Late last week, PartyPoker pulled a fast one on its customers, increasing the fee to withdraw via Neteller and Skrill (Moneybookers) without so much as sending players a memo.
PartyPoker’s new software client is due to be released soon, so players were eagerly double-clicking on the PartyPoker icon last week to see if an update was to be launched. No software update was noticed, but the fee increases were. For both Neteller and Skrill, it will cost players $4 to cash out from their PartyPoker accounts to the e-wallets, plus a three percent fee with no cap. For those using Euros, the fee is €3 plus the three percent, and for British Pounds, it is £2.50 plus the percentage.
The key here is not so much the flat fee, which is fairly minimal should one make large cashouts, but the percent on top of that, since it is totally uncapped. It is as if PartyPoker is taking a second rake. Granted, the poker room is charged a fee by the e-wallets for its transactions, but many players don’t see how it can be as high as what Party is now charging to consumers. It appears to many that Party is using withdrawals to Neteller and Skrill as profit centers.
The reaction in the poker community, as expected, has been harsh. As one poster on Two Plus Two put it, “this skrill fee is absurd. A flat $20 fee or something would be extortion, but understandable. Most banks do that on wires. But 3% with no cap is just theft. There is no way it costs Party $300 to do a 10k skrill withdrawal. That withdrawal takes almost the exact same amount of human and time capital as a $10 withdrawal. Put a flat rate, or make it 3% capped at $20 and we’ll all be pissed, but it’s something we can stomach.”
There are cheaper withdrawal methods at PartyPoker, but they are not as convenient for everyone as a quick cashout to Neteller or Skrill would be. For example, players can be mailed a check for just a $5 fee, but that can take weeks. PartyPoker also offers “Fast Bank” transfers for no fee, but those can only be done in U.S. Dollars, British Pounds, or Euros; customers whose native currency is not one of those end up losing money because of exchange rates.
For comparison, PokerStars does not charge any fees of any kind for withdrawals made to Neteller or Skrill accounts. The e-wallets may charge their own fees for various funds transfers, but those are the same regardless of what poker room players use and are not usually assessed when making transfers to and from the poker rooms, anyway. Fees charged by e-wallets are typically seen when deposits are made from a personal bank account, credit card, or debit card to the e-wallet or withdrawals are made from the e-wallet to a personal account. Fees are not always assessed – players should be sure to check with their e-wallets for specific, accurate fee schedules.