How to Buy Bitcoin with PayPal
It is possible to buy bitcoin with PayPal, although it is not as widely accepted as payments with card or bank transfer. If you already know the ropes, then the above table will show you to the best platforms that accept PayPal. If not, don’t worry: we’ll detail below where Bitcoin and PayPal intersect, and walk you through how to purchase bitcoins using a PayPal account.
Here are a list of services to buy Bitcoin with PayPal, instantly
What’s the difference between brokerages, exchanges, CFD platforms, and wallets?
Choosing whether to use a brokerage, an exchange, or a CFD platform to buy bitcoin depends on what your intentions are.
A bitcoin brokerage is a company that acts as a middleman for you to buy or sell bitcoin at a fixed price. Just like a bureau de change at an airport allows you to change pounds into other currencies.
An exchange is a marketplace for buyers and sellers. Exchanges connect people looking to buy and sell bitcoin, enabling peer-to-peer transactions between them. Like eBay for cryptocurrency.
A Contract For Difference (CFD) platform allows you to buy and sell bitcoin without actually owning the coins themselves. This is what traders do on a daily basis (on Wall Street, for example). Similarly to exchanges, CFD platforms enable you to buy and sell quickly, taking advantage of price changes to make a profit. These platforms are not designed for long-term investments, but to give a fast way to capitalise daily.
A wallet is essentially a bank account: it is an address that stores your bitcoin and allows you to send or receive bitcoin to/from other wallets. Every wallet comes with two separate strings of numbers and letters known as ‘keys’: a public key (used to receive bitcoin) and a private key (used to send bitcoin to other wallets).
If you want to buy coins to store as a long-term investment and aren’t very interested in constantly tracking the market to buy and sell for quick profit, a brokerage is your best option.
Alternatively, if you want to buy bitcoin at a competitive rate and capitalise on fluctuations in price, then you’ll want to sign up to an exchange or CFD platform. The key difference between these two types of service is that on an exchange you buy and store the coins yourself, whereas with a CFD platform you trade bitcoins without the hassle of actually owning them.
What’s the difference between PayPal and Bitcoin?
PayPal is a payment method, whereas Bitcoin is a digital currency. Through PayPal you can send and store fiat currency (such as GBP or USD), much like a bank – but with a more specialised focus. Its core service offering is near-instant global transfers with minimal to zero transfer fees.
Although not without similar features, Bitcoin is on an entirely different playing field. Bitcoin is a self-supported decentralised currency. Like PayPal, Bitcoin enables near-instant transfers with very low fees, but transactions on the Bitcoin network use the digital currency bitcoin rather than fiat currency to make payments. Because no countries have officially recognised Bitcoin as a currency, certain features of PayPal – such as invoices for businesses – are not yet possible with Bitcoin.
Why isn’t PayPal more widely accepted?
There are many reasons that many platforms don’t accept PayPal payments. One central problem is that PayPal honours chargebacks, whereas Bitcoin cannot do so. This leads to a disconnect between the two services as it’s difficult to stop people paying for bitcoins with PayPal, getting a refund to their account, and then keeping the coins. It’s therefore hard to protect against bitcoin theft when PayPal is involved.
From PayPal’s perspective, there’s also concern about Bitcoin’s link to criminal activities. A contract wherein a user could purchase bitcoin directly with PayPal, and vice versa, could make it easier for criminals to conduct illegal activities – and harder for authorities to track. This anonymity is central to Bitcoin, but it makes some companies uncomfortable.
And, is buying bitcoin with PayPal the best method?
It depends. If you have a particular exchange you’re looking to use, then it’s possible it won’t even be an option at all because PayPal is not as commonly accepted as bank transfers or card payments. However, if you find a platform that allows you to buy bitcoin with your PayPal account, you’ll get the same safe, fast, and secure transactions that you get when buying anything else with PayPal.
