How To Deposit / Withdraw Money To Poker Rooms Safely & Without Paying Charges
The best gambling sites are very careful to combat fraud and maintain security, and the downside to this is that it can mean extra hassle when depositing and (especially) withdrawing funds. Just remember, the security is in your interests as well as the poker room's.
CREDIT / DEBIT CARDS
(VISA, MASTERCARD, DINER'S CLUB, SWITCH, DELTA, MAESTRO, ELECTRON, SOLO)
Most sites will happily accept credit cards, but many US card operators (and an increasing number in Europe) will not allow deposits to gambling sites. Those that do allow such deposits will not allow you to cash out more to your credit card than you deposited in the first place. This means you need to find another way of withdrawing your winnings. For UK / European players, by far the easiest way is to use a site that allows you to deposit AND WITHDRAW via your bank account / debit card. Quite a few sites will let you deposit this way, but won't let you withdraw this way. If you can't withdraw via debit card at the site, this just means you have to wait for a cheque to be sent to you. This is usually free, but note that often this cheque will be in US dollars and your bank may charge you for processing it. Most UK / European credit cards can be used to make deposits, and most treat them as purchases rather than cash advances or foreign transactions check with your credit card company if in doubt. Again, the problem is cashing OUT many sites won't cash out more than you paid in.
Which Poker Rooms Accept Debit Cards To Deposit AND Withdraw?
PokerStars will let you cash out winnings over and above the amount you deposited to a VISA debit card, as will PacificPoker, Bet365poker andWilliam Hill Poker. PartyPoker will too, but will review the transaction first so it may be delayed by a day or two. UltimateBet will allow you to deposit but not withdraw more than you deposited. You may encounter problems withdrawing to a MASTERCARD or EUROCARD, as these often place restrictions on gambling transactions. NOTE that some countries will not allow withdrawals to VISA debit cards, even if the poker room appears to suggest that this is an option. The full list of countries that will NOT allow VISA withdrawals is as follows:North American Region U.S.A, Canada Latin American Region Anguilla, Cayman Islands, Haiti, Puerto Rico, Antigua & Barbuda, Chile, Honduras, Dominican Republic, Argentina, Colombia, Jamaica, St.Kitts-Nevis, Aruba, Costa Rica, Martinique, St.Lucia, Bahamas, Dominica, Mexico, St.Vincent & Grenadines, Barbados, Ecuador, Montserrat, Surinam, Belize, El Salvador, Netherlands Antilles, Trinidad and Tobago, Bermuda, Grenada, Nicaragua, Turks & Caicos Islands, Bolivia, Guadeloupe, Panama, U.S.Virgin Islands, Brazil, Guatemala, Paraguay, Uruguay, British Virgin Islands, Guyana, Peru, Venezuela Asia Pacific Region Australia, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, North Korea, Malaysia, Singapore.
Poker Deposit Option Pros And Cons
If you are not going down the credit / debit card route, there are several other ways to deposit and withdraw. Not all sites support every method, check the site reviews for details. Charges listed are correct at the current time but subject to change - always read the small print when signing up to one of the following accounts:
NETeller offers a variety of ways of depositing and withdrawing funds, depending on the service you want. If you want the most convenient service, you can open a NETeller account and fund it with a credit card, then transfer funds from your NETeller account to the poker room. NETeller makes a charge for this service of around 4% (plus whatever charge your credit card company makes). Because the credit card transaction is not directly to the gambling site, this gets around the problem many US players face of not being able to deposit via credit card. Alternatively you can use NETeller's "InstaCash" service which allows you to fund your NETeller account direct from your bank account but the charge is very high, around 9%. The more economical way of using NETeller is to certify your bank account with them, which you can do by providing your bank details and allowing them to make two small test deposits (at their expense). You notify NETeller that the deposits have been made and verify the test amounts, and from then on NETeller allows you to move cash between your bank account and your NETeller account for free via a process called Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT). This process takes 4-5 business days, so in total it will take over a week from the time you open a NETeller account until you are able to move funds around without charge. You will need to have an on-line banking facility to transfer funds in this way. Whichever method you use, moving your money from NETeller to the poker room and from the poker room to NETeller is free (or, rather, NETeller charges for the service, but the charge is paid by the poker room, not you). One alternative for UK customers is to open an account with a poker room that allows you to cash out to a debit card, then open a NETeller account and transfer funds from the poker room into it. You can then use the NETeller account to deposit in a second poker room that doesn't allow you to cash out via debit card. When you come to cash out, instead of requesting a cheque you deposit your winnings from the second poker room into your NETeller account, then transfer from your NETeller account into the first poker room, and withdraw it via debit card.
