Coinbase

RATING

Coinbase, available to users in over 55 countries as of 2019, is the world’s largest Bitcoin broker. Customers can buy bitcoin with a connected bank account, debit card, SEPA transfer, Interac Online, and many more payment methods.

We may receive compensation when you use Coinbase. This post contains affiliate links. Disclosure.

PROS

High liquidity and buying limits
Easy way for new users to buy bitcoin
Instant buy available with credit card as backup

CONS

Limited payment methods
May track how its users spend bitcoin

Is Coinbase safe?

Coinbase is the world’s largest Bitcoin exchange, so this is a common question.

Yes, Coinbase is a Bitcoin company based in San Francisco, and backed by trusted investors.

Coinbase is the world’s largest Bitcoin broker, and also offers an exchange, wallet, and developer API.

On this page we’ll review Coinbase and its brokerage, exchange, and wallet.

Note: Cash held in Coinbase wallets are FDIC insured up to $250,000.

How Does Coinbase Work?

Coinbase’s simple interface aims to make it easy for first-time buyers to purchase bitcoins.

The most popular payment methods for Coinbase customers are buying with a credit card or debit card, and also using a bank transfer.

There’s a full guide at the bottom of this post that shows you how to buy on Coinbase using a credit card.

What Payment Methods Can You Use on Coinbase? What About Fees?

Coinbase supports 55+ countries. The payment methods available depend on your country.

Payment MethodCountriesFunds AvailableCurrencyFees*
Bank TransferUSA5-7 days**USD1.49%
Debit CardUSAinstantEUR3.99%
Debit CardCanadainstantCAD3.99%
SEPA TransferEurope1-3 daysEUR1.49%
Debit CardEuropeinstantEUR3.99%
Debit CardUKinstantGBP3.99%
Xfers TransferSingaporeinstantSGD1.49%
Debit CardAustraliainstantAUD3.99%

Coinbase users in nearly any country can convert between cryptocurrencies, but cannot always convert local currency into crypto.

*Actual deposit of currencies into your Coinbase account is free. Coinbase then charges a 1.49% fee per purchase.

**U.S. customers may add a Visa or Mastercard credit card as a backup payment method. If a backup credit card is available, Coinbase “instant buy” will be enabled for up to $1,000 worth of bitcoin per week.

For lower fees, you may want to use GDAX. It is more complex but is worth learning if you will be making a lot of trades and buys. Learn more about Coinbase vs GDAX.

The “buy bitcoin” section of Coinbase. Very easy to use for first-time buyers.

Coinbase Compared

Credit card is the most popular payment method on Coinbase. This table compares Coinbase to other popular credit card exchanges.

 ExchangeFeesCountriesBuy
Coinbase1.5%USA, Europe, Canada Buy
Coinmama~6%Global Buy
Luno3%Europe Buy
Bitpanda5%Europe Buy
CEX.io3.5%Global Buy

Please note that fees are approximate and may vary based on your country or purchase size.

Does Coinbase Support Your Country?

Coinbase offers its brokerage services in the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Singapore.

Coinbase also supports the following European countries:

Andorra, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Gilbraltar, Greece, Guernsey, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Isle of Man, Italy, Jersey, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, San Marino, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and United Kingdom.

In North America, Coinbase supports Canada, the USA and Mexico.

In South America, Coinbase only supports customers in Chile via debit card payment.

Is Your Privacy Kept While Using Coinbase?

Users must provide full identity verification and many personal details.

You will be required to take a picture of your driver’s license or passport if you are purchasing with a credit card.

Limits & Liquidity

Coinbase offers very high limits. Limits depend on your account level, which is determined by how much information you have verified. Fully verified U.S. customers may buy up to $50,000 worth of bitcoin daily.

European customers may have a maximum of €30,000 euro in their account at any time.

How Fast Does Coinbase Send You Bitcoins?

The time it takes for the bitcoins to arrive in your wallet and be spendable depends on your country and payment method used.

United States

Debit Card: If a credit or debit card is used, delivery of bitcoins is instant once ID verification as been completed.

