Tuesday 2 April 2013

How to transfer GBP to BTC quickly and cheaply


Deposits with blockchain.info and direct MtGox GBP deposits are EXPENSIVE (around 6%), and Intersango can’t be trusted.

TransferWise is run by the people who made Skype, and is a cost effective and quick solution that offers better exchange rates than the bank. I've had good experience with them getting funds to the exchanges quickly and cheaply since I started using them.

(this is my referral link, it will get you one free transfer) ------->   TransferWise

With TransferWise, you can deposit to:
(and every other Exchange that supports SEPA deposits)

To get GBP into BTC (on Bitstamp):

Now we cannot send funds directly to Bitstamp as they do not have a UK bank account. E.g. blockchain.info stopped allowing cash deposits via Barclays pingit. 

1.    Create a deposit order with Bitstamp and arrange a SEPA transfer. (Click “deposit” at the top of the page, EU Bank/SEPA on the left hand side as deposit option, and fill in the amount that you wish to send).

Bitstamp will give you account details and reference number to include in the transaction.

2.    Send and Convert GBP to EUR using TransferWise. They have much better rates than banks and exchanges because of their unique peer to peer style method of exchange, and they only take a 0.48% commission.

You can see the exchange rate you will get on their front page, you can use this as a guide for the amount you will deposit to the exchange (Bitstamp).

3. TransferWise will give you their bank details and a reference number. Send the money, and TransferWise converts it to EUR and sends it via SEPA for you, all the way to the exchange.

4.    Bitstamp receives the money within 1-3 working days, and converts to USD. We use EUR initially because otherwise the transfer could take 2-5 days to confirm and cost another 0.1%.


TransferWise convert GBP to EUR using midmarket rates, which is very cost effective.

Bitstamp (and other exchanges) convert EUR to USD using corporate rates = standard rate of currency exchanges.

Bitstamps rates are listed here: http://www.unicreditbank.si/tecajna_lista/?t=1&id_menu=&language=ENG

How long?

This all takes about 48 hours. 

If you choose "priority payment" before 1pm with TransferWise they get your money out by 2pm. I have sent money in the morning at it was received in the evening on the Bitstamp site, just make sure you include your payment reference so their system can process it automatically. 

Each exchange varies depending on how long they take to process at the other end.

Once you have bought some Bitcoin, get a wallet:

Make sure you get a wallet and back it up somewhere offline if you wish to store large amounts of Bitcoin. There are many out there including some online services, but I find Electrum very easy to use, and it allows you to restore your wallet (with coins) in the event of a system failure or forgetting your private key. There are also some other benefits. 

Get Electrum here: http://electrum.org