Buy Bitcoin Cheaply in the UK (2020)

Want to buy bitcoin without getting ripped off?

Although it’s simple and convenient to buy bitcoin with a debit or credit card, it’s NOT the cheapest way.

There are some exceptions, but most places will charge upwards of 4% in fees when buying bitcoin with a debit or credit card in the UK. That’s 100% unnecessary.

In this guide, I’m going to walk through some popular, well-recommended, and cheaper ways that you can buy bitcoin in the UK.

Remember: I’m not a financial advisor. Read my full disclaimer for more information.

Cheapest Place to Buy Bitcoin in the UK

The cheapest way to buy bitcoin in the UK is to deposit GBP into Crypto.com with a UK bank transfer. With this cryptocurrency app, you’re able to buy bitcoin at the real exchange rate without paying any fees.

You can also use Coinbase Pro to buy bitcoin cheaply in the UK. On this cryptocurrency exchange, you can deposit GBP with a UK bank transfer and buy bitcoin (and other cryptocurrencies) at the real exchange rate without paying high fees (just 0.5%).

Who is the Cheapest Bitcoin Seller?

When comparing bitcoin sellers in the UK, you’ll need to consider:

  • How close is the asking price to the real BTC to GBP exchange rate?
  • Are there any fees (for depositing, buying, or withdrawing)?
  • Are you purchasing in GBP or EUR?
  • Is there a minimum deposit?

If you don’t ask these questions, you’ll probably end up getting fewer bitcoins (or satoshis) than you otherwise could.

Exchange Rate

The real BTC to GBP exchange rate is the average mid-market rate across popular bitcoin exchanges. It’s also known as the Bitcoin Price Index (BPI or XBP). It’s an honest indication of what the value of 1 bitcoin currently is. You can use tools like this to check the BPI.

When you buy bitcoin from many places, they’ll almost certainly sell you bitcoin at a rate that doesn’t match the real BTC to GBP exchange rate.

Why? That’s their profit margin.

Let’s put this in perspective.

At the time of writing, the real BTC to GBP exchange rate was £7670.

If you were buying 1 bitcoin with a debit or credit card through Coinbase, you’d pay an additional £307. Paying such high fees is 100% unnecessary. You’re just throwing money away.

You can quickly compare prices (and their relative % above the BPI) with tools like BittyBot.

Buying Fees

The majority of services charge percentage-based fees, but some do charge fixed-rate fees instead.

Your preference for either depends on how much bitcoin you’re intending to buy.

Consider this example:

  • “Seller A” charges a fixed fee of £20.
  • “Seller B” charges a percentage fee of 2%.

Who should you choose?

PurchaseSeller A: Fixed Fee (£20)Seller B: Percentage Fee (2%)
£10020% of Purchase£2
£1,0002% of Purchase£20
£10,0000.2% of Purchase£200

Your choice of seller depends on how much you’re intending to buy:

  • If you’re buying larger amounts of bitcoin, then fixed-rate fees are usually better.
  • If you’re buying smaller amounts of bitcoin, then percentage-based fees are usually better.

Withdrawal Fees

When you withdraw bitcoin from lots of places, they’ll usually pass on the blockchain fees (i.e. mining fees) to you.

Most of the time, this isn’t a problem. However, sometimes these blockchain fees increase due to congestion on the network (i.e. more demand from people to have their transactions be processed ASAP).

Before you select where you want to buy, check out this site. It estimates the cost of blockchain fees right now. If it’s more than $1.00 – 2.00, then take that into consideration in your choice as some options do not charge withdrawal fees.

GBP or EUR

Some cryptocurrency exchanges don’t accept GBP deposits. If you want to buy bitcoin on these exchanges, you’d need to send EUR instead.

When you do this from a GBP bank account, your bank will handle the GBP to EUR exchange for you. Unfortunately, UK banks will exchange your money at a terrible exchange rate. It’s not uncommon for people to lose more than 5% of their money when exchanging currencies with a UK bank.

To add insult to injury? Some UK banks still charge fees to send EUR with a SEPA transfer. This varies from bank-to-bank. When I last checked, Santander was charging £15 and Barclays was charging £5.

When looking to buy bitcoin, you need to check for these hidden fees. If you don’t, it distorts your impression of what is really the cheapest option.

Cheapest Purchase Options

These are the best options if you’re looking to buy bitcoin in the UK as cheaply as possible.

#1: Crypto.com

The cheapest place to buy bitcoin in the UK is with Crypto.com. This platform allows you to buy bitcoin (and other cryptocurrencies) with a debit card, credit card, or UK bank transfer.

If you buy bitcoin with a credit card, it’ll be considered a cash advance. This usually means you’ll have to pay additional fees. It’s simpler and cheaper to use a debit card or UK bank transfer when you’re buying cryptocurrency.

If you use a UK bank transfer to deposit GBP into Crypto.com, you won’t be charged any fees. There are no hidden fees in the exchange rate either – it’s the real BTC to GBP exchange rate.

Overview of Option #2

  • Download and create a Crypto.com account.
  • Deposit GBP with a UK bank transfer to your Crypto.com wallet. This will usually be credited in an hour (but it can take longer).
  • Buy bitcoin with the funds in your GBP fiat wallet. You’ll get access to the real exchange rate, with 0% fees.

UK bank transfers are processed via the Faster Payments Service (FPS), which means funds will usually be quickly credited to your Crypto.com. My GBP deposits have been credited in under an hour.

You’ll usually be charged a fee of 3.5% if you buy any cryptocurrency with a debit or credit card, but they’ve waived this fee until the end of September 2020. This makes Crypto.com the cheapest place to buy bitcoin with a debit card in the UK too.

Crypto.com is much more than just a place to buy bitcoin though:

  • Buy dozens of other popular cryptocurrencies (at the real exchange rate, with no fees).
  • ‘Crypto Earn’ allows you to deposit and earn interest on your cryptocurrency. It’s like a normal savings account, but it gives you much better returns (up to 18%).
  • Exchange your cryptocurrency for dozens of different UK gift cards (e.g. Just Eat, Uber Eats, Tesco).
  • Crypto.com’s bitcoin debit card gives you decent cashback on all your spending, as well as other perks. This is available in the UK, EU, USA, and Singapore.

