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4 min read 16.03.2022 272
Ese Precious
Ese Precious
Fintech writer at AskWallet.io
Anonymous Payment Methods

Anonymous Payment Methods

Never has there been a time when people needed more privacy for their personal information and transactional data than today. Due to several breaches and leaks in databases of financial services providers, information about millions of customers have been exposed to unauthorised third parties, dubious persons, and cybercriminals. Whereas this situation may not be completely avoidable as most financial institutions must collect your data to render their services to you, and cyber-attacks cannot always be prevented, there are alternative payment service providers with high privacy for you. This article will show you the safest anonymous payment methods today.

What are Anonymous Payment Methods?

Simply put, an “anonymous payment method” refers to any system that can be used to pay for goods and services in which the buyer shares little or no information about themselves with the seller, thus maintaining some high level of privacy. However, this term is ambiguous in that what might be anonymous to Tom might not be anonymous to Jerry. Therefore, it is up to you to decide what counts as privacy in your situation and what does not.
 

Why Would Anyone Prefer to Keep their Transactions Private?

As our faces are different, so are our preferences and choices. While some people do not mind exposing their identity and personal information to the public, others do. Now the following are the main reasons why some people would choose to keep their payment details private:

Identity theft

People who are afraid to manage the risk of allowing someone else to have access to their private data without their consent will always prefer the anonymous ways of doing things. They will prefer to go to brick-and-mortar stores and make payments in cash than to shop online and use digital wallets which normally require users to provide their personal details and store their financial information in electronic databases.

Undisclosed charity

Anonymous donations are often made by people who believe that genuine giving should not be done in public. They send their financial assistance to the less privileged in society without attaching their names or any trace to the donors. Such people would prefer to use anonymous payment methods.

Low profile maintenance

People who would prefer to keep their actual financial status away from those with whom they have complicated relationships or distrust would prefer anonymous payment options to their alternative counterparts. Moreover, for fear of criminals, especially kidnappers and robbers, some people would prefer to keep their financial profiles as low as they can.

The Best Anonymous Payment Methods

Many payment options could be classified as anonymous; again, it all depends on your definition of anonymity. But the safest and most reliable methods for making anonymous payments these days include the following:

Cash

This is generally the best option for the anonymity of your payments. It could be used to achieve 100% privacy. For payments to merchants and money transfers both within and outside your country, you can easily hide your true identity by using cash. For example, you can wire cash to a friend overseas through an international money transfer institution or send it via a secure and trusted courier. But besides being seldom acceptable for online payments, this option comes with a high risk of losing your money to improper handling, theft, and even physical damage to the money.

Prepaid gift cards

You can buy prepaid gift cards from physical retail stores to use them for anonymous payments. They do not contain any personal information and may be used for online or offline transactions. Although this is not a generally accepted payment method, it is good for instant and private payments at stores that accept them.

Trusted third-party anonymous payment service providers

Third-party private payment service providers help their customers to make anonymous payments and send money domestically and internationally. They charge a low fee for their services and use their business names or customised names to process your transactions on your behalf. Although there are many scammers among private individuals and organisations that provide third-party anonymous payment services, there are still others that are trustworthy. The fact that many of them are poorly regulated is a reason to be very careful about using this method. However, to avoid scammers, you may ask your reliable neighbours, friends, and family members about the tested and trusted third-party anonymous options available to you. 

Prepaid codes

Some services stand out from the crowd. They are a kind of electronic wallet with the ability to recharge through system partners like gas stations or supermarkets. The codes are completely anonymous and allow you to exchange cash for electronic vouchers. This allows you to make completely anonymous purchases on the Internet as if you were paying in cash. 

Paysafecard

Can cybercriminals find your personal and financial data online if it does not exist there? No! This is where Paysafecard comes into the picture. This payment method by Paysafe Holdings UK Limited is anonymous in that it does not ask for your personal, bank, or card information to allow you to pay online. It is very much like cash. But instead of cash, it uses 16-digit prepaid codes on special vouchers to enable its users to shop safely and privately at authorised online merchants. The vouchers can be bought at offline checkouts. Your transaction is private and neither Paysafecard nor your merchant will receive information about you. Unfortunately, without registration on the website operations are limited to up to 50 EUR per transaction. Some online shops also require registration for any type of transaction.

E-wallets

Not every e-wallet offers anonymity to its customers. However, some can offer some form of anonymous payments.  To have some privacy while making payments online, we would advise you to use Skrill, Neteller, or ecoPayz.  
 

Skrill

Skrill is another brand of Paysafe. However, unlike Paysafecard, Skrill does not use digital prepaid codes for anonymous transactions. This e-wallet allows users to make secure transactions and does not share their data with merchants. However, your data may be shared with government agencies, credit reporting agencies, and other investigative third parties that might want to ensure that you do not perform illegal operations via your account. You do not need to verify your identity to use a Skrill account, but your transactions will be limited until you verify your account to increase the limits. For more information about Skrill, read this honest review.
 

Neteller

This e-wallet is similar to Skrill in many ways and they are both from the same parent company. While their main differences are in the fees they charge their customers, they both allow their users to make anonymous transactions through unverified accounts. You can find more information about Neteller at this link.
 

ecoPayz

This e-wallet encrypts all your transactions with 256-bit Secure Sockets Layer protocol to give you some anonymity before merchants. Without verifying your identity, you can use a Classic Account from ecoPayz to send up to €1,000 to merchants in a day.  Learn more about ecoPayzhere.
 

