Litecoin is an alternative to Bitcoin created by Coinbase’s former director of engineering. The altcoin’s design tries to address some of the issues that have made Bitcoin less attractive as a currency for commerce.
For one thing, the Litecoin network delivers faster transaction confirmations than Bitcoin because the underlying proof-of-work algorithm can run on normal computers. Greater accessibility creates a larger pool of Litecoin miners ready to process your transactions.
The mining speed, combined with a larger total number of currency units, should mean Litecoin won’t become as scarce — or as expensive — as Bitcoin.
Using a credit card is a convenient way to get into the Litecoin market. Unfortunately, most exchanges don’t accept credit cards and some don’t support Litecoin trading. Our guide to buying Litecoin with a credit card will help you get started.
How to Buy Litecoin with a Credit Card
Buying your Litecoins directly is the most efficient way to use a credit card. Each exchange, however, has different policies in place to minimize the risk of fraud and chargebacks. Some of them set limits on the size and frequency of transactions. Others apply additional fees.
Only two of the exchanges in this guide will let you buy Litecoins with a credit card directly. The other only lets you buy Bitcoins, forcing you to then place a trade on the Litecoin/Bitcoin market.
The two-step approach to purchasing cryptocurrency isn’t just an inconvenient hassle — you could lose a chunk of cash in the process. The extra transaction fees charged by the exchanges are the smallest hit your wallet may take.
What happens if the markets move in the wrong direction while you’re waiting for your Bitcoin purchase to get added to the blockchain? Given how volatile the market has been, your credit card purchase may be worth much less by the time Litecoins appear in your wallet.
Best for Americans
Abra is the best option for Americans since the trading service accepts US-issued American Express Cards. Abra’s decentralized system for trading fiat and digital currencies makes it an affordable and secure way to execute simple trades. Funding your initial balance, on the other hand, can be expensive due to the American Express “convenience fee.”
Best for everyone else
Bitstamp is more egalitarian, allowing people in more than 80 countries use a credit card. The only Americans who can take advantage of the service are those whose cards are issued by Puerto Rican banks. You will have to submit to Bitstamp’s verification process, which has been known to take several days or weeks to complete. In addition, the 5% fees credit card processing fees make the cost of a credit card purchase pretty steep.
A fast, but indirect alternative
Changelly’s currency exchange service is fast and convenient, but has much higher transaction fees for crypto exchanges. The way Changelly executes trades on other exchanges means it only holds your money for a few seconds. That makes Changelly more secure than most centralized exchanges. Changelly’s credit card processing fees, however, are twice those of the other options in this guide.
Americans who use Abra can pay for their fiat deposits with an US-issued American Express card. Abra is a mobile-only, peer-to-peer digital wallet for Android and iOS smartphones. Rather than making trades through a centralized exchange, Abra matches you up with other traders who want to buy and sell more than 70 fiat and crypto currencies.
Since Abra never takes custody of your cash or altcoins, you are exposed to less risk of a massive hacking attack on Abra’s servers.
When you use your American Express card to deposit US dollars in the Abra app, they show up as a balance in the app’s USD folder. From there, buying Litecoin is simply a matter of initiating a free USD-to-Litecoin exchange. The same process applies to exchanges between any currency, fiat or digital, that Abra supports.
Abra can make such flexible exchanges because the Abra wallet only holds one currency: Litecoin. When you deposit your cash into the app, you’re really buying a pool of Litecoins bound by a smart contract to be worth that dollar amount. All of the exchanges that happen within the Abra app are really transfers of Litecoin and smart contracts. It’s only when you withdraw your coins or fiat that Abra actually makes a trade on the market.
American Express charges a 4% “convenience fee” which Abra passes on to its users. When you make a $100 deposit with your card, a $104 charge will appear on your statement. That is something you will need to keep in mind as you use the app. American Express limits daily charges to $200 and monthly totals to $1,000 — before the fees. Depositing $1000 into Abra over the course of the month will add another $40 in fees to the charge on your American Express account, putting you over the limit.
Withdrawing the Litecoins you bought through Abra is much easier than it is for other cryptocurrencies. Since Abra uses Bitcoin and Litecoin as the basis for its operations, they are the only cryptocurrencies you can withdraw directly. You have to convert any other altcoins into Litecoin or Bitcoin first before you can withdraw the funds.
Abra does not charge fees for withdrawing Litecoin, but will pass along the network fees charged for registering the transaction to the blockchain.
