Best for: Bringing bitcoin into the mainstream
Described as a banking solution, Wirex brings cryptocurrency as close to the mainstream as it can get. UK users can buy bitcoin and use it as they would their GBP.
A Wirex wallet can be used with a Wirex debit card to purchase items in the same way you would use your fiat currency debit card.
Users get 0.5% back in bitcoins when they use their Wirex card to make in-store purchases.
Adding funds to your wallet can be done via popular payment platforms like PayPal, as well as bank transfers.
Best for: Keeping costs to a minimum
Robinhood allows users to buy and sell bitcoin free of charge.
The company has only recently introduced a web version, having been solely mobile-based, so is better suited to those who are comfortable using their phone to manage their money.
Up to now, Robinhood has only been accessible in 16 states, but its website states that it is coming to the UK in early 2020.
Best for: Privacy
Local Bitcoins is a completely different type of exchange to the others on this list. The company is a peer-to-peer exchange which supports users in posting an advert stating payment methods and exchange rates for buying/selling their bitcoins.
A reply to an advertisement opens a trade, and escrow protection (protecting both the buyer and the seller) is activated.
Bitcoins are stored in a Local Bitcoins wallet, and from there, the user can pay for their purchases directly.
It is free to register, buy and sell bitcoin. It is also free to make a transaction to the wallet of another Local Bitcoin user. A 1% fee is charged for every completed trade.
Best for: Buying with credit card
CEX is a UK-based exchange. The company takes payment by credit and debit card as well as bank transfer for the purchase of bitcoin.
Payments with a credit card deliver the bitcoin to the user’s account instantly and fees for the privilege are low compared to other exchanges.
The authorisation process for CEX is lengthy and requires a significant amount of personal information. Those wishing to buy large amounts of bitcoin by bank transfer will need top-level verification which involves photographs of several different identification documents, selfies with each and proof of address.
Best for: Anonymity
A bitcoin ATM, or BATM, is simply an ATM – a physical kiosk where you can buy bitcoin.
Just like a standard fiat money ATM, BATMs allow insertion of a credit/debit card or cash in exchange for bitcoin.
These machines allow users to buy and sell bitcoins anonymously – there are none of the ‘Know Your Customer’ (KYC) checks you will undergo if you’re looking to buy bitcoins with the majority of other companies mentioned on this list.
Fees are on the high side for this service; the ATMs charge between 7% and 10% for buying and selling bitcoins.
Another potential issue is finding a machine which does what you want it to; some can be used to buy bitcoins and some to sell bitcoins, but machines that do both are scarce.
Remember, you need a wallet to store your bitcoins in; ATMs are just ATMs, they do not offer any kind of wallet storage facility.
Best for: Choice of payment method
Bitpanda serves a European customer base and has a good selection of payment methods. The cost of buying and selling bitcoin on Bitpanda is on a par with Coinbase (1.49%); however, a full fee breakdown is not easily found on the website and the fees are included within the buying price.
The level of privacy users receive depends on their usage; with a verified email only, you can buy bitcoin but have limits on the amount you can sell. By verifying your ID, you can buy bitcoin with a credit card and purchase substantially more using other payment methods.
Best for: Currency choice
Binance is one of the world’s leading cryptocurrency exchanges.
Binance has free deposit and withdrawal fees for UK customers and a 0.1% trading fee.
The company is well known for supporting a wide range of digital currencies which means bitcoin traders have a vast array of options for trading multiple currencies.
Best for: Beginners
The eToro website contains a wealth of information on the details of buying bitcoin, making this exchange well suited to those just starting out in bitcoin trading.
Traders who sign up with eToro get a virtual trading account with $100,000 in it to allow them to practise strategies before trading with real money.
The company also offers trading courses and features a Learning Lab which houses a variety of tools to support clients with their trading experience.
In the UK, eToro is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and money is kept in tier one European banks. Unlike other exchanges in this list, eToro supports deposits and withdrawals to and from external wallets and does not charge any trading fees.
Best for: Speed and simplicity
Based in the heart of London, CoinBurp is rapidly growing towards being one of the best reviewed exchanges in the UK. An increasingly easy choice when buying or selling cryptocurrency and Bitcoin, the company is rated number 1 on Trustpilot UK.
CoinBurp prides itself in its instant GBP deposits, automated GBP withdrawals and excellent customer service. Security-wise, the company is partnered with BitGo, through which it is able to offer an up to $100M insurance guarantee on customer assets held in cold storage.
You can make deposits on CoinBurp via an instant GBP Faster Payments bank transfer or a speedy EUR SEPA transfer, with all withdrawals and deposits of £100/€100 or over being free and with no trading fees, making CoinBurp one of the least expensive cryptocurrency trading platforms in the world.
Best for: Keeping your money safe
Based in California, Coinbase is one of the leading crypto exchanges in the world and a popular choice when buying bitcoin. The company offers both a wallet (which is free) and an exchange for customers.
According to Coinbase, 98% of digital currency is stored offline in vaults and safe deposit boxes. The company also has a 48-hour withdrawal cancellation option in place to protect users from fraudulent activity and offers investors the option of adding a second person’s name to the approval list for added withdrawal security.
Coinbase accepts payment by credit and debit card and charges a flat fee of $3.99 for the privilege – low cost compared to other US and UK exchanges.