Introduction to Buying Bitcoin
There are a couple of ways to buy Bitcoins. You can use cash/wire transfer or through credit/debit cards. Obviously, you need a bank account for this.
Back in the day, it was harder to purchase Bitcoins. Not all exchanges allow direct buying with the use of credit or debit cards. They are concerned with the customer’s chargebacks. So they prefer crypto to crypto trading only. Now, they mitigated this through anti-fraud companies. More and more exchanges are opening their services to credit/debit card users making it convenient. This method, though, is still expensive compared to buying with cash or wire transfer.
You also have to check from your bank if they will verify the purchase. Otherwise, it will not go through and you will end up with nothing.
What to consider when buying Bitcoins using credit cards?
To mitigate frauds or chargebacks, sellers are charging more than the regular credit card processing fees. The lowest there is in the market is from Coinbase with 3.99%.
Foreign Transaction Fees
In the event that you will use an American credit card while planning to buy through an exchange that is based outside of the US, the bank may issue a foreign transaction fee. Usually, the fee will be around 3%.
Cash Advance Fees
Visa and Mastercard are classifying cryptocurrency purchases as cash advances. This means it has higher fees and interest will accumulate immediately.
How much you use your credit limit is a big factor in calculating credit scores. The more available credit limit you use, the lower your scores will be. The moment you max out your credit limit to buy Bitcoins, it will have a negative impact on your credit scores.
There are things you need to have before you can buy Bitcoin. Check out the list below.
- Digital Wallet – This is where you keep your “keys” – private and public keys needed for your buy and sell transactions worldwide.
- Personal Documents – To register your digital wallet, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission requires the users to verify their identities. This is part of the Anti-Money Laundering Policy. That means personal documents such as a driver’s license and social security number are required for identity verification.
- Bank Account/Credit or Debit Card – You need funds to make transactions like exchanging for Bitcoin from USD or other currencies. With your Bitcoin wallet connected to your bank account or credit/debit card makes it easier to transact.
- Digital Exchange – A third party that is the online marketplace where actual buying and selling of Bitcoins happen. They are also known as brokers. Examples of such are Coinbase, CoinMama, Binance, and Luno to name a few. Do some research which one suits you before signing up.
- Secure Internet Connection – Same as whatever sensitive transactions you do over the internet, you need to have a secured connection. Using a public WiFi network while trading Bitcoin is not recommended as it is susceptible to hackers.
Credit/Debit Card Bitcoin Exchanges
Now that you are all set to buy Bitcoins, the following section focuses on using credit/debit cards for Bitcoin transactions through exchanges. Mind you, some exchanges or brokers will try to take your credit card information or steal your cryptocurrencies. So make sure you have done your diligence in researching about them. The list below comprises four exchanges that are known to be legit and safe.
Coinbase is one of the most popular exchanges or broker that caters to 33 countries worldwide. It is also known to be reputable of the Bitcoin exchanges available. As based in San Francisco, California, Coinbase works with the financial authorities in the U.S. which means that they will report any profits made from the appreciation of Bitcoin or purchases of over $20,000 as tax and they have to pay it.
With a simple user interface on their website and mobile application, it appeals to the public more. They even store 98 percent of customer currencies offline and that gives added security.
Another feature Coinbase has is recurring buys. It allows you to choose a time interval so you can cost average your purchases. Cost averaging is when you get the mean price of currency over a period of time. This is perfect to cover cryptocurrency volatility.
Coinbase charges a 3.99% fee on all purchases using credit or debit cards. But this fee is the lowest amongst the other brokerage services for U.S. and European customers.
- An easy and simple user interface that is even suitable for beginners.
- High liquidity and buying limits
- There is an “Instant Buy” option available for credit/debit card
- Mobile app availability
- Poor customer support
- Limited payment methods
- Coinbase may track you where and how you spend your Bitcoins
Take note that as of February 2018, Coinbase has disabled adding new credit cards as a payment method for U.S. customers. Though adding new debit cards are still accepted.
Binance is touted as the largest cryptocurrency exchange in terms of trading volume, processing 1.4 million orders per second. As one of the newest exchange around, it was just founded last July 2017. Originally based in China, Binance is available to all countries and most U.S. states.
Last 31 January 2019, Binance announced that they have partnered with Simplex.
Simplex is a payment processing company which means that users can now buy Bitcoins or other cryptocurrencies with their credit/debit cards directly through Binance. Within 10-30 minutes after the transaction, your purchase/s will be in your wallet.
Binance charges a 0.1% fee on each trade which is lower than the market average. It can even be reduced to 50% less if the user opts to pay the fees with their own BNB tokens. The fee reduction that will decrease yearly has a set schedule.
For withdrawals, there is a different set of fees depending on what cryptocurrency. With Bitcoin transactions that have a minimum of .002, the withdrawal fee is .0005. That has an approximately USD value of 3.10. Compared this to other platforms, their withdrawal fee is considered to be average. But when you have larger transactions, these fees won’t matter a lot.
