Did you know, right now so many people are buying and using Bitcoin that the network is actually experiencing unexpected delays? That’s right – bitcoin is so popular with people flocking from all areas of life, because digital currency brings an enormously wide spectrum of advantages compared to all other payment solutions.
With mass adoption comes a surge in demand for a comprehensive wiki on how to buy Bitcoin and store it safely.
You’re lucky – the following guide does exactly that: it explains the A to Z of all you need to know before getting those first Bitcoins. Be it with a credit card, bank transfer, PayPal, or cash – I have the best tricks and tips to get you purchasing like a pro. Read on…
Here are the steps to buy bitcoin:
- Choose a site & payment method (card, bank transfer, cash, paypal…)
- Register & complete identity verification
- Deposit EUR, USD, GPB… and trade it for bitcoin
- Choose a wallet to safely store your cryptocurrency
- Withdraw from the exchange to your wallet
- 1 What characteristics qualify a good bitcoin exchange?
- 2 Which is the best payment method to get bitcoins?
- 3 Which are the best places to get Bitcoin?
- 4 Why so much identity verification… and which sites don’t require this?
- 5 How to choose a wallet for storing my Bitcoins?
- 6 Conclusion
What characteristics qualify a good bitcoin exchange?
Commissions & Fees
No one likes to get over-charged. Paying the cheapest fees is always important. Some exchanges are very transparent about how much you will pay to deposit, buy, sell, store, and withdraw. However, other places are more discreet about how they extract fees from your hard earned money. Most sites make their revenue by having a small margin on the buy/sell rate. Do look into this before you deposit money anywhere.
I’m yet to find a site that accepts all four of the most-used payment methods:
- Bank transfer
- Credit card (Visa, Mastercard, AmEx)
Most places will accept either one or two. Do check out the reviews of each site below for more information.
Ease of Use
It is funny that some sites are still, in 2017, so hard to use. Sometimes I think that the creators actually asked themselves: “how can we make this as hard as possible for new users to understand…?”. It is really important to start off simple. Don’t try use a decentralized exchange if this is your first day on bitcoin. Choose a site which accommodates beginners. There are a couple of good choices listed below. Some of the best sites are actually very easy to use, but also offer more advanced features for experts.
If you are new to bitcoin, you may have heard mainstream media reports about how “bitcoin was hacked” or something similar. Thankfully you have gotten this far & ignored the prophecies of incompetent journalists. What actually happens is that bitcoin exchanges do themselves get hacked. This has nothing to do with bitcoin the protocol – which remains incredibly secure and has never been compromised since its creation (Edit: redditor /u/dooglus correctly points out this overflow incident in the early days of bitcoin). So it is indeed important to choose an exchange with good security.
Some indicators that an exchange is following security best practices are:
- they provide proof of coins in cold storage.
- the exchange offers and encourages customers to use two-factor authentication
- the operators resist and reason with regulator demands on how the exchange should be run.
Some indicators that an exchange may have been compromised are
- a long & persistent backlog of bitcoin withdrawls (users waiting days to receive withdrawls)
- an increasingly large difference in the quoted price of bitcoin compared to other exchanges
- media allegations of theft. Coindesk is a reputable source for bitcoin news.
- silence from operators who may stop responding to community questions/allegations
Rest assured, most people simply withdraw their coins to an offline wallet once purchased. That way you no longer need to worry about how safe the exchange is, because you now have sole control over the private keys.
It’s good to research each site’s customer service records before depositing. Some places are really fast to respond to customer queries, while others may take days to get back to you. Keep in mind that you will necessarily be interacting with support at some stage as most sites now require ID vetting. This stage usually involves several emails, so it’s important that the site has employed enough agents to respond to users in time.
As exchanges get more sophisticated and secure, some have developed account-flagging systems which may temporarily freeze users’ funds. Flags can be set off for a variety of reasons, but usually get sorted once you reach out to a customer support representative.
This aspect should be given more weight. After all, the bitcoin community is a thriving eco-system. Exchanges don’t exist in a void, and those that are reaping all reward without giving something back really don’t deserve your custom. Good examples of community interaction include:
- participating & solving queries on bitcoin forums, notably the /r/bitcoin sub-Reddit. Localbitcoins & CEX are very active in this area.
- contributing to bitcoin-events, hackathons, and sponsoring cryptocurrency education initiatives. Coinbase had a cool bitcoin app competition/hackathon last year.