FirePay offers a similar service to NETeller, but the transactions between your FirePay account and the poker room are not free. It does offer a convenient service if you are in the US or Canada, but at a cost, so it is only one to consider if you are not making very many transactions. Essentially you transfer money from your bank account to Firepay, and then use your Firepay account like a credit card to deposit money. Once you open your Firepay account you are given a PIN number and an expiry date. Current transaction charges are $3.99 for validated accounts and $5.99 for ExpressFund charges. If your account is inactive for 150 days then you forfeit your money, which means you have to make regular transactions and this of course means the charges soon add up.
NETELLER VERSUS FIREPAY
These are the two major players in the "electronic wallet" market. Your money is safe with either operator, but Neteller offers more flexibility due to the wider number of sites that accept it as a method of payment, and because they offer an instant deposit option as well as the standard one. You can also get a Neteller ATM card which lets you withdraw your Neteller money from your local ATM. The company behind Neteller is listed on the London Stock Exchange and so is subject to tighter financial regulation. Neteller is, in short, a far bigger operation which has rapidly become the universal means for depositing to gambling / poker sites for those who cannot, or do not wish to, use credit cards. UK players will have to decide whether to create a Neteller account in dollars or pounds sterling - either way you will lose some money when you exchange the money back into your UK bank account, so use a debit card instead if you possibly can. See above for how to combine a debit card and Neteller account most effectively
Another cash transfer service, this time European based. Again it is less popular than NETeller, and if you're going to the trouble of setting up an account with one of these companies you may as well go for the one that is most widely accepted - though if you already have an e-passporte account then of course it may prove convenient to use it to fund your poker account. E-Passporte offers you a "pre-paid ATM card" which you can then use like a credit card. Their "virtual visa" costs $5 per year (fee waived for first year) plus 5% of whatever you deposit to it. You can also receive a non-virtual, plastic card, which you can then use to withdraw funds directly from your local ATM. There is a $35 fee for the card, plus a charge of $2 each time you use it to withdraw cash from an ATM. In order to open an account you have to have your bank account verified by a small test deposit, as with NETeller.
Payment option offered at PartyPoker. Allows you to pay direct from your bank account, without charges. You need to have your bank account verified before you can deposit or withdraw though, which can take some time.
BANK DRAFTS / WIRE TRANSFER / INTERNATIONAL MONEY ORDER
Essentially a cheque from your bank to the poker room. Charges for this service vary according to your bank, as does the time it takes for the draft / transfer / money order to appear in your poker room account. If you want to make a single deposit and you're not in any particular hurry, this option avoids the need to open an on-line account with NETeller or one of the other cash transfer sites.
GLOBAL CONNECT CARD / PHONE CONNECT CARD / EASYBUY CARD / CASH CONNECTION LINK
Essentially a pre-paid phone card which you can use like a credit card. You choose this option whilst depositing at a poker room and the amount of the "call" is credited to your poker account it is nothing to do with making phone calls, and everything to do with by-passing credit card vetoes on gambling sites. There are different types of phone cards, but the two most common for online gambling purchases are Global Connect Card and EasyBuy Card (formerly known as Cash Connection Link). You can buy a Global Connect Card online via Party Poker's site, or if you are in the US or China you can walk into a local store and pick up an EasyBuy card. PartyPoker offers a free service which will tell you where your local EasyBuy stockist is - just type in your Zip code and let them do the work for you. You can buy EasyBuy cards in denominations from $50 - $250 - and of course you can also use these cards to make long distance telephone calls! Very convenient, as it allows US players to deposit instantly (and anonymously), and it also means no poker-related transactions appear on your credit card bill. On the downside, the charges for these cards are usually high, and you still need to find a method of cashing out (as you cannot cash out to a global connect card or phone card).
Poker Rooms That Take Phone Card Deposits
Few poker rooms allow deposits via phone cards, however the good news is that the biggest of them all, Party Poker, does. You can also deposit via "Phone Card Solutions" at Absolute Poker - the site allows deposits via a "pre-paid ATM card" which essentially amounts to the same thing - however you can credit your pre-paid ATM via an electronic cheque free of charge. This option is sometimes shown as "ACH", which stands for Automated Clearing House. For German and Austrian players, Pacific Poker and Bet365poker both offer the option of funding your account via a "paysafecard" which operates along similar lines. Pacific Poker offers players from the Republic of Ireland the chance to pay via a Laser card.
