Alternative Deposit MethodsWith the increase in credit card decline rates, online casinos are now offering new mechanisms that do not rely on credit cards to deposit money into your casino account.
These methods include Western Union, wire transfer, checks, electronic checks, debit/ATM cards and even cash. In this article, I will go over each of these transaction mechanisms and discuss some of the pros and cons of each.
Western Union is an easy way to send money. You can initiate a Western Union from your home PC, or at one of thousands of retail establishments. Many of them are located in supermarkets. Western Union is fast. They give you a confirmation number at the time of the transaction, and your online casino can easily verify the funds availability based on that confirmation number. The biggest problem with sending money via Western Union is fees. Make sure that your casino will reimburse you for the wiring fees before you send money. Most casinos will, but if they do not, you will be starting off at a disadvantage.
Wire Transfers are cheaper than sending money via Western Union, and they must be coordinated with your bank. For sending in a large deposit it is often your only option. The main disadvantage with Wire Transfers is that they can often take 2-3 days to reach banks in the Caribbean, and it can often be a hassle to deal with your bank and the foreign wire transfer instructions.
Although checks are very common in the United States, foreign treatment of U.S. checks can be difficult. For the online casino, after they receive your check, it may take weeks for it to clear in their local bank. Most online casinos will not credit your account until your check clears.
Electronic Check (ACH)
The modern way to send a check is by an electronic check, or ACH. Many online casinos now let you make a check deposit right from their software, and the check is presented electronically to your bank overnight. The money is available to the online casino in a matter of days, and the casinos will almost always credit your account immediately after your transaction is approved - generally a few seconds.
ATM Cards go one step beyond electronic checks. ATM cards are very secure, since you must enter your PIN to complete every transaction. By the rules of the ATM networks, online casinos are not permitted to store your PIN on their servers. Additionally, your PIN is never actually transmitted over the Internet. A calculated number, called a hash, is calculated based on the PIN you type. The hash can not be reverse calculated to derive your PIN. The hash is transmitted from the software resident on your PC to the casino's server, which is later relayed to the ATM processor.
ATM transactions are processed immediately, and the transaction fees are very low for the casino. They are a great alternative for both the player and the casino. Best of all, your winnings can be put back on your card so that you can retrieve it from virtual any ATM in the world.
As decline rates of credit cards continue to rise, online casinos will continue to explore and implement new forms of payment, both for players to fund their accounts and to pay players their winnings. As more options develop players will have a broad menu of options from which to choose, and will easily be able to find one that is best for their personal needs.