How to Buy Bitcoin and Ethereum | Step-by-Step Beginner Guide
Bitcoin (BTC) and Ethereum (ETH) are the world’s two most popular cryptocurrencies. In this step-by-step guide, we’ll show you where and how to buy Bitcoin and Ethereum.
We’ve chosen the best exchange options for a variety of buyer needs. You can jump to the section that fits what you’re looking for using the following links:
- How to Buy Bitcoin with Fiat Currency (USD, EUR, etc.):
- How to Buy Ethereum with Bitcoin and Vice Versa on Binance
The Exchanges We’ll Be Using
To learn more about the exchanges we’ll be using to buy Ethereum and Bitcoin, you can expand the section below by clicking it. Alternatively you can skip ahead to our step-by-step guides.
Best Exchange for First Time Bitcoin or Ethereum Investors
- Trusted since 2012 and based out of San Francisco, California.
- 10 million+ customers served in over 32 countries.
- Coinbase has received more than $200 million in venture capital funding.
- Widely considered the easiest way to buy Bitcoin, Ethereum, Bitcoin Cash, and Litecoin with its incredibly intuitive interface and user experience.
- Offers Credit Card, Debit Card, and Bank Transfer Purchases.
- Sells cryptocurrency directly to customers, allowing you to avoid complicated trading platforms.
- Most accounts instantly receive their cryptocurrency after purchase, unlike the majority of competitors.
- Lowest fees for credit card purchases of exchanges we've reviewed.
- Competitive fees for bank transfer purchases.
- Industry leading financial practices including FDIC insurance for U.S. customers' USD, secure offline cryptocurrency storage, and separation of customer funds from company operational funds.
- Mobile App to buy, sell, and send cryptocurrency on the go.
|Beginner Friendly||Buy Methods||Available Cryptocurrencies||Estimated Buy Fees|
Credit Cards, Debit Cards, and Bank Transfers
Litecoin, Bitcoin Cash
|~1.49% via Bank Transfer|
~3.99% via Credit Card
See Coinbase.com for more details.
Easiest to Use Low Fee Exchange
- Based out of New York, Gemini was launched in 2015 by Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss.
- Gemini finds a great balance between beginner focused exchanges like Coinbase and more sophisticated cryptocurrency exchanges. This results in an exchange with very low fees, that's still fairly easy to use.
- Offers Bitcoin and Ethereum trading pairs.
- Fees of ~0.25% or less when buying Bitcoin or Ethereum.
- Allows users to immediately start trading after initiating a deposit, unlike many exchanges that make you wait until your deposit has been processed. Note that you won't be able to withdraw your purchased cryptocurrency until after your deposit has been fully processed.
- ACH bank transfers and bank wires are the only supported deposit methods.
- Some users have experiences far slower account verification than on competing exchanges like Coinbase, GDAX, and Bitstamp.
- Follows industry standard financial practices.
|Beginner Friendly||Buy Methods||Available Cryptocurrencies||Estimated Buy Fees|
ACH Bank Transfers,
Bank Wires, Bitcoin, Ethereum
|Bitcoin, Ethereum||~0.25% or less|
See Gemini.com for more details.
Used by more than 10 million cryptocurrency investors in 32 countries, we’ve rated Coinbase as the best beginner-friendly way to buy Bitcoin and Ethereum.
You Can Learn More About This Exchange in Our Coinbase Review.
1) Sign Up to Coinbase
To begin the signup process, click the “Sign Up” button in the upper right-hand corner of the website.
You will then be taken to a form that requires you to enter your name, email address, password, and state.
After filling out the above form, you’ll be sent an email from Coinbase. Click the link in the email to verify your email address.
The link will take you to the following form, where you’ll be required to enter a valid mobile phone number. Coinbase will send you a text to verify your phone number. This will also be used as a 2-Factor Authentication method for future logins.
2) Add Payment Method and Verify Your Account
After you’ve completed the signup process, you’ll be taken to your Coinbase account page. Here you can complete your account by adding a payment method. Depending on your location and payment method, you may also have to verify your identity.
