For many people, the first acquisition of a Bitcoin is a terrifying process. It seems so complicated. But actually, it is not. There are a lot of options to easily, fast and comfortably buy your first Bitcoin.
Which one is the best depends on your country and your preferences?
If you are in a hurry, you can just click on the link in the table to find out your options on how to buy Bitcoin.
To find the perfect method to buy your first Bitcoin however you should first take into account several factors:
- How much private information do you want to disclose?
- How do you want to pay?
- Where do you live
Depending on these factors you should easily be able to decide which platform fits your needs.
This guide starts with explaining what options you have to disclose private information (or not disclose it) and what payment channels you can use. After this, the guide presents the commons methods to buy Bitcoin and gives an overview of several platforms in several countries.
How To Buy Bitcoin Anywhere in The World
Bitcoin is a financial tool and thus subject to financial regulation in most jurisdictions. Nearly everywhere Anti-Money-Laundering-Rules (AML) are applied to platforms that sell Bitcoins or enable users to buy and sell Bitcoins. Most of these platforms have to adopt Know Your Customer rules (KYC) to verify the identity of its users.
Since Bitcoin transactions are saved publicly visible on the blockchain and can be traced back, the degree of private information you disclose with buying Bitcoins can have serious implications on your privacy.
There are several grades of KYC with an increasing amount of private information you have to disclose. The following list starts with the lowest grade:
- No KYC: No KYC means that the platform or the seller of Bitcoins does not know who you are. You don‘t have to show an identity document, and you pay with a private means of payment like cash, Moneygram, Paysafecard or Western-Union. Buying Bitcoin without KYC is possible in some jurisdictions – for example with P2P-marketplaces like LocalBitcoins, ATMs or Gift Cards – but is usually more expensive than other options.
- KYC Light: This degree of KYC identifies you by your payment channel and/or your phone numbers. If you pay with your bank account, PayPal, credit card or other common means of payment, the payment providers know your identity. On most platforms, be it direct exchanges, exchange platforms or marketplaces, you can buy a limited amount of Bitcoins with KYC Light.
- Full KYC: On top of verifying your identity with your phone number and your bank account, Full KYC means that you provide documents that prove your identity. This can be a passport, an ID card, a driver‘s license, a utility bill or a combination of all of this. Some platforms demand that you provide an approval of your identity documents by a notary or a trusted third party like your bank; some are satisfied if you submit a photo showing you holding your ID card or take part in the process of video identification. If you want to invest larger amounts of money or trade on exchanges, there‘s usually no way around Full KYC.
Bitcoin is money, but to buy Bitcoins, you need to send money to someone else. The more advanced the financial system of your country is, the better the financial system in the country you live in, the easier it is to exchange your money in Bitcoins.
Here is a list of commons means of payment to buy Bitcoin:
- Bank transfer: Everybody might know the good old Bank transfer. Mostly with online banking you send money to a seller of Bitcoins and get the Bitcoins when the payments are done. In most countries, this needs 1-3 days. Direct debiting is usually not accepted common. Most exchange platforms only accept bank transfers.
- Credit Card: Credit cards are one of the most common means of payment. But only a few direct commercial vendors accept credit cards. The reason is that Bitcoin transactions can not be undone, while credit card transactions can be reversed. This has resulted in losses for vendors which accepted credit cards. Also, vendors risk that people can buy Bitcoin with stolen credit cards.
- PayPal: A few platforms accept PayPal, but most reject it for the same problems as credit cards: PayPal transactions can be easily undone, and when this is done after the buyer has transferred the acquired Bitcoin to another wallet, the vendor might lose. This is why eBay is a bad place to trade Bitcoins. But, like with credit cards, some platforms accept PayPal.
- Other Payment Channels (Sofort, iDeal, Skrill…): The world of payment is rich with payment providers. In the EU alone you have dozens of them. Many direct exchanges support a rich collection of them. If you use a common provider, in Germany Sofort, in the Netherlands iDeal and so on, you have a good chance that your domestic direct exchange accepts it.
