If you are in the Philippines, there are several ways to buy bitcoin, such as through licensed crypto exchanges, ATMs, peer-to-peer (P2P) marketplaces and the Abra service. A number of banks and retail chains, such as 7-Eleven and Cebuana, have also partnered with some crypto exchanges to offer you easy ways to buy bitcoin.
The Philippines has many places you can buy bitcoin from. Not only has the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas licensed some cryptocurrency exchanges, but there are also peer-to-peer marketplaces, bitcoin ATMs, and other services to help you.
This guide will show you where and how to buy bitcoin in the Philippines using these avenues.
Where to Buy Bitcoin in the Philippines
For those who prefer to purchase from regulated companies, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) has been licensing crypto service providers since 2017. So far, the central bank has approved 13 companies that comply with its rules and regulations, but only some of them offer simple ways to buy and sell bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.
The 13 BSP-registered cryptocurrency service providers are Coins.ph, Rebittance (Rebit, Buybitcoin.ph), Bloomsolutions (Bloomx), Virtual Currency Philippines (VCHEX), Etranss Remittance International, PDAX, Zybi Tech (Juanexchange), Bexpress, Coinville Phils, Aba Global Philippines (Coexstar), Bitan Moneytech, Telcoin, and Atomtrans Tech.
How to Buy Bitcoin on Coins.ph
One of the easiest ways to buy bitcoin in the Philippines is through Coins.ph, the first cryptocurrency exchange to be licensed by the central bank. People have been buying bitcoin on this platform since 2014. The company says it now has about 5 million users in the country. In addition to BTC, you can buy BCH, ETH, and XRP with the Philippine peso (PHP) even without a bank account, a credit card, or a Paypal account. To buy bitcoin on Coins.ph, follow the steps below.
Step 1: Create a free account.
The first step is to sign up for a free account, which you can either do directly on the Coins.ph website or by using the exchange’s Android or iOS app.
Left: Screenshots of the account creation process on Coins.ph. Right: Account levels with varying monthly cash-in limits and KYC requirements.
The platform offers four account levels with different know-your-customer (KYC) requirements. Level 1 only asks for an email address and a phone number but has a daily cash-in (deposit) limit of 2,000 PHP and you cannot create cash out orders. Level 2 allows you to cash out up to 50,000 pesos ($984).
Step 2: Fund your account.
The next step is to deposit some money into the account. Coins.ph offers several cash-in methods and over 22,000 cash-in locations. Funds should be credited to your account instantly after payment if you cash in at 7-Eleven, Cebuana, M Lhuillier, or Gcash. Your receipt will contain specific instructions on what to do for the funds to show up on your account.
If you are a Unionbank customer, you can deposit money into your Coins.ph account using the bank’s online banking or over-the-counter cash deposit and receive a 100% fee rebate. However, it may take up to 24 hours for the funds to be credited if you use Unionbank.
Places you can cash in with the Philippine peso, such as at 7-Eleven, Cebuana, and Unionbank.
Step 3: Start buying bitcoin.
Once the funds appear in your Coins.ph peso wallet, you can start buying bitcoin or other supported cryptocurrencies. Enter the PHP amount you want to spend and you will see how much bitcoin you will receive and the conversion rate. If you are happy with the amount of bitcoin you will get, you can “slide to convert” to complete the purchase.
How to Buy Bitcoin at Buybitcoin.ph
There are several other BSP-approved crypto exchanges that offer the ability for you to buy cryptocurrencies. Another popular place for buying and selling bitcoin is Buybitcoin.ph, a service by Satoshi Citadel Industries (SCI), a major financial technology company with a focus on building the blockchain ecosystem in the Philippines. Rebittance Inc., an SCI subsidiary, is licensed by the central bank.
To buy bitcoin on this platform, you need to create an account and submit the necessary KYC documents. You will then input the amount you want to buy in either BTC or PHP, followed by your bitcoin wallet address, or you can scan your wallet’s QR code. You will then choose from a list of payment methods, fill out the payment details and submit your order.
Three steps of how to buy bitcoin using SCI’s Buybitcoin.ph platform.
There are several options to top up your account with PHP, such as through the company’s bank partners, Cebuana, Dragonpay, and 7-11. Your bitcoin will be in your wallet after payment has been confirmed. The site provides some FAQs covering how to buy bitcoins on its platform. If it takes longer than 24 to 48 hours for you to receive your bitcoin, send them a message.
