It is very common nowadays to purchase apps. Sometimes these are for tiny amounts – many Apple and Android apps cost as little as 99 cents. Cloud billing has made this viable. If you use an electronic device, will have had to attach a credit or debit card to it. Whenever you choose to download a paid app, an automatic charging process is set into motion. The Apple or Android store checks that you have sufficient funds, and then directly withdraw the cost of the app from your account. They, in turn, transfer the payments (less their fees) to the app developers.
A relatively recent change in the world of software has been a shift away from standalone programs, hosted directly on a user's machine (or on a company's in-house server), to a SaaS cloud-based model. One of the first big-name companies to do this was Adobe. For years, if you wanted to use programs such as Photoshop, you bought the software, paying for it up-front. In many countries, the upfront investment was so high that it purchasers treated as an asset for tax purposes.
Now Adobe is in the Cloud. You effectively "rent" the software, paying to use it on a monthly basis. One result of this is that users can immediately update the software to the latest version, as long as they are up-to-date with their payments. You can pick and choose which parts of the suite you want to use and pay for. If you only use Photoshop, you only need to pay for that program this month. If you also need InDesign, you can add that as another module. If you are a graphic designer, you will probably choose to pay for the entire suite. Once again, you will pay your bill electronically, with your monthly payments being directly taken from your bank account, or added to your credit card.
Over time, we make more and more of our payments electronically. There have even been advances in technology for small payments in recent years. How many people use plastic cards to pay for their bus or train travel? In some places, you can even top up the cards from an app on your Smartphone. It is even possible to pay for parking using SMS texting in some cities.
So, how do you pay your bills? Cash is not dead yet, but that day will come; sooner than we ever imagined.
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