How to buy Bitcoin with cash

Quick and easy ways to buy Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies with cash.

Cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin are often bought online, but that doesn’t mean you can’t buy them with cold-hard-cash. It may involve a few more steps than usual, but thankfully there are several ways to buy Bitcoin with cash in the UK.

Crypto is unregulated in the UK; there's no consumer protection; value can rise or fall; tax on profits may apply.

Why buy Bitcoin with cash?

Well not immediately obvious, there are some reasons for wanting to purchase your Bitcoin using cash. Here are some factors to consider:

  1. Privacy. When you buy Bitcoin with cash, you don’t usually have to reveal information by submitting documents to verify your identity.
  2. Speed. Your transaction is completed almost instantaneously. There is no waiting around for verification or for bank transfers to arrive. Due to the price volatility of Bitcoin, speed can sometimes be of the essence.

How to buy cryptocurrency with cash

Peer-to-peer

  • How it works: Meet a seller near you in person, and buy Bitcoin with cash in hand, or any other payment option you agree on.
  • Available exchanges:
  • What to consider: Both the buyer and seller can be nervous about this kind of transaction. Make sure you only meet in a public place, and try to only deal with sellers that have a good reputation on the site.

Cash transfer at banks

  • How it works: Go to a bank and pay with cash over the counter for the bank to transfer into the exchange’s account.
  • Available exchanges:
  • What to consider: This is a good way buy Bitcoin with cash with minimal fees. However, different coin providers might have their own requirements, such as using a specific bank.

Prepaid cards and Flexepin vouchers

  • How it works: Buy a prepaid card or Flexepin with cash at local store. This can then be widely used to buy Bitcoin.
  • Available exchanges:
    • Bitit
  • What to consider: It’s a convenient way to buy anonymously and with cash in hand, but your options may be limited. It’s typically not very cost-effective, and you might be limited to relatively small individual transactions.

Pay cash at a money transfer service

  • How it works: Go into a Western Union or MoneyGram branch (or equivalent), and pay the cash for transfer to the specified recipient.
  • Available exchanges
  • What to consider: As long as there’s a branch near you, this is a very easy way to pay cash for the service of your choice. The downsides are that you lose some anonymity and you might get caught by fees.

What are the pros and cons of buying cryptocurrency with cash?

Like most things, paying with cash has both benefits and downsides. Depending on your preferred method above, you might experience the following.

Pros

  • Quick
  • Convenient
  • Anonymous

Cons

  • Typically not the most cost-effective option
  • You will generally be limited in the amount you can buy
  • Your platform options will be more limited

What are the fees relative to other payment methods?

Your fees will vary depending on your exact cash payment method. You’ll also find different standard commissions and fees depending on your method. For example, you can generally expect premium prices and relatively high commission fees for the convenience of paying with a Flexepin voucher.

  • Peer-to-peer cash in hand. Zero fees other than what’s included in the transaction cost.
  • Flexepin and prepaid cards. The cost of the card itself, which is usually around £5.
  • Money transfer service. The fees will depend on which service you use, and whether there are also currency exchange fees involved. You can compare Western Union fees vs MoneyGram fees here for an example of how much they vary.

Frequently asked questions

Cryptocurrencies aren't regulated in the UK and there's no protection from the Financial Ombudsman or the Financial Services Compensation Scheme. Your capital is at risk. Capital gains tax on profits may apply.

Cryptocurrencies are speculative and investing in them involves significant risks - they're highly volatile, vulnerable to hacking and sensitive to secondary activity. The value of investments can fall as well as rise and you may get back less than you invested. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. This content shouldn't be interpreted as a recommendation to invest. Before you invest, you should get advice and decide whether the potential return outweighs the risks. Finder, or the author, may have holdings in the cryptocurrencies discussed.

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