Available since 2015, Ethereum has become one of the most traded and popular cryptocurrencies currently available on the market. Ethereum differs from Bitcoin in that it can operate not only as a currency but is also a facilitator of smart contracts, which in turn allows that Ethereum platform to be used to create applications across a wide range of services and industries.
The buzz around Ethereum has led to its value skyrocketing in 2017, with an increase of over 4000% since the beginning of the year (as at the time of writing). And since Ethereum has now become the major player in the blockchain world, it’s potentially one that you want to get involved in. But how do you do it? And if you have no cryptocurrency to start out with, where do you do it?
As evidenced by the increase in value of Ethereum this year, the world of cryptocurrency is building up steam fast as the mainstream begins to see the potential of blockchain. However, with increased popularity comes an increasingly demanding customer base. Customers want to buy their Ethereum conveniently while incurring the lowest associated fees, they want to be able to access the market and trade easily while on the go. Previously, ease of access to the cryptocurrency market was hampered by a perceived lack of user friendliness and a difficulty in exchanging traditional currencies for cryptocurrencies, as the majority of exchanges only accepted the purchase of cryptocurrencies using other cryptocurrencies, or by wire transfers. But now, you can buy cryptocurrency almost as quickly and easily as any other online purchase.
In this guide we will walk you through the available options for purchasing Ethereum online safely and securely using a Bank or your Debit or Credit Card.
What to Consider
Although all of the exchanges discuss below offer you the opportunity to purchase Ethereum using credit or debit cards there are a number of differences between them that are worth considering before you make your choice:
As ever, fees are the primary concern of the customer, and the primary source of income to the exchange. Some exchanges identify the fees payable separate to the transaction, while others include it in the cost of the purchase. Make sure you know how your fees are calculated to ensure that you don’t get any unpleasant surprises. In addition, check the credit and debit card fees. If you’re paying per transaction, the fees may not be long stacking up if you are making a number of regular transactions. Some exchanges may offer services allowing for withdrawal direct to your credit or debit card, but often at a cost.
Most of the exchanges discussed below will require some verification of identity before being allowed to purchase Ethereum. However, these are not the same from exchange to exchange, with some simply needing an email address while others will want a selfie with you and your card (and perhaps a copy of a newspaper with the date on it for good measure!)
If you’re based in Europe or North America, you generally have the pick of the exchanges to choose from. However, some exchanges may not be available globally so it’s important to check if you’re country is supported. In addition, credit card fees may vary from country to country so, to repeat, it’s definitely worth making sure you are aware about what you are signing up for and how much it will cost.
Ethereum Exchanges Offering Credit or Debit Card Services
There are a number of exchanges that have begun to accept credit cards and debit cards, and we will review a number of the most trustworthy and popular exchanges below.
Coinbase is almost certainly the most popular cryptocurrency exchange in operation at the moment. Available in 32 countries worldwide (mainly in Europe as well as the USA and Canada), Coinbase offers convenience and easy access together with a user-friendly interface and mobile app.
In order to purchase Ethereum using Coinbase you must first register on their website, and provide photo ID verification for KYC and AML purposes (this can be completed by taking a photo of the ID with your phone, or by scanning a copy of the photo ID). The verification process should only take a matter of minutes and, once verified, you can choose your payment method, which can be your bank account but may also be with your credit or debit card. Once added, Coinbase will verify your credit or debit card by making two small test transactions and, once complete, you are free to buy Ethereum at any time with your card.
Coinbase also supports Bitcoin and Litecoin purchases so when you are purchasing Ethereum you should ensure that on the ‘Dashboard’ section of the Coinbase platform you have selected Ethereum. From there it’s simply a matter of following the simple instructions, entering the amount you want to purchase and selecting ‘Card’ as your payment method. Once the transaction is confirmed, the Ethereum will be delivered to your account within a few minutes.
Coinbase charges a standard fee of 3.99% on all credit and debit card purchases, regardless of where you are based.
Although Coinbase states that they provide a fully insured platform and that most of their cryptocurrency is stored offline, we would recommend that any purchases that you make on this platform (and the others discussed below) are transferred to your personal Ethereum wallet.
