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While there are free VPN options around, they tend to lack features, speed, and security compared to the best premium VPN alternatives, so it makes sense to sacrifice a few dollars a month for your privacy. Yet sometimes secrecy is also important, and the truth is many don’t know how to pay for a VPN anonymously.
Well, not to worry – as we’ll show in this article, the process isn’t so difficult.
The pros of buying a VPN anonymously
Before discussing how to pay for a VPN anonymously, it’s useful to run through some reasons why you would want to avoid credit card or PayPal payments.
Most importantly, paying for a VPN anonymously helps you keep your personal data safe. While VPN servers and tunnels are protected by sophisticated encryption, buying a VPN using your credit card leaves a record you may not want to exist. And when it comes to transferring the payment to the VPN company, payment providers demand authentication that often includes personally identifiable information.
This extends to online wallets like PayPal as well. When you use PayPal to purchase a VPN subscription, there’s a good chance that the company will store the email address linked to the PayPal account, and that address often can identify the user.
By paying anonymously, you cut the last link that ties you to the VPN purchase
Most of the time, surveillance agencies or corporate investigators won’t have any interest in whether you use a VPN. But if you do have concerns or live in a country where internet freedom is being abused, anonymizing payments is a no-brainer – and thankfully, it’s not that hard to achieve.
The cons of paying for a VPN anonymously
If you’re still thinking about the need to hide your identity when paying for a VPN, there are some potential downsides to consider before going ahead.
Payments are the Achille’s Heel of the VPN process
For instance, you’ll find it impossible to make recurring payments. This makes using VPNs more cumbersome for heavy users and can lead to billing problems when you forget that payments are due. For the same reasons, refunds are usually a no-go as well.
Also, you might not be familiar with the payment method that your chosen VPN offers. Getting into cryptocurrency mining and trade might be not your cup of tea, after all.
But most importantly, not all VPNs accept all anonymous payments. In fact, some don’t accept anonymous payments at all. That’s why below you will find the list of the best VPN services that can be bought anonymously.
How to pay for a VPN anonymously?
Before you buy a VPN of your choice, there’s this thing to remember:
When you buy a VPN anonymously, it’s essential to hide your IP address
To hide your IP address when purchasing a VPN anonymously, you can:
- Pay on a public wifi network
- Access payment sites via Tor
- Use a VPN or proxy server
Tor is secure, if a little slow, while public wifi is probably the easiest option. Most VPNs won’t allow you to pay if you’re using a proxy or another VPN at the moment.
4 ways to buy a VPN anonymously
Here are some of the primary ways to buy a VPN anonymously:
- Cryptocurrencies (Bitcoin, Litecoin, Ethereum, and the like)
- Gift cards (Walmart, Target, Yankee Candle, and the like)
- Prepaid debit cards (OneVanilla)
- Virtual and masked cards
All methods have their advantages and disadvantages, and we’ll consider them in turn, to help find the one that works for you.
If you want to pay for a VPN in private, cryptocurrencies are a great option as most major VPNs accept Bitcoin and other cryptos. But you should be aware that not all cryptocurrencies, Bitcoin included, are fully anonymous. Most popular cryptocurrencies are sold on exchanges like Coinbase, Changelly or Gemini that require private information.
Also, the blockchain contains every Bitcoin transaction, and these can theoretically be traced back to you. Therefore, one should switch Bitcoin wallets. Alternatively, you can use cryptocurrencies that have advanced security features, such as Zcash or Monero.
Apart from the learning curve tied to buying and paying with bitcoin, the last disadvantage is that some VPNs don’t offer crypto-refunds.
The biggest pro of using cryptocurrencies is their low transaction costs and relative anonymity. Also, the value of Bitcoin is still growing, so having this cryptocurrency in your wallet helps you to save for future purchases.
Buying a VPN with Bitcoin
To pay for a VPN with Bitcoin, you need to follow these four steps:
- Set up a Bitcoin Wallet that’s compatible with BitPay
- Buy the amount of Bitcoin that you need from an exchange
- Go to the website of your VPN and choose to pay in Bitcoin
- Buy the VPN by copying the BTC address into your Bitcoin wallet
Coinbase, Changelly, and Gemini are the exchanges that can create a wallet for you, which should prove helpful for newbies. However, for maximum privacy, you should choose an anonymity-focused Bitcoin wallet, such as Samourai Wallet or Rahakott Wallet.
