Anyone who has more than a passing interesting in betting online will doubtless have heard of eWallets. Just because you’ve heard of something, though, doesn’t mean that you know how it works. eWallets are essentially electronic wallets (sometimes with physical or virtual cards attached to it) that allow users to make transactions using a mobile phone, tablet, computer or other device that has internet access, promising a fast and secure service.
Effectively an eWallet acts as an intermediary. You can add funds to it using your debit card and then use those funds to deposit to bookmakers and casinos online.
There are pros and cons to using them for your gambling needs, including the fact that they can be more anonymous and offer a decent alternative to using debit cards for the purpose. This means that gambling transactions won’t show up directly on your bank statement, for example, and they are also useful for keeping track of profit and loss by keeping all betting transaction in one place. There is also an arguement that they are more secure for those who bet with multiple sites, as you do not need to add your card details to each site, just to the eWallet.
There are drawback though, for example, with many you won’t be able to take advantage of some welcome offers and existing customer promotions. Fees are also charged in some instances. There are reasons to use them, but also reasons not to, as we’ll explore here.
What Are eWallets
Literally standing for ‘electronic wallet’, eWallets give customers the ability to store funds online and use those funds for electronic transactions – in fact, many will allow you to also have physical cards attached to the account so you can use these to spend offline too (e.g. in a betting shop or land based casino).
As well as giving punters the ability to pay for shopping online, say, they can also be used to transfer money into online betting accounts. The funds can be spent in any currency, which gives users a degree of flexibility in terms of how the eWallet is used and what it’s used for.
eWallets work in a similar way to any form of online payment, which is to say that they’re linked to bank accounts and take money from them in order to make payments. Depending on the eWallet service used, you can transfer money onto them in a number of different ways. If you’re hoping to use your eWallet for betting, though, the United Kingdom Gambling Commission insists that betting companies only accept eWallets that ban credit card deposits. Credit cards were banned in April 2020 for use on gambling services.
Popular eWallets For Gambling Transactions
Before we get into the pros and cons of using an eWallet for all of your betting needs, let’s first have a look at some of the most popular eWallets and what you need to know about them:
Unquestionably the most popular of all eWallets on the market, PayPal began life in 1998 as a company called Confinity. At the turn of the millennium, Confinity merged with X.com, which was owned by Elon Musk, before it was eventually bought by eBay in 2002 for an astonishing $1.5 billion. eBay decided to introduce the payment method as the predominant one for its online sales and purchases, with the company growing from there.
PayPal is a popular service for customers, not least of all because of its quick registration method and ease of use. It’s less popular for merchants, however, because it charges high fees and therefore isn’t always available for use with online betting companies. If you’re the sort of person that only really uses the main betting sites and avoids smaller ones then PayPal is a good eWallet to get started with.
Once known as Moneybookers, Skrill is probably the second-best known eWallet after PayPal and is therefore just as convenient to use. It was set up during the early 2000s and was initially aimed at bettors who wanted to be able to gamble using one account. It is a more popular service than PayPal as far as online gambling companies are concerned for the simply reason that it charges them much lower fees for transactions.
Skrill was bought out by the Optimum Payments Group in 2015, which is the parent company that also owns one of the other eWallets that we’ll mention here, NeTeller. Payments are fast and extremely secure, with the Skrill 1-Tap service allowing users to transfer money around with just the tap of a button. That is obviously a good thing for people that are in a rush because they want to place a bet quickly, say.
Owned by the same company that bought Skrill in 2015, there are massive similarities between the two eWallets. It is one of the most trusted services around, meaning that it offers the positives of Skrill alongside the brand recognition and trustworthiness of PayPal. This means that you can use your NeTeller account more broadly than just for betting, which isn’t always the case with Skrill.
The company itself processes transactions virtually instantly, meaning that any delay to you receiving the money into your eWallet is down to the betting company that you’re using. Ironically, despite being more widely available away from gambling, if your sole purpose for using an eWallet is for betting then Skrill is probably the better option. It’s a close run thing, though, and NeTeller lets you use things like Bitcoin for payments.
