I’ve long considered Skrill to be one of the best Canadian casino deposit options on the market. But with the parent company, Paysafe Group (which also owns Neteller) changing the rules for its immensely popular Prepaid MasterCard, that may no longer be the case.
This prepaid card, commonly referred to as the Skrill Card, is a physical, plastic card that all Skrill members could apply for. They’d have the card within days, and could use it to directly access the funds in their Skrill account, using it online or at any land-based retailer that accepts MasterCard. They could even withdrawal the funds at most ATM machines.
This was a Godsend, because, even though most Canadian casino deposit options are instant, withdrawals rarely are. The Prepaid MasterCard gave internet gamblers one of the only instant withdrawal options on the market. As soon as their online casino processed a cashout request to Skrill, the funds would become instantly available through this prepaid card.
It was enough to overlook the relatively high fees charged by Skrill to use its service. These include a $10 annual fee for the Skrill Card, 1.9% fee on all credit/debit card deposits to Skrill, 1.9% fee to send money, plus a $7.98 fee to withdrawal funds to a bank account (eliminated by the use of the Skrill Card).
But alas, Paysafe Group announced just last week that, as of today, November 25, 2016, Prepaid MasterCard services would no longer be available in over 100 countries. Only a few specific countries were named in the announcement, including Australia, Brazil, Columbia and New Zealand. Whether Canada would be effected was unknown at the time.
But now, the truth is out. The Skrill Card FAQ page has been updated with a cute little asterisk mark that notes:
“*Skrill card is only available to residents of authorized Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA) countries.”
As the full title implies, SEPA Countries are, obviously, all located in Europe. There are 34 of them in all, consisting of 28 European Union (EU) member states, 3 members of the European Economic Area (EEA), and 3 states that have agreements (but not full membership) with the EU.
Complete List of SEPA Countries in 2016
Clearly, the Skrill Card is no longer available to Canadians.
Neteller Net+ Prepaid MasterCard Out Too?
It’s widely assumed that Neteller’s Net+ Prepaid MasterCard will suffer the same fate, sooner or later. The email from Paysafe Group that went out to countless customers recently only indicated that Skrill Prepaid MasterCard would no longer be available in many countries. But being the parent of both companies, and with both cards being issued through MasterCard, why alter one and not the other?
Mystery Behind MasterCard Elimination
The company gave absolutely no indication as to why it pulled Prepaid MasterCard from all but SEPA countries, but I have a theory.
The SEPA was established to create a cheap – most often free – means for European states to make quick payments for customers and merchants alike. SEPA actually eliminates the traditionally high fees associated with bank wire transfers. And, as of November 2017, SEPA payments will all become instant. So essentially, it’s an area where payments are fast and cheap, and could save Paysafe Group a lot of money in the long term.
Now let’s look at MasterCard’s role in Canada. For years, MasterCard deposits were free. Then today, out of nowhere, a Canadian forum member posted that he’d been trying to use a prepaid MasterCard to make a $200 deposit at an online casino, but it kept getting declined.
He called up MasterCard to ask why, and was told the company is now charging a minuscule fee for deposits. In his case, it was only $0.37, but that was $0.37 more than his prepaid card had on it.
I think there’s a connection here. If MasterCard started charing customers more as of today, it would make sense they are charging card issuers like Skrill more, too.
Today, November 25, Skrill Prepaid MasterCard is shut down in Canada, and today, Prepaid MasterCard deposits require a fee? It would certainly seem Paysafe Group new about the upcoming changes to the credit card company’s fee schedules, and revoked use of the card in non-SEPA countries to avoid paying whatever new fees they were surely about to be assessed.
Best Canadian Casino Deposit Options
Since Skrill’s biggest attraction was its instantaneous withdrawals, Canadians who don’t want to pay the relatively higher fees may want to try one of these alternative methods.
Again, we have to assume the Net+ Prepaid MasterCard will eventually be stripped from Canada as well. But for now, it’s still available, making Neteller a great option, similar to what Skrill was 24 hours ago.
If my theory above is correct, perhaps Paysafe Group is keeping the Net+ Prepaid Card on Neteller to see how the new fees effect their bottom line. If it doesn’t cause too much of a dent, the withdrawal option may stick around after all.
eCheck, ACH, InstantCheck
eChecks have always been one of the top Canadian casino deposit options. They are the electronic equivalent to writing a paper check, but without the elongated wait time. They are instant, just like eWallets, and all it takes to use one is to enter the bank’s routing number and the user’s bank account number (the same info that appears on a paper check).
In many cases, you can use this method for withdrawals. However, it can take a few extra days for the bank to process the funds. In reality, it takes a few days for the online casino to receive the funds, as well, but because eChecks are instantly verified (to make sure the money is available in your bank), the operator will go ahead and give players access to those funds, despite the fact that they haven’t received them yet.