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The Bottom Line
In my opinion, Shakepay is the 5th best crypto exchange for Canadians out of 15 platforms tested. It only offers 2 coins (BTC and ETH) and has a 1.43% total purchase fee (8th place out of 15). On the other hand, it's great for beginners and the only place with truly free crypto withdrawals.
5th place out of 15 platforms tracked
Total Purchase Fee
1.43% (Mar 1, 2021)
2.54% (Mar 1, 2021)
CAD Deposit Fees
CAD Withdrawal Fees
e-transfer, wire, crypto
List of Coins
2 (Bitcoin, Ethereum)
Pros & Cons
Shakepay: Get $30 free when you trade $100
Shakepay markets themselves as "the easiest way for Canadians to buy and sell Bitcoin." You won't find many features on the app however, it's very simple for purchasing Bitcoin and Ethereum which is attractive for beginners.
The company launched in 2015 and already, over 800,000 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
- Business accounts are available as well
Sign Up Requirements
- Email address
- Phone number, address, date of birth
- Government ID or selfie video
Click on any image to enter the slideshow:
Total BTC Purchase Fee
1.43% (Mar 1, 2021)
Spread (Mar 01, 2021)
BTC Buy Price
BTC Sell Price
Ref. Price Difference
Reference Price (Google)
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! However, it's still helpful for comparing platforms.
How Does Shakepay Make Money?
Shakepay profits from the spread, which is the difference between the price of buying and selling an asset at any given time. On March 1, 2021, Shakepay's spread for Bitcoin was 2.54%, placing it 11th out of 15 Canadian platforms.
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."
For example, if 1 Bitcoin is selling for $20,000 you will be able to buy it for $20,200. If you were to sell it, Shakepay would give you $19,800.
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).
Let's unpack everything Shakepay has and lets you do.
1. iOS, Android and Web App
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.
2. Trading Interface
Shakepay offers multiple ways to trade Bitcoin and Ethereum:
- Instant Buy/Sell - 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.
- 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.
3. Shaking Sats
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!
4. Shakepay Card
The Shakepay Card gives you 1% Bitcoin cashback on all purchases you make. However, on the first $5000, you will get 2% back. It is a prepaid Visa card which means it doesn't affect your credit score or let you go into debt. To fund your card, just add CAD to your Shakepay fiat wallet.
5. Pay Your Friends
Shakepay has a peer-to-peer payment feature where you can send Bitcoin, Ethereum, or dollars to other Shakepay users. The feature is instant and free. You can select contacts via their @shaketag username or your contact list.
6. Refer a Friend Program
Invite friends and you'll both get $10-$30 when they trade $100. You can find your unique referral link under the settings in your account.
7. Other Features
- Price Alerts - Set notifications if you want to know when Bitcoin or Ethereum reaches a certain price
- Export Transaction Summary - Get an Excel sheet of the transactions on your account for tax purposes or for your own records
- Bug Bounty Program - If you're a programmer or knowledgeable in cyber security, Shakeypay will pay you $5 to $4000 if you find bugs and security risks on their platform
- Shakepay Blog - Find product updates, educational articles and more
Shakepay offers a customer service section on their website and within the app. Their usual response time claims to be 24 hours at the time of this writing. They also have a detailed FAQ section and a website status page where you can view incidents in real-time.
Let's take a look at Shakepay's security precautions.
- 80% of crypto is held in cold storage - Their website states, "80% of all customer-owned digital currency is held in cold storage with Coinbase Custody."
- Insurance policy - Assets held in cold storage are covered under Coinbase Custody's $320 million insurance policy
- 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
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)
- Website status page (see platform updates in real-time)
Is Shakepay regulated?
Is Shakepay Safe?
Shakepay is safe but there are more secure options for storing your crypto, like a hardware wallet. They have two-factor authentication, cold storage, FINTRAC regulation, and several other security features. However, they are not not CDIC insured like a traditional bank account. In theory, if Shakepay loses your crypto, it might be gone for good.
Shakepay vs. The Competition
Compare Shakepay with other popular Canadian crypto exchanges below. You can see all of the data here.
*Total BTC Purchase Fee
Best CAD Deposit Fee
BTC Withdrawal Fee
Network fees minus $5
0.1% / 0.2%
0.80% + $1.25
0.16% / 0.26%
0.1% / 0.2%
*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 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?
- Great for beginners
- Shake your phone for free Bitcoin
- Get $30 free when you trade $100
Get $30 free when you buy $100 of crypto