- Mobile app availability
- Multilingual support
- Low transaction fees
- High liquidity
- Offers their own Binance tokens for reduced trading fees
- “Know Your Customer” is a hassle
- Android mobile app is difficult to navigate
- Minimum allowed for buying is $50 not so good for low spenders
- No phone support
- Collects and store user data such as IP address
CoinMama is another great option in buying BTC. Older than most of the brokers around, it is known as one of the easiest and fastest ways to buy Bitcoins and other cryptocurrencies when using a credit or debit card. Originally based in Israel, they serve over 180 countries worldwide. In the U.S., not all states have access to CoinMama, though.
CoinMama is known to have the highest buying limits among exchanges that accept credit/debit card. It allows up to $5,000 worth of Bitcoins per day and up to $30,000 worth of BTC per month. The minimum that you can buy is worth $60 or the equivalent in EUR.
That being said, CoinMama has high fees when using credit/debit card. The brokerage service fee is 5.9% but is already included in the website’s prices. On top of the service fee, there is also a 5% credit card processing fee. When you think about it that’s 10.9% more than what the market value is.
It can take a few hours before you will get your purchases. There are three things that will matter on how long. First, the blockchain takes a few minutes for it to confirm a transaction. Second, credit card payments take several hours before it will be cleared. Lastly, you have to confirm your digital wallet address. And the longer you can confirm it, the longer you can receive your cryptocurrencies.
- Available in a lot of countries
- Fast and reliable customer support
- Multi-language site
- High buying limits even when using credit/debit cards
- High buying charges when using credit/debit cards
- Only accepts Visa and MasterCard, no PayPal nor American Express
- Only a Buy Order option and thus cannot sell cryptocurrencies
- No mobile app for the on-the-go users
Luno is originally named as BitX in 2013, then rebranded as Luno in 2016. It is an exchange that focuses more on developing countries such as Nigeria, Indonesia, and Malaysia. These three countries usually are not allowed on most Bitcoin exchanges. Aside from these countries, Luno is also available in South Africa, the United Kingdom and the majority of the European countries. Unfortunately, the USA is not supporting Luno.
In the crypto world, hacking is also rampant. Because of this, Luno made sure their security measures are top-notch. To safeguard the transactions and funds stored on the exchange, they are making the following security schemes.
- Employee Background Checks: All employees have to pass a background check before can start working with Luno.
- Deep Freeze Storage: Majority of the funds are kept in cold storage in multi-signature wallets.
- Multi-Signature Hot Wallet: The hot wallet that is used for instant withdrawal is a multi-signature type. No single entity has control over the wallet as private keys are held by different parties.
- Encrypted Back-up wallets: Luno encrypts back-up wallets.
- Password: All passwords are stored in hashed forms. Make sure your passwords are strong when creating an account.
- Two Factor Authentication: They incorporated the two-factor authentication. Your smartphone will generate a one-time code to authenticate the transaction.
- SSL Secured Channels: All transactions and web activities are under SSL secured channels.
When it comes to fees, though, Luno has it as a little complicated. Fees vary depending on how much and what kind your transaction is. Transaction fees will only be charged if you are a taker. The fee is from 0.25% – 1% depending on what currency you are trading. For the maker, though, it is free. The exchange also has an “Instant Buy” option. Charges differ depending on your country and the amount of purchase. It’s better to double check before completing your transaction so that you won’t pay more of what you really intend to spend.
Check their website for a more detailed fee structure.
- Mobile app availability
- Real-time market updates
- Free deposits and low withdrawal fees
- A reliable exchange that has been around for a long time
- No live chat support nor phone support
- Only available in select countries
- Confusing fee structure
- Only two coins available
Buy Bitcoin in Less than 5 Minutes
Coinbase Buying Tutorial (Credit Card/Debit Card)
With the use of your credit or debit card, Coinbase lets you buy Bitcoins conveniently.
Follow the steps below for a smoother buying process.
- Sign up for a Coinbase account.
- After signing up, confirm your personal details. Once confirmed, log in back to your account. They may ask you to provide a digital file for an identification card.
- Go to your account settings
- Scroll to the top right corner where your name is and click it. You should find a drop-down tab where there is an option “Settings”. Under that is the “Payment Methods”. This should how it would look.
Click the option “Add Payment Method” that is on the right side.
- Connect your credit/debit card.
You will be asked for verifications for it to be completed.
- Enter your credit/debit card information
- A confirmation like the one below will appear when your credit/debit card has been successfully added.
- Once done, go to the Buy page that will look like this.
- Put the amount that you want to purchase and click the “Buy Bitcoin Instantly” found at the bottom of the page. Your coins will then be sent directly to your wallet.
Binance Buying Tutorial (Credit Card/Debit Card)
- On the Binance website, go to the upper right-hand corner where you can find
Log In or Register tabs. Click on Register.
- Create a Binance account
Once you clicked Register, you will be redirected to the registration page just like the one below. Fill up the details for you to continue.
