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For those just starting to invest in the crypto world, Coinbase is a logical first step. The world’s first publicly traded crypto exchange is both highly accessible and easy to use. It also offers all of the most well-known cryptocurrencies you are likely to hear about, such as Bitcoin, Ethereum, Cardano and Solana.
But the deeper you get into crypto the more frequently you may begin trading, which can get expensive quickly when using Coinbase. To help combat this, here’s a look at some cheaper alternatives to the crypto exchange Coinbase.
Robinhood has had its share of controversy, but it still remains one of the best places to trade cryptocurrency cheaply. This pioneering app-based trading platform charges $0 to buy or sell a wide variety of cryptocurrencies, and its pricing structure is simple: There are no commissions on any crypto trade, although you will have to pay the spread. With Coinbase, pricing is not only more expensive, it is more complicated.
For starters, you’ll pay a $3.99 fee if you use a debit card to buy or sell crypto on Coinbase, but you’ll only pay $2.99 with a linked bank account. You’ll also pay a spread, which is where transaction costs can get more complicated.
Coinbase divides trades into “taker” and “maker” transactions. If you buy or sell a crypto at the market price, you are a “taker,” and your trade generates commissions between 0.05% and 0.60%. If you put up a limit order that isn’t immediately filled, you are a “maker,” and you’ll pay between 0% and 0.40% when your trade executes.
The bottom line is that while Robinhood has its limitations, including not offering nearly as many cryptocurrencies as Coinbase, it is a cheaper option.
Webull and Coinbase are very different experiences. One of Coinbase’s strengths is that it appeals to crypto newcomers, and newbie investors in general. The interface is easy to look at and understand, and at a glance visitors can see what is going on in the overall crypto market and with specific currencies.
Webull, on the other hand, is for advanced traders that only need specific, high-level information. Webull is also optimized for a mobile device, for active traders on the go. Perhaps most importantly, Webull also charges no commissions at all for crypto trades.
While no one wants to pay commissions on any of their trades, whether you prefer Coinbase or Webull will generally depend on the type of investor you are. Active traders will typically choose Webull, both for its nonexistent commissions and its advanced interface. Those just starting out or looking for a simpler-to-use, web-based interface might give the nod to Coinbase, even if they have to pay commissions.
Binance.US isn’t a completely free crypto trading platform, but it is much cheaper than Coinbase. The maximum commission at Binance.US is 0.5%, but that is only if you specify a limit price on your buys and sells. For general spot trading using market orders, your fee tops out at just 0.1%, or $1 for every $1,000 you trade. This is similar to the “Maker/Taker” structure at Coinbase, but ends up being much cheaper for market orders.
With increased trading volume, your fees can fall from there. Every day, Binance.US determines your trading volume over the past 30 days, along with your current BNB balance. Your trading fee level is determined about one hour later. If you pay your fees with the Binance coin, symbol BNB, your trading fees are reduced by 25%.
The Bottom Line
There’s no doubt there are crypto exchanges and trading platforms that are cheaper than Coinbase. However, that doesn’t necessarily make them better. Some may have larger spreads to compensate for their lack of commission, while others might not offer the variety of cryptos that are available on Coinbase. Still others might have user interfaces that are better suited for advanced traders.
If you want to find out which exchange is the best for your needs, check out how each platform operates firsthand. The one that you are the most comfortable using might be the best option for you, even if it costs a bit more.
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