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A Playstation® network card is a prepaid credit card that can only be used with the Playstation® online store. The card allows users to purchase and download media items — such as video games, add-on content, and movie rentals — directly from their consoles. Although certain items can be downloaded at no cost, many others must be purchased before they can be accessed. The Playstation® network card, therefore, serves as a payment method for these items.
The online store is available to Playstation® 3 (PS3) and Playstation® Portable (PSP) users throughout the world, however, each region has its own local network, with different product offerings. Playstation® users can only access items available in their regional store. As such, a Playstation® network card is only valid in the region where it was originally purchased.
To access the online market, users must connect their PS3 or PSP system to the Playstation® network via a secure Internet service provider. Once their gaming system is connected to the network, the user can easily navigate to the online store by selecting the Playstation® icon from the login screen. Users can then browse through the store, or search for a particular item, to locate and purchase a particular product.
To purchase items on the Playstation® network, users must have funds available in their accounts, or online wallet. There are two types of payment options that can be used to add funds to an account: a credit card or Playstation® network card. Although both methods require the user to enter a valid card number, the Playstation® network card allows users to purchase content online without disclosing their credit card information.
Playstation® network cards are usually available in most retail and convenience stores and, depending on the region, can be purchased in various increments. After purchasing one, the user must scratch off a protective seal located to the back of the card to reveal a voucher code. Consisting of 12 alphanumeric digits, the number must be input into the user’s account on the Playstation® network, where it will then be authorized for use so that the appropriate funds are added to his or her online wallet.
Unlike a credit card, the Playstation® network card has a preset limit, so users can only spend a specified amount of money in the store. Once all of the funds on the network card are exhausted, the card is no longer valid, and users must purchase a new card in order to make any additional purchases. Along with the added security of using Playstation® network cards, many individuals also find them helpful for budgeting, as they help prevent overspending. For this reason, many parents of underage users are more comfortable with their children using the network cards to make purchases on the Playstation® online store.