Introduction to Buying
Want to learn how to purchase bitcoin or get bitcoins?
You’re in the right place!
The short answer is:
- Find a Bitcoin exchange
- Trade your local currency, like U.S. dollar or Euro, for bitcoins
- Move your bitcoins into a secure Bitcoin wallet
For the long answer, read this Bitcoin buying guide and by the end you’ll understand these key points:
- How and where to buy bitcoin
- How to choose the right exchange
- How to secure your coins after you buy
- How to avoid scams
Below, we listed exchanges you can use to purchase BTC. We suggest our listed exchanges and doing your own research before making your final decision.Certain exchanges are simply there to steal your personal information or rob you of your bitcoins.
We conduct intensive research on every exchange we list to filter out any and all dishonest exchanges.
Choosing an Exchange: Which is the Best Bitcoin Exchange?
To select the perfect exchange for your needs, consider these 7 factors.
1. Privacy: Keep Your Information Safe!
Want to buy BTC privately?
You can already cross off a number of payment methods:
- Bank transfer
- Credit card
- Debit card
- Any other method that requires personally or identifying information
Buying bitcoins with cash or cash deposit is the most private way to purchase bitcoins.
We also have a detailed guide which reveals your options for buying without verification or ID.
2. Limits: Are You Buying a Lot of Coins?
If you need to buy a large amount of bitcoins–say 25 or more–then big brokers or major exchanges are the way to go.
Coinbase has high limits for buying with a bank account.
CoinMama has the highest limits for buying with a credit card.
Most cash exchanges have no buying limits. Limits, however, will vary between individual sellers and are usually lower than online exchanges.
3. Speed: When Do You Need Access to your Bitcoins?
How quickly do you need to convert regular money into bitcoins? Different payment methods deliver your coins at different speeds.
Your first Bitcoin purchase may be time consuming. Once you get everything setup all subsequent purchases will be much faster!
Bitcoin ATMs can be the fastest way to purchase bitcoin if you’re lucky enough to have one in your area. Here’s a map to help you out.
Some brokers offer instant buys with bank transfer, credit card, or debit card.
4. Exchange Rate
There is no official Bitcoin price. Use BitcoinAverage or CoinDesk to see the average price of Bitcoin across all major international Bitcoin exchanges and compare that to the price on your chosen exchange.
5. Reputation: Don’t Get Scammed!
How long has the exchange been in service? Is the exchange trustworthy? Our Bitcoin exchange reviews can help you to find a trusted exchange.
6. Fees: Are You Getting a Good Deal?
How much does the exchange charge for its services? The fee will vary greatly based on the payment method you choose to use.
Remember to include deposit and withdrawal fees as well as trading fees. Some exchanges will lower their fees if you trade a lot of bitcoins.
7. Payment Method
How can you pay for the bitcoins? Payment method may be the most important factor.
We’re sure you already have a payment method in mind that you’d prefer to use. More on that below.
GET A WALLET!
Some exchanges require a Bitcoin wallet before you can buy.
If you don’t have a wallet yet, learn how to get a Bitcoin wallet and then come back.
We’ll wait for you here 😉
We can both agree that this Bitcoin stuff is confusing. Stick with us!
We’re about to have you on your way to choosing a payment method and buying bitcoins.
Where to Buy Bitcoin?
- Purchase bitcoins online with a credit card, debit card, or bank transfer.
- Acquire bitcoins from a Bitcoin ATM near you.
- Buy bitcoins with cash locally or via cash deposit.
- Convert PayPal to Bitcoin online.
The above was just a brief overview of where you can buy bitcoin. Now, let’s get into the details.
In order to buy bitcoins, you’ll need to exchange your local currency, like Dollars or Euros, for bitcoin. Here’s an overview of the 4 most common payment methods:
1. Credit or Debit Card
Credit/debit cards are the most common way to pay online. So, it’s really no surprise that many people want to buy bitcoins this way.
Why buy bitcoin with a credit/debit card?