You can learn more about it in my full Crypto.com review.

Guide

Expand the section below to see how to buy Bitcoin (BTC) with Crypto.com.

FYI: All images can be enlarged by clicking them.

Deposit Funds

  • Open the Crypto.com app.
  • Select ‘Accounts’, then ‘Fiat Wallet’.

  • Select ‘Transfer’, then ‘Deposit’.

  • Finally, select your GBP wallet. Crypto.com provide you with details on where to send GBP funds.
  • GBP deposits are take about 1 day to process (usually less).

Buy Bitcoin

  • Open up the Crypto.com app.
  • Select ‘Trade’, then ‘Buy’.

  • Select Bitcoin (BTC).
  • Select the ‘Fiat Wallet’ tab and your GBP wallet. Then put in how much you want to buy.
  • Press ‘Buy BTC’ to be taken to a confirmation screen.

  • You’ll have 15 seconds to check over the deal before it needs to be refreshed.
  • If you’re happy with it (real exchange rate, 0% fees), then select ‘Confirm’.
  • You should then see a green confirmation page.

Advantages

  • The cheapest way to buy bitcoin in the UK.
  • Access to the real BTC to exchange rate (no hidden fees).
  • No fees when you buy bitcoin with GBP deposited with a UK bank transfer.
  • It’s free to withdraw GBP from Crypto.com with a UK bank transfer.

Disadvantages

  • There’s usually a 3.5% fee to buy cryptocurrencies using a debit or credit card on Crypto.com (temporarily waived).
  • You’ll need to pay a small fee to withdraw bitcoin from Crypto.com to your own wallet.
  • You’ll need to use the Crypto.com app on your smartphone. There’s no desktop alternative.

Download and signup to Crypto.com using this link (or code: “cn9mkf4dzu”) and you’ll get a FREE $50 worth of CRO. This bonus is initially locked. To unlock it, you’ll need to stake 1000 CRO in the ‘Card’ section of the Crypto.com app.

#2: Coinbase Pro

Coinbase Twitter header

Coinbase Pro (previously GDAX) is still one of the cheapest places to buy bitcoin in the UK.

Coinbase Pro was the first major bitcoin exchange to receive an e-money license from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). This means Coinbase Pro accept GBP deposits through the UK Faster Payments Service . This means that all UK residents should be able to use a simple UK bank transfer to deposit GBP into Coinbase – without incurring any fees from their bank.

Overview of Option #1

  • Create a Coinbase account and verify your UK bank account.
  • Send GBP via UK bank transfer to Coinbase Pro. My deposits are credited within minutes.
  • Buy bitcoin on the BTC/GBP market at the real exchange rate.

The bottom line?

  • You can now send GBP to Coinbase and it’ll be credited within minutes.
  • You’ll be able to buy bitcoin at the best possible rate and incur barely any fees (0.50%)

What's the difference between Coinbase and Coinbase Pro?

Coinbase and Coinbase Pro are owned by the same company. When you create a Coinbase account, you’ll be able to use your Coinbase credentials to access Coinbase Pro.

Coinbase is a popular cryptocurrency broker which is intuitive, easy-to-use, and perfect for beginners. You can buy supported cryptocurrencies with a debit card, credit card, and UK bank transfer on Coinbase.

Coinbase Pro is a cryptocurrency exchange targeted at cryptocurrency traders. The fees on Coinbase Pro are lower (up to 0.5%) than on Coinbase (at least 1.5%), but it can be intimidating if you’ve never used something like it before.

In the long-term? It’s worth learning to use Coinbase Pro if you have the time.

But if you don’t have the time, skip down to ‘Option 3’ to find out more about Wirex (it’s like Coinbase, but with lower fees).

Signup Bonus!

When you signup to Coinbase through this link, you’ll receive an £8 bonus (paid in bitcoin) when you buy more than approx. £80 of bitcoin.

It’s 100% worthwhile to take advantage of this signup bonus.

If you signup through this link and bought £100 worth of bitcoin on Coinbase (not Coinbase Pro), you’d actually end up with £108’ish worth of bitcoin.

Guide

Want to see how it works? Check out these guides.

FYI: All images can be enlarged by clicking them.

Verify Your UK Bank Account

  • (If you don’t already have a Coinbase account, register here)
  • Login to your Coinbase account.
  • Go to: Settings > Linked Accounts
  • Select: Link a New Account

  • Select: UK Bank Account

  • You’ll be asked to enter your UK bank account’s sort code and account number.
  • Once you’ve done that, select: Continue

  • You’ll now see some payment details.
  • To verify the UK bank account, send a small payment (£2) to the details provided.
  • When you’ve completed the payment, select: I’ve Sent It

  • Once Coinbase received this small deposit, your UK bank account will become verified.
    • Although it says it can take up to 2 hours, I’ve had multiple deposits credited in about 30 minutes.
    • You should receive an email when the deposit has been received.

Deposit Funds

  • Go to Coinbase Pro.
  • In the left sidebar, select ‘Deposit’.

  • You’ll see something like this. Select ‘GBP’.

  • You’ll then see this. Select ‘UK Bank Transfer’.

  • Read what you’re shown and select ‘Continue’ when you’re happy.

  • You’ll then be provided with the details you need to send GBP to Coinbase Pro. It’s very important that you include this reference number when you transfer money to Coinbase Pro.
  • It should be to ‘CB PAYMENTS, LTD’ at ‘Clearbank’.

  • When you’ve made the transfer, it should be credited to your Coinbase Pro account within an hour or two. When I tested this recently, my Coinbase Pro deposit was credited in about 1 minute!.

Buy Bitcoin

Coinbase Pro fee structure has recently changed so that there’s no difference between maker and taker fees if you trade less than $50,000 every month.

Market Maker vs Market Taker

market maker is someone who provides liquidity to markets.

This is done when you submit a limit order (buy or sell) on Coinbase Pro (or other cryptocurrency exchanges) that doesn’t immediately fill. These orders sit on the order book and prevent wild fluctuations in cryptocurrency prices. For this reason, market makers are incentivized by reduced fees on most exchanges.