Bank Transfer: U.S. customers will receive their bitcoins five business days from placing an order when using bank transfer. “Instant Buy” becomes possible if a credit card is added to the account as a backup payment method.

Instant buy will allow fully verified users to buy up to $1,000 worth of bitcoin per week. Level 2 users with instant buy are able to instantly buy up to $100 worth of bitcoin per week.

Canada

Canadian EFT purchases take four days to complete.

Interac Online purchases are instant!

Europe

European users paying with SEPA transfer will receive bitcoin within 1-3 days.

Customer Support

Coinbase has a knowledge base and email support.

Coinbase “Community” can be used to ask questions and get support help.

Past Issues

There have been reports that it tracks how its users spend bitcoin.

Crypto to Crypto Trading

Customers from over 100 countries can trade crypto to crypto. Coinbase recently launched this feature.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you buy bitcoins with PayPal on Coinbase?

Coinbase does not accept PayPal. Coinbase only accepts the payment methods listed above.

Coinbase is a regulated company and holds licenses in all districts in which it operates.

It is backed by major US investors and is not a scam.

So, it’s safe to link your bank account but that does not mean you should ever store bitcoins with Coinbase.

Are There Cash Advance Fees for Buying Bitcoins on Coinbase with a Credit Card?

Buying bitcoins on Coinbase should not result in any cash advance fees. If this happens to you be sure to contact Coinbase support.

Who is Coinbase’s CEO?

Brian Armstrong is the CEO of Coinbase.

Coinbase Bitcoin Wallet Review

Coinbase wallet history page.

Your Coinbase “wallet” can be accessed on the web, or with the Coinbase apps for iOS and Coinbase App for Android.

Coinbase controls all private keys, and acts more like a bank than a true Bitcoin wallet.

Coinbase should only be used to buy or sell bitcoin, and not to store funds (unless you use the Multisignature Vault).

You can read our guide on Bitcoin wallets to find a wallet that truly gives you full control over your bitcoins.

Coinbase Bitcoin Wallet Security

Users may create three types of wallets with Coinbase: wallet, vault, and multisig vault.

Coinbase Bitcoin Wallet

With the Coinbase wallet, the company controls your bitcoins and you must trust that they keep your coins secure.

You must also keep your Coinbase login and account password safe.

Coinbase is a VC backed company with over $100 million in funding and likely has a very strong security setup. The point of Bitcoin, however, is that users have the ability to control their own money. So, move your bitcoins into a wallet you control after you buy.

Also note that Coinbase can shut down your account and block access to your funds at any time.

Coinbase Vault

Coinbase offers a unique solution for securing larger amounts of bitcoin.

Bitcoin stored in a Vault account can be protected by multiple approvers. If a user adds two approvers to his vault, both must confirm that the withdrawal is valid before it processes.

All withdrawals from Vaults take 48-hours to process. The time delay provides a safety net:

If you see a withdrawal was requested that you did not make, the withdrawal may be cancelled.

Like the regular Coinbase wallet, you must trust Coinbase to secure vault funds. Vault accounts can also be shutdown by Coinbase at anytime.

Coinbase multisig vault.

Multisig Vault

Coinbase understands that many users want complete control over their funds.

Its multi-sig vault is a 2 of 3 wallet, where Coinbase has one key, one key is shared, and the third key is held by the account holder.

Any two of the three keys allows spending of funds. If Coinbase goes down, you still have both the shared key and your own key. Funds cannot be held because the shared key is encrypted with your password.

Privacy

Your name, phone number, email, and a number of other personal details are required. Coinbase knows your addresses and balance at all times and can connect this with your identity and IP address. You must trust Coinbase’s nodes to verify transaction data.

Because Coinbase has buy/sell features, it must follow all KYC laws. There have been reports that it tracks how its users spend bitcoin.

Each payment request uses a new address, which helps prevent other users from connecting Bitcoin addresses together.

Coinbase received a score of 11 out of 100 from the Open Bitcoin Privacy Project’s Spring 2015 report.


