So you’ve decided to buy Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies. And you want to do so easily, without going through a hassle? Using a credit card or debit card is the simplest way to buy crypto. But it may not be obvious where to buy cryptocurrency with a card and how to store it.
This article will explain how to buy Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies using a card from within the United States. We’ll go over how to use a cryptocurrency wallet, where to buy crypto, how to store your crypto, and more. We’ll give you everything you need to know to get started buying your first cryptocurrencies with a card right away.
The easiest way to obtain crypto with a card is to buy it from a cryptocurrency exchange. But a variety of factors have to be taken into account when choosing an exchange. This includes verification requirements, deposit and withdrawal limits, cards accepted, and fees.
Overall, the best beginner cryptocurrency exchanges that offer card purchases in the US are Coinbase, Coinmama, and CEX.io. All three of these exchanges accept a variety of cards and are easy to use.
Once you’ve bought your crypto with a credit card, you’ll be able to withdraw it into a wallet if desired. After doing this, you’ll be able to use it to make payments.
For a full explanation of how to buy Bitcoin and Crypto with a card, keep reading.
In order to take possession of your cryptocurrency, you’ll need a special type of software called a wallet. A wallet allows you to withdraw cryptocurrency from an exchange so that only you have control over it.
Near the end of this article, we'll explain how to use a cryptocurrency wallet to receive Bitcoin or cryptocurrency. In the meantime, we just want you to be aware that this software is required if you actually want to take control of your crypto.
Alternatively, you can choose to let an exchange hold your cryptocurrency for you. If you choose this route, you won't have full control over your crypto. Your exchange could always enact withdrawal holds that could cause you to temporarily lose access to your coins. Still, this is an option for users that don’t want to download a wallet.
Where to buy cryptocurrency with a card
Even if you have a wallet, you won't be able to use it to receive funds unless you can get someone to send you crypto.
If you personally know someone who owns crypto, you may be able to buy it from them using a card. However, most individual crypto users are not in the business of selling crypto.
So for most of us, the only option for buying Bitcoin or cryptocurrencies is to use an exchange.
A cryptocurrency exchange is a platform for crypto users to buy and sell cryptocurrency. It is similar to a stock exchange, but for cryptocurrencies instead of stocks.
Usefulness of exchanges
Since there are very few jobs that pay cryptocurrency, most users rely on exchanges to convert some of their cash obtained from jobs or savings into crypto. Cryptocurrency exchanges are also useful for converting Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies into cash. This is necessary when a crypto user wants to buy something from a merchant that doesn’t accept crypto.
Some users try to turn a profit by trading cryptocurrencies. They try to buy Ethereum when it's a low price and sell it when it's a higher price, for example. Since the major exchanges usually have lots of liquidity, this type of activity can be easily done using an exchange.
The bottom line is this: whatever the purpose of a particular trade, exchanges give users a convenient way to move back and forth between the crypto and fiat worlds.
Factors to consider when choosing an exchange
Although exchanges offer great convenience for crypto users, there are some factors users should keep in mind when choosing one.
All cryptocurrency exchanges require some kind of identity verification. And in the U.S., these ID requirements are more stringent than in most other countries.
On most exchanges, verification consists of multiple levels. Attaining the lowest level of verification may only require you to give your name, address, and social security number, while attaining the highest level may require you to do a video interview with staff or record a video with an app.
Lower levels of verification usually have smaller withdrawal limits, while higher level accounts are generally able to withdraw more.
Verification requirements vary from exchange to exchange, so knowing these requirements in advance is important when choosing one.
All cryptocurrency exchanges charge fees for buying and selling crypto or for converting one crypto to another. If you use a debit or credit card to buy, this greater convenience incurs even greater fees.
Still, fees on one exchange may be much higher or lower than another. So fees are another factor to take into account when choosing an exchange.
Deposit, purchase and withdrawal limits
Crypto exchanges have limits on how much cash can be deposited or withdrawn or crypto purchased in a day. If you only want to buy and withdraw a small amount, these limits may not matter much. But the larger your account is, the more these limits will come into play.
In most cases, these limits can be increased by gaining greater verification levels or by simply using the account for a period of time.
