Rejoice! Cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology might not be mainstream yet, but they’re slowly getting there.
It’s never been easier to buy cryptocurrency using GBP. And if we’re talking about buying Bitcoin, the most widespread of them all, the options are as varied as the payment methods. Even though, in most cases, a simple bank transfer or a credit card transaction will suffice.
Without further ado, let’s get to the nitty-gritty.
Where Can I Buy Bitcoin in the UK? Best UK Bitcoin Exchanges
At this point, most of the big players in the cryptocurrency ecosystem conduct business with the United Kingdom. Most exchanges accept GBPs, and set-up the infrastructure to interact with the UK’s banking system. This is a huge advantage.
In most cases, you just have to pass through a Know-Your-Customer process. Once the exchange confirms who you are, and your bank account is verified, you’re good to go. Off to the races. Not only you can buy Bitcoin, but you can also buy Ethereum, Litecoin, and most cryptocurrencies in existence.
Sadly, there’s still no reputable option for buying Bitcoin using Paypal. Unless you count Localbitcoins, and it’s still hard to get a fair price using that P2P marketplace.
Anyway, let’s go to the specifics.
The legendary exchange was the first to get an e-money license in the UK. After that, they also brokered the first deal with Faster Payments. Both of those milestones allow them to accept bank transfers within the UK at competitive rates. And fast, your balance will reflect that transaction within minutes.
As we said, nowadays you can buy Bitcoin in Coinbase with a simple bank transfer. Alternatively, you could make a SWIFT deposit. Or a SEPA deposit in EUR. They also take credit/debit cards if they support “3D Secure”. At a higher fee.
A direct transfer and a SWIFT transfer are free. SEPA transfers cost 0.15 EUR. If you are determined to use a credit card or a debit card, a 3.99% fee is unavoidable.
As per transaction fees, the amount is from 0.00% to 0.50%. You’ll have to pay it when you want to send your BTCs from the exchange to your private wallet, for example.
How to buy Bitcoin on Coinbase Pro
First of all, verify your account. KYC protocols are very important for the Coinbase brand.
- Log-in to Coinbase and open the trading view
- Go to “Wallet Balance” and select “Deposit.”
- Go to “Currency Type” and select GBP.
- A “Deposit GBP” screen is going to pop-up. There you can choose between a bank account deposit, SWIFT transfer, or credit/debit card.
If you choose to use a bank account, all the information has to perfectly match your Coinbase account’s info.
If you prefer a SWIFT transfer, include all of this: Reference Number, Name, IBAN, and BIC. Also notice that “the required minimum for SWIFT deposits is £1000.“
The world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange by trading volume used to offer Binance Jersey. A separate marketplace for European users operated from the Bailiwick of Jersey that’s closing operations as you read this.
Binance’s original site now offers GBP deposits via Faster Payments, EUR deposits via SEPA, and the ability to buy Bitcoin through their credit cards and debit cards. So, Binance Jersey outlived its usefulness.
A direct deposit and a SEPA transfer come with zero fees. A debit card or credit card transaction fee is usually 3%, but they’re currently running a promotion for European users in which they charge just 1% if you pay with Visa. Use it while it lasts.
How to buy Bitcoin on Binance
The KYC procedure used to be lighter in Binance, but nowadays, it’s almost the same in all cryptocurrency exchanges. Once your identity is verified, add your bank account or the card of your choice. Buying Bitcoin is a few steps away.
- Log-in to your Binance account.
- Go to the “Buy and Sell Cryptocurrency” page.
- Change the Fiat currency to GBP. More payment options will appear.
- Introduce the amount you want to buy. The page will check the Bitcoin price and calculate how much BTC you will get.
- Select the payment method of your choice and click on “Buy BTC.”
Notice that Binance offers a “P2P Trading” option. If you choose that, you’ll go to a page with offers to buy and sell Bitcoin from other people. Some of them accept even more payment methods. Binance will facilitate the transaction and protect both parties.
