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How to buy Ethereum (ETH)

Learn how to buy Ethereum (ETH) by following a step-by-step guide, compare cryptocurrency exchanges, funding methods and more. Get started buying ETH today.

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How to buy Ethereum

Buying Ethereum (ETH) is a relatively simple process to follow. You just need some photo ID to create an account on a platform that sells it, then link a payment method to buy it with, like a bank account or debit card. Credit cards are another common way to buy ETH, and we have a separate guide for buying ETH with a credit card.

Cryptocurrency exchanges are the main way people buy Ethereum and other cryptocurrencies. Don't worry, while the technology behind Ethereum is complex, Finder has all the information you need to buy ETH. The process is the same for buying other cryptocurrencies, so it will be easy to buy crypto assets and tokens and have a diverse portfolio. You are not locked in to buying a lot or a little of Ethereum, it's completely up to you how much you spend.

Step 1: Choose where to buy

The first step is to choose a cryptocurrency exchange to buy ether. An exchange acts as a broker service for users that wish to turn fiat currency or other cryptocurrencies into ETH. There are many cryptocurrency exchanges in the world, and a full comparison list can be found on Finder's Cryptocurrency Exchange page. Generally speaking though, users will pick an exchange that works best for them in terms of fees, coins and services offered, and location.

To purchase Ethereum, you will need to choose an exchange that accepts payment in US dollar.

Some of the most popular exchanges that accept USD are Coinbase, Binance US and Kraken.

  • They are all based in the US and comply with local regulations, which are some of the strongest in the world.
  • They are considered beginner-friendly and accept common payment methods like bank transfer, wire transfer, and debit or credit cards.

To help you pick an exchange for buying Ethereum, consider the following:

  • Fees. Fees are charged on each purchase and add up over time. Paying using credit cards is the most expensive option, so look for exchanges with free payment methods like a bank transfer.
  • Coins. You want some Ethereum, but have you thought about what other cryptocurrencies you might like to purchase? If you plan to expand your portfolio at some point, pick an exchange with other coins of interest.
  • Location. Cryptocurrency exchanges based in USA must comply with local laws and regulations, and you will find some exchanges are unavailable in certain states.

Step 2: Create an account

Once you have selected an exchange to purchase Ethereum from the table above, you will need to register.

  • You can sign up for an account by selecting the Go to site button.
    • This will take you to the account creation page, where you can fill in your details, starting with your name and email address.
  • You will then need to verify your identity and address, which is part of a process called Know Your Customer (KYC), which is a legal requirement for most exchanges in the US.
    • To do this, you will need a photo ID and a copy of a recent bank statement or utility bill that has your address on it.
    • KYC is typically approved instantly, although in some cases, you may have to wait a few days before your account is verified.
  • Once your account is approved, you will need to choose a payment method to deposit funds into your account before you can make any purchases.

Step 3: Fund your account

To buy Ethereum, you will first need to deposit money into your exchange account or link a credit or debit card. Some exchanges accept registration without KYC but will require it when users go to fund their account with fiat or buy Ethereum with a card.

There are various ways to deposit funds into an exchange account to buy Ethereum, each of which will have a different wait time before payments are deposited.

  • Wait times can range from nearly instant to a few business days.
  • Each exchange will accept different forms of payment for deposits, and there are often region-specific methods. Some funding methods include:
    • Bank transfer
    • e-Transfer
    • ACH
    • SEPA
    • Debit card
    • Wire transfer
    • Credit card

Step 4: Buy Ethereum

Navigate to the markets section on your chosen exchange to find your desired Ethereum pairing. Look for the section on buying ETH, and type in the amount of the paired cryptocurrency you want to spend or the amount of ETH you want to buy.

  • Note: Carefully review your transaction details, including the amount of Ethereum you're buying and the total cost of the purchase, before completing the transaction.

Some cryptocurrency exchanges only offer one way to purchase cryptocurrency while others give you a few options. The most popular methods of purchasing Ethereum are instant buy and the spot market.

Instant buy/market order

Most exchanges offer the ability to buy high volume cryptocurrencies like Ethereum instantly, and this is one of the fastest ways to purchase ETH. Simply enter the amount you would like to purchase in USD and the exchange will calculate the equivalent amount of ETH, according to the market rate.

Buying cryptocurrency via the instant buy method is generally more expensive than on the spot market as there is usually an extra exchange fee added on top of the market price. This can be a simple way to purchase cryptocurrency for beginners but it's important to be aware of the extra costs involved, especially if using this method with a linked credit card as fees add up.

Spot market

The spot market is offered on the majority of exchanges and is the most common way to buy and sell any crypto asset or tokens. There are a few different ways to buy cryptocurrency on a spot market, but market buys and limit orders are the most common.

A market buy is similar to an instant buy, but without the added fee charged by the exchange for brokering the deal. There is still a trading fee, but it is less than for instant buy.

A limit order means placing an order for Ethereum at a set price and amount of ETH. The order is filled as other users sell their assets through a selling limit order or market sale at the price set. Trading fees for a limit order are less than for a market buy.

