Are you overwhelmed with the massive number of Bitcoin exchanges out there?
You’re not alone. There are just too many places to buy Bitcoin, which 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 2018 – it’s no surprise that new Bitcoiners get lost when researching where to get their first Bitcoins.
I’ve written this article to show you the most secure and trustworthy Bitcoin exchanges. I’ll 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.
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.[table of sites to buy Bitcoin]
With that overview, let’s take a closer look at exactly which sites you should be using for your Bitcoin purchases, depending on your payment method.
If you’re planning on buying Bitcoin, or BTC, with a credit card, you need to know that this service has only existed since 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.
These exchanges had to first gain lots of trust and goodwill before banks would allow them to operate over the SWIFT network used by banks.
Perhaps the biggest advantage to using a card to buy BTC is that your confirmation time is much faster. Unlike other forms of payment, you can spend more time buying and less time waiting.
My recommendations for the best sites to buy Bitcoin with card are as follows.
Based out of San Francisco, Coinbase allow users to buy with USD, Euros and GBP.
To get started, be sure to read their information page. Coinbase really is a great site for multiple reasons, but its best feature is that it’s intuitive. The user interface is appealing and simple to use.
Coinbase is also one of the most secure exchange sites and has over 18 million happy users per month. Card purchases are simple and fees remain very competitive.
Even better, all user wallets are insured. Expert users can even activate an advanced and secure multi-signature wallet. This guarantees that in the event Coinbase goes offline, then these users could still move their coins.
Like all major exchanges, Coinbase does require ID submission before you can finalize an order. Current verification times are reportedly slower than usual. If 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 beginners and experts, it is hard to believe that the best-funded Bitcoin exchange out there persistently goes offline during large sell-offs.
If you are wanting to buy or sell your Bitcoin, you may have to wait several hours just to sign in. Keep this in mind, especially if you’re planning on buying and selling Bitcoin based on hourly fluctuations.
Coinsquare is a cryptocurrency trading platform based out of Canada.
You can pay with Visa or Mastercard, or trade one cryptocurrency for another. You can even trade precious metals like gold and silver.
Because Coinsquare has a very secure trading platform using industry-standard protocols and security measures, you can be confident with trading through this site.
Coinsquare also has a unique feature called Quick Trade. This allows you to exchange money or cryptocurrency immediately for another type of currency. It’s much faster than other platforms and is a great way to make fast trades without waiting hours or days.
But the best part is that Coinsquare has the lowest trading and transaction fees of any website, according to their platform. Commissions on trades and purchases range from 0.1% to 0.4%.
This means each trade with Coinsquare leaves more money in your pocket.
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 an excellent site that keeps things as private as possible. Though it goes without saying, the website is nicely designed and works as perfectly on a mobile browser as well as desktop.
My mother is an beginning user, and she finds CoinMama really easy to use. (Yes, there is a pun to be made there. I’ll leave that up to you.)
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.
Pro-tip: Issues with your address/country? Try using CoinMama – it’s a great site for credit card purchases. Their service is becoming a very popular alternative because it makes it easy to buy Bitcoins from anywhere around the world.
Update: As of January 2018, Cex has suspended new account registrations. 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 process optimized for beginners. This UK-based Bitcoin exchange (ETH/BTC) originally was a cloud mining operator.
Due to increasing demand, it decided to start offering Bitcoins for sale. CEX now has over 700,000 users and accepts Euro, US Dollar, and Russian Ruble payments. Wire transfer and SEPA payments are also accepted.
CEX has a Level 2 PCI DSS data security clearance, meaning 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. It recently moved its headquarters from London to Luxembourg. Along with its well-acclaimed acceptance of Mastercard and VISA, Bitstamp has attracted quite a large user base among those buying Bitcoins with a debit card.
As an added benefit, this is the cheapest place to trade BTC USD or EUR for high volumes. The signup process is easy. Once you’re 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 recommend to any beginner.
You may already know that using PayPal to buy Bitcoin will land you high transaction fees.
That said, some people prefer using Paypal when other deposit methods are not available to them.
These are my recommended sites for buying Bitcoin with PayPal.
LocalBitcoins have recently added the option for buyers and sellers to exchange Bitcoins for PayPal. Due to the fear of reversible transactions and chargebacks, not many sites offer the use of this payment processor.
Be aware that sellers take higher commissions to cover the chargeback risk (where the buyer reverses the transaction).
