Where and How to Buy Bitcoins

The Beginner's Guide

best bitcoin wallet


This guide will teach you how to buy bitcoins.

Hint:

There's no "best Bitcoin exchange".

If you want to learn the best way to buy bitcoins, keep reading!

Welcome to Buy Bitcoin Worldwide! I'm Jordan Tuwiner, the founder of this site.

We understand that buying bitcoins can be extremely confusing and frustrating. Luckily for you, this site has ample information to help make buying bitcoins easier for you.

Keep reading!

Jordan Tuwiner Founder, Buy Bitcoin Worldwide

Introduction to Buying

best bitcoin wallet

Want to learn how to purchase bitcoin or get bitcoins?

You’re in the right place!

The short answer is:

  1. Find a Bitcoin exchange

  2. Trade your local currency, like U.S. dollar or Euro, for bitcoins

  3. Move your bitcoins into a secure Bitcoin wallet

For the long answer, read this Bitcoin buying guide and by the end you’ll understand these key points:

  1. How and where to buy bitcoin

  2. How to choose the right exchange

  3. How to secure your coins after you buy

  4. How to avoid scams


Below, we listed exchanges you can use to buy bitcoins. We suggest our listed exchanges and doing your own research before making your final decision.

Certain exchanges are simply there to steal your personal information or rob you of your bitcoins.

We conduct intensive research on every exchange we list to filter out any and all dishonest exchanges.

Choosing an Exchange: Which is the Best Bitcoin Exchange?

To select the perfect exchange for your needs, consider these 7 factors.

1. Privacy: Keep Your Information Safe!

Want to buy bitcoins privately?

You can already cross off a number of payment methods:

  • Bank transfer
  • Credit card
  • Debit card
  • PayPal
  • Any other method that requires personally or identifying information

Buying bitcoins with cash or cash deposit is the most private way to buy bitcoins.

We also have a detailed guide which reveals your options for buying without verification or ID.

2. Limits: Are You Buying a Lot of Coins?

If you need to buy a large amount of bitcoins--say 25 or more--then big brokers or major exchanges are the way to go.

Coinbase has high limits for buying with a bank account.

coin atm radar
Coinbase's buying limits. They vary for credit card and bank transfer.

CoinMama has the highest limits for buying with a credit card.

Most cash exchanges have no buying limits. Limits, however, will vary between individual sellers and are usually lower than online exchanges.

3. Speed: When Do You Need Access to your Bitcoins?

How quickly do you need to convert regular money into bitcoins? Different payment methods deliver your coins at different speeds.

Your first Bitcoin purchase may be time consuming. Once you get everything setup all subsequent purchases will be much faster!

Jordan Tuwiner Founder, Buy Bitcoin Worldwide

Bitcoin ATMs can be the fastest way to purchase bitcoin if you’re lucky enough to have one in your area. Here's a map to help you out.

Some brokers offer instant buys with bank transfer, credit card, or debit card.

4. Exchange Rate

There is no official Bitcoin price. Use BitcoinAverage or CoinDesk to see the average price of Bitcoin across all major international Bitcoin exchanges and compare that to the price on your chosen exchange.

coin atm radar
The CoinDesk Bitcoin Price Index averages the price across multiple exchanges to create a strong reference point.

5. Reputation: Don't Get Scammed!

How long has the exchange been in service? Is the exchange trustworthy? Our Bitcoin exchange reviews can help you to find a trusted exchange.

6. Fees: Are You Getting a Good Deal?

How much does the exchange charge for its services? The fee will vary greatly based on the payment method you choose to use.

Remember to include deposit and withdrawal fees as well as trading fees. Some exchanges will lower their fees if you trade a lot of bitcoins.

7. Payment Method

How can you pay for the bitcoins? Payment method may be the most important factor.

In fact:

We're sure you already have a payment method in mind that you'd prefer to use. More on that below.


Get a Wallet!

Some exchanges require a Bitcoin wallet before you can buy.

If you don't have a wallet yet, learn how to get a Bitcoin wallet and then come back.

We'll wait for you here ;)

Know your Payment Method?

Find an exchange ›

Payment Methods

We can both agree that this Bitcoin stuff is confusing. Stick with us!

We're about to have you on your way to choosing a payment method and buying bitcoins.

Jordan Tuwiner Founder, Buy Bitcoin Worldwide

Where to Buy Bitcoin?

  • Purchase bitcoins online with a credit card, debit card, or bank transfer.
  • Acquire bitcoins from a Bitcoin ATM near you.
  • Buy bitcoins with cash locally or via cash deposit.
  • Convert PayPal to Bitcoin online.

The above was just a brief overview of where you can buy bitcoin. Now, let's get into the details.

In order to buy bitcoins, you’ll need to exchange your local currency, like Dollars or Euros, for bitcoin. Here’s an overview of the 4 most common payment methods:

1. Credit or Debit Card

best bitcoin walletCredit/debit cards are the most common way to pay online. So, it's really no surprise that many people want to buy bitcoins this way.