- being as open-source as possible. Sharing and taking innovation from the community. Poloniex, the largest cryptocurrency exchange, has a lot of open-sourced front-end code & a great API (a public interface for programmers to build their own apps on top).
- remaining positive & professional. Bitcoin has a lot of scandal, emotion, & controversy. Those that refrain from slander get my appraisal. US-based exchange Gemini has played their cards right by staying neutral throughout the block-size debate (an extended disagreement within the community over how the bitcoin code should evolve).
Which is the best payment method to get bitcoins?
There are so many different payment options when purchasing bitcoin. To keep things simple, I will compare the most used methods: Credit Card, Bank Transfer, Cash, and PayPal. To get a quick glance at the advantages/disadvantages of each look over the following table. More detailed information is available below.
|Payment Method||Average Fees||Anonymity||Speed to Purchase||Overall Difficulty|
|Credit Card||High||Not great||Very fast||Easy|
|Bank Transfer (SEPA/wire)||Very low||Not great||Slow||Easy/Medium|
|Work for it||No fees||Good||Slow||Hard|
Bank Transfer vs Credit Card
For buying large amounts of bitcoin, you should choose to buy with a bank transfer on a reputable exchange. Fees are always lowest when you choose to transfer funds directly via SEPA (Europe) or Wire (US). Alternatively credit card purchases will provide you with bitcoins in a much faster time span. This is because deposits are verified instantly so the exchange can immediately release the cryptocurrency to you. The downside is that credit card transactions entail larger fees, which make it inconvenient for getting many bitcoins.
PayPal vs Credit Card
What makes people want to transfer PayPal to bitcoin and vice versa? The simple fact that it’s instant and quite convenient. It also allows people to use their favorite payment processor. Most importantly, using PayPal is great for small amounts. However, it’s far cheaper to use other payment methods (credit card, bank transfer) for larger transactions. Credit card purchases are the simplest way. Fees are high, but generally not as high as when buying with PayPal.
Use the following diagram to compare PayPal vs Credit Card for buying BTC:
Cash (in-person) vs Buying Online
There are two accepted ways to buy bitcoin with cash:
- Using a Bitcoin ATM – you put cash in, it sends bitcoins to your specified address
- Meeting a person and swapping your cash for their bitcoins
Generally speaking, buying bitcoins with cash will guarantee the highest levels of anonymity. Fees are higher than buying by bank transfer, but at least you will keep your ID secret and no one has to know who you are. Some people choose cash because they prefer to stay private. However, large transactions become quite inconvenient (and dangerous/risky) when using cash. Another downside is that you usually have to go to physical location to meet someone, rather than just being able to do it all online. Please note that not all bitcoin ATMs are anonymous. Some do require ID submission.
Working for Bitcoin vs Buying it
Did you know that it is actually possible to work for bitcoin? It’s really starting to kick-off within the freelancing community. If you’re a graphic designer, web developer, artist, producer, or anything else that can be done remotely – then I highly recommend looking into working for bitcoin. There are no exchange fees, since your employer simply sends you his bitcoins directly to your address. Granted, this is not the fastest method, but you sure would be riding the first wave of trend-setting digital freelancers. I like to look for freelancing gigs on the xbtfreelancer site or the /r/Jobs4Bitcoins sub-Reddit.
Which are the best places to get Bitcoin?
Quick comparison of the best places to get bitcoin
Below is a table that summarizes the best places to buy bitcoin. Special emphasis has been put on clearly indicating available payment methods, fees, ease-of-use, and reputation. Some sites have multiple ways to deposit money (i usually prefer these), while others focus on one. Reputation is a overall view of feedback I have read about each site. Be sure to research reviews yourself too. The fee column gives a very brief idea of how high commissions and hidden costs are on each exchange. This should help you in making a decision about with site to use.
A table comparing the best places to buy bitcoin
Good sites to get bitcoin with a credit card
The first thing to consider before asking where to get btc with a credit card, is that this service has only existed very recently. People find it quite incredible – why did no one offer card deposits before? Simply because credit card transactions were partially reversible by the bank. So these exchanges had to first gain lots of trust and goodwill before banks would allow them to operate over the SWIFT network. Using a card to buy btc means confirmation waiting time has been significantly reduced.
