Cheapest Way To Buy Ethereum (ETH)

The Best Places to Buy Ethereum In July 2024
Published: October 12, 2023   |   Last Updated: February 12, 2024
Written By:
George Hristov
George Hristov
Contributor
Edited By:
Shannon Ullman
Shannon Ullman
Managing Editor

Key Takeaways

  • Ethereum is the second-largest cryptocurrency, and it can be purchased at almost any crypto exchange.
  • There are lots of options when it comes to buying ETH, including debit cards, ACH payments, PayPal, and exchanges
  • More cautious investors can use dollar-cost averaging and store their ETH in cold wallets after purchasing

How To Buy Ethereum

You can purchase Ethereum on almost any crypto exchange, but not all exchanges are created equal. Below we take a look at the best places to purchase Ethereum, weighing fees, trading minimums, and more.

We also cover the safe storage and handling of your ETH.

Own Ethereum in 4 Steps

Buying ETH requires just a few steps.

Step 1: Choose an Exchange

Step 2: Sign-up and verify your account

Step 3: Pay for Ethereum

Step 4: Store Ethereum – Keep it on an exchange or transfer it to a crypto wallet like Metamask.

The Cheapest Ways to Buy Ethereum

Below we cover the top centralized exchanges where you can buy ETH:

PlatformMinimum DepositTransaction FeesMargin TradingStaking and Rewards
Kraken0.00001 ETH0.26% taker fee and 0.16% maker feeYesYes, outside the US
Coinbase$10.60% taker fee and 0.40% maker feeNoYes
NexoNoneNo-fee trading for standard swaps (Nexo uses a spread), 0.40% Taker 0.30% Maker fees for Nexo Pro (lower fees for 30-day trading volume above $10,000)NoYes, outside the US
UniswapNoneBetween 0.3% + network gas feesNoNo
GeminiNone0.4% taker fee or 0.2% maker feeNoNo

Kraken

Review
4.4
Fees
0% to 0.26%
Availability
Worldwide
Supported Blockchains
ETH, ADA, SOL +More

Pros

  • Free Bitcoin Lightning Network withdrawals supported
  • Low minimum crypto purchase of $5
  • Free cash deposits with a $1 minimum (Intermediate and Pro accounts)

Cons

  • 0.0005 BTC minimum withdrawal
  • 0.0002 BTC withdrawal fee
  • Not available in NY or WA
  • High Instant Buy fees

  • Low Fees For Kraken Pro: Kraken’s low fees available with Kraken Pro make it one of the best places to buy Bitcoin. Pay just a 0.16% maker fee or 0.26% taker fee for trading volume up to $50,000, with additional discounts available for higher trading volumes.
  • Proof Of Reserves: Log in to your account to verify Kraken’s crypto assets and ensure your holdings are included in the totals.
  • Multiple Funding Methods: Kraken is one of the few exchanges to offer credit card crypto purchases (outside the US). Buy Bitcoin with a credit card or debit card, or fund your account with your bank account.

In an industry where centralized exchanges haven’t been time-tested, Kraken has weathered both bull and bear markets since 2011, making Kraken one of the most trusted Bitcoin investing sites. Fees for Instant Buys are higher than some competitors, but If you use the Kraken Pro, just a click away from the home screen, you’ll enjoy some of the lowest trading fees available.

Coinbase

Best For Beginners
Review
4.6
Fees
0.5% – 4.5%
Availability
Worldwide
Supported Blockchains
BTC, ETH, SOL, MATIC + many more

Pros

  • Easy to use for crypto beginners
  • Low trade minimums
  • Bank account or PayPal funding, including PayPal business accounts

Cons

  • Higher advanced trading fees than other exchanges
  • High fees for simple trades (Buy & Sell box)

  • Multiple Funding Methods: Buy BTC with your bank account, debit card, or PayPal. If you’ve been wondering how to get Bitcoin with PayPal, Coinbase is one solution. Yes, PayPal business accounts are supported as well, but not PayPal business debit cards.
  • Large Selection Of Blue-Chip Cryptos: If you need to diversify beyond Bitcoin but want to stay in the safe-ish lane, you’ll find proven names in the space, like ETH, ADA, LINK, and much more.
  • Fee-Free Trading Available: With a Coinbase One subscription, priced at about $30 per month, you can buy Bitcoin with no fees, up to $10,000 in monthly trading volume.

Coinbase is one of the most trusted names in crypto, and being a publicly traded company brings more transparency than you’ll find with many other exchanges. Coinbase fees can be high if you use the Buy & Sell box, but with a few clicks, you can get those fees under control with Coinbase Advanced or if you subscribe to Coinbase One.

Nexo

Best For Daily Payments
Review
4.1
Token
Fees
No trading fees + 0.30%-0.40% Maker/Taker fees
Availability
Europe
Supported Blockchains
ETH, BTC, +More

Buy Ethereum Through DeFi Exchanges

Ethereum uses its smart contract technology to power an entirely new way of trading financial assets known as “decentralized finance” (DeFi). Through DeFi, individuals can tradelend, and borrow crypto without relying on centralized intermediaries but instead by utilizing automated programs that link buyers and sellers and facilitate transactions.

