Coinbase is one of the most widely used crypto exchanges around. It is the main go-to for people who like to invest in cryptocurrency.
People love its user-friendly interface and simplicity, but Coinbase comes with some major fees you should be aware of. In fact, there's a fee for every single transaction!
If you want to know how the process of Coinbase fees works, including how to avoid them, continue reading this article.
We've got some tips and information you're going to need. We are going to cover transaction fees, withdrawal fees and how to get lower fees to get the most out of crypto trading.
A Breakdown of Coinbase Fees
When you look over the Coinbase user agreement, you might find that the fees are a bit confusing, to say the least. Plus you have strange imposed limits and other regulations hidden in the small print.
In a nutshell, there is a fee for every digital currency transaction you make on Coinbase, whether you're buying or selling.
One of the basic fees associated with crypto are buying fees. You can use fiat currency (like USD) to purchase cryptocurrency with Coinbase.
Coinbase allows buying with a bank account, debit or credit card, wire transfer or Paypal. If you decide to use Paypal, you will be charged Paypal's transaction fees along with the fees from Coinbase.
When you are buying BTC through Coinbase, the amount of your fees is automatically deducted from the total amount of your order.
So, let's say, you entered $100 into the app as the amount you are wishing to buy. For that transaction, you will be charged $2.99.
With that added fee, your full total for the transaction will end up being $100, but you will only get $97.01 worth of BTC at the current market price.
Here is an example of a $100 BTC purchase while paying from a bank account:
$1000 BTC purchase while paying from a bank account:
$100 BTC purchase while paying from a debit card:
These fees are always subject to change and can vary depending on your location and financial institution.
One thing to remember is that bank account fees for buying are at a much lower rate compared to using a card. Purchase cryptocurrency wisely and make sure to get the best deal when you make your initial crypto investment using fiat currencies.
When you are selling on digital currency on Coinbase, the fees you’re responsible for will be automatically deducted from the amount you initially entered. In this example, we’ll use $100 again.
If you key in $100 is the amount you’re selling, the fee is 1.49%. Since the fees are automatically deducted, the total amount you are selling the cryptocurrency for is going to be $98.51.
That is also the amount you will see applied for your payment method of choice. However, a full $100 of BTC is going to be removed from your account.
Where You’ll Find Your Trading Fees
Regardless of whether you’re buying or selling the digital currency BTC, you will always receive an automatic charge for any necessary fees. You will see a full write up of your transactions in digital and local currency in addition to the fees you’re being debited on the confirmation screen.
How Much Money Does Coinbase Charge?
The fees charged by Coinbase are pretty high. And they can add up, especially if you use the service often. You will see the buying and selling fees we described above.
There may also be fixed and variable fees depending on the amount of the transaction. And when your purchases are smaller, there is a flat fee charged.
Here are the flat fees for the smaller transactions:
- If you are buying or selling in the amount of $10.99 or less, the trading fee is $0.99
- If you are buying or selling between $11 and 26.49, the trading fee is $1.49
- If you are buying or selling from $26.50 to $51.99, the trading fee is $1.99
- If you are buying or selling from $52 to $78.05, the trading fee is $2.99
Now that we’ve covered the flat fees, here are the variables.
You can make a transaction of up to $200 within the Coinbase system if you use either your bank account or USD wallet to buy or sell cryptocurrency.
However, if you are making a purchase or sale of $201 or more, the variable of 1.49% kicks in.
If you make a transaction of $78.06 or more, with a credit card or debit card and then transfer all your proceeds into your PayPal account, you will have to pay a variable fee in the amount of 3.99%.
The Possibility of Bank Fees
On top of the Coinbase transaction fees, you may see some fees outside of your Coinbase account - we're talking fees from your own bank.
Some users are charged a 3% foreign transaction fee if a transaction is made via a credit card or debit card. The 3% is standard for international conversions, but it really depends on your bank.
The reason some people get these charges is that Coinbase works with a company that's based in London to process its credit card and debit card transactions.
Just so you can have a clear understanding of what to expect, you should speak with your bank to find out if those are fees you'll ever need to worry about when buying digital currency.
Can You Really Avoid Paying Coinbase Fees?
