So, you have read through lottery site reviews, considered your options, and have arrived at a site that looks like it fits your needs. Now, it is time to sign up for an account and make a deposit so you can begin the hunt for that life-changing jackpot.
The best lottery sites accept a range of deposit methods suited to your country of residence so that in most cases, you will be able to fund your account with a deposit method that is already familiar to you. For most people, a simple credit or debit card is all that’s needed to get started. Other options include e-wallets such as Neteller and Skrill, electronic bank transfers and more.
Online lottery sites do their best to make it as easy as possible for you to get started. After all, their entire business model is based on selling lotto tickets online. In most cases, you will be guided with step-by-step instructions for funding your account with each deposit method.
If you visit your favourite lottery site and see a deposit option with which you’re unfamiliar, you can visit this page as a reference point to learn more. Our deposit method reviews describe how the most popular deposit options work, including any fees and other things you should know before you play online.
Below, we have basic overviews that explain how the most popular types of deposit methods work. We plan to add more information over time, but these descriptions should serve as a useful starting point for finding a deposit method that works best for you.
Credit and Debit Cards
Credit and debit cards are the most popular deposit methods of all due to their ease of use and most people’s familiarity with them. If you have ever made a purchase online, you will find the process for buying lottery tickets with your credit or debit card almost identical.
All you need to get started is your credit card number and security code. When you’re ready to deposit, just log in to your online lottery account, visit the cashier and select credit or debit card. Your lottery site will then ask you to choose an amount to deposit and then you will enter your information to confirm the deposit.
- Easy: Credit and debit cards are easy to use. If you have a credit or debit card, you have everything you need to make a deposit and buy lottery tickets.
- Fast: Most credit and debit card deposits are processed instantly. There is no waiting around for the deposit to confirm and you do not need to sign up for a separate account like you would if you were depositing with an e-wallet.
- Convenient: You do not need to leave the house, sign up for any third-party services or fill out long forms to fund your account.
- Security: You have to trust your lottery site and internet connection to protect your debit or credit card information. If there is a security breach, all funds attached to your card are at risk.
- Limited Withdrawals: Most online lottery sites do not allow you to receive payments of your winnings back to your credit or debit card. Your winnings will have to be paid back via some other method such as e-wallet, bank transfer or cheque.
E-wallets are the virtual, online equivalent of that old leather wallet you keep in your back pocket. An e-wallet account allows you to store money online in your secure wallet and then spend that money at various merchants such as online stores and lottery sites.
If you buy lottery tickets online often, you should consider setting up an e-wallet account with one of the major providers (PayPal, Skrill or Neteller). Once you have an account, this is a highly convenient deposit method because it is fast, can receive payments and does not reveal your private banking details when you deposit to lottery sites.
- PayPal: Major e-wallet headquartered in the United States that accepts customers from around the world, safe and proven payment provider.
- Skrill: Similar to PayPal, but tailored to a more international audience, especially in the UK and Europe.
- Neteller: Similar to PayPal and Skrill, has a long history in online gambling and lotteries. Trusted and secure.
- Lottery site never sees your personal banking information: E-wallets do not share your credit card number or banking information with your lottery site. This adds an extra layer of security because you are not sharing private banking info with multiple lottery sites.
- Fast deposits and withdrawals: Funds inside your e-wallet account are usually transferred instantly to your lottery account when you deposit. Likewise, withdrawals are usually processed within a day or two.
- Can be used to receive payment of winnings: Most lottery sites cannot send winnings back to your credit card, so an e-wallet is nice to have as a convenient method to receive payment of your winnings
- Keep your lottery bankroll separate from your other money: You may find it easier to keep your spending under control with an e-wallet because it keeps your lottery money completely separate from the money back in your actual bank account. This makes it easier to keep track of your expenditures and less tempting to spend money you have reserved for other purposes.
- Must sign up for e-wallet account, confirm your banking information: It takes a little time to sign up for an e-wallet account and then link it to your credit card or bank. However, this is only a one-time thing. Once you have an e-wallet account, it is a fast deposit and withdrawal method.
- Another login and password to remember: Signing up for an e-wallet account will result in yet one more login and password you have to remember.
- More fees: E-wallets do not typically charge for deposits to or withdrawals from lottery sites, but other actions you may take often result in fees. For example, a small fee is often imposed when you load your e-wallet account with funds from your bank account.
Bitcoin is a technology and virtual currency that facilitates fast, secure, inexpensive and private transactions. Bitcoin is not attached to any fiat currency and is not subject to the whims of any government. This makes it a convenient deposit method for people who live in countries which restrict payments to lottery and gambling sites.
The value of Bitcoin continues to experience extreme fluctuations as this is still a new currency and is not backed by a hard asset. There is some risked involved in playing with Bitcoin, but the good news is you can quickly convert Bitcoin into cash (and vice versa) when playing online.
