The online betting market is growing at an exponential rate. Part of the reason for its continued success is the ease with which customers are now able to fund their account. Most bookmakers started out by just offering debit/credit cards and bank transfers as methods for customers to add to their betting balance, but the deposit options are now in double figures with some of the more established firms. An increasingly popular way to deposit is using Paysafecard and Ukash vouchers.
Paysafecard and Ukash vouchers let customers fund their accounts online as if they were paying in cash. There is no need for any personal financial information to be input into any website – individuals simply need to buy a voucher at any one of over 500,000 outlets around the world, and then type in the 16 digit code into the payment window of the online bookmaker.
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Paysafecard were originally owned by Wertkarten AG, an Austrian firm, but were purchased by Skrill (Moneybookers), one of the biggest online payment providers, in 2012. In late 2014, Skrill also acquired Ukash, making them a powerful player in the prepaid voucher market. Ukash vouchers have still been valid so far in 2015, but from the 31st August 2015, they will no longer be available for sale. Customers who have Ukash vouchers will need to use them before the 31st October 2015, before they become invalid. However, those holding Ukash vouchers can request a refund for up to 7 years after the codes have been issued (they may be subject to fees). Unfortunately, Ukash vouchers issued in South Africa or Brazil cannot be refunded due to banking regulations in the respective countries.
While depositing with a pre-paid voucher is an easy process, unfortunately there is no way to withdraw funds back to a Paysafecard as it is solely used for funding betting accounts. Customers who want to withdraw their winnings that were obtained after using Paysafecards for deposits are usually offered the option of a bank transfer or a cheque by bookmakers.
Advantages and Disadvantages
There are obvious advantages to using a pre-paid cash voucher, including:
Security: Some bettors are reluctant to enter their card details or their bank account information into online betting websites (especially new sites or those that are not an established name), for fear of their information being compromised. A voucher enables customers to add to their balance without any security fears.
Anonymity: In countries where gambling is illegal, using a Paysafecard is a great way to retain anonymous and escape any sanctions from authorities. Although the rigour with which illegal gambling is policed varies significantly by country, it is a case of better safe than sorry, as betting transactions on a bank statement can be reported. Furthermore, banks in some countries won’t even accept payments to betting sites, so finding an alternative is a necessity. There is always the risk of being found out when the bookmaker wires back the winnings to a bank account or issues a cheque, but there is less chance of being caught out than if using a card/bank account for deposit/withdrawal.
Separation/Control: Using a Paysafecard helps bettors separate their gambling money from their day to day spending. It also enables individuals to control their betting activities and avoids them spending more than they can afford.
Naturally, there are a few drawbacks of using Paysafecards:
Time Consuming: Individuals using Paysafecards have to visit a shop that sells the vouchers before they can deposit online.
Availability: Paysafecards are not available everywhere, and people who live in more remote locations/countries may have a difficult time getting hold of them.
Limited Spending: With credit/debit cards or bank transfers, customers can quickly add to their account in the event they find something extra they want to bet on, or there are not enough funds to cover all of their fancies. While the Paysafecard can be good for controlling betting amounts, it can also be inconvenient for those who need to get a bet on quickly but have run out of money.
Paysafecard really is an attractive way for bettors to safely fund their betting accounts. With the recent merger and with an established force such as Skrill behind the operation, the strength of the Paysafecard brand should only continue to grow.
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