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While Bitcoin has made a lot of progress as a new form of electronic money, PayPal is still the standard when it comes to online money transfers.

Due to PayPal’s popularity online, many people think it would be the perfect match for trading into the Bitcoin ecosystem; however, there are key differences between these two payment options that make them mostly incompatible.

In this article we discuss the advantages and challenges users face when they want to buy Bitcoin with PayPal and our favorite methods to do so.

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PayPal Pros & Cons

Pros

  • PayPal is a user friendly option for most people to make online payments

  • PayPal is trusted as a secure platform for online payments

  • Many people already have a PayPal account

Cons

  • Buying cryptocurrency with PayPal has higher fees

  • There are strict limits on how much cryptocurrency users can buy via PayPal

  • Most exchanges don’t even offer PayPal as an option

Our Favorite Exchanges That Accept PayPal

eToro Exchange Logo

eToro

  • Great for crypto beginners
  • Solid crypto/general trading platform
  • Reliable company with solid trust in the community
  • Fully supports credit cards for deposits and withdrawals
Funding Methods e-Transfer & Wire Transfer
Cryptocurrencies 15+
Countries 70+
Don’t invest unless you’re prepared to lose all the money you invest. This is a high-risk investment, and you should not expect to be protected if something goes wrong. eToro USA LLC; Investments are subject to market risk, including the possible loss of principal. Your capital is at risk. This ad promotes virtual cryptocurrency investing within the EU (by eToro Europe Ltd. and eToro UK Ltd.) & USA (by eToro USA LLC); which is highly volatile, unregulated in most EU countries, no EU protections & not supervised by the EU regulatory framework. Investments are subject to market risk, including the loss of principal. Only real cryptocurrencies are available to US customers.
Coinbase logo new

Coinbase

  • Beginner-friendly UI make it easy to make quick buys
  • One of the oldest and most reliable exchanges
  • Earn $200 in free crypto after completing sign-up process. Terms apply.
  • Variety of products including exchange, staking, wallet
  • Advanced Trading options for experienced traders
Funding Methods Debit & Credit Bank, PayPal, ACH, Bank Transfer, e-Transfer
Cryptocurrencies 100+
Countries 100+

History of PayPal and Cryptocurrency

PayPal was launched back in 1998, and its original goals were somewhat aligned with Bitcoin’s goals. PayPal wanted to create a new form of internet money that would be frictionless and make sending payments to other PayPal users almost as easy as sending an email.

However, due to the centralized nature of PayPal, the company was never able to be as innovative and boundary-pushing as they hoped. That said, PayPal eventually became the de facto standard for online payments.

However, PayPal has not worked well with Bitcoin up to this point. This is because, unlike cryptocurrency payments, PayPal transactions are not settled right after they are made. Due to this difference in how payments are processed on these separate platforms, they are mostly incompatible for trust-less trades between each other.

The same goes for using PayPal to buy popular alt-coins like EthereumTether and Litecoin. PayPal and cryptocurrency exchanges simply do not work well together. You will likely have to find an intermediary to buy or sell Bitcoin or any other cryptocurrency using PayPal.

Does PayPal Let Users Buy Crypto in the App?

Yes. PayPal launched crypto services in early 2021 to the surprise of many.

In previous years the company seemed somewhat opposed to crypto but in early 2021 PayPal launched a service that let peple use their PayPal balance to buy, sell and hold the following digital currencies: Bitcoin, Ethereum, Bitcoin Cash and Litecoin. You can even withdraw your purchased crypto to a private wallet.

It’s a very streamlined process but, unfortunately, the fees are rather high so in this guide we mostly focus on using PayPal on popular exchanges with lower fees. It’s also not available in all jurisdictions where PayPal operates.

Still, PayPal Crypto is a good option for anyone looking for the simplest possible way to buy crypto (if you already have PayPal balance account).

PayPal Cryptocurrency

The Advantages of PayPal for Cryptocurrency

The biggest advantage of using PayPal for buying and selling crypto is always going to be its incumbent status as one of the biggest payment processors in the world.

Hundreds of millions of people already have an account with PayPal and using it for crypto represents one of the simplest, frustration-free methods of buying Bitcoin or other coins.

PayPal has decades of experience in the payments business and has stood the test of time when it comes to processing online payments and is considered by many to be the de facto #1 choice for online transactions. Despite the fees and low limits, depending on where you are in the world, PayPal may be the fastest way to acquire some cryptocurrency.

The Disadvantages of PayPal for Cryptocurrency

There are a number of disadvantages to using PayPal to buy cryptocurrency, and this option should probably be avoided if you are not in a rush. Buying and selling Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies with PayPal will come with higher fees than even using a credit card and much higher than if you used your bank account for a bank transfer. Additionally, there are extremely low limits on the few platforms where PayPal is even accepted as a payment option.

Perhaps the biggest disadvantage of using PayPal for Cryptocurrency is that it is simply very difficult to do. Most major crypto exchanges do not accept PayPal payments at this time.

How to Buy Bitcoin with PayPal

While using PayPal to buy Bitcoin would not be our top recommendation as a method to buy Bitcoin or any other cryptocurrency, there are ways to do it. We will outline what we think is the best way to buy and sell crypto with PayPal:

eToro

eToro is a trading platform where users can buy and sell a variety of financial products including stocks, commodities and cryptocurrency. eToro was created in 2007 and has customers in more than 170 countries. It is a fully regulated marketplace meaning your funds are somewhat protected.

It is very easy to buy Bitcoin with PayPal on eToro, as once you sign up you are immediately able to fund your account with PayPal in order to buy any of the available products. It should be noted that eToro does not allow crypto transfers in all jurisdictions so you should check and make sure it’s supported in your regions. We’d recommend most users withdraw crypto to a personal wallet for safety after purchasing from an exchange.

The fees when you buy Bitcoin with PayPal are very low and the platform offers access to a variety of different markets. Experienced traders may find eToro an easy entry into trading Bitcoin without having to learn about storing crypto in a wallet.

PayPal Frequently Asked Questions


PayPal is not a cryptocurrency; it is an online payments platform. You can buy and sell Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin and Bitcoin Cash on the platform, however.

PayPal also has offers its own stablecoin called PYUSD.


While you cannot transfer Ethereum to PayPal directly, it is possible to to make this movement of money with Coinbase as a middleman. First, you will need to send your Ethereum to Coinbase (if it’s not already on the exchange). Next, you will need to sell your Ethereum for your local fiat currency of choice. Lastly, you can withdraw your fiat-denominated funds into your PayPal account.


PayPal does not currently accept Bitcoin; however, a subsidiary of PayPal, known as Braintree, does allow merchants to accept the cryptocurrency for online payments.


Yes, you can use your PayPal credit card to buy cryptocurrency; however, it should be noted that buying crypto via a credit card comes with the same sorts of drawbacks found with buying cryptocurrency via PayPal.


PayPal and cryptocurrency are not really comparable. PayPal is an online payments platform while cryptocurrencies are a completely new form of money. Whether PayPal or cryptocurrency is better for you will depend on your specific use case. As a payments mechanism, cryptocurrency is usually a better option in unregulated markets.


Yes. Coinbase added support for PayPal in 2021.


PayPal launched its own cryptocurrency called PYUSD in 2023 but it’s a stablecoin, which means its value is pegged to the US dollar.


In the early days PayPal seemed to view crypto as a competitor to its business but in recent years its been building crypto support into its platform rapidly. So there seems to have been a change of thought.

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