Credit and Debit Cards
Credit and debit cards are a hugely popular payment method, and not just at online casinos. In fact, in many countries, they are gradually overtaking the use of cash in shops, and most online casinos will allow deposits and withdrawals with major cards such as Visa and MasterCard.
People use credit and debit cards online for all kinds of things; in the UK, they are used for 49% of transactions, in Belgium for 47%, in France for 52% and in Spain 36%. These figures of course include online casinos. However, recent legislation in the UK means that credit cards can no longer be used at online casinos (however, debit cards can be), so they will inevitably be used less.
Essentially, credit and debit cards allow players to deposit and withdraw using a method that they are most likely already familiar with. Furthermore, thanks to modern technology, there is very little chance of theft when paying with a card online. The other huge advantage is that almost everyone can easily apply for a debit/credit card from his or her bank.
The only real disadvantage is that some banks will not allow gambling transactions, and this will largely be determined by the country a player is based in. Furthermore, some particularly privacy or security conscious people will not want to risk using them online. That is why, while cards are sure to remain a very popular online payment method, other methods are steadily gaining in popularity.
E-Wallets are already the most popular way of withdrawing money from casinos, thanks to their ease of use and how fast the transactions are. Furthermore, it seems likely that at some point they will become most players’ preferred way of depositing funds.
There are some clear downsides to using e-wallets. First of all, it requires setting one up, which adds an extra hassle, albeit a very small one. Secondly, many e-wallets charge fees, both for transferring funds to the wallets and for then depositing/withdrawing at a casino.
However, there are some factors that balance these downsides. For example, many e-wallets operate loyalty schemes, so players will be rewarded if they use it regularly (and it is important to remember that e-wallets can be used at many sites in addition to casinos). Furthermore, by using an e-wallet a player will not have to share any financial information directly with a casino, which will appeal to those who are concerned about privacy.
PayPal is the most used e-wallet in the world. It has roughly 200 million active accounts and has been on the scene for around two decades. Not all online casinos will offer PayPal as a payment method, largely due to local restrictions. However, there are many that do, and it is nearly always available to players in the UK and other European countries.
When it comes to online casinos, the most popular e-wallets are Skrill and Neteller. Neteller was actually created specifically for use with online casinos. Today it is available in a huge number of countries and at its peak, in 2005, it was used to process 80% of all online gambling transactions. Skrill, once known as Moneybookers, is just as popular. It is actually available in even more countries, and is supported by nearly all casinos.
However, in some countries authorities are beginning to crackdown on the use of e-wallets for gambling. For instance, in December 2020, both Skrill and Neteller announced that they could no longer be used at online casinos in Norway. Nonetheless, e-wallets remain hugely popular and are likely to remain that way for the foreseeable future.
Pre-Paid Cards and Vouchers
Prepaid cards and vouchers, such as Paysafecard and Ukash, are steadily gaining in popularity because while they may not be as convenient as paying by regular debit/credit card, they offer an extremely high level of security and privacy.
Paysafecard is without a doubt the leading choice. It can be used at thousands of websites, including nearly every online casino. The cards can be purchased at a huge number of shops across Europe and elsewhere, and it takes just seconds to deposit funds at a casino. As noted, one of the main advantages is that the cards can be purchased for cash and players simply need to enter the PIN number at the casino, meaning that no personal details are required.
Another very popular option is ecoPayz. ecoPayz actually offers customers two options. They have vouchers that work in a very similar way to Paysafecard, and they also offer a prepaid debit card, known as an ecoCard. Once again, the cards can be used at thousands of websites and online casinos.
The major drawback to using pre-paid cards is that it is hard to withdraw to them. Very few casinos offer withdrawals to Paysafecard or ecoPayz despite it technically being possible. This means that players must use a different payment method in order to access their winnings.
Nearly all casinos will allow players to deposit and withdraw using bank wires and the method has some distinct advantages and disadvantages. The main advantage, and the reason why many casinos actually encourage the use of bank transfers, is that they are extremely secure.
However, the security comes at a cost in the form of time. A bank wire involves an identity check, which takes a while, so it may take up to seven days for funds to arrive in a player’s account. Furthermore, very often there are large bank fees for transfers. As such, there tend to be higher minimum deposit and withdrawal limits.
Despite the fees and slow speed, bank transfers remain very popular in countries where more efficient online payment methods are not easily available. As a result, all casinos are sure to continue offering them for some time to come.
Instant Bank Transfers
Instant Bank Transfer systems act as a bridge between a player’s bank account and an online casino. The advantage of them is that they are far faster than regular bank wires. However, they do require players to use a third party service, and therefore they can’ t be considered quite as secure (although in reality, the risk of money or private information being stolen is very small). Perhaps a bigger disadvantage is that very few of them can be used for withdrawals.
Trustly is the most popular instant transfer service at online casinos. Players supply Trustly with the relevant banking information, and then Trustly completes the transaction in a matter of seconds. In Scandinavia, iDEAL is a hugely popular service. It does not charge any fees and it is very flexible. It is also very popular in the Netherlands, where more than 55% of the population uses it for financial transactions.
A similar service is Giropay, which launched in 2006 and provides players with secure online banking facilities at online casinos. In 2019, it was one of the leading payment processors for German players, and while it does charge some fees, they are very small and reasonable.
POLi is another instant bank transfer services that is available at a broad spectrum of websites, including online casinos. It is also very easy to use from mobile devices, which has made it very popular with those who want to play on the go. As an added bonus, it is free and does not require the use of credit cards.
A growing number of online casinos are accepting deposits and withdrawals in cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin. Bitcoin is considered highly secure and provides complete anonymity.
However, there are a number of drawbacks to cryptocurrencies. Firstly, they are not yet that straightforward to purchase, and those unfamiliar with the technology may struggle. Secondly, the speed of transactions is proportionate to the fees, so those looking to deposit funds quickly may find that there are very high transaction fees involved.
In the short term, it is highly likely that credit and debit card will remain the most popular way for people to deposit and withdraw at online casinos, despite the new laws in the UK. Most people have a debit card and those that don’t can easily apply for one. However, there is likely to be a gradual shift towards e-wallets as these are just as secure, very often much faster, and very easy to use. Ultimately, all of these methods will be offered by online casinos and it is up to players to choose the one that is best suited to their needs.