There are many different ways to buy cryptocurrency, but using PayPal has long been seen as one of the most difficult and inconvenient methods available. PayPal is only accepted as a form of payment on a limited number of platforms, and often incurs additional fees.
That said, it’s still possible to buy bitcoin with PayPal if you want to. Keep reading to find out where and how to do it.
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This is mainly due to one simple fact: while PayPal supports chargebacks, bitcoin (and other crypto) transactions are irreversible. As a result, it’s relatively easy for someone to buy bitcoin with PayPal, complain that they never received the BTC they purchased and ask for a chargeback – that way scammers can keep their money and essentially get bitcoin for free.
Because of this heightened risk of fraud, there are only a handful of crypto trading platforms and exchanges that accept PayPal deposits.
Types of platforms you can use
There are a few different options to choose from if you want to use your PayPal account to buy cryptocurrency:
Peer-to-peer marketplaces. The first option is to buy crypto through a peer-to-peer marketplace, such as LocalBitcoins or Paxful. These exchanges allow buyers and sellers to trade directly with one another, giving the seller the freedom to set their own exchange rate and accepted payment methods. Some sellers accept PayPal, and you can filter your search of available deals on the marketplace by payment method to help find a suitable seller.
Cryptocurrency exchanges. Most exchanges don’t accept PayPal payments; however, you can use the VirWox platform to exchange fiat currency for SLL (Second Life Linden Dollars), which you can then use to acquire bitcoin.
Peer-to-peer lending platforms.xCoins is a peer-to-peer lending platform for bitcoin lenders and borrowers. It accepts PayPal as a payment method for people wanting to access a “secured loan” of bitcoin.
Pros and cons of buying crypto with PayPal
If you already have a PayPal account, payment is quick and convenient
Safe and secure payment method
Allows you to buy crypto with GBP
Very high fees substantially increase the cost of the transaction
If the platform doesn’t accept GBP, currency conversion fees apply
Limited number of platforms support PayPal
If you’re considering buying crypto with PayPal, make sure you’re aware of all fees involved:
Many trading platforms impose high fees on PayPal transactions. These could be as much as 10% of your transaction amount.
If you’re buying through a platform that doesn’t accept GBP, currency conversion fees may also apply. If you’re converting to US or Canadian dollars, PayPal’s fee is 3.5% above the exchange rate. For all other currencies, the fee is 4% above the exchange rate.
4 sites you can use to buy bitcoin with PayPal
Let’s take a closer look at how to buy bitcoin with PayPal on four popular platforms.
The VirWox virtual currency exchange doesn’t allow you to directly purchase BTC with fiat currency. Instead, you’ll need to use it to acquire SLL first and then exchange those coins for BTC. Here’s what you’ll need to do:
Register for a VirWox account and enable multi-factor authentication.
Click the “Deposit” link on the left of screen and scroll down to select “PayPal Express Checkout”.
Select your deposit amount and currency. Please note that VirWox only accepts deposits in USD, EUR, GBP and CHF, so currency conversion fees will apply.
Log in to your PayPal account to complete your deposit.
Go to the “Exchange” section of the menu at the left of screen and select “USD/SLL”.
Choose a market or limit order and enter the amount of SLL you want to buy. Remember to take a moment to review all transaction details before completing your purchase.
Once this transaction has been processed, return to the “Exchange” section of the left-hand menu and select “BTC/SLL”.
Once again, you’ll need to choose either a market or limit order and then enter the amount of BTC you want to buy. Check over the full details of the transaction before buying BTC.
Pros and cons of using VirWox
One of the world’s oldest digital currency exchanges
Relatively easy to use
One of the only ways to make deposits into a bitcoin exchange with PayPal
GBP not accepted so currency conversion fees apply
LocalBitcoins is a peer-to-peer marketplace where you can connect with bitcoin buyers and sellers in your local area, and make the transfer in a way that suits you both.
To buy bitcoin with PayPal you’ll need to:
Register for a LocalBitcoins account.
You then have two options:
Browse existing ads from BTC sellers on the “Quick Buy” screen. Use the drop-down menu provided to select PayPal as your desired payment method, and click “Buy” if you find a suitable ad. You’ll then be able to view the trade details, enter the amount of GBP you want to spend or the amount of BTC you want to buy, and click “Send trade request”.
Place your own ad. This allows you to specify your desired payment method, currency and transaction amount. Please note that you’ll need to complete ID verification before you can post an ad for a trade.
Pros and cons of using LocalBitcoins
You can buy bitcoin with GBP
Platform is simple to use
Freedom to search for the price you want
It might take a while to find a seller that accepts PayPal
The rate you get depends on the deals available on the platform
xCoins is a bitcoin lending platform where you can use PayPal to acquire a secured bitcoin loan. Instead of buying or selling bitcoin, users offer loans to each other and set an “interest rate”. Sellers “lend” bitcoin, and buyers take this loan and then repay it in a single payment later on.
This may sound complicated but in practice it’s quite similar to using a more traditional crypto exchange. Here’s what you’ll need to do:
Sign up for an xCoins account.
Enable 2-factor authentication and verify your ID.
Enter the amount of BTC you want to buy and click “Get Bitcoin”.
Take a moment to review the total cost of the transaction and the amount of bitcoin you will receive.
If you’re happy with the terms, accept the loan agreement and click “Continue to Payment”.
You will be redirected to the lender’s PayPal page where you can enter your PayPal account details and finalise payment.
It’s possible to buy cryptocurrency with PayPal, but should you? The high fees involved and shortage of platforms that accept PayPal payments means that there are other more cost-effective and convenient options available.
Having said that, there are several trading platforms that support PayPal if you insist on buying using this method. Compare the features and fees of those platforms to find one that’s right for you.
No, Coinbase does not currently accept PayPal transfers. At the time of writing, the only supported payment methods for European buyers are credit and debit cards.
Not really. While there are some platforms that allow you to buy cryptocurrency without providing any proof of ID, PayPal isn’t an anonymous payment method. This is due to the fact that you’ll need to fund your PayPal account from a linked bank account or credit card, which will in turn be linked to your identity.
Yes. One option is to sell bitcoin through a peer-to-peer marketplace that accepts PayPal, such as LocalBitcoins or Paxful, or place a trade on an exchange like VirWox. Another alternative is to use an exchange where you can sell bitcoin for GBP, then withdraw your dollars to the credit card or bank account linked to your PayPal balance.
No, you can’t fund your PayPal wallet with bitcoin and BTC cannot be stored in your PayPal wallet. Your BTC will instead need to be held in a dedicated cryptocurrency wallet.
Yes, there are several crypto exchanges that offer fiat-to-crypto trading and accept deposits via bank account transfer, credit card, debit card and even cash.
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.
Andrew Munro is the cryptocurrency editor at Finder. He was initially writing about insurance, when he accidentally fell in love with digital currency and distributed ledger technology (aka “the blockchain”). Andrew has a Bachelor of Arts from the University of New South Wales, and has written guides about everything from industrial pigments to cosmetic surgery.
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