If you have decided to get a VPN, it is likely that privacy and anonymity mean a lot to you. Most people pay for their VPN service using their credit card or PayPal, but if you want to get the highest level of anonymity, you should consider other options. VPN services that aim to help you to get the highest level of privacy offer features like a no logs policy and strong encryption. They also support anonymous payment methods because when you pay using traditional options like your credit card, a lot of information about yourself can be exposed.
When you pay using your card you need to provide your full name and billing address, and this information would be associated to your VPN account. While paying with PayPal means that you don’t need to share personal details with the VPN provider (except the email address registered in your PayPal account), if someone wants to find out your identity, they can find the link between your PayPal and your VPN accounts and PayPal does store information about you. Although not everyone may need to pay anonymously, for some users, protecting every aspect of their online activities is crucial.
For most users, paying anonymously is not really necessary. However, if you feel that your safety depends on ensuring that your identity remains hidden, it is important to find a way to pay without exposing your personal information. Journalists, human right activists, whistle blowers and those who live under a dictatorship should use a payment method that ensures that their anonymity remains protected at all times. If you only intend to use the VPN for general browsing, streaming, gaming and downloading, and you use a VPN service that doesn’t keep logs, you probably are better off using a regular method.
If you opt for an anonymous payment solution like Bitcoin, you won’t be able to set up recurring payments so it is advisable that you select the longest subscription option available, which is usually one year. This way, you will only have to pay once every year and you will get a better price since usually, the longer the subscription length, the greater the discount. Another anonymous payment option is a gift card and when you use it to pay for a VPN, you get a lower percentage of exchange rate.
Anonymous Payment Methods Available
There are two main ways to pay for your VPN service anonymously online: Cryptocurrency and Store Gift Cards. These methods can’t be traced back to you. The most popular cryptocurrency is Bitcoin and when it comes to store cards, there are different options including Walmart, Amazon and Target. Many VPN providers (particularly those who strive to offer a high level of privacy) accept Bitcoin as method of payment. While paying with Bitcoin offers a lot of anonymity, there are a few things to keep in mind when you choose this option.
Bitcoin is the anonymous payment method that you are most likely to come across when you are trying to pay for your VPN. The exchange rates between bitcoin and cash are close so you won’t need to pay much more for strong anonymity. Gift cards are a convenient solution as well, but they are only supported by a limited number of providers. They are easy to use and get the job done when it comes to keeping your anonymity protected. All you need to do is to buy a gift card from a store using cash and then you can transfer the balance digitally to the VPN.
One thing to keep in mind is that the exchange value of a gift card is about 20 to 25% less than the actual gift card value. The VPN provider can’t redeem the gift card so they convert it to cash by selling it for less than its value. While this means that you will need to pay a bit extra to the VPN provider, using a gift card is an option worth considering. It is simple and easy to purchase. The main downside is that only a few providers accept them.
How to pay for a VPN using Bitcoin
The first thing is to make sure that the VPN you have selected accepts Bitcoin. Once you have confirmed this, you can set up a Bitcoin wallet, purchase Bitcoins and sign up for the VPN. To pay, you will need to transfer the bitcoins to the VPN provider. It is possible to find detailed guides and tutorials that will help you to set up a Bitcoin wallet correctly. Some of the things that you can do to ensure that Bitcoin is an effective method when it comes to protecting your privacy include using a wallet that is associated to an anonymous and temporary email address. You should also consider creating different wallets for each payment you make.
Pay for the VPN service
Paying for a VPN service once you have set up the wallet and have added bitcoins is very easy. In general, the process works in the same way for all providers. First you need to decide what is the VPN plan that you want to use and then select Bitcoin as the method of payment. Click the submit button and an invoice for the bitcoin transaction will be created. The VPN provider will create a unique Bitcoin wallet in order to receive the payment. This allows them to know what username/VPN account has paid for the service. To complete the payment, you can click Pay with Bitcoin or log into the Bitcoin wallet directly and make the payment from there. It is possible to copy and paste the wallet address so that you don’t have to type it in. Once the payment is completed, you should receive a confirmation email letting you know that the transaction was successful. After the payment is completed, you should receive an activation email from the VPN service, containing a link to download the software.
Pay for a VPN using Gift Cards
Some VPNs (including PIA) also allow you to pay for their service using gift cards from major stores. You just need to enter the card ID number and the balance will be deducted and transferred electronically to the VPN service. In general, when you pay using a gift card, an additional %20 to 30% percent of the service cost is charged. This is due to the fact that the VPN provider has to sell the gift card below its retail value in order to convert it to cash. Apart from PIA, other VPN provider that accepts gift cards is IronSocket. Below you will see the process to use a gift card to pay for your VPN subscription, when this option is accepted by the provider.
After selecting the VPN service that you want to use, check the payment options available. Once you find the gift card option, you should see a list of the brands supported and the exchange rate available. It is advisable to get a $50 gift card option from a well-known store. One year of service of Private Internet Service cost much less than $50, but that amount would be enough to cover the additional percentage added when you pay using a gift card. Before completing the purchase, you can check the exchange rate and if you are not happy with it, you don’t need to go ahead with the transaction.
If you are fine with the additional percentage charged, you can go ahead with the transaction just by clicking on the Pay button to complete the exchange. Generally, the transfer is completed within a few seconds and after it is done, you will receive a confirmation email from the provider with the necessary information to activate the account. Once you download the software, you will be able to connect to a server and secure your online activities.
Hide your IP Address when you buy a VPN service
Most VPNs keep records of payment information in order to prevent credit card fraud and other issues. The data collected usually includes the IP address used to complete the payment. If you try to pay for a VPN subscription while using another VPN service, your transaction may not go through as it is likely that the VPN service will stop it. Transaction from popular web proxies will also be prevented. The best option may be to use a public WiFi hotspot when you pay for the service. You can use the WiFi of a coffee shop or library, that way the IP address that will be logged will be a public one and not the one you use at home. Although it is not a sophisticated solution, it is simple and effective when it comes to paying for a VPN subscription without exposing your home or work IP address.