Note: If you use our link to signup you will receive $10 in free bitcoin when you purchase over $100
Coinmama operates in 226 countries worldwide, and is available in 24 US States. Coinmama is only currently available as a website, with no mobile app available.
Aside from its widespread availability, one of the appealing features that Coinmama provides that is absent amongst its competitors is the opportunity to purchase up to $/€ 150 of Ethereum without having to verify your identity. However, to purchase any further amounts you will need to verify your identity using photo ID for KYC / AML purposes.
Unlike Coinbase, Coinmama doesn’t provide for an online wallet and therefore you will need to have created an Ethereum wallet to which the exchange can send your Ethereum once it’s purchased.
Coinmama doesn’t require you to register your credit or debit card in order to purchase Ethereum. Instead the procedure is that once you have registered (and regardless of whether or not you have verified your identity), you proceed to create the order by choosing how much you want to buy, entering your wallet address and then filling out your card details on the checkout page (making sure that your credit card address matches your Coinmama account address). After completing the payment, the transaction will then be processed by the credit card processor (which could take up to 20 minutes) before being transferred to your Ethereum wallet.
It should be noted that in comparison to its rivals Coinmama’s transaction fees are quite high, with a 6.15% fee paid to Coinmama per transaction with an additional 5% being changed on each credit and debit card transaction.
Founded in 2013, CEX originally operated as an exchange and cloud mining provider. However, it now solely operates solely as a cryptocurrency exchange. It is one of the most popular exchanges currently available and offers a user-friendly interface as well as being available as a mobile app. CEX operates in most countries, including 24 US States.
Once registered and having verified your identity with CEX, it is then simple to add your credit or debit card to your account. Credit and debit card verification can take up to 48 hours but, once completed, you can purchase Ethereum instantly. Card verification requires the user to take a selfie with the card, and if the quality isn’t good enough for the compliance officer, another selfie may be requested!
CEX charges 3.5% + $0.25 / £0.20 fees for credit cards deposits to your account and a flat rate of $3.80 / £2.90 for credit card withdrawals (plus 1.2% for Mastercard withdrawals). In addition, CEX charges a 7% service fee, which is included in the price of Ethereum offered on the exchange. CEX states that the reason for this premium is to ensure that they will always be able to fulfil their orders, as they operate on a different premise to most exchanges in that they will fulfil orders at the offered rate with no exception.
CEX is also well-regarded for its customer support, which is not a traditional strong point of cryptocurrency exchanges.
Changelly is an exchange that is primarily used for easily exchanging cryptocurrencies for other cryptocurrencies at a low rate. However, Changelly also provides for Ethereum to be purchased using debit or credit cards. Although available worldwide, if you are purchasing with credit or debit card, Changelly has purchase restrictions depending on what country you are based in.
Changelly is very easy to use and requires only email verification to carry out transactions. However, the fees are notably higher than other exchanges when it comes to credit and debit card transactions (which they highlight on their website) and it is therefore not recommended to use Changelly for credit or debit card purchases (although once you have purchased your Ethereum, Changelly is a reliable and user-friendly site for exchanging it for other cryptocurrencies, and has recently partnered with Jaxx wallet to provide frictionless conversions between currencies).
For European users, BitPanda (an Austrian based exchange) offers relatively low fees for buying Ethereum using credit or debit cards. However, it should be noted that this service is not available outside of Europe.
With BitPanda, card fees will depend on what European country you are resident in, but the average is about 3-4%. BitPanda only requires users to verify their email address in order to purchase using their BitPanda account (only 3D-Secure Mastercard and Verified by Visa are allowed). Using the BitPanda website, once users have confirmed the order they will be asked to verify the transaction via an SMS or an email and, once verified, users will then be requested to input their payment details. Once completed, your Ethereum should appear in your online BitPanda wallet within a few minutes.
Any of the above exchanges offer a reputable and respected service for purchasing Ethereum. Choosing the best exchange for you may come down to the fees payable, where you are based, or may simply be a matter of your own personal preference based on the outlay of the website or app. There is no harm in registering with a number of the exchanges discussed above, having a look around their site, and seeing if it suits you.
Hopefully, the information provided will assist you in deciding which exchange platform is the one for you when purchasing Ethereum.