Shakepay Review: Easiest Place to Buy Bitcoin for Canadians?

Updated: Oct 13, 2021 | Published: November 30, 2020   

By: Alex Dabek

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I've been using Shakepay for 12+ months now so I decided to write an honest review if you're looking to buy Bitcoin in Canada.

On their website, they claim they are "the easiest way for Canadians to buy and sell Bitcoin." So, is Shakepay worth it? Is it safe? Are there any fees to buy Bitcoin or Ethereum? I'll cover that and more in this review!


The Bottom Line: Shakepay is a popular and trustworthy exchange founded in 2015. They have 2 coins (Bitcoin and Ethereum), relatively high spreads (2.54%), and zero trading fees. It’s also very easy for beginners to use and there are zero fees on crypto withdrawals.

Overall, I ranked Shakepay as the 4th best crypto exchange for Canadians in 2021. Newton was first because it has 25+ coins and much lower total fees. 

Shakepay Exchange

Shakepay Overview

Overall:

3.9

Total Purchase Fee:

1.43% (Mar 01, 2021)

Fees:

Spread: 2.54% (Mar 01, 2021)

Trading Fees: N/A

Funding: Free

Crypto Withdrawals: Free

Cryptocurrencies (2):

Bitcoin, Ethereum

Pros:

  • It's very fast - You can fund your account almost instantly with e-transfer. I've done 21+ transactions and only for 1 of them I had to call RBC and resend the transaction 
  • Minimal fees - $0 transaction fees for deposits and withdrawals. The only fee is the spread
  • Support - In my experience, they responded in under 24 hours every time and were helpful. Not available on weekends though
  • Minimum deposit $5 - Get started with as little as you want
  • Free Bitcoin - If you get referred or refer a friend, you can shake your phone for free Bitcoin every day
  • Free Crypto Withdrawals - The only Canadian exchange with truly 100% free crypto withdrawals. This is really handy for small investors and transfers to other wallets

Cons:

  • Not The Cheapest - You get charged 1.2%-2.5% when buying or selling crypto. This is not unreasonable, but I found 5 exchanges that were cheaper in Canada
  • Only 2 cryptocurrencies - They only support Bitcoin and Ethereum (not an issue for everyone)
  • Limited features - No watchlists, news, research, etc. It's very simple right now
  • Unable to Purchase - On two occasions it kept saying error when I tried to purchase crypto. Not sure if this is the app or high demand but it's super frustrating.

About Shakepay

Shakepay markets themselves as "the easiest way for Canadians to buy and sell Bitcoin."

The company launched in 2015 and so far, over 600,000 Canadians have signed up for the platform! Its one of the most popular cryptocurrency apps in Canada consistently being at the top of the app store and google play. They are based in Montreal and according to LinkedIn, they have 30+ employees.


Opening An Account

Shakepay is quick to open an account and follows the usual KYC process like most exchanges. Meaning, you need to prove your identity. Most users are instantly verified but in some cases additional documentation is required which can take up to 4 days to be reviewed.

Who Is Eligible?

  • Canadian citizens or permanent residents
  • Those with Canadian phone numbers
  • People above the age of 18

Sign Up Requirements

  • Email address
  • Phone number, address, date of birth
  • Government ID or selfie video

App Screenshots


Shakepay Fees

Shakepay makes money on the spread and everything else is free. Shakepay's spread on Bitcoin was 2.54% on March 01, 2021. Everything else on the platform including trades and deposits and withdrawals are free.

There could also be a fee from your bank to send e-transfers. For RBC, it's $1.50 every transfer. Although this is not Shakepay's fee, you might have to pay that too depending on your bank.

