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14. What are the pros and cons of the various methods of depositing money to and withdrawing money from a sportsbook?

 
Buckeye:
In many respects, deposits and withdrawals have been one of the worst aspects of the sports betting experience, for me. That is why methods like Neteller, Paypal, and Securebuxx have been such a boon to the industry.

These methods require a few days to set up and get established, but after that initial "pain" they work wonderfully compared to traditional methods, in my opinion. The transfer time between your Internet account and your book account can be anywhere from immediate to a few hours, usually. Transfers from your checking account to the Net account can be considerably longer, but still usually are cleared in a few days.

Fees for these methods can also be far less than for other methods. I have found that the flexibility these electronic transfer methods provide have made having sufficient funds at many books more viable.

Many books prefer bank wire transfers, and may even boost bonuses to encourage this method of deposit. I have limited experience, having only done this once, but it wasn't that smooth sailing for me. The bank's fee was almost twice what they quoted me by phone. Though the book reimbursed this, I still didn't care for my bank's confusion. I had to deal with a newbie teller who had never done a domestic wire, let alone an international one. It took her forever, and I had little confidence that it was valid. I then had to fax a receipt to the book. Not my cup of tea.

Western Union is another option many book's prefer. The "errand running" it requires has never been convenient for me though. Waiting in line to get cash at the bank, taking it to the drug store, waiting in another line to have Gomer who normally develops film process it, enduring a delay to have it scrutinized because it is going to some island few have heard of, and then calling the book and playing phone tag to get it credited is not the most enjoyable way to spend an afternoon.

Credit cards used to be convenient, particularly when you needed to deposit money fast to make an immediate bet, but they are less viable these days as banks cut down on exposure to scammers challenging gambling charge debt. I also never cared for the chargeback system they force on you; it always seemed to take weeks for me to get credit when the charge was made instantaneously, which I still don't understand! Some of it is obviously dependent on your credit card company, but most such companies are now balking at anything gambling related. Western Union using credit cards is still possible, but the fees are outrageous and some books only cover part of the excessive cost.

Some players seem to get a kick out of waiting for the Fed Ex guy to deliver a check. But for me, it then requires that I make a trip to the bank to deposit. I am getting spoiled by electronic banking. There is also the possibility that the Fed Ex will get inspected by customs or that the check will bounce. Waiting weeks for a check, sometimes never getting it (from books that went under) is another uneasy experience.

I have had more than my fair share of problems with snail mail payouts, and they have soured me enough that I rarely use this method any more. Due to the much longer "grace period" one must allow for offshore mail to arrive, there is always a bigger risk that you are being slow or no paid when they send via regular mail. Almost every slow or no pay experience I've had involved the book foisting snail mail payouts on me. So I am not a fan of this method, overall.

E-commerce means of transfers are the way to go, in my opinion, and the more options a book offers in this area, the better!

Patton:
My primary experience with funding and de-funding accounts has been with Neteller and Paypal. Many banks now will not allow credit card transfers to sportsbooks, as unsuccessful gamblers have then sued to be relieved of the (gambling) debt. Many books would tack on a fee of 3% or so for the convenience anyway, making it a potentially expensive means of funding an account. Withdrawals have to be sent as a credit to the card first (in the amount of the original transfer), making this an even more inconvenient means of moving funds.

Neteller and Paypal have been generally positive experiences for me. You can direct debit from your checking account free of charge, and most books will pay for the incoming transfer. Many will also allow a free monthly or weekly Neteller or Paypal withdrawal. These services can tend to take some time to credit you with money debited from your checking account (to take advantage of the float), so you have to stay on top of them and call to complain if they drag their feet. And it does take some time (up to a week) to establish a full account. But I feel it is worth it.

I should mention that you can also link your credit card with a Paypal or Neteller account in the same manner as you can a checking account. Frankly, I have not availed myself of this option, as it smacks of gambling with borrowed money, but it can allow you to use your credit card to post up in an indirect fashion, while direct use of a credit card is becoming much more difficult as banks and the clearinghouses (VISA and MasterCard) crack down on such transactions.

Western Union and bank wires are quick but usually have the highest fees. A bank check can be useful at times, but can take a long time for the check to clear, as it comes from another country.

Turkoman1963:
The best method for me was always Paypal, which deducts straight from a bank account. But I would have to add a caveat to that now.

