Interest in buying bitcoin has skyrocketed in the last five years, especially since it reached a value of around $20,000 in December 2017. The price hasn't been that high since then, but there is plenty of speculation that it could be worth that much and more in years to come. The potential profit that one could make has created a massive influx of people looking for quick and easy ways to get bitcoin. However, getting it fast isn't always straightforward, and there are a few things to know before getting started.
What is Bitcoin?
Bitcoin was created in 2009 by an anonymous developer that goes by pseudonym Satoshi Nakamoto. It is a digital currency that serves to eliminate the need for a centralized banking system. Instead, Bitcoin is controlled by a collection of computers with massive processing power, which distributes the coin, records all transactions, and keeps a record of a person's coins.
Unlike fiat currency, which can be printed as needed, bitcoins are finite. They are capped at 21 million, and there are only 3 million yet to be released. Coins are released periodically, which can make the market volatile and is the primary driver behind bitcoin's price jump to $20,000 and subsequent decline to nearly $3,000. The breakthrough technology that facilitated the creation of Bitcoin is a digital ledger system called the blockchain.
Understanding Blockchain Technology
In its most basic form, blockchain is a ledger system that comprises a time-stamped series of unchangeable records. Several disparate computers manage it, and no one entity controls it. Each transaction in the blockchain is recorded and linked to the previous transaction, creating a new "block" of data. Each computer in the network verifies that the data within the transaction is accurate before adding it to the block. Once it is added, it cannot be changed or removed.
While blockchain technology has been used most famously in the development of digital currencies like Bitcoin, there have been a growing number of other uses outside of the financial sector. For example, Walmart is using blockchain technology to track the source of its produce, which allows them to more quickly identify the location of any contaminants and stop the spread of dangerous bacteria like E. coli.
Bitcoin's primary function is to facilitate peer-to-peer payments. While the decentralized nature of Bitcoin makes it difficult for security breaches, there have been instances of people being scammed or hacked in an attempt to steal their bitcoins. Bitcoin transactions are public, but they are encrypted. Both buyers and sellers need to be aware of how they work to best guard themselves against theft.
Public and Private Keys
Bitcoin, and many other cryptocurrencies, use a cryptographic system of alphanumeric public and private keys for identifying the person buying or selling the coin, authenticating the transaction, and encrypting the transaction data. The public key contains a person's public information and is used as the "address" to which another person can send them bitcoins. The private key must be kept secret, as it is used only to authenticate a transaction. If someone else has access to a person's key, they can authorize the sale of that person's bitcoins without their consent. Even if the transaction is fraudulent, once it is written into the blockchain, there is no way to undo it.
A wallet is a secure place where a person can store their bitcoins or other cryptocurrencies. It is either a physical device or a digital location that stores a person's private keys. There are several kinds of wallets available for us, and most coins and exchanges have their own dedicated wallet. The two most common types of wallets are hardware wallets and software wallets.
Hardware wallets are by far the most secure option. They are not required to be connected to any digital device, so there is no chance that they will be hacked. Software wallets can be accessed from a person's computer or mobile device and often combine encryption and two-factor authentication to be secure. No matter what security measures are taken, they will never be as safe as a hardware wallet.
How Does Bitcoin Work?
Bitcoin requires an immense amount of computing power, and it only increases as the blockchain becomes more complicated. Because Bitcoin runs on a decentralized network, no one individual owns all the computer processing power. Instead, a combination of individuals and companies called "miners" run specialized equipment to facilitate bitcoin transactions and the discovery of new coins.
Bitcoin mining is the process of confirming transactions and adding them to the blockchain using an immense amount of computer processing power. These computers are capable of quickly solving computational math problems that are so complex that no human could complete them by hand. Miners who lend their machines to the network are often paid in bitcoin, and even further motivated by the potential of uncovering a new Bitcoin.
