As Bitcoins popularity continues to increase so does the number of people asking – ‘How do I buy Bitcoin?’ As it stands the process of purchasing Bitcoin can alter slightly depending on which country you live in. In this article, we will cover specifically how to buy Bitcoin as a UK resident.
Bitcoin offers its users some real benefits over fiat currencies such as global payments with minimal fees and peer-to-peer transactions with no 3rd party interference. It has also enjoyed massive growth in its value over the last decade and as this digital currency continues to go mainstream so increases the potential uses and convenience of it. In the UK it’s even possible now to purchase an 18 million pound London mansion using Bitcoin.
While there are many advantages to Bitcoin it must also be noted that its price can be very volatile. This means that its value can drop or increase significantly in short periods of time. You should consider this when buying Bitcoin and be aware of your risk tolerance.
What’s different for UK citizens?
This all comes down to being able to pay for your Bitcoin. The most common method of paying for Bitcoin is by using a credit/debit cards or by bank transfer. There will be specific exchanges or marketplaces that allow purchases using UK credit/debit cards but also many that will not accept UK cards or bank transfers at all. Speed can also be a factor, and if you are looking for instant purchases again, there will be specific marketplaces that cater to UK residents.
SEPA (Single Euro Payments Area) seems to be a commonly excepted payment method. If your bank account allows this, then you will have a few more options from where you can purchase Bitcoin.
It may be necessary to open multiple accounts to get the best deal and use Bitcoin the way you require. For example, let’s say you wanted to get into Bitcoin trading and there’s a specific exchange that has the best tools and charts for this. However, this exchange does not allow you to purchase Bitcoin using a UK bank account, you would, therefore, need to buy them elsewhere and transfer them over to this exchange.
This will likely become less of an issue with time, as cooperation increases and British banks becoming more willing to service the Bitcoin marketplace.
Cryptocurrency exchanges allow their customers to buy, sell and trade digital currencies like Bitcoin, Ether, and Litecoin. The number of digital currencies available will depend on the exchange.
When you open an account and buy from a cryptocurrency exchange, there will be an initial verification process. This will involve sending in scanned images of your passport or other forms of ID as well as personal documents like recent bank statements. This process can take just a few minutes or multiple days depending on the cryptocurrency exchange. This is because you will have to wait while they confirm that all of your documents meet their requirements.
Fees will vary between different exchanges, so it’s worth looking around. Here are some cryptocurrency exchanges that do serve UK customers:
- Coinbase – A highly popular exchange. Deposits possible via SEPA payments or instant purchases using any Visa/Mastercard credit/debit card.
- Bitstamp – Deposits possible via SEPA payments or purchases using a credit/debit card.
- Coinfloor – UK based Bitcoin exchange. Deposits in GBP possible via SWIFT or SEPA payments.
- CEX.IO – Deposits possible via SEPA payments or using a Visa/Mastercard credit/debit card.
These online marketplaces match those who are looking to buy Bitcoin with those who are looking to sell. For those looking to make their first Bitcoin purchases, these online markets can be quite competitive on price and have lower initial fees. You will need to have a Bitcoin wallet ready beforehand when purchasing from a P2P marketplace which we will cover in the next section.
Here are some peer-to-peer Bitcoin marketplaces that support purchases for UK residents:
- Bittylicious – Reliable service and an easy way to buy Bitcoins via UK bank transfer.
- LocalBitcoins – Buy Bitcoins directly from people in exchange for your local currency.
Quick note – An excellent site for comparing the costs of buying Bitcoin in the UK to help you get the best deal is BittyBot.
Whenever you purchase Bitcoin, you will need to have a wallet to store them in. The most common and easiest method of storage is via an online Bitcoin wallet; however, other forms include desktop, hardware and paper Bitcoin wallets, and these options are usually much more secure.
There are more than 90 Bitcoin ATMs that currently exist in the UK with the vast majority being in London.
These machines allow you to insert cash in exchange for Bitcoins (although, their rates are little poor). You will need to have a Bitcoin wallet already when purchasing through a Bitcoin ATM.
Final thoughts on buying Bitcoin in the UK
It’s worth looking around when purchasing Bitcoin to make sure you are getting the best deal. The marketplace is developing quickly with new players set to enter the scene. This should lead to lower and more competitive fees for UK citizens.
Where is your favourite place to buy Bitcoin? Do you have multiple cryptocurrency exchange accounts? It would be great to hear your opinions in the comments section below!