- Private Payment Channels (Cash, Western Union, Paysafecard, etc.): Most commercial platforms don‘t accept these means of payment. You find very few exchange platform and most probably no direct exchange where these payments are accepted. But often you‘ll find a seller on p2p marketplaces you can pay with cash or other private means of payments. A good chance might also be an ATM where you can buy Bitcoins with cash.
Different Ways To Buy Bitcoin
Now we‘re coming closer to the acquisition of your Bitcoin. In this part of our guide, we present you several common models that enable you to change fiat-money to digital cash – in Bitcoin. Each model has its own advantages and disadvantages.
- ATM: Maybe the easiest and most private method to acquire Bitcoins is a Bitcoin ATM. You know it, these machines where you can get money with your card. Some companies like Lamassu produce ATM-machines for Bitcoins, where you can buy Bitcoin with cash. If the operators of these machines wish, they can apply some KYC-rules, from mobile phone verification to biometric methods. On Coin-ATM-Radar.com you find a global map with these machines. Another kind of ATM is to just use an existing net of ATMs, like that from banks or train stations, to sell Bitcoins. This has been done for example in the Swiss, in the Ukraine or in Spain. ATMs mostly have a relatively high fee of 3-6 percent or even more.
- Gift Cards/Voucher: This is another easy method to buy Bitcoins. You go to a kiosk or some other shop, buy a gift card or a voucher, visit a website, where you can use the code on the card to get your Bitcoin. This method is in use for example in Austria, Mexico, and South Korea. Like ATMs, gift cards mostly charge relatively high fees.
- Direct commercial exchanges/brokers: These vendors are like the exchange offices you might know from an airport, but digital. They buy Bitcoins on an exchange and sell it to customers. You visit a website, choose your means of payment, pay and get Bitcoins for prices set by the platform. For most of these platforms, you need your own wallet, while some, for example, Coinbase and Luno, give you the option to save and spend the Bitcoins with a wallet they provide. Since you can use a great variety of payment channels, even credit cards, and PayPal, such platforms might be the fastest and easiest way for new users to buy their first Bitcoin. The fees of direct commercial exchanges vary between 1 and 5 percent. Some of them earn money by using the spread between buy and sell. Most demand extra fees for some means of payment like credit cards.
- P2P-Markets: On P2P-marketplaces buyers and sellers of Bitcoin meet and trade with each other. The fees on these markets are relatively low with 0 to 1 percent; the spread depends on the liquidity of the market and the payment channel. Other than with direct you can not only take, but make an offer: You set a price and wait until someone sells you a Bitcoin. This enables you to buy relatively large amounts of Bitcoin at relatively low prices. The most famous P2P-market is LocalBitcoins. This worldwide platform serves a lot of currencies and lets buyers and sellers decide which means of payment they use. It is often used to facilitate anonymous exchanges, sometimes for extraordinarily high prices. Bitcoin.de, the largest P2P-market in the Eurozone offers a good liquidity and is a nice option to easily change Euro to Bitcoin. The third famous P2P market is bitsquare, a completely decentralized market, which is nothing more than a software that connects people.
- Exchange platforms: If you want to buy regularly large amounts of Bitcoin at good prices or trade with Bitcoins you‘ll most likely choose an exchange platform. Exchanges act as an escrow for its clients and save both Bitcoin and Fiat-money on behalf of their customers. Here you can offer your own orders to buy or sell Bitcoin, and the trading engine of the exchanges cumulates these orders and offers from buyers and sellers and processes trades. Often exchanges have more options to trade like margin trading. Usually, fees and the spread are low. But the process to start an account on exchanges can be complicated, requires privacy disclosing information and needs you to trust the exchange with your money.
Warnings about exchanges, wallets and banks
Despite the proof of identity requirements, remember exchanges and wallets don’t provide the same protections banks do.
For example, there is often no or limited insurance for your account if the exchange goes out of business or is robbed by hackers, such as was the case with the infamous failed exchange MtGox.