Coinbase accepts purchase orders through your bank account or debit/credit card.
- Bank Purchases allow you to buy large amounts of Bitcoin and Ethereum at a ~1.49% fee, but it will take a few days to receive your cryptocurrency. Keep in mind the price you buy it at will be locked in at the time of your order.
- Debit/Credit Purchases are instant at ~3.99% fee, but Coinbase offers far lower limits for this order type. Coinbase does not specify exact limits for credit card users, but in our experience we’ve seen initial limits of ~$200 for Credit Card purchases.
Choose your payment method.
If choosing “Bank Account”, you’ll be able to select your bank and login to connect your account.
If you choose debit or credit card, you’ll need to first verify you identity by uploading a picture of your ID.
After your identity is verified, you can add your credit card.
Coinbase will make two small charges to your credit card. You need to find the amount of these charges (through online banking), then enter them into Coinbase to verify ownership of your credit card.
3) Buy Bitcoin and/or Ethereum on Coinbase
After you’ve linked your desired payment method, locate the “Buy/Sell” page of your account.
Choose the cryptocurrency you want to buy, Bitcoin or Ethereum (or Litecoin), select your payment method, and enter the amount you want to purchase.
The price and fees will be clearly shown on the right-hand side of the page.
In this example I’m purchasing $100 worth of Bitcoin at the price of $18,3790.65 per Bitcoin with my credit card. After the $3.84 fee, I’ll receive .00511744 Bitcoin instantly.
After you click the buy button, you’ll be asked to confirm the details of your order.
After you click “Confirm Buy”, your order will be processed. If you used a debit or credit card, you will instantly receive the Bitcoin or Ethereum you purchased.
If you used your bank account, the Bitcoin or Ethereum you purchased will be available in a few days (the exact date will be shown at the time of your order).
That’s it! If you completed these steps, you should now own Bitcoin and/or Ethereum (or have it in the very near future if you used your bank account).
Like Coinbase, CEX.IO allows users to buy cryptocurrency with both bank transfers and credit cards. The key difference between the two is that CEX.IO typically offers higher credit card purchase limits, especially when comparing limits for new accounts. In this section we’ll show you step-by-step how to buy Ethereum and Bitcoin with a credit card on CEX.IO.
You can learn more about this exchange in our CEX.IO Review.
1) Register to CEX.IO
Click the “Register” button on the upper right-hand side of the CEX.IO website.
You can sign up using an email or select social media profiles. We recommend using an email for increased security.
If you use an email to register, CEX.IO will send you a sign up email. You’ll need to click the link in this email to verify your email address.
After you click the email verification link, you can log into your CEX.IO account.
CEX.IO will immediately prompt you to enable 2-Factor Authentication (2FA), which is always recommended when using any cryptocurrency exchange.
2) Add Payment Method and Verify Your Account
The Deposit/Withdrawal options and limits of your account will vary depending on your location and payment method. You can view limits offered by CEX.IO by navigating to the “Limits and Commissions” tab under “Finance” in the menu of your account.
If you are a United States resident, you’ll need to verify your account before being able to use it to buy or trade Bitcoin and Ethereum. This is required so CEX.IO can comply with U.S. money transmission laws.
Users in the United Kingdom, Canada, and throughout most of Europe have it easier, as they’ll be able to deposit and withdrawal “Basic” tier amounts without verification.
If you’re located in a United States or just want to increase your limits, you can begin your verification through the verification page located in the upper right-hand section of your account menu.
This process can be a bit of a pain, as it requires you to enter a variety of personal details and upload identification documents.
Add Your Credit Card
Click the deposit button in the menu of your account.
Choose your payment method, we’ll be adding a credit card.
You’ll need to enter your credit card information and billing address, as well as your social security number if you’re a U.S. resident.
After clicking “Proceed”, you’ll then have to upload a selfie with you holding your credit card.
CEX.IO will then charge an amount less than $1 to your credit card. You’ll need to enter the amount that was charged to verify your card.
3) Deposit to CEX.IO
After your payment method has been set up, you can make a deposit. Once again, click the “Deposit” button in the menu of your account.