Players in the US / Canada can open a Citadel bank account and transfer funds "for free". You deposit and withdraw cash via an "Ecash Direct" account. The reason for putting "for free" in inverted commas is because their site is less than transparent about the service charges most Ecash Direct accounts involve charges of $1 per transaction it may be that Citadel don't charge but you still end up paying a charge somewhere along the line. It appears that you won't be charged if you have a balance of over £2000 or $3000 - if you have less than that you must pay $20 per month. A clearer explanation of the service at their homepage would help clarify this. The main attraction of Citadel is the ability to send an "e-check" to a site instantly, rather than having to wait the usual 2 - 3 days. However, if you are thinking of using Citadel to send funds from your US / Canadian bank account you must check that your bank will authorize Electronic Fund Transfers (EFTs) first. Many banks require EFTs to be pre-authorised by the account holder. What this means is that Citadel will try to withdraw funds from your account and be declined, and you will then face a charge from Citadel for that "bounced" check.
What is a poker room deposit bonus?
A deposit bonus (or "sign-up bonus") is an amount of money that the gambling site will add to your account when you deposit money with them. The amount each site is prepared to offer you varies for site to site and each site changes its deposit bonus from time to time. Often if you just visit the poker room web-site you won't be offered any kind of bonus, and if you join up without getting a bonus code or following a link that automatically credits you with the bonus, you are throwing away free money. If you joined all of the sites listed in our "Reputable Poker Sites" guide without claiming your bonus you would have just missed out on hundreds of $$$$. We check what bonus is currently being offered by each site, and what the terms and conditions are to get the bonus. All the bonus offers here are up to date, and the best we can find - you just need to click the link in the review section to automatically qualify.
Why do gambling sites and poker rooms offer sign-up bonuses?
It's basically a bribe! Each site wants you to play with them rather than a competitor, and so they offer you something to come and play at their site rather than a different one. For casino games, they bank on you losing more in the long term than you win, and so they encourage you to stay with them by offering a cash incentive. The poker rooms make their money by taking a small percentage of each pot of money won by poker players (called "the rake") the more players they can attract, the more money they can make. Poker players need other players to play against, and so they gravitate to the sites that have the most players. The poker rooms know this, and so they do their best to attract as many players as possible, even if this means running a "loss leader" i.e. giving you free cash to gamble with. Often they do not advertise their sign-up bonus on their site, as of course they would prefer if you signed up without getting anything back. And some gambling sites advertise deposit bonuses that look great, but which turn out to be a con when you check the small print....These are the so-called "sticky bonuses" mentioned below.....Stick to Reputable Poker Sites, who have shown in the past that they will pay you what they say they will pay you.
Is this really free poker money? Can I really get free poker chips at these sites?
With regard to the bonuses listed at this site, yes but see below .
What are the strings to these poker room sign up offers?
Each bonus comes with certain "strings" that is, certain terms and conditions. If there were no strings at all, you could deposit money then take it out again straight away having made yourself up to 100% profit and clearly the casinos and poker rooms could not sustain that. Generally you are required to gamble a certain amount of money at the site over a certain period of time to qualify. Some bonuses have more strings than others, and often it isn't clear from their web site what those strings are. We tell you exactly what you need to do to qualify for the bonus, and how easy or hard it is to "clear".
What should I watch out for when looking for free poker room cash? What is a "sticky bonus"?
Beware of sites offering fantastically high sign up bonus offers, or of sites that offer higher bonuses for the major casinos or card rooms than the ones listed here. Many of these offers are "sticky bonuses" they have lots of hidden terms and conditions that make it almost impossible to qualify for the bonus. Another thing to watch for is sites that offer bonuses that cannot actually be withdrawn from your account they must be re-gambled at the site. If you can't withdraw the money you have earned, what use is it? You can only gamble with it until it is gone! It gets even worse - at some sites, you actually cannot withdraw your original deposit until you have played a certain number of hands. Your money is held until the poker room decides you can have it back! Needless to say, none of the poker rooms listed at this site operate these sorts of practices. You can get at your money whenever you like, and the bonus terms and conditions are clearly given by the sites.
Be wary of sites that offer to give you a percentage of a poker room's "rake" (called "rakeback")- this is against most poker room's terms and conditions. Make sure you know what is expected of you to clear the bonus, that the bonus is REAL MONEY, and that the site is trustworthy.
Genuine Poker Room SignUp Offers versus "Sticky" offers
How do I know which bonuses are genuine and which are sticky?
Read the terms and conditions of the bonus being offered. If you can't find the terms and conditions, it is very likely that the site concerned doesn't want you to find them, because the bonus is sticky in one way or another. If you want to be sure of getting a bonus that really is a bonus, join one of the sites listed in the "Reputable Poker Sites" section by following the link for that site on the review pages. By following a link from this site, you will automatically qualify for the bonus described. ALL of the bonuses listed here are legitimate sign up bonuses from sites that have demonstrated over a period of several years that they can be trusted to pay out what they say they are going to pay out.