EcoCard joins e-wallet U.S. exodus

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EcoCard is the latest e-wallet to retreat from the U.S., notifying its customers that as of Aug. 24 the company will no longer process any online-gambling payment transactions originating from the country.

The company sent an e-mail informing its clients of the change Tuesday. Though the cutoff is Aug. 24, EcoCard said U.S. customers can still use their accounts at non-Internet-gambling supported merchants, as well as make person-to-person money transfers and withdrawals.

"Please be assured that your account will not be closed or suspended after the effective date and you will still be able to withdraw any funds after the effective date," the e-mail reads.

Until that date, U.S. residents who use EcoCard will still be able to deposit and receive funds from any merchant - including online poker sites.

Other international customers who aren't limited by the U.S. government's online gambling ban won't be affected by the change and EcoCard will still process transactions to any Internet site.

The move comes of the heels of U.S. exits by other payment processing sites such as NETeller and Citadel.

NETeller shut down its American operations after its two founders were arrested in January and charged with conspiring to promote illegal gambling. Just days later, the company announced it would cease processing online gambling transactions for U.S. customers and in February, the U.S. government seized more than $50 million from the company and froze all NETeller accounts.

Concerned for its own fate, e-wallet Citadel pulled out of the U.S. shortly after NETeller, citing the arrest of their competitor's co-founders as the cause. Prior to that, payment processor FirePay withdrew from the American market after the passage of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act in October.

Few options remain for U.S. players who still wish to play poker online. Among them are the lesser-known payment processors ePassporte and eWalletXpress. Other options favored by some include using pre-paid gift cards, MasterCard debit cards or a VISA check card to deposit or withdraw money from sites.

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