Coinbase Review for Canadians

Updated: Sep 16, 2021 | Published: February 23, 2021   

By: Alex Dabek

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2.5

NowFuture Rating:

The Bottom Line: Coinbase is a trusted crypto exchange with 75+ altcoins, tons of features, and tools for beginner and advanced traders. However, the main downside is very expensive fees and limited funding options. Canadians can only buy crypto with credit/debit card which has a 3.99% fee plus spread. For cashing out, PayPal is only the option with a minimum 1% fee.

I ranked Coinbase 7th overall out of 12 Canadian crypto exchanges. Newton is currently the best overall crypto exchange for Canadians with low fees and variety of coins.

Coinbase Exchange

Coinbase Overview

Overall:

2.5

Coins Available (75+):

BTC, ETH, LTC, LINK, BCH, XLM, UNI, AAVE, EOS, XTZ, DAI, and many more

Fees:

Spread: 1.20% (Mar 01, 2021)

Trading Fees: $0.99 - 3.99%

Crypto Withdrawal Fees: Network fees

Funding Methods:

Credit/Debit Card: Instant - ~3.99% fee

Pros & Cons

  • One of the largest and most trusted exchanges in the industry
  • Variety of 75+ cryptocurrencies
  • Easy for beginners to get started
  • Earn free crypto for watching educational videos
  • Lots of features
  • Expensive fees for Canadians (3.99% or higher)
  • Low limits for new accounts
  • Limited payment and cash out methods
  • Available in 100+ countries so the Canadian market might not be their top priority

Coinbase vs. the Competition

Compare Coinbase to other Canadian crypto exchanges below. You can see all of the data here or skip to the best exchanges of the year here.

Name

Coins

*Total BTC Purchase Fee

Best CAD Deposit Fee

Trading Fee

BTC Withdrawal Fee

2

1.43%

Free

0%

Free

7

1.41%

Free

0.50%

0.0005 BTC

9

2.60%

Free

0.20%

0.00025 BTC

9

2.29%

1.50%

0.1% / 0.2%

0.00025 BTC

10

0.72%

Free

0.1% / 0.2%

0.0005 BTC

16

0.50%

Free

0.20%

0.000399 BTC

19

2.83%

Free

0%

0.0003 BTC

20+

3.48%

Free

1.48%

N/A

20+

1.48%

Free

0%

0.00025 BTC

25+

0.66%

Free

0%

0.0005 BTC

40+

0.69%

Free

0%

Network fees minus $5

50+

0.80% + $1.25

Free

0.16% / 0.26%

0.00015 BTC

75+

4.55%

3.99%

0.50%

Network fees

100+

1.52%

Free

0%

0.0004 BTC

350+

2.24%

2.00%

0.10%

0.0005 BTC

*Total BTC Purchase Fee was calculated on Mar 01, 2021 and changes daily. It adds all fees to make a purchase (CAD deposit fees, trading fees, etc) plus the % difference to Google's price of Bitcoin which was the reference price.

This table is up to date as of Aug 13, 2021


Screenshots:

Coinbase Mobile App

About Coinbase

Coinbase is a trusted U.S. cryptocurrency exchange that has been around since 2012. It is one of the largest crypto exchanges in the world with over 56 million users in 100 countries. They are also a publicly traded company on the stock market.

According to their about section, Coinbase has 1700+ employees and over $200 billion of assets on their platform. It's massive!


Opening An Account

To sign up on Coinbase as a Canadian, they require you to prove your identity and more in order to follow KYC protocols. The entire sign up process can take up to 10 minutes and be ready to have the following info ready:

Sign Up Requirements

  • Be at least 18 years old
  • Name, address, date of birth
  • Phone number
  • Last 4 digits of SSN
  • Occupation and some questions
  • Government issued ID
  • Selfie of your face

Coinbase List of Features

  • iOS, Android, and Web app - Access Coinbase on any platform or device. They have a very user friendly interface that is easy for anyone to navigate, especially crypto beginners.
  • Coinbase Earn - Get paid to watch short educational crypto videos. It was launched in 2018. Since then, users have received more than $100 million in free crypto!
  • Recurring Buys - Buy crypto automatically based on your preferences. You can set up weekly, biweekly or monthly purchases customized to your liking.
  • Coinbase Vault - Coinbase allows you to store your crypto in a vault as a part of your  account. You can receive crypto like a normal wallet, but it takes additional security steps to withdraw your crypto.
  • Coinbase Pro - This is a separate app and platform for advanced traders. It has a fully-featured API and you can track the market, view trading history, manage open orders, manage multiple portfolios, and more. To join, you will need to create a Coinbase Pro account.
  • Coinbase Wallet - This is a separate app and google chrome extension that is a software wallet which gives you your private keys. In it, you can trade up to 500+ assets and collect NFTs. You can also earn interest on your crypto.
  • Staking and Inflation - Earn up to 6% interest on your crypto through proof-of-stake. The annual percentage Yield (APY) on every coin is different but currently, you can earn on Tezos, Cosmos, Algorand or Ethereum. You'll have to log into your coinbase account to see a full list of available coins.
  • News and Education - Find news, resources, and crypto education via Coinbase Learn and more.
  • Referral Program - Coinbase rewards you $10 USD through their referral program when you invite your friends. When your friend signs up and completes a buy/sell order worth $100 you both get $10 bonuses.

