Online Deposits & Withdrawals Explained
By Zac Ormley
UK poker players can enjoy totally legal real-money poker online. But with so much freedom, it can be difficult choosing a deposit or withdrawal method that's right for you.
Luckily, at most UK-facing poker rooms, you'll find a wide and safe variety of banking options. Plus, many carry no fees if you're a UK player.
Let's take a closer look at loading up your account the fastest and cheapest way possible.
Making a Deposit
Every top UK poker room lets you make deposits and withdrawals in Sterling. For an idea of what you can deposit, and how, always check out the Cashier page before you open an account.
While not exclusive, most poker sites allow deposits via debit cards and credit cards. UK favourites like Solo, VISA Debit and Maestro can all be used to deposit cash straight from your bank account. The minimum limits are pretty low, around £5-10, and funds generally appear instantly.
Before using a card, you'll have to register it with the poker room. From then on, you can make deposits freely.
Major credit cards like VISA and MasterCard (and in some cases, AMEX and Diners Club) are generally accepted at poker rooms. Prepare yourself for the added level of security that sometimes comes with using a credit card on the web. With VISA, it's called Verified By VISA, and with MasterCard it's known as SecureCode. This is simply an added level of security laid on by your card provider.
Digital e-Wallets allow users to use a single account to buy goods online and send money. The beauty of an e-Wallet is that you can fund your account with multiple credit and debit cards, or another e-Wallet.
Deposits and withdrawals are fairly quick, and because you never share card details with the poker room it's more secure.
Bank Wires / Cheques
Poker players without cards can load their accounts by transferring cash direct from their bank account. Wire transfers can be slow, taking days to appear, and the limits might be quite restrictive. Cheques can also be sent to the poker room. Again, it can often take a month for the funds to clear.
Making a Cash-Out
UK poker players can cash out with a range of options too. Usually, players can use the same debit or credit card they used to deposit with. Again, fees are normally waived for UK-based players.
In some cases (like with a MasterCard) you can only withdraw to the same method you used to deposit. These are sometimes known as "net deposits", and are aimed at fighting money-laundering.
Fees and Processing Times
Withdrawal times vary dramatically from site to site, and from method to method. Always check the site's Cashier page before you deposit any money.
Obviously, players don't want to be kept waiting for their money. But a lot of poker rooms will add on a day or two to any cash-out request. This longer processing period is aimed at players who might change their mind about completing the withdrawal.
With most cards, a 2-5 day wait is standard, while e-Wallet withdrawals can be a little shorter. If you use a credit card, be prepared for some charges as poker site deposits are sometimes treated as "cash advances".
Finally, if you are playing at a site that doesn't support GBP, you may incur some conversion fees when changing Sterling for another currency.
Best Banking Options for UK Players
Choosing a good banking method is about picking one that is right for you. If you have funds, a debit card can be the cheapest and fastest option. If you don't mind the cash advance fees, a credit card might be better. Plus, you can often benefit from added extras from your card provider when you use it online.
If you use an e-Wallet, you won't incur fees at the poker site. However, cashing out of a wallet to a card or bank account will incur charges. There are ways of minimising those fees (like using a Maestro card to withdraw to if you have one) so always check beforehand when you set up an e-Wallet account.
If you're using a card online, it's important to remain safe when gambling at any poker room. Look to the poker room homepage for a security certificate from a reputable body. (You can usually read security certificates on the sites.) These prove that the poker rooms have proper measures in place to protect players' details and card information.
If using a credit or debit card, you will usually be protected if your transaction gets hacked. E-Wallets also have top-level SSL (Secure Socket Layers) security in place to protect your money when you make a transfer.