- Massive range of payment methods
- Accessible interface
- Trading is made easy
- Excellent customer support
- Solid security
- Bitcoin only
- Fees are set by sellers
- P2P nature might dissuade some
Now that cryptocurrencies have essentially become mainstream, a large industry is quickly building up around trading them. Some sites allow you trade every crypto under the sun, against either other cryptos or other fiats. Alternatively, more traditional trading websites have simply added cryptocurrencies as one of their many offerings.
In this increasingly complex climate, Paxful is a breath of fresh air. On it, you buy and sell Bitcoin. That’s it. No messing around.
Let’s dig a little deeper to kick off this Paxful review. Paxful is a US-based business that focuses on peer to peer transactions. It offers anonymity, a user-friendly system, and a huge variety of payment methods. Overall, it seeks to make Bitcoin trading as easy as possible.
They’re excellent aims, but ones that are also not easy to achieve. Read on to find out everything you need to know about this Bitcoin trading service.
Paxful Key Features
Offering only one service—buying and selling Bitcoin—might sound easy. To truly make waves in this competitive industry, however, you need a feature-rich, secure, user-friendly website.
Let’s take a quick look at some of the key features of Paxful Bitcoin trading.
Anonymity was supposed to be one of the main attractions of Bitcoin, and all cryptocurrencies for that matter. Many exchanges have done away with this by requiring ID verification, but not Paxful.
While you’ll need ID to use some payment methods—including credit cards—there are 100% private options for buying Bitcoin. These include cash deposits and gift cards (yes, you can use gift cards with Paxful!), both of which can be used to fund your account without revealing your identity.
Ease of use is one of Paxful’s calling cards. That’s one of the reasons why they’ve endorsed the use of mobile apps, which allow the buying and selling of Bitcoin while you’re on the move.
The official Paxful app isn’t currently available from Google Play or the Apple Store (although you can still download it from other websites). In lieu of that, Paxful actually allow users to use any banking app they like to make payments to each other, trusting in their users to carry transactions out themselves.
Paxful supports an absolutely enormous variety of payment methods, which again hammers home their reputation for offering an accessible service.
I’m happy to say in this Paxful review that there are a ridiculous 300+ ways to pay for Bitcoin on their website, ranging from the usual suspects to some less commonplace options. As I’ve mentioned above, many of these also give complete anonymity to the people involved.
There’s an inherent risk in running a peer-to-peer system. Quite simply, if there’s nobody out there to trade with, then your system quickly breaks down.
Fortunately, this isn’t an issue with Paxful. Since 2015, they claim that over 40,000 BTC has been traded on their site, involving more than 55,000 customers. A quick look at their listings at any time reveals a healthy list of vendors waiting to trade, covering a huge range of payment methods.
Security is another of the main issues faced in peer-to-peer services, so it’s next in our Paxful review. Again, though, Paxful impresses in this department. Buyers are 100% protected, and every single seller is verified. In addition, two-factor authentication, escrow, and complex encryption are in place, and Paxful’s security system is also independently audited.
It might be based in the US, but Paxful really is a global service. Whatever currency you want to use, you’re catered to here. Paxful offers real-time conversion prices for seemingly every currency under the sun, from British pounds to Lebanese pounds. You simply enter how much of your local currency you’d like to spend, and your Paxful account automatically calculates how much Bitcoin you’ll be buying.
On the flip-side, you should be aware that this is not a flexible cryptocurrency exchange. Bitcoin is literally the only crypto you can buy here; no Litecoin, no Ethereum, just good old-fashioned BTC. If you want to trade a wide range of cryptos against each other or against fiats, then look elsewhere.
Paxful Signup and Login
It’s tough to imagine an easier and quicker signup process than the one on Paxful. Literally all you need to do is provide an email address and username, create a password, and that’s it!
Within seconds, your account is created, and you’re provided with your Paxful wallet for Bitcoin, free of charge. You’re then immediately shown some of the most popular payment methods, and invited to start funding your wallet.
Again, many of the payment methods on Paxful are completely anonymous, meaning you don’t need to provide any ID by default. The methods for which you will need identification are clearly marked, and—if you do choose to use one—uploading that ID is a painless process.
If you’ve logged out of your account for any reason, then the Paxful login system is quick and easy to use. Simply pop your username and password in, tick a reCAPTCHA box, and you’re back in. If you want to add two-factor authentication to that login process to secure your account further, then Paxful provides a helpful guide to doing so.
You may have already noticed that I’ve referred several times to how user-friendly Paxful is. This absolutely continues with the user interface, which is phenomenally easy to use, even for complete beginners, something you’ll see confirmed in other Paxful reviews.
Visually, it’s very easy on the eye. The text is big, there are large buttons for all the more important actions you might want to take, and Paxful manages to convey a lot of useful information without making the screen look busy.
The interface is also brilliantly laid out and simple to navigate. Hover over the big “Buy Bitcoin” button at the top, and you’re provided with three options: Buy Bitcoin, Sell Bitcoin, and Create an Offer.