While Coinbase's fees are pretty high in comparison to other brokers, so it's nice to avoid paying them if you can. To start, you will need to start using Coinbase Pro.
While its name implies that it is a version that should only be used for professional traders, don't allow it to intimidate you. There are a few extra steps while using Coinbase Pro, but it isn't much more difficult than the standard version you are already used to.
The main difference between the platforms is that the standard Coinbase is a broker. In other words, it helps you get access to Bitcoin and it charges you a big fee for it. If you have a high enough trading volume, you can avoid some of the higher rate fees involved for lower purchases.
Coinbase Pro Fees vs Coinbase Fees
Coinbase offers both there normal trading platform, (which is actually more of a brokerage) and Coinbase Pro which is for more advanced trading.
Coinbase Pro, on the other hand, is a cryptocurrency exchange. This means you can freely buy and sell Bitcoin on the open market instead of going through a broker type service like the regular Coinbase platform.
One major bonus here is that if you already have a Coinbase account you also have access to a Coinbase Pro account, you just may not have realized. You will simply log in using your same username and password. Although, the Coinbase Pro wallet is separate from your normal Coinbase wallet. Because your account is already connected, it's easy to exchange between the two wallets.
And the fees are vastly different between the two. In short, Coinbase Pro fees are drastically lower, but still not as low as the competition. If you need more info, you can read my comparison between Coinbase vs. Coinbase Pro.
Coinbase Pro does not offer card purchases, so naturally you will avoid those fees. Another benefit of trading with Coinbase Pro is that you have much more access to different cryptocurrencies.
When trading on cryptocurrency exchanges, you should be aware of maker and taker fees. This fee structure shows the costs that Coinbase charges when you buy and sell. These fees always depend on the transaction amount. We will cover more the details of a taker fee and maker fee further on in this article.
With Coinbase & Coinbase Pro, there isn't a direct withdraw fee. However, there is a standard 'network fee' at the time of withdrawing that varies depending on how busy the network is of the selected coin.
So unfortunately, there is no way to skip this fee. In past years, you could transfer your coins from your Coinbase wallet to Coinbase Pro to skip this fee but that was changed a while back. If you use Coinbase, you are subject to some sort of transaction fee.
To lower your fees during your withdrawal, I recommend selecting a fast and low fee coin to do so. But please do be vigilant of taxes when trading coins to move them out of your Coinbase wallet. Keep in mind market fluctuations and consider holding your crypto for longer. This could be a good way to avoid losing some of your investment.
Personally, I move from exchange to exchange with LTC or XLM. However, if I'm worried about the price slipping or taxes, I just transfer the coin as-is and eat the fees. Odds are in favor the fee's are quite low anyways (or better than taxes)!
For example, I just moved 1 BTC the other day and it cost 0.0000417 BTC - which was around $1.35 to move over $35K in BTC (1/11/2021). Withdrawal fees can be avoided if you buy and sell on the right platform.
You know you're here because Coinbase has the highest fees in the industry. So to be straight to point, Gemini currently has the lowest fee structure (when using Active Trader mode).
Trade like me and create your account with Gemini now! It'll save you tons of money on transaction charges going forward.
Coinbase Pro and Coinbase differ in fee structures. The regular Coinbase is more costly and complicated to understand. According to their website, “the base rate for all purchase and sale transactions is 4%.” but this can vary based on your location or payment method.
If you want to buy Bitcoin with a debit card, you will receive your Bitcoin instantly, but there's a fee associated with it. But if you are willing to wait for the transfer, use your bank account to avoid the associated fees. Coinbase offers ACH transfer, free wire transfers and bank account transfers.
With Coinbase Pro, you are limited in terms of payment method. You can't use a credit card when buying and selling. However, the normal Coinbase platform offers transfers for your cryptocurrency between your two accounts.
Depending on your payment method, Coinbase charges more. With that said, Coinbase Pro doesn't charge a fee to add money to your account because it isn't a broker.
However, there is simply a fee to use your money to buy Bitcoin. On the other hand, there are transaction fees.
Trading Fees (aka Transaction Fees)
Buying cryptocurrency using a limit purchase or limit order is a simple way to save money on trading. Either a flat fee or variable fee will be added to a transaction on the normal Coinbase platform.
