With over 218 million active users in 2017 alone, PayPal is one of the biggest global payment services in today’s age. Millions of people from across the globe rely on PayPal to safely shop online, get paid, or transfer money to people they know. And thanks to a handful of Bitcoin services, you can also use your PayPal account to safely buy Bitcoins.
However, in most cases, using PayPal to buy Bitcoin will not be as easy and as straightforward a process as buying other things with PayPal online. Thus, if this is your first time buying Bitcoin, take a minute to review your available options by checking out this guide to buying BTC with PayPal.
What Are my Options?
PayPal can’t be found in any regular Bitcoin exchange due to its option to reverse a deposit in the case of frauds or scams. Since Bitcoin is not reversible, PayPal doesn’t do direct transactions to exchanges because users can abuse the process to get Bitcoins for free. This has left prospective buyers with a limited number of ways to buy Bitcoin with PayPal, the most common being the following methods.
Peer to Peer Exchanges
Peer-to-Peer (P2P) buying is when you buy directly from a seller, without an exchange acting as an intermediary. The Bitcoin price is still determined by the seller and so is the amount s/he is willing to sell. The only difference is that you’re are allowed to bypass the identity verification process which most exchanges now require before giving you the option to use a traditional payment method.
There are two common P2P marketplaces that accept PayPal – Local Bitcoins, and Paxful – although more may become available in the future as well. Both services offer you the chance to find a local seller, place an order, and then either pay for it directly or arrange a meeting in person and buy in cash. In either service, if you pay online, the Bitcoins will be put in escrow until your payment is confirmed.
The buying process is almost identical at Local Bitcoins and Paxful, with some minor differences that may arise if the seller requests any special steps. To get your first Bitcoin through each service, just follow these simple steps:
- Create a new user account.
- Confirm your e-mail address.
- Add a different Bitcoin address if you have one (optional).
- Navigate to the “Buy Bitcoin” page.
- Choose a payment method in the search bar.
- Choose how many Bitcoins you want to buy.
- Search for the best seller or let the service choose it for you (only at Paxful).
- Place an order.
- Make the payment.
- Confirm your payment through the service.
- Receive your Bitcoin.
Buy Via Bitcoin Debit Cards
Another way you can buy Bitcoins with PayPal is by using Wirex – a service that offers Bitcoin plastic debit cards and virtual cards. The process only works if you already have a Wirex card ordered from the service, so if you don’t have any, you will have to request a virtual card or order a plastic one you can both offline and online. Also, the PayPal to Bitcoin option is only available to a small group of countries.
For those looking for a fast and cheap way to buy with PayPal, they need to look elsewhere. Using Wirex cards to buy with PayPal can be a costly, multi-step process, even after you have received your card and added it to your PayPal account. On the plus side, you will be enjoying the benefit of the added security of each method. If this is something you want to try, just follow these steps to get your first Bitcoins:
- Register with Wirex.
- Confirm your e-mail address.
- Order a virtual or plastic card and wait for it.
- Verify your account.
- Log into your PayPal account and add your Wirex card.
- Verify your card with PayPal.
- Withdraw funds from your PayPal account to the card.
- Wait for the funds to appear on your card balance.
- Use the service to buy Bitcoin with the money.
- Transfer your Bitcoin to a different address (optional).
Using Lindens to Buy Bitcoin
One of the oldest ways of using PayPal to buy Bitcoin is by buying Second Life Lindens (SLL), or Linden Dollars, which are virtual currencies used in the Second Life Virtual world. This method has been working since 2011 when VirWox – an exchange for Lindens – first added Bitcoin support. Since PayPal allows the purchase of Lindens, you can freely bypass PayPal’s restrictions by using this service.
To buy Bitcoin this way, you will have to go through the registration process at VirWox, fund your account, and then swap your virtual currency for Bitcoin, just like in any other Bitcoin exchange. To do this easily, just follow these steps:
- Register with VirWox.
- Confirm your e-mail address and log in.
- Go to your Deposit menu.
- Find PayPal’s express checkout button in the list of available options.
- Use the checkout to make a deposit.
- Go to the USD/SLL or EUR/SLL exchange to buy your Linden Dollars.
- Go to the BTC/SLL exchange to place an SLL to Bitcoin order.
- Transfer your Bitcoins to a different wallet, if you prefer.
The Bottom Line
The bottom line is that if you want to use PayPal to buy Bitcoin, you will have to go through some extra steps to make a purchase. Deciding what option to use out of the limited number of choices you have will depend on your personal preferences. Fees, ease of use, the risk of scams, and additional verification requests can all play a part in choosing which road to take.
However, if you’ve already decided that you must use PayPal, be prepared to pay more for the convenience of retaining your privacy, especially with Peer-to-Peer exchanges. Namely, any seller taking direct payments from PayPal is being exposed to the risk of users reversing deposits, which is why the fees can often be quite higher than with a Bitcoin exchange. Still, this is not always the case.