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Can You Buy Cryptocurrency with a Credit Card?

Last updated on May 27th, 2021

Cryptocurrency is big business, with several different crypto coins, tokens, and other digital assets available as of May 2021. Because of the lack of government regulation, cryptocurrency has the potential of breakout value – as seen with the recent explosive growth of Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Dogecoin. This growth has led to speculation on cryptocurrencies, with some turning towards ways to finance crypto purchases. One common question asked by many: Can you buy cryptocurrencies with Bitcoin?

Buying Crypto with a Credit Card

So, can you use a credit card to buy crypto, such as Bitcoin? The simple answer is yes, but it isn’t always a straightforward process.

Not all credit card payment networks allow cardholders to use their credit card to make purchases for digital assets like Bitcoin, Ethereum, Dogecoin, or Litecoin. Most of the major networks don’t allow cardholders to purchase digital currency with their cards. However, American Express is a notable exception.

Which Credit Card Issuers Allow Crypto Purchases?

American Express revised its cash advance language late last year to include digital currency purchases. While both Visa and Mastercard are making strides towards allowing their customers to use their digital currencies and other digital assets as a form of payment on their payment networks, not every card issuer allows their cards to be used for crypto purchases.

Chase is one example of a major lender that allows cryptocurrency purchases with its credit cards. Chase announced the change to its cash advance rules beginning in April, which allows Chase credit cardholders to purchase Bitcoin, Dogecoin, Ethereum, and other cryptocurrencies – with the additional costs associated with cash advances.

CEX.io is one cryptocurrency exchange that does allow users to purchase Bitcoin and other crypto assets with their credit card – but only Visa or Mastercard. Other services, like Coinbase, do not allow any credit card purchases through their platforms.

Because most Amex cards are issued by American Express itself, purchasing assets with its credit and charge cards is theoretically the easiest route. Even here, though, there are potential issues you must consider.

What Are the Risks of Using a Credit Card to Purchase Crypto?

While buying crypto with a credit card might sound like a good idea, there are some downsides to think about:

Cash Advance Fees

The biggest concern when buying cryptocurrency with a credit card is the additional cost of a purchase. Purchasing any digital currency is the same as using a credit card to get money from an ATM.

Cash advances carry some of the largest fees and highest interest rates of any credit card transaction. The typical cash advance APR on a credit card is around 26%, which is far higher than the average purchase APR. Even worse, there are no grace periods with cash advances, meaning the bank will begin assessing interest immediately after the cryptocurrency purchase – not after the statement balance is issued.

Cash advances also carry transaction fees, usually around $5 or 10% of the transaction cost, whichever is greater. These transaction fees can add to the overall cost of any cryptocurrency purchases, potentially negating any value derived. A $100 purchase of Bitcoin, for instance, can add $10 in cash advance fees without factoring in interest payments or other fees.

Brokerage and Service Fees

Your bank isn’t the only one charging a fee to buy crypto, however. Many brokerages that accept credit cards charge a transaction fee for the purchase. Services like Phemex allow consumers to buy crypto with their credit card but charge a fee for the convenience. These fees can add even more cost to the overall purchase price, making crypto purchases less worthwhile.

Debt

Purchasing cryptocurrency with a credit card is akin to buying stock on margin. Until you pay off the costs associated with making the crypto purchase, the digital currency is more of a debt burden than an asset.

Because of the associated fees and interest rates, crypto purchases with a credit card may take longer to pay off than other purchases or transactions. This process can lead to several financial difficulties, all of which can harm your overall credit standing. These issues include:

  • Missed payments
  • Late fees
  • High credit utilization rate

Fraud

An often-overlooked reason to avoid using your credit card to buy Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies is the risk of fraud. Cryptocurrency is very much like the Wild West when it comes to regulation, meaning there are hundreds of less-than-reputable sites trying to take advantage of consumers.

Before using your credit card on any website, always be sure to check the security of the site and the reputation of the currency exchange. For more information, check out our comprehensive guide to preventing credit card fraud.

Related Article: Mastercard Set to Offer Cryptocurrency Payments

Featured photo by geralt / PixaBay
About: Cory
Cory Santos

Cory is BestCards.com's "Jack of all trades" and resident credit expert, covering all facets of the credit card space. In addition to credit cards, Cory finds that jogging, cats, and memes are essential parts of a balanced day.