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How does shopping with bitcoin work

The Bitcoin community (BTC) has generated a lot of faith in the world of cryptocurrency, by suggesting that it could become a feasible alternative to maximum centralized payment systems that are currently existing in the market. Presently being used as a long term investment and asset like stocks, it is beginning to be accepted as a digital currency that can be used for a wide range of things. Though it is volatile as per financial experts, it has a big range of possibilities.

More and more merchants and retailers are accepting bitcoin as a legitimate way of payment as days elapse. But, it might be challenging for you to decipher how these payment methods work, in comparison to a regular credit card transaction. Are bitcoin payments safe? Here is how you can do normal things, like shopping with bitcoin.

To give you an idea about how a transaction works between a retailer and you, here is an overview of the steps:

  1. When you pay via bitcoins to a retailer, your transaction will have three segments to it. The first is an input, which is basically, a record of the bitcoin address that is used to send the bitcoins to the retailer, in the first place.
  2. The details of the number of bitcoins that are being sent by you to the retailer.
  3. The output of your retailer’s bitcoin address.

In commonplace bitcoin transactions, like this trading software, the people responsible for going through and checking the receipt, and confirming its validity and authenticity are miners. They find whether the receipt is backed up by a legitimate blockchain. The entire process takes no longer than ten minutes, and this does not become an inconvenience when you’re shopping online, because usually, a product delivery span is around a week.

However, when you’re shopping offline, at retail counters and store checkouts, the waiting period of ten minutes can be significantly longer, which might lead to the formation of a queue, and major delay. If there are hundreds of shoppers on a festive day, the inconvenience gets multiplied and doubled, and this can be solved only by a third-party mediation. They would be required to foot the bill so that both parties in the equation get their final amounts settled, on the backend. This would reduce the transaction time from ten minutes to a mere ten seconds, which is tolerable and comfortable for shopping counters.

However, the problem that arises with a decentralized currency like Bitcoin is that no major financial players in the market would be willing to step forth, to take care of the billing for all the transactions immediately. Not PayPal or Visa would step forward to do the necessary for the market is volatile, and risk is unimaginable. With the added risk of hackers going to any length to steal and rob you of your money, the problem with bitcoin gets more complicated.

However, platforms like Coinbase which operate as an application and an online platform, allow you to buy, sell, store and transfer bitcoins from one account to another, and can also be used effectively for shopping online as well as offline. You can do it all from your personal device, like your mobile phone, and that takes the convenience and comfort of dealing with bitcoins to another level, altogether.

It works differently than other bitcoin using platforms, in the way that it actually backs up the amount in the nature of real funds, in the currency you prefer, almost as immediately as your bitcoin transaction takes place. While the transaction takes a little while to register in the system, they assume the risk involved. And, they are able to do so, for while you sign up on the platform, you’re providing your details and they are confirming your KYC. Till today, there haven’t been any issues where hackers have tried to steal information from other people’s personal accounts or defrauding the blockchain system.

Besides, Venmo is another popular way to shop for folks. You need to sign up using your email ID, and people having each other’s email IDs can share and transfer money and have other financial transactions with one another. You need to have your bank account verified, while you sign up for the service. If both people are registered and verified on Venmo, they can send each other any amount.

Numerous companies, especially merchants, retailers, and shopping chains are already making their own POS (point of sale) systems, that usually work like Coinbase. They have the same concept of use as credit card vendors, where they usually front the cost of a product themselves while relying on good faith that you’ll pay off credit card dues. So, these POS incur the temporary debt on the behalf of the shoppers, until the bitcoin transaction is complete in as less as 10 seconds or as long as 10 minutes. These terminals would soon pop up in stores worldwide and the day ain’t far!

