Sofort, or Sofortüberweisung to give the payment services provider its full and proper name, is a German-based eWallet that has been around since 2005. Just in case you are wondering ‘Sofortüberweisung’ is a compound German word that means ‘instant bank transfer’. Despite the German name, Sofort was actually bought by the Klarna Group in Sweden in 2014. The company still has its headquarters in Munich though.
Sofort operates differently from most eWallets. As opposed to having and maintaining a Sofort account, it works by linking the online services of your bank to the merchant you are trying to pay money to. The positive aspect of this is that you do not have to share your important financial information with the online bingo, slots or casino site that you are making a deposit to.
Sofort is only available in a limited number of European countries, including Germany, Italy, Spain and Belgium. It is unavailable for players in the United Kingdom.
Why Use Sofort?
Nice and secure
Online security is an issue for most people, especially when it comes to online finances. The more times you share your details online, the more open you leave yourself to the attention and intentions of hackers and other online miscreants.
When you use Sofort, you are not exposing your bank account details, or other financial information such as debit card numbers, to the Sofort bingo or casino site (i.e. sites that accept Sofort). This eWallet simply acts as a conduit between your bank account and the site.
You do not need to maintain a Sofort account
Usually it is not possible to directly link a bank account and an online bingo or casino site. If you want to transfer money from your bank account, you usually have to do so by using a debit card. Sofort acts as an intermediary between your online banking and the site you want to make a deposit to. You ‘pay’ Sofort from your bank account and then Sofort transfers the money to the online bingo or casino site.
Because of this there is no need to register for, set up and maintain a Sofort account. Payments are made by Sofort, and not by using a Sofort account.
As you are transferring between your bank and the Sofort bingo or casino site, deposits should be processed instantly, if not sooner!
It’s a one-way street!
Sofort can only be used by customers to pay merchants. It cannot be used by merchants to pay customers. This means while you are free to deposit at an online bingo or Sofort casino site, you will not be able to withdraw from it using Sofort.
Not all casinos accept Sofort
Sofort trails behind the likes of PayPal, Skrill and Neteller when it comes to non-card payment options available to players. A fair percentage of Sofort bingo and casino sites do accept deposits, but not all of them do.
Not available to players in the UK
Sofort has agreements with countless European banks that allow them to access their online banking systems. As none of these banks are UK-based, Sofort is not available to UK-based players.
Is Sofort Banking Friendly?
Using Sofort at an online casino or bingo site is relatively easy. Head to the site’s cashier and select Sofort as your payment method as well as the amount that you want to deposit. An applet will pop up that will log you on to your bank’s internet banking facility. You will receive a one-time TAN (transfer authentication number) which is used to make sure that you acknowledge and approve the payment.
Use your TAN then click the approval button. Your payment should then be processed automatically, and your funds available for wagering almost immediately.
As has been previously mentioned, you cannot withdraw from your online bingo or casino account to your bank account using Sofort.
There should be no fees to pay when you use Sofort. The site makes money from merchants, and those fees are minimal, meaning that Sofort online bingo sites and online casino sites are happy to cover the fees without charging them back to their customers.
Opening an account
No need to set up a Sofort account. This eWallet is more of a facility than a services provider. There is no such thing as a Sofort account anyway.
Our Final Thoughts
Sofort is similar in many ways to other internet financial services providers. It was originally set up to allow merchant to accept online payments from their customers without using debit cards. Now it acts as a service in its own right for people who’d prefer to limit the places at which they share their most important financial information.
The downfalls though when it comes to Sofort are obvious. It cannot process withdrawals; it is only available at a limited number of online bingo and casino sites (although that number seems to be increasing on a daily basis) and it is only available in a limited number of European countries.
If none of those limitations faze you, then Sofort is the payment processing system for you!