UK gambling sites accept a vast variety of payment types. This page details the relative pros and cons of each deposit method from the perspective of a typical UK based customer.
The law in the United Kingdom makes it illegal for non-remote licensed gambling halls (casinos, bookmakers and bingo operators) to provide credit in any form, even via third parties such as credit card providers. Online establishments are not restricted by this law and this is a huge advantage over their land-based competitors. However, there are still some hurdles to face in the form of the Money Laundering Act. This makes it a legal requirement for refunds to be paid to the original card and for the first transaction, a scan of the credit card, a valid photo ID and a card authorisation form needs to be filled in. This isn't required for subsequent transactions but is a necessary evil before any winnings can be transferred.
A further issue is that most credit card providers view gambling transactions as high risk credit and subsequently charge all transactions as a cash advance, which attracts an associated high fee per transfer to betting sites and interest charges from day one regardless of offers active for other purchases.
- Accepted by most major online betting companies.
- Credit is available.
- Highly secure with the use of SSL encryption to protect details.
- Identification must be verified on first use, including provision of personal details to the gambling site.
- Transfers of funds are treated as cash advances and a fee is charged with interest accumulating from day one.
- Each transaction appears on the statement and there is no way to separate daily banking activities from gambling activities (difficult to track gambling expenditure).
Betting using debit cards is a popular way of transferring funds to an online betting account due to its general popularity for every-day use. There are several available including Visa Debit, Maestro and prepaid MasterCard.
- Instant transfer of funds from your bank account directly to your betting account.
- Highly secure with the use of SSL encryption to protect details.
- No limit to the amount of money that can be transferred from your bank account (up to the balance of your bank account).
- Only able to spend the money available in your bank account so no interest is charged on the amount.
- Generally no fee to use.
- Sometimes transactions are declined if your bank is averse to online gambling.
- Each transaction is listed in your bank statement and is mixed up with day to day purchases. This makes tracking your expenditure more complex.
- if details are stolen then all your capital is at risk.
Paysafecard was launched in 2000 in Austria as a safe method to pay for goods over the internet. It was initially only available in high street shops, although as technology progressed, it became possible to purchase as an e-receipt or online (through WKV.com in Europe only). A dedicated mobile phone app allows customers to find nearest outlets and to check balance on existing cards. Payment occurs when the customer uses a 16-digit pin to transfer funds to the intended retailer or gambling site. In 2010, the company acquired Yuna Prepaid Mastercard, which enabled the Paysafecard to be accepted anywhere Mastercard is. Paysafecard was incorporated into the Skrill group in 2013, which itself was bought out by Neteller in 2015. The Paysafecard is accepted at most reputable online gambling sites.
- Completely anonymous to the intended retailer so users don't have to give out personal information or have the money verified according to money laundering laws. No personal identification is associated with the account so it's impossible to have identity stolen even if the pin code is compromised.
- Highly popular method of payment for gambling sites. Paysafecard even has links to the top gambling sites on their website.
- 500,000 outlets to buy from worldwide (in 43 countries).
- Available in amounts between £10 and £100, and up to £175 at Paypoint branches. Pins can be combined on up to 10 cards at one time.
- Highly rated phone app available.
- Can be used to control spending as customers cannot spend more than the balance of the card.
- The card can be gifted to another person as long as they know the 16-digit pin.
- Can disable pin if it's been compromised and refund the remaining balance to a bank account.
- £2 per month fee is deducted after the thirteenth consecutive month if the full amount is not used in one year.
- Have to buy at real world outlet to get physical card.
- A refund fee of £6 is incurred per pay out.
- Topping up a Skrill digital wallet costs 5.5% of the top up amount.
- The Paysafecard is a popular target for online scammers due to their anonymity and inability to retract payments, so be aware for anyone charging fees or fines via this method as it's probably a scam.
Fast Bank Transfer - UK Only
Bank transfers are fairly straight forward procedures to transfer a lump sum to/from a gambling site, especially with the advent of fast bank transfers, which are controlled through physical digital security keys. Transfer limits depend on the individual betting site.
