Bitcoin trading can be complicated and confusing for beginners. There are so many considerations, options, and dangers that lots of people give up before they even start. Luckily, it looks like the days of the bitcoin wild-west are behind us. Every year, cryptocurrency exchanges are learning from past mistakes and becoming better and more secure.

So which bitcoin exchange should you trade with? Cost, trust, security, features, and ease-of-use will all weigh into your decision. But, today I’m going to focus on the most objective factors – currency options, fees, and payment options.

Currencies, Payment options, Fees

Bitcoin is young and factors, listed below, lead to wildly different fees and currencies available from different companies. The most important factors influencing these differences are:

  • The country you’re in
  • Payment method (credit card / bank)
  • Currency
  • Type of trading you want to do

The main types of fees are:

  • Exchange fees – Basic fees for exchange operations. Depending on currencies and coins you’re exchanging, they vary.
  • Trade fees – This is the fee to trade between currencies on the exchange. For example, if you trade Euros in your account for Bitcoin, you’ll pay a fee. The Maker fee is the cost to make an offer to sell a currency on the exchange. The Taker fee is the fee to take an offer someone else has made.
  • Deposit / Withdrawal fees – This is the fee to deposit or withdraw funds from the exchange. It’s usually cheaper to deposit, and not all exchanges allow credit card transactions.

Let’s take a look at some of the most popular exchanges today, to see how they compare.

CEX.IO

Summary: CEX.IO is an exchange based in the UK with a good selection of currencies and payment options. The fees are average on the market and also reasonable given the range of features.

Currency options

US Dollar, Euro, Great British Pound, Russian Ruble, Bitcoin, Litecoin, Ether

Trade Fees: Average

Maker fee: 0%,

Taker fee: 0.1% – 0.2% depending on volume

Deposit / Withdrawal Feels

Credit Card Deposit: 3.5% + $0.25

Credit Card Withdrawal: VISA – $3.80, Mastercard – 1.2% + $3.80

Bank Deposit: Free

Bank Withdrawal: USD – $50, EUR – €25, RUB – ₽1,750, GBP – £30

More info: https://cex.io/fee-schedule#/tab/trade

Coinbase

Summary: Coinbase is one of the biggest and most trusted bitcoin exchanges. It’s good for buying and selling bitcoins easily, with very low deposit and withdrawal fees. GDAX (shown below) is Coinbase’s official bitcoin exchange for more serious, high-volume trading.

Currency options: Good

US Dollar, Euro, Great British Pound, Bitcoin, Ether

Trade Fees

1.49% to trade between currencies on your Coinbase account

Deposit / Withdrawal Feels: Low

Credit Card Deposit: 3.99%

Credit Card Withdrawal: Unavailable

Bank Deposit: US – 1.49%, EUR/UK (SEPA) – Free, US Wire Transfer – $10, ACH Transfer – Free

Bank Withdrawal: US – 1.49%, EUR/UK (SEPA) – €0.15

More info: https://support.coinbase.com/customer/portal/articles/2109597-buy-sell-bank-transfer-fees

GDAX

Summary: GDAX is the exchange operated by Coinbase. It offers a better platform for day trading and high-volume trading. It has competitive fees and high liquidity but doesn’t boast all of the bells and whistles of other exchanges.

Currency options: Good

US Dollars, Euros, Great British Pounds, Bitcoin, Ether, Litecoin

Trade Fees

Maker fee: 0%

Taker fee: 0.1% – 0.25%

Deposit / Withdrawal Feels

Credit Card Deposit: 3.99%

Credit Card Withdrawal: Unavailable

Bank Deposit: US – $10, EUR – Free

Bank Withdrawal: US – $25, EUR – €0.15

More info: https://support.gdax.com/customer/en/portal/articles/2425208-gdax-frequently-asked-questions-faq-

Coinmama

Summary: Coinmama is great for simplicity, worldwide coverage, and the ability to pay with cash, but fails in other areas. Fees are high and there is no option to sell bitcoins and withdraw flat money. This exchange might be useful if the others aren’t available to you.

Currency options: Good

US Dollar, Euro, Bitcoin, Ether

Trade Fees

7.85%

Deposit / Withdrawal Feels

Credit Card Deposit: 5%

Credit Card Withdrawal: Unavailable

Bank Deposit: Unavailable

Bank Withdrawal: Unavailable

More info: https://support.coinmama.com/hc/en-us/articles/213577065-Fees-and-charges

Bitstamp

Summary: Bitstamp is the oldest bitcoin exchange. It boasts having the first EU license of any exchange, and wide overall coverage. The main downsides are the limited number of currencies and high fees for low volume traders.

Currency options: Limited

US Dollar, Euro, Bitcoin, Ripple (XRP)

Trade Fees

0.1%-0.25% depending on volume from $0-20,000,000

Deposit / Withdrawal Feels

Credit Card Deposit: 5-8% depending on amount

Credit Card Withdrawal: $10 up to $1000 – 2% for over $2000

Bank Deposit: International Wire – 0.05%, EUR – free

Bank Withdrawal: International Wire – 0.09%, EUR – €0.09

More info: https://www.bitstamp.net/article/heres-easy-way-buy-bitcoin/

Kraken

Summary: Kraken exchange has many trading pairs and is one of the oldest exchanges. It’s great for experienced traders that know what they are looking for. However, the interface and fee structure is quite complicated, and payment options are severely limited.

Currency options: Excellent

US Dollars, Euros, Great British Pounds, Japanese Yen, Canadian Dollars, Bitcoin, Ether, Ether classic, Iconomi, Augur, Dogecoin, Lumen, Monero, Ripple, Zcash, Stellar/Lumens

Trade Fees

Maker fee: 0% – 0.36% depending on volume and currency pair

Taker fee: 0.1% – 0.36%

Deposit / Withdrawal Feels

Credit Card Deposit: Unavailable

Credit Card Withdrawal: Unavailable

Bank Deposit / Withdrawal: International Wire – 0%-0.19% or fixed commission depending on deposit and withdrawal currency

More info: https://www.kraken.com/en-us/help/faq

Bitfinex

Summary: Bitfinex claims to be the best trading platform, and has many tools for professional traders. However, some users have reported a lack of transparency, and Bitfinex was hacked in 2016. It offers only one payment and withdrawal option, but focuses on low fees and many trading pairs.

Currency options: Limited fiat options, good cryptocurrency options

US Dollars, Bitcoin, Ether, Ether Classic, Litecoin, Zcash, Monero, BFX, Recovery Right Tokens (RRT), Dash

Trade Fees

Maker fee: 0%-0.1% depending on monthly volume between $0-30,000,000

Taker fee: 0.1%-0.2% depending on monthly volume

Deposit / Withdrawal Feels

Credit Card Deposit: Unavailable

Credit Card Withdrawal: Unavailable

Bank Deposit / Withdrawal: Wire Transfer 0.1%, 1% for express 24h transfer

More info: https://support.bitfinex.com/hc/en-us

Which is the best?

The answer will depend on your individual needs. You need to work out what payment methods you’ll be using, currency pairs you want to trade, and your expected monthly volume. From this you can get an idea of how much each exchange will charge you in fees, and which one will be best.

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