When you're looking to set up a new casino account, one of the biggest concerns is arranging a convenient and secure payment option. Many people are increasingly moving away from traditional routes such as Visa and Mastercard and exploring the new range of online payment options that have sprung up in the last number of years. In this article, we'll run the rule over Ukash, one of the more interesting providers to emerge of late.
Ukash is a UK company that bills itself as "the online payment option that lets you use your cash to pay, play or send money online safely and securely". Their secret sauce is the possibility to exchange your cash for a secure 19-digit code that can be used for purchases online. It's become a particularly popular option for online gamers, including the many people who may not yet have access to credit cards, and there's been a correspondingly large increase in the amount of Ukash casinos actively looking for new customers.
The company behind Ukash - London-based Smart Voucher Ltd. - has a strong track record and has been doing business since 2001. They're regulated by the UK Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) as an Electronic Money Institution meaning that they are held to some of the most stringent regulatory standards in the world - a good sign for trusting them with your money. Other positive indicators include their verified online reputation, string of recent awards (including a Queen's Award for Enterprise) and consistent showings in the Sunday Times Tech Track index of positive growth companies.
Add all that up and it's soon apparent that Ukash is a serious player in the brave new world of online payments with some significant resources behind it. Let's take a look at the ins and outs of how Ukash actually works and why you might select it as your funding method in Ukash casinos.
How Ukash works in the context of online casinos
At its heart, Ukash is an eMoney system of delightful simplicity. You exchange your cash for a unique, 19-digit Ukash code that can then be used for payment across a network of sites online. It's a flexible and secure solution and you're not locked into spending specific amounts. Change can easily be given on purchases in the form of further Ukash codes.
The network of locations where you can obtain these Ukash codes is also growing every day with over 420,000 outlets worldwide at the latest count. These outlets are generally in convenient locations such as petrol stations, kiosks, newsagents and local shops which makes them a handy option if you're living in an urban area. An increasing number of banks also offer Ukash code purchase as an option via ATMs and, if all else fails, there's always the possibility to purchase your codes online.
The list of supported countries is also constantly increasing - 55 at the time of writing - and coverage is particularly good in Europe and the Middle East. Gamblers in the US and Asia though will have to wait a little longer.
When it comes to actually spending your Ukash, it's simply a question of looking for the Ukash logo and selecting it as an option during checkout. Conveniently, it can also be used to load a range of pre-paid cards and eWallets. All of this makes Ukash a particularly useful option when it comes to funding a casino account. The built-in connection to cash means it's literally impossible to overextend yourself with money you don't have. The anonymous nature of the codes means you are not sharing any personally identifiable financial details with the Ukash casinos you play on.
It's worth noting though that there has been some controversy with Ukash over the years. Due to its anonymity and extremely liquid nature, it has inevitably attracted attention from some of the more unsavoury quarters of the online world. There've been many reports of Ukash being used as a money transit in cases of marketplace scams on Gumtree as well as the payment method often emanded in the notorious recent Ransomware scam.
Let's be clear though, this is nothing inherently to do with the Ukash service. It simply reflects the opportunism of some of the bad actors out there. Ukash itself has been impressively proactive in combatting online fraud, even going so far as to set up a dedicated site to help its users avoid potential scams at AvoidOnlineScams.net. They also encourage standard best practices such as verified identities on their service.
So, now that we're comfortable with what Ukash actually is and how it works, let's look at getting yourself set up on a Ukash casino.
Getting Set Up On A Ukash Casino
The good news for gamblers is that there are no special requirements for getting an account set up with a Ukash site. It's simply a question of whether the casino accepts Ukash as a funding option or not. That said, it's worth taking the same sensible precautions when signing up with a Ukash casino as you would on any other: check the site's background and reputation online, see if there are any negative reports on casino forums and always ensure you're abiding by the online gaming laws that apply in your particular jurisdiction. Check out our article on finding a good online casino for more details.
Adding funds is a piece of cake. Assuming you've already gotten hold of your Ukash codes, it's simply a question of logging into your new account, selecting Ukash as a funding source and then entering in the relevant details. Your funds will be updated virtually instantaneously.
As it's a relatively new funding option that appeals to a slightly different type of user in some cases, many casinos are actively promoting Ukash deals at the moment. Keep an eye out for attractive Ukash sign-up bonuses and special offers that might put a little more pep in your gambling step courtesy of the house.
