The Top Exchanges for Buying Bitcoin with Fiat (That Aren’t Coinbase)

Don’t get me wrong, Coinbase was a godsend when I first got into crypto, as it is for most fledgling investors. It’s painless to set up, it’s user-friendly, and it offers a variety of payment options. But between the 1.49% fee for bank transfers and its 3.99% fee for debit/credit card payments, you might be looking for an exchange with lower rates. Well, you’ve got some options, so why not explore them?

Top Exchanges for Fiat Trading Pairs

A few notes before we dive in:

This list is not exhaustive, as it is based on the top 15 exchanges by volume according to

Also, a taker trade is one that takes liquidity from a market by purchasing a previous buy/sell offer, while a maker trade is one that adds liquidity by introducing a buy/sell order that does not match any current offer.


We recently covered GDAX in a guide on low-fee exchanges. It’s owned by Coinbase but operates like a traditional peer-to-peer exchange, so it’s nothing like its parent company.

With GDAX, you can deposit or withdraw fiat directly using your bank information to or from your Coinbase account. You can either initiate a bank transfer for free or wire money the same day for a deposit fee of US$10 or a withdrawal fee of US$25. U.S. bank accounts can also use ACH to send money, while European accounts can use SEPA. GDAX charges a 0.25% fee for BTC taker trades and a 0.3% fee for ETH and LTC taker trades. There are no fees for maker trades on the exchange.

Using GDAX, you can trade USD for BTC, ETH, LTC, and BCH. It also offers EUR trading pairs for BTC, LTC, and ETH, and a GBP pair for BTC.


With Bitfinex, investors can access USD and EUR fiat pairs. Like GDAX, one can deposit directly from their bank with no fee, but unlike GDAX, there’s a 0.1% fee for withdrawals. Bitfinex also charges a 0.1% maker fee and a 0.2% taker fee for all trades.

Bitfinex has loads of USD to crypto trading pairs, but the most popular include BTC, ETH, XRP, BCH, MIOTA, and LTC. BTC/EUR and MIOTA/EUR are currently the two most popular Bitcoin-related pairs.


Kraken offers crypto trading against USD, EUR, CAD, and JPY. Depending on one’s region, it offers a variety of deposit and withdrawal gateways, including SEPA, SWIFT, EFT, and direct transfers. There are no deposit fees, and withdrawal fees differ for each currency and method.

The exchange accommodates an array of fiat/crypto trading pairs, but the most popular for USD and EUR include BTC, XRP, ETH, BCH, and LTC.


Bitstamp is another solid option for fiat to crypto purchases. It supports both USD and EUR trading, and allows for direct bank transfers, debit/credit card purchases, ACH transfers for U.S. users, or SEPA transfers for European traders. Bitstamp deals exclusively with trading pairs for BTC, BCH, ETH, LTC, and XRP, and you can purchase all five using EUR or USD.

Bitstamp’s trading fees are a flat US0.25%, but its deposit and withdrawal fees are a bit more complex. They vary based on one’s currency and deposit/withdrawal method.