The first of Pennsylvania’s online gambling sites are soon to go live. Upon launch, these casinos and sports betting sites will offer a variety of methods for transferring money into and out of player accounts.
Existing websites in other U.S. markets provide a standard model upon which we can base assumptions for Pennsylvania. Every major site can be expected to have a similar array of options for instant electronic transactions, third-party processing methods such as eWallets, a handful of face-to-face cash channels, and a framework for convenient and reliable withdrawals of your winnings.
The good news for Pennsylvania players is that other U.S. markets have already gone through the trials and tribulations of setting up and optimizing their banking methods. Pennsylvania will have learned from this process, and combined with the growing acceptance of legal U.S. online gambling among banking institutions and third-party processors, players should be able to claim their first-time deposit bonuses in a jif.
Listed below is a snapshot of all the available depositing methods we expect to see in the PA sports betting, online casino, and online poker gambling markets.
Instant transfer from checking accounts
- ACH transfer: ACH transfers, also referred to as eChecks, are the preferred option for bettors with checking accounts, as they feature solid limits and high acceptance rates. Many casino and sportsbook operators may have this listed as VIP Preferred, an ACH service offered by the Global Payments company (a common partner for online gambling sites.) With ACH transfers, funds are available instantly, although may not be taken from your bank right away. This will likely be among the most common depositing options used, and should be available on every site.
- Online bill pay: This is another common checking option, that is nearly as good as an ACH transfer pending you have both activated the feature with your bank (many but not all offer it). Transactions may or may not be slower than eChecks.
Best bet? We have to go with ACH transfers on this one, as they generally allow for higher limits and wider acceptance. Not only that, but online banking transfers require you to login to your bank via a portal from the online gambling site. It’s not the biggest deal in the world, but players will notice those few extra keystrokes compared to ACH transfers, which simply task players with entering their account info exactly once.
- Credit or debit card: Credit card transactions are also typically offered by all sites, though generally limited only to Visa or MasterCard. Deposits are still easy and electronic, though may be slightly slower or subject to a tighter limit than checking transfers. Also, in some case use of credit/debit cards may be blocked by your particular bank.
- Prepaid card: Most online gambling sites will offer their own prepaid credit card account branded to the site (or, in the case of some operators, the network). Online sportsbooks are quickly adopting this feature as well. Money is transferred by other means onto the card (usually a checking account or debit card), and from there to your site account. While this puts an additional layer between you and your money, it can sometimes help to circumvent single-transaction limits (also, daily limits are fairly high, though monthly limits can be lower than expected).
Best bet? Tough call. On one hand, credit/debit card transactions are the ultimate in convenience. However, the acceptance rates on deposit are probably the lowest of any payment method, and you cannot withdraw to them. That, and sometimes, the issuing bank will bill credit card transactions as a cash advance, meaning depositors will get hit with a fee.
On the other hand, prepaid cards take a few extra steps to set up, and require that you have a debit/credit card or checking account on hand in which to fund the card. That said, players do not need to have the physical card on hand to utilize this method (a common misconception), so there is no need to wait until it drops in the mail. Also, prepaid cards can typically be used wherever Discover is accepted and at ATM machines.
Given this, we have to give the edge to the prepaid cards, except of course in the case where a player is able to successfully load via a debit card.
- PayPal: Likely the most popular eWallet in the U.S., PayPal was not initially a deposit option when many existing NJ online casinos launched, much to the detriment of the industry. After spreadly slowly, PayPal is now nearly everywhere, and will likely be available for most PA sites. Transfers are fast and limits tend to be high, making this probably by far the easiest option for existing PayPal users. One small limitation is that the email on your PayPal account should match the one used on the casino or sportsbook account.
- NETELLER: A very popular service for gamblers outside the U.S., NETELLER is extremely secure and tends to have very high limits for transfers to the casinos and sportsbooks. However, there may be stricter limits on how much money you’ll be able to load onto NETELLER at any given time. Unfortunately fees are a bit on the high end, making this service less appealing than PayPal.
- Skrill: Skrill is essentially the same as NETELLER, though available at slightly less sites.
Best bet? PayPal and it’s not even close, that is, unless you’re trying to get a whopping amount of money (more than $5,000) onto an online gambling site all at once. Most aren’t.
Most online gambling sites have it so a secure PayPal portal is opened directly via the depositing interface, from which players will have to click exactly twice before completing their fee-free transaction. Funds are then loaded instantaneously to the online sportsbook or gambling site. Convenient.
PayPal is also known for its stellar acceptance rates and fast turnarounds on withdrawal requests. In the New Jersey market it’s gotten to the point where players that withdraw via PayPal can expect their money is as little as one business day. We anticipate the same level of reliability and speed in Pennsylvania.
