Online poker room PokerStars.com rolled out a new payment option Wednesday, and while it is nowhere near perfect, if it works well, it could be a way for U.S. customers to continue playing there with minimal difficulty.
The new method is a pre-paid VISA card, which players can sign up for right in the PokerStars cashier. Once the card account is created, it can funded with a credit card (VISA or MasterCard only) and then used to deposit funds into a PokerStars account. Funds can also be withdrawn to the card.
To access their money, customers can use a physical debit card that will be sent to them (no charge to receive the card) to withdraw cash at ATM’s. The card can also be used at most retailers that accept VISA debit cards, as well as online.
Unfortunately, there are fees involved. The card issuer, PAYTru, assesses a 4% plus $0.50 fee every time the card is loaded with funds. Fortunately, while cash outs onto the card from PokerStars are considered loads, PokerStars is covering the fee in that direction. Every time the card is used, there is a fee, as well, $2.50 at an ATM, $1.00 at a merchant. There is also a $2.95 monthly fee, but if the card is empty, this fee is non-existant.
Additionally, there is a $500 daily ATM withdrawal limit, which means that to withdraw a large amount of money, customers will need to incur more fees. On the bright side, $2.50 on $500 is only one half of one percent, so it’s not that bad.