Steam introduces pre-pay option

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A new payment option has been quietly rolled out onto Valve's digital distribution portal Steam that allows users to pay money into their accounts to be used at a later date.

Funds can be added in 4, 8, 18, 35 and 70 increments and can be spent against any item on the Steam store.

The new model is similar to that seen on Sony's PlayStation Network, where at the point of purchase users can choose to either deduct the exact value of the purchase from their account or instead pay a larger amount into their wallet.

Valve's move, which so far comes with no explanation, could be a path toward the introduction of pre-paid gift cards for sale on the High Street.