Payments and more specifically deposits are the income that keeps the sportsbook alive and operational. Since the customer base has a wide range of needs when it comes to moving money the online sportsbooks have to offer various deposit and withdrawal methods. Many bettors do not have a credit card in use (or wish not to use it online) or are very tight about how much the transfer fees can be.
As a customer you should pay close attention to which country you are depositing from and which methods are available from that particular country. You might have to provide extensive documentation to verify your transactions and other methods can be available only in certain currencies or that you cannot withdraw your money back using the same method as for deposit. These are all factors that you have to consider before starting to avoid unnecessary trouble.
You might be sensitive about your credit card details and sceptical to use it in many different services. If this is the case then you should consider e-wallets which allow you to deposit money to a one single service online from where you can use the funds in other websites without compromising your credit card details. Since the gambling operators have to deal with the credit card compliance procedures and costs if they wish to offer this method, many of them prefer e-wallets and might not even offer credit card option directly or just offer lower processing fees and higher bonuses for e-wallets.
Credit / Debit card
Cards are still the most popular deposit method as it is fast and easy. The deposits are processed automatically and instantly to your gambling account. A registration procedure is needed before your first deposit which means that you have to enter your personal and card details. Many sites encourage you to send a copy of your ID and a proof of address for safety reasons, although this might come up only after the first withdrawal attempt. Most online operators do not charge for the use of credit cards and those who do usually will not charge more than few percent.
You probably will also have to withdraw your money back to your card until you have withdrawn as much as the deposited amount. After this you can usually decide to make a withdrawal via alternative method. Sites accepting card deposit usually have very secure way of storing your details and to avoid incidents you can choose the number of cards or amount of deposits that can be made using your card(s). US banks do not allow deposits to gambling sites and we advice anyone making a deposit to check the sites transaction policies for different markets and banks. The most common cards used are Visa and Master Card, although there are a number of other popular cards.
Probably the most traditional but also one of the slowest transfer methods is the bank transfer. Used already before the internet it still keeps its popularity but maybe more for the bookmakers side as it is virtually risk free method to offer and especially preferred by players who deposit larger amounts at a time. To do a bank wire transfer only thing you need to do is request a transfer from your account to the bookmakers account, or do this yourself via home banking. The standard delay in bank wire transfers is 3-5 working days depending on the country and the bank.
Personal cheque, bank draft, money order
Probably the oldest, slowest and the most unpractical transfer method available, this requires you to send a money order or bank cheque to the bookmaker by mail carrier. This process usually takes up to 7 days to complete and in foreign transfers it may take up to 3 weeks for the cheque to be cleared and money funded to the beneficiary. Most online operators nowadays do not accept this method but you can purchase a certified bank cheque or an international money order from your local bank or post office. In some cases you might be refunded the shipping costs by the operator if you use DHL or Fedex. Withdrawals by cheque are commonly delivered to the address registered in your gambling account.
Western Union money transfer is a service with physical shops around the world which you can use to send money to be cashed out in their other branches. You will be given a tracking number which the bookmaker can use to obtain the funds. This takes normally between 30 to 120 minutes until the funds reach your gaming account. The transfer charges are a percentage of the transferred amount but most bookmakers will cover this fee if a minimum deposit limit is reached. This could be around 300 Euros. Withdrawal happens the same way and you will have to pick up the cash from the local WU branch. Other similar services are MoneyGram and MoneyTT.
As mentioned before, e-wallets are one of the most popular methods today and give the user the peace of mind not having to give out credit card details in various locations when handling payments online. E-wallets guarantee instant deposits and low transfer fees and the initial registration is as easy as opening an account with your email address and personal details. Upon withdrawals you will be asked to validate your details. These services work in conjunction with most traditional payment methods so you will have no problem entering money to your e-wallet. Some of the services might even offer a direct ATM card to use for the electronic account. Although safe in general, e-wallet service providers cannot prevent fraudulent use if someone acquires your login details to your account so you have to be careful. The most popular online wallets are: Moneybookers, Neteller, PayPal, Click2Pay, FirePay, MyCitadel, SolidPay, ClickandBuy and ewallettExpress.
Following the pass of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act in the United States on October 2006, Neteller, Citadel and Firepay are no longer available for US bettors. Click2Pay stopped taking new US customers and PayPal stopped accepting payments for gambling services in 2002, after being acquired by eBay and agreed to pay a $10 million fine to US authorities to settle allegations that it aided illegal online gambling. In February 2006, Paypal Europe announced a deal with Betfair and later signed contracts with Ladbrokes and Bwin.
Prepaid cards are a nice option to pay by card online without giving out away personal or financial details. They also prevent the unlikely event of money being stolen from your Visa for example as the cards value is pre set upon purchase. You can purchase them from regular shops and news-stands while some can be bought online. Paysafecard and Ecocard have been operating on the European market for years now, while EntroPay, a virtual online Visa card, and ePassporte, a prepaid reloadable Visa card, are more recent.
Some other popular payment methods are e-gold, an electronic currency backed by gold bullion, Paybox which is a mobile payment solution, and Ukash, a voucher that can be purchased for cash at local shops and then used online.
Online bookmakers also accept regional payment options such as 1-Pay (China), BPay (Australia), eNets (Singapore), Instadebit (Canada), Pay888 (China), WebMoney (Russia), Stone-Pay (China), 8Pay (China), BillPay (Ireland).