How to Buy Bitcoins With a SEPA Transfer
By: Ofir Beigel | Last updated: 7/2/20
SEPA (Single Euro Payments Area) is a fast and cheap payment method that allows transferring of Euros between EU residents’ bank accounts. In this post I’ll review the most popular Bitcoin exchanges that accept SEPA deposits.
How to Buy Bitcoin With SEPA Summary
It is highly recommended to use SEPA if you are in the EU, since most exchanges will charge you little to no fees. Also, some exchanges will give you a much higher buying limit, since they are not concerned with chargebacks.
Here’s how to buy Bitcoin with SEPA:
- Visit Coinmama.
- Choose which cryptocurrency and the amount you want to buy.
- Enter your Bitcoin address
- Choose “Bank Transfer” on the payment method page
- Send funds to Coinmama’s bank account
- The coins will be sent to your wallet once the transaction is confirmed
If Coinmama doesn’t work for you, here’s a list of exchanges that allow you to buy Bitcoin with SEPA:
That’s buying Bitcoins with SEPA in a nutshell. If you want a more detailed explanation keep on reading, here’s what I’ll cover:
- Why Should I Use SEPA?
- Coinbase Pro
One of the main issues exchanges are concerned with are chargebacks.
However, SEPA transfers are virtually irreversible, which makes them a popular option among exchanges. With SEPA, exchanges will allow you to buy large amounts of bitcoin, as they are not worried with chargebacks.
By extension, due to the low risk, the fees you pay when you buy with SEPA transfers are very low, with some exchanges not charging deposit fees at all.
All of the above make SEPA transfers a great alternative if you don’t have any access to credit or debit cards or if you wish to pay very low fees.
To give one example, if you buy € 1,000 worth of Bitcoins from CEX.io using a credit card, up to 8% of that purchase will be charged in fees. That’s €80 worth of Bitcoins. However, CEX.io charges no fees at all for SEPA transfers, which means you’ll get your full €1,000 money’s worth.
As with everything, SEPA transfers have their downsides. Every transfer has to be cleared by several banks on its way to the exchange. Due to this, they take significantly longer time to be executed than other, more convenient payment methods.
A word about fees
Most exchanges charge three different types of fees – Deposit fees, trading fees (aka processing fees) and withdrawal fees. In this part I will focus mainly on the deposit fees since that is where using SEPA transfers has the most effect (reducing them most of the times to zero).
Keep in mind that even if an exchange charges 0% on deposit fees it may still charge a fee for the transaction itself (i.e. converting fiat to Bitcoins).
Pros: Good support, respectable company, fast service
Cons: Relatively high transaction fees
Coinmama is a leading cryptocurrency broker. They charge a premium fee for their services, and they do not limit you to a maximum amount of bitcoins that you can buy.
One of Coinmama’s strongest sell points is their fast and professional support.
Coinmama has a daily upper limit of around €10,250 for purchases done via SEPA transfers. They also charge a 5.90% processing fee for each transaction.Visit Coinmama Read review
Pros: No deposit fees, wide selection of cryptocurrencies
Cons: Relatively high fees on brokerage service (avoid by using the trading platform)
CEX, established in 2013, is one of the oldest Bitcoin exchanges around. The company offers both a brokerage service and a trading platform. Newbies will find the brokerage service much easier to use than the trading platform.
Having said that, transaction fees on the brokerage service are extremely higher. Therefore, if you have the know-how, it’s best to use the trading platform to receive the best price.Visit Cex.io Read review
Pros: Low fees, high buying limits
Cons: Slow support, slow time to execute purchase
Coinbase, established in 2012, is one of more respectable and established companies in the Bitcoin community. They offer a brokerage service, which sells Bitcoins and other altcoins directly at a premium (for a cheaper alternative take a look at Coinbase Pro).
Coinbase’s services are available to 28 EU countries. When using SEPA, Coinbase charges nothing for deposits, and €0.15 for withdrawals.Visit Coinbase Read review
Pros: Brokerage service, Friendly UI, low fees
Cons: Fees are unclear
Bitpanda, founded in 2014, is based in Vienna, Austria. Bitpanda is perhaps the biggest brokerage services supplier for Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies inside the Eurozone.
