While people lose trust in traditional financial systems, understandably afraid of central bank printers, cryptocurrency is gaining momentum. In contrast to a couple of years ago, buying cryptocurrency nowadays is a child’s play. There are more exchanges and payment service providers that support the purchasing of digital assets than there have ever been before, whether you want to use a credit card or wire transfer. In this guide I will show you how you can get into cryptocurrency by walking you through the purchase process on, what I deem, the best crypto trading platforms.
What You’ll Learn
- How to purchase cryptocurrency with a credit/debit card or a bank transfer
- Which platform to use depending on your financial situation, payment preference, and physical location
- Questions to ask yourself before choosing a platform
Buying Crypto on Changelly
If you are hell-bent on buying crypto with a credit card, then Changelly is the best choice. The platform supports over 150 digital assets (full list), any of which you can purchase with USD, EUR, or GBP.
The purchase process goes like this:
- Register an account
- Choose fiat currency and an amount
- Choose the cryptocurrency you want to purchase
- Select one of the offers by the supported payment providers
- Provide billing and bank card details
- Go through the KYC
According to the FAQ page, after “5 – 30 minutes” the transaction will be completed and you will receive the cryptocurrency at the wallet you specified. Let’s go through a quick example.
Open Changelly and click the Buy tab of the widget:
Select a fiat currency and enter an amount. Then select a cryptocurrency and your country. Click the Buy button:
Changelly will query all of its fiat-to-crypto payment providers to find the best offer. Keep in mind that all of these providers offer different conditions for the purchase — you can find details here. For instance, Simplex doesn’t require KYC for transactions below $150, and has a daily limit of $20,000.
Once you are comfortable with an offer, click the Buy now button:
Provide the address of your crypto wallet and click the button. You will be redirected to the payment provider. Just follow the process to the end. After the order is confirmed, you will receive the cryptocurrency in your wallet.
Buying Crypto on Coinbase
Coinbase is the premier exchange in the United States, some would argue the world. The process for purchasing crypto on Coinbase is as follows:
- Register an account
- Go through a basic KYC
- Provide proof of address
- Send fiat to Coinbase’s bank account
- Purchase cryptocurrency
You can find a list of the supported cryptocurrencies here (look at Coinbase, not Coinbase Pro; Pro is for professional traders and institutional investors, and is not available in as many countries). Coinbase also allows you to purchase cryptocurrency with a credit card but the fees are quite high compared to a wire transfer. Let’s go through an example for both a wire transfer and a credit/debit card purchase.
Register an account on Coinbase. Go through the standard KYC process and provide proof of address. Once you log in go to the Portfolio page. Click on the fiat currency you want to deposit. Click Deposit. Enter the name of your bank, your name, and the amount you want to deposit. Click Continue:
Next, copy the Reference Number; you need to include this in the deposit transaction. Click Continue:
Review the details and send the wire transfer (don’t forget to include the reference number); the money should arrive in one to three business days, Coinbase states.
Once it arrives in your Coinbase account, click the Buy/Sell button again, and purchase the cryptocurrency of your choice, selecting the fiat you deposited as the payment option.
To purchase crypto with a credit card, click the Buy/Sell button at the top right corner:
Click the Add a Payment Method button:
Select Credit/Debit Card and provide the card details.
Enter the amount of fiat you want to spend and select the cryptocurrency you want to purchase. Preview the details and place the order. Once the transaction is processed your crypto will arrive in your wallet, instantly.
Buying Crypto on Kraken
Kraken has been operating at the forefront of cryptocurrency trading since its establishment in 2011.
The purchase process goes like this:
- Register an account and go through the KYC process to get verified
- Send fiat currency from your bank account to Kraken’s bank account
- Wait until the funds arrive
- Purchase cryptocurrency
There are three levels of Kraken verification (full details here) — Starter, Intermediate, Pro. You want to be at least Intermediate; a Starter account is not allowed to make fiat deposits. Let’s go through a full example.
Register an account on Kraken and confirm your email to activate it.
The setup wizard will show up once you are logged in. Start with verifying your account.
Again, your account needs to be at least Intermediate so you can deposit fiat currency. Click on Verify and follow the instructions. It takes about five minutes to get the job done.
Next, set up 2FA to secure your account:
I recommend setting up 2FA for all possible actions. A funding 2FA will ask for the code every time you try to withdraw from the account, while a trading 2FA will require the code every time you try to place an order (buy or sell).
