7 Ways to Buy Bitcoin (BTC) in Canada – Step by Step

The best step-by-step beginner’s guide to buying Bitcoin with a credit card, Paypal or bank balance in Canada.

In This Guide

The following guide outlines the easiest ways to buy, sell and trade Bitcoin for Canadian dollars and other cryptocurrencies.

How to Buy Bitcoin With Canadian Dollars (CAD)

The simplest way to buy Bitcoin (BTC) is to by it from someone else through a digital currency exchange. There are a number of exchanges available in Canada and which one you choose to use can depend on how much cryptocurrency you want to buy (how much Canadian dollars you want to spend), what method of payment you want to use and how much time you have to sign up, deposit CAD into your account and wait for your purchase to complete and the Bitcoin to show up in your account.

Based on my experiences, these are the best options:

QuadrigaCX – If you want to buy and sell more than a few hundred dollars worth, pay via bank transfer/wire and/or don’t mind it taking a couple days between sign up and purchase.

Coinbase – If you only want to buy and hold a couple hundred dollars worth, want to use a credit or debit card and/or want it done today.

LocalBitcoinsIf you want to buy in-person via Paypal or cash to maintain privacy and don’t mind paying a premium.

For a complete comparison of these exchanges and more, check out our guide to the best cryptocurrency exchanges available in Canada.

1) QuadrigaCX – EFT, e-Transfer

More steps, longer to verify, but more deposit options, lower fees and higher limits

QuadrigaCX is the biggest and best cryptocurrency exchange that accepts Canadian dollars. I use them for all my purchases of the coins they support: Bitcoin, Ethereum, Bitcoin Cash and Litecoin. They have reasonable fees of 1.5% on new deposits and 0.5% on completed trades. They offer a wide variety of funding options and have high daily limits.

Here’s how to do it:

Step 1) Register for QuadrigaCX

To get started, visit QuadrigaCX to create an account and fill in your name, email address, date of birth and country of residence:


You’ll be asked to create a password as well as a PIN number that you’ll used to confirm transactions – just like you would at a bank ATM or with your debit card. Be sure to write this down somewhere.

Step 2) Verify Your Account

Verification is only required to use any of the funding methods to add CAD or USD to your account. This is to comply with know your customer (KYC) and anti-money laundering (AML) laws.

Verification is NOT required to fund your account with any of the supported cryptocurrencies and/or then trade for fiat (CAD/USD) or another supported cryptocurrency. You can also withdraw fiat or cryptocurrency without verifying your account.

For Quadriga, this involves verifying your identity through Equifax using your address, name and date of birth as well as providing photos or scans of your driver’s license/passport, bank/utility statement and a selfie of you holding your ID and a handwritten note.

This may feel a bit strange, but this is necessary to comply with federal law. Think of it this way – it’s way faster and more convenient than going into a bank to open an account.

Step 3) Deposit CAD to QuadrigaCX

On the Member Dashboard, click the FUND button in the “Available Canadian Dollars (CAD)” box:

Once verified, you can now use any of the payment methods below to add Canadian dollars to your account. I used to use the Electronic Funds Transfer back when its fee was 1.5%, but now I use the INTERAC Online option through RBC that has the lowest fee of 1.5% and it works great.

Unfortunately, this option is not available to CIBC/Simplii bank accounts or debit cards that double as a Visa or Mastercard. In this case an Electronic Funds Transfer is the next best option or if you’re depositing a larger amount (>$2000), an Interac e-Transfer offers the lowest fees.

Now you have to wait until you see the funds you deposited in the Available Canadian Dollars box on the Member Dashboard.

Step 4) Buy Bitcoin Cash

Now for the fun part.

On the Dashboard page, select the XBT/CAD trading pair in the drop down at the top right of the page.

In the center box, click the Buy Bitcoin tab and enter the amount of Bitcoin you would like to buy in CAD.

Click the Buy Bitcoin button.

You’re done!

Note: Unlike the image below, your account won’t show $0 Canadian Dollars if you’ve followed the steps above. Want to know more about QuadrigaCX? Read my full review.

2) Coinbase – Buy With a Credit or Debit Card

Fewer steps, faster to verify, but higher fees and lower limits

Coinbase is the first exchange/wallet I used when I started investing in cryptocurrencies. They provide a very smooth, fast and automated signup and verification process, but the only payment methods they offer Canadians are Visa, Mastercard and debit and hey charge a high flat 3.99% fee on all purchases.

The weekly purchase limit starts at $200 on all accounts and is based on your account information, verification and past successful payments. You can increase this limit by uploading a photo ID and by buying more cryptocurrencies. Over time, they have increased my limit to $1000 per week.

