While we all wish we were Chris Ferguson or Annette Obrestad, who built bankrolls of thousands of dollars out of thin air, the sad truth is that most of us will have to deposit into a poker site or two to get started, and quite a few of us will also have to re-deposit occasionally after a dry spell or a tilt-fest. And with legislation making things difficult for American customers and Neteller barely making it after a rather harsh sentence, it is time to look at what deposit methods are available to you and which are best suited to your needs.

Sites that operate outside the US accept credit cards like MasterCard and Visa, and debit cards like Maestro, Solo and Electron. While this is fast and convenient, and most sites are as secure as any online bank, some people may feel uneasy about giving their credit card information, or about having poker deposits show up on their credit statements.

Neteller is still a very popular option, and you can use it in all major sites such as Party Poker.Neteller remains the standard for “e-wallets”, working as an intermediary between your credit card or financial institution and the poker site you wish to deposit into. Fast, safe and easy, Neteller is unfortunately not available to residents of the US or Canada. Another increasingly popular e-wallet option is Moneybookers, also accepted in most poker sites and available to users worldwide. Other e-wallet services (mainly available to European players) include eWallet express, UseMyBank, Eco card, ePassporte and NetPay.

If you wish to cut the middle man, what about a direct bank transfer? Make sure that you only use this method in well-established, trusted sites such as Party Poker, where you can be sure that your banking information will be treated with the highest levels of security and encryption.

And for those who are really guarded about giving their financial or credit information – and you cannot be too careful nowadays! – there are the good old fashioned money transfer systems such as Western Union and Money Gram. The deposit process takes a little longer, but you can sleep easy knowing that none of your bank information is out there.

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