There are times when Paypal will eliminate the direct access function (Step 1: Sign up with Paypal; Step 2: Register your bank account; Step 3: You can now send Paypal funds directly from your bank account through direct access) on certain transactions. This is a very unpleasant experience, because the next alternative with Paypal is an E-check, which takes three days to send and clear and thus, if you want to get a bet down later that day, forget it. Paypal has E-mailed me that they do this on only "certain vendors" and it is "for my protection," but it still is quite frustrating and recently led me to Firepay, which has the same first three steps outlined above, and so far has been very fast. But not nearly as many books take Firepay.

My best advice is to sign up with at least three services such as these, Neteller, Securebuxx, etc., so you are never left high and dry as I have been with Paypal.

I also find Western Union to be quite useful, although the fees associated with a withdrawal are not appetizing.

Another option is a bank check, but the problem with this is that it leaves a paper trail, and some people are uncomfortable with that, given the current political climate of clamping down on sports gambling and moving money to and from offshore.

The Philosopher:
Some of the ways you can get money to and from sportsbooks include e-transfers (Neteller, Paypal, Securebuxx, etc.), Western Union wires, bank wires, Fed Ex or other such courier companies, transfers to and from other sportsbooks, using your credit card directly, and regular mail. It really varies from book to book which of these are available and what fees they charge, if any, so as we mentioned in response to an earlier question, clearly this is the kind of information you want to know before you ever sign up with a book.

I agree with the others that the E-transfers seem to involve the least headaches and inconvenience. My experience happens to mostly have been with Neteller thus far, but I have also joined Paypal and Securebuxx. There have been occasional hitches, but mostly I've found it to be extremely easy to get money to and from my sportsbook accounts this way. You can either link your credit card or your bank account to your E-transfer account to fund it. I use my bank account. It usually takes several days to transfer money between my bank and my E-transfer account, but it's close to instantaneous to transfer money between my sportsbook accounts and my E-transfer account. And I love the fact that I can do it all from my computer.

One potential downside is now you're having to trust the middleman company with your money as well. Unlike an established company like Western Union, these E-transfer companies are new and relatively untested. You may want to consider that in deciding whether to leave extra in your E-transfer account in order to be able to make spontaneous future sportsbook deposits, or to always bring your balance back down to zero as quickly as possible. Some people have also suggested taking the money out of your bank itself as soon as it arrives and keeping your bank balance that is linked to your E-transfer account close to zero as well, on the grounds that they could fraudulently make withdrawals from your bank that you have not authorized. This is just to be as safe as possible.

I also have plenty of experience with Western Union, bank wires, and Fed Ex. They all worked OK, but bank wires were probably the most awkward. There are just too many parties involved. You're giving the money to the person at your bank branch, who sends it usually to the central office of your bank, who sends it to usually a middleman bank, and then to the book's bank, and then the book gets it from there. If anybody screws something up or fills out a form wrong in that chain, then the whole thing gets delayed.

For withdrawals, though, I suppose bank wires are the easiest of these three methods. The money goes straight into my account, so I don't have to go to a Western Union outlet to pick up my money or take a check to my bank to deposit.

One thing to keep in mind about being paid by check via courier-and I didn't know this until quite recently-even if the check is a cashier's check, the issuing party can stop payment on it just like a personal check. Overseas checks can take up to several weeks to clear, so if your sportsbook wants to pull a fast one, they have ample opportunity to do so. Therefore, if the reason you are pulling your money out is because you have concern about the book's financial status or honesty, you may want to insist on a different withdrawal method.

I've never used credit cards to fund my sportsbook accounts. It's typically the most expensive method for both the player and the sportsbook, and books have been burned so often by credit card fraud that I'd feel somewhat self-conscious even using my credit card with a book, like I'd have to assure them I'm not a crook. Depositing with a credit card also usually locks you into withdrawing the same way, whether you'd prefer another method or not.

For all concerned, it's probably better if you're going to use a credit card at all to use it with Neteller or Securebuxx or one of the other e-transfer methods.

Direct book-to-book transfers can really be the easiest transaction method of all. The policies can vary a great deal from place to place however, and you'll need to find out what they are at your books. Some books encourage such transfers because it is the cheapest and easiest method for them as well. Others seem to think they're doing you a big favor if they do a book-to-book transfer, and will penalize you by, say, not offering you a bonus on incoming money even if they would have bonused the identical money coming in by any other method.

Most books either won't do transactions by standard mail at all, or will discourage this method. Remember, many of these books are in Third World countries with questionable mail service. About the only time I could ever see using standard mail is if you are a very small player and your book charges fees for all the other methods. For instance, if you are withdrawing $100, and your book charges $30 for everything except standard mail, you might want to just get it standard mail and wait the extra week, two weeks, or three weeks or more.


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