Paying with other cryptocurrencies is similar to the steps above – just make sure that a VPN of your choice accepts it and doesn’t penalize it in its Terms of Service.
Top VPNs that accept Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies
Here’s a list of the top VPN providers that accept Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies:
Accepts: Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Ripple
Behind the basic appearance, Surfshark VPN is friendly to Bitcoin users and delivers a full-featured VPN service, offering the perfect balance of price, speed, and privacy.
Accepts: Bitcoin, Litecoin, BTT, Dash, Tron, Monero, Zcash, Ethereum, Ripple
This top-notch security provider is totally geared up to cater for multiple cryptocurrencies – you can buy NordVPN with nine different digital currencies.
Brilliant security, great speeds, no leaks, and an option to pay with the most popular cryptocurrency – that’s more than most top VPN services can offer, and IvacyVPN has it all.
PrivateVPN is well-known for its low price, good speeds, torrenting, and unblocking capabilities. Guess what? It also accepts Bitcoin.
One of the world’s top providers period, CyberGhost has long been a VPN that accepts Bitcoin, and with over 5,700 servers around the world, it offers a super-quick, reliable service.
2. Gift cards
Gift cards from stores like Walmart, Target, Yankee Candle, or Urban Outfitters can be traded for VPNs, offering the most secure way to protect your internet activity. There’s virtually no way anyone could trace a gift card, especially because you can pay for it in cash.
Unfortunately, this method is becoming less popular among the VPN providers, so try it while you can. Also, be prepared for a rate premium of up to 25%.
Buying a VPN with a gift card
- Choose a VPN that accepts gift cards
- Go to the VPN’s website and select the gift card payment option
- Choose a gift card brand and check the exchange rate. Usually, it’s best to purchase a $50 gift card from Target or other big stores.
- After selecting the card, check the balance. Chances are you’d get a better rate with another card.
- When you’ve found the best offer, use the gift card to pay for the VPN
Best VPNs that accept gift cards
Which providers still accept gift cards? Here’s some of them:
Accepts: Paygarden, Paymentwall
Reliable and good value, TorGuard can bundle in a secure, anonymous email service with access to their servers, and accepts over a hundred of different gift cards in the US.
Accepts: Bitcoin, Paymentwall
Rich in features and flexible in prices, bitcoin-friendly Windscribe also takes gift cards as a valid option via Paymentwall. In the US that includes Openbucks payment card system that works with Subway, CVS Pharmacy, Burger King, and Sports Authority, among others.
Perfect Privacy is a perfect example of a VPN that delivers security and privacy for an unlimited amount of simultaneous connections. It also offers plenty of payment options, one of which is Paymentwall.
Private Internet Access
Accepts: Paygarden, Private Internet Access gift cards, Paymentwall (in some regions)
Private Internet Access has pioneered gift cards as a payment option while also creating one of its own. This provider is serious about anonymity, with zero logs or metadata to betray their customers.
Excellent security features and minimal logging make ibVPN a great choice for any privacy enthusiast that also wants to keep her payments anonymous. In addition to Paymentwall gift cards, ibVPN also accepts a bunch of cryptocurrencies.
3. Prepaid debit cards
This form of payment is less popular but still a viable option for getting a VPN anonymously. Prepaid debit cards loaded with different sums of money can be bought in supermarkets. Before purchasing, make sure you’re getting a non-reloadable gift card because reloadable ones require an ID and SSN to sign up.
They work similarly to the credit cards, which means you’ll be able to use them offline as well. And while most prepaid debit cards are similar, we suggest trying a OneVanilla VISA that has a flexible gift-load. But the best thing is that OneVanilla website allows you to assign a zip code to the card and pass most fraud checks.
4. Virtual and masked credit cards
This payment option is relatively new and might look suspicious, but many believe this is the new way of making transactions online. That is because you’re allowed to pay with your credit card without revealing its number. Also, you can create multiple virtual cards and close them anytime.
These cards have another advantage over their real counterparts – it’s impossible to charge them without your approval. At the same time, it’s one of the main drawbacks as you won’t be able to make recurring payments for your VPN subscription.
Another two disadvantages of the virtual and masked cards are that you can’t use them to pay offline and the maximum spending sum is $500. Luckily, that’s not an issue for VPN subscribers.
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Julie is a firm believer in equal rights for everyone. She is a traveler and blogger, focusing her efforts on exposing censorship and discrimination around the world. She wants to hold corrupt governments and shady companies accountable by writing investigative articles and helpful guides.