Coinbase Fees (Canada)

Coinbase has a pretty confusing fee structure and it is also expensive compared to other Canadian crypto exchanges. Let's take a look at their fees and spreads.

Total BTC Purchase Fee

4.55%

Trading Fees

Free

CAD Deposits

~3.99% via credit/debit only

CAD Withdrawals

1% via PayPal only

BTC Withdrawals

Network fees

Spread (Mar 01, 2021)

BTC Spread

1.20%

BTC Buy Price

$62,406

BTC Sell Price

$61,666

Ref. Price Difference

Buy: +0.56%

Sell: -0.63%

Reference Price (Google)

$62,058

Coinbase claims their spread is usually around 0.50%. When I tested it, it was 1.20% for Bitcoin which is a fee you'll have to pay on top of the deposit fee. The reference price difference plus deposit fee is how I got a total 4.55% purchase fee to buy Bitcoin. This means $100 gets you $95.45 worth of crypto. In the same test, Newton would get you $99.31 and NDAX would get you $99.50 worth of Bitcoin.


Deposits & Withdrawals Canada

Deposits

Method

Fee

Time

Minimum

Debit/Credit

3.99%*

Instant

$2

Crypto

Free

Instant

$2

*The debit/credit card fee is variable. It will be 3.99% or a fixed fee from the image below (whichever price is higher):

Coinbase Variable Fee

Source: Coinbase.com - Screenshot Aug 2, 2021

Withdrawals

Method

Fee

Time

Minimum

PayPal

1%

Instant

$2

Crypto

Network Fees

Instant

Varies


Security

Coinbase Security

Coinbase uses world class security protocols to keep their platform safe. 98% of crypto assets are stored offline. Sensitive data is stored on their servers and disconnected from the internet. Wallets (and private keys) are stored using AES-256 encryption. The data is stored on USB drives and paper backups, secured in vaults in different locations.

On the user side, Coinbase offers three different 2FA options to login to your account. It can be phone number, an authenticator app, or a hardware device. You can also enable 2FA for your crypto transactions. Coinbase also claims that all personal information is encrypted.


Support

Coinbase Support

Coinbase has a live chat function for you to communicate directly with customer support. You can access it on their website or in your mobile app. You can also contact Coinbase via email and phone. If you don't need to speak to someone, you can visit their detailed FAQ page and their website status to see if there are any outages.


Where Coinbase Shines:

  • Ease Of Use - The user interface and mobile app is one of the easiest crypto platforms to use
  • Trusted Exchange - You can only hold crypto in your Coinbase account and not Canadian dollars. This makes it more difficult to cash out however, you can withdraw to your PayPal account.
  • Lots Of Features - Coinbase offers a lot of beginner and pro features that you won't find on Canadian based crypto exchanges.

Where Coinbase Falls Short:

  • High Fees - Coinbase has 3.99% fees or higher to purchase crypto as a Canadian. You must also factor in the spread and additional fees that your bank might charge
  • Can't Hold CAD - You can only hold crypto in your Coinbase account and not Canadian dollars. This makes it more difficult to cash out however, you can withdraw to your PayPal account
  • Doesn't Prioritize Canada - Coinbase operates in 100+ countries so adding cheaper funding methods and more features for the Canadian market might not be a top priority

Summary

Coinbase is a great, trustworthy platform that has beginner and pro features. If you don't mind paying 3.99% fees (or more) plus a spread, then go for it, however this is extremely expensive. The best option for Canadians who want to buy crypto in 2021 is Newton which has zero trading fees, tight spreads and 25+ coins. Then you can also sign up and deposit crypto on Binance if you want access to 350+ altcoins.

Although Coinbase is not the best option to fund your account with $CAD, it can still be useful to deposit crypto, make trades on Coinbase Pro, earn free crypto for watching videos, and more depending what features are useful to you.

Who Should Use Coinbase?

  • If you want to buy crypto with credit/debit and don't mind 3.99% fees or more
  • If you want to deposit crypto (this will be cheap)
  • If you want to earn some free crypto by taking short quizzes

Who Should Not Use Coinbase?

  • If you don't want to pay super expensive fees to buy crypto
  • If you want better, cheaper funding options like interac e-transfer
Coinbase Exchange
  • Trade 70+ cryptocurrencies
  • Most trusted exchange in the industry
  • Get $12 free when you trade $125

Best Coinbase Alternatives

Newton Exchange
  • Trade 40+ cryptocurrencies
  • Fast funding and super low fees
  • $25 free when you trade $100
Binance Exchange
  • Trade 350+ cryptocurrencies
  • Tight spreads and low fees
  • Beginner and pro features
Kraken Exchange Logo 2
  • Trade 50+ cryptocurrencies
  • Tight spreads and low fees
  • Beginner and pro features

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