Before you can win big money online, the first thing you need to do is fund your account.
You have several options for how to do this – checks, money transfers, wires and more. But hands down the easiest way to fund your account is by using plastic – a credit, debit, gift or prepaid card.
Today we’ll be talking about credit cards.
Nearly everything we talk about below regarding credit cards will also apply to debit, gift cards or prepaid cards.
Credit cards are going to be the best payment method for most people. They’re accessible (anyone who has a bank or credit union account can get one), every online casino accepts them, and they have high acceptance rates for all players – even Americans.
The bottom line – if you want to gamble online and you have a credit card, you should make it your go-to payment unless you have a strong reason not to.
(And, as you’ll soon see, some people will have a reason not to use them. We’ll cover more credit card pros and cons later.)
Before we get into all that, though, let’s talk about what credit cards online casinos accept and how to make a deposit with on.
Depositing with Plastic
Using plastic isn’t hard at all. You’ll feel right at home if you’ve done ANY shopping online. The process is the same.
Before we get to that, let’s start with the different brands you can use. The most common credit cards online casinos accept include:
American Express (Amex)
Diners Club International
This isn’t limited to credit cards, either. This also covers debit, gift and prepaid cards, too. And, in those cases, the brands or types you can use expands. You’ll have more options.
Ultimately, it depends on where you play. Every casino accepts different brands or types of cards. The fastest way to know who accepts what is to read our reviews.
How to Make a Deposit
One thing that won’t change from site to site is how you make a deposit. The process goes like this:
Go to the cashier.
Choose credit card (or debit, gift or prepaid card).
Enter your card number.
Enter the expiration date.
Enter the CCV number. This is the 3-digit number on the back of your card.
Enter how much you want to deposit.
In some cases, you might also be asked to enter the brand of card you’re using, your address or name. You might also be prompted to enter a bonus or promo code.
But that’s all there is to it.
Fees and Limits
The amount you can deposit at once will vary from casino to casino. Not only will it vary on a deposit to deposit basis, but it will also vary on a daily, weekly and monthly basis. Minimums will range from $5 to $50, whereas the max will be anywhere from a couple hundred dollars on up to several thousand dollars at once and/or over multiple deposits.
It just depends on where you play. For example, Bet365 has limits of $10/$30,000 for their UK customers. But compare that to Bovada’s limits of $20/$1,000 and you can clearly see how different deposit limits can be.
Fees will vary, too. Over the last couple of years, we’ve noticed that more and more US-facing casinos have started charging fees on credit and debit card deposits, whereas most international casinos don’t charge any fees.
The fees may depend on the card you’re using, too. We’ve seen fees start at around 3-4% for Visa and MasterCard, while they’re in the 12+ percent range for Discover and Amex.
If card brands, deposit limits and banking fees are a concern, we highly recommend you read our reviews. We include this information for every casino we review, so long as the casino makes it available on their website.)
For example, here are the fees Ignition Casino charges for all their banking methods as of October 1st, 2016.
Bitcoin: 100% free deposits and withdrawals
Rapid Transfer: $12 flat fee
You’ll notice there’s a slight difference between the different credit card brands. This likely reflects the fees they have to pay on their end and/or the difference in costs when a customer does a charge back.
Fees suck, I know. But when you think about how fast credit card payments go through, how easy they are to use, their limits and so on, fees become less and less important.
Especially for Americans, despite all the challenges of gambling and banking online from the United States.
Challenges for Americans
Using plastic is the easiest and fastest way to make a deposit …unless you’re American. In that case your experience might be hit or miss.
The general idea behind the UIGEA, as it pertains to online gambling, is this:
“prohibits gambling businesses from knowingly accepting payments in connection with the participation of another person in a bet or wager that involves the use of the Internet and that is unlawful under any federal or state law.”
In simple terms this means banks, credit unions and other financial institutes or payment processors aren’t supposed to process payments to and from illegal gambling sites.
(Which is basically any offshore online gambling site/operator.)
Granted, this is ‘knowingly’ process credit card payments. It’s possible your bank won’t know who the gambling site is and send the payment through. Because, if they do – and they’re a mainstream bank – chances are they’ll decline your deposit. Otherwise they may face heavy penalties.
