In some ways, it’s super easy to buy bitcoins with a credit card, but you could slam into a brick wall if you use a particular credit card: some major credit card companies have begun banning consumers from purchasing bitcoin.
How to buy bitcoin
Easily the most confusing part of buying bitcoin is choosing an exchange. Benzinga’s guide on how to purchase bitcoin can lead you through that process.
Here are a few exchanges you can choose from, but note that not all of them necessarily allow for credit card purchases. Here are a few of our favorites:
Check out Benzinga’s Best Cryptocurrency Exchange for a breakdown of our favorite exchanges.
Here are the steps in a nutshell that you’ll take to purchase bitcoin:
- Choose a wallet: Online, mobile, and hardware wallets have different levels of convenience and security.
- Choose an exchange: Exchanges are what people use to buy and sell digital currency. You’ll hear the names Coinbase and Bitstamp over and over.
- Make a purchase: Exchanges will often let you make a purchase with a credit card, debit card, or by linking your bank account.
Credit card companies and bitcoin
J.P. Morgan Chase, Bank of America and Citigroup have all announced that they no longer allow cryptocurrency purchases with their credit cards (though Bank of America’s debit cards still allow crypto purchases).
Discover hasn’t let its cardholders buy bitcoin for a long time. In fact, here’s a complete list of credit cards banned and not banned (as of 9/19/18):
Allows cryptocurrency purchases:
- American Express
- Credit One
- U.S. Bank
Banned cryptocurrency purchases:
- Bank of America
- Wells Fargo
If not stymied by your own credit card company, you could be discouraged just by reading articles on the internet. Dozens of online sources will warn you not to buy bitcoin with a credit card because of investment risk. However, if you’ve pushed past all of that have determined that bitcoin is the best option for you, read on.
How to purchase bitcoin with a credit card
Coinbase (which is conveniently both a crypto wallet and an exchange) accepts Visa and Mastercard, but not American Express. Coinbase just announced this year that it won’t let customers link new credit cards, but it’s still a valuable asset for individuals who are already linked. Since Coinbase is such a popular wallet/exchange, already-linked individuals can get a 3.99% fee for using a credit card, and Coinbase also counts in 32 countries as part of the deal as well.
If you are brand new to purchasing bitcoin, you’ll have to check into your particular exchange with regard to fees, the amount allowed to purchase, and more. Every fee per transaction will be different and how much you can purchase in a single transaction is also different as well. The number of countries that each exchange will accommodate will also differ.
Ultimately, it’s pretty intuitive to figure out how to purchase bitcoins over an exchange, but what might require a little bit more digging are the costs associated with it. Using debit cards or credit cards will result in extra processing fees. For example, Coinmama’s processing fees are a whopping 6%.
Here’s an example. Other exchanges will work very similar. To purchase bitcoin on Coinmama, you’ll need to do the following:
- Create an account and fill out your personal information.
- Click “Buy Bitcoins,” select the amount you wish to purchase, and click “Credit/Debit Card” for your method of payment.
- Enter your bitcoin wallet address, which is a version of your public key.
- Enter payment information, including billing info.
- Verify your identification, including your phone number and email and upload an ID.
- You’ll get a confirmation email once everything has been verified.
The pros of purchasing bitcoin are fairly clear and obviously include a major boost to your wallet if you make excellent choices.
However, there are a few considerations you’ll want to keep in the back of your mind. These include:
- Credit score: If you max out your credit cards buying bitcoins, that can hurt your credit score in the long run.
- Transaction fees and foreign transaction fees: These fees could be fairly high, depending on the exchange you use.
- Cash advances: Some credit card companies have re-classified bitcoin purchases as “cash advances,” which is a category that will bring an additional fee to those virtual currency purchases on credit cards.
- Going into debt: It’s completely possible to go into debt over purchasing bitcoin via credit card. Remember, only spend what you can afford to lose.
- Remember that there are no rewards specifically for Bitcoin on credit cards like there are for other general purchases.