A comprehensive review of Coinbase
Security, trading fees, tradable assets and more
Coinbase is one of the most popular cryptocurrency exchanges and wallets in the cryptocurrency space. It has over 20 million users and more than $150 billion has been traded on the platform. Coinbase has competitive transaction fees in the range of 1% – 3.99%, and a beginner-friendly user interface that is easy to use and understand. That’s the basics, here’s the detail:
Pros & Cons
Account Options & Regulation
|Forex Majors Spread|
|Min. Trade Size||2|
|Free Demo Account||Yes|
|Day Trading Account||Yes|
|Payment Options||Bank Transfer, Credit/Debit Card|
|Crypto Coins||BTC, ETH, BCH, LTC|
What can I do on Coinbase?
Coinbase offers you the ability to buy and sell cryptocurrency, store your coins in an online wallet, and spend them in the real world with a crypto debit card (currently only available in the US).
- Coinbase Exchange. Allows you to buy and sell different cryptocurrencies using your bank account or debit card.
- Coinbase online Wallet. Secure storage for your coins connected to the exchange, enabling you to buy and sell quickly and easily.
- Coinbase Shift Card (US only). Gives you the ability to spend your cryptocurrency anywhere that accepts VISA payments.
These services are all explained in depth below.
What cryptocurrencies are supported?
Currently Coinbase only supports four cryptocurrencies:
- Bitcoin (BTC)
- Litecoin (LTC)
- Ethereum (ETH)
- Bitcoin Cash (BCH)
In order to buy cryptocurrency on Coinbase, you can link a 3D secure card to your account or make a bank transfer. These are the payment methods currently accepted by Coinbase:
You can connect your bank account to your Coinbase account to buy large and small amounts of cryptocurrency easily and at low fees. Transfers using this payment method take 1 – 5 business days. In the UK and Europe, SEPA transfers are used.
Visa or MasterCard debit card
With a card, you can buy lower amounts of cryptocurrency than with a bank transfer, but you also have the option for buying crypto instantly (for a transaction fee of 3.99%). Due to banking regulations, Coinbase has currently suspended support for credit cards as a payment method, and if your card isn’t 3D secure (such as Monzo cards), you’ll need to make a SEPA transfer.
Wire transfer (US only)
With Coinbase, you can use wire deposits from a US-based bank account to fund your Coinbase account. At the moment, Coinbase only supports Fedwire transfers which take 1 – 3 business days.
You cannot currently link your PayPal account or credit card to Coinbase.
What devices can I use Coinbase on?
Coinbase can be accessed through browsers on the devices listed below, and its mobile app is compatible with both Android and iOS operating systems.
- Desktop computers
- Mobile phones (Android and iOS)
How easy is it to use Coinbase?
Very. For anyone looking to buy or sell cryptocurrency, Coinbase is one of the easiest and most straightforward platforms. The idea behind Coinbase was to provide a platform enabling anyone to buy and sell cryptocurrency with ease, and that’s exactly what they have created. If you want to buy cryptocurrency fast and without having to use any complicated tools, Coinbase is the best place to go.
Although anyone can use the Coinbase’s online wallet, only a number of countries are able to buy and sell cryptocurrencies using their exchange. These are:
- Czech Republic
- San Marino
- United Kingdom
- United States
Coinbase operates under US KYC and AML laws and jurisdictions and therefore requires that its users verify their identity on registration. To do this, you will have to verify your account by uploading an image of a photo ID (such as a passport or driving licence) as well as a selfie to prove it’s yours. You can use either the Coinbase mobile app or website to verify your account and the whole process only takes a few minutes.
Coinbase offers a variety of options for customer support. They have an automated chat service that provides useful information for commonly asked questions, and can be contacted via phone, email, and twitter. You can contact Coinbase through these channels:
- Email: Through the website
- Twitter: @coinbase
- Phone: +1 (888) 908-7930 (Coinbase do not currently have a UK-based number)
There have been complaints online about the low response time from the customer support team at Coinbase, with many users taking their complaints to public forums just to get a response. However, this is largely the result of the massive increase in demand for cryptocurrency bringing more customers to Coinbase, and they are working hard on increasing their level of customer support.
