Prepaid cards are possibly the best option for making a sportsbook deposit. Anonymity, security, speed and more are what make this deposit method a player favorite. Prepaid cards have many forms and uses but when it comes to online gambling, they are a perfect fit because they have only a certain amount of funds and are not connected to your bank account. This gives you the opportunity to play with funds that cannot be traced back to their source and therefore cannot enable hackers to drain your bank account.
Of course, as with any payment method, there are both advantages and disadvantages to using prepaid cards to deposit in a sportsbook. Here, we will examine them in detail and explain exactly how they work, how you can use them, and the exact positives and negatives to using them when it comes to sports betting.
How Prepaid Cards Function
Before we go any deeper, it is worth quickly going over the key difference between prepaid cards and credit or debit cards. It is obvious that a prepaid card is not tied to your bank account, however, that is not all there is to it. As you may know, the process of getting a credit card is actually not simple at all and your request might actually get rejected. Debit cards require a checking account and a visit to the bank, so that is also not quite as simple as going to a store and buying one.
Depending on the type of prepaid card you have in your possession or wish to use, this process varies. For the most common type of prepaid cards, you usually need to find a location, like a gas station, grocery store, or in some cases a more specific place, that sells them. You can choose between prepaid cards with different amounts of funds in them, though, they mostly come in small denominations. You can purchase them with cash or by any other means. When you purchase a prepaid card, it is in no way linked to the means with which you have paid for it. This means that if you have used your debit card, for instance, the prepaid card still will not in any way be linked to it or your bank account.
If you wish to purchase a virtual prepaid card though, you simply need to go to the website of the payment solution, register, and pay for it online. In some cases, you will be required to authenticate your personal details, which means prove your identity with additional documents. Then, you will receive the codes of the card and you will be able to start using it immediately. However, in order to purchase a virtual prepaid card, you will need to use one form of online banking or another, or pay with your credit or debit card. This means that you will still have to provide your banking details to a third party.
After you have purchased a prepaid card and in some cases, after it has been activated, you can use it to deposit in your favorite sportsbook. Some allow for the simultaneous use of multiple prepaid cards in order for a player to create a more substantial bankroll. However, most often, you will have to deposit every prepaid card for itself.
Types of Prepaid Cards
Many players may think that there is only one type of prepaid card, however, there are actually plenty of options. Prepaid cards come in all shapes and sizes and offer different conditions for their users – some have fees, others do not, some can be reloaded, others not. Here, we will go over the main types and what exactly it means to hold a card of that sort.
Prepaid Gift Cards
This type of prepaid card comes in a physical form, almost indistinguishable from a debit or credit card. Most often, you will find prepaid gift cards that have set values, limits, and expiration dates. There are a ton of companies worldwide that offer this banking option, including Mastercard and Visa through authorized stores and online retailers. Additionally, there are companies that collaborate with these two giants in the industry, which gives players more options with the same level of security.
The tricky thing to remember when purchasing a gift card is that some of them can be used only in certain stores, or for certain types of goods or services. This means that if you buy a prepaid gift card from a bookstore, it will most likely only be usable there. Of course, there are types of prepaid gift cards that can be purchased anywhere and used everywhere, the important thing is to note the difference. If your prepaid gift card is powered by Mastercard or Visa, then you will most likely be able to use it wherever debit and credit cards by the same companies are accepted.
Usually, these cards cannot be reloaded and expire after a set period of time. They can also expire after you use up their entire balance and usually, after 6 or 12 months fees start applying, if you have not done that. It is important to note, however, that you cannot incur debt this way – once again, when the balance reaches 0, the card is closed.
Additionally, another distinction must be made between prepaid gift cards and regular gift cards. In some cases these terms are interchangeable, however, when used in this exact context there is a definitive difference. What is usually meant by a gift card is a card with some sort of discount on it for a given brand or retailer. So, when you are looking for a prepaid card, make sure that the one you are purchasing can be used to deposit funds into a sportsbook account.
Reloadable Prepaid Cards
This is the type of prepaid card you would probably want to get if you are a regular punter and wish to use this deposit method consistently. Naturally, the reason for this is that you do not have to get a new card every single time you wish to deposit some funds into your sportsbook account.
There are different ways to reload a prepaid card and they can vary greatly depending on the issuer of the card. Sometimes, you will have to go to the store that you bought your card from and pay in cash, or you may be able to pay with your credit or debit card, or with a check, or any other means. In other cases, you may be able to transfer funds directly from a card or bank account into your prepaid card.
However, usually, prepaid cards come for free for a limited time and after a few months, you will need to start paying monthly fees. They are not high but it is important that you are fully aware of them. Not every reloadable prepaid card comes with monthly fees but, none of them come completely for free either. You may need to pay a fee for different types of transactions or conversion of currencies, and the likes.
Virtual Prepaid Cards
Virtual prepaid cards are offered by plenty of authorized vendors and are still mainly Mastercard or Visa cards. They are not physical cards, however, which might be somewhat confusing to some players. That actually guarantees a higher level of security as they cannot be stolen or lost.
They were created specifically for online payments so using them to make a deposit at an online sportsbook is perfectly fitting. However, it is not quite as convenient to acquire a virtual prepaid card as it is to obtain a physical one. You will need to create an account online with one of the online banking companies that offer this option. In some cases, you will need to provide a fair amount of personal information and authenticate it. To put it plainly – it will take a while.
Despite that, virtual prepaid cards are still a really good option for online sports bettors because of their incredible level of security and perks. In most cases, virtual prepaid cards come with lower fees and higher single transaction limits.
Voucher Prepaid Card
As we already said, prepaid cards come in many shapes and sizes, one of which happens to be a voucher. It might sound a bit odd, but their function is the same, they just come on a slip of paper instead of plastic. You get a receipt that contains all the information you need to make a payment.
