By: Alex Dabek

Last Updated: Jul 24, 2021

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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 20+ 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 (update: all exchanges are slower now due to demand)
  • 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 exchange out of 11 I tested that has free crypto withdrawals. This is really handy for small transfers.

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.

After 20+ transactions on Shakepay, and over 8 months of use, there is no complaints for me other than the hidden fees on the spread. However, this fee is minimal and this is common in the industry. I'll explain it more below.

Shakepay Fees

Shakepay makes money on the spread, everything else is free: 

  • CAD Deposit and withdrawals: FREE
  • Crypto deposits and withdrawals: FREE
  • Buy BTC or ETH: 1.2%-2.5% (the spread will change from time to time)

Commission-free does not mean everything is free. Shakepay makes money on the spread which is 2.54% as of March 01, 2021 for Bitcoin.

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

How Does Shakepay Make Money?

Shakepay makes money on the spread - the gap between the price they sell you Bitcoin for and the price they buy Bitcoin for.

If BTC is selling for $20,000 the price you can buy it at is $20,200. If you were to sell it, Shakepay would let you sell for $19,800. The spread is 2.54% on March 01, 2021 and it fluctuates over time. People on Reddit have said the spread has ranged from 1.5% to 2.5%.

On Shakepay's website it says,

"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."

This is common among brokers and not unreasonable. 

Shakepay Features

shakepay-reivew-features-2

Shakepay is incredibly simple so they don't have many features. It lets you buy Bitcoin or Ethereum for really cheap and not much else. This doesn't mean it's bad though, they're very good at doing that one thing.

Over time Shakepay might add more features but for right now this is it: 

  • Mobile App and Website - Very simple charts, you can see your transaction history and also have it emailed to you. I enjoy the simplicity of it. 
  • Limit Orders - Place a buy or sell order at a price you set. This was just added in Dec, 2020.
  • Price Alerts - You can 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. This was just added in Feb, 2021.
  • ShakingSats Rewards - This is a really cool feature I've never seen before. If you join Shakepay via referral link you can get free Bitcoin every day. You open the app every 24 hours, shake your phone, and you get free Bitcoin instantly in your account. I'm on day 90 and earning about $20 per month. The reward increases slightly every day until you break the streak. You can see the rules on their website.
  • 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 can join the waitlist in the app. 

Shakepay Support

Shakepay Support

Shakepay offers a support section on their website. You will not be able to get support through the app at the time of this writing. Their usual response time claims to be 2 days. However, from my experience it takes a few days longer. Their support was helpful whenever I had issues so I would call it average.

Safety

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?

While it's never 100% safe to keep your crypto on an online exchange, Shakepay follows all required regulations in Canada. 

Also, their website states, "the vast majority of digital currencies are stored in cold storage wallets" however they don't say the exact percentage.

Futhermore, Shakepay has never been hacked or lost users funds. They’ve been around since 2015 so thats a decent track record. On the user side theres 2 factor authentication and there’s email confirmations for cashing out. You can set that up in your account settings. Theres also an emergency option in to temporarily disable your account if you ever need to do that.

Shakepay has all the normal security precautions that you can expect and I would say they are safe. Either way, it's always safest to store your crypto on a hardware wallet like the Ledger.

Shakepay Summary

Overall, Shakepay is incredibly simple, fast, and easy to use for one thing: Buying Bitcoin or Ethereum.

The only con is they charge you a fee on the spread which can be anywhere from 1.2%-2.5%. But hey, they have to make money somehow and this fee is relatively small. Everything else is free and simple to use.

For more options, I tested 11 popular Canadian crypto exchanges like Shakepay, Bitbuy, Newton, Coinsquare, Wealthsimple Crypto, Binance and more.

Shakepay
  • Great for beginners
  • Shake your phone for free Bitcoin
  • Get $10 free when you trade $100

Best Shakepay Alternatives: 

Newton Exchange
  • Trade 20+ cryptocurrencies
  • Fast funding and super low fees
  • $25 free when you trade $100
Binance Exchange
  • Trade 350+ cryptocurrencies
  • Many advanced features
  • Get 10% off trading fees
Shakepay Exchange

Shakepay

Get $10 free when you buy $100 of crypto

Newton Crypto Exchange

#1 Pick: Newton

Get $25 free when you buy $100 of crypto

More Info

About Shakepay

Shakepay launched in 2015 and over 1% of Canadians have signed up for the platform. Its become 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 the user interface is extremely simple. 

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