Update: This option has been predominately disabled at most poker sites because of “chargebacks” and “player fraud“. It is unfortunate because this was a great solution for US players. Please see our credit card depositing page for an easy to deposit site. This option is however available in states of NJ, DE and NV.
American poker players are finding it increasingly difficult to locate US poker sites accepting credit card deposits. While this was once a problem, it is no longer as much so thanks to eChecks taking over as the preferred banking method for online poker in the US. While not all US poker sites offer eChecks banking, the largest of them, including PokerStars, Full Tilt, and UB.com, accept this method for both deposits and withdrawals (no longer).
As a player you might not concern yourself with exactly how eCheck deposits work. For instance, all you really need to know is: your transaction is secure, and when you go to the poker sites cashier and enter your checking details and the amount you’d like to deposit, this amount is taken from your bank account and the funds are instantly available to play. On the player side, it is as simple as that. It would be helpful however if players understood how echeck deposits worked on the sites end of things.
How Poker Sites Process eChecks
When a player deposits at an online poker site using an eCheck, that poker site’s payment processor prints a physical check, often on plain paper, that looks much like a traditional check with the exception being the signature field. Where the check normally would have a signature the words “electronically authorized, no signature required” appear. The processor then deposits this check into their bank account and will need to wait an average of 20 business days for it to clear. The reason the wait time is so long is that checks without a signature have a higher bounce rate than traditional checks, so they are held for a longer period of time.
Do I have to wait for eCheck to clear to play online poker?
At most sites the answer to this question is: no, the funds you deposit via eCheck will be available instantly. The reason we suggested it would be helpful if players knew how things worked on the sites end, is so that you can be understanding of the sites “cash out restrictions”. What often frustrates players is the wait time involved when it comes to withdrawal. Most poker sites will not allow you to cash out funds until all of your deposits have fully cleared. This means if you deposit and quickly score big in a multi table poker tournament or poker cash game, you’ll need to wait as many as 20 business days to cash out. The rules on this vary from site to site, and PokerStars.com is known for having the most liberal eCheck rules. At PokerStars only the amount of your uncleared deposits are “cash out restricted”. Therefore, if you have winnings over the amount of your uncleared deposit, this excess amount is available for immediate cash out.
What if my bank doesn’t have funds to cover the eCheck?
This is actually a common occurrence and many gamblers mistakenly think the risk of freerolling against sites with funds they don’t have is low risk. The ethics and moral issues aside, the legal implications for bouncing checks are considerable. A check is not a debt, as is the case with a secured credit card deposit, so there is no protection under the Statute of Anne that makes gambling debts unenforceable, rather a check is a payment. The crime committed for writing a bad check borders that of counterfeiting. Not only is it near certain to have a negative effect on your credit rating, there is also a chance you could be prosecuted and face larger fines, probation or imprisonment. While the risk of imprisonment is low for a single occurrence, the chance of forced restitution in excess of the deposit amount is high. If you do make a mistake, until you clear this mistake, you’ll most likely be blacklisted by online gambling sites and your ability to open future bank accounts in the US will be suspended. Yes, this is possible, and it regularly occurs as the bounced check will show up on your ChexSystems profile which is accessed each time you apply to open a bank account. If an honest situation does occur where you discover a check will bounce, you’re best advised to contact the poker site as soon as possible to have the matter resolved.
How do Poker Sites Reduce Bounced Checks Risks
US poker sites adjust players eCheck deposit limits based on their history, considering items such as uncleared payments, deposit frequencies, etc. Accounts in good standing with a positive history can deposit more than newly registered accounts. Poker sites also generally subscribe to a fraud service such as ChexSystems. When you make a deposit, you’ll need to enter your Social Security Number (SSN) or state issued drivers license number. This information is then run to see if you have a history of owing banks money, have bounced checks before, etc. ChexSystems is not like the credit reporting agencies and there are no laws that require full disclosure. This is a private report used by bankers and check processors. What appears on your report will sometimes determine if your eCheck deposit can be improved. This is not a score based system either. As long as you have no outstanding debts to banks, nor have a history of multiple bounced checks, more than likely your eCheck deposit will be approved.
What is the Best US Poker Site of eCheck Deposits
If you’re hoping to cash out winning in excess of your deposit quickly, then PokerStars.com was the best US poker site for echeck deposits. Here, only the amount of uncleared deposits is cash out restricted (for up to 20 business days). If you plan on playing for a while and building a bankroll, then you will have to be in the lucky three (legal states).
No matter which US poker site you choose, we wish you good luck at the online poker tables.