Front end technological improvements have fuelled much of the recent wave of online casino popularity worldwide. Next-generation 3d graphics offer immersive experiences that come close to the real thrill of offline casinos, and the latest generation of always-connected mobile devices put that gaming experience within reach of players when they’re on the move.
But while flashy gadgets and increasingly impressive graphics capture users’ imaginations, behind the scenes improvements to payment technologies are equally responsible for making today’s online casino landscape a reality. We’ve come a long way from the bad old days when achingly slow wire transfers were pretty much the only option available for gamblers. These days, traditional payment providers have radically upped their game across the board, and new entrants into the space are keeping everyone on their toes with a slew of new payment options emerging every year.
In this piece, we’re going to focus on one of the most interesting options that’s emerged over the last number of years – virtual credit cards. They’re an incredibly handy option that enable many groups who were previously excluded from easy access to credit cards to take advantage of the many benefits they offer.
We’ll be focusing on one virtual card in particular that’s caught on with gamblers worldwide – EntroPay. We’ll also be showing you exactly how to go about finding online casinos that take EntroPay, and what to bear in mind as you do so. Before we get down to the specific details of EntroPay, however, let’s briefly review the rise of virtual credit cards generally.
Though credit cards dominated the worldwide payment processing landscape for many decades, they came with a number of disadvantages for many users. Not everybody was able to actually qualify for traditional offerings from companies such as American Express and Mastercard. Many who did found themselves getting into difficulty with making payments, and there was a constant background risk of credit card fraud to contend with.
Virtual credit cards arrived on the scene in order to provide an alternative solution to these types of problems. The basic idea behind them is deceptively straightforward – instead of using your actual credit card number to carry out a transaction, you get access to a unique code that can be used to make the payment and which is then linked back to your actual credit card. This type of arrangement is technically referred to as a controlled payment number and was originally designed to minimise the possibility of fraud with certain credit card transactions. It does this by giving users the option of essentially creating a one-off number that they could use in conjunction with their main card.
What are referred to as virtual credit cards today are essentially the same idea, but with the proviso that you can also preload the card with funds in many cases. This removes the requirement for actually having a traditional credit card linked to your virtual card, and opens up the option to a much wider pool of potential customers.
One of the most popular of these solutions to emerge has been the EntroPay network, so let’s move on to look at that in a little more depth.
EntroPay is the brainchild of Ixaris Systems Ltd. and was originally launched back in 2003 as a handy, secure way of enabling virtually anybody to take advantage of the power of the Visa network and make payments online or over the phone.
It soon made history as the first virtual pre-paid card in Europe and quickly blossomed into a convenient payment option favoured by millions of users worldwide. The basic idea of EntroPay is very simple. Sign up via their website and you can then load money onto your account from another card or via your bank. You can then use your virtual Visa card to make purchases online or over the phone pretty much anywhere you see the Visa logo. You’ll receive a valid 16-digit credit card number along with a CVV number that you can start using immediately.
Opening an account is completely free, though there are a range of fees associated with the card when it comes to actually getting money in and out of it. You can expect to be hit with a 2% charge on foreign exchange, a 4.95% charge for loading money onto your card, and a 1.95% charge for receiving money from a merchant.
EntroPay operates primarily in GBP, USD and EUR but you can use the cards to make payments in a much wider range of currencies. Opening an account is also open to citizens of most countries (subject to possible identity verification checks in some cases) with the significant exception of the United States.
Now that we’ve got a basic idea of what EntroPay is all about, let’s move on to finding out how to find online casinos which actually take EntroPay.
The good news for gamblers is that finding casinos that accept EntroPay is relatively straightforward – if they take Visa (which the vast majority do), then you should have no difficulty using EntroPay.
Given that finding a casino that accepts EntroPay is fairly simple, you should really take the extra time to thoroughly vet the casino across the board to make sure its overall offerings are really up to scratch. Start by checking its online reputation and be sure to establish how long it’s actually been in business. Ideally, you want a casino with a strong track record and visible history of keeping its customers happy. You also want to be certain they provide a complete set of apps for enjoying their services on mobile devices.
As you check out options such as the range of games on offer, and types of customer support available, keep an eye on the terms and conditions of the site and make sure you fully understand them before signing up. You want to be particularly careful around these in the context of payments and how long it takes to actually get money in and out of your account. Consider signing up and carrying out a few test transactions with the casinos in question to make sure things really run smoothly before committing to one primary provider.
Adding EntroPay to your list of account funding options opens up a number of potential benefits. Let’s step through them one by one:
- Full access to the Visa network: Visa is one of the most widely accepted payment methods on earth. By signing up to EntroPay you get pretty much full access to their global network in terms of where you can use the service.
- Its prepaid nature: By limiting yourself only to funds that you’ve already loaded onto the card, you avoid the temptation to chase losses and can potentially manage your overall bankroll much more effectively.
- Security: EntroPay cards are inherently secure and not tied into any wider part of your overall finances. By using this option, you can be confident that the transaction itself will be secure and that it won’t expose any other part of your financial setup.
