but no online ordering. Working in phone support, one gets accustomed to communicating with those for whom English is a second language, but for some reason the Chinese restaurants in my area are especially difficult. It would be beneficial for both me and the kind lady on the other end of the phone if I could place my order online.

I know there are many problems which keep these types of things from being done online. I also understand the fear behind allowing people to anonymously submit orders and information. But, many of the same fears can be applied to the current methods. Census papers could be snagged from your mailbox and falsely completed. Anyone can spoof a phone number and place a fake order to a Chinese restaurant. But the technologies to implement these abilities are widely available and easy to implement for even the most novice of web developers. Most businesses and government agencies have a website. With just a bit more investment into those sites I can be ordering my Kung Pao Chicken online while paying my rent and being a good census completing citizen.

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