Here you can choose your linked payment method and enter the amount you want to deposit. The fees (“Commission”) will be shown as well.
4) Buy Bitcoin or Ethereum on CEX.IO
There’s two ways to buy Bitcoin and Ethereum on CEX.IO. The easiest way is to click on the “Buy/Sell” page from your account menu.
All that’s required with this method is to choose Bitcoin or Ethereum and enter the amount you want to buy.
The downside to this method is that there’s a rather steep 7% fee charged.
To save on fees, you can instead use the site’s exchange trading platform for fees of 0.25% or less.
Locate the “Trade” page in your account’s menu (1). Find your trading pair (2). To trade Bitcoin for USD use “BTC/USD”, etc.
Choose between a limit or market order (3). A market order only requires you to enter the amount you want to buy. CEX.IO will then auto-match your order at the best available price from other exchange users. A limit order requires you to enter the amount you want to buy and the maximum price you’re willing to pay. If there’s no user willing to sell at your limit price, your order will not be filled. You can however cancel your order at any time.
Fill in your buy order details (4) and click “Place order”. You can see what prices other buyers and sellers are placing their order for in the order book (5).
Launched by the Winklevoss twins, Gemini is a Bitcoin and Ethereum exchange that caters to both individual and institutional cryptocurrency investors. In our opinion, it’s great low fee option, while still being fairly easy to use.
You can learn more about this exchange in our Gemini Review.
1) Register a Gemini Account
Click on the “Register” button in the upper right-hand corner of Gemini’s website.
Your name and email address are required to begin the process of creating a Gemini account.
You’ll need to verify your email address by entering the code sent to you from Gemini.
2) Set Up Your Account
Once you’ve verified your email address, you’ll be taken through steps to complete your account:
- Enter Your Location – Gemini will ask for your location to make sure they serve your area.
- Enable 2-Factor Authentication – As a second layer of security, Gemini will require you to set up 2FA through your phone number or the Authy app.
- Add Bank Account – Connect the bank account you want to use with Gemini.
- Verify Your Identity and Upload Identity Documents – You’ll be required to enter your personal details and upload an image of your government issued ID. Non U.S. users will also need to verify their residence by uploading a utility bill.
3) Deposit Funds onto Gemini
Once your account setup is complete, you can deposit funds onto Gemini.
To make a deposit, locate “USD Bank (Transfer)” or “USD (Bank Wire)” in the menu under “Transfer Funds” > “Deposit Into Exchange”.
- Bank Transfers have lower limits (in our case $500 / day, $15,000 / month), but Gemini “Pre-Credits” your deposit. This means you do not have to wait until your deposit has been processed to begin trading. However you can’t withdraw any purchased cryptocurrency until your deposit has been fully processed.
- Bank Wires have higher limits (in our case unlimited), but Gemini does not offer a “Pre-Credit” of your deposit.
Gemini will ask you to confirm your deposit.
4) Buy Ethereum and/or Bitcoin on Gemini
Now that you’ve funded your account, you can use those funds to buy Ethereum and/or Bitcoin.
Locate the pair you want to trade under “Buy” in the main menu (1). To buy Bitcoin with USD, choose “BTCUSD”. To buy Ethereum with USD, choose “ETHUSD”.
Choose your order type (2). A market order is the simplest option. A market order only requires you to enter the amount you want to buy and Gemini automatically fills your order at the best available price.
Enter the amount you want to spend in USD to buy the Bitcoin or Ethereum (3).
Click “Buy” (4).
Your order should automatically be executed. The page will refresh and your balances will reflect your completed order. You can also see a completed trade under your recent orders.
Binance is our favorite exchange for trading one cryptocurrency for another. On Binance you can trade Bitcoin and Ethereum for each other, as well as trade for over 100 other cryptocurrencies. Binance only charges a 0.1% fee for trades.
If you already own Bitcoin and want to buy Ethereum (or vice versa), we’ll show you exactly how in just a few easy steps below.
You can learn more about this exchange in our Binance Review.