After you've bought Ethereum

After you've acquired ETH, there are a number of things you can do with it. The first thing is simply nothing, just hold on to it. However, if you are considering holding onto any cryptocurrency for a long period of time, we recommend transferring it off an exchange for safekeeping. Alternatively, there are ways that you can make use of ETH on the exchange. Let's explore these options in detail.

Send your Ethereum to a wallet

Transferring ETH to a wallet that you control is the best way to keep your ETH safe for an extended period of time. As long as you've picked a good wallet, and follow the best practices of keeping ETH safe in that wallet, then the wallet is the safest place to keep your ETH long term. Once the ETH is off an exchange, and safely secured by the wallet, it is free from the possibility of being stolen on an exchange. Use Finder's Ethereum wallet guide to select the best wallet for you.

Keep your Ethereum on an exchange

There are some reasons why you might want to keep your ETH on an exchange. Depending on the exchange, it will offer you the ability to earn interest on your ether in a variety of ways. Some exchanges will give you the ability to lend your ethereum, allowing you to passively collect interest on the loaned amount. They may also give you the ability to stake your ETH within ETH2.0, but without needing the technical expertise or 32 ETH. Lastly, you may just want to trade with your ETH on a centralized exchange, taking advantage of fast and cheap trades, instead of the decentralized exchanges which cost more and take longer.

Ethereum exchanges

Full table of exchanges that offer the ability to buy Ethereum.

US Residency
1 - 6 of 17
Name Product Deposit methods Fiat Currencies Cryptocurrencies
eToro USA LLC Cryptocurrency Trading
Wire transfer, Online banking
USD

25
cryptocurrencies

Get a $10 bonus when you deposit $100 or more.
Disclaimer: eToro USA LLC; Investments are subject to market risk, including the possible loss of principal.

Copy the trades of leading cryptocurrency investors on this unique social investment platform. Non-US residents can read our review of eToro's global site here.
FTX.US Cryptocurrency Exchange
Bank transfer (ACH), Cryptocurrency, Wire transfer
USD, AUD, EUR, CAD, GBP, SGD

37
cryptocurrencies

Sign up through Finder for a 5% discount on all trading fees. T&Cs apply.
FTX exchange offers a range of cryptocurrencies, up to 10x leverage, access to global liquidity, no-fee debit cards for FTX users, fee-free first ACH deposit and benefits for FTT token holders.
SoFi Cryptocurrency Exchange
SoFi Cryptocurrency Exchange
Bank transfer
USD

21
cryptocurrencies

Win up to $100 in crypto with a qualifying first trade
Instantly purchase a handful of leading cryptocurrencies with the SoFi app, which also insures your coins against potential hacks or theft.
Uphold Digital Money Platform
Bank transfer, Credit card, Debit card, Bank transfer (SEPA)
USD, GBP, AUD, EUR, CAD, CNY, JPY, SGD, INR, NZD & 10+ more

125
cryptocurrencies

Refer a friend to earn US$20 — $10 for you and $10 for the person you refer.
Buy, send and convert from 27 currencies in seconds, all on one platform.
KuCoin Cryptocurrency Exchange
Cryptocurrency, PayPal, Wire transfer, Credit or Debit Card, SEPA
USD, EUR, GBP, RUB, CNY, AUD, KRW, JPY, TRY, VND & 40+ more

599
cryptocurrencies

Finder exclusive: Sign up and use code 1xf56 for one month of VIP 1 benefits. Deposit/transfer more than 0.1 BTC to KuCoin within 7 days of registration for 1 month of VIP 2 benefits. T&Cs apply.
Browse a variety of coin offerings in one of the largest multi-cryptocurrency exchanges and pay in cryptocurrency.
Crypto.com App
Credit card, Cryptocurrency, PayPal, TransferWise, SEPA
USD, AUD, CAD, CHF, EUR, GBP, NZD, SGD, JPY, ZAR & 9+ more

264
cryptocurrencies

Buy 250+ cryptocurrencies, earn up to 14.5% p.a. on holdings, pay with your crypto for cashback at stores, get loans and more with this complete crypto-finance platform.
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Compare up to 4 providers

1 - 6 of 11
Name Product Deposit methods Fiat Currencies Cryptocurrencies
Binance Cryptocurrency Exchange
Bank transfer (ACH)
USD, AUD, GBP, EUR, RUB, TRY, NGN, UAH, PHP, CZK & 20+ more

371
cryptocurrencies

Trade an extensive range of reputable coins on this world-renowned exchange, popular for its high liquidity and multi-language support.

