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Among the most popular deposit methods at online casinos today, debit cards function very much like credit cards. The difference, of course, is that funds for debit transactions are drawn directly from a checking account, rather than from an interest-bearing line of credit. In this sense, debit cards have all of the benefits of credit cards—quick, convenient, easy and secure—but with fewer associated costs and processing steps.
Deposits made via debit cards are typically free of any fees. Funds are often available immediately and usually within minutes, although the very first deposit made with such a card may be subject to an approval process that can take as much as an hour or two. In most cases, funds transferred to an online casino account via debit card are eligible for any sign-up bonuses or deposit matching promotions.
Debit cards are especially welcomed by online casinos focused on residents of the U.K. and European nations. They are somewhat less widely accepted by U.S-facing gambling websites, owing to the restrictions imposed on American financial institutions by the Unlawful Internet Gambling and Enforcement Act (UIGEA) in October 2006. The law barred them from accepting “payments in connection with the participation of another person in a bet or wager that involves the use of the Internet and that is unlawful under any federal or state law.”
Gambling websites that readily accept debit cards include Europa, Virgin, Ladbrokes, Bet365, Cherry Red, 888 Casino, Rushmore, Slots Oasis, Bodog and many, many more. Following are the types of debit cards most commonly accepted for making deposits by casinos online.
Visa Debit – Also known as the Visa Check card in the USA or Visa Delta in Europe, Visa Debit cards are connected to users’ personal checking accounts. Because it is overseen by Visa, the card is accepted anywhere a Visa credit card would be accepted, and Visa is by far the most widely accepted brand by online casinos. The problem is that the issuing financial institution has the right to disapprove transactions with online gambling websites, so there is a chance difficulties may occur when making deposits, especially for U.S.-issued cards.
Visa Electron – This version of Visa Debit is an internationally recognized card available in Europe, Africa, the Middle East and other regions, but not in the United States, Australia or Canada even though it can be used anywhere Visa credit cards are accepted. Visa Electron card accounts may not be overdrawn. The system will not allow spending beyond the amount in the connected checking account. For this reason, many offline terminals do not support Visa Electron, although those online do.
MasterCard Debit – Since 2010, MasterCard has been coding credit cards in order to filter transactions that go into gambling websites. Most of its issuing institutions have stopped accepting all U.S.-related gaming transactions. This has caused some concerns and occasional difficulties for MasterCard Debit card holders outside the United States, although a great many sites still accept MasterCard Debit connected to personal checking accounts outside American borders.
Maestro (Switch) – Maestro is an international debit card owned by MasterCard. As such, it is not available for U.S. players. Throughout Europe, Maestro has replaced the former Eurocheque system. It has also taken over the brand known as Switch in the U.K. Although it does not have a credit function, Maestro can be used for making deposits at a great number of credit card casinos, as long as the funds to be deposited are already be available in the user’s bank account.
Solo Card – Similar to Maestro, Solo cards are issued by the same institutions and provide an alternative funding option for account holders who fail to qualify for the regular Maestro card. Theses debit cards are not backed by MasterCard and no overdrafts are allowed. Although Solo cards are available exclusively in the U.K., they are accepted as Maestro cards in other countries. Among online casinos, Bet365 and the majority of those powered by Microgaming software accept Solo cards.
Laser Card – Established in 1996 and based in Ireland with some three million cards in circulation, this debit card brand is a competitor to Visa and MasterCard. It is primarily used as an electronic point-of-sale (POS) debit card, which can also be used for telephone and Internet transactions, including a large number on online casinos.
Carte Bleue (“Blue Card”) – This French debit card is primarily used for retail transactions in France, but its variation known as Carte Bleue Visa Electron is available for use internationally. The brand has been around since in 1973 and is accepted by many online casinos, especially in continental Europe, although it may not be used by U.S. customers for gambling transactions.
Visa Alternatives – Available in the U.S., prepaid debit cards can often be used as solution at some online casinos where Visa is accepted but there is a depositing problem. Such cards include the Wal-Mart Money Card and the so-called “Wired Plastic Card,” also known as the Wired Plastic Visa Prepaid Card issued by Bancorp Bank.