In most regions of the world, moving funds to and from an online poker site is an uncomplicated task. A plethora of payment methods are provided; everything from credit cards and bank transfers to a multitude of e-wallet solutions. In the United States, viable payment options are significantly reduced, and depending on the user’s bank of choice, may be further tapered to just one or two feasible methods.
Credit cards are by far the most popular way to make a deposit at just about every poker site the world wide web has to offer. However, US poker players often receive a rejection notice when attempting to make credit card deposits. This common problem rarely has anything to do with an insufficient fund status, but rather a defiance to process the transaction. That defiance originates from the financial institution that issued the credit card. In layman’s terms, the player’s bank is refusing to facilitate transfers with any known online poker operator.
Traditionally, when credit card acceptance was denied, Visa Prepaid Gift Cards became the preferred modus of deposit. Prepaid cards were simple because they could be used just like a Visa credit or debit card, so long as the poker site listed gift cards as a viable payment method. That all began to change in late 2010 when some players began to complain that their gift cards were being rejected. The reason for the rejection was so mysterious that even most customer support reps couldn’t identify the problem. Visa’s staff members referred callers to the bank that issued the card, while banks referred them back to the Visa support line, each denying responsibility.
Eventually, getting ahold of a more knowledgeable staff member led to a possible root of the problem – a clandestine federal law that was passed on August 17, 2010, supposedly prohibiting the use of certain prepaid cards for international purposes. Multiple card holders were told the same thing – a “federal law” passed on “August 17, 2010” – but despite in-depth research, no such federal law could be found.
Proposals to enact laws to prevent smuggling / money laundering via prepaid cards were introduced several times, but none were enacted. The only federal law that comes anywhere near mirroring the claims of Visa support reps is the Credit Card Accountability Responsibility and Disclosure Act (Credit CARD Act) of 2009, which was amended multiple times over the next two years including a provision that went into effect on August 22, 2010, but that dealt with rate increases and the imposition of reasonable fees. (Read more on the Aug. 22, 2010 Federal and State Gift Certificate and Gift Card Law here.)
Whatever the reason, Visa Prepaid Gift Cards gradually became less effective, as reported by more and more online poker players over time. Eventually, the issue was address by Visa Inc. as well, but instead of mentioning the viability of international payments (which many gift cards still claim to be practicable right on the packaging), the company altered its consumer agreement and related FAQs to state customers cannot use prepaid gift cards for online gaming purposes. And with that, most US poker sites stopped listing them as an optional payment method.
Enter Stage Right – Visa Prepaid Vouchers
With Visa’s gift cards off the menu, some online poker operators have integrated a similar alternative; one that is perhaps even more convenient for internet gamers. It’s called a 3V Visa Prepaid Voucher and can be used to “buy anything online where Visa is accepted”. There is no stipulation in the terms that explicitly prohibits purchases related to online gambling, as is found with a Visa Prepaid Gift Card. Thus it’s become the newest modus of poker deposits for US players.
How to Purchase and Use a Visa Prepaid Voucher for Poker
There are multiple online websites peddling 3V Visa Vouchers, but poker sites that offer this method of payment generally link directly to a secure purchasing website for added convenience and peace of mind. To start the process, players can login to the poker site, visit the Deposit page and click on the link provided to purchase an instant Visa Voucher.
A prepaid Visa Voucher can be purchased online with any Visa credit or debit card. Thus, in reality, online poker players are able to use their Visa card to make deposits at poker sites, albeit indirectly. The fee for purchasing a Visa Voucher varies depending on the amount being loaded. The following chart depicts the optional prepaid amounts and associate fees:
$30 Prepaid Visa Voucher, $3.95 Fee (Total $33.95)
$50 Prepaid Visa Voucher, $4.95 Fee (Total $54.95)
$100 Prepaid Visa Voucher, $5.95 Fee (Total $105.95)
$150 Prepaid Visa Voucher, $5.95 Fee (Total $155.95)
After adding the desired voucher to the virtual shopping cart, the player is asked to enter their full name, email address and telephone number, followed by billing information. Players should be sure to double check all information, especially the email address as this is where the voucher code will be delivered. Once the purchase is complete, an email is instantly sent out with the 16-digit voucher code.
Returning to the poker site’s deposit page, the player can then click the ‘Redeem’ option to complete the deposit by entering the voucher code found in their email. Confirmation takes only a few seconds—the same as using a credit card—after which the funds are instantly available for use in the poker site.