Coinbase Pro offers a much better deal compared vs Coinbase. When it comes to trading fees, coinbase Pro is the way to go.
Coinbase Pro utilizes a popular trading module called maker-taker in order to determine its trading fees. Here's how the module works:
A Maker order is one where you add liquidity. This means your order is added to the order book as either a buy or sell order.
In a transaction as a maker, you will be making your own offers. The buying price you choose should be lower than the current selling price in the limit order.
As a 'maker', you have to pay a trading fee due to an update to Coinbase's terms on March 22nd, 2019. This is known as a maker fee.
A 'taker' is when you remove part of the order book. So, you're either buying or selling to a trade that's been listed in the order book.
These trades are completed instantly, but you will have to pay a fee between .0% and .50% for this transaction depending on how much you transact during the a given month.
Coinbase Spending Limits
Coinbase fees take a bit of time to understand. But while you're still learning about those parts of the service, it's also important to understand its spending limits.
You will have limitations on how much you can purchase and sell through Coinbase each week. But keep in mind that this can change with time. Coinbase expands spending limits based on a few different things.
Such as, how long you've been trading and how much you've traded. They will also look at whether you've completed your identity verification with personal details like your government ID and phone number.
Another thing not many people know is that you can help increase your limits by adding more financial information to your account. This includes bank accounts, debit cards, and credit cards.
Your weekly and daily spending limits will change as you complete this information, Coinbase provides updates about your new limits and if you are getting close to hitting them.
Doing so is also useful if you plan on becoming a heavy cryptocurrency investor.
Keep in mind though that these spending limits only apply to Coinbase. You will need to communicate with your bank to find out what your limits are if you have them.
Coinbase is a great product for new users. But the high Coinbase fees are not worth the ease of use. So simply, move over to Coinbase Pro to save some money on your purchases, and trades.
Pro Coinbase users make the move after becoming more educated about the market and need more advanced trading capabilities. Not only will you save money, but you will be able to do more with your cryptocurrency.
They have the same security features as the normal Coinbase platform. Most of Coinbase's funds are kept in cold storage offline, meaning that users can feel safe that their digital assets can't be hacked.
But really you should strongly consider trading and buying over at Binance.us or Gemini. With Binance and Gemini, your costs will be astronomically lower than Coinbase and even Coinbase Pro. For example, if you wanted to buy $100 in BTC from Binance.us, the fee would be only $0.05 vs. Coinbase at $3.00! On Gemini, with Active Trader mode enabled, only $0.035!
Coinbase Fees Are Not Worth the Ease of Use
It's a no brainer which platform you should trade with, especially for users who need an exchange with low fees.
Users need to be aware of these fees when getting into different cryptocurrencies. If you use an exchange, do due diligence and make sure you are getting the most out of your investments!
Since fees with Coinbase Pro are a lot better when trading cryptocurrencies, Coinbase is meant for more inexperienced users. However, that doesn't mean Coinbase Pro is your best option either.
You can learn more about these comparisons by reading these blogs:
Guide to Gemini Fees (vs. Coinbase)
Guide to Binance Fees (vs. Coinbase)
Both Gemini and Binance offer great crypto trading exchanges and much more reasonable fees. Make sure to compare your options and make an educated decision when diving into the world of cryptocurrency. At the end of the day, Coinbase has a high flat fee structure and variable fees depending on your method of payment. The ease of use just IS NOT worth it for most traders.
Cryptocurrency trading is constantly evolving and so are the exchanges that we use. Legal regulations can force companies to make changes to their fee structures and policies.
So, it's important to be open to new options and regularly take a look at competitors of the exchange that you use.
Also, please do make sure to get a secure hardware wallet to store your cryptocurrency off exchanges when you're holding mid or longterm. I recommend the Ledger Nano X since it's so easy to to use and very safe. If you’re looking for different wallet, I’ve got a detailed list of my favorite crypto wallets here.
Do you have any experience you'd like to share about Coinbase's fees and how to help others avoid them? We would love to hear your story!
Feel free to leave a comment below and I'll personally answer your questions.