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How to buy bitcoin with a credit or debit card instantly with and without verification

A detailed guide
After Bitcoin surged to $50,000 in February 2021, a lot more users began looking for ways to buy Bitcoin with a credit card anonymously. Analysts believe that the price can reach $100,000 in 2021, so it's still not too late to get in on the action, though it can be difficult to purchase crypto securely without a KYC. In this article, we'll outline all the options, fees, and risks.

Buying crypto without identification: advantages and risks

Most respectable online platforms now require KYC when buying BTC with a card or bank transfer, at least above a certain limit. Usually, you'll need to provide your full name, address, a photo of your ID, and proof of address. For large transactions, the platform might ask you to prove the source of funds.

Those services that don't ask you to get verified range from quite legit (like ATMs) to downright shady (unofficial exchangers): we'll look at all these types in the next section. For now, you should realize that using a fully anonymous service probably has more cons than pros.

Pros

  1. Possible to buy Bitcoin with a credit card instantly, without wasting time on KYC (which can take an hour or more on some platforms);
  2. There's no risk that your personal data will be leaked (there have been cases when people were blackmailed and even tortured to give away their wallet password – all because criminals found out they had Bitcoin);
  3. Tax authorities won't know that you own crypto (though we don't recommend evading taxes!).

Cons

  1. Your bank can refuse the transaction or even block your account or card;
  2. The fees are often higher – you're paying extra for anonymity;
  3. When buying from an ATM, it's not so easy to verify the transaction status;
  4. Many of the services that offer to buy Bitcoins instantly with a debit card without KYC are unofficial, so there's a risk you won't receive your Bitcoin...
  5. ...and you'll have no recourse and no way to retrieve your money because the service that sold it is unofficial.

Where can you buy Bitcoin for fiat

Now that we've looked at the pros and cons, it's time for the main question: where to buy Bitcoin with a credit card? The services can be divided in two classes:
  1. centralized: you buy crypto directly from a company;
  2. decentralized/P2P: you buy from an independent seller, and the platform acts as an intermediary (truly decentralized crypto-fiat transactions aren't possible, as we'll see).

Centralized services: exchanges, exchangers, wallets, and ATMs

The difference between these almost-identically named types of services is simple: an exchange also works as a proper trading platform, while an exchanger's sole purpose is to carry out simple conversions.

  • Exchanges. According to a new study by BDCenter Digital, 70% of major crypto trading platforms have a fiat gateway. They include Binance, Bitfinex, and CEX.io. Some don't charge a fee for buying Bitcoin via a wire transfer, and the credit card fees are usually reasonable – for example, Binance charges 3%. However, prepare to pass a verification to deposit or withdraw fiat: exchanges work with official processing providers and don't allow anonymous credit card transactions.
  • Exchangers. The best-known is Coinbase (though it also has a proper trading platform, Coinbase Pro), followed by Paxful, BitPanda, Coinmama, etc. They also require a full KYC. Be careful: credit card fees can be really high (even above 10%) and not clearly stated on the site.
  • Wallets. Many respectable crypto wallets now offer to buy Bitcoin without leaving the wallet. They include CoinsPaid, Trust Wallet, Bitcoin.com, Guarda, etc. Using the wallet to send and receive crypto usually doesn't involve a KYC, but you will need to get verified to buy crypto with a card.
  • ATMs. This is the only centralized option that is both anonymous and 'official', though more and more machines require some form of KYC nowadays. Read on for more info on how to locate the Bitcoin ATM closest to you and how to use it properly.
  • Unofficial exchangers. If you are wondering how to buy bitcoin instantly without any KYC and without leaving home, your only option is an unofficial exchange service, like those listed on bestchange.com. Most of them are locateв in Russia and the CIS and don't have any license, so the risks are high. You'll need to provide a full name (though it doesn't have to be real), email address, and phone number.
Note that exchange requests are usually processed manually, so the process isn't really instant, even if these sites offer to buy Bitcoin with a debit card instantly.

Decentralized/P2P services

A decentralized platform (dApps) can't sell crypto for fiat on its own, because smart contracts can't directly deal with assets in the 'real world'. However, decentralized services can partner up with official crypto processing providers, such as CoinsPaid, to accept crypto payments or offer a fiat gateway.