Bitcoin does not have legal status as a currency in most of the world, and authorities usually do not know how best to approach thefts. Some larger exchanges have replaced customer funds after a theft from the exchange itself, but at this stage, they are not legally obliged to do so.
How to buy Bitcoin in your country?
Worldwide: Nearly everywhere in the world, you have a chance to use local bitcoins, BitSquare or a Bitcoin ATM. While these are options you could use, it is worth to look for further options available in your country.
The USA and Canada are two of the biggest markets for Bitcoin buyers. Buyers can choose from a wide variety of options to buy Bitcoins. In both countries, you find beside LocalBitcoins and ATMs the direct vendors Coinbase, Circle, and India coin, the P2P-market Paxful and the exchange Kraken.
Buy Bitcoin In USA
- Direct Exchanges: With Coinbase and Kraken two major platforms offer an easy way to buy Bitcoins with low fees and save them in an online-wallet. Both platforms accept both bank transfers and credit cards. Indacoin is another platform for the direct exchange, but without an integrated wallet. A next option, Expresscoin, enables the acquisition of Bitcoins with cash via Billpay.
- P2P-Markets: Beside LocalBitcoins and Bitsquare Bitquick and Paxful are P2P-markets available for customers in the US. On Bitquick you pay by depositing leaving cash on the bank of the seller, on Paxful the seller can choose whatever payment-channel he wants, including PayPal, Western Union, credit and debit cards, gift cards and much more. While prices on Paxful are usually quite high, Bitquick charges a fee of 2 percent.
- Exchanges: If you want to buy Bitcoins with Dollar on an exchange, you have a couple of platforms to choose. The biggest exchanges are Bitfinex, Bitstamp; Coinbase‘s GDAX, Kraken, and Gemini.
Buy Bitcoin In Canada
- Direct: Both Kraken and Coinbase are open for Canadian Customers who can buy Bitcoins with bank transfer or credit card and store them on the platform‘s online wallet. Also, Indacoin is available for Canadian customers. More specific for Canadians, however, are QuickBT and canadianbitcoins.com, platforms where you can directly buy Bitcoins for up top 150 Canadian Dollar with several means of payment like INTERAC® Online and Flexepin Vouchers. Canadianbitcoin.com also offers the option to pay with cash in person or deposit.
- P2P: Customers of Canada can use international P2P markets like Paxful and LocalBitcoin to buy Bitcoins on P2P-markets.
- Exchange: Several exchanges enable the trade with Canadian Dollars. Kraken, QuadrigaCX, and CoinSquare are the most prominent examples.
Middle and South America
Other than North America, Middle, and South America just discovered Bitcoins some years ago, mostly in 2014/2015. Most exchanges are relatively new, and due to the lower volume and smaller liquidity, buyers have to pay more in fees and for the spread.
Several exchanges are available in some countries of South and Middle America: Satoshi Tango is a direct vendor for Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, and Peru; Bitex.la offers services in Argentina, Chile, Colombia, and Uruguay.
The P2P-market local bitcoins is available in most countries of Latin America.
Buy Bitcoin In Mexico
- Gift Cards: With the app of Chip-Chap.com you can buy Bitcoin gift cards at more than 5.000 shops.
- Direct: Volabit.com allows people to buy Bitcoin with MXN by bank transfers or depositing cash at OXXO, 7-Eleven, Banamex branches and ATM.
- Exchange: Bitso.com is an exchange for Mexico. Fees are rapidly decreasing with trade volume to as low as 0,1 percent; the spread is relatively small.
Buy Bitcoin In Brazil
- Direct: People of Brazil can buy Bitcoins directly at Mercadobitcoin.com.br, a broker calling himself the biggest Bitcoin exchange in Latin America.
- Exchange: One major exchange for Bitcoin in Brazil is FlowBTC. Here people can buy or sell Bitcoins. Deposits can be made with Ban transfers. A second major exchange is Foxbit.com.br
Buy Bitcoin In Argentina
- Direct: Ripio is a Wallet-App that allows the users to buy Bitcoins. Its special feature is that it enables the acquisition of Bitcoins on credit and serves as a payment gateway to pay with Bitcoin.
