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Buy Bitcoin with a Debit Card in the UK (2019)

BittyBot - Bitcoin Price Comparison Website

Looking for the best way to buy bitcoin (BTC) with a debit or credit card in the UK?

Although Coinbase is a popular and well-recommended option, Coinbase is NOT 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 (about 1% in 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 3% in fees if you buy bitcoin using Wirex.

Wirex’s offers wholesale rates and charges a 1% fee. This beats every other option (by a significant margin) which allows you to purchase bitcoin with a debit or credit card in the UK. Their rates also tend to undercut lots of sellers on Localbitcoins and BitBargain.

When I tested them, their bitcoin rates were very close to the real exchange rate. Unfortunately, they do charge a 1% fee.

ExchangeFees (Approximate)
Wirex1%
Coinbase4%
Uphold4.5%
Bitpanda5%
Coinmama14%

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.

And they were right. With the release of Wirex 3.0, they slashed their rates from 1.5% to less than about 1%.

Advantages and Disadvantages

Advantages

Disadvantages

Additional Guidance

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!

To doublecheck this, go to Account > Preferences > General > Currency Account and make sure that British Pound (GBP) is selected as the reference currency.

Web Wallet

Your bitcoin purchases are initially stored in their web wallet.

I’d recommend you withdraw it ASAP to your own bitcoin wallet.

Ledger Nano S - The secure hardware wallet

If you haven’t already, consider getting a hardware wallet like the Ledger Nano X.

Find out what I thought of the Ledger Nano X in my recent review.

What’s the best hardware 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.

Selling Bitcoin

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.

Wirex mobile app (in the wild!)

Want to learn more about Wirex 3.0? Check out my hands-on Wirex review.

It’s the #1 crypto debit card in the UK in 2019. Alternatives like the Coinbase Card are a ripoff.

Other Supported Cryptocurrencies

In addition to bitcoin, you can also buy the following cryptocurrencies with a debit or credit card on Wirex:

  • Ethereum (ETH)
  • Litecoin (LTC)
  • Ripple (XRP)
  • Waves (WAVES)
  • Wollo (WLO)
  • Dai (DAI)

Summary

I stumbled upon this when checking BittyBot and thought that there must be hidden fees somewhere.

But there wasn’t.

Wirex genuinely seems like the easiest and cheapest way to buy bitcoin with a debit card in the UK.

Wirex is actually offering rates which are undercutting the best prices on Localbitcoins, BitBargain, Bittylicious, and BeyondCC (UK bank transfer methods).

BittyBot - Bitcoin Price Comparison Website

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