The following list of sites accept credit cards:
Based out of San Francisco, Coinbase allow users to buy with USD, Euros & GBP. Be sure to read up their information page which will help you get started. Coinbase really is a great site for multiple reasons, but most importantly because it’s intuitive. The user interface is so appealing and simple to use. Coinbase is also one of the most secure exchanges site and has over 18 million happy users per month. Card purchases are real simple and fees remain very competitive. The best part is that all user wallets are insured. Expert users can even activate a super-advanced & secure mutli-signature wallet. This guarantees that in the event Coinbase were to go offline then these users could still move their coins.
Like all major exchanges, Coinbase do require ID submission before you can finalize an order. Current verification times are reportedly slower than usual. Should you want to trade like a professional: use GDAX for larger volume transactions and cheaper fees.
While Coinbase really does offer some very cool features for both beginners and experts, it is hard to believe that the best-funded bitcoin exchange out there persistently goes offline during large sell-offs. I urge caution if you are wanting to buy or sell your Bitcoin you may have to wait several hours just to sign in.
CEX is an integral part of my guide, because they offer a diverse range of services. This tutorial would feel empty without including them here. I also really appreciate the fact that customers can learn easily on CEX thanks to a fully beginner-optimized process. This UK based bitcoin exchange (ETH BTC) originally was a cloud mining operator. Due to increasing demand, it was decided to start offering bitcoins for sale. They now have over 700 000 users and accept Euro, US Dollar, and Russian Ruble. Wire transfer and SEPA payments are also accepted. CEX have a Level 2 PCI DSS data security clearance meaning that this site is extremely trustworthy with users data and money.
Bitstamp is rapidly gaining popularity in Europe as the best place to buy btc online. With its recent new HQ in London, along with its well-acclaimed acceptance of Mastercard & VISA, Bitstamp has attracted quite a large user base among those asking how to get bitcoins with a debit card. As an added benefit, this is the cheapest place to trade BTC USD or EUR for high-volumes. The sign-up process is easy and once validated you will be able to purchase immediately. Withdrawing is just as fast. The ease of use here makes it an excellent choice. I would definitely recommend this to my mother.
Best places to get bitcoins with PayPal:
The following list of sites accept PayPal:
Localbitcoins have recently added the option for buyers and sellers to exchange bitcoins for PayPal. I think this is a pretty sweet feature. Due to the fear of reversible transactions and charge-backs, not many sites offer the use of this payment processor.
Most Localbitcoin sellers will allow purchases ranging between 10 usd to 1500 usd in PayPal. The big downside is that they require you to have community reputation (previous purchase history). Sellers do this in-order to minimize the risk that bad-actors reverse the PayPal transaction while keeping the bitcoins.
Paxful is located in Delaware, USA. This site is obligatory in any tutorial on how to invest bitcoin, simply because they offer a really wide range of features. Not only can you go from paypal to bitcoin on Paxful, but you can also use Amazon gift cards too (and others such as OneVanilla, Walmart, Bestbuy, and Gamestop). Google Wallet is also accepted by vendors here.
You will find that it is all about finding a vendor that is ready to trade with you. Yes, it is true that other sites offer an easier process, but where else can you exchange virtually anything for the most popular cryptocurrency in existence? Check out Paxful’s instructions and read up the FAQ. I do prefer LocalBitcoins to Paxful – especially so now that the former accepts PayPal.
Wesellcrypto was once a popular platform for buying Dogecoin through PayPal. The operators realized that this payment method was so demanded that maybe they should also try it for bitcoin. The site has 100 thousand unique visits per month and growing by 10% each quarter. PayPal to bitcoin purchases can be done without ID verification for small amounts under 15 usd. Larger amounts require various stages of vetting depending on the weekly quantity. Fees are approximately on par with the competition. While the site owner remains discrete, users review are mostly positive, and I would still recommend this site a great alternative.
Xcoins are a really trustworthy option. They have just moved into new offices (former Google building) in downtown Santa Monica, USA. The platform uses an innovative feature of lending bitcoins on peer to peer basis. This enables instant transactions and makes Xcoins the fastest of all sites to get BTC with PayPal. I have had a few opportunities to interact with support and they are very swift to respond and fix issues. In terms of popularity, Xcoins are definitely easier to use than WeSellCrypto and have twice the amount of traffic.
Good places to get bitcoin with cash
Buying bitcoin with cash allows you to keep your identity off the records. Many people prefer to buy bitcoin anonymously, while others simply like to meetup in person and engage in some digital currency related conversation. When buying with cash this is all possible.