@chrisstobing
December 7, 2015, 12:34pm EDT

How does shopping with bitcoin work

Love it or hate it, there’s no denying that pretty much everyone you meet is going to have one opinion or another on the topic of Bitcoin. The digital, decentralized, encrypticized currency that only exists on the Internet and bows to no nation, Bitcoin has been predicted to either become the linchpin that completely revolutionizes how the world economy works, or could just lose the Winklevoss Twins a whole lot of their precious Facebook money when it eventually tanks.

No matter what you think about it, these days more retailers, restaurants, and online shopping portals have begun opening their doors to the previously-fringe payment method, but how do these transactions work compared to a regular credit card, and is it just as safe?

Sending/Receiving Bitcoin Online

Without getting too deep into the nitty gritty of how a Bitcoin transaction works (you can read all about that in our guide here), here’s a brief overview of the order of events when two people or retailers pay each other with the currency online:

If Steve sends some bitcoins to Sarah, that transaction will have three pieces of information:

  • An input: This is a record of which bitcoin address was used to send the bitcoins to Sarah in the first place (who herself got them from her friend, Tim).
  • An amount. This is the amount of bitcoins that Sarah is sending to Steve.
  • An output: This is Steve’s bitcoin address.

How does shopping with bitcoin work

In normal Bitcoin transactions, the “miners” are responsible for the process of going through and double checking that the receipt is being backed up by a valid “blockchain” (again, our guide is great for getting anyone up to speed on all the need-to-know lingo).

This whole process usually takes about ten minutes back to front, and while this may not matter all that much when shopping on a website for something that will take a week to ship, it’s far too long to be a viable solution for checkout counters mobbed with hundreds of voracious shoppers during the holiday rush. This is where a third-party would need to come in and foot the bill while both sides of the equation settle up the final amounts on the backend in order to reduce the transaction delay from 10 minutes to under 10 seconds.

How It Might Work in Retail Tomorrow

The problem with the whole “decentralized” part of Bitcoin is that you aren’t going to find any of the PayPals or Visas that are willing to step forward and take care of the bill for hundreds of thousands of transactions at once, lest it all suddenly go missing one day. If the attack on Target last year was any indication of the lengths that hackers will go to to get their hands on our bank account information, it’s understandable that the industry is still going to be weary of trying to roll a Bitcoin-based POS out worldwide.

The closest entity Bitcoin has that’s similar today is Coinbase, an online platform and app that lets you buy, sell, or transfer coins all from the comfort of your phone.

How does shopping with bitcoin work

Coinbase works slightly different from most Bitcoin buying/selling online wallets in that it actually backs the real funds in your preferred currency immediately, while the bitcoin transaction itself is only registered several days later. They assume the risk of the transaction with the knowledge they gathered from each individual when they signed up, and so far haven’t run into any issues with people attempting to defraud the blockchain or steal the contents of other user’s wallets.

How does shopping with bitcoin work

The easiest way to think about it is in the terms of a more popular solution that most of us have probably already used (or seen our friends use) at least once: Venmo.

With Venmo, two users who have added each other through an email address can choose to either send or request money through the app on their smartphone. As long as both users had their bank accounts verified at the time they registered for the service, they’ll be able to “pay” any amount instantly to a friend, family member, roommate, or even their local hairdresser.

If the person who sent the money defaults on the amount due to a lack of funds in their account, Venmo then accepts that debt while letting the payee cash it out to their bank account the next day. If the debt isn’t repayed, the money is written off as a loss. Unfortunately, the only way for a company to make enough money to cover those kinds of losses would be to become the centralized entity that the Bitcoin community is doing everything it can to avoid.

Bitcoin in POS

Last, there’s Bitcoin POS (point-of-sale) systems. Eager to jump on the train while it’s at the ground floor station, dozens of companies have already begun developing their own Bitcoin POS systems that mirror the model of Coinbase. These work off the same concept that credit card vendors have relied on for years: fronting the cost of an item in good faith that you’ll pay back the sum within a reasonable amount of time), and then incurring the temporary debt until the transaction is fully verified 10 minutes to an hour later.

