The best ways to acquire bitcoins. . .

Short answer:

If you are a beginner, use Coinbase

Reasons why I like it for beginners:

  1. Email and phone customer support options are available if you have any questions.
  2. Your bitcoins are safely stored in a "cloud wallet", so if your phone gets lost for some reason, you won't lose your bitcoins. (This happens a lot to beginners!)
  3. Coinbase is insured for certain types of loss scenarios
  4. Coinbase is inexpensive - fees are about 1.5%!

(Note, beware of storing large amounts of bitcoin on Coinbase. This is why)

If you need cheap bitcoins, use Coinbase or Gemini

Coinbase and Gemini are the cheapest option to buy bitcoins with a cost of 1.5% for most transactions. Credit card purchases of bitcoin can be done for about a 4% fee.

While bitcoin can be purchased cheaply using this option, there are certain downfalls. Buying limits are typically very low, often just a few hundred dollars per week, and it depends on your credit and income levels. Also, if you're buying a relatively high amount of bitcoin, Coinbase sometimes implement "holds" on your bitcoin purchase, which can last 3-5 days. Lower amounts, however, can be transferred to your bank account immediately.

If you want credit card-purchased bitcoins, use Coinbase or Coinmama

These two services are currently the most popular options for buying bitcoins through a credit card. Fees are about 4%, so the charges are higher than straight debit withdrawals from your bank account.

To get bitcoins fast, use bitcoin ATM’s

Our site has a map that can locate a bitcoin ATM near you. You can get your bitcoin immediately using this option, up to a few thousand usually. It's a more expensive option though, with a 8% - 12% fee being the most common.

For private bitcoin transactions, buy from a local dealer using LocalBitcoins or Paxful

You are "buying bitcoin on the street". The bitcoin industry is notorious for scammers, so please be careful with this option. The best strategy against scams is to choose the dealer that has the longest and best track record of activity. Length of track record is usually the best predictor of good, honest behavior. This a "medium cost" option (around 5-10% fee), but the advantage is that the transaction can be done discreetly.

Some dealers allow bank deposits, which can be convenient. But again, please make sure the dealer has a good track record before you do business with him.