Internet-related privacy concerns are growing, but many people still haven’t signed up for a VPN service. If you received any unwanted gift cards over the holidays — perhaps ones for a coffee shop you’ll never visit or a store that doesn’t exist in your region — now is the time to subscribe. Several VPN services accept gift cards as a form of payment, and using them has the added benefit of being a little extra anonymous.
Note: Every service has its own policies, pros, and cons. Some offer a single type of service, while others have tiered plans that offer different features or types of services. Be sure to read the fine print for whichever service you’re considering, including whether they allow P2P (if that is relevant to your needs), their policies on data collection, and more.
Private Internet Access, also known simply as PIA, remains one of the most popular VPN services available, and for good reason: it is cheap, reliable, and perhaps most important for many people, it says it doesn’t keep any logs, including things like meta data. The company’s own VPN app includes a kill switch feature that cuts off Internet access if the VPN goes down, and it doesn’t censor or filter out any data (meaning you can torrent if you’re so inclined).
PIA accepts gift cards, as it is one payment method sought after for its relatively anonymous nature. The company accepts cards from a huge number of retailers, including big ones like Walmart, Starbucks, and Best Buy. The number of days of VPN service you’ll receive depend on the card’s value. PIA gives examples like $25 getting 100 days of service, $50 getting 366 days of service, and $32 getting 129 days.
Another popular VPN service that accepts gift cards is BlackVPN. This company offers servers in a variety of countries around the world and it supports the big protocols, including OpenVPN, as well as all of the major desktop and mobile OS platforms (as well as Windows Phone), plus dd-wrt for routers and pfSense. Cost varies depending on what you’re looking for; it is split up into “Global,” “Privacy,” and “TV” plans, the servers and features for which vary.
BlackVPN accepts gift card payments through the service Paymentwall, which itself accepts gift cards from dozens of US stores, including Walmart, various restaurants like Bonefish Grill and California Pizza, retailers like Office Max and Costco, and even airlines like American Airlines.
TorGuard is a relatively inexpensive VPN service with a no-logging policy and a variety of plan options for various needs. The service offers thousands of servers, and depending on plan, support for using the VPN on several devices at once. TorGuard is notable for also offering an anonymous email service; if you’re in need of one, going this route could be a convenient way to get your VPN and email through the same company.
As with the other services on this list, TorGuard accepts gift cards, describing the payment method as a convenient way to use old, unwanted gift cards or stay a little more anonymous than you’d otherwise be using a bank card with your name on it.
While there are other VPN services that accept gift cards, the three above are well known and popular, collectively offering a bunch of options across several price tiers for just about any need you may have. Want something ultra-cheap to stream geo-blocked content? Already know that you’ll need a full year and want a discount for buying it all at once? Looking for secure email in addition to a VPN? All three above have you covered.