 

Coinbase USD Wallets

A Coinbase USD wallet will let you store dollars in your Coinbase account. There are a few advantages to using a Coinbase USD wallet:

  • You can store dollars in your account so that when you do want to purchase bitcoins you don’t have to wait five days for a bank transfer to process.
  • You can spend bitcoins online without exposing yourself to Bitcoin’s volatility.

 

Coinbase Debit Card

Coinbase released a debit card for UK customers only that connects to your Coinbase account. It uses your Coinbase balance as the debit card’s source of funds, allowing you to spend bitcoins at any merchant accepting Visa.


 

How to Use Coinbase

Buying cryptocurrency can be a confusing process, with the multitudes of exchanges payment methods available. One of the best exchanges for beginners is Coinbase, a San Francisco based cryptocurrency exchange.

Coinbase offers fiat onramps, or the ability to purchase coins with traditional fiat currencies. Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, and Bitcoin Cash can all be purchased with fiat on Coinbase.

While Coinbase is beginner focused, the process of setting up an account, adding funds, and purchasing currencies can still be less than straightforward. This guide will teach you every you need to know about Coinbase.

Creating an Account

To set up an account, first visit the Coinbase website and click “Sign Up”.

You will then be directed to begin setting up your account. Fill in your name, email, password, and location. Complete the captcha, then certify that you are over 18 and agree to the Coinbase user agreement and privacy policy.

After continuing, access your email and follow the verification link.

Select your country and add your phone number.

A 7-digit code will be sent to your phone, and you will be directed to enter this code.

After entering the code, you may or may not be directed to verify your ID. If you are not, then your account set up is finished for now. If you are directed to verify your ID, that is the next step covered.

Even if you’re not prompted to verify your ID now, you will want to do so anyway, because sooner or later you must verify your ID to purchase or continue purchasing cryptocurrency.

ID Verification

Because Coinbase is based in the US, they must abide by KYC/AML laws. Know Your Customer (KYC) and Anti Money Laundering (AML) laws require businesses to verify the identity of their customers. These laws are in place to prevent money laundering or other criminal activities from occurring.

Unfortunately for customers, this means they must divulge a large amount of personal information, including the last 4 digits of their SSN and photos of their ID. To understand how this information is used, read Coinbase’s privacy policy.

If you were not prompted to verify your ID directly after entering the SMS code, you do so by clicking the “Buy/Sell” tab. Then select the “Submit ID + Photo Verification” button.

You will then be directed to fill in your personal information.

After filling out this information, you’ll be require to submit a photo ID.

You can upload a driver’s license or other photo ID, and can upload with a webcam, a mobile camera, or a file upload. You will be required to upload a clear photo of the front and back of the idea. The photo verification may take a few minutes.

If the photo fails to verify, make sure the photo is clear and no parts of the ID are obscured. If you still cannot verify your ID, then contact Coinbase support.

Once your photo ID is verified, the ID verification process should be complete.

Verification Levels

If you verify your phone number, you’ll be able to invest up to $9,500.

If you verify your personal information, you’ll be able to invest an unlimited amount, wire funds in and out of your account, and store funds in your account.

If you verify your ID, you’ll be able to send and receive digital currencies

Additional Security

After you verify your ID, you’ll want to increase the security of your account by enabling 2-Factor Authentication (2FA).

To do this, first select the settings tab.

Within the settings page, select the security tab.

Scroll down to the “Two-Factor Authentication” section, and make sure the verification code is set for any amount of digital currency. Then select the “Enable Authenticator” button.

Enter the 7-digit code sent to your phone.

After you enter the SMS code, Coinbase will generate an authenticator code for you. This will allow you to use 2-Factor Authentication.

2FA is a security measure that generates unique codes based on your authenticator secret code. To use it, download a 2FA app such as Google Authenticator onto your phone.

After downloading, add the Coinbase authenticator code to the app. You can do this by scanning the QR code or by manually entering the authenticator code. The app will now generate 2FA codes for Coinbase that change every few seconds.

Because the codes change so often, someone attempting to breach your account would need to have access to your phone in order to access your funds. Even if they steal your username and password, they wouldn’t have the 2FA code unless they had access to your phone as well.

