One of the most common methods used to exchange fiat currency for bitcoin is through a bank card. We’ll show you how it’s done.
How to buy Bitcoin with credit or debit card
In order to buy bitcoin with a credit or debit card, you need to know the best platform to use and the process involved. We’ll guide you through both. Other options such as bank transfer can take up to 5 business days to complete, whereas credit and debit card transactions go through instantly, making them a very popular choice for buying bitcoin.
If you’re new to this then don’t worry: we’ve created a comprehensive and easy to understand guide for you on this page. If you already know the ropes, then you’ll find a selection of platforms on which you can buy bitcoin with credit or debit card below. Let’s get started!
Here are a list of services to buy bitcoin with card, instantly
What’s the difference between broker platforms, exchanges, and wallets?
Choosing whether to use an online broker platform or an exchange to buy bitcoin depends on what your intentions are.
An exchange is a marketplace for buyers and sellers. Exchanges connect people looking to buy and sell bitcoin, enabling peer-to-peer transactions between them, without ever knowing who they are.
A ‘broker’ or Contract For Difference (CFD) platform allows you to buy and sell bitcoin without actually owning the coins themselves. This is what traders do on a daily basis (on Wall Street, for example). Similarly to exchanges, CFD platforms enable you to buy and sell quickly, taking advantage of price changes to make a profit. These platforms are not designed for long-term investments, but to give a fast way to capitalise daily.
A wallet is essentially a bank account: it is an address that stores your bitcoin and allows you to send or receive bitcoin to/from other wallets. Every wallet comes with two separate strings of numbers and letters known as ‘keys’: a public key (used to receive bitcoin) and a private key (used to send bitcoin to other wallets). You need these if you want to buy coins to store as a long-term investment and aren’t very interested in constantly tracking the market to buy and sell for quick profit.
Should I buy bitcoin with credit or debit card?
It depends. Cards are a quick and convenient way to buy bitcoins, although bear in mind that transactions usually have fees of 1-5%. Most platforms also have a limit on the amount of bitcoin you can buy in one day, and many only accept debit and do not allow credit card payments.
Why aren’t credit cards more widely accepted?
Because of the way credit cards function, buying bitcoin with one carries more risks than with a debit card. Unlike debit cards, where money is debited straight from your balance, credit cards charge funds to your line of credit. Given the fluctuations in the price of bitcoin, this means that the value of any coins you buy might be significantly different when it comes to paying off the debt. This is one reason why many banks and platforms don’t allow you to use a credit card to buy bitcoin.
Additionally, credit card payments are reversible whereas bitcoin transactions aren’t. This poses the risk that someone will buy bitcoin with their credit card and cancel the payment after they have received the coins. Even if you find a platform that accepts credit card payments, it’s not certain that your bank will allow the transaction to go through – so it’s always a good idea to check with your bank.
What about prepaid cards?
Most companies allow their users to use prepaid cards to buy bitcoin. Like debit cards, prepaid cards provide some sense of security, as you are using funds that are already in your account rather than billing the transaction to your credit line.
And, is buying bitcoin with card the best method?
It depends why you’re buying bitcoin. If your primary concern is fast transaction speeds, buying with card is a great option. If you’re looking to buy a large amount of coins at once, other options may be preferable.
The limits on how much bitcoin you can buy at a time using a card usually start around £100 a day (although these can rise over time and on some platforms they’re considerably higher). Transaction fees can also be quite high, especially when using a credit card. Typically these fees are between 1 and 5%, but they vary and can be more.
A quick and easy guide to buying your first bitcoin
Now you know what your options are, you need to know how to use them to buy bitcoin. That’s why we’ve outlined all the steps right here. If you’re already familiar with how it’s done and have specific questions you need answering, then skip to our frequently asked questions section at the bottom of the page.
What do I need to do before I get started?
You’ll need to provide some information to sign up to a service. Spending bitcoin is completely anonymous, but in order to verify your account and to combat fraud there are a few things you need to have with you. To get started you need to prepare your:
Method of payment
Whether buying bitcoin with a credit/debit card, bank transfer, or PayPal you’ll need to have your account details to hand and make sure there are no restrictions on payments of that type through your chosen service.
Proof of identity
You’ll almost always be asked to supply valid photo ID to prove your identity when signing up to a platform. A passport or driving license is most commonly required and you’ll often be asked to supply a selfie of you next to it to verify it’s yours.
Proof of address
Along with photo ID you’ll be asked to supply proof of your address, generally in the form of a utility bill or a bank statement. If you don’t have access to these documents, others are sometimes accepted. This will, however, depend on the platform so be sure to check you have the right forms of ID before signing up to a particular service.
Exchange or broker platform
Now decide which type of platform you want to use for buying bitcoin. Consider what you want to get out of your investment, and then find the service that best matches your aims from the summaries above.
