How To Pay For a VPN Anonymously: 6 Stealth Methods in 2023
VPNs are fantastic tools for users who want to keep their Internet traffic private, stay safe on public Wi-Fi, or avoid online tracking. However, when setting up a personal VPN account, VPN users have to share some identifiable information in the form of their payment credentials. That is unless they find a way to pay anonymously.
Fortunately, most VPN providers offer at least a couple of options you can use to stay anonymous when purchasing a subscription. And, while the process of anonymous payments might be a bit more complex or lengthy than a traditional payment method, it’s well worth it.
In this comprehensive guide, I’ll unveil six ingenious methods that will help you pay for a VPN while maintaining your anonymity. I’ll also share the best VPN services that allow you to pay anonymously. But first, let’s start with the main pros and cons of anonymous payments!
Advantages of Getting Anonymous VPN Subscriptions
If you want to stay anonymous online, purchasing a VPN subscription without leaving any trace has a few distinct advantages. Here are some of the most significant perks you can count on when you buy a VPN anonymously:
- Keep Payment Info Private — when you buy a VPN subscription with a credit card payment or PayPal payment, you leave a trace of the transaction. Your PayPal email address, billing address, and phone number are just some of the personal details left behind for your bank and payment processing company to see. When you buy a VPN anonymously, you don’t leave any such info.
- Protection from Surveillance — As a direct consequence of the previous advantage, when you buy a VPN anonymously, you can minimize the risk of government surveillance or other entities monitoring your online behavior, ensuring your digital activities remain confidential.
- Risk Mitigation — An anonymous VPN purchase reduces the risk of identity theft, fraud, or other forms of financial exploitation. By keeping your personal information separate from the payment process, you can minimize the chances of your data falling into the wrong hands.
Disadvantages of Getting Anonymous VPN Subscriptions
Paying for a VPN provider anonymously has some great perks. However, there are also a few notable drawbacks of using anonymous VPN payment methods that you should consider. Here are the biggest drawbacks of anonymous VPN purchases:
- Limited Payment Options — Anonymous VPN subscriptions often require alternative payment methods, such as cryptocurrencies or prepaid cards. This can be inconvenient if you prefer more traditional payment options like credit cards or PayPal.
- Refund and Cancellation Challenges — Some VPN providers may have stricter refund and cancellation policies for anonymous subscribers. Moreover, for some methods getting a refund is impossible, as there simply isn’t any identifiable payment information the provider can rely on.
- No Automatic Re-Billing — If you want a simple and streamlined VPN experience, this is another disadvantage that can be irksome. The drawback of maximum anonymity is that the VPN provider can’t rebill you. This can lead to you losing access to your VPN account every month when your subscription expires, so you’ll have to manually renew every time.
- Higher Costs — Anonymous methods can incur additional fees or higher subscription costs than standard payment options. This can occur in cases where there are additional processing fees associated with the payment method or if the exchange rate is unfavorable.
- Extra Preparation — When you use a standard payment option like debit cards or a PayPal account, you probably have everything set up in regards to the payment processor. On the other hand, if you don’t have a Bitcoin wallet or other payment method set up, you have to spend time setting everything up before you can pay anonymously.
Who Should Pay For a VPN Anonymously?
Keeping the pros and cons of paying for a VPN anonymously in mind, it’s clear that buying VPNs anonymously isn’t for everyone. In truth, you probably don’t need to pay for a VPN service anonymously unless you fall into one of a few very particular categories. Considering that, here’s who should definitely be paying anonymously for a VPN:
- Privacy Advocates — Individuals who prioritize their online privacy and want to minimize the collection of personal information by payment processors or VPN providers should opt for paying anonymously.
- High-Risk Occupations — People in high-risk occupations, such as journalists, activists, or whistleblowers, who face potential surveillance or censorship, should use anonymous VPN payments to protect their sensitive data and VPN payment history.
- Geographical Restrictions — Individuals living in countries with strict Internet surveillance or censorship may choose anonymous VPN payments to bypass restrictions and access uncensored content without putting their identity at risk.
- Sensitive Activities — If engaging in activities that require an additional layer of anonymity, such as torrenting or accessing dark web resources, paying for a VPN anonymously can help maintain privacy.
5 Best Methods For Purchasing a VPN Subscription Anonymously
Now that we’ve looked at both the pros and cons of paying for a VPN anonymously, let’s go over the best anonymous payment methods you can use when creating a VPN account. Here are the five best methods for paying for VPNs anonymously:
Most top VPN services accept Bitcoin and other popular cryptocurrencies like Ethereum and XRP. This industry-wide acceptance makes cryptocurrencies an easy and convenient anonymous payment option.
A great perk of using Bitcoin payments for purchasing a subscription is that you will most often get a very solid exchange rate. The exchange value on the crypto exchange platform will be close to the coin’s real value, so you won’t be overpaying for your anonymity when buying Bitcoin or a different cryptocurrency.
Of course, to buy a subscription, you will need a Bitcoin wallet. As I’ve mentioned, if you’re not already set up in this regard, it will take a few extra steps to set up and fund your Bitcoin wallet.
2. Prepaid Debit Card
Using prepaid debit cards is the best way to stick with a major card provider without compromising online privacy. Besides paying for a service anonymously, prepaid debit cards are very convenient all-around methods, as you can use them for other purposes, including offline shopping.
One thing I should mention is that you should get a non-reloadable prepaid debit card. These prepaid debit cards don’t require any personal IDs, and you can buy them completely anonymously. I recommend a Visa prepaid card, which can be purchased entirely anonymously.