As a mobile-only service, getting started with Abra is a simple matter of downloading the app from the Apple App Store for iPhones or the Google Play Store for Android-based phones. After you enter your name, email address and mobile number, Abra will send you a confirmation text. In most cases, you won’t have to go through any more verification.
Once you’re into the app itself, tap the Add Money button and then the American Express button. As long as you keep the transaction safely beneath the daily and monthly limits, you can add money to your USD balance. From there, it’s a simple matter of requesting a trade from dollars to Litecoin.
Read the full review to find out how Abra works, who its founders are, and more information about Abra’s mission to decentralize foreign exchanges and make the world of finance more inclusive.
Bitstamp is a better choice for people outside the United States who want to purchase Litecoin with a credit card. Bitstamp accepts direct purchases of Litecoin by people in more than 80 countries, including all members of the European Union and some of the largest economies in Asia, Africa, Latin America and Oceania. Puerto Ricans are the only Americans who can purchase Litecoins on Bitstamp with a credit card.
As one of the oldest exchanges, and the largest European exchange, Bitstamp is stable, highly liquid and well-integrated with the European financial system.
Bitstamp charges 5% for credit card purchases of Litecoins regardless of the amount.
Bitstamps’ credit card processor imposes limits on the size of each transaction. Each day you can purchase at most $5,000 USD or 5,000 euros. The monthly limit is $20,000 USD or 20,000 euros.
Litecoin withdrawals do not incur a transaction fee. Normal network fees will apply, however.
You can create a basic Bitstamp account with nothing more than your email address. Even though you won’t be allowed to make any deposits or trades, the basic account lets you look around Bitstamp’s interface to see if it has what you need.
Before you can actually do anything in Bitstamp, you will need to go through the exchange’s verification process. That means uploading a copy of a government-issued ID, proof of residency, and a selfie of you holding up your ID. Although Bitstamp has expanded its verification staff, new customers have experienced delays stretching as long as weeks.
Once Bitstamp has verified you and activated your full access, simply set up your credit card and purchase your Litecoins.
Bitstamp is developing a strong reputation in the European financial system. If you’re interested in the security and stability that implies, then check out our Bitstamp review for more details.
Changelly has developed a simple and convenient way to exchange currencies — maybe a little too simple. You can only buy Bitcoin using a credit card. From there, you have to exchange those Bitcoins for Litecoins.
However, your exposure to the volatility of the BTC/LTC market gets reduced by the good rates and fast speed of Changelly’s system. Changelly acts as a proxy, making the trades through exchanges like Kraken and Poloniex on your behalf. By getting the best rate for purchasing the Bitcoins, and then the best rate for exchanging those Bitcoins into Litecoins, you might be able to get as many Litecoins as you would through the other exchanges in this guide.
Unfortunately, the high credit card fees make this an expensive path to take.
Changelly is a more expensive way to buy Litecoin than the exchanges that let you buy the altcoin directly. Changelly charges a 5% fee for credit card purchases and its credit card processing company charges another 5%. Since you have to make two transactions, first buying Bitcoin and then trading to Litecoin, your total cost to buy Litecoin will be 10.5% of the original deposit.
The firm Changelly uses to process its credit card transactions imposes several limits on the size of transactions new customers can make during their first month with Changelly. Those limits vary by region:
|Region||Purchase 1||Purchase 2||Week 1||Month 1|
|US, Canada and Australia||$50||$100||n/a||$500|
|Commonwealth of Independent States||$200||n/a||$2,000||$10,000|
All you need to open an account with Changelly is your social media logins or an email address and a promise that you’re not a robot.
Once that’s complete, go back to the Changelly home page and click the Buy Bitcoin With Credit Card button. That will open a new window where you can buy Bitcoins with either euros or US dollars.
Changelly accepts Visas or MasterCards backed up by a 3D Secure system like Verified by Visa or MasterCard SecureCode. As long as the card meets those standards, you can buy Bitcoin from anywhere in the world. Keep in mind, though, that your transaction can only be made in either euros or US dollars. If your credit card issuer runs on any other currency, you will get charged for the currency exchange.
Now that you have Bitcoins in your account, you can place a trade order on the Bitcoin/Litecoin market.
Although Changelly isn’t a great choice for advanced cryptocurrency investors, the trading service offers a quick and easy – but expensive – way to get the best exchange rates. Find out more about the way Changelly does the exchange rate shopping for you in our review.
Litecoin saw rapid growth last year but it’s price is still a small fraction of Bitcoin’s. Depending on your priorities, this altcoin may be an easier way to get into the cryptocurrency market. Using your credit card with one of the three exchanges mentioned above is a convenient way to you get your Litecoin.