It is always recommended to meet in a public place and double-check the seller’s review status. It is also possible to use a Bitcoin ATM to exchange those precious bank notes for Bitcoin.
The following list of sites enable & facilitate cash transactions:
Localbitcoins is one of the first and largest P2P exchanges (person to person). Their system pairs your location with that of sellers in the area nearby. Two purchase options are available: you can either do a SEPA transfer (Europe – SWIFT for rest of world) to the seller’s bank, or else arrange a meeting point and pay with cash. I prefer meeting in-person, as this allows me to discuss and network with like-minded people that share an interest in digital currencies.
Localbitcoins is great because in most cases no verification is needed, meaning that it is possible to stay anonymous. The average price is approximately 10 percent higher than elsewhere. This is what people are willing to pay to keep their privacy. Sometimes buyers / sellers may ask for identification before trading. Do check out Localbitcoins if you live in a country where other big exchanges do not operate. There is often a seller nearby.
Coinmama, based in the Virgin Islands, accepts both credit card and cash. This is the best place to buy with cash if you are familiar with using Werstern Union or MoneyGram. Due to their location and deposit methods, this is another excellent site to keep things as private as possible. This goes without saying, the website is nicely designed and works perfectly on a mobile browser as well as desktop. Customer support is truly amazing and live chat with agents is always possible. I strongly believe that Coinmama will rise to become a very popular option. I find that this is the easiest way to go about things. No need to be on the darknet to stay private – just use the right services!
Coinatmradar is not an exchange. Rather, it is an interactive world map of over 1154 bitcoin ATMs over 58 countries. You may like to check the map and see if there is an ATM somewhere near you.
BitcoinATMs usually only accept cash in exchange for bitcoin. However some machines will go both ways and give you cash in exchange for your cryptocurrency of choice. Be aware that Bitcoin ATMs look slightly different than traditional bank machines: they are generally smaller and more colorful.
Good places to get bitcoin with a bank transfer (SEPA/wire)
If you’re looking for the fastest way to buy then using a bank transfer may not be for you. However for those seeking to acquire large amounts, this is by far the best way to proceed. Why? Because fees are so much lower. Expect waiting times of up to 72 hours for SEPA and wire transfers.
Note: I recommend Coinbase for bank transfer purchases (they also accept this deposit method) as it is really beginner-friendly (far more than the sites below).
Kraken operates a professional exchange which has passed all of the highest security audits in this space. Operating out of San Francisco, USA since 2011 – this site is optimised for serious buyers wanting to actively trade BTC (Kraken uses the official “XBT” currency code). More and more Cryptocoin markets are up and running too (for example Ethereum & Zcash trading have been added recently).
Kraken offers the best service for a bank transfer (wire SEPA) deposits. For the time being this is the only deposit method available. Deposit currencies include euros, US dollars, and KRW (Korean Won). It is super cheap to deposit, withdraw, and trade on Kraken. Daily volumes are always high, and an excellent fee transparency guarantees low commissions and that you get the cheapest coins. Rumor has it that Kraken could add leveraged trading (yes – short selling) sometime soon.
While cryptopay’s centerpiece product is indeed its bitcoin credit card, there is a hugely underrated exchange platform available to its customers. Bank transfer deposits are quick to confirm and accepted in GBP, EUR, and USD. Fees are about 20 percent higher than Kraken, but this is well worth it because Cryptopay is so much easier to use. Thanks to a great user interface the site has managed to build up over 750 000 unique visits and plenty of good reviews online. As with all online wallets, I do recommend testing their wallet service & storing a small portion of your bitcoin here. It is best practice to always withdraw most of your coins to your own offline wallet.
Bitcoin.de have built themselves quite a solid following and reputation in the European market. Based in Germany, this site is really easy to use and a great choice for people looking for an alternative p2p platform to Localbitcoins. Bitcoin.de also have an escrow service. Liquidity is not as large as on Bitfinex for example, but safety and a user-friendly experience make it fine for beginners & newcomers. Fees are currently at 1 percent of selling price. Deposit currency is in EUR, by SEPA bank transfer.
Why so much identity verification… and which sites don’t require this?
Yes, I know this identity verification craze really sucks! Back in 2013 I don’t remember any sites asking for my passport copies and photos of home electricity bills. Now in 2017 virtually every bitcoin exchange is obliged by law to do full KYC (know your customer). This is to prevent cyber-crime and money laundering… and some say the government worries that you might be gaining too much economic freedom.
