It's rare to find US poker sites that accept eChecks but there is one right now. This site had a rocky start when it launched its online poker room (BetOnline is better-known for its sportsbook and casino operations, which you can participate in with your poker account, by the way) but has since improved a lot, and now belongs to my top-3 online poker sites for US players.
What Is an eCheck?
An "eCheck" is an electronic version of a paper check.
Electronic checks are easier to process and more secure than standard checks due to features such as authentication, digital signature, encryption and public key cryptography.
They can handle all the same transactions that standard checks can and the same laws apply to them as the ones that apply to standard checks. Additionally, there are usually lower fees when using eChecks.
eChecks are simple, safe and convenient but rarely available at USA online poker sites. I recommend using them whenever possible.
eCheck Poker Deposits
You need to provide the same information as you would when sending out a normal check to deposit to eCheck poker sites.
The way you provide this information depends on the online poker site in question, but usually it's done via a web form, e-mail or phone. eCheck poker sites (see above) provide you with information on how the process works at their sites.
So what kind of information is required?
- Your full name.
- Your address.
- Your city, state and ZIP.
- Transaction date.
- Transaction amount.
- Bank name.
- Bank address.
- Bank city, state, ZIP.
- Routing number.
- Account number.
What is the process like?
- Go to your poker site's cashier.
- Click on the deposit methods and choose eCheck/instant check/immediate check (the name of the method varies).
- The poker site will then ask for information (listed above).
- Get your chequebook out (in order to enter routing number and account number), enter the rest of the details and submit them.
- After the first deposit, which usually takes from 2-5 business days, next deposits should provide you with the money instantly, making the name "instant eCheck" appropriate.
- Once the poker site you've chosen to play at receives your instant check deposit, they provide your player account with the money and proceed to send a money request to your bank, in which case the money will be taken from your checking account.
eCheck Processing Times
The first deposit to eCheck poker sites should take anywhere from 2 to 5 business days, however, subsequent deposits are going to clear instantly, which is why they provide a fast way to deposit money to an online poker room, and are also called "instant eChecks".
It also means that there may be no float whatsoever on your cheque, so you'll need to have the necessary funds on your account when you submit an electronic check.
For those planning to deposit by a traditional check, electronic checks certainly provide a speed advantage as traditional checks take anywhere from 5 to 10 business days to clear.
eCheck Online Poker Fees
Instant eCheck poker sites rarely charge fees for online poker eCheck deposits. It's one of the reasons why they have gained so much popularity in the online poker world (in addition to being fast and secure) - although online poker rooms rarely charge fees for any kind of deposits except for credit cards.
Your local bank will charge a small fee. In most cases, however, the fee of using an electronic check is smaller than the fee of a traditional check or a credit card transaction, making it a better option financially.
Are Electronic Checks Safe?
You'll face the same security measures by using Instant eChecks for online poker as you would when using normal checks. While many hesitate when faced with an opportunity to transfer money via electronic means, it must be said that electronic checks are just as safe as traditional checks. In fact, most would say that it's safer to use eChecks for poker deposits than traditional checks.
Still, it's worth remembering that no payment method is 100% safe. You should always look through your bank statement to make sure of that there have been no unauthorized transactions, for instance. In the case of an unauthorized transaction, contact your bank immediately because your losses may depend on how fast you reported the unauthorized transaction.
In addition to being a safe deposit method, using eCheques is good for the environment, as they save paper.