The PaySafeCard is arguably more of a pre-paid card than an eWallet, given that you need to buy vouchers that have pre-printed codes that allow you to top up your card for online transactions. Even so, it is worth mentioning because it is another option open to bettors that are looking to make their gambling a little bit more secure or to add more control over how much they’re spending on their betting habit.
You can also create a MyPaySafeCard account, this lets you store your cash voucher numbers electronically, meaning with some sites you can even withdraw using the method if you have this facility.
PaySafeCard is loved by many for the simple reason that it allows them to make transactions and follow how much they’re spending. It’s also good because it gives people the ability to translate physical cash into something that can be spent online without having to open a bank account. This can add a layer of anonymity for those that don’t wish to advertise the fact that they’re spending money on betting. Note, however, that even if you use PaySafeCard to bet online in cash you will still need to verify yourself with the site.
The Pros Of Using An eWallet
As mentioned elsewhere on this page, there are pros and cons to using eWallets. The first one that will jump out at many of you is the fact that it allows you to add money to various betting accounts without such a thing showing up on your bank statements. There are numerous reasons why someone might not want their gambling habits to appear on their bank statements, including the fact that it can damage your ability to apply for things like mortgages.
Another big reason some people turn to eWallets for their betting is that they allow them to keep track of the profits and losses. When you use your normal bank account for the purpose of betting, it’s really easy for the ins and outs to get lost in amongst all of your other daily and weekly transactions. The same isn’t true when using an eWallet, especially if you’re using it for the dedicated purpose of gambling.
One of the other big positives of using an eWallet is that you can use multiple funding sources to top it up, rather than just one main bank account. Though you’re not allowed to use credit cards any more, you can top up your eWallet funds from the likes of your debit card as well as your PayPal account if you’re using NeTeller or Skrill, say. You’ll still only have one payment method with your bookmaker, though, which makes life easier.
Finally on the positive front, the fact that transactions are so rapid can never be a bad thing. With debit cards, you will often be waiting for days for a withdrawal that you’ve made to hit your bank account. Indeed, sometimes you’ll be waiting so long that you’ve made another deposit to your betting account before the withdrawal has even arrived. With eWallets, however, the transactions are virtually immediate, which is a big help in keeping track of your ins and outs.
The final benefit is security. With an eWallet you only need to add your debit card details once meaning there is less chance of those details being hacked if one of the betting sites you use is compromised. It also makes updating your payment details much easier when you get a new card, as you only need to update it in one place.
The Cons Of Using eWallets
It’s not all sunshine and lollipops when it comes to using eWallets, with one of the biggest downsides being that gambling companies often don’t allow punters to take advantage of offers and promotions if they use eWallets to get money into their betting accounts. This is because people have used them to abuse such promotions and offers in the past, meaning that bookmakers are wary of them now.
That means that you’ll have to weigh up the positives of using an eWallet against the negative of missing out on promotional funds from time to time. You can use a card for transactions that involve you taking advantage of an offer and then an eWallet for other transactions, but that can defeat the point of using an eWallet in the first place. If in doubt, check your company of choice’s terms and conditions.
eWallets also charge fees that you won’t get charged by a bank for using your debit card. The fees often don’t come from the bookmakers for depositing or withdrawing funds, but rather from the eWallet itself when you want to add or withdraw funds. They’re rarely sky high, but make withdrawals and deposits often enough and they soon start to add to up, so it’s something worth considering if you’re thinking of using one. eWallets also tend to have higher minimum and lower maximum funding limits vs debit cards.
The final thing to think about on the negative front is the fact that not all online betting companies allow their use. This means that you’re putting yourself in a position where you might be limiting how many online companies you can bet with because you’ve chosen to use an eWallet rather than a traditional bank account. It’s really a matter of personal choice whether the positives outweigh the negatives or vice-versa.