Step 1) Register for Coinbase

To get started, visit Coinbase to create an account and fill in your name, email address and a strong password:


During the sign up process, you’ll be asked to confirm your email address and phone number and link a bank or credit card.

Step 2) Verify Your Account

You’ll be asked to upload a picture of a photo ID such as your driver’s license:

Step 3) Add a Debit or Credit Card

You will be prompted to enter your credit/debit card details:

Step 4) Buy Bitcoin Cash

On the Buy/Sell page, select Bitcoin Cash, your previously added payment method (or add another using the drop down), enter an amount of Bitcoin Cash you want to buy in CAD or BCH and click the Buy Instantly button.

Best Exchanges: Where to Buy and Trade Bitcoin in Canada

Here is a detailed breakdown of the exchanges available to Canadians:

NameDescriptionCurrenciesDeposit Methods & FreesTrading FeesTop Trading PairsWithdrawal Methods & Fees 

QuadrigaCX
Canada's largest digital currency exchange. Next day and free deposit and withdrawal options available.BTC, LTC, ETH, BCH, BTGCAD, USD free to 2.5%. Free for supported crypto.0.2-0.5% on completed tradesClick HereCAD, USD free to 2%. Free for supported crypto.

Coinbase
One of the most popular, trusted and secure cryptocurrency exchanges and wallet platforms.BTC, LTC, ETH, BCHCAD Debit/Credit 3.99%Not AvailableNot AvailableFree crypto transfers to other exchanges/wallets only. Cannot withdraw CAD.

Kraken
Largest Euro volume Bitcoin exchange founded in 2011.BTC, BCH, DASH, EOS, GNO, ETH, ETC, ICN, LTC, MLN, REP, DOGE, XMR, XRP, ZECCAD, USD, EUR, GBP, JPY. Free CAD wire deposit. Free for crypto.0.16% to 0.26% for less than $50,000 volume.BTC/EUR, BTC/USD, ETH/EURCAD EFT $10 flat fee. 18 cryptos, fees vary

Poloniex
Crypto to crypto exchange based in the US founded in 2014. 14th largest by volume.60+ cryptocurrencies including XRP, STR, XMR, ZEC, NEM, DOGE, LSKAny of the 60+ supported digital currencies for free.0.15% to 0.25% for less than 600 BTC volume.BTC/USDT, XRP/BTC, ETC/BTCAny of the 60+ supported digital currencies fees depend on coin (0.0001 for BTC)

Binance
Fastest growing crypto exchange in the world and second largest by volume.100+ digital currencies including NEO, XRP, NANO, BNBAny of the 100+ supported cryptocurrencies for free.0.1% on completed trades.Click HereAny of the 100+ supported cryptocurrencies for free.

Coinsquare
Canadian owned & operated based in Toronto. 72nd largest by volume.BTC, ETH, LTC, BCH2.5% for Interac online, e-transfer, bank draft, money order of CAD.0.1% maker (providing liquidity) to 0.2% taker (removing liquidity).BTC/CAD, ETH/BTC, LTC/BTC1% for bank deposit, 0.5% for wire transfer (min. $10,000) of CAD.

Bittrex
Fast to list new cryptocurrencies. Founded in 2014 built and operated in the US. 10th largest by volume.190+ digital currencies including OMG, BNT, POWR, ADADoes not support CAD. Network transaction fee only (varies by coin)0.25% on completed tradesETC/BTC, BTC/USDT, ADA/BTCNetwork transfer fee only (varies by coin).

Bitfinex
Advanced trading features including margin trading. 5th largest by volume.38 cryptocurrencies including IOTA, EOS, ZEC, TRX, ZRX, USDTDoes not support CAD. Fee varies by coin deposited (eg. 0.0027 ETH) Free for >$1000 USD worth.0.1% maker (providing liquidity) to 0.2% taker (removing liquidity) for less than $500,000 per month.BTC/USD, ETH/USD, XRP/USDDoes not support CAD. Fee varies by coin withdrawn (eg. 0.0008 BTC).

Changelly
Robot that finds the best price on the largest exchanges including Bittrex and Poloniex founded in 2013.USD, EUR & 90+ digital currencies including SALT, FUN, POT, STEEM, GAMEDoes not accept deposits. Trades are between two wallet addresses directly.0.5% on completed tradesN/AFunds are not held on the platform.

KuCoin
Founded in 2017. 27th largest by volume.100+ cryptos including REQ, NANO, DENT, FLIXXFree to deposit any supported currency.0.1% on completed tradesR/BTC, R/ETH, ETH/BTC70+ supported digital currencies fees depend on coin (0.001 for BTC)

LocalBitcoins
Peer to peer Bitcoin trading with 1 million users in 248 countries.BTCCash, e-transfer, Moneygram, PayPal, Vanilla, etc. Fees vary by user.BTC with dozens of fiat currencies.Cash, e-transfer, Gift Cards, Paypal, etc.