If you’re looking to buy, then searching for a vendor could hardly be easier. Just fill in the two crucial pieces of information—the amount of BTC you want based on your chosen currency, and your payment method, hit Search, and you’ll instantly be shown all the suitable options.
If you don’t want to look through lots of choices, just choose “Give Me the Best,” and Paxful will take you to the optimal legit seller!
Selling Bitcoin and creating offers are equally easy to do with Paxful’s help.
The Dashboard section is brilliant. It tells you absolutely everything you need to know—your account balance, details of active and past trades, your feedback, and so on—on one attractive, easy-to-digest screen.
I really can’t say enough about Paxful’s interface. It’s a clinic on how to make what could be a confusing process as easy as possible.
Before signing up, you need to be aware that this is not a wide-ranging cryptocurrency trading platform. You can use Paxful to buy and sell Bitcoin, and that’s literally all.
Elsewhere online, I’ve seen people making a “Paxful vs Coinbase” comparison. Really, that’s pointless. They’re completely different websites. Coinbase is for people who might want to trade lots of cryptos against each other, whereas Paxful is for people who just want to trade Bitcoin.
If you fall into the first camp, you’re better off with a website like Coinbase. If you’re only interested in Bitcoin—and you don’t mind using a peer-to-peer system—then Paxful is an outstanding option.
There are no trading tools whatsoever on Paxful. On the one hand, you could say that’s not really the point of this website: it’s there to facilitate Bitcoin trades between two people, and that’s about it. But for this Paxful review, I’ll say that having at least something to guide people’s trades would be useful. At the very least, there could be a basic chart tracking Bitcoin’s price against the dollar, for example.
You can obviously get that information in plenty of other places online, but one of Paxful’s biggest strengths is how quick and easy it is to use, so including some very basic trading tools would help save users’ time.
With all that said, I wouldn’t call Paxful’s lack of trading tools a big “criticism.” They would simply be a nice addition in the future.
How to Make a Deposit
When it comes to making a deposit, I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a crypto exchange with more payment options than Paxful. There are literally hundreds of them, ranging from the usual methods everyone uses to some pretty interesting choices.
If you like, you can simply deposit via credit or debit card, PayPal, Skrill, or any of the other usual services. You can also deposit cash, using a service like Western Union, upload the receipt, and pay that way too.
Most intriguing of all—and perhaps not something you’ll see in every Paxful review—you can actually use gift cards as payment methods. And I don’t mean Paxful gift cards. I mean the ones you get from Amazon, iTunes, or even Starbucks. Basically, if you’re in possession of something that has monetary value, you can probably use it on Paxful!
This being a P2P service, you also have the option to meet the seller in person and give them cash. Obviously you’ll have to decide for yourself how comfortable you feel doing that, but Paxful does verify all their sellers for your safety.
Finally, the time needed to process deposits varies. That being said, most of them go through instantly.
How to Make a Trade
A quick signup process, a lovely interface, loads of payment methods; those things are all well and good. The most important thing of all, however—and something everyone will be curious about in any Paxful review—is the actual trading itself.
Well, I’ve got good news here too! Like everything else on Paxful, actually making a trade is extremely easy to do.
As I mentioned earlier, Paxful has an excellent search engine. Simply fill in a couple of filters—how much Bitcoin you want to buy and how you want to pay—and you can swiftly find all of the people you’re likely to be interested in trading with through your Paxful account.
Let’s say you want to buy $100 of Bitcoin, using PayPal. This is the screen you’ll be shown:
All the vital information is clearly shown to you: the seller’s approval rating, whether or not they require ID verification, how much they’re willing to sell, and so on.
If you like the look of a seller, click the “Buy” button, and you’ll be taken to a screen which confirms how much Bitcoin you want to buy. This screen will also show the seller’s terms—they’ll say exactly how they want to do the deal and give you instructions on completing it. If they want ID verification, you’ll need to send it to them directly, before the deal can go through.
Once everything is place, the trade can begin. Your money will be deposited in the Paxful escrow system, and released once the trade is completed. You’ll often have the chance to live chat with the seller during this time too, to ensure you’re both on the same page.
The trade should now go through, and you’ll have some lovely new Bitcoin in your account!
Paxful is essentially a completely free service to use. They don’t charge any money whatsoever for depositing or withdrawing money to and from your wallet, nor do they charge you for keeping funds in your wallet. So that’s simple enough!
When it comes to the trading fees, however, things get a little more complicated.
How much money do you have to pay to use Paxful? Well, unfortunately there’s not a straightforward answer to that question. The good news is that Paxful doesn’t directly charge any fees whatsoever to buyers.
The bad news is, that’s because Paxful allows sellers to set the fees themselves. Sellers will charge a certain amount for converting your payment—whether it be cash, credit card, PayPal, or gift card—into Bitcoin.
The fees vary from seller to seller, so make sure you’ve checked this before committing to a trade. Different payment methods also tend to incur different fees, with gift cards being the priciest. I do want to point out in this Paxful review, however, that some sellers (who seem to have high ratings, curiously enough!) do not charge any fees at all, in an attempt to drum up more business.
