Investors who have decided to get into Bitcoin know the challenges that come with purchasing their first coin. Getting money into the cryptocurrency ecosystem isn’t nearly as easy as one would think it is. We have been spoiled by the presence of quick transfers into our brokerage account and don’t realize how helpful this infrastructure is.
Crypto exchanges are the most common ways that cryptocurrency is bought by first-time investors. Local options like LocalBitcoins work fine, but require a lot more effort. You literally need to get out of your comfort zone and go meet people. Users are looking for an option that is simple and lets them test the waters with ease. And as anyone who shops daily – whether online or in-store – knows, credit cards are the easiest payment method to use. So, where can you buy Bitcoin with a credit card safely? And how much will it cost you in fees? Let’s look into it in this article.
Most User-Friendly Method
The fact is that we all use credit cards for almost everything now. The combination of not having to pay for something at this immediate moment and earning some sort of rewards on your spending is enough to incentivize all of us to move our spendings to credit cards. Years ago, there was skepticism about the risks of credit cards, but now it is clear that if you are prudent about paying it down in short order, everything will work out fine.
It is the most user-friendly method of paying for things because of the amount of trust the general population has in the system. They don’t necessarily have to trust the vendor they are purchasing from, they just need to trust the provider of the credit card they are using. The provider takes on all of the risks on the transactions, which makes it easier for users to spend freely.
Who Accepts Credit Cards?
There are numerous ways to buy cryptocurrencies, but most people don’t realize this. To start off, Coinbase, CEX.IO, and Coinmama all permit the purchase of Bitcoin using credit cards. These three exchanges are all major players in the cryptocurrency space, which should help you trust them enough to use them. There are many other exchanges that permit the use of credit cards, but this is subject to change as they gain legitimacy and establish deals with the merchant providers.
One of the reasons why credit cards aren’t offered on all exchanges is licensing. To process a credit or debit card transaction, the exchange should be certified by appropriate authorities. For instance, the above mentioned CEX.IO can boast of owning a certificate of compliance with PCI DSS, the international security standards for businesses that process and store credit card data. This makes the company trustworthy and reliable in the eyes of the customers and assures of ultimate service security. Here is why you won’t see some of the smaller exchanges offer credit cards as a payment option.
What are the General Fees
As a rule, exchanges tend to make the fees higher for deposits from a credit card when compared to other methods. This is part of their way of managing the risk inherent in doing business using credit cards. You will find that fees are often around 4%, although they may be higher or lower depending on the exchange. It should be emphasized that none of these fees contain the transaction fees, which will vary over time. Generally, transaction fees work out to be very similar, although everyone should do their research before buying, in order to avoid surprises.
Coinbase is the biggest and most well-known exchange in the world, and its big selling point is being easy to use. To make purchases on Coinbase, you must pay a fee of ~4%. This is quite high for a transaction fee, but you are paying for the ease-of-use and reputation of Coinbase.
CEX.IO has a lower fee, at 3.5% for both MasterCard and Visa. Compared to a bank transfer, this is quite a lot, but it is still cheaper than Coinbase’s deposit fee. Coinmama, on the other hand, charges a much higher fee (6%), but allows you to buy a lot more cryptocurrency in a shorter period of time than other exchanges. With a limit of $5,000 of Bitcoin in a day (maximum of $20,000 in a month), you can do much better than with Coinbase, where you have to slowly ramp up the amount you buy through them.
Beware of Extra Costs
Unfortunately, as is often the case with banks, the more convenient something is, the more it costs. Credit cards often carry cash advance fees to compensate the lender (credit card company) for the risk they are taking on receiving repayment. Additionally, there may be credit card surcharges present on top of the fees being charged.
Across the world, banks are purposely trying to penalize cryptocurrency users right now by making it harder or more expensive to purchase the coin. This has recently led to some banks banning the purchase of cryptocurrencies using their credit cards.
A secondary cost that credit cards have is in terms of privacy. For some people, the offer of cryptocurrency isn’t just in the monetary value or potential return; it lays in the freedom it allows. Being able to control the flow of your own money is a liberty that many believe you should be able to enjoy, and when you use a credit card, all this information is shared with payment providers and the government. So although this isn’t a monetary cost, it is a downside that may affect your likelihood of using credit cards to buy Bitcoin.
The Crypto End Goal
Credit cards don’t just represent an easier way of purchasing cryptocurrency; they are also the best way for exchanges to rapidly increase the widespread adoption of cryptocurrency as a whole. Dealing with payment methods like bank transfers that may take longer to settle takes away the instant transaction potential of cryptocurrency.
This makes cryptocurrencies more liquid, and although this would begin with blue-chip cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum, it would spread to the rest of the ecosystem eventually. As a result, both the adoption and perception of cryptocurrencies as a whole would improve. The hope is that the cryptocurrencies become so easy to use that they would become a viable alternative to fiat currency as a whole. There are other parts of the ecosystem that must be developed further (e.g. cryptocurrency debit cards), but in the meantime, credit cards are the best way to improve adoption of cryptocurrency.