3. Gift Cards
Purchasing a VPN service subscription with a gift card is an even more anonymous way to go about it than using digital currencies. Gift cards leave no trace, as you buy them physically in a store with cash. Plus, you always get a “fixed exchange rate”, as the gift card’s value doesn’t fluctuate.
The only downside of purchasing a subscription with gift cards is that not many VPNs accept gift cards. The only trusted VPNs that I would recommend that support gift cards are NordVPN, ProtonVPN, and Private Internet Access.
With that in mind, NordVPN is best in this regard, as it offers its subscribers many options. You can get gift cards from a list of gift card brand options. NordVPN currently allows users to physically buy gift cards in six countries. These are the UK, the US, Germany, Ireland, Canada, and the Netherlands. You can get gift cards from Walmart, Currys, Staples, and over a dozen other retailers.
4. Google Pay
Google Pay is linked to your Google account, which requires personal information such as your name, email address, and payment details. Fortunately, your VPN doesn’t have access to the payment details, and you can use a burner email and fake name for this process. That way, while you’re not completely anonymous, you still keep an intermediary between your payment credentials and the VPN service.
Nevertheless, I should note that it is not as good of a pick as my top three recommendations. While it offers convenience and security for online transactions, it does not provide the level of anonymity that more demanding VPN subscribers seek when paying for services. This is because there is still some trace of the payment process that leads back to Google (and your real payment credentials).
5. Virtual Cards
Virtual or masked credit cards often get a bad reputation, and many online users avoid using them. However, when used properly, these cards are a superb anonymous payment method. These digital payment cards, issued by financial institutions or payment service providers, provide an added layer of privacy and security.
The main advantage of using masked credit cards is that you can pay for a VPN subscription without giving away your real credit card information. This also protects you from anyone charging or stealing your credentials without your knowledge.
Of course, unlike when using a regular credit or debit card, you can’ make recurring payments with this payment method. Plus, it is not as anonymous as the previous four methods, as your payment might show up in your history.
Cash is king when it comes to anonymous payments. However, not many VPN providers support this anonymous payment method, as it’s not very practical. The only VPN service I would recommend that supports this payment method is Proton VPN.
Proton VPN allows you to send them cash directly to the company’s address. You can pay in US dollars, euros, or Swiss francs. Along with the payment money, you send your username, so the company can complete the signup process or extend your VPN subscription.
An Overview Of VPN Services That Support Anonymous Payments
If you want to buy a VPN subscription anonymously but don’t know which service to pick, I’ve drafted a simple table that will help you select a service based on the method you want to use. Here are my top VPN picks in descending order and their anonymous payment options:
|VPN Service||Cryptocurrencies||Prepaid Cards||Google Pay||Gift Cards|
|Private Internet Access||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
Additional Tips For Paying For a VPN Anonymously
Besides using an anonymous payment option, you can take the steps to bring the transaction as close to secret as possible. Here are a few extra steps I recommend taking when anonymously creating a VPN account:
- Use Another VPN — While this might sound like putting a hat on a hat, it’s a superb way to hide your tracks. Of course, the VPN you pick for the task should also have a privacy-friendly and zero-logs policy.
- Use the Tor Browser — The Tor Browser hides your IP address and online browsing activity. It will mask your connection to the VPN’s site and allow you to pay for the service and download the app anonymously.
- Have an Anonymous Email Address — A burner email address is a must-have when paying for a service anonymously. Keep this email only for this and similar purposes, and don’t share any personal details using it.
- Use Public WiFi — A public connection will allow you to melt in the crowd with many users that connect to the same network. As long as you don’t share any identifiable information over it, you will stay entirely anonymous.
Paying Anonymously For a VPN Provider – Key Things To Remember
Paying for a VPN anonymously might require more steps than using a traditional payment method. But, it’s the best way to minimize your online footprint and keep your VPN history as clean as possible.
Keep in mind that some anonymous payments come with limitations. Be cautious when dealing with anonymous payment providers, and be sure of their credibility and legitimacy. Avoid free VPN services and stick with reputable picks or even offshore VPNs for privacy.
The six anonymous methods I listed in this guide provide more than enough options across the best VPN providers. That said, if you want the absolute best VPN you can buy anonymously, I recommend NordVPN.
Pay for VPN Anonymously FAQs
Do I need to pay for a VPN anonymously?
Paying for a VPN anonymously is not obligatory, but it can offer added privacy and security benefits. By dissociating your payment information from your online activities, it becomes more challenging to trace your digital footprint.
Can I pay for a VPN with cash?
Yes, some VPN providers do accept cash payments. Look for providers that offer this option and follow their instructions for making cash payments securely. Not many VPN services accept cash payments, but one of the most notable ones that do is ProtonVPN.
Are anonymous VPN payments completely untraceable?
While anonymous payments add an extra layer of privacy, it’s important to remember that absolute anonymity can be challenging to achieve. It’s crucial to choose reputable VPNs and follow best practices for online privacy to minimize the risk of traceability.
Can I still receive a refund if I pay for a VPN anonymously?
Depending on the type of anonymous payment method, it might be impossible to get a refund. Moreover, even if you are eligible for a refund based on the method you used, the process might be arduous and require you to complete additional verification.
Is it legal to pay for a VPN anonymously?
In most countries, there are no specific laws that prohibit anonymous VPN payments. However, it is crucial to note that the use of VPNs and anonymous payment methods should not be intended for illegal activities.
Are there any risks involved in paying for a VPN anonymously?
The main risk is the credibility of anonymous payment providers. Some may not have a proven track record or be fraudulent, compromising your financial security. Other than that, buying anonymously mainly includes inconveniences and not any other risks.