Deposit Safely at Online Poker Sites with my Safe Poker Payment Methods Guide
When it comes to handing money to an online poker site, it can pay to think safety first. While most sites are reputable, things can and do go wrong. This page covers the ways you can keep your poker deposits safe.
Both US and Worldwide players will benefit from this safe poker deposit methods guide. There are different methods available, though the core principles are the same.
That core principle is this: Keeping your bank and / or credit cards and gambling sites separated (by a 3rd party service) is always a positive step!
You’ll find those deposit methods available to US players first below (these all work Internationally too), followed by a section on worldwide options. At the end of this page I have summed up, provided a quick checklist and covered the safest poker sites which are least likely to cause you any issues.
Safe Poker Deposit Options – US Poker Sites
Outside of the 3 regulated states, you’ll need to deposit at offshore poker rooms to enjoy real money online poker from the US. There are some solid and long-running brands out there in the Caribbean – though I can understand why many people feel the need for extra peace of mind. Here are the main US deposit methods, with my rankings of their relative safety.
Credit Cards: The biggest sites all welcome Visa and MasterCard credit cards, with Amex sometimes accepted too. To make a deposit you have to supply your credit card details, including your security number (CVV number). This information will usually be kept on file by the poker site. Even though it is hugely unlikely that any of the ‘Big 4’ US poker sites would deliberately steal your money – many people are not comfortable with them holding credit card information.
Prepaid Cards: You can buy cards from convenience stores (check which brands first with your site), which work in the same way as credit cards, often with the Visa Network. There is a cost (the providers need to make money somehow), though these are very safe – you’ll never hand your own information to the sites.
Person-to-Person Transfer: This sounds less safe, though over the years it has proven to be a reliable way to get you money on board. You will use Western Union or MoneyGram to wire cash to an individual in an overseas location. The details of this individual come from the poker site. Here your liability is limited to the amount you wire, though so far p-2-p has proven both safe and reliable.
Bitcoin Deposits: Forget the techy image, Bitcoin is now very much mainstream. Setting up a wallet is just like opening a PayPal account – and once you have funded your wallet it can be used for both deposits and withdrawals. This is super-secure compared to other methods, and has the advantage of being outside the jurisdiction of the federal or banking authorities. You can find out more in this Ultimate Guide to Bitcoin Poker Deposits.
Which US Sites Are Safest?
With several safe options for deposits, the next question is which are the most reputable sites?
There are 4 larger ones which I cover here at SNG Planet. The longest running is BetOnline.ag, which has more than 10 years’ solid service to the US market from their Panama base. This site is part of the Chico Poker Network, and benefits from a lot of new players crossing over from their popular sportsbook. Cards, P-2-P and Bitcoin are all welcomed.
I recommend you check out those soft games at http://www.betonline.ag for yourself!
Other reputable US sites include America’s Cardroom and InterTops. Ignition Poker are also reputable, though only recently took over the poker room from Bovada, so the more cautious out there might wait a little longer for them to build a reputation over time.
Safe Deposit Options for Canadian Poker Sites
There are some restrictions with eWallets and credit card deposits which affect Canadians. Fortunately, there are also some very safe ways of getting your money onboard. These are Interac and InstaDebit – both of which are Canada-only poker deposit options.
Interac: This is a popular system where you e-mail money from your bank (with a security question) for a fixed fee. A uniquely Canadian system, this is a non-profit. Most of the major poker sites now welcome Interac. The only downside is that you have a longer process for deposits (you need to initiate at the site, then log on to your bank to complete).
InstaDebit: This system is less of a wallet, and more of a bridge between the poker sites and your bank. It gets around blocks by sitting in the middle, and charges a small fee for the extra security that the service provides.
A small subset of sites welcome both of these options (and Canadian players!). These are 888 Poker (where you can get up to $88 free to try out the games before you deposit at all – see www.888poker.com for more) and the giant PokerStars.com.
Safe Deposit Options for Worldwide Sites
Outside of North America, two more types of poker deposit method come into play. Debit cards are also available, though these work like credit cards (except that they take money from your current account), so I have not covered these separately. The new methods are eWallets and prepaid vouchers.
eWallet Deposits: This general term refers to systems like PayPal (and Skrill / Neteller). These are online accounts which sit between your bank and the poker sites. They increase safety of your deposit in 2 ways. First, the link between your bank and the poker sites is broken (no need to hand over your card numbers!). Second, you will log on to the wallets separately (in a secure window) as part of the deposit process, authorizing each deposit individually. These are very popular, with the safety aspects more than making up for the small transaction fees charged.
Vouchers: This is a variation on prepaid cards, and includes vouchers you can buy like PaySafeCard, as well as virtual credit cards (which only spend what you upload to their linked account) like EcoCard. You’ll get some anonymity with these methods – though of course all reputable poker sites will ask you for proof of identity sooner or later anyway!
Safe Poker Sites for Worldwide Players
The big global poker sites have very solid reputations, I’m happy to recommend all of them as a safe place to deposit.
888 Poker has the longest list of deposit methods of all, with many country specific options in addition to all of those listed above.
No other poker site has as solid a reputation for safety – and no other site is so confident you will love their games that they will offer you $88 upfront to play the real money games before you even deposit.
Check out www.888poker.com for yourself now!
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