Extending Your Gambling Reach Beyond Ukash Casinos
For all of the reasons outlined above, Ukash is an extremely popular option for casino games but you're not limited to just that department when it comes to grabbing a slice of the action online. Savvy users can use Ukash as a funding source for a full range of other gambling opportunities. Many high-profile Ukash sites will also support some or all of the following:
- Sports betting: Ukash gives you access to full range of sportsbook betting across several of the major online players.
- Bingo: Particularly strong in the UK market, bingo has exploded as an online gaming option in recent times with a special appeal to a new generation of recreational female players.
- Dedicated poker rooms: Many poker players, particularly the more professional ones, prefer to ply their trade in dedicated poker rooms. If you're looking to explore this option with Ukash, you won't be disappointed.
- Lottery: Cynics may call it a tax on fools but the occasional flutter on the lottery can be a fun sidebet and a pleasant way of daydreaming away an hour or two contemplating what you'd spend your millions on.
Alternatives to Ukash in the world of online casinos
For many people, Ukash will prove to be the funding option of choice for their online gaming. It's flexible, secure and transparent but it's far from the only game in town. There's an ever-increasing array of eWallet and eMoney solutions out there competing for your business. Here's a quick overview of some of the bigger players:
- PayPal and Online Casinos: Long a firm favourite for players due to its speed and convenience, Paypal has lost a little of its lustre in recent years as other services catch up on its early lead. It remains a solid funding option though and is accepted in a huge number of Paypal casinos online.
- Skrill Casinos: Skrill is one of the newer kids on the payment block but has quickly established itself as a serious contender, particularly in Europe. Check out our detailed guide to Skrill casinos.
- Visa Online Casinos: Selecting Visa as your funding source gives you all the advantages you'd expect from one of the world's leading payment providers in terms of security and reliability, in addition to an attractive range of reward points.
- Casinos with Mastercard: Like Visa, Mastercard offers a similarly solid set of advantages and is accepted as a funding option in the vast majority of online casinos.
Cashing out from a Ukash casino
That about wraps it up in terms of getting your Ukash casino account up and running. At some stage though, you're hopefully going to be looking at getting your winnings out and splashing the cash offline. Luckily, Ukash makes this a very simple process. Here's some of the standard ways you can expect to cash out once your ship comes in:
- Ukash products: The Ukash pre-paid Mastercard can be used to transfer funds along with other Ukash options such as giftcards and their option to turn codes into cash at ATMs in selected locations
- Ukash to Bitcoin: Ukash can be used to purchase Bitcoin at several online Bitcoin exhanges. There's plenty more info to review in our piece on online casinos that accept Bitcoin.
- Ukash to Paypal: Paypal can also be used as a recipient of Ukash funds when you're looking to liquify your holdings. Find out more in our guide to casinos that accept Paypal.
We hope the information in this article has convinced you to give Ukash a test with your existing casino account. And if you're a total beginner, consider consider joining a Ukash casino to take advantage of both the ease of the funding option itself and the many attractive sign-up bonuses you're sure to find.
Update on Ukash and Paysafecard
In 2015, the company Paysafe Holdings UK Limited acquired Ukash and integrated all Ukash users, features and services to their portfolio, in a very quick process all Ukash vouchers became Paysafecard vouchers and the brand Ukash officially disappeared in October 2015.
This acquisition allowed Paysafecard to position itself as one of the most important online payment systems in the world, especially for English-speaking countries:
“The acquisition of Ukash has given us the opportunity to expand the choice for consumers wanting to make secure online payments. We have brought together the best of the prepaid technologies from both Ukash and paysafecard to give consumers a safe and easy way to make online payments and we are now embarking on a nationwide campaign to ensure the retailers and users are aware of the changes taking place.”
Udo Müller, CEO of Paysafecard
Ukash is not the only brand acquired by Paysafe Holdings, in addition to this prepaid card brand, the company also acquired the e-wallet; Skrill. The importance of Paysafe Holdings on the online payments industry is undeniable and in fact Paysafecard is one of the most popular payment methods at online casinos. You can read more about it at our latest article on how to use Paysafecard at online casinos.
Offers from Online Casinos that Accept Paysafecard