This form of prepaid cards is perhaps the most anonymous out of all – it is not linked to any personal information whatsoever. It is not an uncommon payment method to sportsbooks either, on the contrary – such prepaid cards are widely accepted.
Additionally, some companies offer the possibility of transferring the funds you have left on your old prepaid card to your next one, thus allowing you to be in full control of your finances. This way you do not end up losing any money.
Depositing to your Sportsbook Balance
Depositing with a prepaid card is quite simple when you have purchased one that is powered by Visa or Mastercard. All you need to do is find the correct deposit option, click on it, and punch in the numbers. Regardless of whether the card is plastic or virtual the procedure is just as simple as depositing with a credit or debit card but far more secure.
However, when it comes to the voucher type of prepaid card, there is a difference. On the receipt, you receive once you have purchased the prepaid card, will be located a code that will be around 10 digits in most cases. You need to enter the code in order to pay with the funds on that type of prepaid card which means that Mastercard and Visa have nothing to do with it. So, you will need to find the exact company that issued your card in the list of deposit options.
Once you have done that, you will be taken to a secure page and will be able to enter the code. After that, the payment is completed instantaneously and you can start playing right away.
Withdrawing from your Sportsbook Balance
Some prepaid cards can be used to make withdrawals from an online sportsbook. The way to tell whether yours can do that is quite simple – the prepaid card you have purchased must also be linked to some form of online banking, otherwise, there is simply no account for the withdrawal funds to go into.
Virtual prepaid cards all come with an online banking account of one sort or another, so in most cases, you will be able to use them for withdrawals. Some physical prepaid cards are linked with online banking solutions as well and so you will be able to withdraw with them too. However, with virtual prepaid cards, you cannot physically withdraw money from an ATM, while some plastic prepaid cards allow that.
In case your prepaid card service does not allow for physical withdrawals, then you will be able to transfer the funds to your bank account, which, unfortunately, can take a while. Your best bet is to simply use another service to make withdrawals if you insist on getting your winnings as soon as possible.
Cost and Fees
Some prepaid cards have an activation fee, others do not. Usually, an activation fee does not exceed $3 or its equivalent in any other currency. There may also be an activation period but that is mostly not the case. Usually, your card is activated upon purchase and is immediately ready to use.
As we already mentioned, there are monthly fees involved when it comes to the prepaid cards of certain companies. If there aren’t any right away, there will be some after a set period of time has passed and there are still funds on the card. Additionally, there might be fees for different types of transactions and there will definitely be a fee for currency conversions every time this service is required. If your prepaid card is reloadable, there will most likely be a fee you will need to pay every time you top-up.
Of course, all the applicable fees must be available to you at all times. If you are uncertain about whether something is subject to fees, or you simply cannot find where the applicable fees are listed, we recommend you contact the customer support team of your prepaid card provider.
Security and Privacy
We already mentioned this several times but it is definitely worth repeating again – this is the most secure payment method online. Prepaid cards do not disclose any personal information at all and in case someone gains access to your prepaid card, they will only be able to use the funds that are currently on the card as it is not linked to your bank account. This means that, if you play it smart and get a prepaid card with the exact amount you wish to deposit, even if some hacker gets access to it he’ll be left empty handed.
On top of that, when you are using voucher prepaid cards, in order to enter their code you will be taken to an extremely secure page which meets the security standards of banking institutions worldwide. Of course, all reputable online sportsbook nowadays are also highly secure, with SSL encryption guarding your data 24/7 and even more safety measures.
When it comes to plastic or virtual prepaid cards, since they are mostly powered either by Mastercard, Visa, or American Express, you will be taken to another secure page so you can enter the card’s details and most likely additional security codes. This includes the safety of Mastercard SecureCode, Verified by Visa, and so on. This additional layer of security is actually called 3-D secure and is an XML-based protocol.
Advantages of Prepaid Cards
The greatest advantage of using prepaid cards is the anonymity they grant. The fact that they cannot be traced back to you or your bank account is great news when it comes to both privacy and security. Regardless of whether you have a prepaid card by Visa, Mastercard, American Express, or a voucher-type one, this is an extremely secure payment method.
Of course, something that we cannot overlook is the fact that this type of banking does not allow players to overspend. There is only a certain amount of fund on the card and you cannot spend more than that. This is great for people who may have a spending problem or those battling gambling addictions.
Another positive of this payment solution is that there is no lengthy registration process required, that is of course if you are getting the physical type of prepaid card. It is so simple to get one and they are so easy to use. On top of that, deposits with this method are instant.
Disadvantages of Prepaid Cards
The biggest disadvantage of prepaid cards is that most of the time, you will need to choose a different withdrawal method. In the cases where online banking methods allow for cashouts, the wait might be considered a disadvantage as well.
Another downside of prepaid cards is that you need to find a place that sells the exact one you need and go there. Of course, you could get a virtual one but then you would need to make a registration and provide personal information. So, you will either need to go to a real-world location or disclose your personal information with a third party.
Something else that could prove problematic to high-rollers is the fact that some forms of prepaid cards only come in small denominations. This means that they will have to make multiple deposits. However, in such cases, sportsbooks usually allow for multiple simultaneous deposits with the same method.
Prepaid cards are incredibly convenient and secure. The lack of disclosure of personal information is highly valued by sports bettors worldwide. The simplicity of obtaining a prepaid card is also quite alluring to players and with good reason. The process of obtaining a credit card or registering for an e-wallet are both far more complex, long, and definitely not quite so anonymous.
Prepaid cards allow players to retain their privacy, while still offering speed and efficiency. With their help, it is easy to stay in control of your finances and focus on playing instead of worrying about how much you are spending. Once again, this is perhaps the ideal payment method for sports bettors.