The Money Belt: Your Financial Literacy Guide to Online Casinos
Welcome to the Money Belt. We are a financial literacy website for gambling in general and online gambling in particular. We aim to provide you with all the information you need to ensure that your hard-earned real money is kept safe when you decide to play at an online casino. We strive to ensure our casino financial information is up to date and accurate for Canadians. We also want to make sure you are aware of all the tools available to you that will help you choose safe and trusted online casinos. We also aim to educate you on how to keep your financial information is secure, at all times. Finally, we will detail everything you need to know to maximize your chances of wining at a casino and how to budget your money properly so you can enjoy online gambling responsibly. If you want to go straight to the best Canadian online casinos, visit our friends at theUltimateSteal.ca.
Canadian Dollar Online Gambling
If you want to properly manage your money at an online casino, you have to play in Canadian dollars. We will not test your financial literacy here by rambling on about Return to Player and house edge, that will come later. Simple financial education tells us that if you want to make money, you need to maximize your dollars. Losing money to middlemen through conversion fees will not help your chances to win at a casino.
Luckily, there are hundreds of online casinos, including all the best ones, that take Canadian dollars. So, unless you have accounts in foreign currencies, stick to banking and gambling in Canadian dollars.
Banking at Online Casinos
Banking at online casinos has always been a problem for Canadians. Once upon a time we used to be able to use credit cards to deposit money. However, that changed when the credit card companies banned the use of their products in online casinos. The provinces also eliminated their use in land-based casinos, with Ontario being the only exception. You can use a credit card in a casino but have to go through a credit test to be allowed to use it. PlayOLG also accepts credit cards as means of deposit.
Some online casinos have found ways to bypass the credit card ban by using third party services. In this case it is recommended to use non-even numbers like $100 and instead deposit, for example, $99.45. However, we do not recommend gambling with credit cards at all and discourage the practice. The path to problem gambling is often accompanied with debt problems, which can compound the problem. Do not use credit cards for gambling if for no other reason than the possibility of losing more gambling funds to high interest fees if you fail to pay off your card on time! There are plenty of methods for Canadians to choose from as alternatives, so let’s take a look at some.
Interac Online Casinos
Interac is the most popular payment method in Canada for pretty much anything. Any Canadian with a bank account has it and now, pretty much every serious online casino that caters to the Canadian market takes it. There is one caveat to Interac online casinos. Not every bank allows Interac Online payments. For instance, Scotiabank assigns their debit cards a Visa Debit and not Interac Online. Interac Online is a specific financial tool that behaves like an e-wallet in such that the payment is processed by a third party and the wallet is your bank account. The banks that allow Interac Online Payments are:
- RBC Royal Bank
- TD Canada Trust
- First Nations Bank
- Select credit unions
If you do not belong to one of these banking institutions, you can still use Interac to deposit at a casino. In comes e-transfer.
Interac e-Transfer Casinos
Interac e-Transfer can be use to deposit at online casinos that accept Interac from any Canadian online bank account. Every bank account has the option of sending an Interac e-Transfer. You have probably used it to send money to friends or pay for the fantasy pool you are in. When using Interac e-Transfer at the online casino you will be sent to a third party payment provider, in this case Gigadat, and they will display a scree for you that shows you what information you need to put in the eTransfer in order to send the money. This includes a unique ID that will connect to your online and the answer to the secret question.
Casinos originally made you select Interac Online or eTransfer and you needed to know which one you should use. Now, however, you simply need to go to the deposit screen and select Interac and then your financial institution and you will be directed to the method, or methods, you have available. Interac online is a more direct method so use it if you have the option but Interac eTransfer is also a reliable method but may take longer to show up in your account.
Both Interac Online and Interac eTransfer do not have fees associated with them at the online casino but your financial institution may charge your fees for using it. It all depends on your bank account and whether these transactions are free or if you have a certain limit of free transactions.
Update: Instadebit is no longer processing deposits outside of Canada
Instadebit is another payment processing method that is specifically for Canadians. If an online casino takes Instadebit, you can be assured they are Canadian focused. Instadebit is not an e-wallet and operates more like an echeck. You set up an account with Instadebit then it links to your bank account by placing a small deposit in your account so you can confirm the account by entering that number in the portal. This is done to prevent identity theft and protect your account. Once your account is set up you can shop at any Instadebit partner and deposit money into an Instadebit casino. Instadebit is fully secured and certified by TRUSTe, McAfee and Norton.
Instadebit does have some fees associated with it. If you move money to and from your Instadebit account and the online casino, there is no fee. If you pay directly from your bank account to the online casino there is a $1.95 charge and when you move money from the Instadebit account to your bank account, there is a $2.00 fee. Note that as of 2019, you are not able to carry a balance in your Instadebit account for more than 28 days.
iDebit operates similar to Instadebit but it is more closely tied to your bank account and is also available worldwide, not just to Canadians. iDebit is available at the following financial institutions:
- Bank of Montreal
- Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce
- National Bank
- Royal Bank of Canada
- Simplii Financial (formerly PCF)
- TD Canada Trust
With iDebit you log in to your bank account through your bank’s online portal. As with Instadebit, moving money between the online casino and your iDebit account is free but there is a fee to move money to and from your bank account. The fee from your bank account is $1.50 and to your bank account is $2.00. As with Instadebit, you have the same regulations that require you to withdraw any money in your iDebit balance within 28 days.
