Leery about plugging your credit card number into Sony’s PlayStation Network after hackers managed to make off with the personal data of 70 million-odd subscribers last month? I don’t blame you—and indeed, I wasted no time in deleting my credit card info from my PSN account once access to the compromised network was finally restored.
So, now that we’re good and paranoid, how do we go about buying things (like games, add-ons, movie rentals, and other digital items) on the PlayStation Network without the help of Visa or MasterCard?
Unfortunately, you can’t use a PayPal account for making PSN purchases as you can on Xbox Live, the online network for the Microsoft’s Xbox 360. Prepaid credit cards are no good either, and no—you can’t write Sony a check.
What you can do is buy a PlayStation Network Card—a prepaid gift card that comes in denominations of $10, $20, and $50. Just scratch off the silver strip on the back of the card to reveal a voucher code, and plug that code into the PlayStation 3’s “Redeem Code” menu option (under PlayStation Network, Account Management). Of course, you won’t be able to redeem any codes until Sony finally re-opens the PlayStation Network store, hopefully by early next week.
OK, so where can you get a PlayStation Network Card? One option is to simply hoof it to the nearest 7-Eleven, CVS, Rite Aid, Kmart, Safeway, or Walgreens. You’ll also find the card on sale at big-box retailers like Target, Best Buy, and Walmart, or you could always go to GameStop or Toys “R” Us. (Sony has a list of retailers in the U.S. and Canada right here.) And let’s not forget the beauty of buying a PSN Card at a brick-and-mortar retailer: you can pay for it in cold, hard cash.
Rather not step outside? You can also grab a PSN Card from an online retailer—although if it seems a little silly to get a physical card shipped to your address, you can purchase an instant PSN code from the likes of Amazon and GameStop.com. (Yes, you’ll have to use a credit or debit card to buy an instant PSN code from, say, Amazon or GameStop, but hey—you won’t have to trust Sony with your info again, or at least not yet.)
So, for you PlayStation 3 gamers out there: will you go ahead and use your credit card again once the PSN Store goes back online? Or are you keeping your plastic close to your vest?