How does shopping with bitcoin work

Thanks to options like QR code scanning and mobile NFC secure wallets like what we’ve seen with Apple Pay, it might not be as long as we think before these types of terminals start popping up in stores. They’ll need to feature universal payment options (not just Bitcoin) if they’re going to be accepted as a mainstream product, but as long as the vendors can assure all sides of the purchase (customer and store) that Bitcoin is a viable alternative to the current implementation of credit and debit cards, shopping with the cryptocurrency could be a whole lot easier in just a few short years.

Bitcoin, like the modern US dollar, is a fiat currency – it only exists as much as we believe it does, and not for a second longer. We can’t eat a digital coin just as much as we can’t light a pile of one dollar bills on fire to drive our car down the road, and because it’s an ethereal, yet widely-agreed upon method of payment between two parties, there’s no reason why a third-party company wouldn’t be able to stand in as a trustworthy signatory in between transactions.

For now, that workaround appears to be in the form of sites like Coinbase, which unfortunately are still nowhere near prepared to take Bitcoin where it needs to go for your local Starbucks to be accepting it at the cashier. Until a more creative solution is agreed upon by the community itself, the challenges of how to reduce the transaction time to the same as what you’d get swiping a debit card will mount as Bitcoin’s userbase continues to grow.

How does shopping with bitcoin work

Bitcoin has spent most of the last week at above $8000, continuing what has been a delightful spring awakening (after, let’s face it, a dreadful winter). For many people, those prices inspire further HODLing—a clue that their long-term investment is paying off, and a reason to hang tight. But for other people, a rise in Bitcoin’s price means a personal boon, a fuller (digital) piggybank, and a reason to treat oneself. If you’re in the latter category and are looking for a little pampering, you have several options for how to shop with Bitcoin. From converting your Bitcoin to cash to hitting stores that accept Bitcoin, we’ll break down the easiest and fastest ways to shop with Bitcoin.

How does shopping with bitcoin work

1. Sell your Bitcoin for cash

With much of the world still operating in fiat (that’s government-backed currencies like dollars and pesos, in case you need a refresher), finding stores that accept Bitcoin isn’t always so easy. If you have Bitcoin you want to spend, sometimes the easiest thing to do is to convert it to your local currency. At Coinmama you can currently sell your Bitcoin with payout through a bank transfer to a SEPA bank account. Cash out a fraction of your Bitcoin, get the Euros in your bank account, and book your spa day. You deserve it!

2. Shop in stores using Bitcoin

There’s something extremely satisfying about shopping with Bitcoin using your crypto wallet. And while stores that accept Bitcoin are still in the minority, they do exist. Thanks to sites like coinmap.org, finding those stores just got easier. Simply zoom into your area to find the shops near you that welcome Bitcoin.

3. Buy with Bitcoin online

Bitcoin is a digital currency, so it makes sense that it would be more widely accepted in the digital sphere. Sites like Overstock, Newegg, and Reeds have long accepted Bitcoin, and between them, they most likely have you covered. If you want to get more specific in your searches, Spendabit lets you search by category, giving you all the Bitcoin–accepting results you could dream of.

4. Convert your Bitcoin to gift cards

One more option for shopping with Bitcoin is to buy a gift card to the store of your choice. eGifterand Gyft both accept Bitcoin as payment and sell gift cards to hundreds of stores, from Starbucks to Target and even to travel sites such as Hotels.com. Choose the gift card you want, pay with Bitcoin, and get yourself a venti iced caramel macchiato!

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How does shopping with bitcoin work

With its inception in 2009, Bitcoin has only climbed the popularity ladder, and rather fast. It has not only taken over the way smart investments are made, but also spurred debates and discussions about how they can revolutionize global economies in the future. 11 years later, bitcoin has become a part of our daily existence, and from bitcoin ATMs to being the currency opted for shopping, you can literally do anything with bitcoin.

