How to Buy Bitcoin South Africa: A Beginner’s Guide

Read our guide below to find out how to buy Bitcoin in South Africa as well as the best brokers and tips to get started.
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Author: victoria briano
Last Updated: 08 Jul 2020

If you’re based in South Africa and wish to buy Bitcoin with a debit card in the easiest and most cost-effective way, your best option is to use a regulated online broker. In doing so, you’ll be able to use an everyday debit or credit card, so the process rarely takes more than a few minutes. Other options also exist, such as using a peer-to-peer website or a Bitcoin ATM.

In this article, we explore the many ways that you can buy Bitcoin in South Africa, as well as the best broker that you can do this with. We also give you some handy tips on what you need to look out for when choosing an online Bitcoin broker.

    Our recommended South African Platform

    Don’t have time to read through our guide and simply want to get started right now?

    We have listed our top-rated online Bitcoin broker below. By clicking on the link, you’ll be able to open an account, upload ID, and deposit funds in a matter of minutes. You can fund your account with heaps of payment methods, and Bitcoin trades are facilitated on a commission-free basis. Crucially, our top-pick is regulated on multiple fronts, so your money is always safe.

    eToro : Best Broker to Buy Bitcoin in ZA

    Our rating

    • Beginner friendly platform with copy trading
    • Buy bitcoin and 15+ more cryptos
    • Paypal accepted
    75% of retail investors lose capital when trading CFDs with this provider. Crypto assets are highly volatile unregulated investment products. No EU investor protection.

    Bitcoin in South Africa

    Bitcoin and all other cryptocurrencies are perfectly legal in South Africa. Although the South African Reserve Bank (SARS) has previously issued multiple warnings to those entering the space for the first time, buying Bitcoin has never been easier.

    For example, there are a number of Bitcoin ATMs scattered around the country, as well as peer-to-peer platforms that allow you to trade locally. Moreover, there are heaps of regulated online brokers that allow you to buy and sell Bitcoin at the click of a button. With that said, SARS has made their position clear on Bitcoin-related taxation.

    In a nutshell, any gains that you make when you sell your Bitcoin holdings will be liable for capital gains tax. This shouldn’t come as a surprise, as this is the case in most nation-states as of 2020. In terms of domestic platforms, South Africa is home to a small number of Bitcoin exchanges. This includes the likes of ice3X and Luno, who trade exclusively in rand. However, South African exchanges often lack sufficient levels of liquidity, so you’ll likely get hammered in the spread department.

    It is also worth noting that a small number of South African merchants now accept Bitcoin as a means to pay for goods and services. At the forefront of this is Takealot – a South African online shopping site that offers everything from kitchen appliances, cellphones, laptops, and TVs. All in all, consumer awareness of Bitcoin and blockchain technology is on the rise in the country, which is why so many regulated brokers accept South African residents.

    What is the Best Way to Buy Bitcoin in South Africa?

    As a South African resident you will have a number of options at your disposal. For example, although the numbers are still minute in comparison to other countries, South Africa is home to several Bitcoin ATMs. Upon locating one, you simply need to enter physical rands into the terminal, and you’ll receive Bitcoin. However, fees often surpass the 10% mark when using Bitcoin ATMs, which is super-expensive.

    Moreover, you need to have knowledge of how to store Bitcoin in a private wallet, which might sound intimidating if you’re a complete newbie. An additional option that you might be considering is to use a South Africa-based cryptocurrency exchange. Although platforms support Bitcoin pairs denominated in rand, exchanges like ice3X and Luno operate in an unregulated manner.

    Crucially, First National Bank has already stated that it will no longer service domestic Bitcoin exchanges, with other South African financial institutions expected to follow suit. As a result, the easiest, safest, and most convenient way of buying Bitcoin in South Africa is to use a regulated online broker that is located overseas. In doing so, you’ll have the regulatory protection of bodies like the FCA (UK), CySEC (Cyprus), and ASIC (Australia).