Buy Bitcoin From Crypto ATMs
Another easy way to buy bitcoin is usually by using a bitcoin ATM. However, in the Philippines, cryptocurrency ATMs are regulated by the central bank, so there aren’t many of them around. According to the crypto ATM tracking website Coinatmradar, there are only two of these machines in the country. Both of them are located in Makati, a city in the Philippines’ Metro Manila region and the country’s financial hub. One is at Sunette Tower and the other at a Unionbank branch. Each bitcoin ATM has its own set of rules, limits, instructions, and fees. If you happen to be near these two locations, you can check them out.
Two bitcoin ATM locations as shown on the Coinatmradar website.
The bitcoin ATM at Sunette Tower is near P Burgos Street and Makati Avenue. According to Coinatmradar, it is available 24/7 and you can buy or sell bitcoin or litecoin with PHP using this machine.
The other one is at Unionbank’s Ark Makati branch. The bank announced the launch of this bitcoin ATM in February last year. A Unionbank representative told news.Bitcoin.com in April that this ATM allows bank customers to buy and sell bitcoin during the branch’s hours. Users need to have an account with the bank and a crypto wallet. However, Coinatmradar does not have any current information on Unionbank’s bitcoin ATM.
How to Buy Bitcoin Using Abra
In the Philippines, there is also a service provided by Abra which allows people to easily buy bitcoin. You can fund your Abra peso wallet with cash in several ways, such as using CLIQQ kiosks, “Abra Tellers”, or from your bank account. The Abra app is available in over 150 countries.
Since September last year, Abra users in the Philippines can use CLIQQ kiosks located in ECPAY’s 6,000 retail outlets across the country, including 7-Eleven stores, to put money into their Abra accounts. Funds should be credited to your account within one to two business days. Here is the full list of all ECPAY locations and some instructions on how to deposit money into your Abra account using ECPAY’s CLIQQ kiosks.
You can also deposit PHP into your account via Abra Tellers, which conduct face-to-face transactions, set their own fees and hours, and can process cash transactions for you to fund or withdraw from your Abra wallet. To use an Abra Teller, open your Abra app and tap “+Add Money”, followed by “Cash.” You can then pick a teller based on your current location. The app provides a map so you can see where available tellers are. You can tap the “Redo Search in this Area” button to re-populate the map.
Abra’s iOS app.
Abra has also partnered with Unionbank to enable its users to deposit PHP into their accounts using this bank. To deposit money using this option, tap “Add Money”, then “Bank”, and then select “Unionbank.” You will then receive the instructions to enroll Abra as a biller with your bank. You will need to log into your bank’s website to set this up and pay Abra the amount you want to deposit into your account.
Once you have money in your Abra wallet, you can go to “Manage Assets” and add bitcoin to your portfolio. On your portfolio screen, you can tap the “Exchange” button and input the amount you want to exchange into bitcoin. Once you are satisfied with all the information shown on the screen, you can confirm the transaction, which completes your bitcoin purchase.
How to Buy Bitcoin Using P2P Marketplaces: Localbitcoins and Paxful
If you prefer to deal with a seller directly, Localbitcoins and Paxful are both popular global P2P marketplaces that many people worldwide are using to buy bitcoin.
Localbitcoins’ listings of sellers whom you can buy bitcoin from using various means.
To purchase bitcoin on Localbitcoins, search for the sellers who sell bitcoins for PHP. Their listings should include the payment method(s) they accept, such as Unionbank cash deposit, BPI, or AUB. Choose the seller whose requirements match what you are looking for. Another P2P marketplace that has grown in popularity is Paxful. To buy bitcoin on Paxful in the Philippines, browse the listings on the website, similar to how you would go about doing so on Localbitcoins. Paxful boasts that over 10,000 bitcoins have already been bought in the Philippines on its platform.
When dealing with sellers on P2P marketplaces, however, you need to exercise caution. Make sure you thoroughly check the seller’s reviews and ratings for any clues that might red flag the seller before committing to a transaction. People have been scammed on these marketplaces and the likelihood of recouping your money if you fall for a scam is very slim. Nonetheless, many have been successfully buying bitcoin using these platforms.