- Credit cards are a payment method most people are familiar with; probably the easiest way to buy bitcoins online
- Delivery of bitcoins is instant once initial verification is complete
Why NOT buy bitcoin with a credit/debit card?
- High fees; if you’re patient and not in a rush to buy then use a bank transfer for lower fees
- Not a private way to buy; your ID will be required to buy with a credit card
A few places to buy bitcoins online with a credit card are:
Bank Account or Bank Transfer
Bank transfer is one of best ways to buy bitcoins in most countries.
Why buy bitcoins with bank account/transfer?
- Good way to buy large amounts of bitcoins
- Using a bank transfer will usually result in the lowest fees, so you can get a great price on your purchase
Why not to buy bitcoins with bank account/transfer?
- Usually requires ID verification, so not a good choice for privacy
- Slow; in the USA, bank transfers can take up to 5 days to complete
Some of the best ways to buy bitcoins with your bank account:
Cash deposit is often the fastest and most private ways to buy bitcoin. You can usually receive your bitcoins within a couple hours.
What are cash exchanges good for?
- Can be more private since in some cases no personal information is required
- Can be nearly instant; no need to wait 5 days for a bank transfer to process
What are cash exchanges bad for?
- Privacy comes at a cost; cash exchanges often have price 5-15% above market rate
- Easier to get scammed or robbed; need to be on alert and follow the exchange’s rules
Some of the best places to buy bitcoin instantly with cash:
Note: There is no easy way to buy bitcoin at Walmart. We get asked this A LOT!
There are Bitcoin ATMs all around the world that let you purchase bitcoin with cash.
You simply insert cash into the machine, and get bitcoins sent to your wallet.
Use Coin ATM Radar to find a Bitcoin ATM near you.
What are Bitcoin ATMs good for?
- Can be more private since in most cases no personal information is required
- If you have an ATM in your area it can be a convenient and fast way to buy coins
What are Bitcoin ATMs bad for?
- Privacy comes at a cost; Bitcoin ATMs often have a 5-15% premium above market rate
There is no way to directly buy bitcoins with PayPal. Under PayPal’s terms and conditions merchants are not allowed to sell bitcoins for PayPal.
I really recommend not buying bitcoins with PayPal. The fees are really high. Chances are that your PayPal is connected to your credit card or bank account, which can be used to buy at much lower fees.
Why buy bitcoins with PayPal?
- If you already have a balance, it can be an easy and fast way to convert PayPal to bitcoins
Cons of buying bitcoins with PayPal
- Fees are over 12%; much better to just buy with a credit card or bank account
Frequently Asked Questions
When is the Right Time to Buy?
As with any market, nothing is for sure. Bitcoin is traded 24/7 and its price changes every second.
Use tools like Bitcoin Wisdom or Cryptowatch to analyze charts from other Bitcoin trading sites. These charts will help you understand Bitcoin’s price history across the many global Bitcoin exchanges.
Why Does Buying Bitcoin Take So Long?
Long wait times are usually a problem with existing payment systems, not with Bitcoin itself.
Bitcoin transactions only take about 10 minutes to confirm. Bank transfers in the U.S., for example, can take up to five days to complete.
Bitcoin transactions can be confirmed as quickly as 10 minutes; it’s rare to experience a delay longer than one hour.
This means that a merchant can’t release bitcoins to a customer until five days have passed unless they’re willing to take on risk.
Can You Sell Bitcoins?
Yes, of course! Most exchanges that let you buy bitcoins also let you sell (for a fee of course).
Why Do I Need to Upload my ID for Some Exchanges?
This is due to Know Your Customer (KYC) laws which require exchanges to record the real world identity of their clients.
Can Anyone Buy Bitcoin?
Bitcoin requires no permission to use or buy.
You will have to check the legality of Bitcoin in your country. In most countries Bitcoin is legal!
Should I Buy Physical Bitcoins?
Physical bitcoins are physical, metal coins with a Bitcoin private key embedded inside.
We recommend that you stay away from physical bitcoins unless you’re a numismatist.
While physical coins sound like a good idea, they force you to trust the honesty of the creator of the coin. The creator could create two copies of the private key.
