Multiple Meanings: pago al contado

When pago al contado refers to pago en dinero contante, it may be appropriately  translated as “cash payment” or “payment in cash.” But often the expression actually denotes making “immediate payment,” as opposed to pago a plazos (“payment in installments”). Thus, in this context a pago al contado can be made in cash (en efectivo), by credit or debit card (con tarjeta de crédito o débito) or by bank transfer (por transferencia bancaria). As an example, in my work as a freelance translator, when billing my clients my invoices show “contado” as my payment terms. Rather than expecting payment in cash, this denotes my preference for immediate payment, something that I may not get but, hey, as they say, “wishing is free.” In other respects, “payment in cash” may be rendered as pago en efectivo, pago en numerario or pago en metálico.

 

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