Looking for the best (i.e., cheapest) way to buy bitcoin (BTC) with a debit or credit card in the UK? Although Coinbase is a popular and well-recommended option, it’s no longer the cheapest way to buy bitcoin (BTC) with a debit or credit card in the UK (4% fees).
In this post, I’ll quickly highlight the absolute cheapest way (<1.5% fees!) to buy bitcoin (BTC) with a debit or credit card in the UK.
Remember: I’m not a financial advisor. Check out my full disclaimer.
Cheaply Buy Bitcoin with Debit Card in the UK
Let’s get straight to the point.
If you want to buy bitcoin (BTC) with a debit or credit card in the UK, you should be using Wirex. Compared to Coinbase (the cheapest alternative) you’ll save approximately 2.5% in fees if you buy bitcoin using Wirex.
Wirex’s rates (about 1.5% markup) beat every other option (by a significant margin) which allows you to purchase bitcoin with a debit or credit card in the UK. However, their rates also tend to undercut lots of sellers on Localbitcoins and BitBargain.
When I tested them, their bitcoin rates were just 1.1% above the mid-market rate.
How is Wirex so cheap?
I reached out to Wirex about how they’re able to price themselves so competitively. This was their response:
Most companies work with third party providers – but we have our own platform and implement most of the payment logic in house, which results in cost efficiencies. We also Integrate with the biggest exchanges and OTC traders, which means we are able to get the best possible real-time rates.
Our favourable rates are here to stay – we have been building our platform for over 4 years and we are constantly refining it along with our products and services. As we add more liquidity providers we are anticipating that our fees will get even cheaper.
Even cheaper? Interesting.
Advantages and Disadvantages
- Quick verification (<5mins)
- Fast and convenient.
- 4* Trustpilot Rating (200 reviews).
- Cheapest way to buy bitcoin with a debit/credit card in the UK (<1.5% markup).
- Verification required (i.e., cannot purchase anonymously).
- Only supports 3D secure debit/credit cards.
- Cannot sell bitcoin without buying a virtual or physical card (£1/month fee).
- Low purchase limits (£1000 per day)
Purchase with GBP
When you’re buying bitcoin from Wirex, make sure you select ‘GBP’ as the currency you want to pay with. If you don’t, most banks will charge a non-sterling transaction fee (~2.75%) and a non-sterling purchase fee (~£1.25).
I managed to (somehow) screw this up the first time I tested Wirex. Don’t make the same mistake!
Your bitcoin purchases are initially stored in their web wallet. I’d recommend you withdraw it ASAP to your own bitcoin wallet. It looks like they set network fees to guarantee entry into the next block, which means the transfer should usually complete within an hour.
If you’re not transferring the bitcoins to your own wallet, at least enable 2FA in Wirex’s account settings.
Wirex offers virtual and physical debit cards which allow you to spend cryptocurrencies via instant exchange into GBP, EUR, or USD. Wirex charges a £1/month maintenance fee to keep the account open. You do NOT need this. If you want to completely ignore this, it won’t impact your ability to buy bitcoin with your bank card.
However, it doesn’t look like you’re able to sell bitcoin back to Wirex without having one of their own debit cards. I have heard good things about it, but I haven’t tested it myself (yet).
You can also buy Litecoin through Wirex with a debit or credit card. When I checked the rates, they were about 2% above the real LTC-to-GBP rate.
I stumbled upon this when checking BittyBot and thought that there must be hidden fees somewhere. However, Wirex genuinely seems like the easiest and cheapest way to buy bitcoin with a debit card in the UK. They’re actually head-to-head (or beating) options like Localbitcoins, BitBargain, or Bittylicious (UK bank transfer methods).
For now (June 2018), Wirex is the cheapest way to buy bitcoin in the UK with a debit or credit card.