Another type of service in the decentralized category is a P2P exchanger. It's a sort of marketplace where individual Bitcoin sellers and buyers meet. Every seller can set their own terms, exchange rate, and payment options, though most accept credit cards. The most popular site of this type is LocalBitcoins. You can buy up to $1000 worth of BTC without full verification, though you'll still need to provide your full name, country, and email.

Stay safe when buying Bitcoin with a credit card

Always follow these simple rules when buying Bitcoins with a debit card or credit card:
  • never reveal your private key or seed phrase when you give your Bitcoin wallet address to someone;
  • check the fees for purchasing crypto with a credit card: if you can't find them on the site, it usually means that they are high and the platform doesn't want to publicize them;
  • read the reviews before using the service – remember that many exchangers are scams;
  • make sure to copy and paste your Bitcoin address correctly: if you give an ETH address by mistake, the coins can get lost;
  • after you've paid, the platform will give you the transaction ID: use a Bitcoin block explorer to check its status.

Using Coin ATM radar to buy Bitcoin near you

There are almost 16,000 crypto ATMs across 71 countries, so there's a good chance that you have one near your home – even if you've never noticed it. Here is how to locate and use one.

1. Browse the Bitcoin ATM Map

Coin ATM Radar offers a handy map of Bitcoin ATM locations across the world, though most are in the US and western Europe.
Bitcoin ATM locations

2. Search by Location

Enter the name of a city to zoom in to the area. If you don't see any pins, zoom out. Click on a pin to see the basic info about an ATM, then on View Details to go to the ATM's page. Check the working hours, exact location, minimum and maximum transaction limits, and fees. Attention: ATMs charge more than online services (usually 7-10%). There's a handy Get Directions button to navigate to the machine with Google Maps.
Search by Location

3. Use the ATM

You'll need a mobile wallet that can generate a QR code to withdraw BTC from an ATM. Most machines can also create a special paper wallet for you, but we recommend that you install a proper wallet beforehand, such as CoinsPaid, CoinBase, Exodus, Mycelium etc.

Choose the option to buy BTC (many ATMs also allow you to sell crypto, though the exchange rate won't be great), open the wallet on your smartphone and go to 'Receive crypto' to display the QR code. Scan it with the ATM's scanner and enter the desired amount. Insert cash or a bank card, enter the pin code – and you're done! Don't forget to take the receipt. In 20-45 minutes you should see the BTC in your wallet.
Bitcoin ATMs

FAQ

How long does it take to buy Bitcoin?

If the platform requires a KYC, it can take from 15 min to 2 hours to get verified. Add to it the 5 minutes necessary to fill the form, plus anything between 20 minutes and 2 hours for the transaction to be confirmed on the blockchain, and you'll see that it can take up to 4 hours to buy BTC with a debit card, even if the service is advertised as 'instant'.

Can you buy less than one BTC?

Of course. The minimum amount is usually $10-15, which constitutes a tiny share of one Bitcoin. However, double-check that the platform doesn't charge a fixed minimum fee when purchasing small amounts.

Should you use a credit or debit card to buy BTC?

Most platforms will accept both a credit or debit card, as long as it's a regular MasterCard or Visa. Note that Coinbase doesn't support prepaid cards, though Paxful, CoinsPaid wallet, and some others do.

Can I buy other crypto using the platforms mentioned in this article?

Definitely. Binance, Coinbase, CoinsPaid wallet, Guarda Wallet, and unofficial exchangers all offer to buy ETH, USDT, USDC, LTC, and many other cryptos. LocalBitcoins features only BTC, but you can use a P2P service like LocalCryptos for ether.

Why are the credit card fees so high?

As we've said, any platform that offers to buy Bitcoins with a credit card instantly has to work with a processing service (fiat gateway). Thus, the fee consists of two parts: the one charged by the exchange itself (its profit margin), plus the fee of the processing service, over which the exchange has no control.

Why do I have to buy BTC first in order to buy other crypto?

Some platforms only allow you to buy bitcoin with a debit card instantly because it's much easier from a technical point of view than having multiple gateways; plus, processors earn a higher margin on BTC. However, Binance, CoinsPaid wallet, Paxful etc. also support ETH, USDT, XRP, BNB, etc.

Is it legal to buy cryptocurrency with a credit card?

In most countries of the world, buying and owning Bitcoin is legal, though some banks can block crypto-related transactions. The countries where crypto transactions are prohibited include Algeria, Bolivia, and Nepal (see here for a full list).
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