- Fast bank transfer can transfer funds within two hours.
- Requires digital key to transfer funds so is relatively secure.
- Rarely any fees to transfer monies.
- Slow bank transfers can take three working days.
- Transactions show up on bank statements.
- Both the sending and receiving bank must be UK based and compatible with the faster payments network.
- Bank account must be the same as the betting account holder.
Neteller is an e-money service operated by the Paysafe Group. It was formed in 1999 in Canada but moved to Isle of Man in 2004. The success of the company, arguably thanks to its relationship with online betting sites, allowed it to acquire its main competitor, the Skrill group, in 2015. Neteller does not provide credit and under FCA regulations, it must be able to repay all customers balances at once if required so there is no risk of losing any deposited amount if the company went bust. The ability to use Neteller to gamble online started in 2000. 95% of all transactions at that time went towards gambling sites with most being US residents. The change in US law meant that American users accounts were frozen, which had the effect of cutting revenue to just a quarter of what it had been.
Premium membership is available as Neteller VIP, which offers lower fees and additional features to regular users.
- Offers MasterCard prepaid debit cards (Net+) so can be used everywhere MasterCard is accepted.
- Same day cash transfer both ways.
- Capable of large transactions ($400,000 per month and $100,000 day).
- Multiple methods of funding including credit or debit card, bank transfer, bit coins etc.
- Variety of options to withdraw monies including transfer (bank and wire) and cheque.
- Can transfer money between betting sites without the need to use a bank account.
- 2014 winner of Best General Spend Prepaid Card, Best Gaming Prepaid Card and Best Privacy Prepaid Card.
- No annual or monthly fee.
- Available in multiple currencies: GBP, USD, EUR, JPY, AUD, DKK, CAD and SEK.
- Option to limit spending.
- Bonus available with spend/reward points.
- Able to link to bank account for quick funding of betting account.
- Fee to withdraw cash. Currently these are: bank draft (£7.50-£25), bank transfer (£7.50); cheque (£7.50), wire (£10.50), or money transfer (1% of total transaction).
- £2 per additional card or gift card.
- Monthly inactive admin fee after 14 months if the balance has not been used up.
- 3.39% foreign exchange fee added to daily market rate for changing currencies (1.5% if VIP member).
Originally called Moneybookers, Skrill was founded in 2001 in London as a global payment service with betting sites specifically in mind. The introduction of a pre-paid MasterCard occurred in 2009 shortly before their brandname change and growth that involved merging with Payolution, Paysafecard and Ukash, and eventual acquisition by Neteller in 2015. Frequent clients can be upgraded to VIP status through four levels (bronze, silver, gold and diamond) where the amount able to be deposited increases up to £90,000 and withdrawn increases to £5,000 at one time.
- Offers gamblers exclusive bonuses via their website.
- Offers a pre-paid MasterCard enabling purchases to be made anywhere MasterCard is accepted.
- Instant transfer of funds from bank accounts, cards or pre-pay vouchers. Free to upload funds usually.
- Access balance at ATMs (MasterCard).
- Most active users get promoted to VIP status which gives lower fees 24/7 support and exclusive promotions.
- Sending money to another Skrill wallet or email address is charged at 1% of total amount up to £10.
- If using credit card to top up balance, then a cash advance fee may still be charged by your credit card provider.
- £1.80 charge to withdraw money using a free ATM (until silver VIP level where upon it is free).
The 'one tap' system enables quick Skrill payments on mobile devices. New customers must sign in to Skrill the first time for each bookmaker to enable 1-Tap for future deposits.
The advantages and disadvantages are the same as described above for standard Skrill with the additional advantage of not needing to sign in every time your account needs additional funds.
The original online payment method, PayPal is highly selective in which gambling sites they are willing to process so if PayPal is accepted then this is an indicator in itself that the site is trustworthy. PayPal have been extremely cautious when it came to processing payment through gambling sites after having to pay a lawsuit equal in value to the two-year profit made during its time doing online gambling payments and only re-entered the market in 2009. Its first foray back into the market was via a unique relationship with Betfair, although it has gradually increased its online presence on more gambling sites.