    Most importantly, regulated Bitcoin brokers have the legal remit to accept fiat currency deposits. This means that you can buy Bitcoin with credit card, debit card, bank transfer, or an e-wallet like Paypal and Skrill. Once you’ve made a purchase, the regulated broker will store your coins on your behalf, so you don’t need to have any knowledge of how private wallets work.

    Note: By using a regulated Bitcoin broker that is located outside of South Africa, your deposits and withdrawals will not be stipulated in rand. Instead, it’s likely that your Bitcoin investment will be processed in US dollars. 

    How to Buy Bitcoin in South Africa: Step-by-Step Tutorial

    If you’re ready to buy Bitcoin right now, below you will find our step-by-step instructions. We have opted to show you the process with our top-rated Bitcoin broker eToro – which offers full support for South African residents. If you plan to use a different online broker, that’s fine – as the steps outlined below remain largely the same.

    Step 1: Open an Account

    You will first need to head over to the eToro website and open a Bitcoin account. This simply requires some personal information from you, so that the broker knows who you are.

    As such, enter the following information:

    • First and Last Name
    • Home Address
    • Nationality
    • Date of Birth
    • South African Tax Number
    • Contact Details

    Regulated brokers like eToro are also required to ask you some questions about your knowledge of online trading. This is because the broker also allows you to apply leverage when trading Bitcoin, meaning you can invest more than you have in your account.

    Step 2: KYC & Verification

    eToro will ask you to upload a copy of your government-issued ID before allowing you to buy Bitcoin. This is to ensure that broker remains compliant with its licensing bodies – the FCA, CySEC, and ASIC. As such, upload a copy of your passport or driver’s license. eToro should validate the document in less than a minute.

    Step 3: Deposit Funds

    Now that you’ve had your Bitcoin account verified, you can now deposit funds. eToro offers a range of deposit options, which includes the following:

    • Debit Card
    • Credit Card
    • Local Bank Transfer
    • Skrill
    • Paypal
    • Neteller
    • RapdiPay

    Take note, all deposit options at eToro are instant, unless you are using a South African bank account. If you are, it will take a few days for the funds to arrive. There are no fees to pay when funding your account, although you will need to meet a minimum deposit of $200. This amounts to about 3,600 South African rands.

    Step 4: Go to Bitcoin Trading Page

    Once your deposit has been processed, you can then buy Bitcoin. To go straight to the Bitcoin trading page, enter ‘Bitcoin’ into the search box at the top of the screen, and then click on ‘Trade’.

    Step 5: Buy Bitcoin

    You are now one step away from buying Bitcoin! This is the part of the step-by-step guide where you need to concentrate, as you will be required to set up an order.

    This often scares newbie traders off – especially if you’ve never investment in cryptocurrencies before. With that said, by reading through the points below, you should be able to execute your order with ease.

    • Buy/Sell: If you want to buy Bitcoin as a long-term investment, leave the order box set as a ‘buy’ order. If you think that Bitcoin will go down in value and us – you want to short it, change this to a ‘sell’ order.
    • Stake: Enter the amount of Bitcoin that you want to buy. Don’t forget, your eToro account is denominated in US dollars, and NOT South African rand.
    • Market/Limit Order: To keep things simple, leaving the order box set as a ‘market’ order will get you the next available market price. If you want to buy Bitcoin when it hits a certain price, change the order box to a ‘limit’ order.
    • Leverage: eToro allows you to apply 2x leverage on Bitcoin trades. Tread with caution, as leverage is a high-risk strategy.
    • Stop-Loss: If you want to limit your losses in the event the market goes against you, set up a stop-loss order.
    • Take-Profit: Take-profit orders allow you to lock-in your profits when Bitcoin hits a certain price.

    Finally, click on ‘Buy’ to complete your Bitcoin purchase. If you’re shorting the market, click on ‘Sell’.

