Safe Way to Pay for VPN
VPNs have never been more necessary, with Americans losing 16.9 billion dollars in identity theft in 2019 alone. With the growing need for virtual network protection, many consumers don’t think twice about paying for VPN services with credit cards, debit cards, or Paypal. You leave a footprint by buying VPN this way, with your billing details logged at the VPN and your VPN subscription information logged with your payment provider, so what is the safe way to do this?
The safe way to pay for a VPN is to pay anonymously if your onus is on security and full privacy. You may use cryptocurrency, gift cards, or prepaid credit cards for safe VPN purchase. You should protect your IP while transacting by using public WiFi, Tor, or proxy and use an anonymous email.
If your online privacy is paramount, then you should consider conducting your VPN purchase anonymously. It is counterintuitive to purchase high-level virtual network protection if you compromise your identity in the purchase process. If privacy is not paramount, you may opt for the traditional payment routes, but for ultimate safety, here are the ways that you may purchase a VPN without compromising your identity or exposing your activity.
Why Should I Pay My VPN Anonymously?
If you are planning on subscribing to a highly rated no-logging VPN, some might say leaving a credit card trail defeats the purpose of the anonymity you seek. Although credit card payments are protected by encryption, purchasing a VPN by credit card may leave a trail to your identity. When the payment company transfers funds to your VPN, they often require authentication, such as a full name and billing address.
This information is stored at the payment processing company to facilitate future payments for the service. When purchasing a VPN with an online wallet such as PayPal, the company may store your email address, which someone may use to trace your identity.
Suppose you are only seeking VPN to conduct your online affairs and have no real threat of agencies attempting to trace your identity. In that case, anonymous VPN payments may not be a necessity. However, certain occupations such as journalists in oppressive regimes or those who voice controversial issues need to ensure that their privacy is watertight. In these cases, it is imperative not to link their identity and a VPN purchase.
There are several options available to make your VPN purchase and keep your privacy. You should research your VPN providers and ensure that they accept your particular currency, be it bitcoin, cash, or gift cards. Not all providers accept cryptocurrency, and some do not accept cash or gift cards, so ensure that you do your homework first before shelling out for a heap of bitcoin.
What Are the Disadvantages of Paying for VPN Anonymously?
If you are considering an anonymous VPN purchase, you should be aware of some of the disadvantages you may encounter.
- Recurring payments are impossible with an anonymous VPN purchase, making it a monthly endeavor to keep yourself under VPN protection. You will also not have the benefit of refunds or potential discounts that your VPN may have on offer.
- You are limited to VPN providers who accept anonymous payments, so you might find yourself unable to subscribe to your VPN provider of choice.
- You might be unfamiliar with cryptocurrencies and their operation, which can confuse the uninitiated process.
- Each month will necessitate a manual paying process, unlike the ease and convenience of a one-click recurring subscription.
Paying With Cryptocurrencies
Using cryptocurrency such as Bitcoin is a popular option because most top VPN providers accept Bitcoin as tender. However, if privacy is paramount, you should know that not all cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin are 100% anonymous.
All Bitcoin transactions are stored permanently and are public and traceable. Bitcoin addresses are created privately by each user’s wallet. Users generally need to reveal their identity to receive goods or services, and because of this, they are not fully anonymous. As this blockchain is permanent, at some stage in the future, they may become traceable. Thus users should ensure they only use a bitcoin address once, and users should never disclose their address.
To ensure anonymity, users should use bitcoin wallets or choose cryptos with enhanced security features such as Zcash or Monero. Cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin carry low transaction costs and can be very useful once you get used to the system.
Paying for Your VPN With Bitcoin
Although the idea of cryptocurrencies might be daunting to some, the process of acquiring Bitcoin or any crypto for that matter follows a relatively simple process.
- Set up your Bitcoin wallet, ensuring that it will be compatible with BitPay.
- Purchase the amount of Bitcoin necessary for your transaction.
- Find the website of your chosen VPN provider and choose the bitcoin option.
- Purchase the VPN by copying the BTC (or Bitcoin invoice address 25-35 alphanumeric characters ) into your Bitcoin wallet.
Bitcoin has a great webpage that guides you to choose and set up your bitcoin wallet called ‘Choose your Wallet.’
If your onus is on privacy, you should consider privacy-focused bitcoin wallets such as Samourai Wallet, which protects your transactions and keeps your identity secret. Wasabi Wallet offers CoinJoin and Tor to safeguard user identity and anonymize your bitcoin transaction.
