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How to buy Bitcoin with a credit card
Your 3-step guide to buying Bitcoin with a credit card.
How to buy Bitcoin with a credit card in 3 steps
Step 1: Create an account
Regardless of which service is used to buy Bitcoin with a credit card, users will need to create an account. At a minimum, this requires the user to sign up with an email and password. Additionally, most exchanges will require the user to pass a Know Your Customer (KYC) process. Once the user is signed up and has passed KYC, they are ready to use the service to buy Bitcoin with a credit card.
Step 2: Set up wallet
If the user is buying Bitcoin through an exchange, then they typically come with a wallet built into the platform. Any Bitcoin bought with a credit card will be deposited into the integrated wallet. If this is the case, then continue to step 3. If the service requests a Bitcoin deposit address, then the user will first need to set up a wallet to obtain a Bitcoin address before buying the Bitcoin. Setting up a wallet is as easy as downloading a Bitcoin wallet, and following the steps to secure it. Once the wallet has been initialised, a Bitcoin address can be obtained to be pasted into the service that is requesting a Bitcoin address.
Step 3: Purchase with credit card
The final step is to actually purchase Bitcoin with the credit card. This requires the user to input the full credit card number, the expiry date, and the CVV code. Depending on the service provider, they will also ask billing details such as the associated address and postal code, along with the name on the card. Once the details of the credit card have been entered, the user is able to input the amount of Bitcoin they would like to purchase. Remember, amounts less than 1 BTC are able to be purchased as Bitcoin is divisible up to 100 million units. The user is generally able to specify an amount of Bitcoin to buy, or an amount of ZAR to spend.Investors are usually able to buy Bitcoin with credit cards in South Africa. Some exceptions may apply.
Bitcoin exchanges that support credit cards
Pros and cons of buying Bitcoin with a credit card
In a nutshell
- Purchasing Bitcoin with a credit card is typically instantaneous and is deposited into the user's exchange account or wallet address within 60 minutes.
- Cash on hand is not required to buy Bitcoin with a credit card.
- The exchange or service that the user is buying Bitcoin from typically applies a surcharge of between 1.5% and 5%.
- Credit card providers typically charge a "cash advance" fee when purchasing Bitcoin.
- Bitcoin purchases from a credit card can attract unwanted attention from the associated bank or credit card provider.
How to choose the right platform
Want to buy crypto with your credit card or debit card, but don't know which broker or exchange to use? Remember to take the following factors into account when comparing the available options:
- Safety and security. Above all else, you want to be sure you're dealing with a trusted and secure provider. For more info, check out the "Is it safe to buy crypto with a credit card?" section.
- Cost. The convenience of buying crypto with a credit/debit card comes at a price, so take some time to compare the fees charged by different platforms before picking one.
- Supported currencies. Which cryptocurrencies does the platform allow you to buy using your credit card? Bitcoin and Ethereum are the 2 digital currencies that are most widely available, but some platforms will also allow you to buy a number of other coins.
- Supported cards. Does the platform accept all major credit cards or even debit cards?
- Transaction limits. What are the minimum and maximum amounts you can spend in any single transaction?
- Processing times. How long will it take for the crypto you purchase to arrive in your wallet or a deposit to arrive on the platform?
- Sell-side services. Does the exchange also allow you to sell your cryptocurrency, or is it a buy-only service? If you can sell your crypto, it's worth checking what fiat withdrawal methods are supported and whether any fees apply.
- Customer support. Find out when the provider's customer support team is available and how you can get in contact with them, along with their reputation.
How much does it cost to buy Bitcoin with a credit card?
While buying crypto with a credit or debit card is generally quick and easy, it can also be quite expensive. This is because there are several fees that can contribute to the cost of your transaction, not only from the crypto broker but also from your card issuer. These charges can include:
- Cash advance fee. Many card issuers treat a cryptocurrency purchase as a cash advance. This means your purchase will usually incur a cash advance fee and will also attract higher interest rates than normal purchases.
- Exchange/broker fee. The platform you use to buy Bitcoin or another cryptocurrency will impose its own transaction fee. These tend to range from 4–6%, but are higher in some cases.
- Credit card surcharge. You may also be asked to pay a credit card surcharge on top of any other fees and commissions being charged.
Is it safe to buy Bitcoin with a credit card?
- Check it's secure. Make sure the platform's web address starts with "https://" which means that all communications between your browser and the website are encrypted.
- Check what security features it offers. What other features does the platform offer to protect your funds? For example, does it support 2-factor authentication? Are client funds stored offline?
- Check where the exchange is based. Finding out where an exchange platform is based can give you a better idea of how it is regulated and whether there are any measures in place to protect you against fraud.
- For example, Australian and Canadian digital currency exchanges must be registered and enrolled with AUSTRAC and FINTRAC, respectively.
- Read reviews. Check out independent user reviews and browse online forums to find out what sort of experiences other users have had with the platform. Did it deliver the service promised? Would they recommend it to friends and family?
- Check the exchange rate. Take a look at how the exchange rate you're getting compares to the current Bitcoin/ZAR market rate. This will help you calculate just how much your transaction will cost.
- Check your interest rate. Most card issuers will classify a crypto purchase as a cash advance, which means higher-than-normal interest rates apply. Be aware of how interest accrues with your card.
- Know the risks of buying crypto. You've probably heard and read plenty about the volatility of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, but don't assume that the coins you'll buy will increase in value enough to cover your purchase costs.
Frequently asked questions about buying Bitcoin with a credit card
Can I buy cryptocurrency with a debit card?
Yes. Check the comparison table for details of a number of leading crypto exchanges that accept debit card payments.
Why aren't credit cards more widely accepted?
There are a few reasons why more providers don't accept credit cards, with the main issue being the problem of chargebacks. While Bitcoin transactions are irreversible, credit card charges can be cancelled or reversed. This poses a problem for credit card companies as it is possible for buyers to buy Bitcoin, transfer the Bitcoin away from an exchange, then chargeback the transaction on the card.
Can I buy Bitcoin anonymously with a credit card?
Not really, for a couple of reasons:
- The vast majority of exchanges will ask for your personal details and proof of ID before allowing you to purchase, so it's very difficult to buy Bitcoin with a credit card and no ID verification. That said, it may be possible to buy crypto without having to provide ID on a peer-to-peer exchange like LocalBitcoins.
- Even if you find a platform where you can make an anonymous purchase, for example using a peer-to-peer exchange, the credit card you use is still linked to your ID, and so the purchase can be traced back to you.
Can I buy Bitcoin with a credit card instantly?
Yes, but you will need to complete the ID verification process first. Verification times vary between platforms, but it's still possible to complete the sign-up and purchasing process within an hour.
Can I buy Bitcoin with a prepaid card?
Yes, some exchanges will allow you to buy cryptocurrency with a prepaid debit card or voucher.
Should I leave my Bitcoin on an exchange after I buy it?
It depends on what you are intending on doing with your Bitcoin. If you intend to trade it on a regular basis, then an exchange is the best place for it. If you have bought Bitcoin to hold for several years, then take a look at Bitcoin wallets as they are the best option for long-term storage.
How do I find the best price?
Compare the exchange rates and fees across a number of platforms to find out which provider offers the best deal. However, remember that buying Bitcoin with a credit card is usually quite an expensive option, and depositing funds via bank transfer or cryptocurrency transfer will generally work out to be much cheaper.
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