Sellers are charged a flat rate of 1% by Paxful, whenever they make a transaction. On top of that, sellers are now also charged miner fees. These are not paid directly to Paxful. Instead, they go to the Bitcoin network. The current miner fee is 0.0005 BTC, which is equivalent to $3.28 at the time of writing. Nothing that’s going to break the bank, but it’s something to be aware of.
Like most things on Paxful, these are determined by the users rather than the website. There are no inherent trading limits when using Paxful. You can buy and sell Bitcoin as much as you please.
Individual sellers, however—as you can probably guess—will have their own limits, which can’t be predicted in this Paxful review since those will obviously be determined by how much Bitcoin they have or how much they can get their hands on. That said, some sellers will be willing to go over their stated limits if you contact them in advance first.
Sellers’ individual trading limits are clearly shown, both on the initial search results, and on the subsequent screen after you’ve clicked “Buy.”
It’s very difficult to completely judge the security of a website like Paxful, simply because of the P2P nature of their service.
For its part, Paxful does an excellent job of protecting your account on the website. There’s encryption and SSL, the entire security system is independently audited, and setting up two factor authentication on your account—which will help to secure your Paxful wallet login—is quick and easy.
Paxful also tries to ensure your dealings with other people are as secure as possible. This comes primarily through their requirement that all sellers are fully verified, but also from the escrow system they have in place.
Ultimately, however, the responsibility comes down to the buyers and sellers. If you’re a buyer, you need to make a full check of the seller’s profile, particularly regarding their feedback. If you’re a seller, you can ask for ID verification from the buyer before a sale goes through. In both cases, you should have a good long look at the other person’s profile—particularly their feedback—before committing to a trade.
To its credit, Paxful Inc has plenty of tips in the help section to assist both buyers and sellers in this matter (here is a good example).
Considering it’s not the biggest cryptocurrency exchange out there, Paxful’s customer service truly is wonderful. In fact, Paxful puts many of the larger exchanges to shame in this regard.
Paxful offers 24-hour support for its customers, though Paxful admits this service might be a little slow at certain times, such as early on a Sunday morning (which is refreshingly honest).
The quickest way to contact Paxful in the USA is via live chat, which is always available in the bottom corner of the screen. There’s also a phone number and email address, as well as community forums.
Finally, special mention must be made of Paxful’s knowledge base. The search function works brilliantly, and—although there isn’t a massive number of articles on there—all the major topics are covered. The articles are invariably well written and extremely helpful, particularly for beginners.
No P2P-based website is going to have a perfect reputation. There will always be scammers out there who are up to no good. And—dare I say?—there will always be gullible people who are ripe to be scammed.
With that in mind, Paxful Inc. actually has an exceptional reputation online. A glowing Paxful review on Reddit, for example, is not hard to come by. And an average rating of 8.9/10 on Trustpilot—based off 300+ Paxful reviews—is certainly nothing to scoff at! The trend continues on other websites too. Neither is a positive Paxful review on Quora.
Of course, there are a few Paxful complaints out there. Most of these seem to come from people who have been scammed on Paxful, as you would expect. Criticisms of their actual service are very hard to come by, just as they have been in this Paxful review!
In addition, Paxful really does seem like it has its heart in the right place. It puts an emphasis on fairness and appears genuinely committed to making an accessible, secure platform on which people can trade. If your worry still is whether you’ll find Paxful safe, you should know that it has attracted attention from some of the biggest crypto-related news sites out there, as well as Fox Business.
It even has a program that helps to build schools in Africa, called #BuiltWithBitcoin. What more could you ask for?!
I didn’t particularly want this review to be as one-sided as it has been, but I couldn’t help it! It’s simply a sensational service.
Of course, you have to accept its limited scope. This is a website for buying and selling Bitcoin, and that’s it. If you want to become a flexible, varied trader of cryptocurrencies, then you should seek out another exchange.
If you’re okay with this limitation, then you’ll struggle to find a better option than Paxful Bitcoin trading. The interface is absolutely fantastic, from the very first time you visit it. The enormous number of payment methods make it flexible for absolutely everyone to use. Making a trade could not be easier, even for a complete beginner, and Paxful displays a commendable commitment to customer support.
The only issue I could see anyone having with Paxful is its peer-to-peer nature. If you prefer to deal directly with an exchange in your transactions, then fair enough. Paxful does implement its P2P system flawlessly, however, offering as much security as it can, and making it straightforward to find someone to trade with.
So overall, it’s a glowing 2019 Paxful review for me. I love just about everything this exchange has to offer.
Q: What is Paxful?
A: It’s a free to use, P2P-based Bitcoin exchange.
Q: Is Paxful Safe?
A: As safe as a P2P service can be. Paxful provides 2FA and SSL, and their security is independently audited.
Q: What is Paxful Wallet?
A: It’s a completely free, well-secured place to store your funds.
Q: How do I use Paxful?
A: Simply create an account, fund it, find a suitable seller, and open trade talks with them.
Q: Is Paxful Legit?
A: Absolutely. They possess an excellent reputation online, and have plenty of active users.