A convenient and risk-free alternative to credit and debit cards, prepaid cards are widely used in land-based stores and on the web for a whole host of activities, notably online shopping. Unlike other financial products, prepaid cards are issued not just by banks but also by merchants and are often preferred for micro-payments.
As prepaid cards are typically anonymous and can be purchased from numerous shops online and in the real world, they have become a convenient payment method for gambling enthusiasts. They are loaded with a fixed amount of funds, which prevents overspending. These cards can be obtained from a local credit card issuer as reloadable cards, linked to an individual’s bank account, or they can be purchased from various stores and service providers as dispensable vouchers.
Such prepaid cards are a convenient alternative for online casino players from certain countries who may have their credit cards rejected by web-based gambling providers. They are also easier to acquire than credit and debit cards, as there is no need to register with a certain bank and open an account. Thus, they do not reveal any personal information about the user.
However, prepaid cards usually come with a load fee, which depends on the type of card. Casinos, on the other hand, rarely charge processing fees for deposits made through this payment method. When deciding whether to invest in a prepaid card or not, online casino players need to take into account the policy of their preferred casinos, as well as the variety of cards, available to them.
How Prepaid Cards Work
Prepaid cards are simple and easy to use – they remind of credit or debit cards, as they are usually plastic cards with individual numbers. But they have a pre-set amount of funds and their value cannot be exceeded with a credit. Practically, these vouchers work like cash. Customers can spend only the money already loaded in them. This brings more reliability and peace of mind to cardholders who are not particularly disciplined when it comes to spending.
Prepaid cards are often considered similar to debit cards, which hold a fixed amount of money on deposit with the issuer. But the monetary value of prepaid cards does not need to be connected with a client’s account at a bank or another financial institution. Their value and all other relevant data are virtually stored as a binary-coded information, which cannot be disclosed at the merchant at any point of the transaction.
Casino players can use different types of prepaid cards to top up their online gambling balances as a large number of the leading casinos on the web are accepting them as a valid payment method. However, withdrawing funds to the card is impossible, so players need to consider other alternatives.
Types of Prepaid Cards
Casino enthusiasts can easily obtain a prepaid card from banks or financial institutions, brick-and-mortar stores or gas stations, and from web-based merchants, choosing its monetary value in advance. They can purchase a gift card – an anonymous disposable card which has a predetermined amount of money and can be given as a gift or used right away.
Virtual prepaid cards, on the other hand, can be used only for online payments or purchases. Usually, they are single-use vouchers but some cards can be reloaded from a bank account or a credit card when needed.
Prepaid Gift Cards
This type of prepaid cards is designed to act as a gift and is often limited to making purchases from a certain retail brand. Popular gift cards, or gift certificates, are those for buying clothing, shoes and accessories, travel or spa experiences. They are available in different denominations – $10, $20, $50, and $250, for example, and often have a magnetic stripe, so that they can be read at stores. Alternatively, they come with a unique code, which serves as a recognition tool at online stores.
But financial institutions also offer such cards and once you obtain one, you can use it for everything, including making deposits at online casinos. If the card is issued by a large bank or it is Visa or MasterCard-branded, it will be accepted at most reputable casinos on the web. While deposits are instant and usually without an extra fee, withdrawals are impossible with this payment method.
Reloadable Prepaid Cards
This card acts similarly to a debit card – you can reload it when you wish, but instead of transferring the funds from your checking account, you pay cash. Some providers allow refilling of the card through bank or credit card transfers, and you can use an e-wallet or a direct deposit in some instances. Typically, there are load fees, but charges when topping up the card through a direct deposit from your checking account are rare.
Reloadable prepaid cards by leading brands such as Visa, MasterCard, or American Express, are usually accepted by most web-based gambling operators without processing fees when making deposits. Most reloadable cards have a Personal Identification Number (PIN) which should be used when making a payment, along with the expiration date and the cardholder’s name. Unlike credit/ debit cards, however, these cards do not need to be registered or activated before use.
Another fee casino players should take into account is the monthly fee, which can be rather high, depending on the issuer and the particular type of card.