The first step is to sign up for a Binance account. Registration is simple, only requiring an email address and to create a password. Once you've submitted the registration form, you'll need to verify your email address. This is simply done by clicking the link Binance has emailed you. Upon logging into your account for the first time, you'll likely be prompted to enable 2-Factor Authentication (2FA). While this is not required, it's highly recommended. 2FA helps to secure your account by requiring an additional passcode when login attempts are made. Binance offers 2FA through the Google Authenticator App and SMS text messaging. We recommend using Google Authenticator, as SMS 2FA has known security vulnerabilities. Once you select Google Authenticator, Binance will show you step-by-step how to set it up. You can also set up 2FA at any time from your "Account" page. From your "Account" page, you'll also be able to submit verification documents, should you need higher withdrawal limits than the default 2 BTC equivalent per 24 hours. Locate the "Deposits" page, under "Funds" in the main menu. Here you can search for the cryptocurrency you want to deposit. We recommend Ethereum over Bitcoin, as it's faster and has lower network fees (fees from their respective networks, not Binance). In this example, we'll be depositing 1 ETH. Once you've selected the cryptocurrency you want to deposit (in our case Ethereum), Binance will give you an address where you can send your deposit. After you've sent funds to the given address from your cryptocurrency wallet, your deposit will soon show up as pending while it completes the required number of block confirmations. For our ETH deposit, it took about 5 minutes for our deposit to be completed. Other cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, that have longer block confirmation times, will take longer to deposit.
1) Create Your Binance Account
2) Secure Your Binance Account
3) Deposit Bitcoin or Ethereum to Binance
The first step is to sign up for a Binance account. Registration is simple, only requiring an email address and to create a password.
Once you've submitted the registration form, you'll need to verify your email address. This is simply done by clicking the link Binance has emailed you.
Upon logging into your account for the first time, you'll likely be prompted to enable 2-Factor Authentication (2FA). While this is not required, it's highly recommended.
2FA helps to secure your account by requiring an additional passcode when login attempts are made. Binance offers 2FA through the Google Authenticator App and SMS text messaging. We recommend using Google Authenticator, as SMS 2FA has known security vulnerabilities.
Once you select Google Authenticator, Binance will show you step-by-step how to set it up.
You can also set up 2FA at any time from your "Account" page.
From your "Account" page, you'll also be able to submit verification documents, should you need higher withdrawal limits than the default 2 BTC equivalent per 24 hours.
Locate the "Deposits" page, under "Funds" in the main menu. Here you can search for the cryptocurrency you want to deposit. We recommend Ethereum over Bitcoin, as it's faster and has lower network fees (fees from their respective networks, not Binance).
In this example, we'll be depositing 1 ETH.
Once you've selected the cryptocurrency you want to deposit (in our case Ethereum), Binance will give you an address where you can send your deposit.
After you've sent funds to the given address from your cryptocurrency wallet, your deposit will soon show up as pending while it completes the required number of block confirmations. For our ETH deposit, it took about 5 minutes for our deposit to be completed. Other cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, that have longer block confirmation times, will take longer to deposit.
4) Buy Ethereum or Bitcoin on Binance
After your deposit has been completed, locate the exchange through the menu of Binance (1).
Find your trading pair on right-hand side of the exchange (2). In this example, where we’re buying Ethereum with Bitcoin, we’ll be using the “ETH/BTC” trading pair. Click the trading pair to be brought to that page of the exchange.
Once on the page of your trading pair, use the buy order form to purchase your chosen cryptocurrency (3). Binance offers a variety of buy order type. We recommend using a market order.
With a market order, you only need to enter the amount of cryptocurrency you want to buy and the exchange will automatically fill your order at the best available price. In this example, we’ll be placing a buy order of 0.15 ETH. Click “Buy ETH”.
If using a market order, your order will automatically be executed. Your purchased cryptocurrency will now be available in your wallet. Note that Binance’s 0.1% trading fee comes out of the cryptocurrency you purchase, so we received 0.14985 ETH for our 0.15 purchase order.
Using Binance’s other trading pairs, this same process can be used to buy Bitcoin or any of the other 80+ cryptocurrencies available on Binance.