Limits vary on each exchange. So this is yet another factor that users should keep in mind when choosing an exchange.
Cards that can be used
Some exchanges only allow debit cards, while others may allow some credit cards to be used. In some cases, the credit card company itself will not allow its card to be used on a particular exchange.
As a card user purchasing crypto, it’s important to know which cards a particular exchange will accept.
Best exchanges for buying crypto with a card
Here is a list of the best places to buy crypto using a card. For each exchange, we’ll list the verification requirements, limits, and fees.
Coinbase is one of the most popular cryptocurrency exchanges in North America. It has 35 million+ users and custodies over $7 billion in assets. It is known to be especially helpful for beginners.
If you have a Visa or Mastercard debit card attached to a bank account, you can probably use it at Coinbase. Coinbase accepts debit cards from JP Morgan Chase, Bank of America, Wells Fargo, Citibank, Green Dot Bank, and most other financial institutions.
The only debit cards that are not accepted by Coinbase are prepaid cards or other cards that are not associated with a specific mailing address.
Coinbase accepts Paypal debit cards, but Paypal itself will block purchases of crypto from going through. So unfortunately, Paypal debit cards cannot be used on Coinbase.
As for credit cards, they were accepted in the past, but Coinbase no longer allows new users to attach credit cards to an account. Even if a user has an old account that he previously attached a credit card to, many card companies will block transactions or charge customers extra for purchasing crypto with credit cards.
Because of these problems, Coinbase recommends only using debit cards or bank transfers for crypto purchases on its platform.
Aside from these limitations, virtually any Visa or Mastercard debit card can be used to purchase crypto on Coinbase.
Before you can purchase any cryptocurrency on Coinbase with a card, you’ll need to pass Photo ID Level or "Level 3" verification. This will require you to complete three steps:
- Enter your name, address, and SS#
- Submit photos of both sides of your state-issued driver’s license or photo ID
- Take a selfie using either a webcam or the Coinbase mobile phone app
Once these three steps are completed, Coinbase’s staff will review the photos to make sure they are clear and that the information from all three steps matches each other.
Once you’ve been approved through this process, you’ll be able to buy crypto with a card.
Purchase and withdrawal limits
Card purchases at Coinbase are limited to $300 per week.
If you’re willing to deal with the slow pace of bank transfers, you can buy up to $10,000 worth of crypto per day, and this cap can be increased to $25,000/day over time.
Up to $25,000 worth of cash per day can be transferred to your Paypal account through Coinbase. So if you want to sell a stash of crypto smaller than this, you can do so easily.
If you want to withdraw more than $25,000 worth, a wire transfer can be used to receive up to $250,000 from Coinbase in a single day.
Whenever you buy crypto with a card, Coinbase charges two fees. The first is a spread of approx. 0.5%. The second is a Coinbase fee that depends on the amount of the purchase. The total fee is the sum of these two.
Here is a table showing Coinbase fees and spreads for card purchases.
|Amount of order
|$10 or less
|$10.01 - $25
|$25.01 - $50
|$50.01 - $75.18
If you decide to exchange one cryptocurrency for another on Coinbase, you’ll be charged approx. 2% per trade.
When you withdraw crypto from Coinbase, network validators or miners will charge the exchange a small fee to include your transaction in a block. Coinbase will pass this cost onto you by reducing the amount sent.
Coinmama is another U.S.-based crypto exchange for beginners. It has served over 1.6 million people since it launched.
Coinmamama accepts all Visa and Mastercard cards, including credit cards. The one exception to this is the Paypal debit card, which is not accepted.
Coinmama also does not accept Discover or American Express.
Even if Coinmama accepts a card, this does not guarantee that a transaction using it will go through. The card company itself may reject the transaction. This is more likely to happen with credit cards than with debit cards.
Most debit cards tied to a major US bank will go through on Coinmama without a hitch.
Coinmamama requires you to reach Verification Level 1 before you can buy any Bitcoin or other cryptocurrency. To reach this level, you need to enter your name, address, and phone number.
You also need to upload a photo of the front and back of your state-issued ID, as well as an image of you holding a sign that says "Coinmama" and today's date.
To reach Verification Level 2, you'll need to take the additional step of uploading passport photos and current utility bill.
