In a recent post on our company blog, we announced that bitcoin is a now a first-class currency in the Abra wallet. Users can now send, receive, buy, sell, and hodl bitcoin as a currency right in the app. This is one of the biggest updates we’ve ever announced, and we’re excited to see how people will start using this new feature. To help you get started, we created this guide to help our customers have the smoothest experience with buying bitcoin in the app.
Two ways to buy
Today, the Abra wallet supports two ways to buy bitcoin from within the app: bank account transfers and cash. Both of these methods for buying bitcoin can be found under the “add money” section of the app. Bank account transfers available in the U.S. and the Philippines today, and cash transactions are available anywhere there are active Abra Tellers. In this guide, we’ll cover how to buy bitcoin with your bank account. Cash purchases will be covered in a separate guide.
Bank account transfers
As mentioned above, bank account transfers are available only in the U.S. and the Philippines at the time of this writing, and only from select banks in these countries. For the most up-to-date status in your country, check the Where is Abra available? page on our website.
Step 1. Set your wallet currency
If you want to buy bitcoin at a predictable rate, you must first make sure that your wallet currency is the same as the currency you’ll be depositing from your bank. For example, in the U.S. this would be USD, and in the Philippines this would be PHP. Your wallet currency defaults to your local fiat currency based on the phone number you used to sign up, but in case you have changed it, you can change it back by going into the main menu and selecting your local fiat currency from the list of currencies on the “Wallet currency” page.
After you’ve double-checked to make sure that your wallet currency is the same as the currency you’ll be depositing from your bank, you can begin the process of adding money to your wallet from your bank account.
Note: if your wallet currency is BTC then your deposit will be converted from your bank’s local fiat currency into BTC using the exchange rate at the time that the bank deposit clears, 2-3 business days after you initiate your deposit. Changing your wallet currency to be the same as your bank’s local fiat currency will ensure that you can convert into BTC at a predictable rate.
Step 2. Add money from your bank account
From the home page of your Abra wallet, press the “add money” button. This will take you to the screen with the different options for funding your wallet.
Press the “Use bank account” button then press “Add bank account” and find your bank in the list of supported banks (note that the sequence of steps is different for the Philippines, so please follow the instructions within the app). The process for adding a bank account varies based on the bank. Once you have completed this process, you will be able to initiate a deposit. Within 2-3 business days of initiating a deposit, you will receive a response indicating whether your deposit was successful or not.
Once the you have successfully completed your deposit, your money will show up as an available balance on the home screen of your Abra wallet. (If you have a pending deposit that is waiting to be confirmed, you will see an “available balance” below the total balance.)
Step 3. Convert your balance into bitcoin
Now that you have money in your Abra wallet, you can turn your balance into bitcoin. To do this, you have two options:
- Change your wallet currency to BTC, or
- Send to an external bitcoin address.
To choose option (1) above – change your wallet currency into BTC – go into the main menu, press the “wallet currency” button, and select BTC from the list of available currencies. The wallet will show you the rate that your balance will be converted at, and you can choose to accept or decline this rate.
If you choose to accept, press “OK”, then your wallet balance will be converted into BTC. No money will be available to convert or send until after the conversion transaction is confirmed by the bitcoin network.
After your conversion transaction is confirmed, your bitcoin will become available to convert or send to another Abra user or bitcoin address. Success! You have just completed a purchase of BTC with your Abra wallet.
To choose option (2) above – send to an external bitcoin address – you will have to wait until your bank deposit has been confirmed by the bitcoin network before you can initiate a withdrawal. Once your deposit transaction is confirmed, press the “Withdraw” button on the home screen of your Abra wallet then press the “Use bitcoin” button.
Scan the QR code or copy/paste the bitcoin address you want to withdraw your balance to, and enter the amount as denominated in your wallet currency. The available amount to withdraw is shown at the bottom of the screen; you can withdraw up to this amount. Double-check the address and amount – the transaction cannot be undone, so you want to make sure these are correct – then press “Next” in the top corner to confirm the withdrawal.
You will then see the send amount deducted from the balance on the home screen of your Abra wallet. Within a few seconds, the bitcoin will arrive in your withdrawal address. Success! You have just completed a purchase of BTC with your Abra wallet.