Unlike before, cryptocurrency has gained positive favour and fervor with the masses, and the cryptocurrency that has benefited most from this popularity is Bitcoin. Today, bitcoin shopping is rampant, not just prevalent. But, that makes us wonder when did it all start? The first product to be bought using Bitcoin, was a pizza! Yes, you heard us right. And, no we’re not kidding! A programmer bought a pizza worth $30 with 10,000 BTC in May 2018 and that’s where this crazy journey of bitcoin shopping started. But, that only makes one more intrigued, as to how does bitcoin shopping work in today’s glittering world of glamour and advanced technology.

How does shopping with bitcoin work

From retailers to restaurants to online shopping portals, most all of them have been opening their doors to bitcoin. But how does bitcoin shopping work? Here’s how:

1. Get a virtual wallet

As Bitcoin is supposed to be an anonymous platform, you can sell and purchase things without having records or financial details being exchanged between two parties. But, in reality, most people trade through a bitcoin wallet. Numerous platforms are operating as bitcoin wallets, which let you buy and sell bitcoins. And, also make payments in terms of BTC for other goods. However, there’s no government guarantee these come with, so if any of these virtual wallets go under, there’s little chance for money back guarantee. Reliable providers like bitcoinlifestyle.com ensure your money while giving you the incredible chance of being one of the early investors of bitcoin.

2. Shop online

Even, companies like Amazon are accepting payments in term of BTC, so with each passing day, there’s one more retailer who starts accepting bitcoin payments, and well it is good news for you and me! From Shopify owners to Newegg, everyone’s coming around to Bitcoin in due time. So, when you pay with bitcoin, you are using it as a credit card to pay for your purchases. And, we assure you, it is as great as it sounds.

3. Use a Bitcoin ATM

If nothing works, you can always use a bitcoin ATM. It works in the exact same way as a normal ATM, for conversion of BTC to fiat currency, you need to pay the conversion rate. The only downside to bitcoin ATMs is that they have a high conversion rate, which is not so profitable. The comfort and convenience Bitcoin ATMs offer is unparalleled, and yes you can shop with these cards, as well!

4. There are websites like Venmo

You can sign up on Venmo using your email address, and send money to another person. Like Venmo, there are Bitcoin transfer virtual wallets like Coinbase, which transfer your BTC in terms of fiat currency and assume the responsibility of the BTC themselves, relying upon your login details.

5. Bitcoin POS

Mirroring how Coinbase works, numerous companies, especially retailers who are eager to let you do some good old shopping with Bitcoin, have taken to developing their Bitcoin Point of Sale (POS) systems. So, like credit cards, they take the responsibility of your transaction, assuming in good faith that you would pay back. They incur the temporary debt for ten minutes to sixty minutes, unless it is totally verified.

6. The future is now

Bitcoin POS would soon revolutionize the future, when they open up terminals in malls, public places and we’re not just making these assumptions. With QR codes and NFC secure wallets, the day when POS terminals are found in public places just like ATMs isn’t far away. For Bitcoin does not exist in real, it only exists as long as we believe in it. But so is the case with the fiat currency. So, for terminals to open, bitcoin would have to be accepted as a universal form of payment, and all sides of the purchase has to be guaranteed by the vendors. Bitcoin would make life, and shopping much easier, once implemented in all sides of the purchase.

Moreover, they would stand out as a way better alternative than debit cards or credit cards, when it comes to shopping. As a digital currency, it has immense potential, waiting to be unlocked. And, that can truly happen, when all countries start lifting prohibitions on bitcoin, and all retailers start accepting payments in term of BTC. Bitcoin has the potential to do away with the rich-poor gap, but that’s the conversation for another article and another day!

Note: Before you can purchase Bitcoin, you first need a secure place to store it. You can download your free digital wallet app from us here.

https://exchange.bitcoin.com

Buying Bitcoin

You can buy Bitcoin with fiat currencies, such as USD, and also with other cryptocurrencies.

