How to buy cryptocurrency with your bank account
Read our step-by-step guide to buying Bitcoin and other digital currencies with a bank transfer.
Estimated reading time: 2 min
Due to the potential for losses, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) considers this investment to be high risk.
What are the key risks?
1. You could lose all the money you invest
- The performance of most cryptoassets can be highly volatile, with their value dropping as quickly as it can rise. You should be prepared to lose all the money you invest in cryptoassets.
- The cryptoasset market is largely unregulated. There is a risk of losing money or any cryptoassets you purchase due to risks such as cyber-attacks, financial crime and firm failure.
2. You should not expect to be protected if something goes wrong
- The Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) doesn't protect this type of investment because it's not a 'specified investment' under the UK regulatory regime – in other words, this type of investment isn't recognised as the sort of investment that the FSCS can protect. Learn more by using the FSCS investment protection checker.
- The Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) will not be able to consider complaints related to this firm or Protection from the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) does not cover poor investment performance. If you have a complaint against an FCA regulated firm, FOS may be able to consider it. Learn more about FOS protection here.
3. You may not be able to sell your investment when you want to
- There is no guarantee that investments in cryptoassets can be easily sold at any given time. The ability to sell a cryptoasset depends on various factors, including the supply and demand in the market at that time.
- Operational failings such as technology outages, cyber-attacks and comingling of funds could cause unwanted delay and you may be unable to sell your cryptoassets at the time you want.
4. Cryptoasset investments can be complex
- Investments in cryptoassets can be complex, making it difficult to understand the risks associated with the investment.
- You should do your own research before investing. If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
5. Don't put all your eggs in one basket
- Putting all your money into a single type of investment is risky. Spreading your money across different investments makes you less dependent on any one to do well.
- A good rule of thumb is not to invest more than 10% of your money in high-risk investments.
If you are interested in learning more about how to protect yourself, visit the FCA's website here.
For further information about cryptoassets, visit the FCA's website here.
If you want to buy cryptocurrency with GBP, using a crypto exchange that accepts bank transfers can be one of the cheapest and most convenient solutions. But if you’re new to cryptocurrency, it can be tough knowing where to get started.
Read on for a list of which exchanges accept bank transfers and how you can buy crypto with your bank account.
Where to buy cryptocurrency with a bank transfer
Bank account payment methods
There are two ways you can buy crypto with your bank account:
- Bank transfer. Bank transfers are usually free and offer a simple way to deposit funds – just enter the exchange’s bank account details from your financial institution’s Internet banking portal like you would for any other payment. However, these transfers can take one to two business days to arrive.
- Credit or Debit card. Register with an exchange that accepts credit or debit card transactions to purchase cryptocurrencies. Most leading exchanges now accept card transactions as a payment method.
Depending on the exchange you choose, the exchange may support one or two of these payment methods.
How to buy cryptocurrency with your bank account
Buying crypto with your bank account is actually quite easy. To show you how to do it, let’s look at an example of how to buy Bitcoin (BTC) with GBP.
Choosing the right exchange
There are a number of platforms to choose from when purchasing crypto with your bank account, so compare your options to see how each exchange performs across a range of key areas:
- Bank account payment methods. How can you send GBP to the exchange from your bank account: bank transfer, credit or debit card transaction?
- Fees. How much will it cost you to complete your transaction? Remember to consider the trading fees the exchange charges and any additional fees the banks or payment methods may add on.
- Transaction limits. Are there any minimum or maximum limits on the amount of crypto you can purchase? When you want to transfer the crypto you purchase away from the exchange, what is the minimum withdrawal limit?
- Processing times. How long will it take for you to complete your crypto purchase from start to finish? Some payments can clear instantly, bank transfers can take one to two business days.
- Supported cryptocurrencies. Which cryptocurrencies can you purchase directly with GBP? Some platforms will only provide access to one or two popular digital currencies while others will offer a much wider range.
- Ease of use. Does the platform have a simple and intuitive user interface that you can navigate without any problems?
- Sign up and verification. What information and documentation will you need to provide to register for an account? How long does the verification process take?
- Security features. What protective measures are in place to ensure the security of your funds? For example, does the platform support 2-factor authentication? Where are your funds stored? Has the exchange ever been hacked?
- Customer support. How can you contact the customer support team? What contact methods are supported and during what hours is the team available? Is there an online help centre where you can easily find solutions to a range of common problems?
- Reputation. Check out online forums and reviews to gauge what level of community trust the platform has. Would other users recommend it?
Answering these questions should help you narrow down your choices and find a platform that will work for you.
How to store your crypto
If you want to store your newly acquired crypto coins on the exchange where you bought them, you can. However, this is not recommended for a couple of reasons:
- You don’t control your private keys, the exchange does
- Exchanges are frequently targeted by hackers and there have been numerous incidences of security breaches
With this in mind, the safest course of action is to move your digital coins into a secure wallet that allows you to retain control of your private keys. From desktop and mobile wallets to online and hardware wallets, there are plenty of options to choose from. Make sure you do your research before picking one that’s right for you.
Is it safe to buy crypto using a bank account?
Buying crypto with a bank account offers a safe and secure way to exchange GBP for digital currency, but only if you’re certain you’re dealing with a reputable exchange provider. With this in mind, it’s essential that you thoroughly research the credentials of any platform before transferring any funds.
You’ll need to find out the following:
- Who are the people behind the platform?
- Where is it based?
- How is it regulated and is it properly licensed?
- How long has it been in business?
Of course, if you plan on buying cryptocurrency from someone through a peer-to-peer platform, you’ll need to be certain you’re dealing with a reputable seller before transferring any funds. This is why it’s a good idea to set up the trade through a marketplace that uses some sort of reputation system and has security measures in place to protect against fraud.
From a broader point of view, you should also be fully aware of the risks associated with buying cryptocurrency before you make a purchase. Cryptocurrencies are complicated and volatile assets, so there’s a risk of losing some or all of the money you spend.
Pros and cons
- Buy crypto directly with GBP
- Relatively simple process
- Cheaper than buying with a credit card
- Suitable for beginners looking to get their hands on some digital currency
- Bank transfers can take several business days to process
- Only a limited selection of altcoins can be purchased with GBP – many digital currencies can only be exchanged for other cryptocurrencies
- Fiat-to-crypto trades usually attract higher fees than crypto-to-crypto trades
If you want to buy crypto with your bank account, the first thing you need to do is start comparing a range of cryptocurrency exchanges. Compare their features, accepted payment methods, transaction limits, fees and level of community trust to find a platform that’s right for your needs.
Frequently asked questions
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.
Disclosure: At the time of writing, the author holds ADA, ICX, IOTA and XLM.
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