Be sure to write down your authenticator secret code and store it somewhere safe. If you get a new phone, or it is lost or stolen, you will need this code to receive 2FA codes.

With 2FA set up, your account will be much more secure.

Adding Payment Methods

Before buying your cryptocurrency, you will need to add a payment method. Coinbase offers 3 payment methods: Debit card, bank account, or wire transfer. In this guide we will cover purchasing with a debit card or with a bank account.

To add a payment method, first select the “Settings” tab in the top middle of the page.

Within the Settings page, select the “Linked Accounts” tab.

Click the “Link a New Account” button.

You will then be able to select which payment method to add.

Debit Card

Debit cards are best for purchasing smaller amounts quickly. Any debit card purchase will instantly transfer the cryptocurrency to your account, which is best if you want to quickly trade it for another cryptocurrency.

However, debit cards have much lower purchase limits than other payment types. Their limits may start as low as $300 per week.

Additionally, debit card purchases have high fees, at 4%. And while Coinbase is headquartered in America, their payment processor runs through the UK, so your card may be hit with an additional foreign purchase fee, depending on your card and where you live.

To link a debit card, select that option then fill out your debit card information. Unfortunately, if you only have a credit card, you cannot use it at this time.

After filling out your card information, Coinbase will send 2 pending charges to your account. To verify your card, enter the the last 2 digits of the charge. You will not be charged for these transactions. If you see 3 charges, ignore the charge that is $1.00.

Bank Account

Bank Accounts are better for larger purchases, but they are not immediate like debit cards.

When you make a purchase with a bank account, the price you pay is locked in the moment you purchase, but you will not receive your cryptocurrency until 4-5 business days have passed.

So if the value of the currency you bought goes up over that time, you will have made money. Of course, if the value goes down, you will have lost money. Additionally, you don’t own the funds until the 4-5 business days have passed, so if you want to trade for another currency, you’ll be unable to do so until the time passes.

However, bank account purchases do have some major upsides. The limits on bank accounts are much higher, starting at $7,500 per week. The fees are also much lower, at 1.5%.

To link a bank account, select it from the payment method selection. Then choose your bank.

After choosing your bank, enter your bank user ID and password.

If this method fails, or if you cannot find your bank, you can manually add your bank account by giving your routing number. You’ll then be sent 2 deposits to verify. This process will take around 5 business days, as opposed to the other method, which offers instant connection.

Purchasing Cryptocurrency

With your account all set up, you can finally buy some cryptocurrency!

Click the “Buy/Sell” tab at the top of the page.

Select the type of cryptocurrency you want, the payment method, and the amount in dollars.

You will then be directed to confirm your purchase.

You may also have to enter your 2FA code to confirm the purchase.

Selling cryptocurrency is a very similar process. The main difference is that you cannot sell using a credit card. You must sell using either a bank account or a USD account that will hold your money on Coinbase.

Depositing/Sending Cryptocurrency

To deposit cryptocurrency to your Coinbase account, or to send it to another account, first select the “Accounts” tab.

To deposit currency, navigate to your desired cryptocurrency then select “Receive”.

Coinbase will then generate an address for you to send your cryptocurrency to. Be sure to send only that cryptocurrency to that wallet. For example, you cannot send Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash to the same wallet, or one will be lost. Also, be sure to use your own address and not the example one shown in the picture.

To send cryptocurrency to another address, click the “Send” button.

Next, enter the desired recipient address and the amount in dollars that you would like to send. Be sure to send only to wallets of the same type of cryptocurrency, or it will be lost.

You will then be required to enter your 2FA code to complete the transaction. You will also notice an additional miner fee for sending currency. This fee does not go to Coinbase, it is sent the miners who keep the network running.

Now that you know how to set up an account, buy/sell, and deposit/withdraw, you should have all the knowledge you need to start buying and trading.

Coinbase vs Coinbase Pro

Coinbase is one of the most popular Bitcoin brokers – in fact, its user base has surpassed that of stock brokerage Charles Schwab. Coinbase’s popularity skyrocketed in 2017, along with the price of Bitcoin.