Unfortunately, the average computer is not powerful enough to mine Bitcoin. The kinds of computers that mine are highly specialized. While it is not always necessary, most people use an ASIC (application-specific integrated circuit) mining computers.
Get Bitcoin Instantly using a Credit or Debit Card
Now that the basics of Bitcoin have been established, it is time to address how to buy it. Bitcoin transaction processing times take an incredibly long time, often making buyers wait up to one hour to transfer coins to their personal wallets. Most people don't want to wait that long to get their hands on bitcoin, especially since the value fluctuates so frequently.
Buyers can find ways around the long transaction processing times, even when using a credit or debit card to make the purchase. In previous years, using a credit or debit card to buy bitcoin was extremely difficult, as banks were reluctant to allow their customers to do it. However, through a combination of bank leniency and the ingenuity of some exchanges, getting bitcoin instantly is possible using the exchanges below.\\
Coinbase is one of the most popular cryptocurrency exchanges in existence, and it's the largest bitcoin broker out there. Coinbase can be accessed from the United States, Canada, Europe, United Kingdom, and Australia. Users can buy bitcoin with PayPal, a debit card (they no longer accept credit cards), and through a bank transfer. Coinbase allows users to purchase other coins as well, including Litecoin, Ethereum, and Bitcoin Cash.
How it Works
To get bitcoin instantly with a debit card, visit the Coinbase website, and create an account. Once the account is set up, users can add a debit card to their profile. They will need to verify their ID for security before being able to make a purchase. Once the ID verification is completed, they can head to the buy page to purchase bitcoin. Enter in the amount of bitcoin desired, and click "buy Bitcoin instantly".
Coinbase charges a 3.99% fee for all debit card transactions, which is considerably higher than some other exchanges. Coinbase may also charge a fee for removing coins from their exchange, which can add up quickly.
Coinbase didn't become popular among cryptocurrency enthusiasts for no reason. Coinbase has high buying limits, so it is an attractive option for people looking to buy a lot of bitcoins at once. It is a relatively user-friendly platform and allows users to get bitcoin instantly if they use a debit card.
One of the driving reasons for people to use a decentralized currency is anonymity. Unfortunately, Coinbase takes a little of that away from users, as they may track where a person spends their bitcoins. Additionally, users who decide to buy bitcoin through a bank transfer may end up waiting up to five days before it shows up in their wallet.
xCoins is a unique Bitcoin lending platform that started in 2016 and is based in Santa Monica, California. Users in the United States and Canada can use their innovative lending system to receive bitcoins instantly with a credit card. xCoins has an automated system that guarantees users get immediate access to their bitcoins when the payment is complete, avoiding the sometimes astronomical wait times for Bitcoin processing.
How it Works
To use a credit card to get bitcoin instantly on xCoins, buyers should head over to their website and sign up for an account. They will need to provide a valid photo ID one time, as opposed to other sites that require it for each transaction. The user approval process should take no longer than one hour, though site traffic can occasionally delay it slightly.
Once the ID verification process is complete, borrowers can enter the amount of bitcoin they wish to purchase. The system will begin searching for the best offer for the amount of bitcoin requested. If the borrower accepts the offer, then they can make a payment with the credit card directly to the seller. Unlike other exchanges, xCoins tracks the borrower's payment and releases the coins immediately, with the transaction being completed within minutes.
Another unique feature of xCoins is the ability to borrow and lend bitcoin balances. A person with bitcoin can offer up an amount of bitcoin to loan, while buyers can search for reasonable loan offers that meet their needs. If a buyer decides they no longer need the bitcoin, they can return the dollar amount equivalent of bitcoin that they borrowed.
While fees on most exchanges get vary greatly, xCoins works to minimize them so users can buy and sell bitcoin without worrying about the extra cost. Users are charged a one-time interest fee on their loans. This fee is grouped with their security deposit, so there aren't multiple transactions to worry about. Borrowers will pay a nominal loan origination fee and are subject to any bank or transfer fees their financial institution may charge.