- Privacy: EntroPay gives you the ability to keep your gambling funds separate from your other accounts which means you can be discrete about your gambling.
- No credit check: In contrast to standard credit cards, there are no credit checks involved in setting up your account. You simply need to load funds onto it to use it.
Though there are a huge amount of plus points involved in using EntroPay, it’s not necessarily all plain sailing. There are a few minor disadvantages to bear in mind:
- Restricted availability: Though the Visa tie-in should get you into the vast majority of online casinos, you might find a slightly restricted set of options available to you. It’s also worth pointing out that American residents won’t be able to set up an EntroPay card to begin with.
- Fees: Fees are undoubtedly the biggest pain point when it comes to using EntroPay. Though you shouldn’t be punished on the casino side of the equation, simply moving money and out of EntroPay attracts higher fees than many other solutions.
- Customer service: Though your transactions will be carried out over the Visa network, you’ll be left dealing with EntroPay themselves in terms of customer support. While this isn’t necessarily a huge minus point, standards will inevitably be lower than they would be with a primary credit card provider.
Getting set up up with EntroPay couldn’t be easier. Assuming you’re not currently based in the United States, it’s simply a question of signing up and adding funds onto your account. You may also need to carry out some straightforward identity verification upon signup.
Adding and withdrawing funds is simple enough and most major banks and cards should be supported as options. Again, check the relevant fees here carefully before you proceed. It’s also worth noting that you are limited to just having one EntroPay account per person.
Though it’s one of the best known options, EntroPay is not the only game in town when it comes to prepaid credit cards. There are several other popular providers on the market. Here are two of the most popular:
- Cashplus: Cashplus pre-paid credit cards are a popular option in the UK in particular and offer an alternative, simple way of using the Mastercard network to load funds onto a virtual card.
- PaySafeCard: After purchasing the system formerly known as Ukash, the PaySafeCard system was launched by Skrill and has gone on to become a popular option for many gamblers worldwide.
Generally speaking, we recommend having mix of funding options available for use on your various gambling accounts. Setting things up this way gives you both flexibility and security if there’s any sort of issue with your preferred payment solution. Luckily, there’s no shortage of commonly accepted options out there that you can use to augment your EntroPay card. Let’s step through the most common options:
- Ewallets: PayPal is the obvious choice here and it’s hard to beat in terms of widespread acceptance and general ease of use across the web, in both online casinos and elsewhere. Skrill is another interesting option to consider and has gained widespread acceptance in Europe in particular.
- Credit cards: EntroPay puts some of the traditional advantages of credit cards within reach for all, but it’s still not a complete substitute for the real thing. The classic options of Visa, Mastercard and American Express remain highly useful possibilities to have in your pocket, and offer a range of fringe benefits that are hard to beat.
- Wire transfer: Good old wire transfer is still very much an option that’s on the table at the vast majority of online casinos worldwide. There’s still a lot to be said in some circumstances for having the ability to transfer funds directly in and out of a traditional bank account.
Casinos which accept EntroPay are fundamentally no different from those which don’t in terms of the range of table games available for players. You can expect to find the same general selection that you’d expect to be available in a classic offline casino. The main contenders here are:
- Poker: Poker is the main draw for many casino fans, and any self-respecting online casino should offer a full range of table sizes and variants for players to enjoy. Whether it’s Texas Hold ‘Em or classic 5-card draw that’s your game, you should have no trouble in finding a little action online.
- Roulette: The latest generation of immersive 3d software available from the major software houses which develop for online casinos is particularly well showcased by roulette. You’ll find compelling roulette options available at the vast majority of casinos that offer EntroPay.
- Blackjack: Blackjack has long been a favourite for fans of strategy and systems. You’ll find most common variants available at online casinos, as well as the option to go for fully automated or live dealer games.
Having plenty of options is always a good idea when you’re putting together the framework of your system for profitably approaching online gambling. Entropay is a sensible backup solution to have in your back pocket. Check out our list of top Entropay casinos to see places where you can easily make the most of it!
Update on Entropay’s Availability
In July 2019, Entropay was officially discontinued from the market. Ixaris Group Holdings Limited, which owns the company, decided this digital wallet was no longer going to be in operation.
Entropay is still registered in England and Wales and authorized under the “Electronic Money Regulations 2011” for the issuing of electronic money, however, the reason for the consumer product removal relies on the fact that the firm did not land a renewed partnership with Visa, losing the ability to issue digital cards and pay at Visa-accepted/enabled business, effectively hindering their ability to provide widely accepted and secure payments.
Even with Entropay no longer being on the market, it doesn’t mean there are no other services that can offer you what this firm used to deliver, there are many great digital wallets out there, some of them offer digital cards and others even physical ones, if you’re looking for an eWallet that is online casino-friendly, we invite you to check out Skrill or Neteller, they’re very popular banking options and offer a wide range of benefits that are worth looking at.
|Author: Tim Bolding
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