How to buy Ethereum with credit or debit card
Credit/debit cards are one of the most popular payment methods when it comes to buying ether. Unlike other options such as bank wire transfers that usually take up to 5 days, purchases using a card are often instant, although most platforms will have a restriction to the amount of cryptocurrency that you can buy at a time with a card.
If you have used credit/debit card before to buy cryptocurrency, you can go ahead and view our selection of platforms that support the payment method to help you buy Ethereum. If you are new to the game, this guide will help you understand how to go about the process and where to start. Let’s get to it!
Here are a list of services to buy Ethereum with card, instantly
What’s the difference between brokerages, exchanges, CFD platforms, and wallets?
These are terms that are important to understand when it comes to buying and storing ether. They all have their advantages, which is why we’ve summarised them all for you right here.
An Ethereum brokerage is a company that acts as a middleman for you to buy or sell ether 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 ether, enabling peer-to-peer transactions between them. Like ebay for cryptocurrency.
A Contract For Difference (CFD) platform allows you to buy and sell ether 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 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 ether and allows you to send or receive Ethereum to/from other wallets. Every wallet comes with two separate strings of numbers and letters known as ‘keys’: a public key (used to receive ether) and a private key (used to send ether to other wallets).
If you want to buy ether 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 ether 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 on the value of Ethereum without the hassle of actually owning the ether itself.
Should I buy ether with a credit/debit card?
Well, it depends. If you’re not intending on buying a very large amount of Ethereum and you find a platform with reasonable card fees (these usually range between 1% and 5%), then there’s no reason why you shouldn’t buy ether with a credit/debit card.
Typically, purchases using cards are processed instantly or within a few minutes, but there will be limits to how much Ethereum you can buy at a time depending on the platform and your verification status. It’s hard to be precise about the level of fees, but card payments are generally better for buying £100s rather than £1000s worth of any cryptocurrency.
Whether you can use both types of card will also depend on the platform you intend to use. Almost all platforms support debit card payments, but some don’t support credit cards when buying ether. So make sure to check your preferred platform first.
Why aren’t credit cards more widely accepted?
Usually because of restrictions from banks. Many financial institutions remain sceptical of cryptocurrency and so block payments. This has led to some platforms removing the payment option as it’s unreliable, and also means that if an exchange/broker accepts credit cards, the fees will usually be higher than for debit cards.
What about pre-paid cards?
Since prepaid cards are pre-funded before use, they are a more secure option for Ethereum platforms to accept and are usually accepted. But again, this will depend on the platform you’re using.
And, is buying Ethereum with card the best method?
Probably yes, if you are looking for a more convenient way to purchase anything but a large amount of coins. Your ether will be credited to your account almost instantly after the purchase. However, you’ll pay a little higher fees (up to 5%) compared to other payment methods such as bank wire transfer. If you’re wanting to buy a larger amount, and are willing to wait 1-5 days for the payment to be processed, then a bank transfer is likely the best way to go.
A quick and easy guide to buying your first ether
Now you know what your options are, you need to know how to use them to buy ether. 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 ether 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 Ethereum 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.
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 for a particular service.
Exchange, brokerage, or CFD platform
Now decide which type of platform you want to use for buying Ethereum. Consider what you want to get out of your investment, and then find the service that best matches your aims from the summaries above.
Buying Ethereum: the steps
Alright, you’re ready to sign up and buy your first ether. Let’s get started.
- Visit the platform 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 ether. 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 ether 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 ether. We’ve summarised them for you here:
- Bank Transfers. 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 ether. 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 ether using the money deposited in your account. Choose how much Ethereum you want to buy and confirm the transaction. Done!
Additional: withdraw to wallet
If you’re using a brokerage to buy Ethereum, 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 your ether 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 when investing in Ethereum.