That’s no joke – the US government takes this seriously. We didn’t know how seriously until the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) indicted the world’s largest poker sites on multiple felony charges, including violating the UIGEA, money laundering and fraud.
The money laundering and fraud are the most interesting charges, and here’s why:
The poker sites (who were indicted) were having a hard time processing payments. And not only processing payments, but processing them quickly.
So, one of the things they did was work with individuals who would setup a front – a fake store selling various physical items – so to fool banks as to where their payments were coming from so they could process payments for the poker sites.
Creative, right? But also very, VERY ILLEGAL. The example above landed one guy a permanent record and up to two years in prison. And that’s nothing compared to the MILLIONS of dollars in fines sites like PokerStars paid for their mistakes.
A more recent example is 5Dimes. They apparently have been processing cash outs using Amazon gift cards or purchases from Amazon.com. The Department of Homeland Security sought a warrant that would allow them to seize 15 Amazon accounts holding more than 6-figures.
Yes, this has nothing to do with credit cards, and the last example is about cash outs. BUT the point is, the US Government takes this stuff seriously. Therefore, banks and credit unions do. Which means there might come a time when your bank blocks your deposit.
And, in that case, what can you do? Here are a few suggestions:
Try your card again. Maybe there was a typo or your card is expired. The decline could have been a technical issue, too.
Ask the room to punch the card in manually. I’m not sure why this works, but sometimes it does.
Contact the bank (assuming you’re not in the US trying to play at an offshore site) and ask if your card is able to make online purchases. If not, ask them if you can.
If that doesn’t work, then it’s possible your bank doesn’t allow online and/or gambling purchases. So, here are a few other things you can try instead:
Try a different credit card (brand, account and/or from a different bank).
Try a different TYPE of card – debit, prepaid or gift card.
Use your card to fund a money transfer through Western Union or MoneyGram. You can also try bitcoin.
If all else fails, contact the casino and ask what other options or suggestions they have. You might even have to go to a different online casino.
Advantages & Disadvantages
There are several pros and cons to using credit cards. We want to give you a quick rapid-fire list of pros and cons so you can see if credit cards are truly right for you.
International casinos (usually) don’t charge deposit fees.
Credit cards have relatively low and high deposit limits. They offer more flexible limits compared to other banking options.
Most people have credit (or debit) cards. If you don’t, it’s not terribly hard to get one. Every casino we’ve seen accepts them, too (to one extent or another).
Credit cards clear fast. You’ll have money to gamble with within minutes, if not seconds.
All major brands are accepted (though some brands (Discover and American Express) may be hit or miss).
International players can also use credit cards for cash outs.
Credit card transactions are safe. YOUR information is safe. Online casinos use the same (or similar) SSL encryption technology to keep your personal information safe from hackers.
Credit card deposits takes the least amount of effort of any deposit method. Simply punch in your details, submit them and you’re good to go. You’ll be done in seconds.
Credit cards have a high acceptance rate, even for Americans.
The average American already has $16,000 in credit card debit. So, using credit cards can become a dangerous cocktail when you mix it with the addictive nature of gambling.
Most players will not be able to use credit cards for cash outs (especially Americans). You’ll need to go another route – bank wire, check or money transfer. This can be a minor inconvenience.
Your bank might block your transaction. This can be inconvenient, not to mention frustrating to deal with.
It can be scary to hand your credit card details over to an online casino considering all the crooks that are out there.
Even legal online casinos – those operating in states like New Jersey and Delaware – can have a hard time processing credit card payments because it’s not always easy for a bank to differentiate between a licensed state room and offshore operator. This has improved immensely over the past couple of years, though.
So, all things considered, are credit cards right for you?
We can’t answer that question for you. Only you can do that.
But we think the few downsides credit cards have (blocked payments, fees, etc.) are more than balanced by the benefits (flexible limits, fast processing and high acceptance rates). For that reason, we think everyone should use them first, unless they have a real good reason not to.
Just make sure you gamble responsibly and don’t max out your card chasing your losses.