Coinbase Pro – also owned by Coinbase – has also seen a similar amount of growth.

Coinbase Pro’s trading interface.

As the media began covering Bitcoin’s significant price increase, more and more first time buyers were looking to acquire cryptocurrency. Evidently, most of them chose to use Coinbase. They generated over $1 billion in revenue last year.

But, the question of whether to use Coinbase Pro or Coinbase is confusing for many new users.

What is the difference between Coinbase and Coinbase Pro?

Coinbase Coinbase Pro
Credit Card Fees 3.99% N/A
Bank Fees 1.49% 0.0% – 0.25%
Easy to Use
Coinbase Review Coinbase Pro Review
Go to Coinbase Go to Coinbase Pro

Buying cryptocurrency is confusing, especially if it’s your first time.

Coinbase is designed for ease of use, targeting first time buyers. Their simplistic platform makes it easy for anyone to buy or sell Bitcoin, Litecoin, Ethereum, regardless of their prior experience.

Coinbase Pro is for more advanced users. It has features like bid ask spreads, price charts, order books, market orders, limit orders, and stop limits can be overwhelming to take in all at once for new buyers.

Coinbase users can buy or sell using a bank transfer, credit card or debit card, while enjoying high liquidity. The website doesn’t display fancy price charts, nor does it show any form of order book. The only options available to Coinbase users are to buy and sell.

Coinbase has a simple and easy to understand interface.

Coinbase Pro only allows you deposit using ACH bank transfer (USA), SEPA transfer (Europe), or wire transfer.

Coinbase’s basic buying platform is perfect for the Bitcoin buying beginner – however, its simplicity comes at a cost.

Coinbase vs Coinbase Pro Fees

When compared to Coinbase Pro, Coinbase’s fees are pretty hefty. They charge a 3.99% fee on credit/debit card transfers and a 1.49% fee on bank transfers.

Coinbase Pro, on the other hand, charges significantly less than Coinbase. If you play your cards right, you won’t have to pay a cent – that’s right, zero trading fees.

Believe it or not, Coinbase Pro is owned by Coinbase, though Coinbase Pro and Coinbase don’t have much in common. Coinbase Pro is geared towards more advanced traders, who enjoy instant transactions and plenty of volume, as Coinbase Pro is one of the most popular exchange platforms.

Coinbase Pro charges 0.1% to 0.25% for taker trades, and no fees at all for maker trades. As long as you place limit orders, you won’t have to worry about paying a fee. What’s more, if you have a Coinbase account, you already have a Coinbase Pro account. Simply log in to Coinbase Pro with your Coinbase credentials. Better still, you can transfer funds instantly between Coinbase and Coinbase Pro.

Coinbase vs Coinbase Pro Price

Coinbase’s price is based on the Coinbase Pro price, but is usually somewhat higher. This means Coinbase has somewhat of a hidden premium.

For example, as I write this the price on Coinbase Pro is $8917.16 but the price on Coinbase is $8,962.35. So Coinbase has marked up its prices somewhat.

Coinbase Pro vs Coinbase Liquidity

As far as Coinbase Pro’s liquidity goes, you won’t have to worry. Deposits of USD, Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin and BCH to your Coinbase Pro wallet are unlimited. Individuals can withdraw up to $10,000 per day and businesses can withdraw up to $50,000 per day. Higher withdrawal limits can be made available to you upon request.

Coinbase Pro vs Coinbase User Interface

Coinbase has one of the nicest user interfaces of any crypto app. It’s super simple to use.

Coinbase has a simple and easy to understand interface. Simply enter the amount of coin you want to buy and it displays the fees, delivery time and amount clearly.

For an orderbook exchange, Coinbase Pro’s interface is very clean. But for users who don’t know how to use orderbook exchanges it may be confusing.

Coinbase Pro’s interface is much more confusing. There is an orderbook, different order types and fancy price charts. This is confusing for a lot of new users.

Supported Countries

Coinbase Pro and Coinbase support almost the same countries.

Both Coinbase Pro and Coinbase support the following countries:

Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Malta, Monaco, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, San Marino, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United States.

