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How to Buy Ether (Ethereum) with a Credit Card – The 4 Best Options

Though there are many different ways to invest in Ether, it pays to do your homework before signing up to use any digital currency exchange. Because regulators are still working out cryptocurrency laws, the digital currency exchange landscape is a “wild west” environment. The four exchanges listed below all have their individual pros and cons, but they all have one thing in common: a good reputation.

Read on to learn how to buy Ether with a credit card using Changelly, Abra, CEX.IO and Bitstamp.

How to Buy Ether with a Credit Card

Here’s a quick breakdown of the four best options.

The best options for beginners

The best way for beginners to buy Ether with a credit card is via a retail exchange like Changelly or Abra. Though those exchanges have somewhat high fees and limited features, they also have good reputations and are easy to use. In addition, Abra only supports American Express credit cards. Changelly won’t process American Express cards, but it does accept both Mastercard and Visa.

Frequent traders should try these two exchanges

If you intend to trade on a regular basis, you may want to go with an exchange that offers fee discounts to high-volume buyers and sellers. CEX.IO and Bitstamp both cater to professional traders. If you’re a complete beginner, you may find both of those sites to be confusing.

Changelly

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If you’re looking for a quick, easy and safe way to buy Ether, Changelly is a good choice. Source: CoinIQ

Though Changelly has high fees compared to exchanges that are designed for frequent traders, Changelly’s jargon-free interface and plethora of purchase options have allowed this exchange to experience rapid growth in a short amount of time.

With Changelly, you can make digital currency purchases with any Visa or Mastercard credit card. The 0.5% fee means that you’ll have to pay $5 to buy $200 worth of Ether. However, that fee is negligible if you don’t intend to buy much more Ether than that and if you plan on holding onto Ether for several years.

Anyone in any part of the world can use Changelly. However, there’s a catch: Changelly is not legal in every part of the world. Changelly’s management has opted to let their users decide whether or not they should use their exchange. They do not use geographic filters to block anyone from signing up. In addition, when you use your credit card, you have to buy Bitcoin first and then convert it into Ether. There’s no way to buy Ether directly on Changelly with a credit card.

Fees

  • 0.5% commission fee
  • Variable network processing fee to cover Ether transactions.

Supported credit cards

  • Visa and Mastercard

Getting started

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.

Changelly SignUp 2 1
Source: CoinIQ

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 ETH.

Changelly’s purchase limits have recently increased. Now, you can buy up to $10,000 USD worth of Ether in your first transaction. The daily and monthly limits are $20,000 and $50,000.

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Changelly’s intuitive drop-down menus let you quickly buy and sell digital currencies. Source: CoinIQ

Once you select how much Ether you want to buy, you can create your digital wallet if you don’t have one already. Then, you enter in your credit card information– and that’s pretty much it. Once the transaction is complete, Changelly will deposit Ether into your wallet.

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Buying ETH on Changelly is a simple 5-step process. Source: CoinIQ

Changelly’s business model is slightly different compared to the other Bitcoin exchanges. Most digital exchanges hold their assets in their own wallets. Those wallets are a constant temptation for hackers, which is why many of the early centralized exchanges were raided by thieves. Unlike those exchanges, Changelly only holds its customers’ assets for just a few milliseconds. After the order is complete, the exchanged amount passes briefly through the Changelly wallet before getting deposited directly to the customer’s wallet.

Read the in-depth review linked below to learn more about how Changelly works.

Related: Changelly Review: Quick and Easy Trades but No Advanced Trading

Abra

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Though Abra stands for “A Better Remittance Service,” it’s also a convenient way to invest in Ether and many other digital currencies. Source: CoinIQ

If you have an American Express, Abra is one of the best options available for buying Ether with a credit card.

With Abra, all your financial information is stored on your mobile device. The upside of this is that there’s no central location for hackers to raid. The downside is that if you lose or break your phone, you have to go through a complicated process to retrieve your funds.

Another important fact: Abra only supports AMEX (American Express) credit cards. There’s no support for Visa or Mastercard. In addition, only US customers can make credit card purchases.

Fees

  • 4% charge for credit card purchases (American Express only).
  • Variable network fee to cover Ether transactions.

Supported credit cards

  • American Express

Getting started

Currently, 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.

Source: CoinIQ

Next, click the round American flag icon to add money into your digital currency wallet.

Options here include ACH bank transfer (free, $2000 per day limit), American Express (4% fee, $200 per day limit) and Ether (variable network fee to cover the cost of completing the transaction).

Abra UI 1
Source: CoinIQ

Like Changelly, Abra caters to casual cryptocurrency investors. With that being said, Abra gives investors a surprisingly rich amount of investment options. In addition to Ether, Abra users can also invest in over many other cryptocurrencies. Read the review linked below to find out how synthetic digital assets and multi-signature smart contracts let Abra users invest in over 50 different altcoins.

