The most common question about online poker ask me is, “How do I put money on an online poker site?” In the past, there were many of methods, but now it’s become more difficult. Credit cards don’t always work, and there are fewer ewallet and prepaid card options than in years past.
But with PayPal starting to make positive changes regarding online gaming and cryptocurrency offering more options, there are ways to put money into a new or existing online poker account without too much hassle.
Let’s face it. Online poker sites want to accept your money. As long as there are poker sites online, there will be ways to put money in an account and start playing.
In this article I’ll cover the best ways to deposit into poker sites from the US and how it works.
Depositing via Credit Card
The credit card option is the most reliable, popular, and fastest way to deposit money online to play poker. Whether using Visa, Mastercard, or American Express (AMEX), nearly everyone has one and finds it the easiest way to handle any transactions on the internet.
Banks don’t always see it the same way. The banks that issue credit cards may block transactions that are related to online gambling. This stems from antiquated views of gambling online as well as fears instilled in some financial institutions by the 2006 Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA).
The law was established to prevent online gaming transactions, but its language is so ambiguous and indirect that it rarely had its desired effect. In addition, bank executives rarely keep up with online poker and gambling laws in the US, meaning they are unaware that online poker is legal in four states and will be more widespread in the future.
Sometimes, a conversation with a customer support representative or manager at a bank will rectify the misunderstanding and allow the transaction to go through. And many customers have no issues with online poker deposits at all. But in the cases when it doesn’t work out, players may have to find an alternative deposit option.
Credit card-issuing banks may also be wary of gambling transactions due to US law preventing gambling debts from being enforceable in court. The occasional gambler has sued a credit card company for enforcing a debt related to gambling, and the gambler won, presenting concerns for those banks about processing any type of gambling-related charges.
One offshore site, Ignition Poker (previously named Bovada/Bodog), remains the most successful in processing most US-based credit card deposits for VISA users. Mastercard users tend to have the most success at Betonline.ag. These poker rooms are consistently in the top three for highest player volume and host some of the softer games online (more players at the tables).
Ultimately, the process of finding the right site for you, as well as the ability to use your preferred credit card for deposits, may require some patience. But by checking our individual site recommendations and using our banking tips, you should be able to find the right match.
Depositing via Western Union or MoneyGram
This method might seem like more of a hassle than it’s worth, but there is a benefit to using one of these cash transfer services to deposit, particularly if you don’t deposit often. That benefit is that there are no holds on your funds. For example, when you deposit via credit card you’ll generally need to wait for the deposit to clear in full, and ewallets can take up to several days to verify a person’s identity and banking information before processing an initial deposit. When you deposit via Western Union or MoneyGram, however, your funds are transferred immediately.
While not all sites advertise the acceptance of Western Union or MoneyGram, nearly all poker sites do accept this deposit method. And it is rather simple. First, request details from the poker site as to the proper address and attention for the transfer. Second, head to nearly any local supermarket or Walmart with these details and enter them on a form, then submit the form along with cash. They will provide a money transfer number or control number to give to the poker site. Most sites will credit your account instantly once received and possibly even offer a bonus the same size of the transaction fee, making this deposit method free.
Our favorite poker website accepting this type of deposit is www.IgnitionPoker.eu.
Deposit with ewallet
An ewallet can best be described as an online bank account without a traditional bank. It is essentially a virtual account for paperless transactions. A customer can pre-load funds via a variety of banking methods, most commonly credit cards. These funds are then stored in the ewallet account and can be used to deposit at poker sites accepting that ewallet. Most of those sites also allow withdrawals to that same ewallet. The funds in an ewallet can then be used at another US poker site or cashed out, usually via bank transfer or paper check.
Each site has ewallet preferences, but the majority of them allow deposits and withdrawals using Neteller and Skrill. There might be others as well, though Canadian and European players tend to have more ewallet options than those based in the US.
Other Deposit Methods
The banking options available at US poker sites are constantly changing. Also, some sites have their own banking methods, usually third-party processors, exclusive to their site or network.
If there is a certain US poker site on which you’d prefer to play but are not sure which method to use for deposit, customer support representatives are always available to answer questions. Often, this is how players find out about alternatives or exceptions that a site is willing to make to earn your business or keep you as a customer. It never hurts to ask.
Depositing via eCheck
This method is essentially obsolete for offshore poker sites because so many people were using it to bounce checks and not pay their debts. A player could send it to an offshore site, play with the credited funds and lose it, all before the poker operator could clear the funds with the bank. Occasionally, a site will accept an echeck, but it’s often licensed poker sites within states that have officially legalized poker online that will offer echecks as options.
An echeck works just like a regular check, except all the data is entered online. The biggest downside to using an echeck, however, is that it often takes upwards of 10 business days to clear with the bank. There is also quite a bit of information required by the bank, such as the person’s social security number, bank account information, and state-issued identification number.
Depositing via Bitcoin or Other Cryptocurrency
The newest way to deposit (and then withdraw) funds to an online poker site is cryptocurrency. Bitcoin is the most popular and recognized virtual currency, and many poker sites – like BetOnline – readily accept Bitcoin. More sites than ever are offering this as a deposit option because players have demanded it for several years. Bitcoin is very popular in the online poker community.
The process may seem confusing for first-time Bitcoin users, but poker operators will offer detailed instructions as to how to obtain Bitcoin and transfer it to the site. The first step is to sign up for a Bitcoin wallet on the internet, and there are multiple options found through any simple internet search.
That wallet will then provide simple instructions regarding how to mine for Bitcoin. Once you have the Bitcoin, you simply follow the poker site instructions for transferring it to your online poker account. This is typically an instant process, and funds are available immediately. Withdrawals tend to be very fast as well.
The benefits to using Bitcoin are the very fast processing times and the lack of fees, as they are either very low or non-existent. The use of cryptocurrency also provides anonymity, which means there are no records of transactions, wins or losses. And the safety factor is another benefit, as it has been shown that cryptocurrency is safe from hacking and other dangers that often face traditional banks.
The downside to using Bitcoin is that is that there is an exchange rate, so judging when to deposit may have to depend on the market price of Bitcoin and how well cryptocurrencies are doing on a particular day. And for people who have not yet handled any cryptocurrency transactions, it can be a daunting experience in unfamiliar territory.
However, considering its popularity around the world and the ease of use with online gaming sites, it may be beneficial to overcome your fears and dabble in the world of Bitcoin. It can make the online poker experience much easier and faster.
Author: Savanah Lavinder
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