    What to Look for in an South Africa Bitcoin Broker

    Although we have already discussed our top-rated South Africa Bitcoin broker, you might decide that you want to perform some research of your own. Alternatively, you might be thinking about using a different platform all-together.

    Either way, below you will find a range of factors that you need to consider prior to joining a new broker.

    • Licensing

    Your first port of call will be to ensure that your chosen Bitcoin broker is regulated. As we noted earlier, brokers based in South Africa are not required to hold a regulatory license – for the time being. As such, the domestic market operates in a high-risk ecosystem. This is why you should target brokers overseas that are licensed by tier-one regulators. Leading examples include ASIC, CySEC, and the UK’s FCA.

    • Supported Cryptocurrencies

    If you’re planning to create a diversified portfolio, you might be thinking about investing in cryptocurrencies other than just Bitcoin. If you are, be sure to check whether or not your chosen broker supports other digital currencies. Popular examples include Ethereum, Ripple, and EOS.

    • Payment Methods

    As you will be buying Bitcoin with real-world rand, you need to choose a broker that supports your preferred payment method. As we discussed earlier, First National Bank has already stated that it will no longer support cryptocurrency exchanges, so using fiat currency at a domestic platform is going to be difficult. Once again, this is why we suggest using a regulated broker located overseas, as you’ll be able to use a debit/credit card, bank account, or an e-wallet.

    • Fees and Trading Commissions

    Online Bitcoin brokers are known to charge hefty fees when using a debit or credit card. A prime example of this is popular exchange Coinbase – who charges a whopping 3.99% on all Visa and MasterCard deposits. Instead, the likes of eToro charge no deposit fees whatsoever.

    You also need to explore what trading fees and commissions your chosen broker charges. This is normally charged as a percentage against the amount you wish to buy. With that said, eToro allows you to purchase Bitcoin on a commission-free basis, so it’s only the spread that you need to look out for.

    • Leverage and Short-Selling

    If you’re looking to engage in day trading – meaning you will be buying and selling Bitcoin on a short-term basis, you’ll want to choose a broker that offers advanced trading features. For example, short-selling allows you to speculate on Bitcoin going down in value.

    You’ll need to use a CFD broker if this is something you’re interested in. An additional tool that day traders like to utilize is leverage. This allows you to trade with more money than you have in your account. European brokers like eToro typically cap this at 2x on cryptocurrency investments.

    • Customer Support

    Check to see what customer support channels the Bitcoin broker offers. We prefer brokers that support a combination of live chat, email, and telephone. You should also verify what hours the customer support team works to ensure it falls in-line with South Africa’s timezone.

    Other Ways to Buy Bitcoin in South Africa

    If you want to explore what other ways you can buy Bitcoin in South Africa, below we discuss the ins and outs of Bitcoin ATMs and peer-to-peer exchanges.

    Bitcoin ATMs

    Bitcoin Depot Claims to Add 500 Bitcoin ATMs on Its Network

    Bitcoin ATMs are still a relatively new phenomenon in South Africa, with just 10 terminals currently active in the country. If you are located within distance of an ATM, the process allows you to enter physical rand into the machine. In return, you’ll receive a proportionate amount of Bitcoin – less fees.

    Here’s how it works:

    1. Find your nearest Bitcoin ATM
    2. Enter the amount that you wish to buy in rand by following the instructions on-screen
    3. When prompted, insert rand into the machine
    4. You will then have a voucher printed that contains your unique Bitcoin wallets details. The instructions on the backed of the voucher will explain how you can claim your newly purchased Bitcoin.
    5. Some Bitcoin ATM providers allow you to have the coins transferred straight into your private wallet. If you have your wallet QR Code with you, scan it onto the machine.

    As we briefly covered earlier, Bitcoin ATMs often charge heavily in the fee department. Moreover, the process of claiming your Bitcoin after making the purchase can be confusing for newbie investors.

