Online payment is a vital part of modern life.
Just about everyone buys things online, with many of us relying almost entirely on ecommerce (only paying for things like groceries in person). It’s become supremely convenient over the years, too, going from horribly clunky during the dial-up era to slick and mobile-optimized today. Due to this, most people barely give it any thought.
Is it smart to be so accepting, though? When you buy something at a brick-and-mortar store, you’re directly interacting with a real person, giving you contextual clues about the safety of the transaction. When you buy something online, you’re sending money into the digital realm and trusting that everything will work. What matters, then, is how that transaction is handled.
This is where digital wallet services enter the picture.
They allow their users to do various things: transfer money (regular bank transfers or international money transfers), withdraw money, deposit money, receive money, set up recurring payments, etc. You’ve surely heard of PayPal, which is the most commonly-used digital wallet service. But what about Skrill?
In this Skrill review, we’ll cover the things you need to know about Skrill. What it is, how you open an account, how it works, and — most importantly — whether it’s safe. Let’s begin.
Skrill is a general digital wallet system that provides a typical range of transfer and payment functions, though it has some features that set it apart from its competitors.
Originally known as Moneybookers, Skrill was launched in 2001 (for comparison, the first version of PayPal was launched in 1999), and has grown significantly over the years. In 2015, it became a subsidiary brand of a multinational company now known as Paysafe.
Most notably, it offers a platform with some convenient advantages for those who habitually use multiple currencies and spend a lot of money. Think of high-level online gamblers, traders, or miscellaneous international operators. It currently supports 42 currencies (with PayPal only supporting 25), allows each user to store money in four currencies (PayPal doesn’t do this at all), and rewards big spenders through a VIP treatment program which grants them lower fees, higher caps, better support, and even tickets to special events.
While PayPal still has plenty of advantages (it processes transactions much faster, doesn’t charge for moving money between accounts, and is supported by essentially everyone), there’s clearly a market for Skrill as an alternative — assuming it’s comparably safe, of course.
The process of opening a Skrill account is straightforward. You first need to register a basic user account using your full name, home country, and primary currency. When you log in, you’ll need to choose a six-digit PIN for security purposes: make a note of this so you don’t lose it.
You then need to go through the account verification process. This will require you to deposit funds (just a couple of dollars from a suitable debit card or credit card will do) and upload some form of ID (a photo of your passport, for example). You’ll also need to upload a photo of yourself with a piece of paper showing SKRILL and the date, and verify your address through uploading a relevant document or enabling geolocation.
Once you’ve completed these steps and all your data and documents have been reviewed and approved, your Skrill account will be fully active and ready to use.
You can start using your Skrill wallet to make online payments, accept payments, send money to personal and business accounts, and generally manage your financial activity.
If you haven’t used a digital wallet system before, you might wonder what exactly Skrill users get from their participation. How are Skrill accounts different? Why can’t you simply use a standard bank account?
Look at it this way: when you’re planning to go to a store, you can withdraw cash to use in the event that card payments won’t be accepted. The underlying source of your money is the same (your bank account), but the path of delivery is different.
In that vein, you can think of Skrill payments as routing services. When you’re trying to buy something online, making a typical bank transfer isn’t necessarily an option: it depends on what the website supports, and many sites — particularly overseas — won’t support a direct payment from a credit card or debit card. And even when you can pay directly from your bank, you can run into problems with payments being disallowed because your bank suspects fraud.
Transferring money from your bank account to your Skrill account, then, gives you more freedom to send money whenever and however you want.
Alternatively, you can simply leave your debit card details attached to your Skrill account and use it as a proxy whenever useful without ever making a money transfer to your Skrill wallet.
Using a service like Skrill also provides you with various protections in case you need to cancel a transaction or take action against fraud (Skrill customer support is very responsive).
Making a payment to an international bank account can be tricky because the financial services might not be compatible — and then there’s the matter of foreign exchange rates.
Skrill money transfers, though, are fast, easy, and economical. There are no Skrill fees for transfers between accounts, and you can sign up to forex alerts to notify you of the best times to convert.
Accordingly, whenever you have an international money transfer to arrange (you might want to send money overseas to support a family member, for instance), Skrill is there to cover you. Choose the right time to take advantage of the aforementioned exchange rate alerts and you can save a reasonable amount of money in the process, too.
Now that we’ve been through the core details about Skrill, we can get to the titular question: is Skrill a service that you can rely on?
The simple answer is yes, it is. It’s been in operation for a long time, is owned by a huge company, and gets extensive use from many people who guard their money very carefully. If there were anything to be worried about, they’d go elsewhere.
If you’re an ecommerce customer and you’re often interested in buying things from overseas, using Skrill will allow you to use exchange rates more efficiently. You can buy other currencies at optimal times and store them within your wallet to be used whenever you want. You can also take advantage of the large range of supported currencies to really go global with your search.
And if you’re an ecommerce merchant, then you should absolutely make an effort to support Skrill transfers among your payment methods. If someone wants to use Skrill to pay you, that’s no reason to be concerned. It falls in line with all electronic money regulations, and works in a very similar way to other digital wallet systems you likely already support.
Wrapping up, the answer to the core question is clear: yes, you can trust Skrill. It’s a legitimate tried-and-tested solution to online payment problems, and fully deserves its niche within the digital wallet marketplace.