When you submit a market order (buy or sell) on a cryptocurrency exchange that immediately fills, you are a market taker. For this added convenience, you’ll usually pay a slightly higher fee than market makers.

×

Click here to learn more about the difference between a market maker and market taker.

Because of this change, I’ve started to buy bitcoin on Coinbase Pro using market orders. They’re a lot easier and faster to execute.

This might seem a little overwhelming at first. Don’t be discouraged – it’s easier than it appears to get started.

Until you’re comfortable with the process detailed below, consider buying the smallest amount possible. At the time of writing, that’s 0.001 BTC.

  •  In the top left of Coinbase Pro, check that you’re on the BTC-GBP market.
    • If you’re not:
      • Click: Select Market
      • Select BTC-GBP from the drop-down that appears.
  • In the left sidebar, select: Buy > Market
  • Input how much you’d like to buy in GBP.
  • Happy with all the details? Click: Place Buy Order

  • In the open orders section, you’ll see this order appear. As this is a market order, it should immediately show a ‘Filled’ status.
  • Your GBP and BTC balance should also adjust in a few moments in the top left.

Advantages

  • One of the cheapest way to buy bitcoin in the UK (0.5% above the real market rate).
  • Coinbase supports UK bank deposits via Faster Payments Service.
  • Reputable and trusted exchange (holds FCA e-money license).
  • High limits.
  • Don’t need to verify identity with multiple companies (just Coinbase).

Disadvantages

  • Terrible Trustpilot rating (2*).
  • Coinbase attracts animosity from segments of the crypto-sphere (for good reason).
  • Beginners might struggle with Coinbase Pro’s interface.

#3: Wirex

Wirex (Dark Green) Full Logo

Wirex allows you to buy bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies with a debit card, credit card, or UK bank transfer. There’s just a flat fee of 1% when you buy bitcoin (regardless of the payment method) and a small fee of about 1.5% hidden in the exchange rate.

If you buy bitcoin with a credit card, it’ll be considered a cash advance. This usually means you’ll have to pay additional fees. It’s simpler and cheaper to use a debit card or UK bank transfer when you’re buying cryptocurrency.

This isn’t the cheapest way of buying bitcoin in the UK. However, Wirex does allow you to quickly buy bitcoin with a debit card. This isn’t something you can usually do on cryptocurrency exchanges like Coinbase Pro.

Overview of Option #3

  • Create a Wirex account.
  • Deposit GBP (via UK bank transfer or debit card) to your Wirex GBP wallet.
  • If you deposit with a UK bank transfer, you’ll have to wait 1-2 hours for the payment to clear.
  • Buy bitcoin with funds in your GBP wallet with low fees (about 2.5%).

Wirex supports UK bank transfers (via the Faster Payment Service), which means that deposits are usually credited to your account in less than an hour.

You can also just fund your wallet with a GBP debit card, which is credited to your account instantly. You’ll be able to deposit up to $5000 (equivalent in GBP) per day. If you want to deposit more than that, you’re better off depositing GBP with a UK bank transfer.

Advantages

  • Simple, quick, and convenient.
  • Access to the real BTC to GBP exchange rate.
  • Low fees (about 2.5%).
  • Fund account with a debit card or UK bank transfer (via Faster Payments Service) without paying any fees.
  • Unlimited account balance.
  • Browser-based and mobile apps available.

Disadvantages

  • You need to order a Wirex Card and pay a £1 account management fee to deposit GBP with a UK bank transfer.
  • You’ll need to pay withdrawal fees to send your bitcoin elsewhere.

Quick Wirex GuideWirex Website

#4: OTC Services

Solidi homepage
Solidi is one popular option in the UK.

Your fourth best option is to buy bitcoin through over-the-counter (OTC) services with a GBP UK bank transfer.

The table below shows the most popular and well-recommended options in the UK.

NameWebsiteReview
LocalbitcoinsVisit Now
BitBargainVisit Now
SolidiVisit NowSolidi Review
BittyliciousVisit NowBittylicious Review
BeyondCCVisit NowBeyondCC Review
PaxfulVisit NowPaxful Review

While you won’t get the best possible price when using these options, they are still quite competitive. Most of these options are usually selling bitcoin at rates which are no more than 2% above the real BTC to GBP exchange rate.

This is still better than many options recommended across YouTube, Reddit, and other websites. (For example, Coinmama charges you 5.9% in fees when buying bitcoin.)

Advantages

  • Convenient, quick, and easy way to buy bitcoin in the UK (with GBP).
  • Competitive prices (usually less than 2% above the real exchange rate).
  • Reputable and well-recommended, with (usually) better support than cryptocurrency exchanges.

Disadvantages

  • You’ll need to verify your identity (ID, bank card, and maybe more).
  • Bitcoin prices will be above the real BTC to GBP exchange rate.
  • Many options pass on blockchain fees to you (which can get high).

#5: Revolut Route

Revolut black logo

Since mid-2017, this was a popular workaround used by UK residents to buy bitcoin as cheaply as possible. It was necessary as many cryptocurrency exchanges, like Coinbase Pro and Bitstamp, didn’t use to accept GBP deposits via a UK bank transfer.

In 2020, it’s not necessary to jump through all of these hoops to buy bitcoin cheaply. It is much easier, quicker, and convenient to use Option #1 or Option #2.

Overview of Option #5

  • Download and create a Revolut account.
  • Create a Coinbase Pro or Bitstamp account.
  • Activate your EUR account in Revolut (full instructions below).
  • Deposit GBP into your Revolut account’s GBP wallet.
  • Exchange GBP for EUR in Revolut (at the real exchange rate, instantly).
  • Transfer EUR from Revolut account to Coinbase Pro or Bitstamp.
  • Buy bitcoin on the BTC/EUR market at the best possible rate.

Guide

Add & Activate EUR Account

  1. Add EUR account in Revolut:
    • Select:
      • More (in bottom bar).
      • Profile (in top bar).
      • Account Details.
      • Add Account’
      • Search for EUR and tap on it.
  2. Activate your EUR account in Revolut.
    • Select:
      • More (in bottom bar).
      • Profile (in top bar).
      • Account Details.
      • EUR.
      • Activate.
    • Details should populate, with the beneficiary (your name), IBAN, and BIC.