Unless you immediately open and withdraw the digital bitcoins from your physical bitcoin, the creator could at any time steal the funds it contains.
Can I Buy Partial Bitcoins?
Yes, of course!
Each bitcoin is divisible to the 8th decimal place, meaning each bitcoin can be split into 100,000,000 pieces. Each unit of bitcoin, or 0.00000001 bitcoin, is called a satoshi.
Most exchanges let you buy as little as $5 worth of bitcoins at a time.
Why Should I Buy Bitcoin Instead of Mining?
A long time ago anyone could mine bitcoins on their computer at home. Today, only specialized computer hardware is powerful enough to do this.
Think about it like this:
Should you buy gold or mine gold? Well, to mine gold you need big powerful machines, a lot of time, and money to buy the machinery. This is why most people just purchase gold online or from a broker.
So Bitcoin is no different.
You should just buy some if you want coins without trying to mine.
Do I need a Bitcoin Account Before Buying?
With Bitcoin, there are not really accounts.
Instead, you should have a Bitcoin wallet. If you want to store bitcoins, then a wallet is where you keep them.
In Bitcoin these wallets are not called an account but a wallet functions almost the same way. The only difference is you are responsible for the security if your wallet rather than placing the security in the hands of a bank or trust.
How do I check if I received a Bitcoin payment?
You can check in a Bitcoin block explorer like Smartbit.
Why Would Someone Even Want to Buy Bitcoins?
There are many reasons people want to own bitcoins.
Many people like to purchase some and put them to the side in the hopes that they will be worth more in the future.
Many people are using bitcoins to remit money to their families from out of the country. Right now, Bitcoin is one of the cheapest ways to do this.
People also use Bitcoin to buy stuff online. Big companies like Microsoft, Dell, Newegg and Overstock all accept bitcoins.
Bitcoin is also very unique compared to other markets in that it trades 24 hours a day and never stops. Most stock markets only open on weekdays from 9 AM to 5 PM. So many traders buy and sell bitcoins because it is a fun and fast market to trade.
Can I Buy Bitcoin Stock?
Bitcoin itself is not a stock despite it functioning somewhat like one. You can’t buy bitcoins through a traditional stock fund and instead have to buy bitcoins yourself. This may change in the future if a Bitcoin ETF ever gets approved.
What Happens When you Purchase Bitcoins?
Bitcoins are actually just secret digital codes. When you buy bitcoins, the seller is using a wallet to transfer the ownership of the coins to you. Once your purchase is complete, the codes are now owned by you and not the seller.
Why Are the Chinese Buying So Much BTC?
It seems the Chinese really like Bitcoin’s properties such as its sound monetary policy and that it can be used anywhere in the world. Bitcoin’s volatility also makes it interesting for speculative traders.
Is Bitcoin Legal?
Bitcoin is legal in nearly every country. Only a few countries have actually banned the use of bitcoins. Before you buy, make sure you double-check the legal status of Bitcoin in your country.
Why do I need to buy bitcoins before buying most altcoins?
Bitcoin functions as the “reserve” currency of cryptocurrency. So it is very hard to buy other coins without first buying bitcoins. Once you purchase the bitcoins you can convert the bitcoins into other cryptocoins. This is mostly because Bitcoin has very good liquidity and is traded on every cryptocurrency exchange. So most coins are traded against Bitcoin rather than the US dollar or other fiat currencies.
Am I Anonymous when I Buy?
Bitcoin is not anonymous but rather pseudonymous. All Bitcoin transactions are public but it is not always known the real identity behind any give Bitcoin address.
Can I use Multiple Exchanges?
If the limits on one exchange are to low you can simply open an account with another exchange to give yourself the ability to buy more.
You can signup, join, and use as many Bitcoin exchanges as you want that are available in your country.
Do I need to Pay Taxes on Bitcoin?
In most countries you will need to pay some kind of tax if you buy bitcoins, sell them, and make a gain. In the US you must do this on every transaction.
Be sure to check with your country’s tax authorities to make sure you are paying all the required taxes on your bitcoin use.