Why buy bitcoin with a credit/debit card?

  • Credit cards are a payment method most people are familiar with; probably the easiest way to buy bitcoins online
  • Delivery of bitcoins is instant once initial verification is complete

Why NOT buy bitcoin with a credit/debit card?

  • High fees; if you're patient and not in a rush to buy then use a bank transfer for lower fees
  • Not a private way to buy; your ID will be required to buy with a credit card

A few places to buy bitcoins online with a credit card are:

You can also check out our complete guide on how to buy bitcoins with credit card or debit card.

Bank Account or Bank Transfer

best bitcoin wallet Bank transfer is one of best ways to buy bitcoins in most countries.

Why buy bitcoins with bank account/transfer?

  • Good way to buy large amounts of bitcoins
  • Using a bank transfer will usually result in the lowest fees, so you can get a great price on your purchase

Why not to buy bitcoins with bank account/transfer?

  • Usually requires ID verification, so not a good choice for privacy
  • Slow; in the USA, bank transfers can take up to 5 days to complete

Some of the best ways to buy bitcoins with your bank account:

You can also check out our complete guide on how to buy bitcoins with a bank account/bank transfer.

Cash

best bitcoin walletCash deposit is often the fastest and most private ways to buy bitcoin. You can usually receive your bitcoins within a couple hours.

What are cash exchanges good for?

  • Can be more private since in some cases no personal information is required
  • Can be nearly instant; no need to wait 5 days for a bank transfer to process

What are cash exchanges bad for?

  • Privacy comes at a cost; cash exchanges often have price 5-15% above market rate
  • Easier to get scammed or robbed; need to be on alert and follow the exchange's rules

Some of the best places to buy bitcoin instantly with cash:

You can also check out our complete guide on how to buy bitcoins with cash or cash deposit.

Note: There is no easy way to buy bitcoin at Walmart. We get asked this A LOT!

Get this:

There are Bitcoin ATMs all around the world that let you purchase bitcoin with cash.

You simply insert cash into the machine, and get bitcoins sent to your wallet.

Use Coin ATM Radar to find a Bitcoin ATM near you.

coin atm radar
Coin ATM Radar's map of New York Bitcoin ATMs. There are 900+ ATMs in 50+ countries.

What are Bitcoin ATMs good for?

  • Can be more private since in most cases no personal information is required
  • If you have an ATM in your area it can be a convenient and fast way to buy coins

What are Bitcoin ATMs bad for?

  • Privacy comes at a cost; Bitcoin ATMs often have a 5-15% premium above market rate

PayPal

There is no way to directly buy bitcoins with PayPal. Under PayPal’s terms and conditions merchants are not allowed to sell bitcoins for PayPal.

I really recommend not buying bitcoins with PayPal. The fees are really high. Chances are that your PayPal is connected to your credit card or bank account, which can be used to buy at much lower fees.

Jordan Tuwiner Founder, Buy Bitcoin Worldwide

However, there are a few hacks to get around this. You can buy other digital items with PayPal and sell those items for bitcoin. It's all explained in our guide on how to buy bitcoins with PayPal.

Why buy bitcoins with PayPal?

  • If you already have a balance, it can be an easy and fast way to convert PayPal to bitcoins

Cons of buying bitcoins with PayPal

  • Fees are over 12%; much better to just buy with a credit card or bank account

Frequently Asked Questions

If you're still a bit confused, that's okay. Buying bitcoins is hard, but that's why I built this site, to make it easier!

If you still need help, I hope this FAQ will help to answer any remaining questions.

Jordan Tuwiner Founder, Buy Bitcoin Worldwide

When is the Right Time to Buy?

As with any market, nothing is for sure. Bitcoin is traded 24/7 and its price changes every second.

coin atm radar
Bitcoin's price in US dollars during 2015 and 2016. It's impossible to say when to buy.

Use tools like Bitcoin Wisdom or Cryptowatch to analyze charts from other Bitcoin trading sites. These charts will help you understand Bitcoin’s price history across the many global Bitcoin exchanges.

Why Does Buying Bitcoin Take So Long?

Long wait times are usually a problem with existing payment systems, not with Bitcoin itself.

Bitcoin transactions only take about 10 minutes to confirm. Bank transfers in the U.S., for example, can take up to five days to complete.

Bitcoin transactions can be confirmed as quickly as 10 minutes; it’s rare to experience a delay longer than one hour.

This means that a merchant can’t release bitcoins to a customer until five days have passed unless they're willing to take on risk.

Can You Sell Bitcoins?

Yes, of course! Most exchanges that let you buy bitcoins also let you sell (for a fee of course).

Why Do I Need to Upload my ID for Some Exchanges?

This is due to Know Your Customer (KYC) laws which require exchanges to record the real world identity of their clients.

Can Anyone Buy Bitcoin?

Bitcoin requires no permission to use or buy.

You will have to check the legality of Bitcoin in your country. In most countries Bitcoin is legal!