Get Deposit Details

1) On Bitstamp, click ‘Deposit’ at the top of the page.

2) Select ‘EU Bank (SEPA)’ in the left navigation bar.

3) A warning will pop-up.

  • This will ask you to confirm that the transfer is coming from an account in your name.
  • As long as you’ve activated your Revolut EUR account (see above for instructions), you shouldn’t have a problem.

4) Enter some details about the transfer, then click ‘Deposit’.

  • Confirm the first and last name on your Revolut EUR account.
    • You can check this by:
      • Swiping to EUR on the Revolut dashboard.
      • Clicking on your EUR balance.
      • Scrolling down.
  • Under ‘Account Balance’, select ‘Euro’.
  • Under ‘Amount’, enter how much you wish to deposit.

5) You’ll now see the deposit details.

Add Beneficiary in Revolut

With these deposit details, you’ll need to create a new beneficiary in Revolut.

To add a new beneficiary:

  • Open Revolut and select ‘Payments’ (middle of the bottom bar)
  • Select: ‘Bank Transfer’

  • Select: ‘Add a new beneficiary’

  • Select ‘To a business’ as the transfer type.

  • Select ‘United Kingdom’ and ‘Euro’.

  • Fill in the deposit details shown on Bitstamp or Coinbase Pro.
  • When you’re happy, select ‘Add beneficiary’.

  • Great! You should see something like this.

Transfer EUR to Exchange

Please note, the screenshots show a EUR transfer to Coinbase Pro. It’s the same process for transfers to Bitstamp.

  • When you’re ready to make the EUR deposit into the cryptocurrency exchange, select this new beneficiary.

  • Input the desired amount and make sure that you enter your reference number (provided by Bitstamp) in the highlighted area.
  • If you don’t add the reference, your payment might be delayed or rejected. If that happens, you might also pay a fee.
  • The screenshot shows the confirmation as ‘Split Bill’. Bit strange, but it still processes as normal.

  • It’ll usually be credited in 1-2 business day, but can take longer.

Advantages

  • Cheap way to buy bitcoin in the UK (about 0.5% in fees).
  • Revolut allows you to exchange currencies at the real exchange rate, with no fees for the first £1000 exchanges every month.
  • Bitstamp seems well-recommended in /r/BitcoinUK threads.
  • You only need to verify identity through two companies (Revolut and either: Bitstamp or Coinbase Pro).

Disadvantages

  • Send, spend, withdraw, and exchange (in a non-GBP currency) the first £1000 FREE every month. After that, you’ll pay a 0.5% fee for cross-currency transactions (Source).
  • Revolut charges a 0.5% fee if you exchange currencies on a weekend.
  • Transferring EUR to a cryptocurrency exchange can take up to 48 hours (but usually less).
  • SEPA transfers are only processed on weekdays. If you send EUR on a weekend, it won’t be processed until Monday.
  • No desktop version of Revolut is available.

Revolut FAQ

Here are some of the most frequently asked questions about using this route to buy bitcoin in the UK.

Error: Beneficiary not allowed

You might receive the error “Beneficiary not allowed” when attempting to add a cryptocurrency exchange, such as Coinbase or Bitstamp, as a beneficiary (i.e., payment recipient) in Revolut.

This can be resolved by activating your personal EURO account inside Revolut beforehand.

To do so, follow these steps:

  1. Open the Revolut app.
  2. On the Revolut home screen, click the small icon in the top left corner of the screen (Accounts).
  3. Select EUR account.
  4. Select ‘Activate’.

Alternatively: Follow the instructions in this post.

Once you’ve activated your personal Euro account, you should be able to add exchanges like Coinbase and Bitstamp as beneficiaries without issue.

If this doesn’t resolve your issue, try uninstalling and re-downloading the Revolut app. Failing that, contact their support in-app to troubleshoot the issue.

Can I withdraw from Coinbase Pro or Bitstamp to Revolut?

Yes, check out my ‘Sell Bitcoin UK Guide‘. You’ll have to pay a €0.15 fee when withdrawing from Coinbase Pro and a €0.90 fee when withdrawing from Bitstamp.

Here’s how you add your Revolut EURO accounts:

  • Coinbase Pro
    • Go to Coinbase
    • Select ‘Settings’
    • Select ‘Payment Methods’
    • Select ‘+ Add Payment Method’
    • Add details of Revolut EURO accounts
  • Bitstamp
    • Go to Bitstamp
    • In the top right, select ‘Withdrawal’
    • In the left-pane, select ‘EU Bank (SEPA)’
    • Put in details of Revolut EURO accounts

Can I withdraw euros from Kraken to Revolut?

Nope (as of January 2020).

People were previously routing payments through Fire.com accounts (e.g., Kraken > Fire.com > Revolut). But that’s no longer possible either.

Here’s an excerpt from an email I received from Fire.com on 12th February 2019:

“We are writing to all of our customers to advise that we will no longer support payments to/from cryptocurrency exchanges. This change will take effect immediately. Any payments connected to cryptocurrency exchanges will be unsuccessful and the funds will be returned to the sending account.” – Fire.com

Monzo and Transferwise don’t work either. See this thread for more details.

Does Revolut have funding limits?

Once you’ve completed Revolut’s ID verification, you can check your annual funding limit in the app:

  1. Open the Revolut app.
  2. In the bottom right corner, select ‘More’.
  3. At the top of the app, select ‘Profile’.
  4. Select ‘Verification & Limits’.

On this page, it shows your annual limit and how much you’ve used of that allowance so far. My annual limit is set to £25,000 (but yours might be different). You can increase this limit by submitting additional information to customer support.

From the Revolut FAQ (here), it also notes that:

If you’re making a transfer in GBP in or out of your Revolut account there are daily and weekly limits. The daily limit is £75,000 combined, meaning that you cannot transfer more than £75,000 in or out of the account per 24 hours. The weekly limit is £125,000 combined. If you attempt to make a transfer larger than this amount, it will be automatically rejected by our payment processor.

How can I check how much of the monthly free foreign exchange allowance I've used?

