Digital currency exchanges that support credit purchases provide a quick and easy way to invest in Bitcoin. Read on to learn how to buy Bitcoin with a credit card.
How to Buy Bitcoin with a Credit Card
Changelly, Abra, CoinMama, CEX.IO, Bitstamp and LocalBitcoins are all legitimate digital currency exchanges and they all support credit card Bitcoin purchases. However, they are all very different from one another.
The best choice for most people
If you intend to buy a small amount of Bitcoin and hold onto it, the best way to buy Bitcoin with a credit card is via a retail exchange like Changelly, Abra or CoinMama. Though those exchanges have somewhat high fees and limited features, they also have good reputations and are easy to use.
If you intend to become a frequent Bitcoin trader, you may want to go with an exchange that offers fee discounts to to high volume buyers and sellers. CEX.IO and Bitstamp both cater to frequent traders. But if you’re a complete beginner, you may find their interfaces to be confusing.
An alternative option
The last exchange on our list is LocalBitcoins. Unlike the centralized exchanges mentioned above, LocalBitcoins is completely decentralized. Decentralized digital exchanges let individual users buy and sell Bitcoin and other digital currencies using credit cards and all kinds of other payment methods. Though LocalBitcoins is easy to use and has low fees, there’s also a higher chance of getting ripped off. Though LocalBitcoins mitigates this risk by offering a rating system and an escrow service, there’s still a chance that you could fall victim to scammers if you’re not careful.
Here’s a quick overview of all five digital currency exchanges.
Changelly is new retail exchange that opened in 2016. A glance at Changelly-related headlines reveals that most of the news coverage about Changelly has been overwhelmingly positive.
In 2017, Changelly experienced extremely rapid growth and outperformed ShapeShift– its main competitor at the time. In the same year, Changelly partnered with prominent cryptocurrency wallet Jaxx and helped law enforcement teams track down the hackers that unleashed the WannaCry ransomware virus.
Though Changelly’s base commission fee (0.5%) is somewhat high compared to exchanges that cater to frequent traders, it’s actually reasonable in comparison to most retail exchanges.
The main advantage that Changelly has over CoinMama is that it lets you buy and sell Bitcoin. CoinMama also supports credit cards, but it doesn’t give its users any way to cash out.
Another feature that Changelly brings to the table is its unique method of processing transactions. Unlike most exchanges, Changelly does not hold funds in a central location. As a result, there is no virtual vault for hackers to raid. The fact that Changelly processes its customers’ transactions instantly instead of holding onto their funds is one of the main reasons why it has never been hacked.
Yet another aspect of Changelly that’s worth mentioning is that it’s available everywhere. However, there’s a catch: Changelly isn’t legal everywhere. Some countries and US states have laws against trading cryptocurrencies. Changelly charges their users with the responsibility of sorting out any legal details.
- 0.5% commission fee
- Variable network processing fee.
Joining Changelly is a a quick and easy process. Here’s a quick view of what Changelly’s interface looks like.
The first step of the process is creating an account. Use your Google+, Facebook or Twitter credentials or type in your email address to get started.
After you have an account, all you have to do is click the first drop-down box and select USD. Then, click the second drop-down box and select BTC.
Changelly’s Bitcoin purchase limits have recently increased. Now, you can buy up to $10,000 USD worth of Bitcoin in your first transaction. The daily and monthly limits are $20,000 and $50,000.
Read our in-depth Changelly review to find out about Changelly’s reputation, customer support options, regulatory status, history and other important facts you should know about this exchange before you sign up.
If you have an American Express credit card, Abra is an interesting option. Though Abra was originally a remittance service, the company has recently evolved into a retail Bitcoin trading app. Unlike Changelly, Abra doesn’t offer any web services. Instead, your digital wallet, as well as other nuts and bolts of the interface, are downloaded straight to your mobile phone. Because all your currencies are contained on your device instead of on a server, Abra has avoided many of the regulatory and security pitfalls that have plagued centralized exchanges. However, if you lose or upgrade your phone, you may run into some difficulty recovering your funds. On the other hand, if you’re looking for an easy way to buy and hold onto some Bitcoin, Abra may be worth a look. There is one caveat, though: Abra only supports AMEX (American Express) credit cards– and the company does not intend to add support for Visa or Mastercard anytime soon.
- 4% charge for credit card purchases (American Express only).
- Variable network fee to cover Bitcoin transfers.
As mentioned above, the only way to use Abra is via the Abra app. However, once you download the app the setup process is simple. All you have to do is enter your first and last name, your email address and your phone number to get started.
CoinMama originally came out in 2013. At the time, it was one of the only cryptocurrency exchanges that catered to complete beginners. However, now that other user-friendly exchanges are out, it’s hard to see a logical reason to sign up for CoinMama.
Though CoinMama provides a safe and reliable way for beginners to buy Bitcoin, there are several disadvantages of this exchange that make it look dated.
Perhaps the biggest problem with CoinMama is that it only lets you buy Bitcoin. If you want to sell, you have to transfer your Bitcoin and go through a different exchange. The other major issue is that CoinMama doesn’t have a hosted wallet service. You have to create your own wallet through a third party site and then link it to CoinMama before you can buy. In addition, CoinMama fees are twice the amount that Changelly charges.
The main upside to using CoinMama is that it’s an older exchange that’s been around for several years. Though there are few details about CoinMama’s security system, it must be fairly decent. Unlike many early Bitcoin exchanges, CoinMama has never been hacked.
- 5.5% base fee.
- 5% credit card transaction fee.