Some of these cards bring convenience to users and function like digital wallets. Neteller’s Net+ Cards, for example, allow gamblers to transfer funds to and from their casino balances, make purchases and even withdraw funds from ATMs. These cards are low-cost and secure, and the best thing about them is that they are accepted by most reputable casinos in both regulated and unregulated markets.
Disposable Prepaid Cards
Disposable prepaid vouchers are another alternative to credit and debit cards, but they cannot be reloaded once their balance is exhausted. They are available for purchase at various banks, retail stores, or paper kiosks, and are usually used for online shopping. They are ideal for online gambling, as well, because they are easy to use and offer great convenience and privacy to the user.
Usually, disposable prepaid cards expire a few months after being purchased. They come in various denominations, so the user can choose the amount of money that is “stored” in them.
One of the most popular disposable prepaid cards today is PaysafeCard, which can be bought with cash from thousands of outlets around the world. After purchasing, the user receives a “ticket” with a 16-digit PIN. When making a deposit into your casino balance, you need to select PaysafeCard from the list of options at the Cashier page and then enter the PIN. The funds will appear immediately into your gaming balance, so you can play with them right away. PaysafeCard is available as a deposit method at most well-established and reputable web-based casinos today.
Using other disposable prepaid cards is similar – you will have a PIN or any other unique code to verify the payment.
Virtual Prepaid Cards
Players at online casinos can benefit even more from the virtual prepaid cards on offer, as these vouchers were specifically designed to be used on the web. This deposit method has gained popularity in recent years because it offers players convenience and flexibility. And it is available in most of the leading online casinos.
Single-use virtual cards such as those provided by ecoPayz are widely used by players due to the high levels of security they offer. They cannot be lost or stolen and the risk of fraud is minimal. Players need to open an account with the service and then, they can top up their balance using various payment options. Along with an ecoVirtualcard, a plastic ecoCard is also available if you want to pay utility bills, shop at land-based stores, etc.
EntroPay is one of the leading providers of virtual prepaid cards for online gambling, but customers need to sign up at its official website before using the service. Once they have an account, they can load funds into it via bank transfer or credit card. But if they choose to fund the virtual Entropay Visa card through a credit or a debit card or via a transfer from their bank account, they will pay load fees of 4,95% and 3,95%, respectively.
Making deposits through an EntroPay Visa card resembles paying with a credit card – players need to choose it as a deposit method on the Cashier section of the casino, then enter their name, the number and the expiration date of the virtual card, the 3-digit CVV code, along with the amount of money they wish to deposit. The transfer is instantaneous and free of charge.
Depositing in Online Casinos via Prepaid Cards
Topping up a casino balance via a prepaid card, plastic or virtual, is exceptionally simple and fast. Players need to visit the Cashier/Payment section on the casino website and select Prepaid Cards as a deposit option. In most cases, they will be able to choose a specific brand of cards such as EntroPay or PaysafeCard, for example. But sometimes, casinos might list the prepaid cards under the Visa or MasterCard category, depending on the type of prepaid solutions on offer.
The verification of the transaction is also quite straightforward – players are required to enter the number and expiry date of their prepaid card, a PIN (Personal Identification Number), or sometimes the name of the cardholder. Depending on the type and brand of the prepaid voucher, they may need to provide other security codes in order to verify the financial transfer. Once they fill in all the fields and confirm the transaction, the newly deposited funds should appear immediately in their casino balance.
Some gambling sites offer their members the opportunity to purchase prepaid cards directly from them, using their credit cards, e-wallets or some other payment methods. Many players prefer this strategy to avoid rejection of the transfer – due to legal restrictions and strict regulations, banks and card issuers may reject gambling-related transactions to be carried out via their credit cards or through bank transfer. Typically, deposits via prepaid cards and vouchers are not only instant but also free of processing fees.
Withdrawing Winnings via Prepaid Cards
Usually, withdrawal of winnings from online casinos is not an option with prepaid cards. Gamblers who wish to cash out will need an alternative payment system. There are a few exceptions, notably the prepaid EntroPay Visa cards, which are linked to an EntroPay account where players can transfer their winnings to.
Several similar services exist and they all actually work like web wallets. Customers have an online account that they can load with money and use for shopping and casino deposits. They can also request a withdrawal from the gaming site to their account and if available, this option would cost them only a small fee, if any at all. Casinos tend to process transactions of this type rather fast – after the pending period of up to 48 hours, they could process the payout within hours.
