Steam holds a virtual monopoly on digital distribution of games. It’s an immense store where games of effectively every type can now be bought, in addition to various kinds of utility software, or even a movie or two.
With that in mind, it’s worth considering the methods of payment built into Steam: Steam Wallet and, Steam gift cards.
What is a Steam Wallet?
To put it shortly, Steam Wallet is a virtual cache of currency which you can use to purchase products in the Steam Store.
It functions as an alternative to the more traditional methods of payment, such as a credit card, or external payment service providers. Steam Wallet holds all the funds you have topped it up with, ready for immediate use.
It cuts out the middle-man, which makes it faster than virtually any other payment method. It can also be used as a voucher or the secondary payment method, because you can use it to cover the difference between your funds on, say, PayPal, and the price of the product.
For instance: your PayPal account holds $45, but you want to buy a $60 game. If your Steam Wallet has at least $15 on it the transaction will go through, with the necessary amount drawn from the Wallet. You can always see your Wallet balance in the upper right corner of the Steam client (or webpage, if you’re using the browser version at the moment) as long as you have some money in it. Alternatively, follow these steps to access it after logging in:
- Click your account name in the upper right corner
- Select “Account Details”
How to add funds to Steam Wallet?
There are three ways to top-up your Steam Wallet.
- Making a transfer – you can add funds to SW by “buying” them the way you would buy a product. Go to the “Account Details” subpage described above, and select “+Add funds to your Steam Wallet”. You will be prompted to select a specific value (predetermined by the store based on your currency), and then you’ll be able to check out like for any other product. The funds will appear on your account as soon as your bank and/or payment service provider records the transaction.
- Using a Steam Wallet code – in certain physical (and some digital) stores you can find what amounts to a Steam gift card with predetermined amounts of money on them. If you’re based in the USA, for instance, and your Steam Store currency is USD, you have the following options: $5, $10, $25, $50, $100. You can use gift cards with other currencies, but they will be subject to conversion based on rates which you’ll be able to review before completing the transaction.
- Selling digital items on the Steam community market – Steam provides to its users a bustling marketplace where you are able to sell a variety of items gained mostly through playing games. Many of them include cards which can be collected and turned into badges, emotes, and backgrounds for your Steam profile, or sold for some amount of money. The skin trade is likewise thriving, and every transaction completed on the Steam market results in funds added to your Wallet.