Buy Bitcoin with a Debit Card in the UK (2020)

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

Although it’s a popular and well-recommended option, Coinbase is NOT the cheapest way to buy Bitcoin (BTC) with a debit card in the UK. You’ll be charged 4% in fees to buy using a debit card.

In this post, I’ll quickly highlight the absolute cheapest way (about 2.5% in fees) to buy Bitcoin (BTC) with a debit 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

Until the end of September 2020, has waived the 3.5% fee you’d usually pay to buy Bitcoin (BTC) with a debit card. Check out my review to learn more about them.

Let’s get straight to the point.

If you want to buy Bitcoin (BTC) with a debit card in the UK, you should be using Wirex. Compared to Coinbase (the cheapest alternative) you’ll save approximately 1.5% in fees if you buy Bitcoin (BTC) using Wirex.

In total, Wirex charges about 2.5% in fees. This beats every other option which allows you to buy Bitcoin (BTC) with a debit card in the UK. You can also use Wirex to buy other cryptocurrencies, like Litecoin (LTC) and Ethereum (ETH), with a debit card.

Although Wirex fees aren’t as competitive as they used to be (previously 1%), they’re still the best place to buy Bitcoin with a debit card in the UK.

ExchangeFees (Approximate)

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.

While they did drop their rates down to 1%, it looks like they recently added a hidden fee in the exchange rate that you’re offered. This means you’ll now pay about 2.5% in fees when using Wirex.

Advantages and Disadvantages



Additional Guidance

Purchase with GBP

When you’re buying Bitcoin (BTC) 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 (BTC) purchases are initially stored in their web wallet.

I’d recommend you withdraw it ASAP to your own Bitcoin (BTC) wallet.

Ledger Nano S - The secure hardware wallet

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

Check out my Ledger Nano X review to find out more about it.

What’s the best hardware wallet?

It looks like Wirex set network fees to guarantee entry into the next block. This means that your withdrawals should usually complete within an hour.

If you’re not transferring the cryptocurrency you’ve bought on Wirex 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 (BTC) with a debit card.

However, you’re not able to sell Bitcoin (BTC) back to Wirex without having one of their crypto 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 2020. Alternatives like the Coinbase Card are a ripoff.

Other Supported Cryptocurrencies

In addition to Bitcoin (BTC), 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)
  • Nano (Nano)
  • Stellar (XLM)
  • Wirex Token (WRX)


Although Wirex has recently increased their fees to about 2.5% (from 1%), it’s still the easiest and cheapest way to buy Bitcoin (BTC) with a debit card in the UK.

However, you’ll find more competitive prices if you buy Bitcoin (BTC) with a UK bank transfer. Because most UK bank send GBP via the Faster Payments Service (FPS), it’s usually only a little slower than buying with a debit card.

Check out this post for a rundown of the cheapest ways of buying Bitcoin (BTC) in the UK.

9 thoughts on “Buy Bitcoin with a Debit Card in the UK (2020)”

  1. The costs are high when transferring from Wirex

    Transfer £10 worth of bitcoin and they charge £9!!!!

    So a £10 transfer costs £19

    That is horrendous

    • Hi Tim,

      Most places seem to pass along the transaction fees when you send Bitcoin (BTC) from one place to another. This hasn’t been a problem for the last few years, but BTC transaction fees have increased dramatically in recent months. Check out this to see what I mean. Here’s another one which shows BTC transactions fees in USD over time.

      If you’re not happy paying these fees (I know I’m not!), then Solidi (when I last checked) give you a free withdrawal credit when you buy cryptocurrency using them – but it will take a while to arrive wherever you’re sending it. Flip side is that they only support UK bank transfers.

  2. Is it just me or Wirex is not actually that cheap. On top of the the 1% fee that they advertise they are also having quite a big spread ( check ) and also their live rate is approx 100€ higher than Coinbase and Binance price. I was very excited to use Wirex but then after using it and seeing all the charges and the amount of crypto that I got in the end( much smaller than expected) I was actually quite disappointed because the advertisement of 1% fee is misleading, I ve been charged more like 3%

    • Ioana, thanks for commenting!

      Surprised to hear this, but it looks like you’re right. At some point, they’ve added a fee into the exchange rate that they’re offering. That was about 1.4% for me. There’s also the 1% admin fee, which takes it up to about 2.4%.

      This is quite disappointing, but it’s still a decent place to buy BTC with a debit card. Most places charge about 4-5%. The only exception I know of right now is, which has waived fees for buying crypto with a debit card until September 2020 (it’ll then revert to 3.5%). I’ve got a review here if you want to know more.

      Anyway, thanks for letting me know about this. I’ll get my content updated over the next few days so that it reflects this change.

  3. Hi!

    I need to buy over £200 worth of bitcoin. The site says the limit is thousands. However when I try to buy this amount of bitcoin. It says the limit is £39 a day. Is there a way around this ?

    • Hi Anon,

      If you’ve just signed up, you probably need to verify your debit card before you can purchase more than a small amount. If that’s the case, you can find out more here on how to do that.

      If you don’t want to wait, then it might be worth checking out alternatives that I’ve reviewed like Solidi. They usually verify your identity quickly, and then it’s just a simple UK bank transfer to make a purchase. Bit higher fees than Wirex (around 1.5%, but it varies day-to-day).

  4. Hi Dean
    Thanks for the great guide you’ve put up.

    Can I ask which Uk banks are friendly work with wirex to transfer GBP ie lloyds or natwest?

    Also once btc purchase on wirex platform so that it’s doesn’t stay on their platform longer than 1-2hrs how do you export from wirex to a trezor device, any step by step guides?

    Many thanks

    • Hi Greg,

      Glad you like this post!

      That’s a really good question, but one I can’t give you a definitive answer to. Of the two, you’ll probably have better luck with Natwest (who are part of the RBS group). However, I’d strongly caution against buying with your primary bank account (which you use for salary/bills) in case buying crypto causes any problems. It’s quick and easy to open an account somewhere else.

      Unfortunately, I don’t have a guide for this. Check out this guide for how to withdraw from Wirex and this guide for how to receive funds on your Trezor.

      If it’s the first time your sending/receiving cryptocurrency, then consider buying a small amount of a cryptocurrency with consistently low fees to play around with. Litecoin (LTC) is a good choice for this (fees are about 2p).

      Let me know if you have any other questions! If you want some free Dogecoin (DOGE), email me your receiving address and I’ll send you some to play with!



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