Total BTC Purchase Fee

1.43% (Mar 01, 2021)

Trading Fees

0%

CAD Deposits

Free

CAD Withdrawals

Free

BTC Withdrawals

Free

Other Fees

N/A

Spread (Mar 01, 2021)

BTC Spread

2.54%

BTC Buy Price

$62,945

BTC Sell Price

$61,387

Ref. Price Difference

Buy: +1.43%

Sell: -1.09%

Reference Price (Google)

$62,058

On my March 01, 2021 test, the total fee to buy Bitcoin on Shakepay was 1.43%. This was calculated by adding the reference price difference from Google and all other fees which were none. This means every $100 spent on Shakepay gets you $98.57 of Bitcoin. On the same day, you would get $99.31 on Newton and $99.50 on NDAX which are cheaper overall. 

Keep in mind the spreads change daily so shouldn't be taken exactly, but rather as a tool to compare each other.

How Does Shakepay Make Money?

Shakepay makes money on the spread - the gap between the price you can buy and sell Bitcoin for. Every crypto exchange does this however, the size of the spread is different everywhere.

For example, if 1 Bitcoin is selling for $20,000 you will be able to buy it for $20,2000. If you were to sell it, Shakepay would give you $19,800. The spread fluctuates daily but on Shakepay, it was 2.54% on March 01, 2021 which is relatively high. Additionally, people on Reddit have said it ranges from 1.5% to 2.5%.

Shakepay's official statement is,

"At any point in time, there will be a small difference between the price customers can buy crypto and the price at which they can sell. Shakepay will capture this difference as revenue to cover our costs as a business, maintain our platform, and offer great service to customers."

Deposits & Withdrawals

Shakepay is completely free to deposit and withdraw from your account, including for crypto withdrawals. They offer interac e-transfers if you want near instant transfers and wire transfers for amounts above $5,000. Keep in mind that outgoing and incoming wire transfers might include a fee from your bank ($17-$35 with RBC).

Deposit Options

Shakepay Deposit Options

Withdrawal Options

Shakepay Withdrawals Options

Crypto Withdrawals

Coin

Fee

Minimum Withdrawal

Bitcoin

Free

0.0001 BTC

Ethereum

Free

0.05 ETH


Shakepay Features

shakepay-reivew-features-2

Shakepay is incredibly simple to use and has just a few sections in the app. Their main focus is to let you buy Bitcoin and Ethereum very quickly and easily. Let's take a look at all of the features:

  • iOS, Android and Web App -  Everything is very simple and beginner-friendly. You'll find easy to use charts, you can see your transaction history and also have it emailed to you.
  • Instant Buy/Sell - This is the fastest option to buy or sell crypto at the current prices.
  • Limit Orders - Place a buy or sell order at a price you set.
  • Price Alerts - Set notifications if you want to know when Bitcoin or Ethereum reaches a certain price.
  • Recurring Buys - Set a rule to automatically buy Bitcoin or Ethereum every day, week, or month. Make sure you have CAD dollars in your account and then you can set and forget your purchases.
  • ShakingSats Rewards - If you join Shakepay via referral link or invite a friend, you can earn free Bitcoin every day. Simply shake your phone every 24 hours to get free Bitcoin instantly deposited in your account. The reward increases slightly every day until you break the streak. You can see the rules on their website. At the peak, I was earning $30/month before breaking my streak!
  • Refer A Friend Bonus - You can also invite your friends and you each receive $10 when they spend $100. You can find your unique referral link under the settings in your account.
  • Shakepay Visa Card - Shakepay is soon launching this card that will give you cashback in the form of Bitcoin on every purchase you make. It looks like it will be a prepaid visa card that won't affect your credit score and you can join the waitlist in the app. At this time, I recommend the MogoCard which is free and gives you unlimited 2% cashback in Bitcoin on every purchase you make.
  • Bug Bounty Program - If you're a programmer or knowledgeable in cyber security, Shakeypay will pay you anywhere from $5 to $4000 if you find bugs and security risks on their platform.

Shakepay Support

Shakepay Support

Shakepay offers a support section on their website. You will not be able to get support through the mobile app at the time of this writing. Their usual response time claims to be 2 days and they also have a detailed FAQ section as well.


Security

Let's take a look at Shakepay's security precautions. 