Most sellers on LocalBitcoins will allow PayPal purchases ranging between $10 USD to $1,500 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 other gift cards such as OneVanilla, Walmart, Best Buy, and GameStop). Vendors on here also accept Google Wallet.
Once you start using Paxful, 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. Just so you know, I do prefer LocalBitcoins to Paxful – especially now that the former accepts PayPal.
But if you’re looking to trade just about anything for Bitcoin, Paxful is the place to go.
Xcoins is 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.com is easier to use than WeSellCrypto and has twice the amount of traffic.
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 meet up in person and talk about cryptos with someone as interested as they are. This is only possible with buying in cash.
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 banknotes for Bitcoin.
The following list of sites enable and facilitate cash transactions.
LocalBitcoins is one of the first and largest person-to-person exchanges. Their system pairs your location with that of sellers in the area nearby.
Two purchase options are available: you can either do a transfer to the seller’s bank (SEPA is used in Europe, SWIFT is used for rest of world), 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% higher than other sites.
This is what people are willing to pay to keep their privacy. Sometimes buyers/sellers may ask for identification before trading. If you live in a country where other big exchanges do not operate, look into LocalBitcoins. There is often a seller nearby.
Coin ATM Radar 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.
Bitcoin ATMs 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.
If you’re looking for the fastest way to buy, then using a bank transfer may not be for you. However for those looking to buy large amounts of Bitcoin, this is by far the best way to proceed.
Why? Because fees are so much lower. Just expect waiting times of up to 72 hours for SEPA and wire transfers.
Note: I also recommend Coinbase for bank transfer purchases as it is really beginner-friendly.
These sites accept bank transfer to buy Bitcoin.
With a strong focus on the European, US, and Russian markets, Livecoin has had a continuous stream of growth throughout the crypto boom of 2017-2018.
The exchange is registered in London, UK and accepts EUR, USD, and RUB fiat currency deposits via the Capitalist, Qiwi, Advcash, Payeer, or PerfectMoney payment processors.
Fees are very transparent and range between 5-7% percent for the whole process of buying crypto and withdrawing.
Livecoin has received plenty of good reviews and a low amount of complaints compared to other leading exchanges, so it’s a trustworthy exchange to work with.
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.
Note: As of January 2018, Kraken is currently experiencing major website issues. Please avoid for now. They’ve promised some updates to improve the experience, so keep them in mind once those updates are finished.
Operating out of San Francisco, USA since 2011, Kraken is optimised for serious buyers wanting to actively trade BTC (Kraken uses the official “XBT” currency code).
Kraken has added more and more Cryptocoin markets as well, such as Ethereum and Zcash.
The only deposit method available is KBank transfer, or wire transfer. 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, or short selling, sometime soon.
While cryptopay’s centerpiece product is its Bitcoin credit card, there is a hugely underrated exchange platform available to its customers.
Bank transfer deposits are quick to confirm. They accept GBP, EUR, and USD. Fees are about 20% 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 and 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 a person-to-person alternative to LocalBitcoins. Bitcoin.de also has an escrow service, which is helpful for the P2P transactions.
Liquidity is not as large as on Bitfinex for example, but safety and a user-friendly experience make it fine for beginners and newcomers.
Fees are currently at 1% of selling price. Deposit currency is in EUR, by SEPA bank transfer.
Aside from Bitcoin, there are many more cryptocurrencies out there.
In fact, there are thousands of popular “altcoins” (alternative coins) that are traded every day. Below I’ve listed two of the most popular exchanges for trading cryptocurrencies.
Do please note that you can only deposit BTC and other cryptocurrencies onto these sites. You won’t be able to buy coins using USD, euro, or any other fiat currency.
Binance stands as the first Chinese cryptocurrency exchange to gain massive mainstream and international approval.
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% discount on fees when placing orders.
Binance launched 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 cryptocurrency 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 exchanges 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% of your trade – a relatively competitive rate.
When it comes to pro trading cryptocurrencies, you will 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 to 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.
It doesn’t matter what type of currency you want to use to buy Bitcoins. There’s a high-quality, trusted site ready to help you on your cryptocurrency investment journey.
To make it work, you need to decide what features are most important to you. If you want anonymity, nothing beats a cash or cryptocurrency transaction. If you’re looking speed, try a credit or debit card.
And if you want to buy large amounts of Bitcoin without the hassle of cash or card, bank transfers are your best bet.
Once you have you method, do your research on the site you’ve chosen. Follow my recommendations, but like any good trader, you should do your own research as well.
It’s time to get started!