PayPal Cryptocurrency Review
You can now easily and quickly buy and sell cryptocurrencies from within your PayPal account in the UK.
However, it’s lacking important functionality in the UK. You cannot currently withdraw crypto from your PayPal account to an external wallet, or deposit crypto from an external source into your PayPal account.
You’ll be charged fees of at least 2% when you buy or sell cryptocurrencies on PayPal, but it can be much higher than that for smaller transactions.
Check out the link below for a list of fully functional alternatives (some of which are cheaper) where you can buy Bitcoin (BTC) in the UK.
On 17th September 2021, PayPal finished rolling out a new feature to UK users that enables you to buy, sell, and store cryptocurrency inside your PayPal account.
But is it any good?
Read my full PayPal cryptocurrency review to find out.
How Does PayPal’s Crypto Feature Work?
There’s no doubt: PayPal has made it quick and painless to buy Bitcoin (BTC) and other cryptocurrencies in the UK.
Check out this short video (1m 30s) for an overview of how it works.
If you already have a PayPal account, you can buy Bitcoin (BTC) and other cryptocurrencies in just a few minutes. That’s awesome.
Unfortunately, this convenience comes bundled with some serious limitations.
Keep reading for more on this.
You’ll need to create a PayPal account and verify your identity (by providing details about yourself and identification) before you can buy or sell cryptocurrencies on PayPal in the UK.
Click to expand any of these images.
- Login to your account and head to the ‘Crypto’ tab.
- Select Bitcoin (BTC).
- Click on ‘Buy’.
- Enter how much Bitcoin (BTC) you want to buy.
- Select ‘Next’.
- Choose how you want to pay for this transaction. I selected my PayPal balance, but you can also pull money directly from a bank account or debit card.
- Click ‘Next’.
- You’ll be asked to review and agree to some terms and conditions.
- You should then see a box with all the purchase details. This shows you the exchange rate you’re being charged (for comparison) and the transaction fee (which is added on top of the purchase amount).
- If you’re happy, then select ‘Agree and Buy’.
- You’re done! After a few moments, you should see your Bitcoin (BTC) balance in the Crypto tab. You’ll also see the combined value of your crypto balance on the PayPal summary page.
PayPal is working in partnership with the Paxos Trust Company to provide eligible PayPal users with the ability to buy, sell, and store cryptocurrencies inside of their PayPal accounts.
PayPal currently allows you to buy, sell, and hold the following cryptocurrencies in the UK:
- Bitcoin (BTC)
- Ethereum (ETH)
- Litecoin (LTC)
- Bitcoin Cash (BCH)
There’s no news on this from PayPal yet.
PayPal’s new cryptocurrency functionality is powered by Paxos Trust Company. The cryptocurrencies supported by PayPal is probably limited to what is offered by the Paxos Crypto Brokerage.
- Bitcoin (BTC)
- Ethereum (ETH)
- Litecoin (LTC)
- Bitcoin Cash (BCH)
- PAX Gold (PAXG)
In short, this seems like it’ll be decided on a case-by-case basis by PayPal.
If PayPal decides not to support a forked cryptocurrency, then you might not ever be credited with any of the value that these forked cryptocurrencies have.
You can deposit GBP into your PayPal account by transferring GBP using a UK bank transfer (via Faster Payments) or a debit card.
Deposits I’ve made with a UK bank transfer into PayPal have been credited within a minute or two (but it can sometimes take days).
I haven’t been charged anything by PayPal to use these two payment methods. See here for a bit more information.
PayPal’s cryptocurrency features have NOT been rolled out to every country where you can open an account.
It’s currently only available to users who are residents in the following countries:
- United Kingdom
- United States (excluding Hawaii)
You’ll pay an explicit transaction fee when buying or selling cryptocurrency on PayPal. You’ll also be quoted exchange rates that don’t match up with current prices on popular cryptocurrency exchanges (i.e., the mid-market rate).
The transaction fee you’re charged depends on how much cryptocurrency you’re buying or selling:
|£1.00 – £4.99||£0.49|
|£5.00 - £24.99||£0.99|
|£25.00 - £74.99||£1.99|
|£75.00 - £200.00||£2.49|
|£200.01 - £1000.00||1.80%|
Because of how PayPal currently processes cryptocurrency transactions in the UK, a behind-the-scenes conversion takes place from GBP to USD. Some margin might be included in this exchange rate.
The USD to crypto exchange rate you’re quoted should also include a 0.50% fee (but it could be more).
Put all this together and it means that you’ll pay at least 2% in fees when buying or selling cryptocurrency on PayPal.
But if you make smaller purchases/sales (less than £1000), it can work out substantially more expensive.
This is NOT the lowest-cost method of buying Bitcoin (BTC) in the UK. For alternatives, check out this list of some of my favourite places.
