The phenomenal growth of the online casino business in recent years has clearly been linked to the rapid expansion of high-speed consumer Internet services around the world, making it possible to deliver gaming with much higher production values to the average desktop and mobile device. Perhaps less obviously, consumer confidence in transacting real money on the Internet has also played a very important role too, since no self-respecting online casino would survive long if potential players had the slightest doubt in its ability to handle their money with utmost integrity.
Driven by consumer demand, banks and other online payment services have stepped up to the challenge of providing secure methods of transacting real money with a minimum of fuss, and the best online casinos now offer a range of such options to best suit the circumstances of the players they now attract from around the world.
Credit and Debit cards
Perhaps the longest established tool for managing a players’ account has been the credit and debit card. It still remains one of the most popular options today, since such cards from providers such as Mastercard and Visa have global reach, well established security measures, and instant depositing allows players quick access to real money gaming when they choose a new online casino to play.
Since not everyone has access to credit and debit cards, or prefer not to use them online, a number of alternative payment options have become popular with online casino players too. These broadly fall into a handful of categories:
Prepayment Cards / Codes
Bought from a local shop that offers the service, these are tokens issued with unique codes that you then enter on the site that accepts their use. Paysafecard is a popular option found in the UK, Paysafecard has replaced Ukash.
As the name implies, these are ‘electronic wallets’ that you can fill with money using another payment method (such as a credit card or other payment service) and then use to pay for online goods and services as you wish. PayPal, NETeller and Skrill are market leaders in this sector, and commonly accepted at the best online casinos.
Cryptocurrency or ‘digital currency’ does represent money in digital form but unlike banks any other online payment they are decentralized, with no single governing body overseeing and verifying transactions. At its heart, a Cryptocurrency is simply another currency that you can exchange for another – a little like buying holiday money with your own native currency so you can buy stuff with cash when you’re abroad. The original cryptocurrency is Bitcoin.
A similar service to the e-wallet, this is a virtual debit card that is not linked to a traditional bank account and can be charged with funds using another form of payment. A handy way to access services that accept debit cards if you don’t have a bank account, and a useful way of limiting your spending if you are prone to going over budget when you’re gaming.
Bank Transfer, Cheques and eCheques
Now a rather old-fashioned way to deposit money into a player account, but still an option with many online casinos to cover all the bases. Falling out of fashion now due to the delays involved in funds clearing into player accounts and the processing fees that can be incurred.
Which payment method you chose is a personal choice based on your circumstances but, whichever it is, always remember the golden rule to only spend what you can afford. That way you’ll always get the very best entertainment when you play the best online slots.