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Private Internet Access (PIA) Payment Options Explained

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Private Internet Access (PIA) accepts payment via credit and debit cards, PayPal, and Amazon Pay. On top of that, it allows users who want more privacy to get the VPN service using cryptocurrencies.

However, not all crypto payment options are supported. And even if you wanted to pay via cards, some preferred issuers always work over others that may/never work.

On top of that, PIA makes it clear that some payment options aren’t entitled to certain support types or even a refund.

So, I did the digging and simplified everything you need to know.

What Payment Options Does PIA Accept?

While PIA accepts a broad range of payment options (like credit cards and cryptos), it limits the choices it takes under such categories.

For instance, you can only pay with a Visa debit card, even though the service accepts credit cards issued by Visa, Discover, Mastercard, and American Express.

The table below summarizes the payment methods accepted by PIA and supported options under each method.

PIA Payment Method Supported Options
Credit card VISA, Mastercard, American Express, Discover
Debit card VISA
Other prepaid cards None
PayPal Only in supported regions
Cryptocurrencies Bitcoin

Even though PIA listed Litecoin and Ethereum in its crypto payment corner, I was surprised that it only accepted payments via Bitpay. As of the last check, Bitpay only processes Bitcoin payments.

Likewise, a trip to the PIA Terms of Service page shows you can only purchase bulk accounts using a credit card.

pia multiple accounts payment method

However, you can still pay for PIA using other payment methods not listed on the official site. For example, you can use Google Pay or Apple Pay if you’re signing up for the service via your mobile device’s App Store.

The mobile signup also gives you access to gift card payments and supports more debit card issuers than PIA officially allows. But I don’t recommend paying via your device’s app store because:

  • You may not get certain support types (e.g., email support).
  • You can’t deal with PIA for a possible refund request but may be stuck with Apple/Google.
  • You may not get PIA discounts to save on your current and subsequent plans.

Instead, I’ll show you how to get the most out of your PIA payment (including discounts) below.

How to Pay for PIA VPN?

Anyone can pay for PIA from anywhere, but not everyone can save while at it. 

Here’s how to get a discount using your preferred payment method:

  1. Go to the PIA special deals page. I recommend using your PC.
  2. Click “Get This Deal” on your preferred plan. I recommend the 2-year deal for up to 82% savings and 2 MONTHS FREE!
Private Internet Access Plans & Price
Image for illustration only. Design, deals, and details may differ. Click on the image for current info.
  1. Choose your preferred payment method. I’ll go with the credit card payment for this demonstration.
  1. Enter your email address. This will be the email associated with your account for support and communication.
  1. Enter your card details, and choose your country/region.
  2. Click “Pay Now” and follow the rest of the prompts to confirm your transaction.
  3. You now have a PIA account bought at a considerable discount!

How Can You Pay for PIA Add-Ons?

You can pay for PIA add-ons at first checkout using all the supported payment methods. However, you might only get to use some of the payment options if you’re grabbing an add-on after subscribing to the VPN account.

So, here’s what to do in both cases.

If you’re getting the add-ons during payment for your first PIA account:

  1. Access PIA’s special deals page for savings on the VPN and add-ons.
  2. Click “Get This Deal.” You can see the 2-year deal gives the best value.
Private Internet Access Plans & Price
Image for illustration only. Design, deals, and details may differ. Click on the image for current info.
  1. Tick the boxes for the add-ons (Dedicated IP and Antivirus) you want.
pia antivirus and dedicated ip add-ons
  1. Optional: Click the dropdown boxes to choose another validity timeframe for the add-ons. The 2-year deal gives you the best savings.
  2. Continue with steps 3-6 from above.
  3. Enjoy your PIA account and add-ons.

But if you’ve already paid for a PIA account and now want to include add-ons, do this:

  1. Log in to your online PIA account.
  2. Click “Dedicated IP” in the menu bar.
  1. Follow the prompts to get your dedicated IP address.

The difference between this method and the one above is that PIA expects you to use the payment method you have on file.