Related: Abra Review: Safe, Easy Wallet for HODLing your Altcoins

CEX.IO

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CEX.IO has a smooth interface and features for beginners and advanced traders alike. Source: CoinIQ

Unlike Abra and Changelly, CEX.IO caters to high volume traders and institutions. Despite the focus on the professional investors, anyone can sign up with CEX.IO and use it to buy Ether and several other cryptocurrencies.

Even though CEX.IO’s interface is somewhat complex, it’s not that hard to use once you get a handle on the jargon. Unlike some advanced digital currency exchanges that feature real-time charts, CEX.IO isn’t slow or buggy.

The main benefit of using CEX.IO is that it has advanced features like multiple order types, margin trading functionality. Customizable orders let you fine tune your transaction when you trade. Margin trading functionality lets you take out loans and use the loans to amplify your gains (and potentially, amplify your losses). In addition, CEX.IO gives discounts to frequent traders. Changelly and Abra do not.

Fees

  • Visa cards: 3.5% + 25¢ for deposits, $3.80 for withdrawals
  • Master cards: 3.5% + 25¢ for deposits, 1.2% + $3.80 for withdrawals.

Supported credit cards

  • Visa and Mastercard

Getting started

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.

cexregis 1 1
Source: CoinIQ

CEX.IO’s main page is depicted below. To deposit USD using your credit card, click the blue deposit button.

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CEX.IO supports several different fiat currencies. Source: CoinIQ

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.

addnew 1 1
Source: CoinIQ

CEX.IO provides two different interfaces: one for beginners and one for advanced traders. This is what the simplified trading interface looks like:

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The simplified version CEX.IO gives you three different ETH purchase options.  Source: CoinIQ

Alternatively, you can click the Trade tab on the top of the page and use the advanced interface to buy Ether.

charts
CEX.IO’s advanced interface offers more flexibility and customization. Source: CoinIQ

All in all, CEX.IO is a solid exchange with features for beginners and advanced traders alike. However, there is a catch: 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.

Related: CEX.IO Review: Credit Card Support, Limited US Availability

Bitstamp

Bitstamp is also a good choice for advanced traders. Source: CoinIQ

Bitstamp is available in most US states with the exception of New York, Hawaii, Wyoming and Washington. In May of 2017, Bitstamp introduced credit card functionality in the US.

“We are delighted to announce that we have now added the USA to the list of countries where our customers can buy bitcoin by Visa or MasterCard credit/debit card.”

Currently, Bitstamp doesn’t support direct Ether buys with credit cards. You have to first buy Bitcoin, then convert Bitcoin into Ether.

Fees

  • 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.

Supported credit cards

  • Visa and Mastercard

Getting started

This graphic from the Bitstamp website shows that like CEX.IO, Bitstamp offers a simplified way to invest in Ether.

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Source: Bitstamp

The image embedded below shows what Bitstamp’s advanced interface looks like. Notable features include real-time charts and customizable order types.

To make a purchase using the trading interface, type in the amount of Ether you want to buy on the right side of the screen and then click Buy to place an order.

Bitstamp TradeviewNew2 1 1
Source: CoinIQ

In order to unlock your Bitstamp account, you have to provide several forms of identification.

The signup page is just a simple form, though. Fill in the information and then click Register to proceed to the next step.

create 1 1
Source: CoinIQ

After you log in, Bitstamp will prompt you to change your password.

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Source: CoinIQ

Next you have to answer some questions, fill in some forms and provide a picture ID. Once Bitstamp processes your information, you’ll be able to access the full website.

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Source: CoinIQ

Compared to CEX.IO, Bitstamp charges more “nickel and dime” types of fees. For example, there’s a $10 fee you have to pay if you load up your debit card beyond $1000 as well as a $5 “dormancy” fee that you have to pay if you don’t use your account for an extended period of time. Read our full review to learn all the major details you should know about this exchange before you sign up.

Related: Bitstamp Review: Trusted Exchange but Few Coins

Final Thoughts

Overall, Changelly is the exchange with the most to offer the average person who is curious about cryptocurrency and wants to invest in Ether. Changelly supports both Visa and Mastercard purchases and is extremely easy to use. Abra is also a good option, but the fact that the Abra app only accepts American Express credit cards makes it somewhat inconvenient. In addition, only US-based Abra users can make credit card purchases.

When it comes to advanced digital currency exchanges that accept credit card buys, CEX.IO and Bitstamp are about even. Both exchanges have good reputations among professional cryptocurrency traders. However, Bitstamp charges higher fees. In addition, Bitstamp won’t let you buy Ether directly. You have to first buy Bitcoin and then convert your Bitcoin into Ether.

Alex Munkachy

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