Bitstamp
Top 10 exchange by volume founded in 2011.BTC, ETH, XRP, BCH, LTCUSD, EUR 0.05% for international wire. (min. $7.5) Free for crypto.0.25% for less than $20,000 trade volume per month USD to BTC, XRP, ETH, LTC, BCH, EUR to BTC, LTC, XRPUSD, EUR 0.09% for international wire. (min. $15) Free for crypto.

Shapeshift
Private & fast exchange - no account needed.70+ digital currencies including DASH, FUN, MAID & BNT45+ cryptocurrencies to trade between. No deposits/accounts.~0.5% + network fees45+ cryptocurrencies including BTC, ETH, LTC, EOS & XMR45+ cryptocurrencies to trade between. No deposits/accounts.

4 Ways to Buy Bitcoin With Paypal

There are a few reasons why you would prefer to buy Bitcoin with Paypal instead of the options above:

  • You want to maintain your privacy
  • You don’t trust an exchange to hold your money
  • You don’t have a debit or credit card

Why Buying Bitcoin With Paypal is Difficult

A Bitcoin transaction is permanent – it cannot be reversed for any reason. On the other hand, Paypal provides chargebacks, which makes it easy for somebody to buy Bitcoin with Paypal, submit a claim that they never received the “invisible” digital currency and submit a chargeback request. It would be very difficult if not impossible to determine if the chargeback was legitimate.

1) LocalBitcoins

LocalBitcoins is one of the most popular peer to peer (P2P) exchange services. It is essentially a directory of buyers and sellers organized by their location, price and the payment methods they accept.

Once a buyer and seller have agreed on the terms of their trade, they send their currencies to LocalBitcoins which acts as the middleman. Once the funds have been received from both parties, the Bitcoin and CAD is then transferred to the other party. Because LocalBitcoins is able to confirm receipt of both payments, they offer the option to send money to them via Paypal.

Pros

  • Fast and straightforward
  • Best price if you must use Paypal
  • No transfer limits

Cons

  • It takes time to find a buyer or seller that fits your requirements
  • Price is determined by the deals available at any given time
  • Some sellers choose not to accept Paypal

2) Paxful

Paxful is another P2P exchange. When a buyer and seller have agreed on the terms of a trade, their funds are sent to an escrow account. After the trade has been confirmed by Paxful, the funds are released to each party.

Paxful offers many different methods of payment such as Western Union, Amazon Gift Cards and Paypal and is more popular globally, so you can do business with foreign traders. This is ideal if you have foreign currencies in your Paypal account.

3) xCoins

xCoins is half Bitcoin exchange and half peer-to-peer lending platform. Users can offer “loans” to each other and set an “interest rate”. These loans are paid back in one payment, which makes the transaction function almost exactly like buying or selling Bitcoin on an exchange, but since they are classified as loans, xCoins can accept credit card and PayPal payments.

Pros and cons of xCoins

Pros

  • Another option to buy Bitcoin with Paypal
  • Relatively easy to use

Cons

  • The “loans” and “interest rates” may be confusing for some
  • CAD is converted to USD in order to use the platform, so Canadians will pay PayPal’s exchange rates.
  • Small transfer limit of US$1,000.

Bitcoin ATMs in Canada

Bitcoin ATMs are local, independently run machines that allow people to buy and sell Bitcoin with a high degree of privacy – one of the most desired features of Bitcoin. They require very limited verification and are in no way affiliated with regular bank ATMs.

In return for the convenience and level of privacy, you should expect to pay higher transaction fees than you would find on a Bitcoin exchange. The fee to buy Bitcoin at an ATM in Canada is typically 7% to 8%, while the fees to sell range from 4% to 6%.

The world’s first Bitcoin ATM was installed in a coffee shop in Vancouver in 2013. It used palm and ID scans to enable transactions. There are now 304 Bitcoin ATMs located across Canada with the vast majority being found in Toronto (118), Vancouver (47), Montreal (47) and Calgary (30).

To find the nearest Bitcoin ATM in your area, check out the Coin ATM Radar.

Other Ways to Earn Bitcoin

Accept Them as Payment

The most straightforward way to get Bitcoin is to accept them in return for a product or service that you sell. If you don’t have a product or service to offer, there are job listings out there that pay in Bitcoin. You can find some examples on the subreddit Jobs 4 Bitcoins

Bitcoin Mining

Simply put, Bitcoin miners are computers running Bitcoin’s software that provide the processing power needed to support and secure the transactions that take place between users on Bitcoin’s network. In return for the computational power and electricity they provide to the network, the miners are given small amounts of Bitcoin.