Buy Bitcoin In Venezuela
- Exchange: With SurBitcoin Venezuela has its own Bitcoin exchange.
Buy Bitcoin In Chile
- Exchange: Chile has its own Bitcoin exchange SurBTC, which hit the international news when it received funding from the Chilean government. People can buy or sell Bitcoins here and deposits in Chilean peso can be made with local bank transfers.
- ATM: The website coinatmradar.com lists hundreds of Bitcoin ATM in Europe.
- Direct: Due to the unclear state of regulation in the Eurozone there are a dozen of direct exchanges to buy Bitcoin which offer a large variety of payment channels. Most of this broker charge their customers with fees depending on the payment channel of 0,5-5 percent and earn by the spread.Examples in alphabetical order:
Any coin-direct (SEPA, Sofort, Giropay, Ideal, MyBank, TrustPay), BitIT (Neosurf Prepaid Voucher, not available in every country), BitPanda (SEPA, Sofort, Skrill, Credit Card, Neteller, PayPal), BTCDirekt (SEPA, Sofort, Credit Card, Giropay, Neteller), Coinify (SEPA, Credit Card, PayPal), CoinMate (Sofort, SEPA, Money Polo), HappyCoins (Sofort, Ideal, Mister Cash, SEPA, Giropay, MyBank), Indacoin (Credit Card), Spectrocoin (Sofort, Giropay, IDeal, Perfect Money, SEPA).
While the platforms above just sell Bitcoin and offer no or no advanced online wallet, Coinbase and Luno online wallet with the option to buy Bitcoin with bank transfer or credit card are available in most European countries.
- P2P-Markets: LocalBitcoin is available for every country of the Eurozone except Germany. Bitcoin.de is a P2P-Marketplace for the whole Euro-Zone where people can buy and sell Bitcoins with SEPA transfers. With 0,5 percent and a low spread, Bitcoin.de is likely the cheapest method to buy Bitcoins except for the exchanges.
- Exchange: Several exchanges serve the Eurozone. Kraken is the leading exchange, followed by Bitstamp and BTC-E. All exchanges demand full KYC.
Buy Bitcoin In Austria
Citizens of Austria can buy Bitcoins with gift cards from bitcoinbon.at that are sold in many traffic shops. This is comfortable, but a relatively expensive method to buy Bitcoins.
Buy Bitcoin In Germany
For Germans, the Fidor-Bank is a good start to buy Bitcoins. This online-bank partners with Bitcoin.de and Kraken, making the trading on these platforms significantly faster and more comfortable. On Bitcoin.de customers of Fidor can immediately achieve full KYC status and use the so-called ExpressTrade. This enables them to buy an unlimited amount of Bitcoins for relatively low prices only minutes after the first contact with the platform.
Buy Bitcoin In Spain
Europe (not Euro)
In nearly every European country localbitcoins is available. Due to the good currency exchange between local currencies and Euro many people in European countries use the big European platforms (Kraken, bitcoin.de) to buy Bitcoins. Since high fees and a big spread on small exchanges can add a huge premium on the price, it is often cheaper to change the local currency into Euro and use the Euro-platforms which mostly accept clients from whole Europe.
An easy method is to pay with credit card if available. Your credit card provider earns on the currency exchange spread and fee, but you can buy Bitcoins fast and comfortably.
Buy Bitcoin In UK
- Direct: Coinbase is also available for UK citizen to buy Bitcoins with bank transfers and credit cards. Many people from the UK use bittylicious.com, which offers beside bank transfers and credit cards UK-specific payment options like Paym or Barclays Pingit. The fees, however, can be, depending on the payment option, quiet large. Another broker who offers a direct exchange
Buy Bitcoin In Swiss
- ATM: Recently the national railway company SBB announced that citizens of the Swiss could buy Bitcoins at every ticket machine in every rail station. Payment can be made with Cash or electronic cash; credit cards are not accepted. On top of this person in the Swiss can find Bitcoin ATM operated by bitcoinsuisse.ch on several places.
