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Coinbase Review:
Learn About This Exchange’s Limits, Safety & Verification Process

coinbase review

Coinbase is the world’s largest Bitcoin broker. It lets customers in over 30 countries conveniently purchase BTC with a card, bank account, or other payment method. But it isn’t perfect, and there are some risks you need to know about. I found a lot of misinformation across the web, so, as a user myself, I decided to write this Coinbase review for 2018.

Coinbase is the world’s most widely used Bitcoin broker. With a volume of over 50 billion dollars in crypto and 10 + million users, it is the undisputed market leader. Founded in 2012 as part of the Y Combinator, it has raised over $217 million dollars in funding from big name investors.

It’s simple buying mechanism, smooth interface, and range of payment options make it a popular choice for first-time buyers. That’s what drew me there myself. Its heavy regulation also gave me peace of mind (it’s good to know my funds are insured). You can’t be anonymous, but it’s worth the hassle.

 There is a lot you need to know before you get started and a lot of confusion to clear up.
user based and exchange in numbers

What is Coinbase?

Coinbase is a Bitcoin broker. Customers can trade their local currency (or other currencies) for Bitcoin and many others (we cover exactly which ones later). Think of it like the currency exchange booths you see everywhere at the airport. You give them your currency, and they give you the local currency (in this case, digital currency).

Unlike many other brokers, Coinbase is focused on beginners.

Is Coinbase Safe? | Is Coinbase Legit or a Scam?

user security

Security is my main priority when it comes to exchanges, and the most common concern I found during my research. It can never be too high (kind of). Don’t worry, there’s good news.

The company is a licensed, regulated, and insured Bitcoin broker located in San Francisco that is backed by “old money” investors. And it is one of the most transparent companies in the industry.

  • Cold Storage: Think of this like the Coinbase vault. They store more than 98% of their Bitcoin offline and away from hackers.
  • Insurance: After horror stories like Mt. Gox, an insured exchange is a breath of fresh air. In the event of a security breach, your Bitcoins are fully insured.
  • Two-Step Verification: Aside from your username and password, you also need a code from your mobile phone. This extra layer of protection keeps your account safe in the event of a leak.
  • Licenses: Coinbase is licensed and registered in each state it operates in. Check here for a list of licenses.

What are Coinbase Payment Methods for US Customers?

There are a wide range of payment options. To add one, navigate to “linked accounts” in your settings and choose from:

  • Debit Ca​rd
  • Bank Account (ACH)
  • Bank Wire

Cards are best for small, instant purchases (great for newbies), and other banking options are better for larger investments. The processing times are shown in this chart:

processing time chart

*IMPORTANT* | Coinbase Credit Card Update

New credit cards are no longer allowed. It’s recommended to switch to debit or ACH.

If you’re from the EU, UK, Singapore, or Australia, your payment options are (depending on the country):

  • Credit/Debit Card
  • SEPA Transfer
  • Bank Wire
credit and debit card

Coinbase Supported Currencies

In my opinion, one of the biggest drawbacks is the lack of coins. It’s a great place to get the most popular digital currencies but is severely lacking in options.

You can buy, sell, deposit, and withdraw Bitcoin, Litecoin, ETH, and Bitcoin Cash.

What Are Coinbase Limits & Fees?

international currencies

As soon as you get your account set up (I explain this step-by-step next), you can start buying/selling. Each account is subject to limits and each purchase/withdrawal has fees. The good news is that fees are reasonable compared to competitors.

As soon as you link your debit card to your account, you will have an instant buy limit of $50 and a weekly buy limit of $1,000 (this will be delayed). Generally, the more information you provide, the higher your limits. Provide more info by going to your Buy/Sell page and clicking “Increase Limit”. There you can provide:

  • Photo ID
  • Phone Number
  • Personal Details

Also, you can just start purchasing and they will naturally raise your limits.

As far as fees, here’s what you pay to buy Bitcoin on the Coinbase exchange:

USA

U.S. Bank Account

1.49%, with a $0.15 minimum

Coinbase USD Wallet

1.49% 

Credit/Debit Card

3.99%***

ACH and crypto deposit methods are free. Bank wires cost $10.

EUROPE

Standard Buy / Sell

Instant Buys (Credit / Debit Card only)

Bank transfers (SEPA)  - in / out*

1.49%

3.99%

Free / €0.15

SINGAPORE

Buy / Sell

Credit Card Buys

1.49%

3.99%

UK

Standard Buy / Sell

Instant Buys (Credit / Debit Card only)

Bank wires - in / out *

Bank transfers (SEPA) - in / out *

1.49%

3.99%

N/A

Free / €0.15

AUSTRALIA

Credit Card Buys

3.99%

CANADA

Credit Card Buys

3.99%

How to Use ​The Platform | Signup, Deposit, Buying

Another reason I like this broker for newcomers is how easy it is to sign up, deposit, and buy Bitcoin. Here’s how to get started.