- PayPal has a European banking licence so must be able to provide service at the highest security level.
- Fast transfer of funds into your online betting account.
- There are no fees charged to make a deposit from PayPal.
- Additional security features are available, such as verification by phone, which requires a unique code per transaction sent to your mobile phone before any payments and withdrawals can be finalised.
- Accepted by Bet365, Ladbrokes and William Hill.
- Requires a bank account or debit/credit card to fund.
- Deposit fees of 2.9% are charged if using a debit or credit card to fund PayPal.
- Withdrawl fees of 1.9-3.4% + £0.20 depending on volume.
Entropay is a popular method of transferring funds to an online betting account due its relatively low fees and quick transfers. Available as a physical pre-paid credit card or a virtual credit card, it can be topped up using a variety of traditional methods from bank transfers, and credit cards to paypal and other e-money providers.
- As for other e-money providers, the amount available to gamble is limited to the balance of the card and thus helps limit how much is wagered.
- No credit check required, so widely available even to customers with previous credit issues.
- No betting related transactions appear on bank statements.
- Highly secure. If details are stolen then only the money left on the card is at risk rather than all your money.
- high fees to deposit money from debit and credit cards (4.95%).
- Withdrawal of money from online betting sites cost 1.95%.
- Fee of £3 to withdraw money onto debit or credit card.
Bank wiring may not be a typical method of transferring money for most small time gamblers, but for high rollers it is often the only method of transferring large winnings and depositing cash for high stakes tables.
- Useful for high rollers who regularly exceed limits when using other methods.
- High limits.
- Fees stay the same regardless of the transaction size ($40 per transaction) so high rollers can withdraw their winnings for a relatively low cost.
- High fees if only a small amount is transferred.
- Slower transfer time (2-3 days to deposit).
- Withdrawal can take up to a week.
- Deposits can be returned to the sender if the betting site suspects that the customer is playing beyond their means.
- US customers can't deposit via bank transfer and can't withdraw onto a credit card or debit card so must withdraw using wire transfer which can take up to a week. Most have limits so that instalments must be paid each week.
Western Union is a US company specialising in the transfer of money and communications. More popular in the States, there are a few online gambling sites that will accept deposits and withdrawals via Western Union.
- Certain to have a successful deposit at the end of the process, unlike other methods which may be declined. This is especially of note to US customers.
- Large deposits can be made so may suit high rollers.
- Can take a few hours to make the transfer.
- Visiting a Western Union branch negates the requirement for an online account or credit card.
- Requires several steps and also support from the gambling site's staff in order to progress your deposit.
- Charge for the transfer.
- Few casinos in the UK accept Western Union. Betfair and William Hill are examples of those who do.
- Western Union is a target of scammers as, once sent, deposits are unrecoverable.
An outdated method of payment and few online betting sites will accept a cheque deposit, but has the unique advantage of providing high satisfaction upon receipt. The opening of a high value cheque written out to your name is tremendously appealing. The cheque was supposed to be phased out due to its relative lack of security and length of time required to process, but has stubbornly hung around.
- Not instantaneous so any spontaneous betting urges cannot be followed.
- 2-28 day waiting time to withdraw funds.
- Few casinos accept payment (Bet365 £100-£50,000; William Hill £25-£100,000).
- Not an instantaneous method of transferring funds.
- Cheques written can be dishonoured.
Other Deposit Methods
The payment methods listed above are by no means exhaustive, and certain gambling sites such as William Hill will also accept payments from other methods including:
- UseMyFunds (online instant payment)
- ClickandBuy (E-Wallet)
- Webmoney (online electronic money system)
- iDebit (online banking transfers)
Members from other countries are also free to gamble using foreign bank accounts including:
- Trustpay (Eastern Europe)
- Sofort (Germany and Austria)
- AstroPayCard (Brazil)
- Moneta.ru (Russia)
- Nordea (Sweden and Finland)
- Multibanko (Portugal)
- Teleingreso (Spain)
- ToditoCash (Mexico)
- Poli (Australia and New Zealand)