You are probably already at least a little familiar with the PayPal online payments service. This site has an exceptional amount of popularity all over the world, due to their association with eBay as the payment processor of choice. For players at online poker sites, the key question is can we use this service to fund our accounts and start playing in real money games?
If you have ever used PayPal before, then you already know just how easy they do make sending money over the internet. But how do the best and top ranked poker rooms feel about PayPal? Do they use this service for collecting and disbursing real cash? In other words, is using PayPal going to be an option in 2018, 2016 and beyond...and if so, how?
We wrote this online guide to PayPal poker site payments to answer all of these questions and more. By the time you are finished with this, you will understand:
OUR TOP 5 PICKS FOR 2018
The PayPal service works as a middle man or an intermediary. Essentially, they step in between you and all the online poker sites to act as a clearinghouse of sorts to either direct or accept your real money deposits or payments.
In a sense, you can think of PayPal as the new, online version of the old Western Union wire transfers. In fact, over 140 million internet users are regulars at the PayPal site. No doubt this is an incredibly convenient payment service. It is also estimated that about 90 to 95 percent of the huge volume of eBay transactions run through PayPal.
When you decide to use PayPal, you will basically need to have two things in order to fund your account for making deposits or purchases at online poker rooms, or anywhere else online. An email address and then some sort of payment method, either a credit / debit card or even a bank account. What you will do is link, or connect, your card or bank account to PayPal. From this point either making or receiving a payment is about as easy as accepting and opening an email.
The transfer of money occurs through the use of email addresses. Neither party actually sees the credit card or banking information of the other. PayPal will then send notice to the person (or business) receiving the money, which will be deposited into their PayPal account. There are a lot of different guarantees in place and the company does a lot of fraud and other checking to make sure everything is on the up and up before money is released.
In the case of using this service to make deposits at online poker sites, PayPal transactions should happen more or less immediately. From the perspective of PayPal, all they really need to do is make a bookkeeping entry that customer A has sent real money to business B. Consequently, the amount of real cash in your account goes down and the amount in the account of your chosen poker rooms will be increased.
Taking a payout or withdrawal actually works in the same way. However, this time it will be your poker site sending money from their PayPal account to yours. Once this has been received from your online poker sites, you can then remove it from PayPal through a number of methods: have it sent directly to your bank account (if it is linked), receive a check in the mail, or take it in the form of real money through a PayPal debit card. Incidentally, the debit card will work at a number of ATM machines, so it is a pretty versatile option.
This is not free; the company does like to be paid for these services. Sending real cash through PayPal is free, the receiving part is not. This means your online poker sites will pay a processing fee of about 2.9 percent, plus $0.30 for each deposit received.
It is worth noting that for the majority of American players out there, PayPal is simply not going to be an option. Since the laws started to fluctuate and the government wasn't even sure how they wanted them interpreted, the company decided to basically get out of the online poker market. This led to a prohibition against any money transfers between US players and online poker rooms. See the special considerations section for more information on this topic.
If you are an international online poker player, PayPal will openly welcome you along with your online poker room. All throughout most of the world, except for the United States and Canada, this will be a perfectly acceptable payment method. However, you will find it is not offered nearly as much as other options, like credit cards.
Assuming you have found one of the best and top rated online poker rooms that accepts this deposit method, just go to their PayPal section and see how to handle everything. You will probably be directed to use a special email address. Then, take your confirmation message (PayPal will send you a confirmation that your real cash has been delivered to your chosen poker websites) and send it to them, probably to a different email address. The best poker websites will have a system established so that they are notified automatically.
It might take a few minutes, but your online poker site deposit should credit and populate your account fairly quickly. PayPal works very quickly and there is no need to wait a long time to start playing online poker games.
You should also find that a large and growing number of online poker rooms are now offering bonuses to entice you to make a deposit. This can be a great way to grow your bankroll quickly and easily, although it might take longer than would have otherwise thought. Online poker sites will simply give you extra cash to ensure your loyalty to their company.
Looking at our recommended poker sites below, you will see they offer a different range of bonuses. Maybe one is advertised as a 200% bonus up to $600. This means the poker room will give you an extra 200% (or twice) you deposit, just to say thank you for joining. So, deposit $300 and they are going to give you another $600 as a bonus. Also note this is the maximum amount of real money for this offer, since it says 'up to $600.'
As mentioned above, PayPal is essentially out of the US online poker market. They have been out for the past five years or so, but 2018 has been an interesting year and it looks as if they might be thinking of reversing that position. As the various US states begin to move towards formally liberalizing the laws surrounding online poker sites, PayPal probably will as well. They are indeed looking to start processing payments for those residents in the states of New Jersey and Nevada, whose laws have changed to allow for online poker sites.
You might also want to seriously think about obtaining the PayPal debit card. This could be used at your online poker rooms as a way to use the real cash sitting in your account. Don't be fooled, however, PayPal will know what you are doing, so you might need to see about doing this in a roundabout way, like maybe seeing if it’s possible to purchase some vouchers that the poker sites will accept.
You should also be aware of something called the bonus clearance. Think about how your favorite poker websites make their money. It’s all done through volume and for that they need to get people playing, and keep them playing, real money online poker. So, they will not just automatically put the whole amount of your bonus right into your player account.
Instead, as you played raked hands where the house takes a small commission of the pot, you will earn player points. Those points will then qualify you for a certain amount of your bonus to 'clear' and drop into your real cash player account, usually in $5 to $15 increments. Be careful about choosing your bonus, since the rules regarding how it is cleared should be considered. A bigger bonus that forces you into playing for higher stakes than normal to clear it (there may be time limits) might not be as good as a smaller bonus that will allow you to comfortably clear and obtain.
If you made it this far, you are just a few clicks away from starting to play online poker for real money and you want to use PayPal when making the deposit. Before you get to that however, we would like to tell you a bit more about what makes our top poker sites so great.
Having popular banking methods such as PayPal is always a big plus since this means players can easily make transactions with real cash, be it for instant deposits or fast withdrawals. Online poker sites with good rating will certainly impress when it comes to the many options they have in the cashier.
A deposit is always made better by a bonus and the combination of percentage, max amount and wagering requirements is included in the rating process. As a result, you can get 100% of up to several hundred dollars at our top poker sites.
Probably the most important aspect of how we rate poker rooms for players is the competition. While the difficulty level has certainly increased in 2016, we have top choice with soft competition at the real money tables where you can easily win and have fun in the process.