To reach the final level (level 3), the only additional requirement is to fill out a questionnaire stating your source of income and investment plans.
Purchase minimums and maximums
The smallest amount of crypto you can buy on Coinmama in one transaction is US$50 worth.
Level 1 users can do a maximum of five card purchases per day of up to $5,000 total. If you are willing to use a wire transfer instead, you can make up to 10 purchases for a total of $15,000.
In addition, monthly card purchases cannot exceed 20 orders for $15,000 total or 50 orders for the same amount through a wire transfer.
Level 2 pushes the cap on daily purchases up to $35,000 for wire transfers and doubles the monthly limit on card purchases.
Level 3 increases the daily card limit to $7,500 and the monthly limit to $40,000.
The only way to sell crypto and withdraw cash on Coinmama is through a SWIFT transfer. There does not appear to be any limit on the amount of cash that can be withdrawn in this way.
There is no separate cryptocurrency withdrawal process on Coinmama. When you buy crypto using this service, it goes straight into your private wallet. You must give Coinmama your wallet address before completing a purchase.
Coinmama charges a commission of up to 3.9% on every crypto purchase. Buying with a card incurs an additional momentum fee of 5%.
If you buy more than $5,000 worth of crypto from Coinmama over a rolling 90 day period, you become eligible for a 12.5% discount on fees. This is called reaching Crypto Enthusiast status.
Similarly, if you buy $18,000 worth of crypto from Coinmama over a rolling 90 day period, you reach Crypto Believer status. This entitles you to a 25% discount on fees. You can also achieve Crypto Believer status by making $50,000 worth of purchases over a lifetime.
If you withdraw cash from Coinmama using a SWIFT transfer, most banks will charge $25 to receive the funds. Coinmama has not stated whether they also charge for this service.
CEX.io is a UK based cryptocurrency provider that is available in 28 US states and territories. It has been around since 2013. Not only does CEX.io offer credit and debit card purchases, it also offers instant withdrawals using a debit card linked to a bank account.
States CEX.io is available in
CEX.io is available in the following US states:
CEX.io accepts both credit and debit cards issued by Visa or Mastercard. Prepaid, business, and gift cards are not accepted.
Users should also check with the card’s issuer to make sure that it will allow cryptocurrency purchases.
To get basic verification at CEX.io, you need to provide a name, address, SS#, and phone number. You also need to upload photos of your driver’s license and a photo of yourself holding your license.
Once you’ve finished basic verification, you can attempt to gain address verification. To graduate to this second level, you’ll need to provide a proof of address. This can be a utility bill, tax return, or bank statement.
A social media profile such as LinkedIn can be used to provide further verification of your address. This is optional, but it may help you get approved if for some reason CEX.io can’t otherwise verify your address.
Deposit and withdrawal limits
Basic verified users at CEX.io can deposit up to $3,000 per day using a card and withdraw up to $10,000 per day using instant transfer to a card. Address verified users can deposit up to $10,000 and withdraw up to $50,000 per day.
Purchase and deposit minimums
If you purchase crypto directly with a card, the minimum amount is $20 worth. This is also the minimum if you use your card to deposit cash on the exchange.
Deposit and withdrawal fees
CEX.io charges 2.99% for Visa or Mastercard deposits.
For cash withdrawals, the fee varies depending on which card is used.
For Visa, the withdrawal fee is a service charge of up to 3% plus $1.20 and an additional $3.80 commission. For Mastercard, the withdrawal fee is a service charge of up to 1.8% plus $1.20 and an additional commission of up to 1.2% plus $3.80.
The following table summarizes this information.
|Withdrawal service charge
|3% + $1.20
|1.8% + $1.20
|1.2% + $3.80
In addition to charging fees for depositing and withdrawing, CEX.io also charges for purchases and sales of cryptocurrency.
Market orders start at 0.25% per trade, while limit orders begin at only 0.16%. These trading fees decline for users that do a high volume of trade, getting as low as 0.1% for market orders and 0% for limit orders for the highest volume traders.
How to buy crypto on an exchange
Once you’ve chosen an exchange, buying Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies is simple. Just register, verify your email address, go through the ID verification process, and attach a debit card or credit card to the account.