Users can get up to $2,000 of bitcoin in a single transaction, which is considerably higher than other exchanges. Additionally, the xCoins automated system ensures that there are rarely, if ever, any disputes over transactions. Finally, xCoins offers user support twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. It's one of the most user-friendly, affordable ways to get bitcoin instantly using a credit or debit card.
Another significant benefit of getting bitcoin on xCoins is the potential to make a profit. When a person borrows bitcoin and decides to return it later, they only have to return the amount of bitcoin that is equivalent to the dollar amount that they paid. For example, if a person buys .1 BTC for when it is worth $1,000, then they will pay $100 for their coin. They can then wait until the bitcoin is worth $2,000 to return their coins, at which point they will only have to return the amount of coin that is worth $100, which would be .05 BTC.
The return process for Bitcoin can work against the borrow if they return it when it is worth less than what it was when they first bought it. In this case, they may not be able to return it or may have to pay an additional amount to do so. Of course, most people wait until the exchange would be profitable before returning the coin.
Cex.io was launched in 2013 as a multifunctional exchange platform based out of London. It offers margin trading and brokerage opportunities, as well as the ability to get bitcoin instantly. It is very user-friendly, even for inexperienced bitcoin buyers, and has its own built-in wallet. However, bitcoin buyers should still use a secure hardware wallet as often as possible. It is also available in over 100 countries.
How it Works
To get bitcoin instantly using Cex.io, buyers will need to set up an account. Depending on the kind of identification they have, they will qualify for one of three accounts: basic, verified and verified plus. The verification process can be lengthy, so buyers should plan ahead. To buy bitcoin using a credit card, users must submit an image of themselves holding the card and a photo ID. They must also provide proof of residency, such as a utility bill with their name on it. Once they have submitted these documents, approval can take anywhere from fifteen minutes to twenty-four hours.
Once a user has been approved, they can buy bitcoin using their credit card. They will need to log into their account and select their preferred fiat currency, such as the US dollar. Users can then choose to purchase a predetermined dollar amount of bitcoin, such as $200, $500, or $1,000, or they can set their own dollar amount. After they click the "buy" button, they will be prompted to fill in their credit card details.
Fees on Cex.io vary based on several factors. When trading, buyers will pay .25% for trade volume that is less than 5 BTC in 30 days. This fee will go down as low as .1% for trade volumes over 6,000 BTC. Debit or credit card deposit fees are 2.99% for deposits and withdrawals. They also charge a storage fee for accounts that have had no activity for six months, which equal out to about two dollars per day.
One of the most significant advantages of Cex.io is its availability. It is open to more countries than most exchanges and accepts a variety of fiat currencies. It supports advanced trading techniques for professional traders and has excellent customer support. It is user-friendly, even with its advanced trading setup, and has comparatively low fees for those paying with a debit or credit card.
One of the primary drawbacks to Cex.io is the number of fees it has. While the card fees may not be as high as some other exchanges, they have multiple fees for nearly every transaction, and it can add up quickly, especially when trading more substantial amounts of bitcoin. Cex.io claims to use offline cold storage to store a person's cryptocurrency, but they do not explain how that is done, so it is difficult to put a lot of faith into it.
Coinmama was founded in 2013 and hails from Slovakia. It is available in 188 countries and is legal to use in 24 US states. Users can get bitcoin instantly but are not allowed to trade or sell bitcoin, or any other cryptocurrency. Instead, those who buy bitcoin through Coinmama will receive their coins in a direct transfer from the company's holdings.
How it Works
To get bitcoin instantly using a debit or credit card on Coinmama, buyers will need to register for an account and provide a valid government-issued photo ID. They will also need to fill out a verification form that asks for their name, address, gender, date of birth, and debit or credit card number. The verification process can take anywhere from a few hours during regular business hours, to several days over evenings, weekends, and holidays.
Once the verification is complete, users can place an order for how much bitcoin they want to buy, provide their wallet address, and enter their credit card details. Once the transaction is confirmed, the buyer will see the coins in their wallet within a few minutes.