Follow these steps:

  1. Open the Revolut app.
  2. In the bottom right corner, select ‘More’.
  3. At the top of the app, select ‘Profile’.
  4. Select the option labelled ‘Price plan’.

This page shows how much of your free monthly exchange rate you’ve used (under ‘FX transactions’).

If you expect to regularly go over your monthly £5000 foreign exchange transaction allowance, consider Revolut Premium.

Hypothetical: What happens if Revolut block payments to cryptocurrency exchanges in the future?

In late 2017, some /r/BitcoinUK users thought Revolut would stop allowing payments to Coinbase Pro (and other cryptocurrency exchanges) once they started supporting cryptocurrency speculation via their app. Their in-app cryptocurrency support sucks (read more about that here) and hasn’t happened (yet).

Even if that does happen, UK residents have more options in 2020 than back in 2017. Check out this post, where I rank the best ways to buy bitcoin in the UK.

I don't want to (or can't) use Revolut. What other routes can I take?

In 2020, UK residents now have more places where they can buy and sell bitcoin (at good rates) than ever before. Check out this list of the best ways to buy bitcoin in the UK.

Can't find what you're looking for?

If you can’t find what you’re looking for, check out:

Alternatively? Let me know in the comments section at the end of this post or tweet me.

Which Option Is Best?

If you want to buy bitcoin at the best possible price, then you’ll want to use the Crypto.com app (option #1).

Here’s why:

  • You can buy bitcoin at the real exchange rate, with 0% fees.
  • You can deposit GBP with a debit card, credit card, or UK bank transfer.
  • GBP deposits via UK bank transfers are usually credited in less than 1 hour.

If you’d prefer to use a cryptocurrency exchange, Coinbase Pro (option #2) is another cheap way to buy bitcoin in the UK.

What if you don’t want to use Coinbase Pro or Crypto.com?

The other options I’ve mentioned are still competitive. In fact, they’re only becoming more competitive with popular exchanges.

For instance, Wirex (listed in option #3) is a fantastic option.

  • Get verified quickly.
  • Supports debit cards, credit cards, and UK bank transfers (via Faster Payments)
  • Provides you with the real exchange rate, and a flat 1% fee when you buy or sell bitcoin (or other supported cryptocurrencies).

What Next?

Hardware wallets aren’t mandatory, but they are popular and well-recommended across the crypto-community.

Hardware wallets are small USB devices which help keep your hard-earned cryptocurrency secure.

I’ve reviewed nearly every hardware wallet on the market. Without a doubt, the Ledger Nano X is the best cryptocurrency hardware wallet which is currently available.

It’s reasonably priced, extremely easy to setup and use, and is Bluetooth enabled too (so you can use it on-the-go if you want). I think it’s 100% worth the investment to keep your cryptocurrency safe.

Check out my recent review to learn more about the Ledger Nano X.

Looking for something a little different?

Check out my quick rundown of the best hardware wallets on the market.

Have a Question?

Have a problem you can’t solve? Or a question you can’t find an answer to?

Comment below and let me know! I usually respond within 24-48 hours.

Anything to Add?

Thanks for reading this guide to cheaply buying bitcoin in the UK! I hope you found it useful.

Did I miss something? Or did I make a mistake?

Let me know in the comments below or tweet me.

61 thoughts on “Buy Bitcoin Cheaply in the UK (2020)”

  1. Thanks for the wirex recommendation. I know this site strictly looking at BTC, but naturally a lot of people will use the BTC to buy other coins on other exchanges. When I went to send wirex to tokok, the fee was huge, $9 for $50 worth of crypto.

    Reply
    • Hi PJ,

      Thanks for commenting and letting me know.

      Wirex are just passing along the blockchain fees, which look to have spiked recently. Lots of sites do this and it is an additional cost to consider if you’re looking at the more convenient options (Coinbase Pro does not charge for BTC withdrawals, but they’re likely to be slower).

      I think this is a good point to add into this post!

      Cheers

      Reply
  2. Don’t buy from Wirex. Apart from their admin fee for each transaction there’s also a 3% (well 2.99% to be exact) transaction fee if you pay with a card. Something they don’t tell you about when you are buying. I only found out when I was checking my bank statement. Their bitcoin prices are also a lot higher than elsewhere. Taking all this into consideration it works out you are paying 5-6% fees on each transaction. Buying limits are also ridiculously small even after you have verified your account and bank card

    I have contacted them twice asking about this, but they just never get back to you.

    Avoid

    Reply
    • Hi Jason,

      Thanks for commenting – sucks to hear about these fees.

      Did you use a credit card to make this purchase? Also, when did you make your purchase?

      Cheers,

      Dean

      Reply
      • No I made a debit card payment and I made my purchase about a week ago. Have not been charged before when paying by debit card for Bitcoin at other places. I’ll check with my bank in case it is them who charged me, but not sure why they would charge me as they haven’t when I’ve used it with Coinbase or Cryptopay to pay for Bitcoin.

        UPDATE: Just called my bank and apparently it’s a charge Visa put on all transactions that are in dollars. This is done as I’m in the UK and when purchasing Bitcoin on Wirex it’s paid for in dollars and the transactions fees are for converting it from British Pounds into US dollars. Something to look out for if using Wirex from outside the United States

        Reply
        • Thanks for the reply, Jason!

          This sounds like a foreign transaction fee – but you shouldn’t be paying that.

          I’ve just done a quick transaction to check if this happens to me too (probably won’t know until at least Friday), but can you check that your reference currency (under Preferences > General) is set to GBP? When I initially signed up, this was set to the USD for some reason, so perhaps that’s happened to you too?

          Update: Just checked my bank account and didn’t have any additional fees. As noted above, I think this hit you because you’re set to make USD payments – not GBP.

          Reply
  3. Question:

    I tried to follow your instructions to invest using coinbase pro
    in your guide im at the following section:

    option1: coinbase pro
    “deposit funds”

    the screenshot shows that you can make a bank transfer into a UK bank account with an account number and sort code.

    the thing is, when i click on “deposit” in coinbase pro i am shown a different thing. I am shown the details of an estonian bank with the implication that i need t do a “swift transfer” with a swift account number. the bank is
    “Tartu mnt 2, 10145 Tallinn, Estonia”. my bank didnt allow this to go through , they wanted to check with me first, they are saying that i was about to send my money to an unknown individual investor in estonia , and not to coinbase.

    is this swift transfer safe? are coinbase not allowing normal uk bank transfers into their uk bank account anymore?

