Many VPN providers claim that their users surf the web absolutely anonymously. They say that a combination of a shared IP address, encrypted connection, and no traffic logging ensures ultimate privacy. However, security experts tend to disagree. This scheme guarantees 100% protection only if you keep your VPN provider in the dark about your identity. Unfortunately, you won’t be able to do so if you pay with a credit card, PayPal, or other payment systems. Even if your provider doesn’t process payments by itself, it is still possible to track transactions back to your VPN account. Don’t get upset though, there are two safe ways to pay for a VPN. Stay with us and learn how to buy a VPN anonymously with Bitcoin or gift cards.
Who Needs Anonymous Payments
If you are a regular VPN user who is not going to commit unlawful acts, you probably don’t need anonymous transactions at all. Besides, if you are confident that your provider is being true to you when saying it doesn’t keep any logs, there are no reasons to worry about your privacy. Since VPN servers store no data about users’ connections, it is simply impossible to who figure which subscribers used them, when, and for what purpose.
The absolute majority of VPNs claim they carry out no logging. The problem is that some of them don’t make good on their promises and, in fact, do record certain details regarding connections. Despite an assurance that metadata (information about a date and time of a connection, its duration, a total amount of data transferred, etc.) don’t pose a threat to user security, it is still possible to single out a specific person who connected to a certain server. Therefore, if you’re a security cautious person, it’s best to hide your identity from your VPN provider.
While most people use a VPN to anonymously download torrent, bypass geo-blocking, or secure banking operations, there are users whose activities involve a high level of risks. Those are whistleblowers, civil activists, freedom of speech advocates, and independent journalists, especially those who work in countries with acute social and political problems. Since things they say online may put their lives in danger, they require uncompromising protection. For these people, anonymous payment is a must.
Cons of Buying a VPN Anonymously
Unfortunately, your anonymity comes at a cost. Many providers raise prices if you wish to pay with a gift card. Averagely, you can expect a 20-30% markup added to a regular price. On top of that, you won’t be able to cancel a subscription and get your money back because transactions via gift cards are non-refundable. Some providers don’t offer a money-back guarantee if you wish to pay with Bitcoin either.
Unlike credit card or PayPal, anonymous payment methods require you to pay manually every time you need to prolong a subscription. Thus, you are not able to set-up recurring payments. This forces users to purchase long-duration subscriptions with renewal dates once a year or two.
Summing up, when you want to buy a VPN anonymously with Bitcoin or Gift Cards, you may come across the following issues:
- Small number of providers that accept gift cards;
- Subscription cost can increase considerably;
- No refunds are available;
- Automated payment is impossible.
Overview of Anonymous Payment Methods
To date, there are two foolproof payment methods that guarantee anonymity – Bitcoin and gift cards.
Bitcoin, as the most popular cryptocurrency, is widely accepted by VPN providers. Some services additionally take other cryptocurrencies such as Litecoin, Ethereum, Ripple, etc. You need to check in with your provider to make sure you can pay with certain coins.
Despite the fact that many people believe that Bitcoin is anonymous, it is not exactly true. It can be anonymous at certain conditions:
- When registering with Bitcoin exchange, you need to provide a disposal email;
- You must use a fake name;
- You cannot link your bank account to Bitcoin wallet.
If all these requirements are met, you’ll be able to make anonymous transactions from your Bitcoin wallet. If you are a newbie, you’ll have to spend some time figuring out how to use your account, buy and exchange Bitcoin, but it is worth it to keep your identity intact.
Pros of Paying with Bitcoin:
- The majority of world-class VPNs accept Bitcoins;
- Additional fees are kept low in comparison to gift cards;
- Bitcoin transactions are virtually impossible to hack.
Cons of Paying with Bitcoin:
- Some services don’t include a money-back guarantee to Bitcoin-paid plans;
- There are extra steps to open an anonymous Bitcoin wallet, purchase coins, and transfer money to a VPN provider.
Contrary to Bitcoin, gift cards are anonymous to begin with. They are not linked to any bank account, email, or payment system. Thus, you don’t have to submit any personal details whatsoever. All you have to do is hit a nearby store and get a card with a balance covering the cost of a VPN subscription. VPN providers don’t accept all gift cards, that’s why we advise buying a gift card of a large corporation such as Wallmart, Amazon, or Target. It’s not a problem if you don’t have any stores nearby or you live in a foreign country, you can buy a gift card on the Internet.
Out of all payment methods, gift card transactions are the most expensive. VPN providers have to sell gift cards cheaper than they actually cost. To cover the difference between a card’s face value and a price they sell it at, VPNs charge clients with extra fees.
Pros of Paying with a Gift Card:
- The most anonymous method;
- You can purchase a card with cash;
- No extra steps required.
Cons of Paying with a Gift Card:
- There are a handful of providers that accept gift cards;
- You can’t use any gift card;
- The cost of subscription will rise by 20-30%.
How to Buy a VPN with Bitcoin
First of all, you need to create a Bitcoin wallet and put some bitcoins in it. There are plenty of articles online on how to do so. Make sure you use a pseudonym and a burner email account when registering.
Once you have a required amount in your BTC wallet, follow the instructions below to buy a VPN with Bitcoin:
- Pick a provider that accepts Bitcoin (we recommend NordVPN);
- Choose a preferred subscription plan;
- Enter valid email account details (we recommend using a disposal email);
- Select Bitcoin Payment and click the submit button;
- The VPN provider will send you an invoice that specifies its wallet ID, price, and transaction QR code (if you use a phone);
- Scan the QR code, hit the ‘Pay With Bitcoin’ button, or manually log in to your Bitcoin wallet;
- Enter the ID number of your VPN service’s Bitcoin wallet as well as the correct amount and confirm the transaction.
Once the payment is processed, you will receive a confirmation email and an account activation link. Just click it and you’re ready to roll!
How to Buy a VPN with a Gift Card
It is even easier to buy a VPN with a gift card. Before you start make sure to read our post on best VPNs that accept gift cards and once you decide which service to purchase, just follow the steps below:
- Choose a VPN service (we recommend PureVPN);
- Visit its website and select a subscription plan you like;
- Enter your email address (use an anonymous burner email account);
- Select Gift Cards as a paying method;
- Find the brand of a gift card you’ve got.
- Enter the card’s number and pin code if applicable to check its balance;
- You will now see the exchange rate and a final cost of the subscription.
- If you are ok with the final price, click the Pay button.
After this, check the email account you signed up with to receive a confirmation, receipt, and activation link.
Mask Your IP Address Before You Buy a VPN
When you pay for a VPN subscription, almost all providers will log your IP address. It is done to help find credit card frauds who use stolen cards. Normally, we recommend connecting to a VPN or at least proxy to protect your transaction and hide your IP but that’s not the case when you purchase a VPN plan. The absolute majority of providers will block transactions from VPN and proxy IP addresses to prevent fraudulent activities. Therefore, you won’t be able to use an anonymous IP address. However, logging from your private WiFi network is not an option because you don’t want to expose your location. Instead, just go to a place with a public WiFi (a library, café, restaurant, etc.) and connect to it to make a transaction with a VPN service. By doing so, you will keep your real IP address secret.
We hope our detailed guide on how to buy a VPN anonymously comes in handy. Each method has its pros and cons so you have to be careful to choose the most beneficial option. If you have any questions or you’d like to share your experience on this topic, please feel free to leave your comments down below.