Coinbase has one of the most straightforward exchanges to use. It has a simple user interface which comes with a decent set of tools to get any beginner started on their first cryptocurrency purchase. Although you only get to exchange four cryptocurrencies, the exchange platform is secure and efficient with all the relevant data including a price display in different fiat (‘normal’) currencies.
Once you have signed up and verified your identity, it is easy to link your bank account or 3D secure card and make a purchase, and you can also link to multiple payment methods to your Coinbase account.
Is Coinbase a secure exchange?
Yes. As a security requirement, all accounts on Coinbase come with two-step verification: logging in requires both your password and a randomly generated code texted to your mobile phone. This makes sure only you can access your account. In addition, Coinbase complies with best practices policies such as KYC (know your customer) and runs its web traffic on encrypted SSL protocols that protect your login information once online.
Are there fees?
Yes, Coinbase charges a fee of 1.49% on both buy and sell orders for any direct buys with a bank account or debit card (as opposed to depositing into your account). If you make an instant buy with your card, the rate rises to 3.99%. However, you can transfer money into your Coinbase account free of charge and use the funds to buy coins once the transaction has gone through.
Are there withdrawal and deposit limits?
Yes. Withdrawal and deposit limits vary on Coinbase’s exchange based on the following:
- Verification status
- Age of your account
- Chosen payment method
If you go through all the account verification steps, then the amount you can buy and sell with funds loaded into your account will quickly increase into the £10,000s. The limits for buying cryptocurrency with a debit card will remain in the £1000s. As you use your account for more trades, your limits will increase.
Summary of Coinbase exchange
Coinbase is a renowned exchange and offers a robust set of tools that can be used easily by anyone unfamiliar with cryptocurrency. As a platform, it is safe, straightforward, and easy to navigate. Additionally, it has competitive fees and limits can be raised through verifying and using your account. There have been complaints of poor customer service, but it appears that Coinbase are working hard to rectify these concerns. Overall, the Coinbase exchange does exactly what it sets out to: making buying cryptocurrency as fast and easy as possible.
On Coinbase, your wallet is contained within your account: Coinbase offers a combined wallet and exchange, which means you can store your cryptocurrency securely and also buy/sell your coins easily. The Coinbase wallet therefore benefits from the same beginner-friendly interface and easy usability as the exchange, and can only hold the four cryptocurrencies traded on Coinbase (Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum, and Litecoin).
Online wallets are the least secure way of storing cryptocurrency, so it is not recommended to store a large number of coins in a Coinbase wallet. But there are good security features to keep your crypto as safe as possible, and Coinbase’s wallet makes buying or selling your coins very simple.
What are the security features?
Coinbase secures all accounts with two-step verification, meaning to log into your account you need to enter your password and a code texted to your mobile phone. This makes sure only you have access to your wallet. You can also set up a ‘vault’ wallet within your account, which puts extra security steps in place before withdrawals can be made, such as requiring the consent of multiple people before funds can be withdrawn (known as a ‘multi-signature’ wallet).
Behind the scenes, Coinbase claims to store 98% of customer funds offline to keep them out of the reach of hackers and all wallet keys are encrypted.
Are there fees?
No. The Coinbase is completely free to sign up to and use. However, if you are transferring your digital currency to another wallet outside Coinbase, you will be charged a small fee to pay the miners who verify transactions on that cryptocurrency’s blockchain. In Bitcoin’s case, the amount is 2mBTC (two thousands of a Bitcoin).
What are the deposit and withdrawal limits?
As with the exchange, these depend on a variety of factors. But if you fully verify your account and use your wallet to hold and trade coins, your daily spending limits will quickly reach the £10,000s for transferring into your account and the £1,000s for direct buys with debit card. The factors that affect your limits are:
- Verification status
- Age of your account
- Chosen payment method
Summary of wallet
For day to day use of Bitcoin, Litecoin, Ethereum, or Bitcoin Cash, Coinbase Wallets are a great option. They offer good security features for an online wallet, and being connected directly to the Coinbase exchange means you can quickly buy and sell your coins to capitalise on price fluctuations. If you’re storing a large amount of cryptocurrency then we encourage you to look at more secure options such as hardware wallets, but Coinbase is a convenient and reliable wallet for smaller numbers of coins.
