Using Abra to buy bitcoin with your bank account

This post has been updated to reflect updates to the app in November, 2017.

In a recent post on our company blog, we announced that bitcoin is 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.

Several ways to buy

Today, the Abra wallet supports several ways to buy bitcoin from within the app: bank account ACH transfers, bank wire transfers, American Express card purchases, and cash. All of these methods for buying bitcoin can be found under the “add money” section of the app. Bank account (ACH) transfers are available in the U.S. and the Philippines today, bank wire transfers are available to pre-approved U.S. users, American Express is available for eligible US cardholders, and cash transactions are available in the Philippines. In this guide, we’ll cover how to buy bitcoin with your bank account using an ACH transfer.

Bank account (ACH) 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.

Before you start, know that since you have two wallets, you have a choice of which wallet to add your bank-originated funds to. For the purposes of the example below, we’ll assume that you’re adding US Dollars to your USD wallet.

Note: If you choose to initiate the transaction from your bitcoin wallet, the steps are similar to begin with, but note that the price you pay for your bitcoin in this scenario will depend on the price at the time the funds hit your wallet, which will normally be 1-2 business days after you submit the deposit request. For greater control over the price you pay, we recommend using the process below, which explains depositing fiat into a fiat wallet.

Step 1. Navigate to your fiat (e.g. USD) wallet

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. This is how you can achieve spot pricing for bitcoin – by adding funds to your fiat wallet first, then converting all or part of those funds to bitcoin when you’re ready. 

choose currency bitcoin wallet

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.

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.

buy bitcoin bank card

Press the “Bank” button then select your bank account (if you haven’t already added a bank account, press “Add new bank account” and find your bank in the list of supported banks.  If your bank is not on that list, you may find an alternate verification process for US banks here. Note that the sequence of steps is different for the Philippines, so please follow the instructions within the app). Within 1-2 business days of initiating a deposit, your funds will land in the app, and you’ll receive a notification from Abra (be sure you have push notifications enabled on your phone).

Once 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.)

buy bitcoin bank

Step 3. Convert your balance into bitcoin

Now that you have money in your fiat-denominated Abra wallet, you can convert part of all of your balance into bitcoin. To do this, go to the Menu, and select “Manage Currencies”

buy bitcoin bank account

Then you choose the wallet you want to move funds from (your origin wallet). In this case, that’s your USD wallet:

buy bitcoin USD

Then you’ll confirm which wallet you want to transfer your funds to. In this case, your bitcoin wallet:

buy bitcoin USD



Next, select how much you want to transfer. You may select any amount from as low as $10 up to your entire USD wallet balance. In this example, we’re converting the entire USD wallet balance into the bitcoin wallet, so we would select the “convert maximum available balance” radio button.

buy bitcoin USD bank

You’ll then be asked to confirm the transaction, so make sure everything’s correct. Once you confirm, your transaction will process, and you’ll get your bitcoin!

buy bitcoin USD

Success! You have just completed a purchase of BTC with your Abra wallet.

(Note that all bitcoin transactions are subject to a blockchain confirmation time, which ranges from 10 minutes to several hours, depending on how busy the network is. Until the transaction is confirmed, you will not be able to move your bitcoin from Abra to an external bitcoin wallet. That is why your “available balance” might differ from your wallet balance for a short period of time. This is normal.)


Don’t yet have an Abra wallet? Download the app here (for iOS or Android).

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