Once your account has been verified and secured, you can initiate a deposit:
The following fiat currencies were supported by Kraken at the time of writing:
- Australian Dollar
- Canadian Dollar
- Pound Sterling
- Swiss Franc
- US Dollar
- Japanese Yen
You can track which fiat currencies are supported on this page, which also shows the banks each currency supports, the fees you will be charged on deposits, and the duration of the process time. For example, to deposit EUR, Kraken recommends using one of the following banks (at the time of writing), with different options available for each bank:
- Bank Frick
- InCore Bank
- Etana Custody
The exchange explicitly states that if you plan on making a deposit from a bank that is not on the list, you should contact their funding team first, providing the BIC of your bank, so they can make sure they haven’t had any recent issues with it. Once you have that cleared up, send a wire transfer to the bank account details of Kraken that are shown on the Deposit page.
Once the fiat arrives, click on the Trade tab and choose, from the sub-header menu, the pair you want to trade. You can find the cryptocurrencies that Kraken supports on this page.
For example, I have chosen the ETH/EUR pair in the above screenshot.
Enter the amount of ETH you want to purchase and the amount of EUR you are willing to pay per ETH. Alternatively, you can click the Market option and Kraken will automatically select the best price for the current market conditions. Once you are happy with the numbers, click the button and confirm the trade. If it is a Market order it will be executed instantly. If it is a Limit order you will have to wait a bit. Once the order goes through, the cryptocurrency you purchased will be deposited into the appropriate wallet.
Buying Crypto on Binance
Binance is consistently the largest cryptocurrency exchange in the world. The process for purchasing crypto on the Binance is as follows:
- Register an account
- Go through the KYC process
- Deposit fiat
- Buy cryptocurrency
Let’s go through an example for both a wire transfer and a credit/debit card purchase.
Register an account on Binance. Confirm your email and log in. Hover over the Buy Crypto link at the top left corner:
Click on the Bank Deposit option:
Click Verify Now:
Click Verify and complete the KYC process. It takes a couple of minutes. Open the Bank Deposit page again:
Choose a fiat currency, enter the amount you want to deposit, and click Continue:
Use Binance’s bank details to send the wire transfer. Don’t forget to include the Reference Code in the transaction. The money should arrive in Binance in a few business days. Once it’s there, click Markets from the header menu
Click on the FIAT Markets tab and search for the cryptocurrency you want to purchase. If there is no direct pair with your fiat, you will have to purchase another crypto with, say BTC, and then go the the BTC Markets tab to purchase the crypto you want. To make a transaction click the Trade button for any pair:
I am using the BTC/EUR pair as an example. Don’t be intimidated by the flashing and moving numbers. Focus on the Buy form at the center left. Click on Market to place a market order or remain on Limit to place a limit order. Slide the slider all the way to the right, which will add all of your fiat in the input. You will also see how much BTC you will be getting in return. Click the Buy button; if you place a market order, it will be executed instantly; you will have to wait a bit if you placed a limit order. The crypto will be deposited into the appropriate wallet.
To buy cryptocurrency with a credit/debit card on Binance, hover the Buy Crypto menu and click Credit/Debit Card:
Enter amount of fiat you are willing to spend and select the crypto you want to purchase. Click the Buy button and follow the process to complete the transaction. Once it goes through, the cryptocurrency will instantly be deposited into the appropriate wallet on your Binance account.
The cryptocurrency exchange scene is volatile which is why we haven’t gone into specifics. These specifics (fees, account limits, supported cryptocurrencies, etc) need to be researched prior to choosing a platform, i.e., you need to review the following for each option:
- Supported countries
- Supported cryptocurrencies
- Supported banks and wire transfer methods
- KYC requirements
- Account limits based on verification level
The platforms I recommended are all tried-and-tested, but their conditions change often. These are international organizations and cryptocurrency is treated differently at different times in different countries. A general thought process for choosing a platform should go as follows:
- What purchase method do I want to use (wire transfer or credit card)?
- Which cryptocurrency do I want to purchase?
- Which country am I resident of?
- What fees will I pay?
- What personal data am I willing to provide?
Answering those questions combined with thorough platform research will help you make the best choice.
Buying cryptocurrency nowadays is a simple task. All platforms generally follow the same process: register an account, go through some form of KYC verification, deposit fiat currency via wire transfer (or use a credit/debit card), buy cryptocurrency with the deposit. Where the different platforms diverge is in the countries they support, the fees they charge, the account limits they place based on KYC verification levels, and the cryptocurrencies they support. To make an informed decision, you need to research the current condition of the crypto platforms I recommended, and to ascertain which one meets your needs.