- Fast: Bitcoin transactions are very fast because every transaction is verified by the blockchain and reversals are not possible. Thus, lottery sites can credit your account instantly because there is no risk of customers changing their mind and filing a dispute.
- Cheap transfers: Bitcoin is the most inexpensive way to move money online. Transactions cost just a fraction of a euro.
- Secure: Bitcoin deposits do not require you to share your bank account or credit card numbers.
- Private: One of the biggest advantages of Bitcoin is its privacy implications. All transactions are recorded on the public blockchain, but transactions are not associated with individual users. They simply appear as an entry on the ledger so that all transactions can be verified.
- Resistant to government action: No single authority controls Bitcoin; this is a public technology. It would be extremely difficult and expensive for a government agency to exert any control over Bitcoin. This method is perfect for those who live in countries that block deposits to online lottery sites.
- New and untested: Bitcoin has had a strong first few years in terms of growth and adoption, but this is still a young currency with an uncertain future. There is some risk that the value could plummet and cost you money.
- Getting started takes time: It takes some time to read up on Bitcoin and wrap your head around the idea. Additionally, you will need to set up a Bitcoin wallet and purchase some bitcoins of your own.
- Volatility: The value of Bitcoin has proven quite volatile over time. Whenever you hold Bitcoins, there is a good chance their value will go up or down while you hold them. Holding Bitcoin is a gamble in itself. Sometimes it works in your favour, sometimes not.
Prepaid and Virtual Cards
Prepaid and virtual cards function just like debit cards except they are not attached to your bank account. You can purchase prepaid/virtual cards with cash or credit and then use the virtual card to play online without revealing your actual credit card information.
This deposit method is useful for security-minded players. If you do not like the idea of sharing your banking information with various lottery sites, you can use a prepaid card to act as a buffer between your bank account and your lottery account.
Popular Prepaid and Virtual Cards
- AstroPay: Prepaid virtual debit card designed for online purchases, allows you to do deposit at lottery sites without revealing your banking information.
- Entropay: Disposable virtual debit cards that are good for one purchase only, which increases safety.
- Paysafecard: Can be purchased in the real world with cash and then redeemed online anywhere Paysafecard is accepted. Convenient for using cash to play and avoids the need to reveal your banking information to anyone at all.
- Additional Security: Both prepaid and virtual cards provide additional security because they allow you to fund your lottery account without revealing your primary credit card or debit card information. If your virtual or prepaid card was to be compromised, your losses would be limited to the amount on the card at that time.
- Convert cash into online currency: Prepaid cards such as Paysafecard can be purchased in the real world using cash. If you have extra cash laying around, you can buy a prepaid card to turn that cash into funds that can be used online.
- Inefficient: Prepaid cards are less efficient than simply depositing with your own card because you must first purchase and fund the prepaid card before using that to deposit.
- No withdrawals: The majority of prepaid cards may only be used to deposit. If you win money, you will most likely have to choose a different withdrawal method.
Bank transfers send money straight from your bank account to your lottery account. This deposit method can take several forms such as electronic funds transfer (EFT), wire transfer and online bill pay service.
Popular Bank Transfer Methods
- Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT): An ETF can be initiated online by submitting your banking information and authorizing your bank to send a predetermined amount of money to your lottery site.
- Wire Transfer: Wire transfers are initiated by visiting your bank in person and giving them the banking details of the receiving bank. This deposit method is expensive and somewhat cumbersome, but is effective for moving large amounts of money – especially useful for receiving large payouts.
- Online Bill Pay: Some banks support an online bill pay deposit in which you choose an amount to deposit and then log in to your bank’s online banking feature to authorize payment. This method is inexpensive and keeps your banking details private.
- No credit card required: The only thing you need to use this deposit method is a bank account.
- Convenience: Bank transfers are convenient if you don’t have a credit card. You can initiate most forms of bank transfer from the comfort of home.
- Large transfers supported: Bank transfers are useful for sending and receiving large amounts. Flat fees can be expensive for sending small amounts, but are cheaper than other deposit and withdrawal methods when transferring large amounts.
- Banking details exposed: Wire transfers and EFTs share your banking information with the lottery site to which you are depositing. Your lottery site must have adequate security to keep your information safe.
- Not efficient for small deposits: Wire transfers in particular have relatively large flat fees. These flat fees are not efficient for transferring small amounts.
Various International Deposit Methods
The biggest lottery sites that serve an international audience usually provide a variety of deposit methods specific to certain regions or countries. These deposit methods can take all different forms, but all are usually quite convenient for customers located in those countries.
Popular International Deposit Methods
- Mercado Pago: Online payment app used to make purchases and receive payments, popular in Latin America and Argentina in particular
- Boleto Bancário: Ticketed payment system run by the Central Bank of Brazil, easy to use, payments can be made online, at ATMs or in-person at banks, post offices, supermarkets and more
- PostFinance: Payment card used by some customers in Switzerland, accepts CHF and EUR currencies – depositing with PostFinance is almost identical to depositing with a credit card