Fees And Limits
Most gambling operators on the Internet do not charge fees for processing deposits, which is not the case with some card issuers. They may charge small processing fees, as well as fees for currency exchange. Casino punters who opt for a prepaid card deposit should also be aware that usually, there are load fees in reloadable cards, as well as activation fees in the rare instances when a voucher is used for the first time.
When it comes to the even more extraordinary cases when withdrawals to such cards are possible, casinos or the card issuers would impose fees for each transaction. Typically, these are small fees of a few dollars or up to 5% of the transferred amount of money.
Disposable prepaid cards are usually offered in at least several denominations, with a monetary value ranging from $5 to a few thousand US dollars. For most brands, the maximum denomination is $200 or $500. All fees and limits are individual to the type and brand of the prepaid card you have chosen to invest in.
Prepaid cards are widely considered the safest online payment option available because in most cases, players do not disclose any personal or credit card information when making payments with them. The only visible data to the vendor or gambling operator is the card number.
In addition, most of the leading web-based gambling providers, as well as most banks and other card issuers, implement top-notch security measures to prevent fraudulent activities. Their websites are heavily protected by SSL encryption, while transactions are processed only after two- or three-factor authentication – User IDs, passwords, PINs, verification codes, and others. Even if you purchase a virtual prepaid voucher online, you may receive the security code or the PIN via a text message to your phone.
Using a prepaid card to top up your casino account is safe and ensures privacy because usually, you will need to pay cash for the card. No sensitive data is revealed and you can remain anonymous on gambling websites, although true anonymity is impossible to achieve. All respected casinos on the Internet require the real name, physical address and telephone number of their customers. In addition, this payment method is simple and easy to use, providing high levels of security without the need for a complicated verification process.
Although there are usually monthly and load fees for reloadable cards, they tend to be low, which is another reason for the rise in the popularity of these cards. This option is also widely available – prepaid cards and vouchers can be purchased from thousands of stores, banks, and online vendors, and they are at the disposal of anyone above 18 years old. In fact, many gift vouchers, for instance, are available even to younger customers.
Regardless of whether you have a banking or a checking account, whether you have a credit card, and regardless of your credit score, you can obtain a prepaid card. No credit checks are required and often, you do not need to give your name and employment status when buying such a card. Due to their wide availability and immense variety, you can find various types of prepaid cards around the world. Some of the largest brands are sold in multiple countries and support many national and major currencies, the usual ones being EUR, USD, and GBP. Often, you can purchase prepaid cards in CAD, AUD, NZD, CHF, DKK, SEK, NOK, and CNY. Local brands, on the other hand, would be available in a single currency and very few online casinos would accept them.
Another important advantage of using this payment method for depositing at web-based casinos is the fact that you cannot spend more than you have. This might happen when using a credit card, for example, while with prepaid cards, it is impossible to exceed their fixed limit.
Some providers of plastic and virtual prepaid cards impose monthly or annual fees, which are fixed and can reach up to $10 a month. While this may sound like a decent bargain at first, it is actually comparable to having a credit card, especially if you are playing with only small sums at online casinos. If this is an issue for you, you should consider acquiring a debit card, where fees are normally among the lowest.
Another concern for many players is the fact that prepaid cards simply do not have a mechanism for receiving funds. Usually, they are not connected to a bank account or an e-wallet, so gamblers need another way to withdraw their winnings after playing. Moreover, most casinos would process withdrawals to the same account used for deposing, whether that is a bank account, a credit card or a digital wallet. If you have already made a deposit via a prepaid card, you may not have a valid withdrawal method for your winnings to be paid out and the transaction may take very long to clear out.
Prepaid cards are gaining popularity as an online payment method because they keep their users protected from the many security and privacy-related risks associated with the Internet right now. These cards are convenient and simple to use, providing casino players with a tool for retaining privacy and controlling their spending on gambling sites. Customers can purchase them online or from thousands of land-based retailers and financial institutions.
In addition, deposits via prepaid cards are instantaneous and the money can be used immediately to gamble online for real money. Any associated fees are normally low or even non-existent so casino players make multiple deposits a day in a fast, secure and affordable way.