    Reply
    • Tom, thanks for commenting and letting me know!

      It looks like something’s changed, as I’m also getting prompted to make a SWIFT transfer too (which is not what we want to do).

      It does look like UK bank transfers are working on Coinbase still. If you deposit into Coinbase.com, you can then transfer GBP between Coinbase and Coinbase Pro (free and instantly).

      To do this:

      – Login to Coinbase.com and select ‘Accounts’
      – Under your GBP wallet, select ‘Deposit’
      – It’ll provide you with a reference number. Make a note of that, then proceed to the next screen
      – It should show you some bank details, which should be Barclays Bank PLC. There should be no mention of a SWIFT code

      Send the GBP via your UK bank and you shouldn’t have any problem. Just in case, consider sending a smaller amount first. My deposits have previously been credited within about 30 minutes.

      – You’ll need to wait for your GBP funds to deposit and clear (which now takes 5 days).
      – When the funds have cleared, head over to Coinbase Pro.
      – Follow the instructions in the ‘Deposit Funds’ dropdown, but go to the ‘Coinbase Wallet’ tab instead.
      – Transfer the GBP from your Coinbase wallet. It should appear in your Coinbase Pro wallet soon after.

      Let me know if this works for you too.

      Edit: You cannot immediately transfer GBP funds from Coinbase to Coinbase Pro. It says as much in this Coinbase help article now. So even though you’ll be able to deposit GBP into Coinbase the above method, you’ll have to wait for the funds to clear (after 5 days) before you’re able to move it to Coinbase Pro. I’ve updated the guide to reflect these changes.

      Reply
  4. Hey guys! There’s a new way to buy and sell Bitcoin that’s just launched in the UK called XCH4NGE. They’re similar to LocalBitcoins, but have sub 5 minute transaction times, corporate banking infrastructure to receive and send payments (keeping your banks happy!), and excellent customer support.

    We’d love to be on the list if you update it, do let me know if you have any questions, comments, etc

    Reply
  5. I’m confused: at the start you say buying through Coinbase is the most expensive, then at the end that Coinbase Pro is the best way!?

    Reply
    • Hey Mr Mint,

      Sorry about that!

      It can be confusing and I need to update this post to make it clearer.

      To quickly explain: Coinbase have different fees for different payment methods. For debit and credit cards, they charge about 4% (which is what I mention at the start). But for purchases made via (GBP) UK bank transfers, they charge just 1.5%. However, Coinbase Pro (connected service, but aimed at different users) charge much lower fees (<0.3%). If you do it right, you can use Coinbase Pro to buy bitcoin at the best possible price.

      Hope that clears it up a little! If not, let me know!

      Reply
  6. Hi there. I’m a little confused about how to transfer funds from Revolut to Coinbase/GDAX

    Your guide says…

    “If you are purchasing through GDAX, don’t try to add Revolut as a bank account in Coinbase. Instead, follow these steps:
    1) Go to ‘Accounts’ in the top bar.
    2) In the left sidebar under ‘Your Accounts’, select ‘Deposit’ under the ‘EUR Wallet’.
    3) Deposit information should then pop-up. Plug these details into Revolut (Pink Transfer Button > To bank account > Add a new beneficiary).”

    When I click on EUR Wallet > Deposit displays a form wanting me to enter my bank account details. From your description, I was expecting Coinbase to give me its own bank account details, which I would then enter into Revolut.

    What should I do? Do I now have to add Revolut as a bank account on Coinbase? What implications does this have?

    Thanks

    Reply
    • Hey Pato,

      You’re right. Something must have changed since I originally wrote the post.

      It might be different as a new user, but give this a try:
      1) Go to Coinbase Pro instead. If you’re already registered on Coinbase, you’ll also have a Coinbase Pro account (you might have to just confirm some details).
      2) In the top right, click the highlighted area in this image
      3) Select BTC/EUR.
      4) In the order form section just below that, select ‘Deposit’.
      5) A new window pops up. You should see the SEPA details.

      If this works, the funds will be deposited straight into Coinbase Pro (which saves you a step).

      If that doesn’t work, let me know and I’ll do some digging.

      Reply
  7. Hi Dean, great articles here! Would you consider adding CoinCorner to the list alongside Solidi etc, please? We’re a UK based bitcoin exchange and have been operating since 2014. We have 130,000+ customers and offer a variety of payment methods. Customer support is also on-hand to help with any queries.

    I can send you an Information Pack via email if you are interested to learn more about us too. 🙂

    Many thanks
    Joanne

    Reply
  8. Thanks Penguin, this is helpful. However, it seems that Revolut has its own crypto exchange / purchase system. I have bought through this as I have a premium account. I was expecting to have to set up a GDAX account, but it did not seem like I had to.

    Are there any issues in using this, or should I still get a separate wallet and keep somewhere else? Apologies if this is a basic question, but I am still a little confused.

    Reply
    • Hey Oliver,

      I wrote this post before Revolut’s in-app cryptocurrency exchange was released, so none of what’s described applies to their in-app exchange.

      The main issue with using Revolut’s in-app cryptocurrency exchange is that they do not allow you to withdraw cryptocurrency from their application. So even if you wanted to withdraw to your own private wallet (which you control), you wouldn’t be able to. This means you have to trust them to look after your cryptocurrency. The buy and sell price is also calculated using Volume Weighted Average Price (VWAP), which essentially means you’re not going to see the ‘real’ price that the market is currently trading at. If you’re just looking to gain some initial exposure to the most popular cryptocurrencies, then this works well – but it isn’t a replacement for buying elsewhere and storing the cryptocurrency in your own wallet. I have a review with some more details here.

      I recently put together a FAQ for beginners (which is aimed at those in the UK) with someone else, which you might find useful too. You can find that here.

      Hope this helps! If you have any more questions, please do ask.

      Reply
  9. Hi, I’m getting an error on Revolut saying “beneficiary not allowed” when trying to transfer from revolut to coinbase/gdax. Anyone had the same issue and know how to get around it?