What VPN Providers Accept Cryptocurrency?
Surfshark is a top-rated VPN that follows a strict no-log protocol and advanced leak protection and camouflage mode. They utilize AES-256-GCM encryption and provide a kill switch that prevents your sensitive information from being exposed by internet lapses.
Cryptocurrency accepted: Bitcoin, Ripple, and Etherium.
NordVPN offers a high-speed connection with industry-leading encryption and hundreds of P2P servers. With over 5500 servers in 59 countries, Nord has established itself as a high performance, high privacy VPN.
Cryptocurrency Accepted: Bitcoin, Ethereum, Ripple, and most other cryptocurrencies.
One of the top-rated unblocking geo-restricted media offers military-grade 2048-bit that is one of the fastest and most secure encryptions around. PrivateVPN makes use of Swedish privacy laws to back their zero data logging policy.
Cryptocurrency Accepted: Bitcoin.
One of the world’s top VPNs boasts 5,700 servers and lightning-fast connections, CyberGhost uses 256-bit military-grade encryption and has a strict zero log policy. They provide VPN apps across all digital spectrums, including Linux, Amazon FireStick, and even routers.
Cryptocurrency Accepted: Bitcoin
Buying VPN Anonymously With Gift Cards
Although gift card payments are becoming less popular among VPN providers, you may still purchase some VPN subscriptions with a gift card. You may exchange Gift cards from stores such as Target for a VPN subscription without any paper trail. Gift cards are the most secure way to effect a VPN transaction because it is virtually impossible to effectively trace a gift card.
Be aware that some VPN providers charge up to 25% of your rate premiums.
Paying for a VPN With a Gift Card
To use a gift card to purchase a VPN is a fairly straightforward process and can be achieved following these steps:
- Chose a VPN that accepts Gift cards as payment
- Go to the VPN provider’s website and select the gift card payment option
- Enter in the brand of your gift card
- Supply the gift card unique ID code printed on the back of the card.
What VPNs Accept Gift Card Payments?
Tor guard provides enhanced privacy with zero-log protocols and stealth VPN that can bypass DPI firewalls and provides open VPN obfuscation, Stunnel, and Shadowsocks. They offer the top email security with OpenPGP email encryption and anonymize and encrypt all web traffic.
Accepts Payment: Paymentwall, Paygarden.
With servers in 63 countries, Windscribe offers flexible connectivity and an AES-256 cipher for superior security. Windscribe randomly rotates your user agent to reduce fingerprinting and creates time zone changes amongst various privacy features. Windscribe is a trusted, highly-rated zero log VPN.
Payments Accepted: Paymentwall and Bitcoin.
A contender since 2008, PerfectPrivacy works across multiple devices to deliver superior protection. With NeuroRouting and TrackStop, along with advanced stealth VPN technologies and a strict zero-logging protocol. Most of PerfectPrivacy’s servers have IPv6 addresses and a bandwidth of up to 1000 Mbps.
Payment Accepted: Paymentwall, various cryptocurrencies.
With over 15 years of experience, ibVPN has built up a reputation for high security and transparency standards. ibVPN allows users to choose from popular VPN protocols according to their needs for privacy or speed. They also use military-grade 256-bit encryption to ensure the confidentiality and security of their clients.
Payment Accepted: Paymentwall.
Paying for VPN With Prepaid Credit Cards
Prepaid credit cards are another option to eliminate your identity trail when purchasing a VPN. Several larger retail groups provide prepaid cards that function as a credit card but without a link to your identity. Because you load the card with money before your purchase, it eliminates the need for transactions that might leak your identity.
To use these cards online, one would typically have to register the card with some form of a website, but certain prepaid credit cards do not require any personal information or credit card check. OneVanilla allows users to register their cards with only a ZIP code and does not require verifiable identification beyond the ZIP code. You should ensure that your IP address is not linked to the online registration to eliminate potential trails.
Users should avoid reloading enabled cards as they require an actual credit card and SSN to activate, which defeats the purpose of anonymity. Also, the anonymity of a prepaid credit card comes with a cost. Because the card providers can not accrue interest on your prepaid card, the prepaid credit card usually has higher transaction fees than ordinary credit cards.
Paying for VPN With Masked or Virtual Credit Cards
Masked or virtual credit cards are relatively new on the market and are gaining popularity for online transactions. Virtual credit cards allow the user to make online purchases with your credit card without revealing your credit card or personal details. It makes online transactions much safer than using your actual card, preventing unauthorized withdrawals from your card.