It should take no more than an hour or two to complete these processes.
The biggest cause of delays is problems with ID verification. If your phone’s camera lens is dirty or you can’t find a well-lit area to take pictures, your ID may get rejected on the first try. So taking care of these issues ahead of time may speed up the process.
Once you’ve finished these steps, you can use the exchange’s website or mobile app to buy crypto with a card. The exact method of doing this varies from exchange to exchange. But all of the exchanges on this list have intuitive interfaces that make it easy to complete a purchase.
Where does the crypto go once you’ve purchased it?
If you used Coinmama to buy crypto, you had to provide a wallet address before completing the purchase. In this case, your cryptocurrency was sent to the address you provided.
But if you used a different exchange, you may wonder what happened to the crypto you purchased.
The answer is that the exchange is still holding it. When you buy crypto through an exchange, the exchange credits you crypto within a database on its own servers. But the nodes on the cryptocurrency network don’t recognize this database as a valid copy of the blockchain.
So as far as the nodes are concerned, the exchange still owns your crypto.
In order to take possession of your crypto so that only you have control over it, you need to withdraw it into your wallet. The next section will explain how to do this.
Cryptocurrency wallet basics
In the following section, we’ll list some of the best cryptocurrency wallets you can use to receive Bitcoin or cryptocurrency.
For now, we want to explain the basic process of setting up a wallet and using it to withdraw crypto. Regardless of which wallet you use, the steps to completing a withdrawal are similar.
Withdrawing cryptocurrency is similar in some ways to withdrawing cash from a bank account. Once you hold cash, no authority or third party can stop you from spending it.
On the other hand, you are responsible for the security of your physical cash. If you lose a $100 bill, there is no authority you can contact to get your $100 bill back. Similarly, holding cryptocurrency gives you great freedom to spend it as you choose, but it also requires you to protect your crypto from being lost or stolen.
As we explain how to set up a wallet and use it to withdraw, we’ll also offer some tips on how to keep your crypto safe and secure over the long-run.
When you first download and install a wallet, it will give you a list of seed words. These words are used to derive your private key. Write these words down on a physical piece of paper and store them in a place where they cannot be lost or stolen.
If your PC or device crashes, you can use your seed words to recover your wallet. If you lose your seed words and your device crashes, you will lose your crypto.
Your private key is a string of characters that your wallet uses to encrypt messages. These encrypted messages are used to prove that you are the owner of a particular cryptocurrency address. The private key is generated from your seed words and stored on your device.
Your private key is encrypted with a password. Under normal circumstances, you will never see it displayed in plain text.
If your device crashes, you can regenerate your private key using your seed words.
After your device generates your private key, it will ask you for a password. This password is used to encrypt your private key to make it unreadable to any potential attackers.
Whenever you load your wallet each day, you’ll be asked for this password so that the private key can be decrypted.
If you forget your password, your private key can be regenerated using your seed words.
Some wallets are hardware wallets. These are external devices that connect to your PC via a USB port. These devices store your private key outside of your PC, keeping it away from any malware that may have infected your computer.
Some malware may be smart enough to wait until you decrypt your key before sweeping it from your PC’s RAM. So a password is not 100% effective at preventing theft of a key.
For this reason, if you are holding a significant investment of crypto in your wallet, you may want to consider investing in a hardware wallet.
Hardware wallets cost between $50 and $300. So this extra security has to be weighed against the cost.
Your public key is a string of characters that can be used to decrypt messages sent by your wallet. It is generated by running your private key through a special algorithm called an elliptic curve.
Your public key is not a secret. It can be given out to whomever you want. No one can derive your private key from your public key. And the public key does not give its holder access to your crypto.
When you authorize a cryptocurrency transaction, your wallet gives the network validators or miners your public key. The miners use this key to decrypt messages sent by you. If this public key can successfully be used to decrypt a message, this proves that your wallet is the author of the message.
Under most circumstances, you will never actually see your public key. It is generated and transmitted in the background, without you needing to be aware of it.
Your Bitcoin or cryptocurrency address is a string of characters you use to receive crypto. It is generated by running your public key through a hashing algorithm.
