The penny pincher’s guide to buying Bitcoin

Buying bitcoin can be expensive.

If you go the localbitcoins.com route you can instantly receive your coin today, but you’re easily getting charged at least a 10–15% markup by online sellers.

So if speed is not the utmost concern, let me introduce you to GDAX. A Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Litecoin market where USD deposits are FREE!

So lets get started.

Prerequisites:

  • A bank account

Part 1: Coinbase and Bank setup

  1. First we need to set up a Coinbase account, and link one of your bank accounts to it. Coinbase is partnered with GDAX, and this will allow you to directly transfer funds from your bank account to your GDAX account.

2. Navigate to https://www.coinbase.com/signup and enter your signup information.

The following image should be what you see next

3. Check the email account you used to sign up, locate the verification email from Coinbase.com (Subject: Please Verify Your Email Address, sent from no-reply@coinbase.com), and select verify email address.

4. You will be asked to enter a phone number to start the account creation process. Enter a cell phone number that can receive texts and select Next.

5. You should have received a text message almost immediately with an authentication code. When you are brought to the next screen enter that code and select Verify Phone Number.

If you take too long to enter your code it may be invalidated. Just select re-send SMS and use the new code if that occurs

6. Now you should see the Coinbase dashboard. It looks like this at the time this article was written.

7. To complete our Coinbase account setup we still need to link a bank account. Scroll down to the bottom of the page, locate the Complete Your Account window located on the left, and select Add a payment method.

8. You will be asked to select from three options: Bank account, Credit/debit Card, and Wire Transfer. We will select Bank account, as that will offer us the absolute lowest transfer fees.

9. You will be prompted to select your bank. Find your bank from the listed options and select it.

10. Enter the login information used for your respective bank’s website on the following screen.

11. In the interest of protecting my personal information, this step will go without a screenshot. A prompt will load with your available banking accounts. Select the Checking or Savings account you would like to use as your source of funding.


Using this bank login process will instantly verify your account, allowing you to start making cash transfers from your bank account.

Now you could start buying Bitcoin on Coinbase with a 1.49% transfer fee…but this article is about the CHEAPEST method to buy Bitcoin.

Part 2: GDAX

  1. Navigate to https://www.gdax.com/

2. Select Sign in in the top right corner. Coinbase owns GDAX, and allows you to sign in using your already made Coinbase account

3. You will be prompted to log in using the Coinbase account created in Part 1. Enter the same email and password used in Step 2 of Part 1 and select Sign In.

4. Check your cell phone, because their should be a text message with an authentication code you will enter into the following screen. Once you’ve done this select verify.

5. Read and accept the terms of GDAX account use.

6. If you followed this guide exactly you won’t need to verify your phone number again. So hit Next on the following screen.

7. Fill in relevant personal information on the following screen then select Next.

8. Upload a picture of your Driver’s License or ID Card (Passport, State ID card). You can use a webcam if one is already connected to your computer or upload a photo from your computer.

9. Once you’ve uploaded your ID and are verified, log into your account and you will presented with this screen.

10. Select Deposit

11. Select Bank Account

12. Select the drop down arrow, select the bank account you would like to draw USD from, and enter the amount in the box to the right.

13. Select Deposit Funds

14. Wait 3–7 days.

15. Once your funds have transferred you will see a USD balance here

16. Enter the amount of USD you would like use to buy Bitcoin in the order form below. The default setting is a market order which will purchase the Bitcoin at the last traded price.

17. Select Place Buy Order

Congratulations. You just bought Bitcoin with a fair and reasonable transfer fee!