Roku Hacks: How to Register a Roku Device without a Credit Card or Paypal
By Phil Autelitano
Roku is the #1 streaming device on the planet for many reasons. For one, it offers the most selection of all the OTT/streaming devices — you’ll find more channels and content available on Roku than on any other streaming device on the market. Not just the usual Netflix, Hulu and Amazon, but thousands more channels (many of them developed by yours truly) running the gamut from Movies & TV, to Music, to Sports, to Everything Else.
Secondly, Roku is the easiest device to set up. All you need is an internet connection and a credit card or PayPal account to register your device online and you’re off. Roku stores your credit card/PayPal and billing info for on-screen in-app purchases, like buying movies from FandangoNOW or subscribing to various SVOD (subscription-based) channels.
But wait — what if you don’t want to provide that information? Can you still register your Roku device?
At the time of this writing, you CAN. Of course that may change, but for now, if you would like to register your Roku device WITHOUT having to provide your credit card or billing info — and not have to worry about your kids or someone else actually making purchases — there’s a simple workaround. It works best if you actually have a PayPal account — but you don’t *really* need one, and I assure you that even if you do have one, you won’t *really* have to use it.
Here’s how to do it in ten simple steps:
- When you first install your device, you’ll be asked to go to www.roku.com to register it.
- Click My Account, then Create Account.
- Enter your name and email and select a password. Confirm you’re human then move on to the next page.
- Enter and confirm a PIN for your account — be sure to click “require a PIN for all transactions” just to be safe. The go to the next screen.
- On this screen they’ll ask for your billing info.
- Select PayPal. Enter your PayPal email — or make one up. Enter an address and phone, etc., then submit.
- At this point, Roku re-directs you to the PayPal homepage to login and confirm you are linking Roku to PayPal. Once the PayPal page loads, simply CLOSE the page. Do NOT login to PayPal, do NOT confirm anything, just CLOSE it.
- Next, open a NEW browser window or tab and go back to www.roku.com, click on My Account again, and you’ll notice that under the Payment Method comment it states to “Add a payment method to make purchases.” You have, in effect, now bypassed having to do that.
- Scroll down and click “Link a Device.”
- Follow the instructions to link your device and you have now done so without having to register a payment method on-file.
You can now freely use Roku without them having any of your credit card, debit card, PayPal, banking or other info on file. You can even use a different name and address if you want to maintain total privacy.
Over my years of developing and producing TV channels for the Roku platform I have come across many people who are concerned with providing their banking or billing information when registering a device. For most it’s just a matter of privacy — they don’t want anyone knowing what they’re doing or watching or using Roku for. I often assure them that their information is indeed secure, but to each his own, I guess.
Once your Roku is registered and linked, you can then go about using it as if you normally would. You can add whatever channels you want, so long as they’re free channels or they’re subscription channels like Netflix or Hulu where you have sign up online anyway. The only thing you CAN’T do is subscribe to channels or services like Netflix and Hulu through the Roku platform, on-screen.
Other than that, you’re free to move about the platform and enjoy it all securely and privately.
Phil Autelitano is founder/CEO of Mediarazzi. We develop and produce TV channels and content for Roku and Connected TV/OTT platforms. Visit our website at www.mediarazzi.com
Check out Phil’s new book, Publish Your Own Roku Channel, and his new Roku publishing program, Roku Publisher’s Toolbox, both now available at www.mediarazzi.com