Recently, I purchased some bitcoins using Flexepin and this post describes my experience. I’ve tried a bunch of methods to buy bitcoins over the past few years, I’ve used Coinbase when they had a Canadian payments processor, but now I mostly use QuadricaCX. Since nobody can predict how regulations and payment methods might change in the future, its smart to continue developing alternative channels, so I decided to try using the Flexepin payment method on bitaccess.co.
I learned about Flexepin when I noticed it was being offered as a payment method for other Canadian bitcoin dealers such as QuickBT. As I reviewed the bitcoin ATM at Delloite’s offices in Toronto, I noticed the Bitaccess machine also accepted Flexepin vouchers as a payment method. I then explored Bitaccess.co website and found that registered users could use Flexepin to purchase bitcoins directly on the Bitaccess.co website.
So I took $500 Canadian cash to a cheque cashing store down the block from my apartment and exchanged the cash for a Flexepin voucher. Flexepin vouchers are offered at many gas stations and convenience stores in Canada, but I chose a cheque cashing store because I figured they might be more knowledgeable of the product and understand the rules a bit better, such as not charging HST on money cards.
I took my $500 to the counter and after I told the cashier what I’d like, she logged into a program on her desktop to process the transaction. I was provided with a receipt that contained my Flexepin pin number and other transaction details. The cost of the transaction was $15.95, which represents a purchasing fee of 3.19%. The fee is tiered to the amount purchased, and so smaller purchases will be charged a different fee. However, the smaller the purchase, the greater the fee as a percentage of the overall amount.
Now I had a Flexepin voucher. The voucher is like cash, if I lose the voucher, its gone. I did’t provide ID to the merchant, although I was captured on the store camera, there was no other documentation required. If someone got the voucher pin, the value would be theirs. So I went home and logged into my account at bitaccess.co. I chose the Flexepin method to purchase bitcoins and was presented with a price of $3,858.25, which compared to the current offer on QuadrigaCX of $3,600, representing a spread of 7.17%.
I purchased the bitcoins on bitaccess.co, but then I received an e-mail from bitaccess.co asking to confirm some details. They asked me to write a confirmation number on the physical Flexepin receipt, take a picture of it, and e-mail it back to them. I did this promptly, and then my bitcoins arrived within the next transaction block. I monitored the transaction using a blockchain scanner, so I could see my transaction was processing.
For my $515.95 Canadian dollars, I managed to purchase 0.1295921 bitcoins, which translates into a rate of $3,981.33 btc/cad. This compares to a price of $3,672 on QuadrigaCX after factoring in the fees related to that method. We can say that purchasing bitcoins using the Flexepin / bitaccess.co method costs 8.42% more than QuadrigaCX.
Most of the costs of purchasing bitcoins using Flexepins happened at the point of the transaction with bitaccess.co. The price quoted by bitaccess.co was quite a bit higher than what could be obtained on other exchanges.
So from a purely cost perspective, QuadrigaCX is cheaper than using Flexepins on bitaccess.co, but there are some advantages to using Flexepins. If you are trying to avoid using a bank account or you don’t have a bank account, then Flexepins will allow you to stay anonymously in cash. Otherwise, registering with QuadrigaCX and following the AML process is the best method for Canadians to buy bitcoins.