From our website

  1. Visit our official Buy Bitcoin page.
  2. Select the currency you want to buy.
  3. Choose whether you want to buy in USD or any other local currency, and enter the amount.
  4. Carefully review then add your wallet address and click Continue.
  5. Complete the purchase process by creating an account and providing your payment details.

From the Bitcoin.com Wallet

  1. Open the Bitcoin.com wallet app on your device.
  2. Tap the green “Buy” button if you want to buy Bitcoin Cash (BCH), or tap the orange “Buy” button if you want to buy Bitcoin (BTC)
  3. Follow on-screen instructions to deposit coins to your preferred wallet
  4. You will be prompted to verify your identity
  5. Once complete, your purchase will proceed
  6. After your first purchase which includes identification verification, future purchases are even faster!

From our peer-to-peer trading platform (BCH only)

  1. Visit Local.Bitcoin.com and create an account.
  2. Find an existing seller looking to sell Bitcoin Cash (BCH) or create a new buy order yourself.
  3. Open a trade with your chosen seller and they’ll send the BCH to the blind escrow account.
  4. Once you’ve sent the agreed payment via bank transfer or other payment method, the seller will confirm they’ve received the funds.
  5. The BCH you’ve bought will then be released from the blind escrow and sent to your digital wallet.

From a cryptocurrency exchange

  1. Visit a cryptocurrency exchange.
  2. Create an account and verify your identity as required.
  3. Follow the website’s instructions to buy your Bitcoin Cash (BCH) or Bitcoin (BTC).
  4. Your coins will appear in the exchange’s wallet connected to your exchange account.
  5. Finally, move your Bitcoin to your personal wallet to keep it more secure.

Selling Bitcoin

On our website (currently for UK and Europe only)

  1. Visit our official Sell Bitcoin page at https://sell.bitcoin.com.

2пёЏ. Select the currency and amount you want to sell.

3пёЏ. Choose whether you want to receive Euro or Pound Sterling and enter the amount.

  1. Carefully review then add your wallet address and click Continue.
  2. Complete the sale process by entering your payment details.

On our peer-to-peer trading platform (BCH only)

  1. Visit Local.Bitcoin.com and create an account.
  2. Find an existing buyer looking to purchase Bitcoin Cash (BCH) or create a new sell order yourself.
  3. Open a trade with your chosen buyer and send your BCH to the blind escrow account.
  4. Once the buyer has sent your payment via bank transfer or other payment method, confirm you’ve received the funds.
  5. The BCH you’ve sold will then be released from the blind escrow and sent to the buyer’s digital wallet.

On a cryptocurrency exchange

  1. Visit a cryptocurrency exchange, for example Bitcoin.com Exchange.
  2. Create an account and verify your identity as required.
  3. Follow the website’s instructions to sell your Bitcoin Cash (BCH) or Bitcoin (BTC).
  4. If you sold it for fiat money, you can cash out the funds into your bank account.
  5. If you sold it for another cryptocurrency, you can send the coins to your personal wallet (make sure your wallet accepts those coins before sending).

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Related guides

Accept Bitcoin

How can my business start accepting Bitcoin from customers?

There’s a whole lot of Bitcoin places out there.

So you’ve invested in Bitcoin. Now what? You can choose to “hodl” and hope the value goes up, or you can use your $11,000 coins to make some secure purchases.

Despite a large amount of interest from investors, Bitcoin still has yet to set the retail world alight. Nonetheless, there’s a few outlets that accept cryptocurrency payments, which will help you get a handle on this new technology. Who knows? Maybe down the line you’ll be able to tell your grandkids about how you were among the first to buy something with Bitcoin.

With travel agents, gaming stores, and even spaceflights, there’s something for everyone. Here’s 22 stores you should check out:

Steam

Valve’s online gaming platform accepts digital currency as an alternative to regular payment methods, allowing you to put your virtual coins to good use in virtual worlds.

Wikipedia

Looking to make a donation to the free online encyclopedia? Do it with crypto.