A quick and easy guide to buying your first bitcoin
Now you know what your options are, you need to know how to use them to buy bitcoin. That’s why we’ve outlined all the steps right here. If you’re already familiar with how it’s done and have specific questions you need answering, then skip to our frequently asked questions section at the bottom of the page.
What do I need to do before I get started?
You’ll need to provide some information to sign up to a service. Spending bitcoin is completely anonymous, but in order to verify your account and to combat fraud there are a few things you need to have with you. To get started you need to prepare your:
Method of payment
Whether buying bitcoin with a credit/debit card, bank transfer, or PayPal you’ll need to have your account details to hand and make sure there are no restrictions on payments of that type through your chosen service.
Proof of identity
You’ll almost always be asked to supply valid photo ID to prove your identity when signing up to a platform. A passport or driving license is most commonly required and you’ll often be asked to supply a selfie of you next to it to verify it’s yours.
Proof of address
Along with photo ID you’ll be asked to supply proof of your address, generally in the form of a utility bill or a bank statement. If you don’t have access to these documents, others are sometimes accepted. This will, however, depend on the platform so be sure to check you have the right forms of ID before signing up to a particular service.
Exchange, brokerage, or CFD platform
Now decide which type of platform you want to use for buying bitcoin. Consider what you want to get out of your investment, and then find the service that best matches your aims from the summaries above.
Buy bitcoin: the steps
Alright, you’re ready to sign up and buy your first bitcoin. Let’s get started.
- Visit site and open a free account
Select a service from our list and click the link. Once you’ve arrived on your chosen platform, select the option to register an account.
- Fill out personal details
Fill out the required details to register a new account. This will usually be your name, email address, and country of residence. On most platforms this form will also be where you set your account password. If not, then:
- Create password
It’s very important to have a solid password, especially on an exchange as your account will be used to store your bitcoins. Make sure to include a mixture of letters and numbers and make your password memorable. In a few cases there won’t be an option to create a password at this stage. This will mean one has been randomly generated and in your confirmation email (see next step) there will be a link to change your password. Make sure you do this as nothing is more important than the safety of your account.
- Activate account
In the majority of cases the next step is to check your inbox for an account verification email which will include a link to activate your account. As mentioned above, for some services this will also be the point at which you set or change your password.
- Fund account or make payment
In most cases, to buy bitcoin you’ll have to transfer money into your account balance, and in other cases you’ll be able to make a direct payment. Either way, there are a variety of methods to pay for your bitcoin. We’ve summarised them for you here:
- Bank transfer – you’ll need to acquire the destination bank details from the site, key in your own account details and the amount of money you wish to transfer. Bank transfers commonly take between 1 and 5 days to go through.
- Card payments – Depending on the platform you’ll either have to add your card details to your account, or simply enter your card details and make a one-off payment. The process is the same as using your card on any online shopping site.
- PayPal/other – If your platform accepts PayPal (many of them don’t), then you’ll simply have to select the option to pay with PayPal. This will direct you to a page that will enable you to pay from your PayPal into the account you’ve created on the platform. You’ll want to ensure that your PayPal account is active, funded and has no restrictions.
If you’ve made a payment, congratulations! You’ve bought your first bitcoin. If you’ve transferred funds into your account then you’re just one small step away: simply follow the link on the platform to buy bitcoin using the money deposited in your account. Choose how much bitcoin you want to buy and confirm the transaction. Done!
Additional: Withdraw to wallet
If you’re using a brokerage to buy bitcoin, you’ll need to set up a wallet to which they can send your coins. If you’re using an exchange there will be an integrated wallet you use to store and trade coins, but you can create an external wallet into which you can transfer coins for extra security. If you’re using a CFD platform, you don’t need a wallet as the coins are handled within the platform. For more information about wallets and the different options available, check out our handy guide here.
Need more information?
If you need some more guidance or are just interested in finding out more information, then head along to our reviews. We have guides to every major cryptocurrency platform and coin to help you can make informed investments and see better returns.