One of the most crucial aspects of online gambling is the method by which you get money into and out of your account.
In this guide we’ll look at those methods in great detail, telling you all that you need to know about the best and the worst options at your disposal.
The Best Payment options for Online Casinos
Not all sites are as varied as they should and could be. There may be dozens of payment methods out there, but some sites limit themselves to just a few. They do this for their own convenience, and in many cases their customers lose out.
That’s why we only focus on the real money casino sites that offer the most variety when it comes to payment options, and you can see the sites with the mist variety in this list.
Options for Both Deposits and Withdrawals?
As a regular player it’s often best to find a method that works for both deposits and withdrawals, which means you can use one method and one account to load, gamble, withdraw and spend.
Also known as “Web Wallets”, E-Wallets are online payment providers. They work in much the same way as your bank account, allowing you to send money to other users and to purchase products online. The difference is that you control how much money is in your E-Wallet. You can fund your account using a card or a bank transfer, and from there you can use it to make online payments.
An online payment provider that has eclipsed all others, PayPal is used all over the world and is the third most popular method for spending money online, after credit cards and debit cards. PayPal accounts can be funded via a number of methods, including bank transfer and debit card. You can also simply use winnings from one online casino to gamble at another.
Formerly known as Moneybooker, Skrill is a UK based web wallet that is available around the world and is hugely popular within the online gambling community. Skrill is just as easy to use as PayPal, and in many instances their fees are smaller.
One of the first payment providers of its type to allow online gambling payments, Neteller was very popular in the early years of the 21st century, and still has a significant share of the market.
Although it was very popular following its founding in 2005, Ukash was later acquired by Skrill and then merged into the PaySafeCard. The program used a voucher system, not unlike prepaid cards, and it came to an end in October 2015.
Although it is not one of the most popular E-Wallets, this service does have its uses and is available to uses across north America, Europe and Australia.
A service that is owned by Skrill, POLi is hugely popular in Australia and New Zealand. It can also be used in other countries, but is mainly used in these two countries.
Pros and Cons of Using E-Wallets
Pros: E-Wallets have always appealed to users who are concerned for their online safety. This is because they can be loaded with a fixed amount of money, and financial information such as bank account and credit/debit card data is never really at risk.
The main advantage, however, is that one account can be used on many gambling sites, and on many other sites. If you load your account with $100 and then go on to win 10x that amount at one online casino, you can withdraw back to your E-Wallet and then use that money on other online casinos, sports books and poker rooms.
If you have a little left over, you can even treat yourself to some retail therapy. And all from a single deposit.
Cons: There are few downsides to E-Wallets, but the main one is that they are not as widely accepted as credit/debit cards, particularly if you’re not using one of the biggest ones.
They also charge small fees for receiving payments.
The Best Deposit Options
Once you signup to an online casino, and ready to play your top casino game, you will need to make a deposit. This deposit will typically dictate how much of a new member bonus you get, and on some casinos there are also extra bonuses available if you use specific methods.
Most credit cards are connected to one of the major providers in one way or another.
This means that even if you have a card from an obscure bank or provider, then it should still be accepted by the majority of online casinos.
MasterCard was created in the 1960s, adopting its current name in 1976. It hands out a number of debit, credit and prepaid cards to millions of users in over 100 countries.
Often shortened to AMEX, this provider is well known for the reward systems it offers, although most providers don’t let you earn rewards through gambling sites.
A less well-known card, Discover is used in parts of the United States and is available on many online casinos.
Pros and Cons of Using Credit Cards
Pros: On the plus side, it’s a great way to gamble with someone else’s money, and if you win, then you can return the initial deposit and enjoy the remaining profit.
Also, if your credit card information is stolen or if money is taken without consent, it is very easy to get it back, much more so than with a debit card. All providers have anti-theft and anti-fraud measures in place to stop such unwanted transactions, and to compensate the user when they occur.
Cons: Credit cards often incur charges. These are charged to the gambling site, but on many occasions they pass these charges on to the customer. These charges are rarely more than 2.5%, and in many cases gambling sites will simply charge a small fixed fee.
Credit cards can also be difficult to withdraw to, which is why few sites allow the use of credit cards for withdrawals.
Prepaid cards allow you to load money onto a card that is then used just a few times. This means that you don’t have to worry about carrying your entire bank balance or credit balance on a single card.