PayPal

PayPal is a third-party payment service that is well-known globally. It supports more than 20 currencies and is available to users in 200+ countries. It is an online payment service provider that lets its users have the option of registering their accounts with a secret system. How? Account creation is done on the PayPal website, where you will have to provide a name, phone number, and an email address, and register a bank account or card (physical or virtual) for your transactions. When you use PayPal for anonymous payments, it sends only the name and email you provided during account registration to the receiver – the name and email could be different from your personal ones. Nevertheless, to avoid falling victim to phishing scams via PayPal, ensure to use a PayPal Security Key.

Apple Pay Cash

You need to have an iPhone – iPhone 6 or a higher model – to use this anonymous, fast, and easy-to-use payment method. Apple Pay Cash was initially released in 2014. It is good for doing secure personal and business transactions in anonymity because it supports contactless payment using near-field communication technology (NFC) and tokenization. Through tokenization, each transaction is given a new virtual account number, thus, making it needless to share your account details or card details with merchants. But it is not fully anonymous because it is linked to your mobile device. So, if you prefer to use this method, we recommend using a strong password containing characters and symbols that are difficult for someone else to guess, as well as enabling two-factor authentication.

Google Pay

This is a substitute payment method for Apple Pay Cash. Google Pay was initially released as Android Pay in 2011 before it was later developed and rebranded to a better competitive level with Apple Pay and given its current name in 2018. Although it is not available in many countries like its iPhone rival, it is cheaper to maintain. It serves the vast community of Android phone users and uses similar technology to that of iPhones (NFC and tokenization) for secure and anonymous payments.  But since not all recently released Android phones have built-in chips to support the use of NFC technology, many people might not be able to use this anonymous payment option.

Cash App

Cash App is a peer-to-peer app for anonymous mobile payments. It does not need your bank details to request or transfer money because it uses a $cashtag, which is a unique username for advanced security. It can only be useful as an anonymous payment option if you choose not to verify your identity. However, any user who is yet to provide a valid document that can prove his or her identity is not allowed to spend more than $250 in a day – this can be considered as its anonymity cost. Another disadvantage of this option is that it can only be used in the United Kingdom and the United States of America.

Prepaid debit cards

Many prepaid debit card users would agree that this online payment method is quite anonymous. The users add money to their prepaid cards before they can use them for payments at online and physical stores. Therefore, they do not need to give their personal details to the merchant. Nonetheless, for online payments, some online stores require you to sign up before you can use their site. Thus, this payment method offers partial anonymity. Still, a good thing about this method is that you can register your card with a temporary email address while buying your card in cash.

Disposable (virtual/masked) credit cards

To protect your real credit accounts from data breaches and other threats, you can use disposable credit cards for online payments. These cards could be virtual or masked but they cannot be used offline. In whichever form, they are credit card numbers linked to your real account so that you can carry out your transactions anonymously – your real account number is kept private.

Cryptocurrencies

Nowadays, one of the safest anonymous ways to make payments online is to use cryptocurrencies. The use of cryptocurrencies is getting popular even though not yet globally accepted. It is not possible to hold Bitcoin, Ethereum, and other cryptocurrencies in your hands, but it is possible to buy tangible goods and quality services with them. While this option is anonymous to some people, it is not to some others because users are required to register their personal data before they can exchange cryptocurrencies. Nonetheless, using a virtual private network (VPN) and cold wallets, one can increase the security level of their transactions. Disclaimer: AskWallet does not encourage the use of VPNs in countries where they are prohibited by law.

Online exchanges

Peer-to-peer crypto trading can be done at several online exchanges that have been set up for anonymous payments. Although there is a chance of being scammed or encountering user-error issues when dealing with regular people on this marketplace, high-quality exchanges will place cash in escrow to secure your money. However, exchanges could take a long time due to the peer-to-peer nature of online exchange platforms.

How to Access Payment Options from Unsupported Countries

As you move from one place to another for personal and business purposes, there is a possibility of finding yourself in a country where your anonymous payment method is unsupported. This could cause a lot of frustration. But you do not need to worry about it because you can use a VPN. How does it work? A VPN prevents your IP address from being discovered by others and protects your privacy on the internet using a foreign server and sophisticated encryption technology. For example, Cash App is not supported outside the UK and the USA, but you can continue to enjoy the app in an unsupported location by using a VPN that can connect to a UK/USA server and IP address.

Is it Possible to Have Complete Anonymity?

Directly or indirectly, there must be at least two parties involved in a transaction: the seller/sender and the buyer/receiver. On the one hand, if you choose to shop in a physical store, irrespective of the payment method you want to use, be ready to meet with other persons in the process. Some stores even have closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras installed to monitor your every movement inside them. On the other hand, if you prefer doing your transactions online, be ready to provide some information that will help to ensure that the product or service gets to you and not someone else.  Therefore, there is practically no payment system that offers 100% anonymity to its users.

Conclusion

The demand for anonymous payment methods is justifiable in this age of identity theft, advanced and high-impact data breaches. But a desire for 100% privacy is unrealistic. While cash remains the most anonymous payment method among the best payment options for privacy today, it is not convenient and can easily be stolen or misplaced. Therefore, you need to be flexible and open to using any anonymous payment option that would work better in your given situation.