If you came to this page because there are just too many places to buy bitcoin – then you are at the right place. The overwhelming number of bitcoin exchanges makes it hard to narrow down to only the best options out there. From there being only six major trading sites in 2014 to more than two hundred in 2017 – it’s no surprise that new bitcoiners get lost when researching where to get their first bitcoins.
The purpose of this page is to get you using the most secure and trustworthy bitcoin exchange. I will show you how easy it is to get your first coins on a popular trading site with excellent reviews. Most importantly, I’ll demonstrate which sites work best with your desired deposit method – be it credit card, bank transfer, cash, or paypal.
Comparison of the best sites to buy bitcoin
Below is a table that summarizes the best places to buy bitcoin. You’ll find sites ranked by: available payment methods, fees, ease-of-use, and reputation. The “reputation” column represents the overall user feedback received in forums. Some sites have multiple methods to deposit money, while others focus on one. The fee column represents commission levels on each exchange.
Top sites to buy 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.
Coinmama, based in Israel, accepts both credit card and cash (via Western Union or MoneyGram). I often recommend Coinmama as a backup option for buying BTC with a card when other exchanges are not accepting your card. Coinmama has a very flexible policy with regards to the amount of countries that are accepted (far more than Coinbase). Due to a relatively “offshore” location and cash deposit methods, Coinmama 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. As a beginner, my mother finds Coinmama really easy to use. Customer support is truly amazing compared to Coinbase or other large exchanges. I strongly believe that Coinmama will rise to become a very popular option.
Update: Cex has suspended new account registrations since late December 2017. Supposedly this is only a temporary measure.
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 Luxembourg (previously 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 sites to get bitcoins via PayPal
You may already know that using PayPal to buy bitcoin will entail high transaction fees. Some people prefer using Paypal when other deposit methods are not available to them. The following list of sites accept PayPal:
Localbitcoins have recently added the option for buyers and sellers to exchange bitcoins for PayPal. Due to the fear of reversible transactions and charge-backs, not many sites offer the use of this payment processor. Be aware that higher commissions are taken by sellers to cover the charge-back risk (where the buyer reverses the transaction).
Most Localbitcoin sellers will allow PayPal purchases ranging between 10 usd to 1500 usd. 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.
Xcoins are a good option for purchases using Paypal, ACH, or eCheck. The major downside lies in the significantly higher-than-average fees charged. 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 was and have twice the amount of traffic.
Good places to get bitcoin using 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.
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.
Leading sites to buy bitcoin with a bank transfer
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 (fast SEPA, Wire, SWIFT deposit and withdraws) as it is far more beginner-friendly & offers cheaper rates than the sites below. Coinbase also has insured wallets for all clients.
Update: (Dec 2017) Kraken are currently experiencing major website issues. Please avoid for now.
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).
KBank transfer (wire SEPA) deposits 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.
Where to trade alternative crytpocurrencies
Aside from bitcoin, there are many more cryptocurrencies out there. In fact there are thousands of popular “altcoins” (alternative coins) that are traded every second, round the clock. Below I’ve listed two of the most popular exchanges for trading cryptocurrencies. Do please note that you can only deposit BTC (and other non-fiat coins) onto these sites.
Binance stands as the first Chinese cryptocurrency exchange to gain massive mainstream & international appraisal. Currently, new users are joining the platform faster than even Poloniex ever knew. The exchange offers its own token (BNB) which allows traders to get a 50 percent discount on fees when placing orders. Launch date was in mid-2017 and kicked off with a very successful ICO fundraiser (over 20 million usd raised).
In my opinion what sets Binance apart from all the other crypo trading sites is that users can choose between an advanced trading interface or a simplified beginner-friendly one. Such a feature has proved immensely successful, as there are currently over 15 million monthly visits from pro-traders and newbies alike.
Yobit is popular within the English, Russian, and Chinese speaking crypto trader community. The website currently receives 10 million monthly visits. Nearly every single coin in existence is listed on Yobit. Some see such expansive listings as a disadvantage, while others enjoy being able to buy early before other exchange potentially list a coin.
The UI is appealing and rather easy to use as a beginner. Just make sure you understand those basic trading terms for placing buy/sell orders efficiently. Fees are currently set at 0.2 percent of your trade – a relatively competitive rate.
When it comes to pro trading cryptocurrencies, you will always hear the name “Bittrex” in every conversation. The site has gained an abundance of traffic and new users since its rival Poloniex started experiencing issues and customers fled looking for alternatives. Bittrex has done a great job providing a consistent service, good up-times, relatively better customer support, and high volumes for making big buy or sell orders.
Although Bittrex do not list as many coins as Yobit, it can be a good place to start trading your first altcoins. There are plenty of Youtube tutorials on using their trading interface.
With a strong focus on the European, US, and Russian markets, Livecoin have had a continuous stream of growth throughout the crypto boom of 2017. The exchange is registered in London, UK and accepts EUR, USD, and RUB fiat currency deposits via the Captialist, Qiwi, Advcash, Payeer, or PerfectMoney payment processors. Fees are very transparent and range between 5 to 7 percent for the whole process of buying crypto & withdrawing.
I’m actually quite impressed that Livecoin has received plenty of good reviews and a low amount of complaints (compared to other leading exchanges). The user interface is built for beginners, and unlike Kraken, you will find it easy to deposit, trade, and withdraw. While most of the exchanges listed on this page focus on bitcoin, Livecoin also has many alternative cryptocurrencies available for trading.