- Direct: The broker bitcoinsuisse.ch offers the option to buy Bitcoins with cash and bank transfer. 247exchange.com implemented the option to buy Bitcoins with Franken. Most other direct exchanges like Coinbase, Circle and so on accept Swiss customers but demand them to pay with Euro.
Buy Bitcoin In Poland
- Exchanges: With BitMarket.pl, BitBay.net, and bitmaszyna.pl Poland has three Bitcoin exchanges where you can buy Bitcoins with relatively good conditions with Zloty.
Buy Bitcoin In Norway
- Direct: Cubits.com enables the direct acquisition of Bitcoins with NOK.
- Exchange: Norway has one exchange, bitcoinsnorway.com. But the volume is quite low so that buyers pay a premium.
Buy Bitcoin In Sweden
- Direct: Sweden has two Bitcoin broker where you can buy Bitcoin with SEK: bt.cx and fybse.se.
Buy Bitcoin In Denmark
- Direct: The only Danish exchange is coinify.com.
Buy Bitcoin In Ukraine
- ATM: With the help of btcu.biz it is possible to buy Bitcoins at many bank ATM in the whole country.
- Direct: Buy.kuna.io offers a direct exchange of Bitcoin for Hryvna. Another direct exchange is btcu.biz.
- Exchange: With kuna.io the Ukraine has its own Bitcoin exchange for Hryvna.
Buy Bitcoin In Russia
Due to the unclear legal situation of Bitcoin in Russia, only a few exchanges and brokers exist. Many people seem to trade with localbitcoins.
- Direct: matbea.com is a direct vendor of Bitcoin for Ruble. It demands the registration of Users with a phone number.
- Exchange: BTC-E is the major exchange to trade Rubel and Bitcoin. It works with a variety of payment providers to allow the deposit of funds.
Asia is the fastest growing market for Bitcoins. In China, Japan, and South-Korea there is a vivid trade with Bitcoins on exchanges, while Arabian countries like the Emirates are more or less Bitcoin-free. In these countries, best chances are to find an ATM or sellers on LocalBitcoins.
Buy Bitcoin In China
- Exchanges: China has the most liquid Bitcoin exchange landscape in the world. With Huobi, OKCoin and BTC China, you find the exchanges with by far the biggest volume. These exchanges charge zero fees, and as a result, the spread is extremely low. Beside them are many other exchanges.
Buy Bitcoin In Japan
- Direct: The most popular direct exchange broker for Yen is bitflyer.jp. The broker offers a wide specter of verification degrees – from E-Mail full KYC – and charges very low fees.
- Exchange: With Quoine, Coincheck, and Kraken three exchanges serve the Japanese market. While they can‘t compete with Chinese exchanges regarding liquidity, they provide a good service to cheaply buy Bitcoins.
Buy Bitcoin In Thailand
- Direct: A Bitcoin-Broker for Thailand is bitcoin.co.th. Another broker, coins.co.th, adds a comfortable online wallet.
- Exchange: With bx.in.th Thailand has its own Bitcoin exchange.
Buy Bitcoin In Korea
- Direct and ATM: coinplug.com offers a variety of services to buy and sell Bitcoins. They provide two unique ATM in Seoul, enable the purchase of Bitcoin in thousands of ATMs in the country by partnering with an ATM producer and provide the option to buy Bitcoins with several gift cards.
- Exchange: With korbit.co.kr South Korea has a well-developed exchange that offers not only the trading with Bitcoin but also wallets for all devices and a remittance service. Also, coinplug.com has an exchange.
Buy Bitcoin In India
- Direct: An address to buy, sell, save and send Bitcoin is unocoin.com, Indias biggest Bitcoin-vendor. More or less the same offers zebpay.com, another big platform for Bitcoins in India. Like every exchange in India, those two platforms require in identity verification.
- Exchange: Coinsecure.in is both an online-wallet as an exchange.
Buy Bitcoin In Philippines
The Philippines have an amazing variety of platforms where you can buy Bitcoins.