Intuit

The company behind TurboTax and other products offers PayByCoin as an easy way for small business owners to integrate bitcoin into their QuickBooks Online invoices. Customers receiving an Intuit invoice can choose to pay using cryptocurrency should they wish. Slightly ironic that the company accepts bitcoin considering the IRS is trying to find out who is using bitcoin.

Dish Network

The satellite television provider has been taking bitcoin payments since 2014.

Microsoft

Users can buy movies, games and apps from the Windows and Xbox online stores using the cryptocurrency.

Subway

A select number of Subway stores may accept bitcoin at their own discretion. Watch customer Adam Welsh order the first Subway sandwich with bitcoin on November 2013:

Newegg

The computer component retailer now takes bitcoin, ideal for all those new monitors you’ll need to keep track of your bitcoin investments.

Etsy doesn’t exactly offer a direct bitcoin payment method itself, but certain members have developed a way of accepting payments for their goods by using the “other” payment method. Stores that accept bitcoin should say in their description.

Square

The major point-of-sale company announced plans to roll out bitcoin support for its Cash payments app. With a toe dipped in the payment system, it may not be long before payments expand out further for physical stores.

ExpressVPN

The virtual private network provider started accepting bitcoin payments back in 2014, and regularly touts the cryptocurrency as a method of staying safe online.

PureVPN

Those looking for an alternative private network may find PureVPN better suits their needs.

Expedia

The online travel agent takes booking using the cryptocurrency.

Bitcoin.Travel

Book your whole trip using bitcoin with this handy service that suggests flights, hotels, accomodations and attractions that all support cryptocurrency.

CheapAir

Use bitcoin to book flights, car rentals and more.

Virgin Galactic

Looking for something a bit more…out of this world? When Virgin starts taking passengers into space, would-be astronauts can foot the bill using a 21st century form of currency.

Overstock

The major online retailer that offers discount prices on a number of household goods claims to be the first retailer to accept bitcoin as part of its regular payments method.

eGifter

Looking to purchase gift cards for birthdays or other celebrations? eGifter lets you convert your bitcoins into one of over 250 physical card for use in brick and mortar stores.

Mint.com

The online budgeting tool allows you to keep track of bitcoins stored and traded on Coinbase, hooking into other budget tools.

Harvard and MIT Coop Stores

The campus store that serves the Harvard and MIT communities offers cryptocurrency payments as part of its operations.

Evermore Health

This health and fitness retailer takes bitcoin payments to enable superfood fans to get their vitamin on.

Berkeley Travel

This London-based luxury travel agency, which offers a number of highly-exclusive getaways including a private jet charter service, also takes bitcoin payments.

“Berkeley understands that our clients may hold money in several currencies and jurisdictions,” the company says on its website. “We can facilitate payments to offshore accounts, and via Bitcoin and other digital currencies.”

Shakepay

Don’t see your favorite store on the list? Shakepay issues users with a 16-digit virtual Visa card number, with a chip-and-pin plastic card for real world purchases. Pay for almost anything with bitcoin, dash, or ethereum.

Due to the unique nature of virtual currencies, there are some inherent advantages to transacting through bitcoin over fiat currencies. Although over a decade old, the digital currency landscape is constantly changing, with most tokens being untested as a medium of exchange, and users should be careful to weigh their benefits and risks. That said, bitcoin is designed to offer users a unique set of advantages over other payment methods. We’ll take a closer look at those below, but before we do, it will be useful to explore what bitcoin is. By better understanding how bitcoin was designed, it will be easier to see what the advantages of using bitcoin for payments are.

What Is Bitcoin?

Bitcoin is a decentralized, peer-to-peer cryptocurrency system designed to allow online users to process transactions through digital units of exchange called bitcoins (BTC). Started in 2009 by a mysterious entity named Satoshi Nakamoto, the Bitcoin network has come to dominate and even define the cryptocurrency space, spawning a legion of altcoin followers and representing for many users an alternative to government flat currencies like the U.S. dollar or the euro or pure commodity currencies like gold or silver coins.  

