A question we are often asked by players new to online poker is whether it is safe to use a credit card to deposit to their account.
The short answer is yes. If you play at one of the online poker sites recommended by us here at Poker.com, your personal information like credit card numbers will always be safe and you should be able to make a deposit without any worries.
The poker rooms we recommend all use secure servers for financial transactions and are reputable companies with a long history of good customer service. Not only will your information be safe, but you can also be guaranteed of receiving your cashout if you have a win at the tables.
There are however some things you should know about using a credit card to play poker online.
Credit Cards - the easiest way to deposit to your online poker account for the first time.
If you deposit to your account with a credit card, many online poker rooms will want to verify that you are authorized to charge the card being used. This is often not done immediately when you join a poker room, and may only be requested when you reach a certain deposit limit or if you attempt to cashout within a certain timeframe.
They will sometimes just want to give you a phone call or send a security code to your billing address. If they are performing a more thorough check they may ask you to send them copies of your Photo ID or a utility bill. It is best to co-operate with the poker room staff if they ask you to confirm your identity. They only do this sort of thing to ensure that you are authorized to charge the card being used in your account, and the information you provide is not used for any other purpose.
Any verification requirement should not be seen as an annoyance like some inexperienced players seem to think. These days we welcome this sort of request when we join a new poker room because it shows they take their site security seriously, and we should only be playing against players who are playing with their own money.
For some unknown reason many banks have decided they should have the power to control how their customers spend their own money! Even though most online poker players would only ever be transferring $100 or less to their account to play, banks in some parts of the world automatically block these types of transactions. The worse thing is they will rarely even admit to doing it.
If you call the bank customer service department, or even speak to a teller in a branch they will usually tell you that the bank is not blocking any of your credit card transactions. This is because lower level bank staff are rarely informed of this practice, and also because credit card business is often outsourced to other banks and not directly controlled by the bank that you have an account with. The banks realise that public outrage would be high if everyone knew that they like to control where their customers spend money, so this practice is swept under the rug and not spoken about publicly often. In the online poker industry, these types of transactions are known as '7995' failures - 7995 being the ID code associated to online gambling merchants by credit card companies.
What can you do if your credit card won't work at your poker room of choice?
Firstly we recommend you try these sites, whcih seem to have the best credit card acceptance rates of any online poker rooms we recommend. Try Players Only if you are in the USA or PokerStars if you live anywhere else.
Or if you have your heart set on playing at another room, you could try a new credit card. There are many different types of credit cards available, from pre-paid cards to low interest and fee free offerings. Some will work online - not all are blocked.
Or probably our best suggestion is to use an online wallet as your payment solution. Online or 'E' wallets allow you to move funds between credit cards, bank accounts and online merchants, such as poker rooms and casinos.
There are just two more things you should understand if you are going to use a credit card to deposit to your online poker account.
Something to remember if you do deposit with a credit card is that not many poker sites can offer you the ability to cashout any winnings back to your credit card. Credit cards are designed to be used for payments only and are not a full service banking product like an online wallet.
Some older sites, like PokerStars, may be able to process cashouts to your VISA card as long as it is not issued in the United States. But the general rule is that this is not possible due to credit card company regulations. It used to be possible in the early days of online poker, but these days it is very rare.
About 50% of online poker players still use a credit card to deposit, so if you do deposit with a credit card, there will always be other ways to cashout your winnings, such as checks, bank transfers or online wallets.
There is one thing all internet users should remember when inputting any sort of personal or financial information online. Your own computer's security is the most important thing!
Make sure that you run regular spyware and anti-virus checks on your machine, and never respond to suspicious looking phishing emails asking for personal information. The most common type of online fraud is perpetrated by hackers and virus writers who use software planted on your PC to log keystrokes when you type information into online forms. Or they will create websites that are identical to a site such as your bank or credit card company and trick you into providing them when your personal information via an email.
The best way to ensure that your credit card information remains safe online is to make sure your own computer is secure, and only input personal info into trusted sites, such as online poker software, or websites that use secure encryption of your data. (look for https:// at the beginning of urls)
Good luck at the tables, and be sure to contact us if you have any questions about using your credit card to play online poker.