4-star brokerage rating

Coinbase Review


Coinbase review: investing/conversion fees, digital brokerage cryptocurrency (Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin) exchange firm account rates. Is Coinbase safe and legitimate company? Coinbase complaints.



Coinbase Overview


Coinbase was initially founded in 2012, and serves as a online digital asset exchange company allowing users to purchase and sell cryptocurrencies - Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Litecoin. With over 7.4 million users in 32 different countries, this review will go over the good and the bad of their cryptocurrency platform.


Getting Signed Up


First up, Coinbase provides users with an online wallet with which they can store their digital currency. Creating an account is simple only requiring a first and last name, email address, state and agreement to their terms & conditions.

In order to purchase and sell on their exchange, users must first set up a funding method by linking a valid account. There are multiple options to choose from for funding an account such as credit and debit cards, bank accounts, and wire transfers. Once everything is verified, the account is ready to begin trading cryptocurrencies.


Coinbase Conversion Fees & Purchase Limits


For the most part, transaction fees are the same from country to country, though this review is only going to be focusing on the U.S. rates. Each buying and selling method carries it’s own fee, so it’s important to plan accordingly depending on how often trades will be placed.

Purchase and sell orders with a linked bank account carry a fee of 1.49% with a minimum of $0.15. While this method does offer the lowest transaction fee - aside from a Coinbase USD Wallet which will be covered shortly - the drawback of using a bank account is the processing time. Their site claims that it will take 3-5 business days for the purchased currency to enter or leave the user's wallet, but there have been reported delays of up to 10 days.

Credit/debit card purchase or sell orders process instantly, making the currency available for use right away. The catch here is the transaction fee, which carries a hefty rate of 3.99%. Over multiple trades, that 3.99% can add up to quite a bit.

The last option is a Coinbase USD Wallet, which allows users to transfer USD and store it on their Coinbase account for use on future purchase orders. It’s handy in eliminating the extended processing time for bank accounts, and the 3.99% fee for cards, but it does still carry a 1.49% fee. Users cannot sell currency with the Coinbase USD Wallet, instead a PayPal account can be used for a 3.99% fee.

Similar to stock brokerages and leverage, Coinbase does have weekly purchase limits. These limits will vary depending on purchase method, level of account verification, and account age. They also look at buying history on the account. (Hint: more successful trades is better)


Coinbase Review


Platform and Usability


Coinbase scores points on the dashboard with an innovative, easy to traverse design. Users can quickly check the currency charts which are updated every few minutes, get a portfolio overview, and see recent activity or pending orders. However, during periods of high trading volume the charts will not always update properly, and the site can run a little slow and clunky.


Coinbase Review


The Buy/Sell tab makes placing trade orders a breeze. Users can simply select the currency, payment method, and amount they are looking to buy or sell with the trade fees broken down to the right. They even show remaining trade limit for that week so it’s easy to track.

Coinbase has also incorporated a Send/Request tab which can be used to send or receive digital currency to other people. If an exchange is done between two Coinbase users, then an email address is all that’s required. If an exchange is done with someone that doesn’t have an account, a wallet address is required which can be found on the Accounts page.

On the Account page, users can check up on the balances of each wallet and see any activity on a selected currency. More importantly, this page is where wallet addresses are located.


Tools & Settings


The Tools tab gives a more in depth look at the history of each wallet, similar to a bank statement. Users can check on recurring transactions, and even run detailed reports for record keeping purposes.

Under the Settings tab, a slew of information from profile preferences to security and API Access can be found. Coinbase gives users the option to setup multiple levels of security like text verification whenever a buy or sell order is initiated. It keeps track of any third-party applications that have access to the account, as well as an extremely detailed log of all account activity, web sessions, confirmed devices and more.


Security


Account security is a big concern with anything, but even more so with cryptocurrencies. Coinbase has taken a lot of measures to ensure that they have powerful security for user protection. However, is still does not change the fact that users are not in full control of their digital currency. Coinbase is the wallet host, and therefore ultimately controls the accessibility.

To help manage this prevalent concern amongst its user base, they have more recently rolled out a multisig vault option. This added level of security allows users to take their wallet funds and place it into a three key vault. Coinbase has one of the keys, the user has another, and one is shared by both parties. This helps to ensure that users have full control over their currencies, and any action performed needs two of the three keys.


Coinbase Complaints


In its effort to provide users with the simplest method of getting involved in the cryptocurrency trade, Coinbase is lacking on the customer service front. While they do have an extensive Help page with answers to dozens of common questions, anything beyond the scope of what’s already been asked has to go through the customer support team.

Many users have complained that it can take multiple contacts with the customer support team in order to get their specific problem resolved properly. There are no shortage of complaints online about Coinbase, but with a user base of 7.4 million, it’s almost inevitable.

Secondly, a lot of people don’t like that Coinbase tracks the way account currency is spent. They have adopted regulations similar to that of a bank - AML (anti money laundering) and KYC (know your customer) - and will not hesitate to freeze or shut down and account if necessary. There’s a long list of what a user can’t do with their currency, and so it’s best to read through it all under the “Appendix 1: Prohibited Use, Prohibited Businesses and Conditional Use” prior to opening an account.


Coinbase Review Final Notes


All in all, Coinbase provides users with a simplistic solution to the cryptocurrency craze. They are constantly striving to make the experience as smooth and secure as possible, though they need to improve on site stability during high volume trading. More research should be done on the safest ways to store cryptocurrency, but Coinbase is a great introductory option to get into the digital currency market space.