US residents: As of September 2019, US-based users can only trade USD on the American dollar onramp of Binance, Binance.US.
UK residents: In addition to normal crypto trading services, Binance offers margin lending. As this is a regulated activity which they are not authorised to offer in the UK, we advise you not to use this service. If you're interested in margin trading, see authorised providers.
KuCoin Cryptocurrency Exchange
Cryptocurrency, PayPal, Wire transfer, Credit or Debit Card, SEPA
USD, EUR, GBP, RUB, CNY, AUD, KRW, JPY, TRY, VND & 40+ more

599
cryptocurrencies

Finder exclusive: Sign up and use code 1xf56 for one month of VIP 1 benefits. Deposit/transfer more than 0.1 BTC to KuCoin within 7 days of registration for 1 month of VIP 2 benefits. T&Cs apply.
Browse a variety of coin offerings in one of the largest multi-cryptocurrency exchanges and pay in cryptocurrency.
Crypto.com App
Credit card, Cryptocurrency, PayPal, TransferWise, SEPA
USD, AUD, CAD, CHF, EUR, GBP, NZD, SGD, JPY, ZAR & 9+ more

264
cryptocurrencies

Buy 250+ cryptocurrencies, earn up to 14.5% p.a. on holdings, pay with your crypto for cashback at stores, get loans and more with this complete crypto-finance platform.
Gemini Cryptocurrency Exchange
Bank transfer (ACH), Debit card, Wire transfer
USD, AUD, CAD, EUR, GBP, SGD, HKD, COP

117
cryptocurrencies

Get USD 25 in BTC when you trade USD 100 within 3 days of signing up. T&Cs apply.
Execute multiple trade types with no fees on cryptocurrency and wire transfer deposits on this exchange.
Changelly Crypto-to-Crypto Exchange
Credit card, Debit card
USD, GBP, EUR, CAD, MXN, HKD, RUB, NZD, SGD, JPY & 40+ more

156
cryptocurrencies



US residents: US-based users can not use Changelly.
Access competitive crypto-to-crypto exchange rates for 150+ cryptocurrencies on this global exchange.
eToro Cryptocurrency Trading
eToro Cryptocurrency Trading
Bank transfer, Debit card, Neteller, PayPal, Online banking, Skrill
EUR, GBP, NZD, USD, AUD, CAD, HKD, SGD, CHF, NOK & 5+ more

74
cryptocurrencies

Disclaimer: Volatile investment product. 75% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider. You should consider whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money.
Copy the trades of leading cryptocurrency investors on this unique social investment platform. $200 minimum deposit.
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Compare up to 4 providers

The risks of buying Ethereum

Cryptocurrencies are complicated and volatile assets, and buying any digital coin or token comes with a high level of risk attached. Before you buy, make sure you do plenty of research and that you can identify the factors that could potentially drive the price of a cryptocurrency asset either up or down. Here are a few risks of buying ETH:

  • Competition. There are new projects coming to market that create competition and can dilute market values of the other assets in the sector, or overtake them.
  • Regulatory changes. Government regulation could affect cryptocurrency prices negatively such as the banning of cryptocurrency in a country.
  • Exchange or account hacks. While uncommon, there is the risk of an exchange or your account being hacked, and funds being stolen.

Keeping Ethereum safe in a wallet

While some people choose to store their cryptocurrency tokens in their exchange account, this is not recommended. Exchanges are regular targets for hackers and thieves. It's a much safer option to move coins and tokens into a wallet which allows you to retain full control of your private keys. There are both hardware and software wallets for desktop and web browsers available to store cryptocurrencies. Keep Ethereum safe with any of Finder's recommended wallets.

Buying Ethereum frequently asked questions

Is Ethereum worth buying?

Whether or not ETH is worth buying depends on where you think Ethereum is going in the future. We recommend checking out Finder's Ethereum Analysis page for a price prediction as well as a full breakdown of ETH's history and future.

Can I buy Ethereum for fiat?

Ethereum can be bought with fiat at most cryptocurrency exchanges that accept fiat currency.

Can I get Ethereum for free?

Some exchanges will try to reward users to sign up and use their platform with free cryptocurrency including ETH. The other way to get more ETH without explicitly buying more of it is having some first, then lending it out to other people and collecting interest.

Where is the best place to buy Ethereum?

The best place to buy Ethereum depends on where you are in the world, the amount in fees you're willing to pay, and what you ultimately intend on doing with the ETH. Check out the exchange comparison table for Finder's recommendations on where to buy Ethereum.

Disclaimer: Cryptocurrencies are speculative, complex and involve significant risks – they are highly volatile and sensitive to secondary activity. Performance is unpredictable and past performance is no guarantee of future performance. Consider your own circumstances, and obtain your own advice, before relying on this information. You should also verify the nature of any product or service (including its legal status and relevant regulatory requirements) and consult the relevant Regulators' websites before making any decision. Finder, or the author, may have holdings in the cryptocurrencies discussed.

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2 Responses

  1. Default Gravatar
    BrianDecember 1, 2018

    What do you say about acquiring ETH and other cryptocurrencies using changenow.io? I found VISA and Mastercard support here, and I do not need to register, and I can buy coins for any amount. I think you should consider this exchange.

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      johnbasanesDecember 7, 2018Staff

      Hi Brian,

      Thank you for leaving a question.

      I have already forwarded this request to our publishers and will get feedback once we have word on creating a review page for this. Thanks for the information.

      Cheers,
      Reggie

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