Comparing iDebit to Instadebit
Both iDebit and Instadebit use the same fee structure but iDebit does have a slightly lower fee to move money from your bank account to the merchant. Idebit uses your bank login to connect to your account whereas Instadebit operates more like an echeck such that it just confirms your account then you operate through their website. Instadebit allows only banking in CAD and USD and is only available to Canadians whereas iDebit is available internationally in a variety of currencies. Some online casinos do not allow withdrawals to Instadebit but most allow withdrawals to iDebit.
eCheck was one of the first ways to pay for things online and is still used today. It operates exactly like a cheque, except virtually. You simply fill out the information that is on your cheque and the last 4 digits of your SIN and the payment will be processed. You can online deposit at an online casino with eCheck and not get any withdrawals. Because of more advanced options, most new online casinos do not use eCheck. Currently only Buffalo Partners branded casinos, like Jackpot City and Spin Casino, and Casino Rewards branded casinos, like Zodiac and Grand Mondial accept eCheck. There are a couple of exceptions and the newest eCheck online casino is Hippodrome Online Casino which is branded after the iconic London casino of the same name.
Prepaid Card casinos
So, what happens if you don’t have a bank account or do not want to use a financial institution for online gambling. Luckily you can just simply walk into your local Hasty market, gas station or 7-eleven and pick up a prepaid card. The most common prepaid card allowed at online casinos is PaySafe card. Some casinos also allow you to use Flexepin or Neosurf and currently these are the only three that are available. In Canada, all three cards are actually run by the same company and their fees are generally the same so, if you have the choice, go with Paysafecard as it will allow you to deposit money at more online casinos and sports books.
One special note about prepaid cards and Paysafe in particular. Some online casino Welcome Bonuses specifically disallow use of this deposit method for claiming the bonus. A common disclaimer is Skrill, Neteller and Paysafe card cannot be used to claim this bonus. Skrill and Neteller have long since left the Canadian online gambling market, so they are unimportant but you should check the bonus terms and conditions to be sure that Paysafe, or any other deposit method, is excluded.
Other Payment Methods
There are variety of lesser used payment methods available but unless you absolutely cannot use the ones we mentioned previously, or already have used these other methods, we don’t recommend them. This not because they are not secure and useful, just that the options already listed should cover everyone.
Paypal is accepted at some online casinos but not for Canadian residents. The most popular jurisdiction that allows PayPal is the UK. There are a few other European countries that have PayPal online casinos but not in Canada.
EcoPayz is a webwallet used a quite a few international online casinos as it is available in many countries. Some variations of ecoPayz include the ecoCard, ecoVoucher, ecoAccount and ecoVirtualcard. The whole process starts by opening an ecoAccount which can be funded in a variety of ways. The account does not link to your bank account so it is a true e-wallet. You can use your bank to top up your account but you can also use the other methods above to do so as well. Instadebit, iDebit, Paysafecard, Neosurf as well as credit cards. Ecopayz is thus an indirect way of using your credit card to gamble at an online casino.
ecoCard is only available in Europe, so in Canada we are stuck with just an ecoAccount. Of course, that is all that is needed to play at an online casino so it will do. The problem with ecoPayz is the fees associated with the account. It is a great, flexible option but you will pay fees for pretty much any deposit and withdrawal method. If you combine with another service we mention earlier, you will also have to deal with those fees as well.
The ecoVoucher is a prepaid card type alternative available in Canada run by Now!Prepay and is part of the Payment Source group that also controls Paysafecard, Flexepin and Neosurf. You can use it to top up your ecoAccount.
In Canada you need to be 18 in Manitoba, Alberta and Quebec to gamble and the rest of the country you need to be 19 to gamble. Underage gambling is a problem that both needs to be addressed and understood. As parents we need the proper education in order to understand the signs that our teens are gambling as soon as possible. We need to both educate them before they are introduced to gambling and to help to stop it if they have started. We also need to understand that gambling, especially online, is not the same anymore and the pathways for kids to gamble is a lot easier these days.
For instance, a study from the BMC Public Health details these gateways into online gambling whether they involve real money or not. Not only can these teens get themselves or their parents into financial difficulties, but it can lead to more serious gambling problem related outcomes. Their data from over 10,000 adolescent students, from Newfoundland & Labrador, Ontario and Saskatchewan, showed that 41.6% had gambled in the last 3 months. Leading the way was sports pools, online and offline, represented 16.3% of students and Sports Select represented another 7.2%. Real money internet poker 3.6% and online slots 2.55% added to the online sports pools to represent all online gambling. Those numbers may seem low, but putting the detailed numbers in perspective, 6.2%, or over 1 in 20 boys in grades 9 to 12 played internet poker for money over the last 3 months. This is a huge step as they would have had to illegally sign up to an online casino and somehow deposit money into the account in order to gamble.
The gateway to online gambling is perhaps more important. The skills they need to build up to transition from free gambling to online gambling can come from the not so obvious places. Or if not obvious, not easily detected. You probably wouldn’t be surprised to know that 9 % of youths play gambling games on Facebook and a further 14% play online slots and poker for free, 1/3 of which are considered non-gamblers. So, 1 in 20 of our adolescents are gambling only for free yet over 8 in 20 will eventually gamble before exiting high school. This is the transition