    Thanks

    Reply
    • Hey,

      Check out the first question in this post – it should sort you out. Once you have followed those instructions, do give it at least 10 minutes before trying to add Coinbase/GDAX as a beneficiary again.

      Hope this helps!

      Reply
  10. Can confirm that Revolut are not allowing this transfer now. I wonder if it is because they are soon going to offer Bitcoin purchases natively within their app. In which case, bring it on!

    ok scrap that – I hadn’t activated. Just read your FAQ!

    Reply
  11. Nice article! I wondered if you could give advice with my specific situation:

    I used Fidor Bank and Kraken exchange to buy/trade BTC and other alts. I recently sold a lot of my position back to fiat, and am not happy with the amount of Euros I have sitting on the Kraken exchange.

    I can not withdraw back to Fidor as UK account holders are not provided IBAN and BIC numbers.

    I am currently looking in to Revolut, as a means to taking the Euros off the exchange.

    Are there any other methods you would recommend that would not sting me too much on fees/exchange rates.

    Thanks,

    Ben

    Reply
    • Hey Ben,

      I don’t use Kraken anymore, as I just had too many issues with it – so this might not be up-to-date or 100%.

      From what this says, you should be able to withdraw directly from Kraken to Revolut as you’re able to activate a personalised IBAN inside your Revolut EUR account. However, there are contradictory reports on Reddit from Kraken themselves (see here) which say it isn’t possible to go directly to Revolut.

      Setting up a Fire.com personal account (which has a UK and EUR account) might work. I outline the main features of it here (scroll down to question beginning “Hypothetical”) and the process you’d through for buying (which you can just reverse for selling/withdrawing). I’ve seen reports this works, but don’t have links to verify that.

      Alternatively, exchange from EUR to BTC and send your BTC to GDAX. From there, you can withdraw to Revolut, exchange from EUR to GBP (free up £5000/month), transfer to your UK bank, and then make it rain.

      I’ll attempt to verify this information tomorrow if I’m able!

      I’ll reply again when I get an update, but hope that helps for now!

      Reply
    • Just an update to my previous reply.

      I’ve tested going from Kraken to Fire (EUR account), as well as from Kraken to Revolut. Both completed with no issues. If you’re going through Fire.com (EUR), you could then opt for a service like TransferWise which exchanges from EUR to GBP for about 0.5%. As the Fire.com account is in your name (by default), this shouldn’t be an issue.

      If you go through Revolut (because 0% FX transfers are hard to beat), make sure to activate your personal EUR IBAN. You’ll find the instructions in this post if you can’t find it!

      Hope that clarifies/helps.

      Reply
      • I really appreciate the detailed reply, I came across Fire.com after posting the question and have opened an account.

        I am yet to try a withdrawal, but will this coming week.

        I have favourited this invaluable information for future reference, and will certainly link anyone else to it who is in a similar position as I am.

        One further question, what are your favoured exchanges? As well as Kraken I use Bittrex a lot, and Bitfinex and Cryptopia a bit, but wondered if you recommended any others and why.

        Thanks again, GL in the Crypto Space.

        Reply
        • Hey Ben,

          Glad you’ve found the site useful! Happy to help.

          I find myself using Binance more and more. Fees are good and they have a good selection of alts to trade (which is growing fast). They seem well recommended by others, but there are improvements that they still need to make to their platform. For new users with low volume, the verification requirements are low too.

          I use Bittrex (average fees, decent alt selection) when I have to, but stay clear from Bitfinex. I honestly haven’t researched what’s going on with Bitfinex and Tether much, but it doesn’t look good. If you’re interested, dig through some of this person’s tweets.

          Hope this helps and GL too!

          Reply
  12. Hey Penguin,

    Thanks for all the great insight on this thread.

    I’m a futures trader and looking to day trade bitcoin using similar strategies. Problem is I’m totally lost as how to start trading from a fiat account.

    What I hope to do is open a fiat account with one of the bitcoin wallet companies or the exchange itself and deposit say £10k to begin with. Then I’d like to start buying and selling bitcoin from that account.

    Is this even possible to do at this stage, I.e have a segregated fiat currency account whilst you buy and sell bitcoin that you go flat on at the end of the day?

    If so could you kindly recommend a bitcoin company where I can open a GBP account (or USD) and have the ability to trade off the exchange with good execution and low fees?

    Hope this isn’t just a pipe dream at this point in time!

    Thanks in advance!

    Reply
    • Hey Ben,

      Either Coinfloor or CEX might be what you’re looking for. In particular, Coinfloor looks attractive as they don’t have any trading fees – just deposit and withdrawal fees. I haven’t looked in-depth into either of these platforms, so can’t speak or recommend from first-hand experience.

      You didn’t ask, but there are tax implications of cashing in/out of bitcoin in the UK if you go over the tax-free threshold. If you’re interested, I can pass on a few Reddit threads which I have saved.

      If you’re looking for something to track your trades once you get setup, check out this post.

      Hope that helps!

      Reply
  13. Hi,
    Thanks for this guide. I’ve used option 1 and successfully purchased some coin via GDAX.

    I’m based in the UK. I used your referral code to sign up to Coinbase, deposited some EUR into it via my Revolut, then signed in to GDAX, transferred the EUR and purchased some ETH.

    How do you and I benefit from the £10 referral bonus? Coinbase still tells me to add a bank account and verify myself by purchasing some coin via Coinbase. Coinbase doesn’t let me add my EUR revolut account, only my UK one. I then have to transfer €6 minimum to verify, but this will incur costs when transferring from GBP to EUR. How do you suggest we take advantage of the referral bonus?

    Thanks!

    Reply
    • Hey Arjun,

      This should work if you purchase with a debit/credit card for your first purchase with Coinbase (but you will pay 3.99% fees). Otherwise, you could deposit to Coinbase like you did originally – but purchase via Coinbase and not GDAX (as that’s a requirement to get the bonus). You shouldn’t need to add Revolut as a bank account in Coinbase unless you’re trying to sell + withdraw.

      Hope that helps! If you still have issues, let me know and I’ll dig around.