While any computer can run the software to start trying to mine Bitcoin and support the network, the popularity of Bitcoin has caused mining to become extremely competitive. Powerful specialized mining hardware is a minimum in order to have any chance of receiving some Bitcoin.

For more details on how to get started, check out this guide.

Best Bitcoin Wallet: How to Hold Coins Securely

If you don’t plan on frequently trading your Bitcoin for other cryptocurrencies, then it’s recommended that you transfer your coins to a (preferably offline) wallet where you can see and control the public and private keys.

A wallet is a piece of software that “stores” your digital currency. This software could be a desktop application, a mobile app, a hardware/paper wallet or an online exchange

Leaving your Bitcoin on an exchange provides a good level of security, particularly if your holdings are a small portion of your overall portfolio. That said, in this case you do not control the private key to the address where your Bitcoin is stored – the exchange does. This adds a layer of risk because exchanges are not held to the same financial regulations and theft or bankruptcy of the exchange can result in you losing your holdings.

This is why it is recommended that you hold your coins in a personal wallet that you own and control.

The best Bitcoin wallets are the following:

Hardware Wallets

Desktop Wallets

Paper Wallets

Before the popular hardware wallets listed above were developed, paper wallets were the most common method of “cold storage” (storing your Bitcoin safely offline).

As long as the paper wallet’s public and private keys are generated and printed on a malware free and offline computer, it can provide a method of free and secure cold storage. The software to generate a paper wallet can be downloaded (and then used offline) from BitAddress.org or WalletGenerator.net.

The biggest weakness of paper wallets is that in order to maintain security and privacy, you have to create and print a new wallet address every time you want to send funds to cold storage.

Here is an excellent guide on how to safely create a paper wallet.

Where can I Use Bitcoin in Canada?

A growing number of retailers and goods and service providers in Canada are now accepting Bitcoins, from Etsy vendors to Expedia, Dell and TigerDirect.ca.

However, the list is rather short and living on Bitcoin alone would be a challenge. On top of that, network transaction fees can spike to $20-$40 during times of peak demand which can make small payments with Bitcoin uneconomical.

That said, CoinCards.ca is a company that sells gift cards for many popular companies for Bitcoin. By paying them Bitcoin, you can get a gift card for Costco, Canadian Tire, Cineplex, Air Canada, Apple, Amazon or Toys R Us.

Bylls is a service available to Canadians that enables users to pay their bills from over 6500 different companies using Bitcoin. They also provide the option to send funds directly to your bank account or to any payee – including family and friends.

For an up to date list of goods and service providers that accept Bitcoin, check out Coin Map.

FAQ

What is Bitcoin?

Bitcoin is a cryptocurrency created by Satoshi Nakamoto (the name of the unknown person or people who developed the technology) which was released as open source software in 2009. It is a global digital currency and payment system that is not controlled by a central authority such as a bank, business or government.

Transactions take place directly from user to user across its network without a middleman and are instead verified by nodes on the network (Bitcoin miners). Each transaction is recorded through the use of cryptography onto a public distributed ledger called a blockchain that every node keeps a copy of.

What are the Processing Fees & Wait Times?

Every transaction must be added to the distributed public ledger (“blockchain”). Keeping a single public ledger that has a record of every transaction ever completed prevents duplication of digital assets and allows users to verify who owns what and determine if a transaction is legitimate.

This need to confirm every transaction by adding it to the blockchain means it takes time for every transaction to go through and a small fee paid to the nodes (miners) processing the transaction. These times and fees can increase significantly during times of high volume when there is a spike in popularity of Bitcoin.

Transaction times are currently around 10 minutes on average but can spike to several hours during high volume. The average fee can vary significantly from $9 to $60 during peak demand. Bitcoin’s developers are working on updates to the system that will reduce these wait times and process fees.

How to Track Prices?

Coinmarketcap.com is the most popular cryptocurrency ranking and tracking website.

Will I Owe Taxes?

If you’re like me (and most other people), you’re likely buying Bitcoin to hold it and sell it for a profit in the future – treating it more like gold than a currency.

You don’t have to pay any taxes until you sell your Bitcoin. After you sell, you’ll have to report your capital gain or loss on your tax return.

Here’s how capital gains are taxed in Canada.

Learn More

Disclaimer: Investing in cryptocurrency is always a risk and there is no guarantee of returns. Nothing on this page should be taken as financial advice of any kind.

Over to You

How do you buy Bitcoin? What do you think of the currency? Is it worth investing in?

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