What Other Ways can I Get Bitcoins Besides Buying?
Just like any other form of money, you can get bitcoins by requesting from your employer to be paid in bitcoins.
What Is the Supply of Bitcoins?
The supply of Bitcoin is fixed. There can never be more than 21 million — and there are about 17.3 million right now. Every 4 years, the bitcoin halving happens where the new supply rate is cut in half.
What is Segwit?
Segwit was an upgrade to Bitcoin that activated in 2017. It increases Bitcoin’s transaction capacity.
Avoiding Bitcoin Scams: Don’t Lose Money!
I’ve been using Bitcoin for 3+ years. I’ve never fallen victim to a single scam. Follow the tips explained here and you’ll greatly reduce your chances of losing money.
There are many scams related to Bitcoin. Scammers target new Bitcoiners and less tech-savvy users. Follow these basic rules in order to avoid Bitcoin scams:
Study your intended exchange and make sure it’s trustworthy. Search forums like Reddit for the experiences of other users.
You can also use our Bitcoin exchange reviews to get in depth information about certain exchanges. If you don’t find your intended exchange listed on this site, extra caution and research is advised as it may be a scam!
If you’re using a peer-to-peer exchange like LocalBitcoins or Wall of Coins, check the seller’s feedback. If most of their feedback is positive, your trade is more likely to go through without issues. If a seller has lots of negative feedback, it’s best to simply stay away and find a more reliable seller.
Many scammers will try an approach like this:
“Send me bitcoins, and once I get the bitcoins I’ll pay you on PayPal!”
Don’t ever agree to a trade like this. Bitcoin payments are irreversible, so if you send first the scammer can simply not pay you and keep their bitcoins.
PayPal can’t force the scammer to pay either, due to the pseudonymous nature of Bitcoin which doesn’t record the identity of a payment’s sender or recipient. This would leave you with no way to get your bitcoins back.
Stay Away from Bitcoin investments
Any service that claims to pay interest on bitcoins or increase your bitcoins is likely extremely risky or an outright scam. If it sounds too good to be true, stay away.
Be Careful with Altcoins
What are altcoins? Altcoins are cryptocurrencies other than Bitcoin.
Altcoins are traded globally on hundreds of exchanges. Avoid throwing money into coins which are experiencing a sudden and dramatic spike in price and volume. Such moves, especially in insignificant coins with otherwise thin volume and flat price action, are likely to crash fast.
Secure your Coins
Don’t store coins on Bitcoin exchanges! Bitcoin users have lost over $1 billion worth of bitcoins in exchange hacks and scams.
Here are two examples where users got screwed by leaving bitcoins with a third party:
So, do yourself a favor:
Get yourself a Bitcoin wallet and control your own coins. For large amounts of bitcoins, we recommend cryptocurrency hardware wallets. Hardware wallets are small, offline devices that store your bitcoins offline and out of reach from hackers and malware.
Why? It’s pretty simple:
- Hardware wallets are the easiest way to securely store bitcoins and easy to backup
- Less margin for error; setup is easy even for less technical users
Check out the Bitcoin hardware wallet comparison chart below:
|Ledger Nano S||2016||79€|
Bitcoin Exchanges by Country
Here we’ve posted a bitcoin exchange list for some of the most popular countries.
You can always use our find exchange tool at the top to find exchanges in any country.
Bitcoin Exchange UK
For buying bitcoins in the UK we recommend BitBargain. It works like LocalBitcoins, but unlike LocalBitcoins it’s not an international Bitcoin exchange. It just offers service in the UK.
Buy Bitcoins in Saudi Arabia
BitOasis recently expanded to customers in Saudi Arabia and is probably the country’s most reliable Bitcoin exchange.
Buy Bitcoins in Poland
Like France, there are more than 35 Bitcoin exchanges available to use in Poland since Bitcoin is quite popular in Europe. You can use our tool at the top to find one that works for you.
Buy Bitcoins in Nepal
LocalBitcoins is probably the best and easiest way to purchase bitcoins in Nepal.