Poker has come a long way since the days when you had to either go and play at a land-based casino or find poker games at people’s homes. Online poker has made finding a game at any time of the day simple and easy, and has also opened up a wealth of new options in terms of how to pay. In fact, because a lot of internet users have different preferences for payment options, popular sites now offer a number of different methods. There are so many choices now, it can sometimes seem like a bit of a minefield. For that reason, we’ve picked out four of the most popular payment methods and provided important information on each.
PayPal is one of the most popular methods of paying online because it is fast, easy, and secure. The company was established in 1998 and was originally a subsidiary of eBay from 2002 until 2015. From then on, the online payment system founded by Ken Howery, Luke Nosek, Max Levchin, Peter Thiel and Elon Musk has been a wholly independent company. It was the initial partnership with the world-renowned online auction site which helped PayPal gain its impeccably trustworthy reputation, and it is now one of the most recognised payment systems in the world. In 2016 alone, PayPal recorded annual payment volume of approximately $354 billion, and cross-border transactions accounted for a quarter of that total.
It’s these swift and convenient cross-border transactions which make PayPal a popular payment method among poker players. Fans of poker variants like Texas Hold’em and Omaha Hi-Lo come from all over the world, but may be restricted to playing at sites which are not in their own country of residence. PayPal deposits at online poker sites are available from Germany, Spain, the UK, Ireland, Italy, Portugal, Finland, Austria, Denmark and Sweden, and they are an instant, secure and hugely popular method of adding funds to one’s poker account. Withdrawing poker winnings to a PayPal account is one of the fastest options as well, and with some sites it is swifter than getting funds back onto a credit card or into a bank account.
Some of the first ever payments made at online poker sites were made with VISA, which is one of the longest running and best established methods of payment in the world. The company was founded by Dee Hock 60 years ago in 1958, and the idea was to have a universal card which could be used everywhere instead of having different credit cards for different companies.
VISA swiftly became one of the primary credit cards worldwide and, along with American Express and MasterCard, is accepted in nearly every country on the planet. However, Hock’s card is a clear winner in terms of popularity. It is the card of choice in a whopping 123 countries, while MasterCard is favoured in 22, and AMEX in 23. In addition to this, VISA has 304 million cards in circulation in the US and 545 million in circulation outside of the States. With this mass adoption, every successful business on the planet offers VISA payments to their customers.
VISA payments appeal to online poker players because they know that it is one of the most reputable and secure companies around. This means that by topping up poker wallet funds with a VISA card there is an added sense of security. If something were to go wrong – which is highly unlikely if playing poker at a reputable site – players know that they would be able to contact VISA and track down any lost funds. It would take an especially revolutionary payment method to push VISA off its perch at the top.
Another long-running payment system for the internet age is Skrill, which was established in 2001 and originally called Moneybookers. The UK-based e-commerce company headed by CEO David Sear allows payments and money transfers to be made through the internet and prides itself on offering low-cost international bank transfers. The company is hugely reliable as it is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and licenced to operate within the European Union. Skrill accounts can be held in any major currencies, but after the first transaction is made in a particular currency, it’s impossible to change it from then on. This is a slight downside to using the payment system.
Skrill is an ideal method of payment for poker players who reside in a different country to the site that they wish to play at. It allows them to send their money securely and the low-cost international transfer fees mean that they have more money to invest on the cards. Customers who use the system a lot are also entered into a VIP scheme which includes additional features such as multi-currency accounts and loyalty points. For someone who plays a lot of high-stakes tournaments from abroad, Skrill could be the best option.
The final option on this list is a much more recent development in the payment industry but is arguably one of the easiest. Apple Pay was initially released just over three years ago in 2014, and it is a digital wallet service which allows users to pay for things using their iPhone, Apple Watch, iPad, or Mac. It is simple to set up, and users just have to link their preferred credit or debit card with the system to start using their handheld devices to pay for things in stores or online. With the company founded by Steve Jobs often leading the way with major technology developments, payment systems like this could be on the rise in the future.
Some online poker sites have already begun to see that Apple Pay could usurp other more established payments, as a greater number of tasks are completed from handheld devices such as smartphones. Using the system to credit your poker account is one of the fastest options available, but the downside is that only a few poker sites are accepting it at this point in time.
These are some of the best options available when crediting your poker account, but you may also want to look into some other methods. NETELLER, paysafecard, Trustly, and Giropay are all other solid payment systems which may suit your needs.