Credit Cards for Online Poker

Can I Deposit with a Credit Card?

To online gamblers outside of the US, the answer is mostly “Yes.” To US citizens, it’s “Maybe.” In short, the only way to find out is to try since it varies on case-by-case basis. We ran a mini-survey in February 2015 by e-mailing five well-known US online poker sites and asking how often card deposits go through at their respective sites.

Here are the results: 60-70% ~70% ~75% ~70% 50-60%

If you look at several US internet poker rooms, you’ll quickly notice how Visa is easily the most widely accepted card while Mastercard is on the second place and American Express well after those two. Sometimes, though, you’ll find out that a site accepts more credit card brands than the ones mentioned on their websites.

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What’s the Problem?

Depositing successfully to US poker sites with a credit, debit or a gift card has been uncertain for several years already. In 2006, the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act became a law.

US citizens are still depositing money online gambling sites but doing so got more difficult since the UIGEA. Now, US credit card companies and issuers decline all transactions that may be related to unlawful gambling – in fact, they’re so strict about this policy that even customers at legal and licensed US poker sites are having trouble with their card deposits.

If credit card companies and issuers have no idea of the intent of the transaction – in other words, that it will be used for online gambling purposes – they have little reason to decline it unless it raises flags for something else that’s considered illegal. To hide the intent of transactions, online poker companies use other companies as sort of payment processors in order to make it look like the transaction concerns something legal (here’s a fascinating interview with Chad Elie which details how he worked as a payment processor for Full Tilt Poker when they operated in the US).

How to Cashout a Credit Card Deposit?

Generally, the only way to withdraw money from USA poker websites after making a credit, debit or gift card deposit is to order a check. While a card deposit delivers money to your player account instantly, check cashouts can take several weeks to process. Only the most trusted US online poker rooms deliver check payouts within two weeks (as of right now, Bovada has the fastest check cashouts at around 10 days).

Alternative Deposit Options

If using a credit, debit or gift card is unavailable or fails to work, are there any deposit methods left for US citizens? Yes. Money transfer services like Western Union seem to be getting increasingly popular as they’re not subject to failure rates like credit cards, and they simply get the job done.

You can fund a money transfer service account by depositing money to an online account by, for example, using a credit card (the same one that might have been declined at an online poker website). The other option is to go to one of their live locations and deposit the money there. Money withdrawals can also be done either online or live.

Money transfer deposits cost more than card deposits (in general, at least) but in many cases poker sites are willing to cover the deposit costs if the size of the deposit is big enough. On the flipside, money transfer withdrawals are faster than check withdrawals.

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