Masking is when all your relevant information, including your personal details, is obscured by the virtual card service, including your credit card provider’s access to transaction details. Although this is a safe way to pay for a VPN, it still leaves a trail to the institution that provided your actual linked card, which is not ideal for those seeking watertight anonymity.
Another disadvantage of masked cards is that you can not use them offline, the limit amounts are around $500, and you may not use them for recurring payments.
How Do I Process My Anonymous Payment?
There is no real point in setting up a system that protects your anonymity and facilitates a safe purchase of your VPN without protecting your identity in the transaction process. To truly make your VPN purchase private, you need to protect your IP address and use a burner email.
To protect their users from fraud, VPN providers usually log purchase activity on their website. Part of the information they log includes the IP address from where the purchase takes place, revealing your home IP. If someone knows your IP address, it is the easiest way to determine your server’s geographic location that hosts your IP and, subsequently, your location.
There are four ways that you may purchase your VPN without compromising your IP To ensure that your IP remains safe from tracking:
Connect to a Public WiFi
One way to protect your IP address is to use a public WiFi network such as a coffee shop, library, or hotel lobby. The caveat is that public WiFi areas are a hotbed of hackers on the prowl for your personal information, so ensure that you do not give away any confidential or sensitive information in the process.
For maximum privacy, choose a WiFi site that is not close to your home and ensure that you do not log in on your own device.
Use Another VPN
You have the option of using another VPN during the signup process to protect your IP. A trusted friend may be an option, or you may be in the process of switching services. Ensure the VPN provider you chose provides a zero log service to prevent leaving a potential footprint behind.
Be aware that some VPNs will not allow you to sign up for their services while under a VPN due to fraud prevention, so you may have to utilize obfuscation mode to hide your VPN status.
Use a Proxy
Much like VPN, a proxy acts as a middleman between your device and the internet. Proxies such as SSL, SSH, or SOCKS proxy do not offer the level of security provided by VPNs, but they may function well enough to hide your IP address from your chosen website. You may typically configure these proxies into existing apps, such as your browser.
Proxies do not usually include DNS (Domain Name System) traffic, so be aware that your website requests still go to a third-party DNS server with access to your IP address. Also, ensure that your IP is not exposed if the Proxy connection should drop for technical reasons.
Tor, short for The Onion Router, is free, open-source software designed for anonymous communication. Tor directs online traffic through a worldwide volunteer network made up of several thousand relays. Tor functions to conceal the location and usage of users from network surveillance or analysis.
When you connect to Tor, your internet traffic is encrypted and rerouted through random volunteer nodes that function as proxy servers. Thus, websites may only see the last server’s IP in the sequence called the exit node. Each time you visit a website, this sequence changes, making your activity almost impossible to trace.
You can use this free service by installing the Tor browser, which operates like standard browsers that users are accustomed to using. However, Tor is associated with some criminal activities, so some websites will block known Tor nodes’ connections.
Use an Anonymous Email
Typically, VPN services will request an email address on signup to manage your subscription. Although there is no harm in this process per se, when anonymity is vital, revealing your email is not an option. In this case, you should consider using an anonymous email address you will only use for the VPN subscription.
Services such as ProtonMail provide anonymous and secure email based on the strict Swiss laws that protect user privacy. ProtonMail keeps your emails encrypted at all times and ascribe to a zero log protocol. They do not require any personal information to use their services, which gives users the ultimate email protection.
Ultimately, it is down to individual choice whether the practicalities and ease of VPN subscription via credit cards or traditional payment portals outweigh the anonymity advantages. With the rising wave of cybercrime, it has never been more critical to protect our online identities. Cybercriminals embrace emerging technologies at an accelerated pace, so anonymity may be a more practical way to remain safe when buying a VPN than a worst-case scenario option.
- Bitcoin: Protect your Privacy
- Bitcoin: Choose your Bitcoin wallet
- VPN Pro: How to pay for a VPN anonymously?
- SurfShark: Use obfuscated servers for extra privacy
- Wikipedia: Tor
- Javelin Strategy: Identity Fraud Losses Increase 15 Percent as Consumer Out-of-Pocket Costs More Than Double, According to 2020 Identity Fraud Report
- One Vanilla: Using Your Card
- Comparitech: How to Stay Anonymous Online
- Digital Trends: How to Stay Anonymous Online