Best Prepaid Cards:
AstroPay corners markets that have typically been ignored by other major payment providers, and it is the fastest growing provider in Latin America, Turkey and Taiwan, among other countries.
Used primarily in the United Kingdom, the PaySafeCard allows you to make payments online and offline, and you don’t need a debit card, credit card or bank account to fund your card.
This service uses a Virtual Visa, a prepaid card that can be used anywhere a normal Visa card can be used.
Pros and Cons of Prepaid Cards
Prepaid cards are perfect if you have concerns about giving away your bank account details online.
Let’s be honest, the internet is a much safer place than it used to be and fraud is nowhere near as common as many seem to believe it is. However, with stories of big-scale hacks finding their way into newspapers around the world, this sort of paranoia is understandable.
With prepaid cards, there is no need to worry. You can simply load the card with as much money as you want to spend, safe in the knowledge that even if the worst does happen, you won’t stand to lose much.
For similar reasons, prepaid cards are also ideal for those with gambling problems who don’t trust themselves with high limit credit cards and debit cards.
These cards are also very compatible, because in many cases they work just like regular debit cards and credit cards (albeit with stricter limits), and can therefore be used everywhere where credit/debt cards can be used.
If you don’t have access to any of the options listed above, or any of the options we’ll discuss shortly, then you might be left with cash methods. These are being phased out and are nowhere near as popular as they once were, but they are still used on many of the bigger casinos, and even the smaller ones will facilitate the odd cash method.
Of course, you can’t deal in actual cash. Sending money through snail mail is not safe or practical. “Cash methods” refer instead to alternative options, many of which involve the transfer of physical currency somewhere down the line.
Western Union has always been the most popular method in this category. It is not as widely used in the online gambling industry as it once was, and it is more commonly used to transfer cash between friends and relatives living overseas, as well as for auction payments and other peer-to-peer payments.
However, the better and bigger sites will still accept it as a deposit method.
Bank wires are also common, but only in the United States. They have become one of the most popular options for sites based in Central America that are appealing to US based players via a loophole.
E-Checks are also available to US players, but they tend to be favored by Canadian players, where they are seen as more of a viable way of depositing money.
Top Options for Cash Deposits
Western Union has a bad reputation, as it was a common choice for scammers in the past. There are no problems with the actual service though, and Western Union is one of the best ways to transfer cash around the globe.
MoneyGram has been going strong since 1940 and is based out of Texas. It is used in over 200 countries and is the second biggest money transfer company in the world (behind Western Union).
Bank wires are simple transfers from one bank account to another. You need to acquire the recipient’s bank account details in order to send one, and they usually incur a fee.
Much like standard checks, E-Checks serve as a promise from one bank to another, and from one user to another. The difference is that they are entirely virtual, which in turn makes them considerably safer and easier.
Pros and Cons for Cash Methods
The pros and cons of using cash to get money into and out of a gambling account depends on which individual method you choose. A bank wire, for instance, is not realistic if you are dealing in small amounts of money, as the fee charged will take a significant chunk out of your profits.
Other methods incur less substantial fees, but cash methods are typically the slowest of all banking options and should only be used as a last resort.
If using a cash method to withdraw, and if you are withdrawing a substantial amount, you should always be prepared to face some questions regarding your identity. This is an anti-fraud procedure and it is common across the industry, so it’s nothing to worry about (although it can be a nuisance).
The Best Withdrawal Options
Assuming you have a little luck, which method will you use to collect your winnings? There are many to choose from, some much better than others.
Debit cards are the most common method for both withdrawals and deposits, as all players of a legal age should have a debit card at their disposal. Although they are often considered to be similar, debit cards have fewer negatives than credit cards, which is why they are the preferred option for many. Debit cards are free, quick and easy, and they are also accepted on the vast majority of online casinos.
Top Debit Cards for Casinos
Founded in the late 1950s, VISA is one of the most popular providers of debit cards and credit cards in the world.
MasterCard is perhaps best known for their credit cards, but this big brand is also attached to many debit cards.
Pros and Cons of Using Debit Cards
Pros: The best thing about debit cards is that they are so accessible. Everyone has one, and every site accepts them. There are also no charges associated with them, unlike credit cards, and as most of the money you have is available through your debit card you can gamble until your heart’s content. Cons: Of course, this is also a negative for many players, as they are not comfortable with that sort of accessibility, and that sort of risk. After all, if they lose that card or the information gets into the wrong hands, then they could stand to lose a lot.
