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Information about Boku Bingo Sites - Updated December 2023
On this page, we’re going to be taking a look at what Boku is, how it works, and what the advantages and disadvantages to using this payment option are. We’ll also be showing you the top Boku bingo sites, all hand-picked and vetted by our team of experts here at BingoParadise!
What is Boku?
Boku is a type of payment method found at online bingo sites (and other online gambling websites) that allows you to make deposits by making charges to your mobile phone bill. It was first launched back in 2003 (then, called Vidicom), and today, the operation has exploded, with the payment provider now working with some 300 carriers around the world. (1)
In addition to online gambling, Boku can also be used to make small purchases online. The payment provider has an infrastructure that covers three continents, and they have partnerships with many UK-based telecoms providers including O2, Vodafone, EE and 3. (2) They’re continually forming new partnerships – both in the online gambling industry and in other digital payment service areas – and they’ve become the most well-known pay-by-phone company on the planet.
Boku has been praised for its simplicity and speed; it allows players to make a deposit in just a couple of minutes, and you don’t need to register any card or bank account details in order to use it. Payments are charged directly onto your next phone bill, which are reflected on your statement as a “BOKU” charge.
How does Boku Work?
If you choose to use Boku at an online bingo site you’ll be pleased to know that actually using the payment method is very easy and straightforward. To begin, you’ll need to head into the “deposit” area of your account and select Boku as your preferred payment method.
You’ll then be prompted to enter the amount of money you wish to deposit, and once you’ve confirmed this amount, Boku’s payment portal will appear on your screen. You then need to, once again, confirm the amount of money you wish to deposit and enter/confirm your phone number.
A text message will then be sent to your phone, stating the amount of money that you’re about to deposit and the bingo website the funds will be credited to. You must reply to this text message in order for the payment to be processed. Once done, you’ll receive another SMS message confirming the payment, and your funds will then be available in your online bingo account within a minute or two.
Due to the fact that Boku themselves handle all aspects of the payment, the online bingo site you’re playing with won’t receive any sensitive information. Once you’ve completed the depositing process within Boku’s payment portal window, the bingo site will simply be notified that the payment was a success, and they’ll know to credit the funds to your account.
Benefits of Boku
There are multiple benefits to using Boku at online bingo sites, and one of the biggest reasons to use the payment method is simply the number of sites that accept Boku. It’s a popular payment option for many – especially those looking to deposit smaller amounts of money – and, for this reason, many leading bingo sites choose to offer it at their website.
When you make a deposit using Boku, you also don’t need to enter (or remember) any passwords, card numbers or pins. All you need is your phone number, and the ability to receive a text to confirm your deposit. Following on from this; using Boku, you also don’t need to store any bank account or debit card details on the internet. The only thing an online bingo site needs when you make a Boku deposit is your phone number – and this makes the payment option a viable option for those who are security-conscious.
Boku is also an incredibly safe payment option. In order to make the payment, you’ll need to authorise it via an SMS message, and this means that unless your phone itself is physically lost or stolen – and the thief knows your phone’s passcode – it’s an incredibly secure payment option. What’s more, as the maximum daily deposit limit using Boku is £30, even if fraudulent payments were to be made, they would, in relative terms, be quite small.
Boku is also a useful option for those who don’t have a UK debit card – or even a bank account – as you can actually use pay-as-you-go phones, provided enough credit is loaded up beforehand. However, as you’ll see in the following section, you do need to add a separate payment method to make withdrawals – so this point may be redundant, depending on the withdrawal method you choose to use.
Finally, another benefit of using Boku to make deposits at online bingo sites is that there are no fees charged either by Boku or your phone carrier for using the payment option. (3) So, if you deposit £15 at an online bingo site, £15 is the amount you’ll see credited on your next phone bill. Some bingo sites used to charge a fee on their end for using Boku, but regulations brought in by the UKGC mean online gambling operators can no longer charge players fees for making deposits.
Drawbacks of Boku
Unfortunately, while great on paper, there are a number of significant drawbacks you should be aware of when considering Boku as a payment option.