Coinbase’s Shift card is currently only available in the US. As a Bitcoin debit card, it is a VISA card that lets you spend your Coinbase bitcoin balance in shops and ATMs. The Shift card makes transactions by exchanging the required amount of bitcoin for the fiat currency price of what you’re buying, so prices will vary depending on the value of bitcoin.
Can I manage my Shift card through an app?
Yes, in fact you have to manage your Coinbase Shift card from a mobile app that is available for download both on iOS and Android devices. You will need to verify your card through the app before you start to use it and any notifications about your Shift card will be sent through the app.
Can I use Coinbase’s Shift card abroad?
Yes. While you can only get a Shift card in certain US states, once you have one you can use it wherever you can make VISA payments. There will however be extra charges for using the card abroad.
Are there fees for using my Shift card?
For a limited time, you will not be charged transaction fees on spending in the US while using the Shift card, or for converting your Bitcoin into USD when using it. The card itself costs $20 and domestic ATM withdrawals charge $2.50. For international use there’s an ATM withdrawal fee of $3.50 per transaction and a 3% extra charge on transactions. If you lose your Shift card, there’s a $10 replacement fee.
Are there deposit and withdrawal limits?
The daily spending limit on a Shift card is $1,000, and ATM withdrawals are limited to $200 a day. These limits can be increased by contacting Shift payment support.
Can I connect my Shift card to my Coinbase wallet?
Yes, the Shift card only works in connection to your Coinbase wallet. Here’s how you do it:
- Use Coinbase Connect to authorize Shift Payments to your Coinbase Wallet. This will allow bitcoin payments to be made from your Coinbase wallet.
- Then specify the wallet you want to debit for Shift Card transaction.
- Once you have done this, you can start using your card.
Summary of card
The Coinbase Shift card is a great way to enable you to spend your bitcoin in regular shops and ATMs. The fees compare well to other card options, but it is limited only to US customers at the moment, with no public plans to expand coverage soon.
Coinbase Extra Features
There are a few other options Coinbase offer outside of their ways of buying, selling, and spending cryptocurrency that you should know about:
GDAX trading platform
GDAX is a cryptocurrency trading platform also owned by Coinbase. It is a US-based exchange specifically designed for experienced traders and has a much wider variety of coins than you’ll find on Coinbase. If you want to do more complicated trading than just buying and selling coins through Coinbase, you can transfer funds from you Coinbase wallet to your GDAX account instantly and with zero fees.
Coinbase Commerce platform
Coinbase also runs the Coinbase Commerce platform which is designed for enabling businesses to accept cryptocurrency as payment for their products and services. With API documentation, businesses can use this Coinbase product to set up safe and easy systems for accepting cryptocurrency. This is a step in the direction of being able to buy almost anything using crypto.
Lastly, Coinbase also offers developers an opportunity to build API’s that are capable of tasks such as recording real-time data and historical price information of Coinbase’s four supported digital currencies among other capabilities.
Coinbase is great platform for beginners looking to take their first steps into the crypto world. Its user-friendly design and combination of wallet and exchange capabilities makes it an easy way to get to grips with buying and selling coins.
More experienced users might want to look for an exchange that offers the ability to trade a larger number of cryptocurrencies and more sophisticated trading tools, but Coinbase’s easy-to-use functionality is convenient for any user. Plus it is possible to transfer from a Coinbase account onto the GDAX exchange instantly and free of charge if you want the best of both worlds.
While there have been complaints about Coinbase’s customer service, these appear to have risen out of the fast growth of the platform as cryptocurrency’s popularity has grown and they are working on solving the issues and it remains one of the best online platforms for buying and storing coins.
How to set up an account
Want to set up a Coinbase account? Great! Here’s how:
- Go to Coinbase’s website, enter your email address and click ‘get started’
- Confirm your email address in the email you will get sent. You will be redirected to a page that lets you choose between an institutional account and an individual account
- Verify your phone number and set up a 2-factor verification to keep your account secure
- At this point, you will be able to set up a payment method for your account. Depending on the amount of cryptocurrency you want to buy and the transaction speed you want, linking a bank account or a 3D secure debit card are the best options.
- Finally, you can buy digital currencies with funds loaded to your account (or buy instantly with a card). Be sure to check the details on the fees charged by Coinbase before buying and selling cryptocurrencies.
- (Optional) Transfer your coins to a more secure wallet (such as a desktop, mobile, hardware, or paper wallet) to keep them safe