The network miners keep a running balance of how many coins are held in each address. When you attempt to send crypto, they check the address to see if it has enough unspent funds to perform the transaction. They also check to see if the public key your wallet provided is the same one used to derive the address.
Making the withdrawal
To withdraw crypto from your exchange, enter your wallet address into the withdrawal form, and enter the amount you want to withdraw. Make sure the coin shown on the exchange interface is the same as the coin your wallet is set up to receive.
For example, make sure you are not trying to send Bitcoin to a Litecoin wallet, as this will probably result in you losing your crypto!
In addition, make sure that your wallet address is copied and pasted correctly into the exchange’s interface. If you are working with multiple coins, it’s easy to accidentally paste the wrong address. So always check before hitting send.
Once you’ve submitted a withdrawal request to your exchange, it will broadcast the transaction on the blockchain network you are using. How long it takes to receive your coins will depend on how fast the network is that you are using.
For example, the Bitcoin network has an average transaction time of 10 minutes. So if you are withdrawing Bitcoin, it should take approx. 5 to 15 minutes to receive your coins.
Most wallets will show pending transactions within a few seconds of them being issued. So you should be able to quickly get verification that your exchange has sent the coins.
The best wallets for withdrawing cryptocurrency
Now that you know how to withdraw Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, you’ll need to decide on which wallet to use. Here is a list of some of the best cryptocurrency wallets.
Electrum (desktop and mobile, Bitcoin-only)
Electrum is a simple Bitcoin wallet that performs basic functions without including a lot of bells and whistles. If you only want to store and use Bitcoin, you can’t go wrong with this classic wallet interface.
Electrum is available for Linux, Mac, Windows PC, and Android.
Exodus (desktop and mobile, multicurrency)
Exodus is compatible with over 100 different cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, Bitcoin Cash, XRP, Tether USD (Ethereum version), Chainlink, Tron, Cardano, and many others.
Exodus also provides a portfolio feature that tracks the value of all of your crypto assets over time. Overall, Exodus is a great wallet for users of multiple networks.
Exodus is available for Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS, and Android.
Ledger Nano X (hardware wallet, multicurrency)
The Ledger Nano X is one of the most secure hardware cryptocurrency wallets around. It features a dual chip architecture that stores keys on a separate chip from the main microcontroller unit.
The Nano X supports over 1,100 cryptocurrencies and tokens. It is compatible with Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS, and Android.
The Ledger Nano X also has Bluetooth capability, making it compatible with mobile devices.
Metamask (desktop and mobile, Ethereum only)
Metamask is the most popular cryptocurrency wallet for users of Ethereum decentralized applications (Dapps). It is an extension for Chrome and Firefox browsers and is built into Brave browser by default.
Metamask can be used to make payments using dollar-backed stablecoins, play blockchain video games, borrow crypto from DeFi apps, and more.
Any ERC-20 token or Ethereum itself can be sent or received using Metamask, but it is incompatible with Bitcoin, Litecoin, or any other non-Ethereum assets.
In addition to the browser extension version, Metamask is also available as a mobile app for iOS and Android.
Trezor Model T (hardware wallet, multicurrency)
Trezor Model T is another hardware wallet with excellent security features. Its software is open-source and has been reviewed by thousands of coders searching for security flaws, yet none have been found.
The Model T can send, receive, and store over 1,000 different cryptocurrencies, including even rare, small-cap coins like vibrant and easyMINE Token.
Trezor features a color touchscreen, making it easy to enter PIN codes or view address balances. It is compatible with Windows, Mac OS, Linux, and Android. iOS compatibility is planned for the future.
Mycelium (mobile, Bitcoin only)
Mycelium is a mobile Bitcoin wallet that aims to make face-to-face Bitcoin payments hassle-free.
It shows your QR code on the front page, removing the need to navigate to a particular page to receive funds. And your phone’s flashlight can be turned on from within the wallet so that you send funds in the dark of night.
The wallet is protected with a PIN in case your phone is stolen or lost.
Mycelium is available for Android and iPhone.
If you’re getting ready to buy your first Bitcoin or cryptocurrency with a card, figuring out where to buy it and how to store it may seem daunting. But follow the instructions in this guide. You’ll have your first batch of crypto securely stored in your personal wallet in no time.