Credit Cards - Deposit in the U.S. with Visa, American Express & MasterCard
Using a credit card to make a deposit has become the most widespread method in the United States ever since the companies like PayPal have decided to stop cooperating with the US-facing part of the gambling industry, which shouldn’t be all that surprising given how popular they are. Making a credit card payment to a poker room is very similar to transferring money to any other site – as you’d expect, you’ll be required to provide the room’s staff with your billing address, card number and expiration date, as well as the CVV code. Moreover, you’ll have to ensure that you’re using a card that has been cleared for international transactions, as the popular domestic-only cards will simply be refused. Furthermore, it is worth pointing out that not every credit card deposit will be successful – some transactions might still be refused even if you aren’t using a domestic card. Many players have reported that Visa cards tend to have the highest acceptance rate, but MasterCard and even American Express are also fairy likely to work. Fortunately, you won’t lose any money if your transaction fails to go through – in the end, using a credit card to fund your poker account is perfectly safe, but not 100% reliable.
Western Union and MoneyGram
Western Union and MoneyGram money orders have recently become fairly popular among US-based poker enthusiasts due to the fact that credit card payments aren’t perfectly reliable. Unlike credit card deposits, money orders pretty much guarantee that your money will arrive on schedule and will be available for withdrawal without any holds. Unfortunately, depositing via Western Union and MoneyGram requires considerably more effort, as the entire process can get rather complicated. Usually, you’ll have to request the poker room to provide you with the necessary transaction details, head to your local supermarket, enter them on a form and submit it along with the cash. Once you do that, you’ll receive a Money Transfer Control Number, which you’ll have to send back to the poker site. Once the transaction has been confirmed, most rooms will credit the money to your poker account within one hour. Furthermore, it is worth pointing out that making a deposit using this method tends to involve paying a transaction fee. Some offshore poker sites might opt to cover those additional costs by giving you a small bonus. However, if you decide to play on a site that refuses to cover your fees, you should keep in mind that making a huge number of small deposits via MoneyGram or Western Union might get fairly expensive.
Prepaid Cards - Mixed Results for U.S. Poker Players
If your credit cards keep getting refused and you don’t want to fund your account using a money order, you can always try depositing to your poker account via a prepaid debit card or even a simple gift card. Much like in the case of standard cards, not all prepaid cards are going to work – in fact, you might be forced to buy several cards in order to find the ones that get your money through and stick to buying them. The easiest way is to start with a small prepaid card to see whether it will be accepted or not. In the end, you should be prepared to go through some hassle before actually finding the right pick. Furthermore, you should always check the fees before actually purchasing your gift card or funding your prepaid, as they tend to be incredibly varied.
While bitcoins have become surprisingly popular over the past few years, most US-facing poker sites still refuse to accept them. Consequently, if you decide to fund your poker account using this crypto-currency, odds are high you’ll have to stick with one of the few low-traffic, bitcoin-only sites. The biggest advantage of using the bitcoin system is the fact that your deposit will be nearly instant, anonymous and 100% reliable – bitcoin transfers will never get rejected and you won’t have to cover any additional fees. Furthermore, making a bitcoin payment is very simple, especially when compared with all the traditional methods listed above – all you need to do is request a deposit address from the site, send the money and wait about 10 minutes before the funds are credited to your account. Finally, using bitcoin to fund your on-site account is pretty much completely risk-free, as every bitcoin transfer is secured with a private key, which confirms that the bitcoins came from your wallet. The key also prevents other people from altering the transaction details after the money has been sent, which means that using the bitcoin system is pretty much as safe as sending your money via credit card or e-wallet service.
E-wallets - Neteller, Skrill, Moneybookers and Paypal
While many offshore poker sites used to accept PayPal and Neteller payments prior to 2006 and even actively encouraged using this method to fund your on-site account by offering exclusive e-wallet promotions, the passage of UIGEA simply scared those e-commerce businesses away from cooperating with the US-friendly poker networks. As a result, the US-facing poker rooms have since then stopped offering e-wallet deposits to American customers. In fact, companies like PayPal have become quite notorious for refusing to cooperate with the major networks that haven’t been licensed to operate on the regulated European markets. The bottom line is fairly simple: while e-wallet payments are very convenient, trying to make a deposit to a poker site that way is a waste of time and simply will not work.