Why the need for bitcoin in the first place, if there are already so many traditional means of making payments? A key element of bitcoin is its decentralized status, meaning that it is not controlled or regulated by any central authority. This immediately distinguishes it from fiat currencies. Bitcoin payments are processed through a private network of computers linked through a shared ledger. Each transaction is simultaneously recorded in a “blockchain” on each computer that updates and informs all accounts. The blockchain serves as a distributed ledger and obviates the need for any central authority to maintain such records.

Bitcoins are not issued by a central bank or government system like fiat currencies. Rather, bitcoins are either “mined” by a computer through a process of solving increasingly complex mathematical algorithms in order to verify transaction blocks to be added to the blockchain, or they are purchased with standard national money currencies and placed into a “bitcoin wallet” that is accessed most commonly through a smartphone or computer.

Benefits of Bitcoin

Now that we have seen a brief overview of what bitcoin is, we can better understand how this leading cryptocurrency provides potential benefits to its users.

1. User Autonomy

The primary draw of bitcoin for many users, and indeed one of the central tenets of cryptocurrencies more generally, is autonomy. Digital currencies allow users more autonomy over their own money than fiat currencies do, at least in theory. Users are able to control how they spend their money without dealing with an intermediary authority like a bank or government.

2. Discretion

Bitcoin purchases are discrete. Unless a user voluntarily publishes his Bitcoin transactions, his purchases are never associated with his personal identity, much like cash-only purchases, and cannot easily be traced back to him. In fact, the anonymous bitcoin address that is generated for user purchases changes with each transaction. This is not to say that bitcoin transactions are truly anonymous or entirely untraceable, but they are much less readily linked to personal identity than some traditional forms of payment.

3. Peer-to-Peer Focus

The bitcoin payment system is purely peer-to-peer, meaning that users are able to send and receive payments to or from anyone on the network around the world without requiring approval from any external source or authority.

4. Elimination of Banking Fees

While it is considered standard among cryptocurrency exchanges to charge so-called “maker” and “taker” fees, as well as occasional deposit and withdrawal fees, bitcoin users are not subject to the litany of traditional banking fees associated with fiat currencies. This means no account maintenance or minimum balance fees, no overdraft charges and no returned deposit fees, among many others.

5. Very Low Transaction Fees for International Payments

Standard wire transfers and foreign purchases typically involve fees and exchange costs. Since bitcoin transactions have no intermediary institutions or government involvement, the costs of transacting are kept very low. This can be a major advantage for travelers. Additionally, any transfer in bitcoins happens very quickly, eliminating the inconvenience of typical authorization requirements and wait periods.

6. Mobile Payments

Like with many online payment systems, bitcoin users can pay for their coins anywhere they have Internet access. This means that purchasers never have to travel to a bank or a store to buy a product. However, unlike online payments made with U.S. bank accounts or credit cards, personal information is not necessary to complete any transaction.

7. Accessibility

Because users are able to send and receive bitcoins with only a smartphone or computer, bitcoin is theoretically available to populations of users without access to traditional banking systems, credit cards and other methods of payment.

Owner, Editor, and lead writer for Cryptorials.

Cryptocurrency writer and trader since 2014.

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When most people start looking into Bitcoin as an alternative currency, one of the first questions they ask is – where can you spend bitcoins? Well the simple answer is that you can use Bitcoin for anywhere, for all of your shopping – including picking up groceries from your local mini-market. Shops do not need to accept Bitcoin directly (as an increasing number do) for you to be able to use your coins with them, as long as you have taken a few moment in advance to be prepared. In this article you will find four different ways to spend your coins pretty much anywhere. Each method has its own advantages and disadvantages which I will try to make clear, but you should also do your own research to choose the method which suits you the best.

#1 Bitcoin Debit Cards

Fund a debit card from your Bitcoin wallet balance instead of your bank account!