I’ve previously been told by a PayPal spokesperson that:
- You can buy or sell up to £15,000 per transaction.
- The weekly limit for cryptocurrency purchases is £15,000.
According to this, the monthly (12-month rolling) limit is £35,000.
The cryptocurrency that you have in your PayPal account is pooled with the cryptocurrency that other people are storing in their PayPal accounts. Cryptocurrencies aren’t held by PayPal – instead, they’re being custodied by its partner (Paxos).
In the UK, you cannot currently:
- Send cryptocurrencies to other people using PayPal.
- Use what cryptocurrency you’ve bought on PayPal to pay merchants.
- Withdraw anything to an external cryptocurrency wallet.
- Deposit cryptocurrencies into your PayPal account from somewhere else.
I think this is awful.
You’ll be 100% locked into their platform and won’t be able to do…well, anything with the cryptocurrency you buy using PayPal.
FYI: This is not the case in the United States. Expand the box below to find out more.
PayPal’s US launch of crypto features gives us some clues.
PayPal’s cryptocurrency functionality was initially launched in the United States in October 2020. Since April 2021, Venmo (owned by PayPal) has provided the same functionality to users in the United States too.
From March 2021, PayPal launched ‘Checkout with Crypto’ in the US too. This allows PayPal customers to use select their cryptocurrency holdings in PayPal when paying for something. Although the merchant won’t be paid in crypto (as it’s converted into fiat on-demand), I still think this is a decent feature.
In August 2022, PayPal announced that US customers could now send and receive supported cryptocurrencies in their PayPal accounts.
Summary: It Could Be Better
Here’s the bottom line of what I think:
While PayPal’s cryptocurrency hub is perfect for those who want to dip their toes into crypto, it’s missing some critical functionality.
You can’t do anything with the cryptocurrency you buy on PayPal. Most importantly, you can’t withdraw cryptocurrencies to an external wallet (i.e., take self-custody). You’re locked inside their ecosystem.
And when there’s such a wide selection of alternatives in the UK that DO provide this functionality, why should we settle for less?
Until this changes, I won’t be using it.
Alternatives to Buying Crypto on PayPal
Here are some easy-to-use alternatives to PayPal’s cryptocurrency hub:
- CoinJar: Deposit GBP with a UK bank transfer or use a credit/debit card to buy Bitcoin (BTC) and a growing number of other cryptocurrencies (50+). Find out more in my CoinJar review.
- Luno: Has a great mobile but doesn’t support many cryptocurrencies – just Bitcoin (BTC) and 10 others. You can deposit GBP with a UK bank transfer or use a credit/debit card. Find out more in my Luno review.
- Coinbase: One of the largest and most popular cryptocurrency platforms in the world. Allows you to buy Bitcoin (BTC) and dozens of other cryptocurrencies in the UK. Find out everything you need to know in my Coinbase review.
And if you’re looking for the cheapest way to buy Bitcoin (BTC) in the UK? Check out this post.
Anything to Add?
Thanks for checking out this PayPal cryptocurrency review!
Have a question about this feature? Or want to voice your thoughts about it?
Let me know in the comments section below!
6 thoughts on “PayPal Cryptocurrency Review (2023)”
If you are just looking to invest, hoping that the price of crypto rises, is it worth using PayPal? A lot of the other platforms such as Coinbase get extremely poor user reviews.
Thanks for commenting, Cal!
There are alternatives to Coinbase that are just as easy to use, but have lower fees and better user reviews (e.g., CoinJar).
Even if you don’t care about taking custody of the cryptocurrency you’re buying, I think the fees that PayPal are charging aren’t competitive. It’s the same issue with Revolut.
Thanks great article. If you can’t use an external wallet if you want to sell your crypto does it just get deposited straight to your bank account from where it came? If so what are the fees for this please?
Great to hear you liked it, Simon!
When you sell cryptocurrencies that you have on PayPal, the money will be deposited into your PayPal account. You can leave it there, or transfer it over to any bank account that you’ve connected on PayPal.
You’ll be charged the same fees when buying and selling cryptocurrencies on PayPal, so check that section within this review for all the details.
Let me know if you have any other questions!
Can this be used like regular PayPal when wanting to buy a product online (when a seller only excepts crypto)?
Thanks for commenting, Steven!
If you’re a UK resident, then you can’t currently do anything except buy, sell, and hold the supported cryptocurrencies on PayPal.
In the US, you can ‘Checkout With Crypto’. In short, this allows you to pay for purchases using your cryptocurrency balances. You can find out more here and here. One thing that I’m not clear about in the US (as I can’t personally check) is what fees – if any – you’re charged when using this to pay for purchases.
This function will probably be available in other countries in the future.