Below we look at the two largest DeFi platforms you can use to buy Ethereum.

Uniswap

Uniswap is the largest DEX by trading volume, bringing a wider range of tokens and deeper liquidity pools. The DEX combines an easy-to-use interface with easy-to-understand fees. Uniswap’s new Auto Router helps you get the best price by using multiple pools if needed.

Review
4.8
Token
Fees
0.3%
Supported Blockchains
Ethereum, Polygon, Optimism, Arbitrum

Pros

  • Wide selection of tokens
  • Helps users avoid scams with warnings when purchasing rarely traded tokens
  • Simple fee structure

Cons

  • Fees higher than some competitors
  • Limited blockchains
  • No limit orders

Want a DEX that’s so easy to use that you can recommend it to Mom? That’s Uniswap. But you might have to explain crypto wallets and ETH gas fees first. Uniswap has a massive user base, with about 5 million users to date and a huge selection of tokens. Quoted prices include both USD values and token values, removing the cost mystery you might find on other DEXs.

  • People who want to keep things simple: DEXs can be as daunting as drunken Jenga, but Uniswap makes DEX swaps simple. You’ll find one box in the middle of the screen. No endless endless tables or complicated charts. Just enter your trade, and you’re swapping like a pro.
  • People who need a larger selection of tokens: As the grandaddy of DEXs, Uniswap attracts hordes of eager traders, which also attracts liquidity providers hungry for yield. Whether it’s a common token or something new, there’s a good chance you’ll find it on Uniswap.

  • CoW Swap: If you live in the ETH world, your ETH is more valuable than gold. CoW Swap lets you save your precious ETH by paying for any fees with the tokens you’re selling.
  • OpenOcean: OpenOcean is a DEX aggregator that helps you find the best swap rates on 20 supported blockchains. You can even do cross-blockchain swaps. (More on that later.)

dYdX

Review
3.5
Token
Fees
0% up to $100,000 monthly trading volume
Availability
Worldwide
Supported Blockchains
ETH, USDC, DAI +More

Payment Methods Accepted

  • Credit Cards: Most major exchanges no longer support purchasing ETH and other cryptocurrencies using a credit card. However, debit cards are widely accepted on exchanges, including Coinbase and Kraken.
  • Debit Cards: For many, debit cards are the default way to buy Ethereum. Leading exchanges like Kraken and Coinbase support crypto purchases made through debit cards. Be sure to compare fees against using ACH, which is often more cost-effective.
  • ACH: Automated Clearing House (ACH) is a popular method for sending money directly between bank accounts. ACH is a great way to purchase Ethereum in bulk, but keep in mind that clearing times may be several business days, and exchanges may assign spend limits.
  • PayPal: The online payment provider supports purchasing Ethereum through their website and mobile app. You will need a PayPal account to complete your purchase. Coinbase also supports PayPal funding for ETH and other crypto purchases.
  • Ethereum Spot ETFs: Following the recent of approval of 11 spot Bitcoin ETFs, all attention has turned to the potential of spot ETH ETFs being approved next. Major institutions such as BlackRock and Fidelity have already applied to launch them, with a decision scheduled for May of 2024.

We will use Kraken for this example.

Step 1: Once you are signed into Kraken, select “Ethereum” from the “Explore” section:

Kraken.com

Step 2: Click the “Buy” button, select “ETH” and enter the amount you’d like to purchase:

Kraken.com

Step 3: Add your debit card as a payment method and complete your purchase

Kraken.com

You can buy Ethereum either directly through PayPal, or by using PayPal to fund your account balance on a website like Coinbase. Below is a step-by-step process for buying ETH on Coinbase by using PayPal.

Step 1: Log in to your Coinbase account

Step 2: Add your PayPal account as a funding method for your Coinbase balance

Step 3: Select “Ethereum” and enter the amount you’d like to purchase.

Make sure you have selected “PayPal” under the “Pay with” option.

Step 4: Click “Preview Buy” to preview your purchase.

When you’re ready, click “Buy now” to complete your ETH order!

Consider Dollar-Cost Averaging

If you know you want to own some Ethereum, but you’re not sure which exact moment you should make your purchase, you can use dollar-cost averaging (DCA). Dollar-cost averaging is the practice of spreading out your investment into several smaller investments over several days, weeks, or months.

This allows you to “average” out the price of your overall purchase and helps even out spikes and dips in price. DCA has several benefits:

  • Prevents imprecise market timing
  • Helps take emotion out of investing
  • Can be automated

As with any investment strategy, DCA has downsides too:

  • Higher transaction costs due to more frequent purchases
  • Possibly lower returns because you’re holding cash rather than investing in a lump sum

Dollar-cost averaging your ETH investment means you’re buying less when prices are higher and more when prices are lower. This can be effective in removing the emotion and guesswork from investing.