- You will then be asked to prove you are not a robot by letting you solve a puzzle.
- There will be an email sent to you for verification. Verify your email address to complete the registration.
- Adding a payment method
Go to the Funds tab at the upper right hand. It should have a drop-down menu and click Buy with Credit Card
- Binance Disclaimer
Once you have clicked the Buy Now button, a disclaimer will pop up. It states that you will be leaving Binance and you will be under Simplex as you continue your purchase. Make sure you ticked the box where it says I have read and agreed to the disclaimer.
- Billing Information
Enter your personal details and billing information
- Payment Details
Please enter your credit card information
You will be asked to upload an ID for verification purposes. Make sure the file is of better quality and high resolution with a size between 400KB – 400MB.
You will then receive an email confirming the verification a success. If not, you will receive a pop-up notice that something is not right and you have to do it again.
- Purchase successful
10-30 minutes after, you will have your Bitcoins or cryptocurrencies in your wallet.
Coinmama Buying Tutorial (Credit Card/Debit Card)
Here is the process of buying Bitcoins from Coinmama:
- Open a Coinmama account
After creating an account, verify your email address. Once done, you can follow the steps below.
- Log-in to your account
- Enter your personal details
- Upload and submit an identity verification document.
- Add payment method
Either you use credit/debit card or bank transfer (SEPA – Europe only)
- Buy Bitcoins
Once you are done adding a payment method, you can now enter the number of Bitcoins you want to buy. There is also an option for other cryptocurrencies.
- Enter your Bitcoin Wallet address
- Enter your credit or debit card details and information.
And you’re done.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Are you hesitant or are there still issues that bother you on using credit/debit cards in buying Bitcoins? Follow along for answers to common questions about this matter.
Is using a credit or debit card safe in buying Bitcoins?
Buying any cryptocurrency with a credit card is the same as purchasing any other goods online. It all depends on the seller or the merchant so make sure it is reputable. Always buy from reliable sources to avoid being scammed as it is also rampant in the crypto world.
What are the benefits or advantages of using a credit card?
Just like buying anything online, using a credit card when buying Bitcoins is fast, easy and convenient. On top of this, you can also earn rewards as long as it’s not cash advance.
Are there disadvantages in using a credit or debit card?
One known disadvantage is that the fees are higher because of the risk of scams and frauds. Buying in large amounts is also difficult when using credit or debit cards.
Can I use a prepaid debit card?
A lot of exchanges don’t accept prepaid debit cards. To use this, exchange it locally using LocalBitcoins.
Can I buy using a credit card anonymously?
It is illegal and it would be difficult for you to surpass the ID verification process
Should I get a new credit card to buy Bitcoins?
No need. There are no credit cards that give additional rewards when purchasing Bitcoins. And if your bank sees cryptocurrency as a cash advance, then you’ll never get those rewards.
Is it safe to give out personal documents to buy Bitcoins?
This still boils down to how reputable the exchange is. If you trust and think your details are safe, then go ahead. Just a reminder, in the online world, there is always a risk of having the exchange or the website of being hacked. But one thing positive about Bitcoin exchanges is that they have one of the best security and protection against hackers.
How come I can’t connect my credit card to my exchange account?
Some banks in the U.S.A. have blocked users from buying cryptocurrencies using credit cards. They feel that the public was getting a cash advance since you can use Bitcoins or other cryptocurrencies right away just like cash.
Is it good to leave my Bitcoins in the exchange after buying?
It is not advisable to leave your purchases in the exchange. Transfer them to your wallet for safety reasons. Sometimes exchanges get hacked, and they have lost items from the customers. Better be safe than sorry.
Can I sell Bitcoins to my credit card?
There are only a few exchanges where you can sell Bitcoins to your credit card.
Can I buy Bitcoins on multiple exchanges?
Yes, you can. Especially if the limits of a specific exchange aren’t too high for you. You can buy in CoinMama $150 each week and then purchase another $150 in your Coinbase account.
What is the best way to buy Bitcoins with credit cards?
Read and research about each exchange that is available. Or at least the ones that are popular. Make sure the one you have selected supports your country. You can also try each exchange and see which one suits for you.
Will the fees for buying Bitcoins with credit cards ever get lower?
It is unlikely. When using credit cards, Visa, Mastercard, AmEx, and the likes, always charge at least 2.9%. The user pays for this.
Why was using a credit card in buying Bitcoins once difficult?
When you use credit cards to purchase, sellers don’t get the money right away not until after sixty days from swiping the card. But credit card payments are reversible or can even be canceled. However, Bitcoin transactions are irreversible. That’s why it is a risk for sellers to accept payments using credit cards.
Can I purchase other cryptocurrency using this method?
It all depends on the exchange you are using. Some only allow Litecoins and Ethereum with a credit card. Another exchange supports Bitcoin, Litecoin, Ether, and Cardano only. As mentioned above, make sure you have selected the exchange based on what you need and what you prefer.