But if you paid for the initial account using crypto or gift cards, you won’t have any payment method listed. In that case, you’ll have to enter a payment method (like a credit card), which can be charged for the new service.

Which PIA Payment Methods Offer a Money-Back Guarantee?

PIA offers its 30-day money-back guarantee across its supported credit and debit cards and PayPal.

Likewise, PIA leapfrogs most of the VPN competition by offering refunds on crypto payments. However, its Terms of Service page confirms that you’ll have to provide a crypto wallet to which the amount should be returned.

Furthermore, don’t expect the exact crypto amount you paid in your wallet due to the volatile nature of cryptocurrency tokens.

I also chatted with a PIA customer care rep who confirmed that the service doesn’t issue refunds for payments made via PIA gift cards, iTunes, or PayGarden

In the case of iTunes, PIA recommends that the user take the matter up with Apple since that’s where their payment was processed.

This is one of the reasons why I recommend always buying PIA via its special deals page rather than going through Apple or other third-party merchants. 

It makes the refund process easier, and you’ll also get massive discounts unavailable elsewhere.

Which PIA Payment Method Gets the Fastest Refunds?

You’ll get the fastest PIA refunds via the PayPal payment option. 

Credit cards are next in line to this, but the refund time may depend on your country, card issuer, and bank.

reddit pia refund
PIA honors its refunds

However, it takes a while to get cryptocurrency refunds. That’s because PIA first must request a wallet from the user rather than use the information it has on file. 

On top of that, the VPN provider has to decide how much to refund the user, given the possible crypto price changes that might have occurred between the payment and refund timeframes.

Which PIA Payment Method Offers Email Support?

PIA’s credit card payment method is the best to get email support from the VPN provider. This payment method allows you to enter a choice email before filling in your card details. Thus, this email is associated with your account for support purposes.

PayPal, iTunes, and Amazon Pay payment methods also get email support. 

However, only the email associated with those accounts is recognized

So, ensure the email with which you opened these payment accounts is the one you want to associate with PIA.

However, you won’t get email support when you pay for PIA with cryptocurrency or gift cards. Most users choose these options for privacy, anyway, since they’re not associated with their identity.

Fortunately, you’ll get PIA’s live chat support on ALL payment methods. 

This is the best way to reach support anyway.

But what happens when you’re in Vietnam, China, Russia, or other regions/networks that don’t allow access to the PIA website? In those cases, the email support will be handy!

What’s the Best PIA Autorenewal Payment Method?

Setting up a credit card, debit card, or PayPal payment channel is best to automatically renew your PIA subscription once it expires. 

That way, you get uninterrupted access to the provider’s content unblocking, online privacy, and premium internet security from anywhere all year.

pia subscription expiration
PIA doesn't auto-renew with gift card payments

However, you won’t get the autorenewal promise if you subscribe using a gift card or cryptocurrency. In these cases, you’ll have to manually re-activate your account by paying with those methods again from your account dashboard.

Does PIA Allow Users to Change Payment Method?

PIA allows users to update and change their payment method from their account dashboard. This is an improvement over when PIA recommended that users open a new account since they weren’t allowed to change/update the payment method associated with their account.

However, I doubt that you can change the primary payment method of an account to a cryptocurrency or gift card.

As explained above, these payment methods don’t support automatic billing. 

Hence, they’re useless to PIA as your account’s primary payment option.

Conversely, you can pay for an add-on or renew your plan with the crypto payment option, even if you’ve already set up credit card/debit card/PayPal payments.

And suppose you paid for your first account with crypto or gift cards. 

In that case, you can update your information with payment cards or PayPal to ensure autorenewal.

Interesting Reads:

How Would You Pay for PIA?

You don’t have to go into making PIA payments blindly. After all, that could mean losing access to premium discounts, email support, or not being eligible for a refund.

Now that you know which payment methods offer what, how would you make your first/next PIA payment?

No matter which route you choose, remember to grab these PIA savings deals.

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