Bitpanda’s fees tend to be a little unclear since the price you pay already incorporates the transaction fee. However, depositing funds via SEPA is free of charge.Visit Bitpanda Read review
Pros: No fees, high buying limits
Cons: More suitable for advanced users, slow time to execute purchase
Coinbase Pro is a trading platform (not to be confused with Coinbase’s brokerage service). The platform allows users to trade BTC and several other altcoins.
Coinbase Pro is targeted towards more advanced users, making it not too user friendly. When using SEPA, Coinbase Pro charges €0.15 for both deposits and withdrawals.Visit Coinbase Read review
Pros: Reputable exchange, low deposit and trading fees
Cons: Does not offer SEPA brokerage services, not beginner friendly
Bitstamp, founded in 2011 and located in Slovenia, is perhaps the oldest exchange on this list. Along with their great reputation, Bitstamp charges no fees at all for deposits made via SEPA transfers.
The company offers trading services worldwide. Similarly to other trading platforms, using Bitstamp’s services requires some knowledge of trading and to know your way around the UI in order to use the site properly.
Bitstamp deposits are free while withdrawals entail €3 fee when using SEPA.Visit Bitstamp Read review
Pros: Good reputation, very low fees for SEPA deposits and trading
Cons: Does not offer brokerage services, unstable website and app
Kraken, headquartered in San Francisco, is the largest Bitcoin exchange in terms of liquidity and Euro volume, at least so they claim.
Kraken operates in the European Union, Canada and across the United States (with the exception of New York due to the BitLicense).
SEPA deposits are free of charge, withdrawals fees are €0.09Visit Kraken Read review
Pros: Supply both brokerage and a trading platform services, instant buy/sell option
Cons: Confusing fee structure
Luno was founded in 2013 (originally under the name BitX). The exchange is known for offering services to developing countries as well as EU countries.
Luno’s fees for SEPA deposits are free of charge, withdrawals fees are €0.3Visit Luno Read review
Pros: Sellers are a plenty, Very friendly UI
Cons: A higher possibility of scam when buying from individuals
LocalBitcoins allow you to buy and sell bitcoins via their peer-to-peer marketplace.
As expected of a marketplace, LocalBitcoins allows you to trade with a variety of sellers and to pay in your preferred payment method.
One crucial thing to look out for when buying Bitcoin using LocalBitcoins is choosing the right sellers by their reputation. Since now you are conducting business with individuals rather than with a company, there’s a much greater chance of getting scammed.
The only way to mitigate this risk is to do a thorough check of the seller’s reputation before sealing a deal.
This rule applies to buyers’ too i.e. sellers are concerned with buyers with little or no reputation at all. Due to that, you might be forced to “start out small” and gain reputation before anyone would agree to sell large amounts of Bitcoin to you.
Buying and selling using SEPA at LocalBitcoins is possible, assuming both parties are within the SEPA area. As with any other payment method, apply the necessary precautions when conducting business in LocalBitcoins.Visit LocalBitcoins Read review
Pros: Reputable UK based company, responsive customer support
Cons: Relatively high deposit and trading fees
CoinCorner was founded in 2014 and is based in the Isle of Man. The company offers brokerage services, as well as their own software wallet.
As for their fees, CoinCorner charges no fees at all for deposits done with SEPA, and €35 for withdrawals.Visit CoinCorner Review coming soon
Deciding which exchange to choose can be quite hard, as there are many options. Some more reputable than others, some have lower fees and some have great support which is crucial.
In my opinion, the best way to find the best exchange is through trial and error. Pick an exchange (any exchange), deposit a small amount with them and evaluate the overall experience you’re getting.
If it’s not good, just move to the next exchange in line.
Alternatively, you can choose to avoid micro-analyzing and from the get go choose an exchange that you know will give you great service even if they will charge more.
Finally, remember that SEPA transfers usually take longer than credit card or debit card purchases, which might be a downside for some users.
If you have any more questions or comments about the methods I just described, feel free to leave me a comment below.