How to Buy Bitcoins With a SEPA Transfer
By: Ofir Beigel | Last updated: 2/6/24
SEPA (Single Euro Payments Area) is a fast and cheap payment method that allows the transfer 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. Some exchanges will also give you a much higher buying limit when using SEPA, since they are not worried about 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 Advanced
Regarding fiat currency, 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 about chargebacks.
By extension, due to the low risk, the fees you pay when making a purchase via SEPA transfer are very low, with some exchanges not charging deposit fees at all.
All of the reasons above make SEPA transfers a great alternative if you don’t have access to credit or debit cards, or if you simply wish to pay very low fees.
For example, if you buy €1,000 worth of Bitcoin from CEX.io using a credit card, up to 8% of that purchase will be charged in fees. That’s €80 worth of Bitcoins. On the other hand, CEX.io charges no fees at all for SEPA transfers, which means you’ll get your full €1,000 worth of Bitcoin.
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 to complete compared to 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 deposit fees, since that is where using SEPA transfers has the most impact (often reducing deposit fees 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, 0% SEPA fees
Cons: takes 1-3 business days to process
Coinmama is a leading cryptocurrency broker. They charge a premium fee for their services, but they don’t limit you to a maximum amount of bitcoins that you can buy.
One of Coinmama’s strongest selling points is their fast and professional support.
Coinmama has a daily upper limit of around €11,000 for purchases done via SEPA transfers. They also offer 0% processing fees for all SEPA transactions.
Pros: No deposit fees, wide selection of cryptocurrencies, no deposit limit with SEPA
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 significantly higher. Therefore, if you have the know-how, it’s best to use the trading platform to receive the best price. CEX also lets you make unlimited daily deposits using SEPA, with no processing fees.
Pros: Low fees, high buying limits
Cons: Slow support, slow time to execute purchase, cannot buy crypto directly with SEPA
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 Advanced).
Coinbase’s services are available to 28 EU countries. When using SEPA, Coinbase charges nothing for SEPA transfers, however with Coinbase it can take up to 7 days if sent on weekends.
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.
Pros: No fees, high buying limits
Cons: More suitable for advanced users, slow time to execute purchase, cannot buy crypto directly with SEPA
Coinbase Advanced is Coinbase’s trading platform, not to be confused with Coinbase’s brokerage service. The platform allows users to trade BTC and several other altcoins.
Coinbase Advanced is targeted towards more advanced users, making it not as beginner-friendly. When using SEPA, Coinbase Advanced charges €0.15 for both deposits and withdrawals.
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.
Pros: Good reputation, very low fees for SEPA deposits and trading, instant SEPA deposits
Cons: Does not offer brokerage services, unstable website and app
Kraken 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, whereas withdrawals fees range from €0.09 to €1. In some cases deposits using SEPA will be instant, depending on your bank account, and is something not many exchanges offer.
Pros: Supply both brokerage and a trading platform services, instant buy/sell options
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, while withdrawal fees are €0.30.
Pros: Sellers are a plenty, Very friendly UI
Cons: A higher possibility of scam when buying from individuals
LocalBitcoins allows you to buy and sell bitcoins via their peer-to-peer marketplace.
As expected of a marketplace, LocalBitcoins lets you trade with a variety of sellers as well as giving you the choice to pay with your preferred payment method.
One crucial thing to look out for when buying Bitcoin using LocalBitcoins is choosing reliable sellers by looking at their reputation. Since 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 to no reputation at all. Because of this, you might be forced to “start out small” and build your reputation before anyone would agree to sell large amounts of Bitcoin to you.
Buying and selling using SEPA on LocalBitcoins is possible, assuming both parties are within the SEPA area. As with any other payment method, apply the necessary precautions when conducting business on LocalBitcoins. Prices and transaction limits will depend on which seller you decide to buy from, so shop around and compare sellers prices before making a deal.
Pros: Reputable UK based company, responsive customer support
Cons: Relatively high deposit and trading fees, high SEPA withdrawal 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 – which is a lot higher than most of the other platforms on this list.
Pros: Newbie-friendly exchange, free SEPA deposits
Cons: Fees are high and not clearly defined
YouHodler is a Swiss-based platform, which also has offices in Cyprus. It offers crypto trading, savings accounts, and cash loans. The exchange interface is newbie-friendly, with no need to navigate charts or order books.
SEPA deposits are free, with a minimum deposit of €100. SEPA withdrawals cost €5, with a minimum withdrawal of €50. Trades between fiat and crypto must be equivalent to 30 USD or more, with no clearly-defined trading fees. Instead, you’ll have to check the applicable fee and exchange rate when entering a trade, or by using their conversion calculator tool. This 30 USD minimum applies to both crypto-to-fiat and fiat-to-crypto trades.
Deciding which exchange to choose can be quite hard, as there are many options. Some are more reputable than others, some have lower fees and some have great support, which is crucial.
In my opinion, the best way to find your ideal 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 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.