Cash to Crypto: Finding the Best Fiat On-Ramps

Cash to Crypto: Finding the Best Fiat On-Ramps

Turning your cash into crypto is the first step to being your own bank and getting into DeFi. Here's how fiat-onramps can get you on the right track.

Cash to Crypto: Finding the Best Fiat On-Ramps
Guy Ovadia

ByGuy Ovadia

Updated Jun 22, 2022

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Do you want to turn your cash into crypto? There're lots of ways to do it these days, but finding the best way for you typically depends on why you're buying crypto in the first place. Crypto exchanges like Crypto.com are offering lower trading fees than ever and even let you earn passive income on your assets.

The problem is that any crypto you hold on an exchange is actually under the custody of the exchange—and as they say, "not your keys, not your crypto."

The three main factors for choosing the best fiat on-ramps are conversion rates, conversion fees, and regional support.

While crypto ATMs and peer-to-peer transfers are some alternatives to exchanges, the most rapid and convenient way to have cryptocurrency deposited directly into your wallet is by purchasing it through a fiat on-ramp. There are a bunch of fiat on-ramp services to choose from, so let's identify the advantages and disadvantages of using on-ramps and compare some of the top fiat on-ramp platforms.

What is a fiat on-ramp?

Fiat on-ramps are platforms that convert fiat currency into cryptocurrency. While crypto exchanges that accept fiat currencies like Coinbase can technically serve as fiat on-ramps, most crypto trades on those platforms use an order book, which is a system where a buyer and a seller meet at a certain price. This means you can place a crypto order on an exchange for the price you want, but it won't fill until another trader accepts it.

coinbase
Coinbase

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Crypto

Fiat on-ramps are different because the platform determines the conversion rate, or the price of an asset you want to buy, based on market value. Conversion rates on fiat on-ramps and the fees they charge are usually less favorable than on exchanges. However, the benefit of using a fiat on-ramp is that they deposit your crypto directly into your DeFi wallet, so your assets won't pitstop in a custodial wallet as they would on most exchanges.

Why use a fiat on-ramp?

The main reasons crypto traders use on-ramps are speed and convenience. In order to purchase crypto on most exchanges, you need to create an account and connect it to a bank account. Then, only once the transaction is complete can you withdraw your crypto from the exchange to an external wallet. Crypto exchanges can freeze any assets held on their platform at any time, which means they can block you from accessing your crypto for any reason—or no reason at all.

Security

Another reason not to hold crypto assets on an exchange is that you could lose everything if the platform you use gets hacked or goes bankrupt. Custodial wallets on crypto exchanges don't enjoy the same FDIC insurance that bank accounts do, which means there are fewer legal avenues to recuperate assets that were lost due to technical errors, business malpractice, or theft. The best way to avoid being a victim of these circumstances is by withdrawing your crypto to a type of crypto wallet that enables you to hold your private keys.

Convenience

You can't swap cryptos on a fiat on-ramp like you can on an exchange, but they're more secure since they're not a custodian of your crypto assets. Fiat on-ramps are also faster and more convenient because the crypto you purchase from them gets deposited straight into your wallet and can be used in DeFi applications right away. Another reason why on-ramps are more convenient is that they don't require a bank account, which means anyone who completes their KYC process can simply buy crypto with any major credit card or payment network.

The best fiat on-ramps

The three main factors for choosing the best fiat on-ramps are conversion rates, conversion fees, and regional support. First, you'll want to use an on-ramp that's supported in your country, so your options will vary depending on which country you reside in. Next, you'll want to buy cryptocurrencies from a platform with the lowest fees and best conversion rates to get the best possible price for the asset you want to purchase.

Simplex

One of the leading fiat on-ramps is the Simplex platform. Simplex is one of the first companies to deliver a payment processing solution that lets you buy crypto with a credit card. The low fees and near-market exchange rates offered by Simplex make it one of the best platforms in blockchain finance. Simplex's 100% fraudless transaction guarantee has made it one of the most trusted payment processing companies in the crypto space.

Moonpay

Another popular fiat on-ramp is the Moonpay platform. Just like Simplex, Moonpay lets you buy dozens of crypto coins and tokens with most major fiat currencies using your credit card or bank account. One downside of Moonpay is that it charges significant fees, which can start at about $4.00 or be between 1% to 4.5% of the total transfer depending on the size of the purchase and payment method. 

One great aspect of Moonpay is that it accepts several different payment methods in addition to bank transfers and credit cards. Moonpay works with Apple Pay and Google Pay as well as regional payment networks like SEPA in Europe or FPS in the United Kingdom. One limitation that Moonpay shares with Simplex is that both are blocked in certain jurisdictions, such as the U.S. state of New York.

Onramper

If you don't know which fiat on-ramp is best for you, then Onramper has got you covered. Onramper is a fiat on-ramp router, which means they consolidate a bunch of different fiat on-ramps to give you the best possible rate for the asset you want to purchase. Onramper accepts several payment methods and has an integrated widget that can be placed on any website, making it one of the most convenient places to purchase cryptocurrencies.

Power is, in its nature, encroaching.

Samuel Adam's words still ring true today, especially when it comes to investing. The United States has one of the most highly regulated financial environments in the world, which is good or bad depending on who you ask. Consumer protections are undoubtedly important, but should it be okay for retail investors to ask for forgiveness rather than permission?

Power is, in its nature, encroaching.

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