With the best fiat-to-crypto exchange platforms, you can easily exchange your fiat money (e.g., USD, EUR, GBP) into cryptocurrencies, such as Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, and so on, through a flexible range of methods. Armed with all of that information, you will know exactly which exchanges to visit for a streamlined purchasing process.
Ranking methodology – How we decided which exchanges to consider
Our Top-Ranked Fiat-To-Crypto Exchanges
While Coinbase has the largest user base, Binance is the biggest trading platform, with more than $25 billion exchanged daily. Such market dominance naturally makes Binance a popular on-ramp for crypto, with millions of users choosing to make purchases from within their accounts for these reasons:
- EUR deposits possible via SEPA, bank card, iDEAL, Advcash, and Etana
- USD deposits possible via SWIFT and SEN
- GBP deposits possible via Faster Payments and bank card
- There are 18 different fiat currencies that can be deposited and traded on Binance, including AUD, TRY, RUB, HKD, and BRL
- 40 different fiat currencies accepted for card purchases
- USD purchases can be made via credit and debit card (using Simplex) to purchase 18 different cryptocurrencies at a 3.5% fee or $10, whichever is greater
- EUR & GBP purchases have a greater selection of 38 coins
- Paxos & P2P offer further methods for turning fiat to crypto (explained later)
In less than four years, Binance managed to dominate the crypto exchange market and assert itself as a leader in this space. One way they’ve done that is by keeping fees low. If you’ve seen any of our previous articles about Binance, you’ll likely have been impressed that an exchange wielding such power has not introduced higher fees. For market takers and makers, the fees start at just 0.1% for trades, and that is how we are going to show you the best (see: cheapest) way to turn your fiat money into altcoins.
First, we need to make a free deposit:
- GBP should use Faster Payments (bank cards have a 1.8% fee)
- USD should use SEN or SWIFT (both free)
- EUR should use SEPA or Advcash (iDeal, Etana, and bank card transfers all cost)
- Users from other countries may not always have a free deposit option
Once you’ve made your deposit, you might need to wait a while. Different fiat deposit methods experience different waiting times.
Let’s imagine you deposited $1000 USD to Binance. Since the US financial system is a complicated maze to navigate, Binance converts the USD straight into BUSD, their own stablecoin, which is pegged to the dollar at 1:1 and is NY licensed. Now, you have 1,000 BUSD in your account because there were no fees to make the deposit. By looking at the BUSD spot markets page, we can find that Binance has over 100 market pairs for BUSD and an excellent search bar to find the coin you want. Let’s choose Bitcoin (BTC). You can now use your 1,000 BUSD to purchase $1,000 worth of Bitcoin, and the fee will be just 0.1%, totaling $1.
That is perhaps the cheapest way you can turn your fiat currencies into crypto with the lowest fees. The problem, especially if you are a beginner, involves using a trading terminal to pursue. If you’ve never used one before, it can be a little intimidating. All those moving charts and changing numbers might have you whelping, so ask a friend who knows more than you, use YouTube, or read our Binance guide here.
If instead of the method described above, you’d like to make a fiat-to-crypto card payment and keep things as simple as possible, the fee is 3.5% of $10, whichever is greater. This is kept nice and simple.
In the introduction to this piece, we mentioned Paxos and P2P, two alternative methods of getting your fiat currencies into Binance. Paxos is a payment gateway that helps users get from fiat to crypto as simply as possible. They offer their own stablecoin, PAX, and they also worked with Binance to create BUSD. What’s the advantage of PAX? There are no fees, minimums, maximums, and instant processing; the exchange also works the same way in reverse. Sending PAX back to Paxos will result in them wiring USD to you.
The purpose of PAX and the collaboration to make BUSD is explained best by Charles Cascarilla, CEO and Co-Founder of Paxos “Today, many of our PAX users are on Binance. We’ve seen significant growth of PAX through Binance since we launched on the platform last year. We believe this easy fiat on-ramp with PAX to Binance will make it even better for traders to benefit from deep liquidity pools and price discovery.”
P2P or C2C is a service offered by Binance where they act as the online facilitator for off-platform deals between two individual parties, holding the funds in escrow. In contrast, the individuals confirm the transaction has taken place. Binance takes no fee, and the number of payment methods is massively increased (it includes PayPal, Skrill, and 100+ more options).
First of all, let’s clarify that Gemini does accept credit cards (Visa, Mastercard, and American Express), which is a good thing, as some fiat to crypto exchanges are removing the option. They accept debit cards too. However, the most popular method of making fiat deposits on Gemini is to link your bank account to your profile and make instant transfers. Gemini, respecting this connection, will make the deposited funds available for you to trade before they have cleared, showing mutual trust.
