Do you remember the first time you deposited money on an online poker site? Maybe you never have, either for lack of wanting to use more “personal” forms of currency or credit, or perhaps you found certain options too slow or too complicated for your needs at the time. There are definitely some “Trials and tribulations of funding an online poker account”, for those just looking to get in the game or even trying to up the stakes they are currently playing.
Gone are the days of sending that Western Union money transfers to that some obscure name in Central America, along with all the heavy fees associated along with them. A lot has changed since the early 2000’s; we thought we’d take a look at some of the options now offered to players in 2012, using different Party Poker cashier options. We first dissected the most popular flexible and secure payment solutions and also asked a regular mid-stakes grinder for his take on some of the other options many players use today.
Single use or “disposable” Credit Cards: Vanilla MasterCards, or gift card style credit cards you would normally buy at the “7-eleven” or another convenience store or pharmacy chain are great for small deposits. You’re best to use the entire amount on the card in one transaction, to avoid costly transaction fees. These aren’t usually a withdrawal option however, so should be used mostly as a temporary solution while setting up another of the options we look at below.
Using a bank issued card with a larger credit limit, “debit” style cards can be a better option, however, many credit institutions frown on gaming on credit, so it may be rejected if it is your personal credit card. Due to their reliance on credit card processing companies based in the US, many Canadian banks and their customers trying to deposit on a gambling website are actually impacted by the laws in place in the United States which make it illegal to process internet gaming payments, coded 7995. Most credit cards issued by major financial institutions are better used with other options like getting Entropay, MyMonedero or to fund some of the “e-wallet” options listed in this article later.
The happy medium is purchasing a “re-loadable” Visa or MasterCard, considered more of a “debit card” at a reputable cheque cashing/loan companies like MoneyMart or Cash Canada. They usually cost about $20 to register and buy for the first time, then there is a small fee (usually less than $5 to “load” up to four figures on them which can be done by cash or debit card. Transaction fees are much smaller than “disposable cards” and because they are registered to your name, you can also book at most hotels, rent cars or buy airline tickets with them if you do win that big satellite or take down something huge. As these cards have a 3 digit (CVV2) security code, (best to make sure when purchasing), they can be used as easily as regular credit card.
Electronic Transfer: This option requires you have a personal chequing account and is much like giving a void cheque to your employer; you are giving permission only to do authorized transactions. Whether you’re asking for money to be taken out or put back in, only the transactions you request can take place. Your account number and bank routing number are used to verify your account and once that is set up, things are instant, free of fees by the site and you can deposit easily from home.
Verifying your account isn’t hard either. If you’ve ever used PayPal to shop on eBay, you’ve already got the process licked; a few small deposits are made into your account first and you “verify” those amounts with the site that only the account holder can see to get things going.
Our expert had this to say; “Pretty good with PartyPoker for deposits and withdrawals. It gives you about $500 to start and then comes out of your bank a few days later. It also has a good withdrawal option, but not sure about limits. I think believe about $2,500 for a withdrawal, which hits your bank in up to 5 business days. I know for me, it hits my bank in 2 days.”
INSTADEBIT (eWallet): A “buffer” of sorts that creates a barrier between your personal account and the site. You set it up the same way you would an Electronic Transfer, but the money goes from your account to a virtual wallet, which can then be used to deposit and withdraw from the site. Not just gambling sites accept INSTADEBIT, so it can be handy for other purchases. As with everything involving transactions to “clear”, the back and forth process can be a bit slower than a direct transfer, however, as successful and legitimate transfers are done, generally speaking payments from merchant to e-wallet and vice versa usually see limits increase along with speedier processing times.
Bank Wire Transfer: This is your best option for large transfers and wire info is quick and easy to obtain at the customer service desk of your bank. As players begin to travel to events, it’s great to understand the process and wait times of wiring money; not just to sites, but to other countries as it saves the risks associated from having to carry lots of cash.
While it can take 1-6 days for transactions to clear, this is really the best secure option for large deposits or withdrawals, (usually a minimum of $100 up to a maximum more than most annual salaries) as limits that normally apply to instant deposit methods, credit or debit cards are superceded using the bank wire method.
Entropay (VISA): This option basically allows you to sign up for a service that takes the restrictions off your cards in terms of where you use it. Our expert backed this up saying, “Seems alright, just another way to get your Visa accepted if declined directly at the site. Then you register for Entropay. The verification for an account can take more time sometimes, but still pretty decent and is good as an additional option if you want to get about 500 bucks online.”
MyMonedero (Virtual MasterCard): Another type of e-wallet, but still considered a Credit Card. It can be used as such once funds have been added, which can be done with most major “bank issued” credit cards. Like Entropay, this just gives the consumer more freedom and privacy to choose where to spend their money.
Skrill (MoneyBookers): This one has a prepaid Master Card which can act as a debit card but is currently only available to EU residents and allows multiple currency accounts for VIPs. With a Skrill account, you can load your virtual wallet through by bank transfer or by credit card and receive funds back to your bank. You can also do “Peer to Peer” (p2p) transfers between friends who also have Skrill accounts and then transfering the funds to the poker site, then back from the poker site to Skrill. It also has tons of deposit options built into the system; very good straight through processing platform where you don’t have to leave the merchant site to set up an account or do the deposit.
UKash: If you prefer to just flat out purchase “chips” with cash or debit, (without giving out any financial information), then UKash is a great option. Many well known retailers, such as Canadian Tire and Esso sell it, simply Google the nearest “Ukash Vendor” location in your area, take a ride and ask the cashier to purchase a voucher; much the same way as purchasing an app or phone card. $25, $50 and $100 increments can be bought; the fees go down the more you buy. This option is great for deposits up to several hundred dollars, but until you have a few transactions on record, daily and weekly limits will limit from large deposits. This would be this writer’s favorite option as it’s a quick stop on the way home and takes less than a minute to cash it in online for a lazy weekend grind.
Click2pay: “Not my favorite, only because you can’t do deposits or withdrawals in Canadian funds.” With that said, players visiting Canada from other countries may prefer to play in USD or Euros, so still a decent e-wallet option depending on your needs.
There are a few more options to explore and explain, but we’ve covered many here. Hopefully, readers will have a better idea on how to overcome the “trials and tribulations of funding an online poker account”, or at the very least have the information they need to test the waters with a few others.