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.
Total Purchase Fee:
1.43% (Mar 01, 2021)
Spread: 2.54% (Mar 01, 2021)
Trading Fees: N/A
Crypto Withdrawals: Free
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
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)
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 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).
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:
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.
Let's take a look at Shakepay's security precautions.
- 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.
*Total BTC Purchase Fee
Best CAD Deposit Fee
BTC Withdrawal Fee
0.1% / 0.2%
0.1% / 0.2%
Network fees minus $5
0.80% + $1.25
0.16% / 0.26%
*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 $10 free when you trade $100
Crypto Exchange Comparison Tool
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