    Peer-to-Peer Websites

    An alternative option that is well worth considering if that of a peer-to-peer website like LocalBitcoins. The platform will match you up with sellers based in South Africa, and you usually get to choose from a range of local payment methods.

    Here’s how it works:

    1. You head over to LocalBitcoins, quickly create an account, and then state the amount of Bitcoin that you wish to buy.
    2. The platform will then show you a list of South African sellers – alongside their supported payment methods.
    3. You opt for a seller that is accepting a local bank transfer at a good exchange rate.
    4. The seller deposits the Bitcoin into the LocalBitcoins escrow wallet.
    5. You then transfer the funds into the seller’s bank account, before notifying them that the transfer has been completed.
    6. Once the seller can see that the funds have arrived, they’ll release the escrow hold and the Bitcoin will be deposited into your LocalBitcoins account.
    7. You then need to withdraw the Bitcoin out to your private wallet.

    The costs associated with a peer-to-peer Bitcoin purchase are often low. However, you will be 100% responsible for storing your Bitcoin in a private wallet, which is far from convenient. This is why we always suggest using a regulated broker, as you won’t need to worry about keeping your funds safe.

    Conclusion

    In summary, the Bitcoin, cryptocurrency, and blockchain technology scene is getting more and more traction in South Africa. Although it is perfectly legal to buy and sell digital currencies in the country, SARS has issued various warnings about the risks of investing in Bitcoin. Moreover, a number of domestic banks have since revoked fiat currency facilities from South African exchanges, meaning that it’s super-difficult to buy Bitcoin with the rand.

    However, there are dozens of regulated Bitcoin brokers based overseas that welcome South Africans with open arms. For example, the likes of eToro – who are regulated by three tier-one licensing bodies, support debit/credit cards, as well as e-wallets. Most importantly, there are no fees to buy Bitcoin through eToro – other than the spread.

    eToro : Best Broker to Buy Bitcoin in ZA

    Our rating

    • Beginner friendly platform with copy trading
    • Buy bitcoin and 15+ more cryptos
    • Paypal accepted
    75% of retail investors lose capital when trading CFDs with this provider. Crypto assets are highly volatile unregulated investment products. No EU investor protection.

    FAQs

    Is Bitcoin legal in South Africa?

    Bitcoin is 100% legal in South Africa, meaning you can freely buy, sell, and trade cryptocurrencies as and when you see fit. However, South African authorities are beginning to tighten things up, with SARS noting that it is in the process of launching crypto-specific legislation.

    What payment methods do Bitcoin brokers support?

    In a time not so long ago, a number of South Africa-based Bitcoin brokers accepted everyday debit/credit cards and bank transfers. However, with domestic cryptocurrency platforms still operating in an unregulated manner, banks are slowly but surely pulling fiat currency facilities from local brokers. The good news is that heaps of regulated Bitcoin brokers located overseas accept debit/credit card, and even e-wallet like Paypal.

    Can I buy Bitcoin anonymously?

    Some Bitcoin ATM providers in South Africa do not require any ID when you make a purchase. If this is still the case, you can buy Bitcoin anonymously. Don't forget, Bitcoin ATMs charge fees of about 10%.

    What is the minimum amount I have to invest to buy Bitcoin in South Africa?

    This depends on the online broker that you sign up with. if opting for our top-rate broker - eToro, you'll need to deposit around 15,000 rupees.

    Can I buy Bitcoin with leverage?

    You can, but you will need to use a regulated Bitcoin broker located overseas. This is usually capped at 2x when trading cryptocurrencies. Although there are a number of crypto-derivative brokers that offer leverage of up to 100x, these are unregulated entities.

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    eToro: Buy and Sell Bitcoin

    eToro: Buy and Sell Bitcoin

    eToro: Buy and Sell Bitcoin

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    75% of retail investors lose money when trading CFDs with eToro.

    eToro: Buy and Sell Bitcoin
    Visit eToro

    75% of retail investors lose money when trading CFDs with eToro.

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