1. Go to www.coinbase.com

Navigate to the site and get ready to invest in the future of money. Click Sign Up in the top right hand corner.

platform homepage

2. Enter Your Details and Verify Your Email Address

Just enter a few details and you’re ready to go. Confirmations are immediate once you click the link in your email.

account creation

*You cannot use this platform under 18 years of age.

meme

3. Add 2FA Security

2FA will require you to enter a passcode from your phone to access your account. You’ll be prompted to add a phone number when registering.

adding contact details

4. Deposit

Depositing is easy. All you have to do is:

  • 1
    Select the Accounts tab.
  • 2
    Select your USD wallet.
  • 3
    Click on the "Deposit" button.

5. Buy Bitcoin

From the insanely user-friendly dashboard, click the Buy/Sell tab at the top.

dashboard

Voila!

Coinbase Reviews | Why All of the Controversy?

If you read Coinbase.com reviews, you’ll notice A LOT of controversy. But why?

I didn’t have to go far to find angry customers accusing them of everything from theft to outright fraud.

complaints on the platform

Complaints include:

  • Missing Funds
  • Uncredited Purchases
  • Multiple Charges to Accounts

It isn’t fraud or theft as much as terrible management. The Bitcoin craze hit Coinbase harder than most, and they weren’t prepared. Support is overburdened and they are making a lot of mistakes.

However, most users have received their deposits after long delays, and the company has worked hard to correct the duplicate charges with Visa (who they blamed the issue on). The trading mechanism is also slow at times because of overload.

unauthorized charges news

You can read the official statement on Coinbase Reddit.

good comment

Verdict: The majority of customers have NO ISSUES with Coinbase; however, you need to be aware of the risks involved. ID verification might also not be working.

Alternatives to Coinbase

There are plenty of sites like Coinbase that have better support or more currency options. You might want to check out some of these competitors.


1. Binance

binance

Binance has amazing giveaways, great multilingual support, and hundreds of rare altcoins to choose from. It is located in Asia and does not have the same issues with accounts. Trading here is a goldmine for making money on speculative tokens and coins.

2. Coinmama

Coinmama

Coinmama is a broker that allows you to buy Bitcoin with a credit card (at a higher fee). It’s one of the best alternatives to Coinbase for card purchases because it hasn’t had the same support issues.

2. Bittrex

Bittrex

Bittrex is one of the fastest and most secure exchanges on the market. The next-generation ​cryptocurrency exchange allows lightning fast trading of some of the best currencies. The fees are low, verification isn’t nearly as difficult, and you don’t get the same issues as exchanges like Poloniex. For trading, this is the best Coinbase alternative for US customers.

FAQ

Q: Why Does Coinbase Take a Week?

A: Only a week? Support is overloaded and it is taking them weeks or more to respond to tickets. Be prepared to wait to get your money. Contact them via Reddit, Twitter, or other means to badger them.

Q: Can I Buy Bitcoin With PayPal?

A: No. PayPal can only be used to withdraw your money. The crypto exchange doesn’t allow you to deposit with it. This could open you up to losing more money from exchange rate charges.

Q: How Secure is Coinbase?

A: The company is licensed, insured, and has never experienced a hack.

Q: Is it Safe to Link a Bank Account?

A: Sort of. Yes, the trading platform is legit, but there have been issues with duplicate charges due to mismanagement.

Q: How Good is the Coinbase App?

A: It’s great. You can buy/sell right from your phone. Functionality is great and it quickly rose to the top of the downloads charts.

Q: How Long Does it Take to Buy?

A: Coinbase claims card buys are instant and bank buys take 1-5 days, but who knows with support these days (February, 2018).

PROS

CONS

Great for Beginners

Limited Currencies

Debit Card

Support and Banking Controversy

Competitive Fees

Security

GDAX Exchange - not available in some states

Our Conclusion...

Coinbase is one of the most convenient, reputable, and well-established brokers on the market. It’s a great way for beginners to convert fiat into their first Bitcoin. However, the platform is limited and customers have been experiencing a number of troubling problems. For now, buy at your own risk.

Coinbase Rating:

  • Security - 4.7/5
  • Support - ⅗
  • Beginner-Friendly: 4.8/5
  • Fees: 4.5/5
  • Currencies: 3.5/5