Coinmama charges a whopping 5.5% fee for every transaction. This fee is considerably higher than other exchanges. Besides, those who are paying for the bitcoin with a credit or debit card are subject to another 5% fee. In general, buyers using Coinmama should expect to pay 10% more for their coins.
Because Coinmama transactions are between the buyer and the company, they are some of the most secure transactions available. While Coinmama may not have all the extra features that some of the other cryptocurrency exchanges offer, it is available worldwide. It is regarded as one of the safest and most trustworthy brokers in the cryptocurrency world.
Coinmama's fees are much higher than most other exchanges. Those interested in both buying and selling coins will not be able to do so on Coinmama, nor does Coinmama support the trade of many other cryptocurrencies besides Bitcoin. If users wish to return or sell back their bitcoin, they will have to find another exchange to do so. In other words, all sales are final.
Luno is a cryptocurrency exchange that is mainly aimed at less developed countries such as Malaysia, Indonesia, and Nigeria. These countries are often barred from other cryptocurrency exchanges, which has boosted the popularity of Luno in these areas.
Luno was first established as Bitx in 2013 and rebranded to its current name in 2016. While Luno is aimed at emerging markets, it has headquarters in London, Singapore, and Cape Town. In fact, the company has over 100 employees and 2 million users in over 40 countries worldwide.
How it Works
To use a debit or credit card to get bitcoin instantly on Luno, buyers must sign up for an account on their website and go through the verification process. Users will need to verify their mobile number and provide information such as their name, citizenship, date of birth, and ID number. They will then need to confirm their personal information is correct, after which they will be able to buy bitcoin.
Once logged in, users can select the amount of bitcoin they would like to purchase from their dashboard. Once they have confirmed how much they want to buy, they will be prompted to enter their wallet address. From here, users will be redirected to complete the payment using Luno's four-step verification process.
This process includes providing billing details and credit card information. They will be asked to go through a one-time KYC verification procedure during which they will need to provide a government-issued photo ID. This verification is usually completed within minutes, but it can take as long as twenty-four hours. Once the payment is complete, users will receive their bitcoin.
Luno charges transaction fees, deposit fees, withdrawal fees, and receiving/sending fees. These fees can range between .25% and 1%, depending on the cryptocurrency being traded. Users need to read their entire fee schedule before going through with any transactions, as it is complicated and confusing to know exactly what a person will be charged.
While Luno may have some limitations, it is one of the best places to get bitcoin instantly in developing countries. It has a relatively simple interface, making it easier for less experienced buyers to complete a purchase. Luno is also a highly reputable company, having established itself as a leader in cryptocurrency trading all over the world.
The biggest downside to using Luno to get bitcoin instantly with a credit or debit card is its complicated fee structure. Unlike other exchanges where the details are laid out in an easily digestible manner, Luno's fees depend heavily on factors such as the coin being traded, the country the user lives in, the fiat currency being used, and the user's payment method.
Another downside to Luno is its use of a custodial wallet to store coins. These kinds of wallets are convenient for those who want to access their bitcoin while on the go, but they are far less secure than other wallet options, which can leave users exposed to scammers and theft.
BitPanda was founded in 2014 and serves as one of the most popular places to buy and sell bitcoin around Europe. It is considered one of the least expensive ways to purchase coins for those living in the European Union. It is based in Vienna, Austria, and boasts over nine hundred thousand users.
BitPanda is a completely automated platform, meaning it transfers bitcoin to the buyer as soon as the payment is complete. This is the predominant reason a person can get bitcoin instantly on this exchange.
How it Works
To buy bitcoin with a credit or debit card on BitPanda, users will need to sign up for an account and confirm their email address. After this, users will need to verify their account by providing an email address, mobile number, name, birthdate, address, and country of residence. They will also need to complete a video verification process which requires a valid government-issued photo ID, a webcam or smartphone, and a strong internet connection.
