How To Pay for a VPN Anonymously: Everything You Need To Know

For ultimate data privacy, you can learn how to pay for a VPN anonymously so even the service provider can’t trace you.
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For some people, data protection is more than simply preventing cybercriminals from stealing information. Human rights activists, mutual aid organizations, domestic violence victims, and whistleblowers all need to protect their digital lives to protect their physical lives and the lives of those around them.

If you’re someone who wants to limit your digital footprint, then you also want to reduce the amount of data about you that anyone has, including the companies you buy things from. You might even be worried that cybercriminals can steal your payment information if they attack the service provider.

In either case, knowing how to pay for a virtual private network (VPN) anonymously can help you protect your privacy by leaving no payment data for anyone to find. Here’s how you can pay for a VPN anonymously.

In this article
4 reasons to pay for a VPN anonymously
4 reasons not to pay for a VPN anonymously
15 VPNs that have anonymous payment methods
How to pay for a VPN anonymously
Paying for a VPN anonymously FAQs
Bottom line

4 reasons to pay for a VPN anonymously

A VPN secures your internet connection by creating an encrypted digital road for data to travel across. It protects your privacy by masking your IP address and online activity.

For complete data protection, you want to consider paying anonymously. Some reasons for not sharing payment data include:

  1. Maximizing privacy: Traditional payment methods link your personal details to the transaction tying your payment provider, VPN service, and internet service provider (ISP) to your activity.
  2. Preventing surveillance: People trying to escape internet censorship use anonymous payments to protect themselves from oppressive governments and regimes.
  3. Reducing data breach risks: Anonymous payments prevent cyber criminals from stealing personally identifiable information (PII) if the VPN provider experiences a data breach.
  4. Preventing third-party access: Buying the VPN service anonymously protects the payment processor from accessing PII.

If you want to remain anonymous, you should double-check the VPN provider’s terms of service to make sure it doesn’t require a billing address or email address — both of which could be used to trace your identity.

4 reasons not to pay for a VPN anonymously

Like everything else in life, you need to weigh both the pros and cons of paying for an anonymous VPN subscription. Some considerations include:

  1. Limited payment options: VPNs that accept anonymous payments usually only offer one or two different ways to pay anonymously.
  2. Reduced customer service: Customer support usually requires users to verify their identity, undermining the purpose of hiding payment details and PII.
  3. No refunds: VPN providers can’t pay you back without verified payment details.
  4. Manual renewal: Anonymous payment methods can’t be stored for recurring payments, so the provider may cancel service unless the payment remains updated.

15 VPNs that have anonymous payment methods

Since VPN providers focus on privacy, many of the best VPN services offer some form of anonymous payment method. If you want to remain anonymous online, most VPNs allow you to pay with cryptocurrency.

However, not all cryptocurrencies are completely anonymous, including bitcoin. Understanding the different payment options and the providers who offer them can help you make the right decision for yourself.

What are the most anonymous cryptocurrencies?

You’re likely not going to get full anonymity if you use crypto payments, but some coins are more private than others. Those include Monero, Zcash, DASH, Horizen, Verge, and Beam.

VPNs that accept anonymous payment methods 2024

VPN Gift card Crypto Prepaid card Virtual credit card Cash
NordVPN
Surfshark
ExpressVPN
Private Internet Access
CyberGhost
Proton VPN
IPVanish
Mullvad
TorGuard
Windscribe
Hotspot Shield
VPN Unlimited
PureVPN
Avast SecureLine VPN
Data as of 06/26/2023.

How to pay for a VPN anonymously

If you want to preserve your anonymity when signing up for a VPN account, you should consider taking some extra steps as well as looking into private payment methods. Here are some tips for maintaining your privacy while paying for a VPN.

Be careful using free VPNs

While most people’s favorite price is free ninety-nine, a free VPN can cost you something other than money. Since these VPN providers don’t make money, they often come with risks like:

  • Malware
  • Invasive advertising
  • Tracking cookies
  • Selling data

However, a few safe free VPNs offer some protection.

1. Gift cards

Paying with a gift card is one of the most anonymous options. Typically, you’re purchasing a gift card for a store or service disconnected from the VPN like Amazon, Best Buy, or Target. Since you can use cash to buy the gift card, you never need to associate any personal information like an email or billing address with your transaction.

How to use a gift card to pay for a VPN

To pay for your VPN with a gift card, you can follow these steps.

  1. Choose a VPN service that accepts gift cards as a payment option.
  2. Find a retailer whose gift card the VPN accepts.
  3. Purchase a physical or digital gift card using cash.
  4. Enter the gift card code in the payment portal.

VPNs that accept gift cards

  • NordVPN
  • Private Internet Access
  • TorGuard

2. Cryptocurrency

Increasingly, cryptocurrency appeals to people who want to maintain privacy and anonymity online. As a decentralized and untraceable currency, the VPN provider won’t be able to tie an account to a person. Some of the most popular cryptocurrencies include:

  • bitcoin
  • ethereum
  • ripple
  • litecoin

However, if you do use cryptocurrency, you should be aware that anonymity applies to transactions between users, not the platforms themselves. Since every platform requires an email address and password, you may want to use an email address disconnected from your actual identity and an anonymized password.

How to use crypto to pay for a VPN

To pay for your VPN with cryptocurrency, you can follow these steps.

  1. Choose a VPN that provides the services you want and accepts crypto.
  2. Set up a digital cryptocurrency wallet using a provider like Coinbase, Exodus, or MyEtherWallet.
  3. Purchase the cryptocurrency that your VPN provider accepts.
  4. Transfer the crypto from your digital wallet to the provider’s wallet address through its payment portal.

