One of the easiest ways to fund your online poker play if you have a checking account is to use an eCheck. It is fast, you usually only have to set it up the first time and can then use it over and over again if you need to, is relatively safe (and I show you a trick to use to make it almost 100% safe) and has been used by players around the world for years. Find out what an eCheck is and how you can use it below.
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What is eCheck?
An eCheck is an electronic form of a check. Just like the check you write to pay the electric or water bill, it is attached to your bank account and is an instrument of legal tender. But instead of filling it out and dropping it off or mailing it, everything is done electronically. It used to be that paper checks had to be delivered to the bank for the business that accepted them to receive the funds. But now the majority of paper checks are scanned or otherwise converted to an electronic format and the funds are transferred without the bank receiving the actual checks. So converting the entire process into a digital format, the eCheck, was a natural progression. This is excellent news for poker players around the world.
Is It Safe?
Possibly the biggest concern whenever you send money using the Internet is how safe your money and financial details are. To make matters worse, it seems like the news every week includes details of a big security breach or hack where millions of people’s passwords and financial data have been compromised. So you have to understand that there are always risks involved when sending money online. However there are also risks in writing a check at your local supermarket or by using your credit card at the gas station or movie theatre.
Here is the trick I mentioned above to make using an eCheck almost 100% safe. It is one I have used myself.
Simply open a checking account that you only use for online gambling. Though they are getting harder to find, you can still get free checking deals, so if you are going to play poker either way, you might as well take this extra step to protect yourself. You only put the money in this account that you will be using to make a deposit. This way, even if the worst happens and your account information is stolen, the thieves won’t have anything they can get. Even though playing poker online is completely legal in almost every country, there are banking laws and regulations that can cause issues in some places. So don’t tell the bank why you are opening the account. It isn’t any of their business anyway, but there is no reason to make it more difficult than it needs to be.
All of this may sound like it isn’t very safe to use an eCheck, but that isn’t true. All of this information is included to help you have the best experience possible, not to scare you. I have used quite a few different deposit methods and I know tons of other players who have also, and I don’t know of any instances of a payment method creating a security issue.
One other thing to remember is that all someone needs to print off their own checks is a printer, some inexpensive check software and blank checks that are available online and at many office supply stores. Combine this with your routing number, checking account number, bank information and your address and they can print checks on your account. So you need to make sure you protect this information as much as possible.
Are There Fees?
I have never been charged a fee for using an eCheck to fund a poker or casino account, but every poker room and casino has different regulations. Log into the cashier where you are going to deposit and find the eCheck option under deposit methods. If there are any fees they should be listed there.
Why Was My Deposit Declined?
In a perfect world you wouldn’t have to deal with the possibility of an eCheck being declined as long as you had funds in your account. But we don’t live in a perfect world and there are certain circumstances where an eCheck may be turned down. The most likely reason for it to be declined is if your bank has figured out the company you are sending the money to is an online gambling establishment and has decided not to deal with them. While this can be frustrating, there really isn’t anything you can do about it when it happens.
Many checking accounts provide you with a debit card attached to your checking account and these often have either the Visa or MasterCard logos on them. If you have one and your eCheck doesn’t go through, try using your debit card. Sometimes one will work when the other doesn’t.
Another possible issue is created by the lag time between when you initiate the eCheck process and when it actually clears the bank and the funds are deposited into the poker room’s account. This can take up to a week, though it usually happens faster than that. Online poker rooms know that if they can’t get you on the tables as quickly as possible that you may go somewhere else to play, so they usually float you the money while they wait for the deposit to clear. This can create an issue if your bank does decline the transaction, but doesn’t do it very quickly. This is a rare occurrence, but be aware that it is a possibility.
How to Deposit Using eCheck
To make a deposit using an eCheck the first thing to do is open the poker room software and log into your account. Then visit the cashier and choose the eCheck deposit option. You will need to have a paper check, or at least all of the information from one, in front of you in order to get all the numbers you need. You will need to enter the routing number, usually found on the lower left hand section of the check, your account number, usually found to the right of the routing number, your personal details like the address associated with your checking account, and the bank name and address. Some places want your check number as well, but most don’t need it.
You may also need the swift code for the bank, but not always. If you do need the swift code you may be able to find it on the bank’s web site or you may have to call them and ask for it. If you do have to ask them they may want to know why you need it. I tell them that I sometimes receive payments from clients who are overseas, which is true. You do also when you make a withdrawal from a poker room, so this is not a lie. I have had a bank employee or two start to get real nosey and want additional information. This isn’t any of their business, but it is rarely a good idea to get in a fight with your banker, so I will tell them that they are business consulting clients if I am pressed.
Does My Poker Room Take eCheck?
It seems like more and more online poker rooms take eCheck, so the odds are it will be an option for you. But the only way to know for sure is find the list of deposit options on the main poker web site or to look at them in the cashier area of the software.
What Can I Do If My Site Doesn’t Take eCheck?
As I mentioned above, if you can get a debit card that is attached to your checking account you should do so. This will often act just like a credit card and you can use it if the poker room doesn’t take eChecks. Plus you can use a debit card to quickly access your funds after you take your winnings back out of your poker account.
If your poker site does not accept eChecks you can try using a major credit card or one of the online payment wallets like Neteller or Skrill. While people in some countries can’t use Neteller or Skrill, if you are where you can it lets you tie your checking account to the online wallet and use it to transfer money into and out of the poker rooms.
Can I Use eCheck To Withdraw My Winnings?
If you have made a deposit using an eCheck then you can use it to make a withdrawal. This is actually one of the best methods for taking money out because you don’t have to worry about finding someplace to cash a check or anything else. The money is just put straight into your bank account where you can use it for whatever you like. You may have to wait a few days for an eCheck to clear before you can take the funds out. As I mentioned above, it can take up to a week in some circumstance for a check to clear, so the poker room won’t send you any money back before they get paid. This shouldn’t be a big deal under most circumstances, especially if you are aware of it.
Conclusion on eCheck as a Deposit Option
Using an eCheck for poker is one of the absolute best options when it comes to deposit methods. They are very easy to use, are fast, secure and are the best option for taking money out. If you have a checking account, or can set one up, then there is no reason not to use eChecks.