Poker Deposit Options & Banking Methods

The bottleneck for American poker players isn’t the federal or individual state gambling laws. You’d think it is, with the news of all these states against online poker, turning down progressive bills for intrastate poker.

But, no, the real bottleneck for players is the banking. You can thank the UIGEA for that. Because of the laws passed in 2006, it’s been harder than ever to fund your account. Players have to deal with declines, problems with their banks and excessive delays. Worse yet, not every banking method is available. So often times if there is a specific banking method you want to use, it will dictate where you play, and vice versa.

So what’s the next step from here? What can you do to make this bottleneck bigger, and easier to pass through?

Well, I recommend first knowing what deposit options are available to you. Learn how to use them, the pros and cons of each, if there are fees and how quick they clear your account on average. Then choose one or two that best fit your needs, cross your fingers and hope that you can find something that fits.

Given our site is all about helping USA poker players find the best sites, this site wouldn’t be complete without providing information on how to deposit and withdraw your winnings online. So what you’ll find below is a list of deposit options that you can use today to fund your account. Each option will have a description of the service. You should use that to determine which option you like best, then follow the links to pages with more in-depth information. Further below that I explain the general process to depositing and withdrawing from online poker sites, as well as which options are the fastest and most convenient to use.

Deposit Options for USA Poker Players

The following are the deposit options that US players can use to fund their accounts. We’ve included a brief description of each. Find the option that appeals most to you, then click on the link to learn more about it.

Money Transfer - – A money transfer has the most involved process of any deposit method on this list. Using this option you’ll need to get some details from the poker site, then take them to your local money transfer office. You’ll give them the details, money you wish to transfer and a nominal fee. Money transfers are relatively quick, which balances the fees in my opinion, but still are inconvenient compared to the other options on the list. Probably best used as a back up, if possible.

You have two options for money transfer services.

Instant Echeck –- An echeck is a virtual paper check. You’ll give the bank your account number, routing number, check number, other bank details and they’ll accept and process your check. Unlike a paper check, however, many banks will not make you wait until it clears before you have the money. They’ll float you the cash, especially if you’ve successfully used echecks in the past.

Credit, Debit or Prepaid Cards – Nearly every poker room accepts a form of plastic. Using a bank card is hands down your best option due to their speed and convenience. Your biggest challenge with credit cards is dealing with the occasional question or decline from your bank. That said, many of our recommended poker sites have high acceptance rates, and you can always get a cash out using a paper check. So those ‘issues” are minor.

Here are the most accepted types of bank cards:

Visa & Prepaid Visa cards are the most accepted option, followed by MasterCard and American Express.

Bank Transfer or Wire – A bank transfer / wire is an electronic transfer of your funds from one bank account to another. These can take a few hours to 5-7 business days to complete. You also involve your bank. However, you can use transfers and wires for both deposits and withdrawals. The worst part are the fees – wire can cost $20-$100 or so, with my previous wires costing me about $30.

How to Transfer Your Bankroll To/From Online Poker Sites

Transferring money from your bank to your poker account, and vice versa, is a straight forward process. With the exception of money transfers, the process of making a deposit or withdrawal should only take a couple of minutes.

In all cases you’ll need to visit the cashier. Choose the option you wish to use. Each banking option will have it’s own requirements. For example:

  • Credit Cards – You’ll need your card handy so that you can enter in your card number, expiration date and security code.
  • Echecks - – You’ll want your checkbook on hand so that you can enter in your check, account and routing number.
  • Bank Transfer or Wire - – You’ll need your bank name, address, routing number, account number, SWIFT/IBAN codes, etc.
  • Money Transfer - – Name of person picking up the money, address, phone number, etc.

For most of these options you can just collect your card, checkbook or account information and enter it there on the spot. Other options, such as the money or bank transfer, might require that you go to your local money transfer office or bank.

Withdrawing, when available, will be identical to depositing, only in reverse.

In any case, with any deposit/withdraw option, if you ever need help all you need to do is contact support. They’ll help you in any way they can with your banking situation.

Which Banking Method is the Best?

All banking options will have their ups and downs. There isn’t a 100% perfect solution. However, in terms of speed, efficiency, the size of the deposit and convenience, some options are definitely better than others. Lets look at those now.

Best (and Fastest) Poker Deposit Option

The best deposit option to use is a credit card. Seriously. With the rare exception (due to your bank), credit, debit and prepaid cards have no fees, relatively high deposit limits and instant approval. It literally takes minutes between making your deposit and sitting down to play. Bank cards are also the most readily available option compared to the others on our list.

The option I’d avoid, or just use as a backup, would be bank transfers. They’re the slowest of all the options, open the door to your bank finding out where your money is going, and they have the highest fees.

Best (and Fastest) Poker Withdrawal Option

There aren’t that many “great” withdrawal options for American players. However, if I had to choose an option it’d be a money transfer. The money transfers quickly, usually in a day or two (maybe 3). The fees are relatively low, and can be waived if you’re moving enough money back/forth. You also remove your bank from the process, which I’m a big fan of. You don’t have to try to cash a check and hope that 1) they accept it, and 2) the check clears. You can walk out with cash-in-hand at a money transfer store.

The worst option is credit cards, only because it’s not an option. That’s followed by the paper check, which we don’t cover here. You might get a paper check for free, but it can take weeks or even months to receive it. Then you have to wonder if it’ll clear. A bank wire would tie the paper check for 2nd worst, but only because of the fees. It definitely beats the paper check in regards to how quickly you'll receive your funds (2-5 days).