Company Security

  • Funds are held in cold storage - Their website states, "the vast majority of digital currencies are stored in cold storage wallets" however they don't say the exact percentage
  • FINTRAC regulated - It's a registered Money Service Business that's allowed to operate in all Canadian provinces and territories 
  • Proof of Reserves Report - Shakepay hired a security firm to do a report
  • Insurance policy - Funds in cold storage are said to have an insurance policy however no specific details are provided

User Security Features

On the user side, Shakepay has multiple features you can toggle on and off in the settings:

  • 2FA (SMS or authenticator app)
  • Account notifications for logins, transactions, password changes
  • Email confirmations for crypto cashouts
  • Device lock (touch ID, face ID, pattern)
  • Temporarily disable account (freeze all transactions)

Is Shakepay regulated? 

Yes, Shakepay is regulated by FINTRAC and the AMF. Those are just fancy words saying Shakepay is legit. Shakepay’s office is in Montreal, Quebec but they are allowed to operate in all Canadian provinces and territories.

Is Shakepay Safe?

Yes, Shakepay is as safe as any popular crypto exchange. They have never been hacked or lost users funds, they follow Canadian laws and regulations, and they keep the majority of their funds in cold storage. Users also have security features like 2FA, email confirmations and more.

However, no crypto exchange is 100% safe. There is always risk of hacks or losing your funds, even if the odds are small. Your funds are also not CDIC insured like a traditional bank account. The recommended and safest way to store large amounts of crypto is on a hardware wallet.


Shakepay vs. The Competition

Compare Shakepay with other popular Canadian crypto exchanges below. You can see all of the data 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


Best Shakepay Alternatives

Shakepay is good for beginners but I ranked it 4th overall for Canadians because of it's low variety of coins and high spreads. Here are alternatives that might be better depending on your needs:

Newton is a good alternative to Shakepay because it has 25+ cryptocurrencies and is roughly 2x cheaper thanks to their low spreads. It also has a sleek, easy to use user interface and free $CAD deposits and withdrawals via e-transfer. Newton is my top recommendation overall for Canadians.

Shakepay is built for beginners so NDAX is great if you want advanced charts, an open order book, multiple order types and more pro features out of a Canadian platform. It features 15+ coins and like Newton, is one of the cheapest crypto exchanges in Canada for buying crypto. The downside is higher withdrawal fees and a poor mobile app experience so far.

Binance offers 350+ altcoins and countless advanced features like professional charts, margin, interest accounts, liquidity pools, and much more. You can't connect a Canadian bank account to Binance that's why I recommend having both a Binance and Shakepay account. The downside is Binance is unavailable in Ontario, in which case Kraken is a reputable alliterative.


Shakepay Summary

Shakepay is incredibly simple, fast, and easy to use for buying Bitcoin or Ethereum. It's the most simple app for beginners out of 10+ exchanges I tested in Canada. The downside is they only have 2 coins and it's not the cheapest platform because they charge you a fee on the spread which can be anywhere from 1.2%-2.5%.

Who Should Use Shakepay?

  • Beginners who want the easiest platform in Canada
  • Small investors ($0-$1000/month) who want free crypto withdrawals
  • Anyone who wants free Bitcoin daily via the ShakingSats program

Who Should Not Use Shakepay?

  • If you want the cheapest place to buy crypto, I recommend Newton or NDAX
  • Anyone that wants a large variety of altcoins
Shakepay
  • Great for beginners
  • Shake your phone for free Bitcoin
  • Get $10 free when you trade $100

FAQ

Is Shakepay CDIC Insured?

On Shakepay, your funds are not CDIC insured like a traditional bank account. So, if Shakepay loses your crypto, it's gone for good. Shakepay does take security precautions but it's still recommended to store crypto in your own wallet, ideally a hardware wallet.

Has Shakepay Ever Been Hacked?

No, Shakepay was founded in 2015 and has never been hacked or lost users funds.

Can I Store My Crypto On Shakepay?

Yes, you can store crypto in your Shakepay account however it's not recommended to hold large amounts on any exchange. The safest way to store your crypto is on a hardware wallet.

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