      Reply
  14. Hi Penguin,

    Thanks for your post. It is super helpful and easy to follow…which I will be. What exchanges and wallets would you recommend for buying and storing other altcoins? Apologies in advance if you have written another post on this that I haven’t seen.

    Reply
    • Hey Kieran,

      Glad you liked it!

      For exchanges, I’ve written a brief post here. I can usually find most of the coins I want to buy on either Bittrex or Binance (with Binance being my favourite), but there are some other popular options you could consider.

      The general consensus is that you shouldn’t store funds in online wallets. I answered a question about this recently on Reddit here, which briefly explains why.

      The easiest (and safe) option is to use a hardware wallet, such as the Ledger Nano S or Trezor. Although you can’t create wallets for all cryptocurrencies with these devices, they cover the main ones (Bitcoin, Ethereum + ERC20 tokens, Litecoin, Dash). Compared to the Trezor, Ledger has more altcoin support (with Monero and Neo coming soon). You can buy both from Amazon (Ledger is here + Trezor is here) if you want them ASAP. The Ledger Nano S is what I use. For less than £70, this gives you peace of mind.

      Alternatively, you could install the official wallet releases (from the developers) or a multi-currency wallet, like Exodus or Jaxx, on your desktop. I don’t use them, but they seem well recommended. They are free and easy to use (in most cases). Unless these use two-factor authentication, they are probably less secure (as a compromise of your PC could reveal the keys/passwords to someone over the Internet).

      Hope that helps! I will have a more detailed post about wallets, exchanges, and security soon’ish.

      Reply
    • Hey Matthew,

      There’s some information on this here.

      I usually set a limit order so that I’m classified as a maker, and not a taker, on the market. This is because you’ll be charged 0.1 – 0.25% in fees if you are a taker (see here for information on fees for GDAX). You can read about the basics of what a maker and taker are here.

      Hope that helps!

      Reply
  15. Coinbase lists a “Bank address” (Estonia) and a “recipient address” (England) – which of these do you plug into the “Country” field on the Revolut transfer screen?

    Reply
    • Hey Craig,

      The same methods, but in reverse. The process for route #1 would look like this:
      – Transfer BTC to GDAX.
      – Sell BTC at market rate/limit sell for EUR.
      – Select ‘Withdraw’, select ‘SEPA’, and fill in all the details. If Revolut isn’t there, add your EUR IBAN details.
      – When funds land in Revolut, exchange it from EUR to GBP (fee-less, unless you’re over the £5000 monthly exchange/receive/send limit).
      – Send to your GBP bank.

      If possible, do this on a weekday – Revolut charges a 0.5% markup on their foreign exchange rate on weekends (for popular currencies, more for less popular). If the Revolut monthly limit impacts you, check out this link.

      Alternatively, you could just sell to a reputable person on LocalBitcoins and just get GBP straight away – without all the faff. For larger amounts (>£5000), Coinfloor might be worth checking out (can’t vouch).

      Reply
        • Hey Chris,

          I don’t have any experience with anycoindirect – so I can’t say for certain. Given that Revolut don’t block most cryptocurrency exchanges, I don’t see why they wouldn’t accept SEPA payments from this exchange too. If you want to make 100% certain, you’ll need to get in touch with them (to do this: Open Revolut App > Select ‘More’ (at bottom)> Select ‘Support’ (at top) > Put in your query until the bot connects you to a customer service rep).

          If you can’t be bothered with that, just send a small test payment and find out yourself! Most SEPA transfers take under 24hours on weekdays.

          Reply
  16. What wallet do you use to store your BTC after purchasing from one of the exhanges?

    Is there a wallet that lets you control private keys that integrates in a way that lets you skip the fees in sending your BTC from e.g coinbase to whatever wallet you have?

    Reply
    • Hey,

      I answered this question here.

      If there is a way to do this, I’m not aware of it. I would recommend chunking your transfers. For example, accumulate between £500-1000 worth of BTC on Coinbase/GDAX/Bitstamp, then transfer in one transaction to your private wallet. If you are doing this, make sure you enable 2-factor authentication wherever you’re temporarily leaving your BTC.

      Reply
  17. New issue.. Maybe I’m just not meant to use this method :(.

    Finally got my Revolut account authorised after having to do the manual process. Trying to send the funds from my EUR balance to Coinbase, and am now getting an error in revolut saying “Transfer Cancelled, Beneficiary Not Allowed”.

    Double checked all the IBAN/Swift/BIC details etc and they’re all correct. I also set the country the beneficiary is in to Estonia, which is where Coinbase says it’s account is.

    Have you seen this before?

    Reply
    • Haven’t experienced this myself, but Revolut might now be blocking payments to these places. I’ve sent a transaction to test this now in any case.

      If you’re looking to make a payment ASAP, I’d just use Localbitcoins/GBP-direct alternatives for now. Alternatively, you could also set up a Fire account. Once that’s setup, you should be able to send it through Revolut > Fire > Coinbase/Bitstamp/etc. Haven’t tested this route myself yet though!

      Thanks for commenting though, I’ll look into this.

      Reply
  18. Thanks for the guide, it’s been really helpful in understanding how to get started.
    I have a an issue which seems to be blocking me using the first method though.
    I’ve created my accounts on both Coinbase and GDAX, however I can’t create an EUR wallet?
    I’ve got a GBP wallet there already, but that would charge 3.99% to transfer to.

    Any idea how why I don’t have access to an EUR wallet, or how to create one?

    Thanks

    Reply
    • I’d imagine it should just be there once you’ve signed up – no need to create it. Should be under Accounts > Left side panel > EUR > Deposit button.

      Are you fully verified on Coinbase? There could be limitations if you’ve just signed up.

      Check out this article – might help too.

      Reply
      • I’m fully verified except for adding a credit/debit card to my account.
        When I created the account it automatically had a GBP wallet, but no EUR one.
        I’ve raised a support ticket with Coinbase, but it says they’re likely to take several days to respond.

        Thank you for the reply, unfortunately that link doesn’t work?

        Reply
        • Problem magically solved! As I wrote this post, checked my account again and an EUR wallet now appears on my account.
          I guess it just takes a bit of time? May be worth mentioning it in your blog just in case other newbies like me get the same issue ;).

          Reply

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