With its easy-to-navigate tools and slick design, Coinbase makes it a snap to buy and sell cryptocurrencies. Thanks to these advantages, Coinbase has become one of the most popular crypto platforms in the UK. Despite its popularity, the platform’s fees can be extremely high, meaning most investors will be best served using its lower-cost service, Coinbase Pro—or even another trading platform entirely—as soon as they feel comfortable.
*Fee amount varies based on purchase amount and method of purchase. For orders over £200, purchasing with a debit card incurs a 3.99% fee, while purchasing through a UK bank transfer only incurs a 1.49% trading commission.
- Wide selection of cryptocurrencies to trade
- Low account minimum
- Convenient user experience
- Expensive and difficult-to-understand fee structure
- Getting lower fees requires using a different Coinbase platform altogether
Who should use Coinbase?
People who are new to the world of crypto will appreciate just how easy it is to buy cryptocurrency using Coinbase. But novices may not fully appreciate just how high the cost of that convenience can be. Smaller transactions can easily rack up fees equal to 15% of their price, severely impeding your investment’s ability to grow.
That’s why we suggest even novices consider moving to Coinbase’s trading platform, Coinbase Pro, as soon as they’re able. This slashes fees to a more reasonable, albeit still relatively high, 0.60% for transactions up to the value of £7,701 ($10,000).
Beyond the higher-than-average fees, there is a lot to like about Coinbase. It’s got a solid reputation for security and stores the vast majority of customer assets offline to decrease the risk of hacks. It also offers a unique educational platform called Learn and Earn that rewards users with crypto as they progress through lessons.
Coinbase’s most consumer-friendly offering, its namesake Coinbase platform, charges higher fees for its convenience and simplicity than you may get elsewhere – even on its sibling crypto trading platform, Coinbase Pro.
First there’s the so-called “spread fee,” which Coinbase says is typically 0.50% of your transaction. That’s essentially the difference between the price Coinbase pays for a crypto and what it sells it for.
Then there’s the aptly named “Coinbase Fee,” which is contingent on the size of your purchase, the fiat currency you use to make it, and how you pay. This fee is the greater of either a flat fee or a variable percentage, which can be slightly confusing to figure out.
Here’s how the flat fee works for UK buyers:
- for transactions less than or equal to £10, the fee is £0.99
- for transactions more than £10 but less than or equal to £25, the fee is £1.49
- for transactions more than £25 but less than or equal to £50, the fee is £1.99
- for transactions more than £50 but less than or equal to £200, the fee is £2.99
After exceeding £200, the fee structure changes to be percentage based, determined by how you pay for the crypto:
- 1.49% for UK bank transfers
- 3.99% for debit cards.
Fees for purchases above £200 may run up to 1.5% of any transaction with a minimum fee of £0.55.
Coinbase Pro’s fees are much lower and simpler and adhere to a standard maker/taker model. The taker fee applies when you make a trade and it is filled immediately, reducing the overall liquidity available on the exchange. The maker fee is charged for orders that aren’t filled immediately, creating liquidity – getting you what may be a lower fee.
It’s possible to have part of your order counted as a taker and the remainder considered a maker, depending on how much of your order Coinbase is able to move at one time. These fees are good to keep in mind, but you won’t have a choice how your order is filled. You also may receive a discount based on how much you traded over the previous 30-day period.
In any case, the 0.50% fee on trades of less than £10,000 is much less than the 1.49% (plus the spread) you’d pay on Coinbase proper.
*Note: Rates effective as of April 2022.
With its higher-than-average fees, why has Coinbase become one of the most popular destinations to purchase cryptocurrencies? Here are a few reasons:
Ease of use
Coinbase is incredibly easy to use. Signing up takes no time at all, and you can then link a UK bank account to your account, the recommended method to minimise trading costs.
The interface is bright and simple to navigate. A search bar helps you sift through the myriad crypto offerings available, from Bitcoin to Tellor, and you can set up purchases to recur on an ongoing basis.
For those a bit deeper in the weeds, Coinbase allows you to trade select cryptos to other cryptos, meaning you could convert your Litecoins to Augur, for example. Bear in mind that this conversion comes with a fee of 2% of the transaction.
Coinbase built its reputation as a secure place to buy and sell crypto. That was an especially salient claim after the Mt. Gox event, when roughly 850,000 Bitcoin were stolen in 2014. Coinbase has never had such a calamity.
The platform claims that 98% of consumer funds are stored offline in various locations around the world, which helps provide even greater security for digital assets. Coinbase holds your crypto in its free wallet service, though you can choose to hold your crypto in a third-party wallet.
You’ll need to complete a two-factor authentication to sign into your account. There’s also biometric fingerprints and AES-256 encryption on private keys.
Coinbase also carries crime insurance that will protect a portion of your digital assets against theft and cybersecurity breaches. However, this insurance only kicks in if the Coinbase platform itself is compromised, and does not cover individual accounts.
In addition, the cryptocurrency held in your accounts isn’t covered by Financial Services Compensation Scheme protection.
Through its Learn platform, Coinbase rewards users with cryptocurrencies as they complete lessons. The interactive, Instagram Stories-like lessons take less than 10 minutes each, and rewards normally range from $1 (£0.77) to $5 (£3.85) worth of whatever coin users are learning about.
Those who hold certain coins in their Coinbase accounts are eligible to earn rewards if they let Coinbase stake them, or use them as collateral to verify transactions for proof-of-stake cryptocurrencies, like Ethereum. Coinbase takes 25% of the staking profits as a fee.
Whereas Coinbase is designed for newcomers, more advanced traders might be interested in Coinbase Pro. You can use the same credentials on both Coinbase and Coinbase Pro.
Coinbase Pro offers a comprehensive crypto trading experience, complete with advanced charting capabilities and a wider variety of order types, from market to stop and limit. And, perhaps most importantly, it charges substantially lower trading fees and allows for free transfers between Coinbase and Coinbase Pro wallets.
Cryptocurrencies available on Coinbase
Currently, you can trade the following leading cryptocurrencies on Coinbase:
- Bitcoin (BTC)
- Ethereum (ETH)
- Cardano (ADA)
- Dogecoin (DOGE)
- Tether (USDT)
- Bitcoin Cash (BCH)
- Litecoin (LTC)
- Uniswap (UNI)
- Chainlink (LINK)
- Stellar Lumens (XLM)
- USD Coin (USDC)
- Polygon (MATIC)
A full list of the cryptocurrencies available on Coinbase can be found on its website.