Admittedly, PayPal isn’t perfect in that players cannot use funds that were deposited to PayPal via credit card (to discourage money laundering), and that they must use a personal account that is preferably tied to the same email address as their sports wagering or iGaming account. But these are very minor quibbles in the grand scheme of things.
- PayNearMe: Gamblers that prefer to keep their banking information offline, will be happy to know that there is usually a local cash-in-hand option. After setting up a PayNearMe deposit, the player simply travels to a convenient location (usually the nearest 7-Eleven store, though CVS and Family Dollar is also common) and provides an authorization code (printed or on smartphone) and the proper amount of cash to the retail clerk. This method typically has a limit of $500 a day.
- Cash at the cage: In the case of players who happen to be at or near a brick-and-mortar casino or sportsbook, a visit to the cashiers cage will allow you to instantly transfer cash money (or check, or plastic) with practically no limit. This is the least physically convenient option, except when it isn’t.
Best bet? We’ll go with the cop-out answer and say “it depends.” Fact is, most of Pennsylvania’s casinos are located in the main population centers of Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and the Poconos, meaning that a large portion of the state’s population will live within striking distance of a casino cage. Not to mention, casino cages also allow for higher deposits than PayNearMe and allow for withdrawals.
On the flip side, eligible PayNearMe locations are spread all throughout the eastern part of Pennsylvania, so for some, it will prove the more convenient option. Those who live in Western PA, however, will be largely out of luck.
The above options will suffice for nearly all cases, but under rare circumstances where none are suitable a player can sometimes use wire transfers or mailed paper checks. These alternative methods can be expected to be slower and more complicated to arrange. Checks will be extremely slow, and wire transfers often subject to serious fees.
Not every method for depositing your money is also suitable for collecting your winnings. To transfer money back out of your account, players are usually limited to:
- ACH transfer (VIP Preferred)
- Prepaid Card
- Cashier’s Cage
- Paper check issued to the player by mail.
Of these, ACH eChecks and PayPal are very convenient. Though occasionally subject to small delays (we’re talking a day or two), the turnaround is usually lightning quick. NETELLER and Skrill are again subject to significant fees.
An important caveat here is that typically an electronic withdrawal method is only allowed if you previously used that same method to deposit your money. If you used a method not listed above or your original option is no longer suitable, expect to have to request a paper check by mail.
Also, players will typically have to verify their withdrawal method before utilizing it. This usually entails uploading a copy of your driver’s license, banking statement, PayPal statement, or other relevant document onto the online gambling or sports betting site. Gambling operators will only ask you to do this the first time you withdraw via a selected method; all subsequent withdrawal requests will be handled without any hangups.
What are the most reliable methods?
Using the sites prepaid card option should work nearly 100%, with PayPal a close second. ACH transfers are reliable around 90% of the time.
Of course the only surefire method is cash delivery methods such as PayNearMe and Cash at the Casino Cage, but the downside here is that making deposits via these methods will require a measure of travel.
Why is my PayPal account being blocked?
Be certain you are using a personal account, PayPal Business or Premier accounts will not be allowed. Also, confirm that your e-mail address and user information is consistent between your PayPal and your casino/sportsbook account information.
It’s also plausible that you hit your daily, weekly, or monthly deposit limit. Check with the gambling site to see what these limits are. In some cases, you can request higher limits.
Is there any way to expedite my withdrawal?
If you are ready to cash out, be prepared with additional personal information as the operator is likely to be extra cautious about money that leaves its hands. You may need to upload identifying documentation, such as a scanned photo ID or a pdf of a bank statement (commonly needed for ACH withdrawal). Fortunately these requirements are a one-time situation, and future withdrawals should go even more smoothly.
If you really need a withdrawal processed quickly, ask support to see if they can hurry things up. We’ve tried this and at times, it works, with the online gambling site processing our request almost immediately. Of course, we still had to wait for the funds to hit our accounts, but that only took a day or two, at most.
Is there any way to cut down on these NETELLER fees?
Yes, use PayPal instead. That said, the processing fees on NETELLER transactions aren’t terrible, typically hovering around 2.5%.
Do note, that online gambling sites never charge payment processing fees, which can’t be said about illegal offshore sites. Instead, the fees come from the issuing bank or third-party processor.
Whenever possible, try to utilize a method that doesn’t charge fees, like PayPal, ACH, or the prepaid card option, first.
What is the minimum deposit allowed?
Typically minimum deposits via most methods are $10, though on some sites ACH transfers or credit cards may have a minimum of $20.
Generally, though, new users will want to make larger deposits to take advantage of our first-time deposit promotions.
I want to maximize my deposit bonus, but I’m hitting the limit for my preferred method?
Generally, strict limits are set by your bank or credit card company, not the casino or sportsbook. However, if you contact live support for the gambling site a customer service representative can often authorize combining two deposits via different methods (as long as you haven’t started betting the money already).
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