Whatever Happened to Ukash Poker Deposits?

UKashFor more than a decade, Ukash poker deposits were accepted by most online poker sites. The popular deposit method was replaced by PaySafeCard in August 2015.

Ukash was founded in 2001 by the online payment company Smart Voucher Ltd and originally only available in the UK. The concept of being able to pay for goods and services online without having to disclose your credit card details quickly took off; and, within five years, Ukash had an international presence.

By 2011, the online prepayment service was turning over more than £12.6 million in sales per year and, as issues developed in some jurisdictions with payment processing for online gambling sites, the popularity of Ukash rocketed. Within two years of Black Friday in April 2011, sales of Ukash vouchers more than doubled to £26.1 million.

How Ukash Poker Deposits Worked

At the height of its popularity, Ukash vouchers could be purchased from many High Street retailers or online. Players using Ukash as a deposit option could buy a voucher in complete anonymity and then make a deposit into their online accounts – not necessarily having to deposit the full value of the prepaid voucher.

Online poker sites loved the payment method, as the funds were guaranteed and the processing costs were low. Some sites – Party Poker in particular – loved the flexibility of the prepaid vouchers so much that they even started offering Ukash withdrawals. Unfortunately the party did not last forever.

The End of Ukash as a Deposit Option

In April 2015, Ukash was acquired by the online payments company Skrill (formerly Moneybookers). Two years earlier, Skrill had acquired PaySafeCard – a similar prepaid deposit option to Ukash. Having the two leading prepaid voucher vendors in competition with each other did not make sound financial sense to the top people at Skrill so, in August 2015, Ukash was retired and replaced by PaySafeCard.

Players who still have Ukash vouchers or balances in their online Ukash accounts are now unable to use them for making a deposit at an online poker site. For advice on how to get a refund for any unused Ukash vouchers, visit the Ukash website and click on the FAQ section of the site to download a “Consumer Refund Application Form” and details of where the form should be sent to.

Alternatives to Ukash Poker Deposits

With Ukash no longer being available, the natural alternative for players who like using prepaid vouchers is PaySafeCard. However, consumer online spending habits are changing, and there are some solid reasons why you might want to change the way in which you approach online poker deposits.

With a PaySafeCard, players typically buy their voucher and then deposit the full amount onto the poker site. There is nothing wrong with this; but, by placing the same amount of money into an e-Wallet such as Skrill or Neteller, you get more flexibility and convenience than with a prepaid voucher. Here´s an example of what I mean:

  • I want to top up my account at (say) PokerStars before playing at the weekend. Great. I go to my local store and buy a €50.00 PaySafeCard. I deposit the full amount on PokerStars and wait for the action to begin.
  • Hang on! There is a special offer on at (say) 888Poker for players making a minimum deposit of €20.00 this weekend. If I want to take advantage of the offer, I am going to have to go back to the store and buy another PaySafeCard.
  • If I had an online e-Wallet with Skrill or Neteller, I could have withdrawn the €20.00 from my PokerStars account and transferred it over to my 888Poker account in just a matter of minutes. Not only that but, by using an e-Wallet, I have an instant picture of how well I am doing (or not) at multiple online poker sites.

Check Out My Deposit Options Page

Because different players have different motives for playing online poker, and different ways on managing how much they spend, I have compiled a page listing the most popular deposit options for online poker sites. I recommend that you have a look through the options that are available before assuming that just because PaySafeCard has replaced Ukash it is the right deposit option for you.