First; there’s a relatively low deposit limit in place when players use Boku, and this is just £30. This limit applies per phone number, and not per bingo site – so players are unable to deposit more than £30 in a 24-hour period regardless of which site(s) they’re playing at.
You also cannot make withdrawals using Boku. This is arguably the payment method’s biggest disadvantage, and if you do wish to make a withdrawal, you’ll need to do so using a separate payment option. Not only does this cause players additional hassle, but it also means they’ll need to complete a separate Know Your Customer (KYC) check on the additional payment method they add, further complicating the process.
One final thing to point out is that not all welcome bonus and promotional offers are available to be claimed with deposits made via Boku. Before using Boku you should always read the terms and conditions of a bonus if you’re considering claiming it to avoid disappointment.
Similar Payment Methods to Boku
Due to the limited number of players actually looking to make deposits from their mobile phone bill, Boku’s competition is limited to two other main companies; Payforit and Zimpler. Their payment platform works in a near-identical manner, and the same deposit limits apply. Payforit and Zimpler are also unable to process withdrawals.
With the UKCG guidelines regarding players depositing only using money they can afford to lose, it’s unlikely we’ll see any other pay-by-phone competitors appear within the online gambling market as the future for pay-by-phone gambling doesn’t look great. (4)
More recently, we’ve started to see online bingo sites accepting ApplePay as a payment option – and this is really the only somewhat similar payment method to Boku. However, to use ApplePay you still need to have a debit card linked to your account.
The Future of Boku
While the Boku payment method is accepted at a number of popular bingo sites – and is a simple and versatile option for those wanting a quick and easy way to make deposits – the drawbacks mean it’s unlikely to ever become a mainstream payment option.
Its inability to process withdrawals is a major setback; not only is this an annoyance for the player, but it also means they need to register an additional payment method to their bingo account – so they may as well just have used the other payment method in the first place.
What’s more, we’ve already seen indications from the UK’s Gambling Commission that they’re looking at banning – outright – the use of funding online gambling through mobile phone bills, (5) and the recent ban on credit cards shows they’re serious about following through on these ‘threats’. (6)
This ban stems from the UKGC only wanting players to be able to deposit what they can afford to lose. According to some reports, Boku – and other pay-by-phone payment providers – were allowing players to gamble with money they didn’t actually have – essentially meaning they were gambling with a cash advance, something which is now illegal in the UK. Whether Boku is targeted remains to be seen, but we certainly wouldn’t count it out, especially as the UKGC continue to slap restrictions on how much players can actually deposit at online gambling websites in the UK. (5)
Boku’s future is likely as an accompaniment to other major payment options. It’s a useful feature for those who want to take advantage of if, and plenty of bingo sites do offer it as a deposit option today.
Boku Bingo Sites - Updated December 2023 FAQ
What is Boku?
Boku is a mobile payment company that allows you to make deposits for various services online (including bingo sites) with your mobile phone. Debits are charged to your phone bill.
What are Boku Bingo Sites?
Bingo sites which accept Boku as a payment method are often dubbed as Boku Bingo Sites.
Is Boku a safe payment method to use at Bingo Sites?
Boku itself is generally considered to be a very secure payment method, in part due to the fact that it does not use banking details (debits are billed to your phone bill). As long as you’ve checked the bingo site you’re using is licensed by the UK Gambling Commission, you should have a safe experience using Boku as your payment method.
What are the advantages of using Boku at Bingo Sites?
The biggest benefit of Boku is often said to be security. This payment method doesn’t use your banking details as it bills any debits to your phone bill. Other advantages include this payment method being quick and easy and the fact that there are no processing fees payable (by yourself, the player) when you make a deposit.
What are the disadvantages of using Boku at Bingo Sites?
Boku should only be thought of as a payment method as it is not possible to make withdrawals using Boku. In addition to this, Boku remains unsupported at many bingo sites and where it is accepted, there is a daily payment limit of £30 - high enough for most, but not for all.