Just realize that this is the new age where your ID is scattered all over the internet. For this reason I would recommend choosing the safest sites only. If you really need to stay anonymous when buying, this is possible but the cost per bitcoin will be significantly higher.
Here are the best places to get bitcoin without having to submit ID:
- Use the LocalBitcoins site (although some sellers now require a copy of your ID) to buy with cash or bank transfer (less anonymous than cash).
- The Buysomebitcoins site lets you buy with no ID verification using a Visa/Mastercard. Commissions are lowered if you submit ID.
- Using WeSellCrypto will allow you to buy small amounts (~15 usd) with PayPal as they don’t bother checking your ID unless you do larger transactions.
- Find a Bitcoin ATM near you on this World Map. Some ATMs do require ID.
- Advanced users only: use Bitsquare (a decentralized bitcoin exchange) to trade with others relatively anonymously.
How to choose a wallet for storing my Bitcoins?
I strongly believe that choosing a good wallet is the most important part of learning how to use bitcoin. Using a safe storage solution is not an easy task. In fact the most convenient wallet systems (web-wallets) are usually the most unsafe. Thankfully there are many extremely safe options for holding your bitcoins.
To keep things simple, just remember that the private keys of your wallet are what enables sending the coins elsewhere. The safest storage solutions are those where the private keys are kept hidden away from the outside world to see.
Use the following table to quickly compare the advantages and disadvantages of each wallet type:
|Hardware||very safe||average||not convenient||90 - 400 usd|
|Paper||very safe||difficult||not convenient||usually free|
Online web-wallets are websites or even online exchanges that allow storage. As I mentioned above, this is the least secure option as it usually involves leaving the management of your private keys to a web server. Web servers are prone to hacking, and users must also trust the online wallet operators. It is however a really convenient way to keep a couple dollars worth of bitcoin online for quick and easy payments. If you have large amounts, then never keep it all in a web-wallet.
Here are good web-wallets:
- Blockchain.info – Simple user interface, no ID verification needed to use it. HQ based in Luxembourg
- Greenaddress – Synced wallet that works across your devices. Browser extension and smartphone.
- Coinbase standard wallet (insured storage) – Super popular, based in US. No fees to send BTC to other Coinbase wallets.
- Coinbase vault storage (for advanced users) – Extra safe multisig wallet with redundancy in case of website failure.
A mobile or smartphone wallet is, as the name suggests, a bitcoin wallet on your smartphone. I love mobile wallets because it is really easy to scan QR codes with my phone’s camera to make quick payments to friends and merchants. Nomenclatures may vary, but I definitely consider mobile wallets to be as unsafe as web-wallets in terms of private key security. I say this because most mobile apps automatically update by themselves. If a hacker got access to the developer’s Itunes/GooglePlay account then they could potentially infect and steal millions of users wallets as their next update gets pushed through. Nevertheless, this type of wallet is great for having small amounts ready to pay.
The best mobile wallets for iOS and Android are:
- Breadwallet – simplest wallet for iPhone and more recently available on Android
- Mycelium – HD wallet with many features including support for Ledger & Trezor (hardware wallets), Tor (a privacy-focused mesh network), watching addresses.
- AirBitz – Easy to use and great for less technical users
- GreenBits – Functional yet basic and support for Ledger + Trezor.
Desktop wallets are apps installed on a desktop computer or laptop. Many people store significant proportions of their bitcoins in desktop wallets as these are much safer than web or mobile wallets. If you asked me a few years ago, I would have said that this is the safest way to store bitcoins. Now, in 2017, with all the backdoor hacking stories, I would prefer using a variety of offline wallets (desktop, hardware, paper) to store my bitcoins. If you are comfortable with ensuring your PC’s security and/or using a Linux system (Windows is considered the least secure operating system) then this may be a relatively secure option for you. A desktop wallet could also be an option for keeping a certain percentage of your portfolio.
I really like these desktop wallets:
- Electrum – most popular desktop wallet because of simplicity. Users have to write down a seed when creating their wallet. Can be integrated with the Trezor or Ledger hardware wallets.
- Multibit – also very simple to use. Has support for KeepKey and Trezor. The development team are less active recently.
- Armory – a very secure and feature-laden desktop wallet for advanced users. Offline signing options make this extra secure. Note: this wallet requires BitcoinCore to function. Bitcoin Core is the original Bitcoin desktop wallet, but it needs to download the whole blockchain (>100GB large!) to work. I have not listed Bitcoin Core here for this reason.