Where To Store ETH

Your Ethereum, and all your other cryptocurrencies, are stored in a crypto “wallet.” This is a software program that authenticates your private credentials and gives you access to your funds. Wallets can be either online “hot” wallets or offline “cold” wallets.

Wallet TypeBest ForSecurityLoss ProtectionEase Of TransferPrice
Hot WalletsShort-term storageNot very secure since they’re always onlineSome providers have many recovery options including passwords and customer assistanceEasy to transferGenerally free
Cold WalletsLong-term storageVery secure, only vulnerable if they’re physically stolenRecovery options are available for a lost password but not a lost deviceRequires plugging the wallet USB into a computer connected to the internet$50 and up

Hot Wallets

A “hot” crypto wallet is a software wallet that is connected to the internet. Hot wallets allow you to easily store, transfer, and receive cryptocurrencies and authorize transactions.

Despite the convenience of a hot wallet, there are significant drawbacks. Here’s the main one: Your wallet is vulnerable to an attack. If someone knows your seed phrase, which is your password, they can access your wallet and steal your funds. Additionally, if you authorize any hacked applications to access your wallet, your funds can be stolen.

Some popular Ethereum hot wallets include:

Pros

  • Accessible funds
  • Easy to use
  • Free to set up

Cons

  • Prone to malware attacks
  • Some wallets are specific to just one cryptocurrency (such as ETH or Solana)

Cold Wallets

A “cold” crypto wallet is a wallet that is not connected to the internet. Most “cold” wallets are physical USB drives that look similar to a traditional USB file storage flash drive but are used to store your crypto instead.

To use a cold wallet to transfer your funds, you’ll need to plug in the physical USB device to a computer and enter a password in order to access the wallet. This means, of course, that anyone who has access to the physical USB device and knows your password will also have access to the funds inside. Additionally, if you lose your physical USB device, you will also lose access to your wallet.

Popular Ethereum cold wallets include:

Pros

  • Safest way to store crypto
  • Cannot be hacked unless they are plugged into a computer

Cons

  • Anyone who has access to the physical device may have access to the funds inside
  • If you lose your physical USB device, your funds are likely gone forever

To Sum It Up

Ethereum is one of the most well-supported cryptocurrency assets out there, so there is no shortage of ways to purchase it. For beginners, sticking to large exchanges like Coinbase or Kraken is probably your best bet, while intermediate traders can get a better deal on their ETH trades by navigating DeFi options like Uniswap.

Remember never to open links you don’t recognize, never share your wallet seed phrase with anyone, and always double-check the URLs of the websites you visit.

Frequently Asked Questions

You can purchase Ethereum at most crypto exchanges. Our top picks for centralized exchanges are Kraken and Coinbase. In terms of DeFi exchanges, we recommend Uniswap.

Most exchanges will have some minimum requirement for each purchase.

While it varies by exchange, this minimum is usually no more than a few dollars worth of ETH.

The primary fees you’ll pay when buying ETH are trading fees, but you may encounter other costs as well.

  • Deposit Fees: Depending on your payment method and the exchange you choose, you may have to pay a deposit fee. Typically, ACH transfers are free, whereas debit and credit card transactions can be costlier.
  • Trading Fees: On most exchanges, expect to pay a small percentage of the transaction or a flat fee based on the purchase amount.
  • Withdrawal Fees: In most cases, you’ll pay network fees to withdraw your ETH to another wallet. However, if you sell your ETH, in many cases, you can withdraw to your bank account with no additional fees.
  • Wallet Costs: Most wallets are free, but if you decide to invest in a hardware wallet like a Ledger device, you’ll have to purchase the wallet. Hardware wallets can be as affordable as $60, but more advanced ones may cost you a few hundred.

All centralized exchanges, such as Kraken and Coinbase, are required to run identity checks before allowing you to purchase Ethereum or any other crypto.

You can benefit from more anonymity by using a decentralized exchange such as Uniswap or dYdX. These DeFi exchanges don’t perform identity checks and simply execute your trade and send the funds to your wallet.

Ethereum has had several bull cycles and has received a lot of attention from the investment world. The network serves a meaningful purpose in the crypto industry, and is still in the early stages.

While there are many crypto skeptics who say Ethereum will never again reach its all-time high, there are also many crypto champions who point to the ballooning number of ETH use cases as evidence that the next bull run will be even better for ETH.

Ultimately, however, there is no way to tell if Ethereum will be a good investment long-term. You should always conduct your own research and see if ETH is a good fit for your portfolio.

George Hristov
George Hristov
Contributor
George is a tech writer interested in web3 startups and communities. In the dynamic world of crypto, he stays plugged into the day-to-day headlines, deep dives, and industry commentary.
Shannon Ullman
Shannon Ullman
Managing Editor
Managing editor working to make crypto easier to understand. Pairing editorial integrity with crypto curiosity for content that makes readers feel like they finally “get it.”

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