Once the verification process is complete, users can purchase bitcoin by clicking "trade" at the top of the page. From there, they will need to click "buy" and select the "Visa/Mastercard" option. They will need to enter the amount of bitcoin they want to purchase, confirm the exchange rate, and perform either a telephone or SMS verification. Once that is complete, users will click the button that says, "click here to start the payment process" and enter their credit or debit card information. Users have only 10 minutes to complete the payment before they lose their locked-in exchange rate, and the price of bitcoin could change.
BitPanda aims to keep fees as low as possible and easy to understand for its users. They charge a flat 1.49% fee to buy bitcoin and a 1.29% fee to sell it. BitPanda also charges transaction fees, which vary depending on the coin traded.
BitPanda's biggest draw is that it is incredibly secure. The elaborate verification process and modern security system help keep users' coins safe from scams and hackers. Another significant advantage is its relatively straightforward interface. While the verification process is lengthy, it provides a guided registration and purchasing process that helps users along the way.
Because BitPanda's verification processes are so thorough, it can take a while to purchase bitcoin. Also, BitPanda's transaction fees can be high. They do not allow users to direct trade, nor do they have phone or chat customer support.
Get Bitcoin Instantly Using PayPal
While many people want to buy bitcoin using their credit or debit card, PayPal is another low-hassle way to get bitcoin instantly. Buying bitcoin with PayPal hasn't always been possible, as the company has previously seen Bitcoin as direct competition. Because of the permanence of a bitcoin transaction, it doesn't allow for chargebacks, which is a significant feature of the PayPal platform.
However, in recent years many exchanges have developed ways around this limitation. Below is an overview of the best exchanges to get bitcoin instantly using PayPal.
xCoins is one of the most effortless bitcoin exchanges for PayPal purchases. In fact, the process is almost exactly the same as it is for buying bitcoin with a credit or debit card. However, instead of providing credit card information at the time of purchase, users will fund their xCoins wallet with fiat currency from their PayPal account, then proceed to finding a lender for the amount of bitcoin they want. Buyers will still be able to return any of their unwanted bitcoin.
Paxful is a Bitcoin exchange that has multiple locations around the world, with its headquarters in New York, NY. Founded in 2015, this exchange wants to sell cryptocurrencies similarly to how eBay sells merchandise.
How it Works
To get bitcoin instantly using PayPal, buyers will first need to create an account on the Paxful website. After they have created their account and completed the verification process, users can select their preferred payment method (in this case, it is PayPal) and browse sellers who accept it. Buyers must do their due diligence by checking the sellers' minimum and maximum order amounts, seller history, and buyer satisfaction ratings.
Once a seller is chosen, users will click "buy" and set the amount of bitcoin they want to purchase. A chat window will appear, allowing the buyer and seller to discuss the details of the transaction. When the sale is complete, users will click "mark as paid" and wait for the bitcoin to be deposited into their wallet.
Fees are set by the seller of the coin, not by Paxful itself. Typically, sellers charge varying fees depending on the payment method used and can get relatively expensive. Users must check the sellers' fees before purchasing coins through Paxful.
Paxful allows for a lot of user feedback, as each person who uses the platform is subject to the review of those with whom they have completed transactions. Because of this, users can get a solid view of who they are buying from before making a purchase, limiting the potential for scammers and fraud.
Because Paxful allows sellers to set their own fees, the potential for overcharging is high. While users can browse different sellers to get the best price, they may still be forced to pay fees much higher than on other platforms.
LocalBitcoins is a cryptocurrency exchange that works as a marketplace for sellers to list what coins they have available for sale and what payment methods they accept. Buyers are required to connect with sellers directly to make a purchase, which can sometimes increase the risk of being scammed. However, LocalBitcoins has built-in safety precautions to minimize this risk for its users.