Should I Buy Physical Bitcoins?

coin atm radar
A physical bitcoin for sale. Source

Physical bitcoins are physical, metal coins with a Bitcoin private key embedded inside.

We recommend that you stay away from physical bitcoins unless you’re a numismatist.

While physical coins sound like a good idea, they force you to trust the honesty of creator of their creator. The creator could create two copies of the private key.

Unless you immediately open and withdraw the digital bitcoins from your physical bitcoin, the creator could at any time steal the funds it contains.

Can I Buy Partial Bitcoins?

Yes, of course!

Each bitcoin is divisible to the 8th decimal place, meaning each bitcoin can be split into 100,000,000 pieces. Each unit of bitcoin, or 0.00000001 bitcoin, is called a satoshi.

Most exchanges let you buy as little as $5 worth of bitcoins at a time.

Avoiding Bitcoin Scams: Don't Lost Money!

I've been using Bitcoin for 3+ years. I've never fallen victim to a single scam. Follow the tips explained here and you'll greatly reduce your chances of losing money.

Jordan Tuwiner Founder, Buy Bitcoin Worldwide

There are many scams related to Bitcoin. Scammers target new Bitcoiners and less tech-savvy users. Follow these basic rules in order to avoid Bitcoin scams:

Research

Study your intended exchange and make sure it’s trustworthy. Search forums like Reddit for the experiences of other users.

You can also use our Bitcoin exchange reviews to get in depth information about certain exchanges. If you don’t find your intended exchange listed on this site, extra caution and research is advised as it may be a scam!

Check Ratings

If you’re using a peer-to-peer exchange like LocalBitcoins or Wall of Coins, check the seller’s feedback. If most of their feedback is positive, your trade is more likely to go through without issues. If a seller has lots of negative feedback, it’s best to simply stay away and find a more reliable seller.

Use Escrow

Many scammers will try an approach like this:

“Send me bitcoins, and once I get the bitcoins I’ll pay you on PayPal!”

Don’t ever agree to a trade like this. Bitcoin payments are irreversible, so if you send first the scammer can simply not pay you and keep their bitcoins.

PayPal can't force the scammer to pay either, due to the pseudonymous nature of Bitcoin which doesn’t record the identity of a payment’s sender or recipient. This would leave you with no way to get your bitcoins back.

Stay Away from Bitcoin investments

Any service that claims to pay interest on bitcoins or increase your bitcoins is likely extremely risky or an outright scam. If it sounds too good to be true, stay away.

Be Careful with Altcoins

What are altcoins? Altcoins are cryptocurrencies other than Bitcoin.

Altcoins are traded globally on hundreds of exchanges. Avoid throwing money into coins which are experiencing a sudden and dramatic spike in price and volume. Such moves, especially in insignificant coins with otherwise thin volume and flat price action, are likely to crash fast.

Secure your Coins

Don't store coins on exchanges! Bitcoin users have lost over $1 billion worth of bitcoins in exchange hacks and scams.

Jordan Tuwiner Founder, Buy Bitcoin Worldwide

Your bitcoins are only safe if you store them in a wallet that is controlled by YOU!

Here are two examples where users got screwed by leaving bitcoins with a third party:

So, do yourself a favor:

Get yourself a Bitcoin wallet and control your own coins. For large amounts of bitcoins, we recommend hardware wallets. Hardware wallets are small, offline devices that store your bitcoins offline and out of reach from hackers and malware.

Why? It's pretty simple:

  • Hardware wallets are the easiest way to securely store bitcoins and easy to backup
  • Less margin for error; setup is easy even for less technical users

Check out the hardware wallet comparison chart below:

Wallet Screen
Released Price Buy
Ledger Nano S 2016 58€
KeepKey 2015 $99
TREZOR 2013 $99
Ledger HW.1 2013 $17

Bitcoin Exchanges by Country

Here we've posted a bitcoin exchange list for some of the most popular countries.

You can always use our find exchange tool at the top to find exchanges in any country.

Bitcoin Exchanges in Nigeria

Luno is probably the best way to buy bitcoins in Nigeria with bank transfer. It's backed by US investors, has low fees, and high limits.

Bitcoin Exchanges in Malaysia

Like Nigeria, Luno is probably the best bitcoin exchange in Malaysia. It's backed by US investors, has low fees, and very high limits.

Bitcoin Exchange India

Unocoin is India's top Bitcoin exchange, and probably one of its best bitcoin exchanges by volume as well. Unocoin is not just an online Bitcoin exchange, but also a Bitcoin platform that offers new and unique financial services for its Indian customers.

Bitcoin Exchange UK

For buying bitcoins in the UK we recommend BitBargain. It works like LocalBitcoins, but unlike LocalBitcoins it's not an international Bitcoin exchange. It just offers service in the UK.

Buy Bitcoins in Saudi Arabia

BitOasis recently expanded to customers in Saudi Arabia and is probably the country's most reliable Bitcoin exchange.