Since December 2019, Kraken added two new options for GBP founding. The cheaper Faster Payments for everyday transactions; and CHAPS, a network “intended for large payments that need a guaranteed arrival.” They also accept SWIFT and SEPA deposits. And credit/debit cards that support “3D secure.”
Faster Payments and SWIFT deposits are free. The fee to use the CHAPS network is 21 GBP. Using any card has a 3.75% + €0.25 fee.
How to buy Bitcoin on Kraken
- Log-in to your Kraken account.
- Go to “Funding” and click “Show all Assets.” Search for GBP.
- Click “Deposit” and select “Clear Junction” if you want to make a direct deposit or a card if that’s the route you prefer.
Once your funds get credited to your account, it’ll be easy to buy Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, or any other digital currency they offer.
This guide wouldn’t be complete without this London based exchange. Cex’s value proposition is that they guarantee they’ll maintain the conditions as they are when the user clicks to confirm the trade. If the market crashes while they’re processing your transaction, you’ll get the rate they promised. If the market spikes, they stop the transaction and notify you of your luck.
Cex’s Know-Your-Customer procedures are thorough. Nevertheless, if you manage to verify your identity, bank account, or card, their interface is really easy to use. They accept credit/debit card deposits with a 2.99% fee and Faster Payment and normal bank transfers with no fee at all.
Bittrex started as a crypto-to-crypto exchange. It started dealing with Fiat recently, but they don’t accept GBP yet. Bittrex Global accepts Euro through SEPA, international wire transfer, and credit/debit cards. They don’t charge a fee for the first two, but for the cards, they’ll take 3%.
So, it’s not the best option for buying Bitcoin in the UK. At least not yet.
Through Crypto.com you could fill your Bitcoin wallet with a credit card for a considerably lower 1.49% fee. It used to be 0% until September 2020, so take the current offer while it lasts.
According to Coin ATM Radar, there are 248 Bitcoin ATMs in the United Kingdom. And you can purchase Bitcoin in all of them. They offer certain anonymity, but the fees can be brutal. Check the terms of your local Bitcoin ATM for more info.
Before Faster Payments made it even easier, Revolut was the easiest way for UK residents to purchase Bitcoin with GBP. It’s a financial app for Android and iOs in which, among other things, you can exchange currencies and buy crypto.
You could associate Revolut with your Coinbase Pro or Bitstamp account. Deposit GBP in your Revolut account and exchange them for EUR using the app. And finally, buy the cryptocurrency of your choice directly into your Coinbase Pro or Bitstamp account.
Another option was the once-mighty Local Bitcoins. This peer-to-peer marketplace puts you in contact with other users around the world who are buying and selling crypto and accept the most varied payment methods. It used to be looser and provide certain anonymity, but nowadays their Know-Your-Customer procedures are as strict as most of the exchanges. So, you might as well use an exchange.
Other services you might want to consider: Bittylicious, Coinfloor, Coinmama, Bitbargain, and CoinCorner.
Is it legal to buy Bitcoin in the UK?
Buying Bitcoin is completely legal. If you do it properly.
What about the impending FCA ban on crypto-derivatives?
The ban already happened, although it takes effect on January 6th, 2021. The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) banned “the sale, marketing and distribution to all retail consumers” of any derivative. That includes CFDs, options, futures, and ETNs.
The ban only affects amateur investors or retail consumers. That means professional traders and financial institutions can still use them.
Also, the ban is only for “firms acting in, or from, the UK.” Exchanges operating abroad, like Binance, Kraken, and Coinbase, are not under the FCA’s jurisdiction and will likely keep operating as usual.
The ban had no impact on the price of Bitcoin.
What is the cheapest option for buying Bitcoin in the UK?
If we’re going for price only, Binance is always going to be the cheapest option. Their low fees are unbeatable. All cryptocurrency exchanges have their area of expertise, their pro, and cons, and Binance is all about the price.
Crypto.com is a close second, though.
If you want to learn more about what makes each exchange tick, check our Binance, Kraken, Coinbase Pro, and Bittrex reviews.