Buy bitcoin: the steps
Alright, you’re ready to sign up and buy your first bitcoin. Let’s get started.
- Visit site and open a free account. Select a service from our list and click the link. Once you’ve arrived on your chosen platform, select the option to register an account.
- Fill out personal details. Fill out the required details to register a new account. This will usually be your name, email address, and country of residence. On most platforms this form will also be where you set your account password. If not, then:
- Create password. It’s very important to have a solid password, especially on an exchange as your account will be used to store your bitcoins. Make sure to include a mixture of letters and numbers and make your password memorable. In a few cases there won’t be an option to create a password at this stage. This will mean one has been randomly generated and in your confirmation email (see next step) there will be a link to change your password. Make sure you do this as nothing is more important than the safety of your account.
- Activate account. In the majority of cases the next step is to check your inbox for an account verification email which will include a link to activate your account. As mentioned above, for some services this will also be the point at which you set or change your password.
- Fund account or make payment. In most cases, to buy bitcoin you’ll have to transfer money into your account balance, and in other cases you’ll be able to make a direct payment. Either way, there are a variety of methods to pay for your bitcoin. We’ve summarised them for you here:
- Bank transfer. You’ll need to acquire the destination bank details from the site, key in your own account details and the amount of money you wish to transfer. Bank transfers commonly take between 1 and 5 days to go through.
- Card payments. Depending on the platform you’ll either have to add your card details to your account, or simply enter your card details and make a one-off payment. The process is the same as using your card on any online shopping site.
- PayPal/other. If your platform accepts PayPal (many of them don’t), then you’ll simply have to select the option to pay with PayPal. This will direct you to a page that will enable you to pay from your PayPal into the account you’ve created on the platform. You’ll want to ensure that your PayPal account is active, funded and has no restrictions.
- Buy bitcoin. If you’ve made a payment, congratulations! You’ve bought your first bitcoin. If you’ve transferred funds into your account then you’re just one small step away: simply follow the link on the platform to buy bitcoin using the money deposited in your account. Choose how much bitcoin you want to buy and confirm the transaction. Done!
- Additional: Withdraw to wallet. If you’re using a brokerage to buy bitcoin, you’ll need to set up a wallet to which they can send your coins. If you’re using an exchange there will be an integrated wallet you use to store and trade coins, but you can create an external wallet into which you can transfer coins for extra security. If you’re using a CFD platform, you don’t need a wallet as the coins are handled within the platform. For more information about wallets and the different options available, check out our handy guide here.
Should I buy bitcoin with a debit card?
- Credit/debit card
- Your concerns
- The fees
Can Bitcoin replace cards?
Technically yes, it is possible in the future for bitcoin payments to become the norm for financial transactions. Bitcoin offers fast and anonymous transactions, comes with low fees, and eliminates intermediaries that complicate cross-border transactions. This is why it has become so popular and why many people see it as shaping the future.
Is Bitcoin better than fiat currency?
To some extent, yes. Bitcoin is different from fiat currency in that it is decentralised and cannot be influenced by third parties such as banks. In a world in which privacy is increasingly important to people, the anonymity in spending bitcoin is one of its major advantages over fiat currency.
Can I convert bitcoins back to my card?
Yes and no. You cannot send bitcoin directly back to your regular bank account as it operates on a completely different system. But what you can do is exchange your bitcoin at any point for its value in fiat currency, then you can deposit that back in your account.
Can you buy other cryptocurrencies using card?
It depends. You can buy most of the other top cryptocurrencies (such as Ethereum, Litecoin, and Ripple) using your card on many platforms, but the situation is a little different for lesser known coins. When it comes to these, you’ll often need to use your card to buy one of the major coins and then use these to buy different cryptocurrencies through an exchange.
Can I buy with my credit or debit card on Coinbase?
Yes, but only with debit card for new users. Coinbase allows verified, trusted users to use credit cards. The platform has relatively low spending limits, starting at about £500 worth of bitcoin a week. However, this amount can rise to £1000s if you provide further verification documents and bank details.
Can you buy Bitcoin with a stolen credit card?
No. Exchanges/brokers know that it’s fraudulent to use stolen cards to make purchases, and therefore subject every user to a verification process to ascertain if they own the card. Most platforms will ask you to send a selfie of yourself holding the credit/debit card as well as your ID/passport.
Can I buy bitcoin with a prepaid debit card?
Yes, you can buy bitcoin with a prepaid debit card on various platforms. The fees can vary but are largely in line with those on credit and debit cards.
What are the risks involved when buying Bitcoin with cards?
There aren’t many risks when buying bitcoin with a credit or debit card, provided you’re using a reliable platform. It’s one of the most commonly used methods of buying coins, and the only limiting factors are the amount of bitcoin a platform lets you buy at once and whether your bank allows the payment (in the case of credit cards).