Advantages: This is the easiest and most flexible method for spending your coins in physical stores around the world. You can use them in any store which accepts regular credit or debit cards.

Disadvantages: There are fees to pay, and some services require you to convert your coins to fiat in advance of making a payment.

Recommendations:

ANXBTC – With relatively low fees, a range of global currencies and the ability to use your card at over 25 million ATMs worldwide as well as most retail stores, this card is well worth taking a look at.

BIT-X – With most of these debit cards you need to spend your Bitcoin in advance, to purchase a pre-paid balance in fiat. So they are really very similar to ordinary pre-paid debit cards, except that you can buy them using Bitoin. BIT-X is different – it will convert exactly the right amount of Bitcoin into fiat for each purchase, allowing you to keep your money in BTC until the moment when you spend it in any store or exchange it to withdraw fiat at any ATM.

You can find more options in our post Reviews of Bitcoin Debit Cards

#2 Gift Cards

Purchase electronic or physical gift cards using BTC, then spend them or give them as gifts!

Advantages: You can Bitcoin cashback on your shopping through this method, and you may also be able to get discounts. Obviously they make good gifts too.

Disadvantages: You can usually only spend gift cards in a specific store, and you need to purchase them in advance – committing yourself to spending a certain amount of money with that retailer.

Recommendations:

Gyft: Use your coins to purchase electronic gift cards for more than 200 major American retailers, and get 3% cash back in Bitcoin on every purchase you make with them.

Gift Off: For shoppers in the United Kingdom (UK) Gift Off offers the ability to purchase gift cards from nearly 200 retailers using a wide range of digital currencies including Bitcoin.

#3 Use Bitcoin to Pay on Amazon and Other Sites

Use Bitcoin for your online shopping – even at sites which don’t accept it!

Advantages: You can get some really great discounts from some of the world’s top internet retailers using this method.

Disadvantages: Only works for making purchases at a limited range of internet retailers, and it can take a lot longer to complete a purchase than it normally would.

Recommendations:

Purse: Buy anything from Amazon.com and get a discount of 5-20%. It works by matching people who have gift cards that they do not want with people who want to use Bitcoin to buy something from Amazon. Buyers get a nice discount on their shopping, whilst sellers get to offload their unspent gift cards in return for BTC.

BitCart – Discounts of up to 20% at Amazon and other online retailers. This is less well-known and seems a little less transparent compared with Purse, but works with a much bigger range of stores.

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Step 1. Set up a wallet

Before you can purchase Bitcoin, ensure that you have set up a wallet in order to store, receive and send bitcoin. Here are some bitcoin wallets to get you started.

Step 2. Purchase bitcoin

It is now time to join the cryptocurrency world and purchase your first Bitcoin. Here are the different ways you can pay when purchasing from Bitcoin Australia:

  • Online Bank Transfer – POLi (Recommended): A secure payment system to purchase bitcoin online.
  • Cash: Visit a participating bank branch and we’ll convert your cash into bitcoin.
  • Newsagent: Buy bitcoin over the counter using cash, at over 1,200 participating newsagents in Australia.
  • Flexipin: Purchase a Flexipin voucher from a participating retailer and redeem the voucher online for bitcoin.

Once you have selected your preferred payment method, you will be prompted to enter an email address, wallet address, mobile number and the amount of bitcoin you would like to purchase. For your first purchase, you will also need to complete a once-off verification as a measure of security.

Step 3. Keep your bitcoin secure

Now that you’ve purchased bitcoin, it is important to keep it safe and secure just as you would with a bank account. Here are some basic principles to follow:

  1. Create backups of your private keys. To protect robbery, fire, or hard drive failure, we recommend to keep a backup of your private keys kept off-site.
  2. Never give your private keys to anyone. Giving another person your private keys is the same as giving them access to your bank account.
  3. Mobile and Desktop Wallets: Keep your offline and online wallets up to date with the latest software. This will ensure they are as secure as possible. Here is a demonstration video showing how to buy bitcoin: