A few years ago, it used to be very — and we mean very — difficult to buy Bitcoin with a credit or debit card. Thankfully, times have changed. Since Bitcoin was created in 2009, thousands of exchanges have popped up across the web and in brick-and-mortar stores with just that one purpose: to make buying and selling Bitcoin easier.
In this article, we’ll be showing you how to purchase your first Bitcoin with your credit card or debit card, with the help of an online exchange. Let’s start by explaining how to get ready, and then we’ll walk you through the process step-by-step.
How to get ready for your first Bitcoin purchase with Credit Card
Buying Bitcoin can seem like a daunting thing to do, especially if it’s your first ever cryptocurrency. So, before we take you through the exact process one step a time, let’s talk about the only two things you’ll need to get ready: exchanges and wallets.
Bitcoin exchanges are the services you can use to purchase Bitcoin with a debit or credit card. Like any other currency exchange, Bitcoin exchanges buy and sell cryptocurrencies (in exchange for fiat money) in order to turn a profit.
If you think of PayPal, Bitcoin exchanges are pretty similar. You can deposit from your credit or debit card, you can store money online, and you can make online payments.That’s really all there is to it!
Note that there are other ways to purchase your first cryptocurrencies, but seeing as they often carry a higher risk, we’ll avoid them for now.
The very first thing you’ll have to do is pick an exchange. Which exchange you pick will depend on what you’re looking for, as they all offer slightly different pros and cons.
To help you out on your search, here are a few of our favourites below.
Buy Bitcoin with Credit Cards Instantly
|Service||Credit Card Fee||Credit Card Limit||Pros||Cons|
|Coinbase||3.99%||$150/week||- Very User Friendly|
- Support BTC, ETH & LTC
- Additional Verification for Higher Weekly Limits
|- Requires Verification
- 33 Countries Available
|Coinmama||5%||$150/week||- No Verification|
- USD & EUR Accepted
- Worldwide Service
|- Expensive Rates|
You shouldn’t worry too much about which exchange you pick between coinbase and coinmama. As long as it has a good reputation (which the above certainly do) and meets your requirements, it will do the trick.
If you’re looking to buy particularly large amounts of Bitcoin, you should also check whether the exchange:
- Has a suitable exchange rate, and
- Won’t cap you on large purchases.
We’ll cover the specifics of purchasing Bitcoin with a credit or debit card in a second; for now, let’s talk about the missing piece of the puzzle — your wallet.
Before you buy any Bitcoin at all, you need to know where you’re going to store it. That’s what wallets are for. Wallets are the means by which you can safeguard private keys — passwords which give you access to the coins you own.
Remember our analogy to PayPal? It applies here too. While you can store your Bitcoin online at your exchange (like storing all your money online at PayPal), it’s hardly advisable. Anyone with access to your exchange could effectively seize it, although we’d hope not based on their reputation and security.
If you’re just looking to purchase small amounts of cryptocurrency, your exchange’s wallet will be OK for now. Better would be to download a basic software wallet, like Bitcoin Core, which allows you to store your Bitcoin directly on your own computer while still being able to transact with it.
For larger amounts, we’d recommend that you read our guide on storing it to find a safer, more practical alternative.
How to buy Bitcoin with a credit/debit card (step-by-step)
Now that you’ve picked an exchange and have some kind of a wallet in mind, let’s take you through the steps of buying some Bitcoin with a credit or debit card:
The three essential Bitcoin buying steps
- Sign up to the exchange. If you’ve never used an exchange before, you’ll have to sign up. Navigate to your exchange of choice, press the “Sign up” (or equivalent) button, and follow the steps provided. Most exchanges will just need your name, email address, and a password to start with.
- Connect your credit card. Next up, you’ll need to add your credit or debit card as a payment method. For this, find your “Account” or “Settings” page and press the “Payment Methods” (or equivalent) button. Click to add a new debit/credit card and enter your details.
- Purchase your Bitcoin! With any luck, your card will already be set up. Make your way to the “Buy” page and purchase away at the exchange’s rate.
That’s right: buying Bitcoin with a debit or credit card is as easy as those three steps.
The process can get a little more complicated if you’re looking to buy large amounts of Bitcoin or store it in a different wallet after purchase. Then you might have to do one or both of the following:
Other steps for buying bitcoin with your credit card
Store safely. If you haven’t already, you should definitely think about where to store your Bitcoin. While many choose to store their Bitcoin online, leaving it at the service they bought it from, it could effectively be taken hostage by criminals who get into the backend. Buyers who are looking to store serious amounts of money should look into software, hardware, or paper wallets.
If you want to move your Bitcoins to safer storage, all you’ll have to do is navigate to the “Payments” section of your exchange and send your desired amount to your new wallet’s address. Some exchanges might have you verify the transaction by email or telephone.
Verify ID. Buyers who want to use more reputable services like Coinbase might have to verify their ID before purchasing. You might also run into this problem with any exchange when attempting to buy large amounts of cryptocurrency in a relatively short period of time.
While the process of verifying your ID varies from service to service, you’ll probably need some kind of photographic ID and/or proof of address. Instructions for verifying your ID will be provided by your exchange.
Buying Bitcoin at Coinbase with a Credit/Debit Card
Seeing as it’s a highly reputable, user-friendly exchange, here’s a quick walkthrough on how to purchase Bitcoin with a credit or debit card at Coinbase:
- Sign up at Coinbase
Navigate to https://www.coinbase.com/ and press the “Sign Up” button at the top right corner. Fill in your details and verify your email address.
- Verify your phone number
You’ll then receive an email from Coinbase asking you to verify your phone number. Click the link in the email and enter your phone number. Finally, grab your phone, wait for an SMS verification code, and enter it on the Coinbase website.
- Add your payment method
Head to the Coinbase dashboard and click the button labelled “Buy/Sell” (top left corner). Press “Verify Payment Method”, and then press “Add Payment Method” on the page you are taken to. Now click “Credit/Debit Card (3D-Secure)”.
- Verify your ID.
Choose an ID type (passport, driver’s license, or other photo ID) which you are able to verify. Use the Coinbase interface to take a photo of the front and back of your ID, using your webcam.
- Connect your credit card.
On the next page, enter the details of your credit or debit card and proceed back to the dashboard.
- Purchase your Bitcoin!
Press the “Buy/Sell” button to buy your Bitcoin as and when you please, using your card. Watch out though, there are purchase limits that you might have to lift with more verification and/or a good trading history!