Coinbase is the world’s largest Bitcoin broker. They represent an easy and fast way for new users to purchase bitcoins. Coinbase supports customers in over 30 countries, including the United States, Europe (besides Germany), UK, Singapore, Canada, and Australia.
Customers in the above-mentioned countries can purchase bitcoins by credit card, debit card, bank transfer, SEPA transfer, and more.
- High liquidity and buying limits
- Easy way for newcomers to get bitcoins
- “Instant Buy” option available with credit card or debit card
- Purchases made with bank transfer can take up to 5 days to complete
- Coinbase may track how and where you spend your bitcoins
Coinbase’s exchange, GDAX, is one of the largest Bitcoin exchanges in the United States. Users can fund their accounts via bank transfer, SEPA, or bank wire. GDAX offers good prices and low fees, but their confusing user interface may initially prove difficult to navigate.
- Some of the lowest fees available for US and EU customers
- Possible to buy bitcoins for 0% fees
- User interface is confusing for first time buyers
- Sending bitcoins directly from GDAX to any legally-questionable site may result in closure of your account
BitStamp is one of the world’s largest and most well-known Bitcoin exchanges. Deposits can be made through bank transfer, SEPA transfer, international bank wire, and now even credit cards.
- One of the longest-running Bitcoin exchanges
- Very low 0.25% fee, falling to 0.1% with sufficient trading volume
- Good range of deposit and withdrawal options
- Deep liquidity promotes a price close to fair market rate
- Offers wide range of altcoins
- Has been hacked before, users should not store funds on the exchange for any period of time
- High 8% fee on small credit card purchases, falling to 5% with sufficient trading volume
- Geared towards traders; slightly confusing for first time buyers
Founded mid-2013, Kraken is the world’s largest Euro-denominated Bitcoin exchange, based on daily average trading volume. It supports deposits from US, European, Canadian, British, and Japanese customers. Deposits can be made via bank wire, SEPA, SWIFT, and bank deposit (Japan only).
- Well-financed and trusted exchange
- Very low 0.25% taker fee, falling to 0.1% with sufficient trading volume
- Very low maker fee, falling to 0% with sufficient trading volume
- Deep liquidity for large volume buyers in European markets ensures a price close to fair market rate
- Highly-rated for security
- Publishes proof of reserve audits
- User-interface makes it difficult for first time buyers
- Requires ID verification, so not private
Gemini is a New York-based Bitcoin exchange, open to residents of the United States, UK, Canada, Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore and South Korea. Deposits can be made via wire transfer, SEPA or ACH transfer.
While Gemini is available in most US states, US residents should check Gemini’s areas of operations page.
- Trustworthy and regulated exchange
- Instant deposit lets you buy coins quickly (but not withdraw them)
- Some of the lowest fees in the US and Canada
- Somewhat confusing to use for new buyers
- Not yet available in all US states
Athena Investor Services offers a unique way to purchase Bitcoin. It’s aimed at large volume buyers who are looking to buy between $10,000 and $500,000 worth of bitcoins. The fees are 4% per buy. The fees are high because Athena will work with you and walk you through the buying process with them and offers personalized help. You can only pay via bank wire at this time.
- Easy way to purchase bitcoins for new buyers
- High limits for first time buyers
- Higher fees compared to other ways to buy bitcoins with bank transfer in the USA