- Gift cards: On prepaidbitcoin.ph you can redeem voucher cards you can buy in several locations in the Philippines.
- Direct: buybitcoin.ph is one vendor for Bitcoins, coins.Ph another. Coins.ph accept a wide specter of payment channels like cash deposits at banks, online transfers and vouchers available nationwide in stores.
- Exchanges: With coinage.ph and BTCexchange.ph the Philippines have two Bitcoin exchanges.
Buy Bitcoin In Turkey
While Bitcoin is not regulated in Turkey, after the failed coup and the increasing restrictions by the government there seems to be a growing pressure on Bitcoin companies.
- Gift-card: With bitupcard.com you can buy the voucher that is redeemable for Bitcoins online.
- Direct: koinim.com is a platform where you can directly buy Bitcoin and Litecoin with Lira.
- Exchange: BTCTurk.com is Turkey‘s first Bitcoin exchange. Here you can buy and sell Bitcoins. Recently BTCTurk had trouble with its bank account, and there have been rumors it has to shut down. But by now it still seems to be operating.
Buy Bitcoin In Israel
- Direct: Bits of Gold is the oldest Bitcoin platform in Israel. Here you can directly buy and sell Bitcoins.
- Exchange: Bit2C is Israel‘s major Bitcoin exchange.
- Other: Citizen of the United Arab Emirates can use bitoasis.net to buy Bitcoins directly; in Kuwait you can buy Bitcoins on bitfils.com; in Vietnam you find the Broker bitcoinvietnam.com.vn and the exchange vbtc.vn; in Malaysia coinbox.biz and coins.my provide an online wallet and an easy method to buy and sell Bitcoins, while oinhako.com is a wallet with the option to buy and sell for Malaysia and Singapur and bitx.co offers an exchange for Malaysia and Indonesia. In Indonesia, you can also buy Bitcoins at bitcoin.co.id. Citizen of Taiwan can use maicoin.com to buy, sell and use Bitcoins.
Buy Bitcoin In Australia
- Direct: Australia has several direct Bitcoin vendors: btradeaustralia.com supports Poli-Payments, buyabitcoin.com.au accepts cash deposits in banks, cointree.com.au supports both payment-options, coinloft.com.au too plus Flexepin vouchers, and bitcoin.com.au enables the acquisition of Bitcoin by depositing cash at kiosks. coinjar.com.au promotes itself not only as a vendor but also as a wallet to use Bitcoins.
Buy Bitcoin In New Zealand
- Direct: At coined.co.nz you can buy Bitcoins with online bank transfers, at buybitcoin.co.nz with bank deposits. More payment options offer coinhub.nz where you can not only pay with bank transfers but also with cash deposits at ATMs and tellers as with PayPal. mybitcoinsaver.com offers a wallet and the option to invest regularly in Bitcoins with automatic bank transfers.
- Exchange: New Zealand has two Bitcoin exchanges. On bitnz.com the spread is relatively large, while you‘ll find better prices at nzbcx.com,
Compared with the rest of the world Africas lacks Bitcoin adoption and has only a few exchanges. If no exchanges exist, it‘s a good idea in many countries to search LocalBitcoins to find a local vendor.
Buy Bitcoin In South Africa
Buy Bitcoin In Nigeria
- In Nigeria, one of the best and most reliable places to either buy or trade Bitcoins using bank transfer or debit/credit cards is on Luno.com. You can also use nairaex.com to buy Bitcoins with bank transfers and bitpesa.co to purchase coins with debit cards or paga.
Buy Bitcoin In Tanzania
- In Tanzania, you can use bitpesa.co to buy Bitcoins with bank transfers.
Buy Bitcoin In Uganda
- bitpesa.co offers citizen of Uganda to buy Bitcoins with MTN or Airtel Money.
Buy Bitcoin In Zimbabwe
- Bitcoinfundi.com seems to serve Zimbabwe, but prices are shown in Dollar.
Buying bitcoins is not always as easy as newcomers expect. The good news is the number of options is increasing, and it is getting easier all the time.