Hardware wallets are very sophisticated semi-cold storage (mostly offline) systems. A piece of hardware is used to store the private keys to your bitcoins. Every time you want to send coins then you’ll just connect the hardware wallet to a PC and then take it offline again once the transaction is complete. Keep in mind that you have to buy hardware wallets, unlike the other types of storage solutions which are mostly free. Although you still have to trust the hardware-wallet manufacturer & suppliers, many people claim that this is the safest type of bitcoin wallet.
Here are some popular hardware wallet systems:
- Ledger Nano – has a screen yet is priced cheapest. Most popular hardware wallet.
- Trezor – easy to use for beginners, nice user interface. More expensive than the Ledger Nano
Note: some experts suggest that hardware wallets are not real cold storage (completely offline) because they require USB connections to make transactions.
I feel that using a paper wallet is the most secure cold-storage solution (more so than hardware wallets). With a paper wallet you only have to trust the wallet-creating software and the physical location that it will be stored in (usually a safe in a bank or at home). As with all super-secure solutions, this is the least convenient as you’ll need to create a new paper wallet every time that you want to send bitcoins somewhere. If you are planning to hold on to your cryptocurrency for a long time without spending it, a paper wallet could be a super-safe option for you.
Here are some trustworthy paper wallet systems:
- Coindesk has a guide for how to make a paper wallet
Most bitcoin wallets simply need one private key signature to make a transaction. Multi-signature wallets require multiple private key signatures to make a transaction. For example, if you wanted to send bitcoin you would first need to authorize the transaction, and then another trusted person would also need to authorize it. Neither you nor the other person can make a transaction on your own. Both parties require the other’s consent (signing) to make a transaction. This allows for some pretty advanced features and very safe storage solutions. This type of wallet is great for business using bitcoin.
Multi-signature capabilities are sometimes available in web, smartphone, desktop, and hardware wallets.
These wallets offer multi-sig capabilities:
- CarbonWallet, Coinbase, or Block.io (web-wallets)
- Blocktrail, CoinKite, Copay, GreenAddress (mobile wallets)
- Electrum or Armoury (desktop wallets)
Hot vs Cold Wallets
The terms “hot” and “cold” are used to describe the online connectivity of a bitcoin wallet, and by extension, its risk factor. Here is the difference between the two:
A hot wallet is constantly connected to the internet with the private keys loaded ready for use. For this reason a hot wallet is riskier because a hacker can theoretically access the private keys if they find a vulnerability. Sometimes I hear people use the term “online wallet” interchangeably with “hot wallet”. Hot wallets make it easy to do transactions quickly and on the go. Web, smartphone, and, to a certain extent, desktop wallets can all be considered “hot” wallets.
A cold wallet is not connected to the internet and the private keys are offline. Sometimes I hear people use the term “offline wallet” interchangeably with “cold wallet”. Cold wallets are therefore safer because hackers would have a very hard time accessing your private keys. Some cold wallet systems need to connect in order for transactions to be made. Others allow transactions to be signed completely offline and subsequently broadcast it to the bitcoin network (without connecting the private keys). Hardware (USB) and paper wallets are popular cold wallet systems.
The term “warm wallet” is occasionally used by experts when describing cold wallet systems that must connect to the internet to make transactions (most hardware wallets must do this). A warm wallet can be defined as a mix between a cold wallet and a hot wallet. Warm wallets are therefore not as safe as pure “cold” wallet systems, but they offer some conveniences of a “hot” wallet.
Watch Andreas M. Antonopoulos (a bitcoin expert, author, and entrepreneur) talk about his personal wallet choices:
As you have seen, it is relatively easy to learn by testing a couple of different places and then deciding the most appropriate service for your needs. Once you have tried and tested your favorite site, then the process becomes more straightforward. The learning curve is not that steep anymore!
Should you have some extra time, I highly advise taking a moment to read the history of bitcoin which is actually quite interesting indeed. You may also like to take a look at the price history charts to have an idea of the important exchange rate evolution since Satoshi Nakamoto created it in late 2008. As a final note, I really recommend taking an active interest in the technology behind cryptocurrency, being the single most important innovation since the internet was invented. There is some great discussion on the /r/bitcoin subreddit and on the EpiCenter Podcast for enthusiasts.