Customers from Singapore, Canada and Australia can only use Coinbase, but are not able to use Coinbase Pro.

Mobile Use

Coinbase has mobile apps for Android and iOS.

There is no mobile app for Coinbase Pro, although the mobile version of the site works quite well on tablets and smartphones.

Withdrawal Fees

Coinbase makes you pay the standard Bitcoin transaction fee, which is usually about $0.10.

Coinbase Pro has no withdrawal fees and pays the Bitcoin, ether and litecoin transaction fees for you.

Conclusion

If you’re new to trading and you are just looking to acquire cryptocurrency, Coinbase is probably the best option for you.

The Latest Updates At Coinbase

Coinbase raises $300 million in Series E Financing

Coinbase is one of the most popular ways to buy Bitcoins, and it is now looking to take the ease of use that it provides one step further. The cryptocurrency exchange recently announced that it is raising $300 million as a part of Series E financing at a value of more than $8 billion. Tiger Global Management is leading this financing round, while the other participants include Wellington Management, Andreessen Horowitz, Y Combinator Continuity, Polychain, and others.

Coinbase has identified four areas where it will spend the newly raised capital.

1. Coinbase is now looking to move deeper into regulated markets around the globe by building the platform between fiat currencies and cryptocurrencies.

2. The company plans to quickly add more cryptocurrencies to its platform with the help of the money that it has just raised.

3. Coinbase will keep pouring money into the Wallet application to make it even better, and also contribute toward the development of the USD Coin stablecoin (USDC).

4. Finally, Coinbase plans to bring more institutional investors into the cryptocurrency space by adding more features and crypto assets to its Custody offering.

In all, Coinbase aims to boost cryptocurrency adoption further post the latest round of funding.

Coinbase is now supporting USDC stablecoin – a digital dollar

Coinbase recently announced that its customers in supported jurisdictions can send, receive, buy, and sell the USD Coin stablecoin (USDC) on its website and mobile applications. This marks Coinbase first entry into stablecoins, which have a fundamental difference as compared to other cryptocurrencies. A USDC is pegged to the price of a single US dollar (USD). Coinbase explains that one USDC is represented by one USD on the Ethereum blockchain.

As compared to other cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, a USDC doesn’t move on its own accord as its price is backed by a fiat currency in this case. This means that stablecoins such as the USDC can reduce the price volatility usually associated with cryptocurrencies, so they are an ideal way to store value. That’s why Coinbase believes that USDC can be used to buy items in the cryptocurrency ecosystem, such as tickets for blockchain-based games.

Additionally, Coinbase claims that two Ethereum wallets will be able to send and receive large amounts of USDC round the clock and at fast speeds. This will make it easier for the related parties to carry out transactions with USDC as the value of the stablecoin will remain consistent because it is backed by the US dollar.

Coinbase exploring addition of more cryptocurrencies

Coinbase had announced in late September that it is looking to quickly add new cryptocurrencies that meet its standards and meet local law compliance. The exchange recently started supporting Ethereum Classic, and now there’s talk that it could list Ripple as well. The exchange has justannounced that Coinbase Custody, its branch providing custodian service for institutional investors, is now adding support for Ripple (XRP).

However, Coinbase doesn’t list XRP on its exchange yet, and the addition of the cryptocurrency to custody services doesn’t guarantee that it will be offered on the exchange. But then, because Coinbase Custody is now supporting XRP, user confidence in the cryptocurrency should increase. Additionally, institutional investing in XRP will also bring more liquidity and push up volumes of the cryptocurrency, so Coinbase listing this digital asset on its exchange shouldn’t be ruled out completely.

Review by: Jordan Tuwiner

Rating: 4.2

Bitpanda

Bitpanda is a Bitcoin broker based in Austria. It offers a wide range of payment methods and has good prices.

Cex.io

CEX.IO allows for the buying of bitcoins for low fees via credit card. Customers can also purchase for free with bank transfers.

Coinmama

Coinmama is a bitcoin broker based in Israel. They specialize in selling bitcoins for credit card to nearly anyone in the world.