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What is the cheapest way to deposit money into a Bitstamp account? They offer a number of ways, but what is the easiest for someone in the US?

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I spent a long time researching this very question a while ago before buying my first bitcoins thinking that Bitstamp is the cheapest way to buy bitcoins (fee wise). I ended up concluding that the cheapest way to deposit money in a Bitstamp account from the United States is with Ripple, which allows you to bypass the $15 wire transfer fee that it would cost to transfer money the old fashioned way. However, I ended up going with Coinbase to buy my bitcoins rather than doing this. I'll explain why:

In order to buy bitcoins this way using Bitstamp, the process is rather convoluted. That alone is the first reason. The second reason is that once I added up the fees, it was actually more expensive with bitstamp because you're not just paying Bitstamp's fees, but also the fees to transfer money into Ripple.

If you still want to do buy bitcoins using this method, here's how.

1) Setup a Ripple account. 2) Fund it with SnapSwap. Fees:0.99% + $0.30. 3) Send the money to Bitstamp using Ripple. The deposit money page when you're logged into Bitstamp will have the Ripple address to send money to in order to fund your account. 4) Buy bitcoins with the newly funded account. Fees: 0.5%.

Cumulatively, the fees add up to 1.49%, excluding the $0.30 fee. The fees that SnapSwap tack on negate the advantage of the relatively low fees that Bitstamp uses.

So if you're looking for a cheap exchange, since you live in the United States and thus cannot use SEPA, Bitstamp unfortunately probably won't work for you. Here are your other options:

  • CampBX. An Atlanta based exchange that has a fee of 0.55%. As far as cheapest way to buy Bitcoins in the United States, this is probably your best bet. Their website appears to be down right now, however.
  • Coinbase. Not the cheapest option, but it may just be the easiest option. That's why I choose Coinbase, I got frustrated with the hoops one has to jump through to buy bitcoins on other exchanges. Coinbase has a 1% fee plus a bank fee of $0.15 when you're buying and selling bitcoins, the real advantage is that as far as I've been able to tell, they're the only ones that let you buy bitcoins with an old fashioned bank transfer. The price is locked in at the time when you buy bitcoins, and you get them five business days later.

Alternatively, if you live in an area where people are selling bitcoins in person, you can buy bitcoins directly from someone who already owns them. Localbitcoins.com is the place where you can check to see if anyone near you is selling bitcoins.

  • Is SnapSwap available for other countries like Singapore? – Pacerier Nov 22 '13 at 19:43
  • For some reason StackExchange never emailed me to let me know about your reply, Pacerier, so here's a rather late reply since I just happened to be checking up here. As far as I can tell, you're out of luck with SnapSwap if you live in Singapore, unless you can get Euros fairly easily. They do have a European version of the site here: snapswap.eu, but I haven't been able to find an Asian version of the site. – Evan Lynch Jun 1 '14 at 8:11
  • Just edited this to remove the MtGox option since they went bankrupt. – Evan Lynch Jun 22 '14 at 20:23
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Evan helped me greatly with his extensive analysis of Coinbase. I just bought my very first bitcoin ever, using Coinbase from my iPad while sitting here at a coffee shop in Colorado. Here are some additional insights while they are still fresh in my mind.

  1. I set up a new checking account at Wells Fargo yesterday morning specifically to put a guard rail around my bitcoin transactions. This was because the Coinbase web page required me (Nov 2013) to send them a routing number and account number, but I did not feel comfortable doing this with my regular checking account. I funded the new Wells Fargo checking account with $300 that I paid with six 50-dollar bills.

  2. I went onto the Coinbase website about an hour later, and entered my new routing number and account number. There was a small snag, because Coinbase was initially unable to verify the existence of my new WF account. The Coinbase site informed me that it would try to deposit two small amounts of cash into my new WF account over the next few days, after which I could verify to them the amounts of the two.

  3. This morning (24 hours later) I noticed that a 19-cent deposit and a 7-cent deposit had been made overnight to my WF account. I entered this info on the Coinbase verification tab, and got immediate confirmation that this was successful.

  4. Coinbase also required me to enter a phone number, and I entered my iPhone number. The site then required me to enter a code that it said was available by SMS. I had no idea what SMS even means, but there was a tab I could click to request a phone call from Coinbase to read me the required code number. After I clicked the tab, my iPhone got a phone call from San Francisco about 20 seconds later. A robovoice read me the code number slowly and clearly, and I was able to type it into the Coinbase box. I got a Coinbase confirmation alert immediately.

  5. I then entered a buy for one bitcoin, with a price of $289 and a $3 transaction fee. The website confirmed the pending buy, and gave me an alert that the one bitcoin will appear in my Coinbase account about 7 days from now. So far, so good.....

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    The question explicitly asks about depositing money to Bitstamp, while you describe the procedure of depositing money to Coinbase, probably in order to answer the question "What is the cheapest way to acquire Bitcoin from the US?" instead. So, unfortunately, I am afraid you are missing the point here. – Murch Nov 7 '13 at 15:57

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