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Online shopping has become a staple of modern life. Easy and convenient, it not only allows people to order goods for delivery, but has also opened up a new world of online-only services which can be purchased and enjoyed from home. These include entertainment streaming sites, e-learning, and online casinos. However, paying for goods online is not without its problems. Whereas previously you could be sure your money could not be stolen unless someone had access to your physical debit card, now every site you’ve ever shopped with stored your card details alongside your personal information, and when this information is stolen, as has happened to many large companies in the last few years, it can cause problems for innocent consumers.
This is where alternative payment methods come in, by offering users different ways to pay. Rather than entering your bank details every time you make a purchase, they are just stored by the site where you have an account. Payment is then processed through this ‘middle man’, reducing the number of places your details are recorded.
One of the most successful of these alternative payment methods was Entropay. Debuting in 2003, Entropay was a service which let users create pre-paid virtual credit and debit cards. Once you signed up and opened an online account, you could add up to 30 different cards which were linked to your deposited balance. You could then enter the details of these cards into payment sites instead of using a debit card linked to your personal bank account. Because they only linked back to a prepaid account, the rest of your money was not at risk. And the only place where your bank account or card details were kept was the Entropay site itself, vastly reducing the risk of them being stolen.
Entropay quickly became a popular method amongst online gamblers for many reasons. Because Entropay partnered with VISA, every virtual card generated was a valid VISA card – meaning that it would be accepted anywhere you could use a physical VISA card. This stoods Entropay apart from most other virtual card payment methods because it greatly increased the number of places which accepted it as a payment method, as you can see from this bestcasinosites.net list of the best Entropay online casinos.
Another advantage that made Entropay such a popular method for use at online casinos and betting sites, was that you could make withdrawals to the same card. Most alternative payment methods are payment only, meaning you still have to give your bank account details in order to receive your winnings – not an ideal arrangement. While withdrawals with Entropay could take up to three working days, it was a small price to pay for peace of mind.
Entropay accounts would take a small fee for adding funds to them, but then they were free to use and operate as you wished. Adding more than one virtual visa card wouldn’t cost you extra, and you could then use a different card for different online portals if you so desired. Entropay made online purchases easy, but in 2018 the company started to show signs that it was struggling. First, they stopped taking on new members, then they told users that they were not able to make any further deposits. Finally, in July 2019, they ceased trading completely. VISA had declined to extend their licencing agreement for Europe, and without the verified VISA mark, the cards lots a significant amount of their functionality.
But the need for safe, alternative online payment methods has not gone away, and there are many alternatives to Entropay who are seeking to fill the gap in the market. While the big names like PayPal, Stripe and Skrill will always dominate, they don’t offer the protection of virtual or single-use cards which can’t be traced back to the user in the event of a data breach. Paysafecard is a single-use card which can be purchased in cash and generates a unique 16-digit PIN which is used for transactions. The cards come in different prepaid values and can be managed through an online account or by downloading the app. Another site that follows Entropay’s method and lets you create virtual debit cards is Privacy.com, where you can make single or multi use cards, set up spending limits and add an extra layer of security between your money and your purchase methods.
Using debit and credit cards online can be risky, even with sites which are trusted. By accessing an alternative payment method, you can reduce the risk of your details being stolen by making sure that they are stored in as few places as possible. While Entropay may not have lasted, it made its mark on the industry and showed everyone the standard to aim for.