VPNs that accept crypto

  • NordVPN
  • Surfshark
  • ExpressVPN
  • Private Internet Access
  • CyberGhost
  • Proton VPN
  • Mullvad
  • TorGuard
  • Windscribe
  • VPN Unlimited
  • PureVPN

3. Prepaid debit card

Prepaid debit cards are the Visa or MasterCard gift cards that you can buy in most stores. When buying them, you load an amount of money onto them.

Although they look and act like debit or credit cards, they’re not linked to a bank account so have no PII attached to them. However, you should keep in mind that these cards can have activation fees of up to $10, so this can increase your overall costs.

How to use a prepaid card to pay for a VPN

To pay for your VPN with a prepaid card, you can follow these steps.

  1. Find a VPN that accepts prepaid debit cards.
  2. Purchase the prepaid card, and then load it with enough money to cover the subscription and any activation/usage fees.
  3. Enter the card number in the VPN portal’s payment portal.

VPNs that accept prepaid cards

  • NordVPN
  • Private Internet Access)
  • TorGuard
  • PureVPN

4. Virtual credit card

Designed primarily for online purchases, digital credit cards are either temporary or permanent card numbers that link to money in your account but not your identity. Originally intended to protect you from fraud, they also give you a way to protect your privacy when you don’t want anyone to trace a transaction back to you.

However, you should remember that because many of these cards are linked to a real account, the transaction can be traced through your payment card company. Further, when using one of these cards, you need to input your name as the account holder.

How to use a virtual credit card to pay for a VPN

To pay for your VPN with a virtual credit card, you can follow these steps.

  1. Find a VPN service provider that accepts virtual credit cards.
  2. Determine whether your current payment card provider offers virtual credit cards or not.
  3. If not, find a payment card that offers the option for virtual cards or look for a virtual payment service like Privacy.com.
  4. Use the virtual card number to buy the VPN using the payment portal.

VPNs that accept virtual credit cards

  • NordVPN
  • Surfshark
  • ExpressVPN
  • Private Internet Access
  • CyberGhost
  • Proton VPN
  • IPVanish
  • Mullvad
  • TorGuard
  • Windscribe
  • Hotspot Shield
  • VPN Unlimited
  • PureVPN
  • Avast SecureLine VPN

5. Cash

While using fiat money, or paper bills, to purchase a digital product might feel odd, it’s one of the most secure and anonymous options. Although very few VPN providers offer this option, two different methods are available.

In some cases, you can generate a unique code from the provider that you include in the same envelope with the cash, then use the postal service to deliver the payment. In other cases, you can purchase the software as a physical box or disk from a store.

You should keep in mind that the problems with this method are that you may need to wait for confirmation that the company received the payment in the mail or travel to a store to purchase the physical copy.

How to use cash to purchase a VPN

To pay for your VPN with cash, you can follow these steps.

  1. Find a VPN provider that offers an option for cash payment.
  2. Withdraw the subscription fee from your bank.
  3. Follow the directions that the VPN service provides for how to pay with cash.

VPNs that accept cash

  • NordVPN
  • ProtonVPN
  • Mullvad

Paying for a VPN anonymously FAQs


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What is the safest way to buy a VPN?

If you want to protect your identity and privacy when purchasing a VPN, the following methods are the safest.

  • Gift card
  • Crypto
  • Prepaid card
  • Virtual credit card
  • Cash

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Is it safe to pay for a VPN with PayPal?

Many VPN providers give you an option for an “express checkout” experience if you use a payment app like:

  • PayPal
  • Google Pay
  • Apple Pay
  • Cash App
  • Venmo

Although these apps can afford some privacy by not sharing bank account or payment card data with the VPN service, they also tie the transaction to your physical identity.

The apps usually require you to give them your name, address, email, and payment card or bank account information. While these can help reduce identity theft, they don’t provide anonymity.


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What is the best VPN to use anonymously?

To use a VPN anonymously, you want a no-log VPN. Some of the best no-log VPNs are the following:


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How do you pay for a VPN with a prepaid card?

To pay for a VPN with a prepaid card, follow these steps.

  1. Identify a VPN that accepts prepaid debit cards — NordVPN, Private Internet Access, TorGuard, and PureVPN are great choices.
  2. Purchase the prepaid card.
  3. Load it with money to cover the subscription and any activation/usage fees.
  4. Enter the card number in the VPN portal’s payment portal.

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Is it safe to buy a VPN with a credit card?

Paying for a VPN service using a credit card will tie your personal information, like name and payment card number, to the transaction.

While the VPN service creates an encrypted tunnel that protects data, the service provider shares information from its payment portal with the payment service. If you want to remain completely anonymous, you should look for a service that offers payment using any of the following:

  • Gift card
  • Prepaid card
  • Virtual credit card
  • Cryptocurrency
  • Cash

Bottom line

Paying for a VPN service anonymously and protecting your payment data from fraud are two different things. If you want to protect your payment card information, you can simplify your process with something like a virtual card.

However, if you want to remain anonymous, you need a VPN service offering options that make your purchase untraceable, like using cash or gift cards.

If you want to remain anonymous online, you should also make sure that you purchase a VPN with an audited no-logs policy like the ones in this best no-log VPNs guide.

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Author Details
Karen Walsh is a lawyer and former-internal-auditor-turned-subject-matter-expert in cybersecurity and privacy compliance. Karen has been published by leading industry outlets and quoted by The New York Times and CNN Investigative reporters.