When subscribing to a VPN service, a vast majority of users are perfectly fine with using standard payment methods. By standard, we mean methods like PayPal, Visa, Mastercard, Discover, American Express, and others from banks. That has some definite benefits. Those include ease of use because you can set up recurring payments and convenience among others. However, some people prefer to use non-standard methods. Instead, some VPN users prefer pre-paid gift cards, pre-paid debit cards, Bitcoin, and other more anonymous payment options. There are several reasons to do so, and we’ll explain why and tell you how to pay anonymously. First, let’s take a look at VPN service that accept prepaid gift cards and answer a few frequently asked questions.
VPN Services that Accept Gift Card Payments
Pros and Cons of Buying VPN with a Gift Card
There are several reasons why you may or may not want to choose a gift card to pay for VPN service.
- No credit card or standard method – You don’t have to be excluded if you do not have a credit or debit card. Simply buy a gift card and purchase the account you wish.
- Maximum privacy – Because store gift cards and pre-paid debit cards do not contain payment details, you won’t have to identify yourself any further than the information required by the VPN provider.
- No automatic renewals – Since store gift cards or pre-paid debit cards contain a fixed amount of currency, you won’t have to worry about the service billing you without your knowledge.
- Easy to get – You can buy gift cards at a variety of different places from some gas stations to department stores to grocery stores. You can buy both types of cards (gift and prepaid debit) with cash.
- Easy to use – Using one of these types of cards is easy. Most of the time you purchase the card and enter the number when prompted on the website of the VPN provider.
- Can be limited – Not all VPN companies accept gift cards.
- May cost you more – Sometimes, you may pay an additional cost of 20% – 30%. That is because providers can’t actually spend gift card money without a fee.
- Can be inconvenient – After the term of the service is up, you need to go back through the process. You can’t set up recurring payments when using this method.
While you may run into some of the disadvantages we just mentioned at times, using a “Vanilla Visa” or “Green Dot” Visa may help you get around some of these problems. Instead of a standard gift card, those cards are reloadable and typically only require an email address.
Who Might Use a Gift Card for VPN?
While anyone can use this method, very few users actually do. If you are using a zero-log VPN provider, you should be relatively safe. However, some companies that advertise zero-logs actually do keep them. In theory, they can trace your activity to you by using your payment information. While it may not be likely, it could and has happened.
If you are a dissident, journalist, whistleblower, or a free speech advocate, keeping your information private is a must. No matter who you are, no one wants to get a knock at their door at 1 AM by an unwanted guest. If you are trying to conceal your activity from an oppressive or violent government, using a more anonymous payment method is crucial. Of course, some like to use gift cards to add an extra layer of privacy. In a digital world where it is becoming harder and harder to be anonymous, this method works well. It all depends on your level of comfort. You can use gift cards to pay for your VPN and other online services.
How to Pay for VPN Anonymously
Now that you see why you may want to use this method, we will walk you through the process. Some of these steps may vary depending on the provider you choose, but they should all be very similar. While you may not have to enter much information, there is still a minimal amount necessary to sign up. However, the information does not have to be accurate except for the card number, exp date, and CVC code.
- Access the site.
- Choose the length of service you want.
- Create your account by using a valid email address (yes, you can create one for this purpose).
- Select your method of payment. If you select a provider that specifically allows you to pay with a gift card, you will be prompted to redeem them here. If it is a major branded gift card (i.e. one with a Visa, MC, AE, or Discover), you enter the number in the credit card section.
- Submit the payment.
- Download the software and enjoy.
Though it may seem strange, you are prevented from subscribing to most VPN services if you are connected to a VPN. The same applies to many popular proxy services as well. To prevent credit card fraud, they will block you if you try. That can be a problem if you are concerned about your IP address.
However, there is an easy way to hide your IP address. What you will want to do is to subscribe by using a public WiFi hotspot at a restaurant or public library. That way, the tracking stops at the public internet connection instead of your home network. The purchase could have come from anyone connected to that location.