- Accepts fiat currency purchases and deposits using Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Wire Transfer, and ACH network
- Deposit method varies based on the currency and location of the user
- Purchases will incur a ~0.5% spread (convenience fee) and a transaction cost starting from $0.99
- Accepts deposits and purchases in:
- US Dollar
- Australian Dollar
- Canadian Dollar
- Great British Pound Sterling
- Hong Kong Dollars
- Singapore Dollars
- US Dollars and digital assets are insured against theft or loss on the platform, though. other currencies are not. GBP and EUR funds are ring-fenced, which means they are safeguarded by Gemini’s banking partners, which adds another layer of security and insurance
- The process of depositing fiat currencies or making a purchase on Gemini is really straightforward, though you will require more ID and personal information than other exchanges, such is the strength of their financial regulatory compliance
For those curious about the fees for making purchases of crypto, regardless of the fiat payment method, see the table below:
|Web Order amount – USD||Transaction fee – USD|
|> $10.00 but ≤ $25.00||$1.49|
|> $25.00 but ≤ $50.00||$1.99|
|> $50.00 but ≤ $200.00||$2.99|
|> $200.00||1.49% of your Web Order value|
On top of this fee, you will have a ~0.5% convenience fee. All this means is that Gemini will take their commission, and it’s 0.5% more than the market price listed on the website. This trading fee might be slightly more or slightly less than 0.5%, as the market price is constantly changing, and so the price at the time of fulfillment may differ from the price when the order was made. Orders can be made on the website or the mobile app.
Is it versatile and easy?
Gemini is an American exchange set up by the Winklevoss twins of Facebook fame; the service has expanded from just USD services to become one of the best fiat-to-crypto exchanges for many countries and currencies, including AUD, CAD, EUR, GBP, HKD, and SGD. As Gemini has made it its mission to create a customer buying journey that is welcoming and easy to use for any beginner, professional, or institution, the whole process is straightforward.
Once the fiat currency has been deposited or your payment method is connected, there are 40 different cryptocurrencies available to purchase. You’ll find popular coins like Bitcoin and Ethereum, as well as a couple of stablecoins like DAI and Gemini Dollar.
Most insured marketplace
- FDIC Insurance insures US Dollars
- Digital Asset Insurance protects cryptocurrencies in Gemini’s hot wallet
- GBP and EUR are ring-fenced, being looked after by Gemini’s banking partners, guaranteeing their own insurance and protection
Whilst Gemini is also welcoming to crypto-beginners in the US, and Binance has a sister platform only for Americans, it’s Kraken that offers the highest levels of versatility for those in the US:
- EUR holders can make use of SEPA and SWIFT for free deposits
- British users looking to deposit GBP can use FPS (Faster Payments), BACS, CHAPS, and SWIFT
- Kraken also accepts deposits of the Canadian Dollar, Swiss Franc, Japanese Yen, and the Australian Dollar, so with 7 total, there’s a good selection, but far fewer than Binance
- Kraken now offers an impressive 56 cryptocurrencies in their brokerage, the best selection from our winners
- There are additional coins available on the exchange that aren’t available through the brokerage, for a total of 62 coins and 284 trading pairs (at the time of writing)
Much like Binance, and practically any other crypto exchange selling digital currency to users, the best-fiat-to-crypto method is deposit funds first and then trade with them.
- Broker fee = expensive.
- Deposit + trade = less expensive.
- Convenience is costly.
Here are the free deposit methods for Kraken:
- USD – FedWire (MVB or Signature Bank, Etana), SWIFT (Signature Bank), ACH (available to some account holders but not all)
- EUR – SEPA, SWIFT (Fidor, Etana)
- GBP – Faster Payments, BACS, SWIFT (Etana)
- There are also free deposit methods for AUD, CAD, and JPY, but no free method for CHF or other countries
Once your fiat currency is successfully deposited, you can go ahead and trade it, for example, on BTC/USD or one of the other 60+ crypto/USD pairs. Trades done this way will cost 0.16% for makers and 0.26% for takers. Essentially, if you want to buy your Bitcoin or altcoins immediately, you’ll pay 0.26%. This is slightly more than Binance.
If you’d like to make a direct purchase with your debit or credit card, the fees are pretty high. For stablecoins and foreign currency, there’s a 0.9% premium, and for all other cryptocurrencies, the premium is 1.5% — this is the spread. So, starting with a 1.5% spread, you must then add on 3.75% and €0.25 for the card processing fee. A $1000 Bitcoin purchase by card will cost $52.75 in fees. The same purchase if following the cheaper method will only cost $1.60-$2.60.
What makes Kraken stand out as a crypto exchange? It’s a mixture of security and transparency. They were the first exchange for publishing their Proof of Reserves audit, proving they hold all user assets thoroughly and safely, and they’ve never been hacked.
Why is real-world money called Fiat Currency?
The word ‘fiat’ comes from Latin, and it means “let it be done.” Essentially, it refers to any currency that has been issued and has its supply controlled by a country’s government.
Why don’t all cryptocurrency platforms offer fiat-to-crypto exchanges?
It’s not as simple as you’d think. For USD, you need specific licenses, to abide by certain regulations, to put your users through KYC verification checks, and to store a lot more personal data. Many exchanges (like Poloniex and Gate.io) feel it’s not worth the trouble and would rather stick to what they know and love — crypto. With all that said, we trust that our picks will make life a little easier when converting your hard-earned cash to crypto.
Good luck out there!