Coinbase is known as the on-ramp to the world of cryptocurrencies. They provide an easy to use interface and lots of security to keep your funds safe. However, these great features come at a price. Luckily it is very easy to avoid the fees, or at least knock them down a lot. This guide will go over the fees and the quick way to avoid Coinbase fees.
NOTE: Fees can change, and Coinbase does take certain variables into account when calculating them so numbers below are as-of the time of this writing. Always check here for the most updated fee information.
Avoiding Coinbase Fees
The primary Coinbase fees come from buying, selling, and transferring cryptocurrency. The fees can vary based on the method you use to buy or sell. Transferring to another wallet or exchange will incur a fee, but transfers to GDAX are instant and free. Details on these methods are below.
Coinbase Fees for buying/selling:
- Bank Account and USD Wallet – 1.49% and up to 10 days to receive your cryptocurrency
- Credit/Debit Cards - 3.99% and instantly receive your cryptocurrency (credit/debit cards can’t be used when selling)
There is also a spread on the cryptocurrency you are buying or selling. The spread is between 25 to 100 basis points (0.25% - 1%) higher than the market rate on GDAX. This is where using GDAX for your buy/sell orders can save you a lot.
Since Coinbase and GDAX are run by the same company, you should automatically have an account with GDAX. Transfers between Coinbase and GDAX are instant and free, so go ahead and move your cryptocurrency or fiat currency over to GDAX. If you need a refresher on this process, check out the guide on how to deposit into GDAX. Then you just place your buy/sell order on GDAX and wait for it to be filled. Guides for buying and selling on GDAX can be found on this page!
- Limit Orders – 0% fee
- Market Orders – 0.25% fee
Example of money saved: A purchase of $1,000 in BTC would be charged $14.90 on Coinbase for using a bank account, or $39.90 for using a card. This does not include the spread, which could be up to another $10 on this $1,000 order. Placing the same order on GDAX would be $0 for a limit order and $2.50 for a market order.
Visual Example: Notice in the screenshots below, the Coinbase order for $1,000 of BTC is showing the price at $13,198.53 per BTC and a fee of $14.68 (1st screenshot). When I switched over to GDAX, the price of BTC was around $13,150 (2nd screenshot). This price difference is the spread that was mentioned earlier. The 3rd screenshot is a limit order to buy BTC to illustrate the fees being $0.00 on GDAX. If I had placed a market order the fee would still be 1.24% lower than Coinbase.
GDAX can save you a lot of money when buying, selling, or transferring cryptocurrencies if you already have a Coinbase account. The one downside is that GDAX does not have a mobile app, so you may still end up in a situation where you need to make a quick purchase and use Coinbase. And don’t forget to keep track of your cryptocurrency portfolio. I recommend the CoinTracking platform, which even has separate reports for fees, so you can really see where your money is going. Check out this CoinTracking review article for more information!