As is the case with Changelly, creating a CoinMama account is quick and painless. All you need to do to create an account is fill in a simple form.
Once you’re logged in, you’ll see the “my account” page, which gives you two options: Buy bitcoin and Buy ethereum.
You’ll see the price packages screen depicted below if you click one of the two blue buy buttons. The button on the top lets you switch between USD and EUR.
The slider on the bottom of the page lets you make your own purchase package. Using the slider, you can buy as much as 0.58 or as little as 0.012 BTC.
If you think you’d like to try CoinMama, there are some additional things you should know about this retail digital currency exchange before you sign up. Read the review linked below to find out about CoinMama’s somewhat confusing corporate structure, details about CoinMama’s co-founders and other important information.
Like Changelly and CoinMama, CEX.IO supports credit card Bitcoin purchases. However, because it was designed for advanced traders, it has a completely different look and feel.
CEX.IO’s interface is equipped with a variety of trading tools including limit order functionality, margin trading and a variety of real-time charts. And like most advanced exchanges, CEX.IO gives fee discounts to high volume traders.
- Transaction fees for BTC start at 0.25% taker / 0.16% maker. Fees change depending on your 30-day trading volume.
- Visa cards: 3.5% + 25¢ for deposits, $3.80 for withdrawals
- Master cards: 3.5% + 25¢ for deposits, 1.2% + $3.80 for withdrawals.
CEX.IO lets you create an account and log in right away. Enter your email or link one of your social media accounts to begin the account creation process.
CEX.IO’s main page id depicted below. To deposit USD using your credit card, click the blue deposit button.
Now, you will be able to add a credit card to your account. Select Payment card and then click Add a new card to continue. Once you complete the verification process, you’ll be able to deposit funds into your CEX.IO account.
To buy some Bitcoin, click the Trade tab on the top of the page and select the BTC/USD currency pair.
Next, scroll down until you see three tabs labeled Limit, Market and Margin trading. Select the tab that corresponds to the type of order you want to place, then click Place order.
Currently, CEX.IO is only available in certain US states. Read our comprehensive review to find out where CEX.IO is available, get details about the CEX.IO official app, see more images of the interface and learn important background information about CEX.IO’s founders.
Like CEX.IO, Bitstamp is an advanced exchange that caters to frequent traders. Though Bitstamp was founded in Europe, it has since expanded into most US states with the exception of New York, Hawaii, Wyoming and Washington.
- Like CEX.IO, transaction fees vary depending on your trading volume. The base rate for all trading pairs is 0.25%.
- Flat 5% fee for all credit card purchases on top of any fees that your credit card company applies.
In order to do anything on Bitstamp, you have to provide several forms of identification. Here’s what the interface looks like.
The signup page is just a simple form. Fill in the information and then click Register to proceed to the next step.
After you log in, Bitstamp will prompt you to change your password.
You have to answer some questions, fill in some forms and provide a picture ID to unlock your account.
Like CEX.IO, Bitstamp’s interface features real-time charts and customizable order types. Type in the amount of Bitcoin you want to buy on the right side of the screen and click Buy to place an order.
In addition to the website, there’s also an official app that you can use with Bitstamp.
Another thing about Bitstamp that’s worth considering before you join is that this exchange charges 16 different types of fees. Read our full review to learn all the major details you should know about this exchange before you sign up.
LocalBitcoins is very different from the four exchanges listed above. Because LocalBitcoins is completely decentralized, it’s more like a marketplace than an exchange.
Individual sellers and buyers get together on the site to exchange cryptocurrencies. Because the sellers get to decide which payment methods they’ll accept, LocalBitcoins users can buy and sell Bitcoin in a variety of ways.
- LocalBitcoins only charges one blanket 1% fee.
- You only have to pay that fee if you use an advertisement to find a Bitcoin seller.
- Bitcoin sellers on LocalBitcoins usually charge extra for credit card sales.
The first step is filling in the account creation form. Provide your email and enter a password to proceed to the next step.
To buy Bitcoins, click the Buy Bitcoins tab. Then, pick a country, type in the amount you want to buy. Next, click the All online offers drop-down box and pick Credit Card. Finally, click Search.
The results page will display a list of traders that are accepting credit card payments for Bitcoin in the country you selected.
The first number next to the seller’s name indicates how many transactions her or she has processed. The second number indicates the seller’s reputation score. The colored circle shows the seller’s response time. It’s yellow, so that means that this seller takes around 30 minutes to respond. A green circle means that the seller responds immediately to most requests and a grey circle indicates that they take longer than 30 minutes to reply to messages, on average.
The Price/BTC column indicates that the seller wants 28,350.70 USD per Bitcoin. The Limits column shows that the seller has a maximum purchase limit of $5,670.
As you can see, there is currently only one US LocalBitcoins merchant that accepts credit card payments.
Because it’s fairly easy to dispute and reverse credit card transactions, selling Bitcoins in this manner is a risky business for individual sellers to get into– that’s why this merchant charges around four times the current market price of Bitcoin.
Though the LocalBitcoins interface is extremely stripped down, it’s actually somewhat unintuitive– especially because you can’t sort the search results pages. To find out more about how LocalBitcoins works, read our full review.
For most people, Changelly provides the best way to buy Bitcoin with a credit card. CoinMama is another legitimate option for newbies, but the high fees and out-of-date features are a significant downside. CEX.IO and and Bitstamp are both excellent options for advanced traders. LocalBitcoins provides an alternative way to buy Bitcoin, but very few LocalBitcoins sellers accept credit card payments due to the inherent risk involved.