How it Works
To buy bitcoin using Paypal, users will need to visit their site, select the number of bitcoin they want to purchase and choose "PayPal" as the preferred payment method. This will generate a list of all the sellers willing to accept that payment method for the specified coin.
Buyers can then browse the list to find the best price for their coin and contact the seller to set up a transaction. It is essential for buyers to check the seller requirements, as they may deny the sale if their stipulations are not met. Buyers often refuse sales if a person wants to buy too little of a coin, has had too few successful transactions, or their account is under a certain age.
LocalBitcoins does not charge buyers or sellers any fees. However, buyers are subject to the fees of the seller, which can vary greatly and may be expensive. Sellers who choose to promote their listing are required to pay a 1% fee.
LocalBitcoins has a user-friendly interface that allows users to check the reputations of the sellers from whom they are purchasing coins. LocalBitcoins offers excellent customer care support and has reasonably low trading fees.
LocalBitcoins supports the trade of bitcoin only, so buyers who want to dabble in other cryptocurrencies will have to find another exchange. LocalBitcoins buyers need to be vigilant about who they buy coins from, as seller requirements can vary, as well as price and fees.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the Risks of Buying Bitcoin with a Credit or Debit Card?
The risks of using a credit or debit card to buy bitcoin are similar to that of using a credit or debit card anywhere. Some exchanges or sellers may be collecting credit card information, so buyers need to be sure the exchange they use is reputable and secure.
Can I Buy Bitcoin with a Credit Card that Isn't Mine?
No, it is illegal to buy bitcoin with someone else's credit card. In most cases, it isn't possible as the verification process involves providing photo ID and requires that the card being used matches that ID.
Is it Safe to Provide my Personal Information to a Bitcoin Exchange?
It is safe to provide personal information to a reputable, secure Bitcoin exchange. However, there are predatory exchanges that seek to steal the identity of their users, so buyers must do their research first.
Do I Have to Buy a Whole Bitcoin?
It is not required to buy bitcoin in whole amounts. In fact, most exchanges allow people to set a dollar amount that they want to spend and just provide them with the opportunity to purchase corresponding quantities of bitcoin.
Can I Buy Bitcoin Using a Prepaid Debit Card?
Most exchanges will not allow a person to purchase bitcoin with a prepaid debit card. To do that, buyers will need to use an exchange like LocalBitcoins, where sellers can agree to accept prepaid debit cards as a form of payment. Even in these cases, the amount of people willing to accept them is low.
Did Banks Ban People from Buying Bitcoin with Credit Cards?
Banks like Citigroup have denied their customers the ability to purchase bitcoin with a credit card. They have cited issues with monitoring money laundering and are reviewing their policies regarding the sale of cryptocurrency. Debit cards still appear to work, and there is hope that this will change in the future.
Can I Buy other Cryptocurrencies with a Credit or Debit Card?
Most exchanges that allow a person to buy bitcoin with a credit card and sell other cryptocurrencies will allow a person to buy them with their credit or debit card. Even in cases where a person is not able to use their card for other cryptocurrencies, exchanges will sometimes allow them to buy bitcoin with a credit or debit card, then trade their bitcoin balance for the other coin they want.
Are There Other Ways to Buy Bitcoin?
There are many ways to buy bitcoin, especially with exchanges like LocalBitcoins. However, many of these purchasing methods are not secure and are not recommended. The best way to purchase bitcoin securely is through a credit or debit card, PayPal, or bank transfer.
Can I sell Bitcoin Back to my Credit Card?
Most exchanges will not allow you to sell bitcoin back to your credit card. Of all the exchanges listed, Cex.io is the only one that offers it as an option. This is in part because of the grey area that still exists between cryptocurrencies and centralized banks.
The Bottom Line
If anything is certain in the world of cryptocurrency, it's that Bitcoin is here to stay. Public interest in the decentralized coin is only growing, and governments all around the world are developing policies to dictate how to handle its trade. To stay ahead of the trend, people want to get their hands on bitcoin as soon as possible, which they can do using the methods detailed above.