As we said at the top of this guide, there are literally dozens of options out there, and not all of these fit neatly into the categories mentioned above.
Best Alternative Options
Checks: This is an old-school method, and as the casino needs to pay postage costs to send it to you, they may charge you for this method.
Money Transfer: Money transfers can be sent to anyone who has a bank account, and you will need to give the site your details.
EcoPayz: This method works like PayPal, allowing merchants to setup e-commerce systems and accept payments.
Money Order: If you have a bank account, you can create a money order, which is essentially an IOU that the recipient can convert into real money.
What about Bitcoin?
Bitcoin is a crypto currency that has turned the financial world on its head, but there are still many people out there who don’t really know what Bitcoin is. o, just what is this enigmatic currency, what are its benefits and how does it apply to the world of online gambling?
What is Bitcoin?
Bitcoin is a currency that allows users to send and receive payments anonymously. Users have a virtual wallet stored on their hard-drive, and this contains all of their Bitcoins. They can purchase more via Bitcoin exchanges, and use them to shop, gamble and to send payments.
All wallets have a unique ID, and this is all that is needed to send money to another users.
How Can I Use Bitcoin in Online Casinos?
To use Bitcoin, simply download the wallet and then purchase Bitcoins from an exchange. Once you have some Bitcoins, you can use these as you see fit.
Remember that whilst the wallet is virtual, it only exists on your hard drive, and if you lose it, wipe it or are hacked, then you stand to lose everything that it contains.
A single Bitcoin is worth hundreds of dollars, so these coins are converted to casino credits when you make a deposit, allowing you to gamble with as much or as little as you want.
Pros and Cons of Using Bitcoin as a Payment Option
The main issue with Bitcoins is that no one can guarantee the safety of anything on their hard-drive, and with Bitcoin wallets you effectively have a lot of money stored on it. You can get around this by using external drives and by being very careful, but it’s still a risk and one that worries many users.
On the plus side, this is a completely anonymous method, and getting involved with Bitcoins has never been easier. What’s more, if many financial experts are right, and if the price of Bitcoin does sky-rocket in the future, then the value of your wallet could go through the roof.
Therefore, this is an investment as much as it is a useful payment method.
Payment Options FAQ
If you still have some questions after reading this guide, then this comprehensive FAQ should help.
Are there restrictions for depositing funds?
There may be some restrictions, but these don’t apply to everyone. Restrictions are imposed on users from certain countries and users that are not of a legal age. Restrictions may also apply to users who have previously registered with the site, or users that already have an account. In the case of some web wallets, you may also need to verify the account before you can make deposits without any restrictions, although this is not as much of a problem as it once was.
Can I deposit within the US?
You can, but you may find that your options are limited. The biggest issue with online gambling in the US is a financial one, and when the government cut-back on online gambling a few years ago, it was the banks and the payment providers they targeted. Therefore, the sites that do allow US players often limit all deposits and withdrawals to bank transfers and similar methods.
What happens if I have problems with deposits and withdraws?
If it is a deposit issue, then take it up with the payment provider. If it is a withdrawal issue, then look to the casino to fix it.
Can I play with my Credit Card?
You can, but you may incur charges and you might not be able to withdraw any money back to your card. That’s because they work in credit only, and it’s difficult to get any cash back onto them.
Can I play with my PayPal account?
You can, and the vast majority of online casinos (and all other gambling sites) now accept PayPal. You should be able to use this method for both deposits and withdrawals, and you can even make deposits through PayPal if you don’t have an account there.
Although, in this instance you will struggle to make a withdrawal.
Can I pay over the phone?
Some casinos allow this, particularly the bigger ones, but phone payments are more common on sports books and tend not to be available on online casinos. For more on this topic read our mobile casinos guide.
If you are concerned about your safety and do not like inputting financial details over the internet, then remember that when you give those details to someone in a call center on the other end of the phone, they will simply input those details into the same online system.
This means that it’s much quicker and safer to simply do it yourself.
Is it safe to fund my account?
It has never been safer. Your details are never at risk. All casinos use secure, encrypted payment services, often provided by a third-party. If you are concerned, then you can simply use prepaid cards and similar methods, although in truth there is nothing to be concerned about.
What about privacy policies?
All casinos have their own privacy policies, and you should never assume that these are all the same.