Coinbase Fees: How to Lower Costs & Avoid Hidden Charges

Coinbase is the most popular cryptocurrency exchange in America for buying Bitcoin, Ethereum, Cardano, and other altcoins. It’s definitely the best cryptocurrency exchange when people want to buy and sell with ease.

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Coinbase was an early mover to the cryptocurrency market in 2021 and users love the ease and simplicity of the platform. However, I notice a lot of crypto investors are frustrated with Coinbase fees and think they are too high.

In fact, Coinbase charges a fee on every single transaction regardless if you buy or sell!

Fees eat away at your returns and many investors have given up trading on Coinbase due to crazy high fees.

In this guide, you’ll learn exactly how Coinbase fees work, why Coinbase fees are so high, and a couple of simple ways to reduce fees or avoid them altogether.

We’ll also cover in greater detail Coinbase transaction Fees, conversion Fees, and withdrawal fees so you understand 100% how much you’ll lose in fees before you make any moves.

Coinbase Fees Explained

Coinbase is a publicly traded company on the NASDAQ with a goal to return value to shareholders. Coinbase aims to be the easiest way to buy and sell crypto but also charges the highest fees in the entire industry.

Coinbase has 68 million verified users because people like myself trust the platform in an industry that’s notorious for crypto hacks and scams.

High fees allow Coinbase to hire more staff and invest in crypto security and technology to keep your assets safe.

You really do get what you pay for and you may save money buying and storing crypto on another exchange but you also take on more risk.

I don’t mind paying higher Coinbase fees for peace of mind but I understany many of you reading this article are sick and tired of Coinbase reaching into your pockets.

There are dozens of Reddit threads complaining about losing anywhere from $10 to $3,000+ in hidden fees so I’ll explain everything in detail so you guys understand what’s going on.

Coinbase Fees Breakdown

A good starting point is to read the Coinbase fees article posted in the Help Center. Some of you may be confused plus the article doesn’t explain all of the hidden fees in depth.

You are charged a fee on every single transaction no matter whether you are buying, selling, or converting crypto.

That’s why I HODL crypto whenever I use Coinbase because you save a lot of money on fees.

Buying Fees

Coinbase charges a fee to purchase crypto on their platform. You can use fiat currency (US dollars, euros, etc) to purchase cryptocurrency instantly on Coinbase.

Coinbase allows buying with the following payment methods:

  • Bank Account
  • Debit or Credit Card
  • Wire Transfer
  • Paypal

When you are buying BTC on Coinbase, the fee amount will automatically be deducted from your order.

For example, let’s say you want to buy $100 worth of Bitcoin on Coinbase with your bank account.

For that transaction, you will be charged $2.99 but the fee will be deducted from your initial $100. The full transaction will cost you $100 but you will only receive $97.01 worth of BTC.

Here is an example of a $100 BTC purchase while paying from a bank account:

Here is an example of a $1000 BTC purchase while paying from a bank account:

Here is an example of a $100 BTC purchase while paying from a debit card:

Buying Fees (Using a Bank Account)

Coinbase gives you a personal buying limit if you use your bank account. Your limit can be as high as $35,000 or lower depending on your balance and the amount of information you verified on Coinbase.

For example, here’s a fee breakdown if you buy Bitcoin on Coinbase using a bank account:

BTC Bought (in USD)Fee
$10$0.99
$100$2.99
$1,000$14.68
$10,000$146.81

Buying Fees (Using Debit/Credit Card)

Coinbase charges higher fees if you use a credit/debit card plus you have a much lower weekly purchase limit. It can start at $1,000 but your limit may increase depending on your buying history and overall balance.

The fees for a $10 Bitcoin purchase using either a credit/debit card or bank account are the same but you will pay more using a credit card for bigger crypto buys.

Coinbase charges more money to process the credit/debit transaction but this is a good option for smaller buys in my opinion.

For example, here’s a fee breakdown if you buy Bitcoin on Coinbase using a credit/debit card:

BTC Bought (in USD)Fee
$10$0.99
$100$3.84
$1,000$38.37

These fees are subject to change and it’s a possbility that Coinbase will lower or raise their fees in the future depending on how many compeitors enter the crypto space, rising costs, etc.

Using your bank account is always the cheapest method to buy on Coinbase but realize you will pay more in fees if you use Paypal, credit/debit cards, or wire transfer.

Selling Fees

When you sell crypto on Coinbase, you will be charged a fee to receive cash (in form of USDC) for your crypto. The fees for selling are similar to what you will be charged for buying.

Crypto Sold (in USD)Fee
$10$0.99
$1002.99
$1,000 $14.68
$10,000 $146.81

You will receive total value of your crypto minus fees in cash once you sell.

Where to Find Coinbase Buying and Sell Fees

All transaction fees will be listed under “Coinbase fee” just above the order tool. Be sure to double check your fees before completing any transaction. You may enter the wrong amount by accident and lose a good chunk of cash due to slippery thumbs.

Fixed vs Variable Fees

So exactly How Much Does Coinbase Charge Per Transaction?

Coinbase charges a fee based on the transaction amount so you’ll be paying a lot of fees if you buy cryptocurrency often.

There are two different types of fees: fixed and variable fees.

For smaller transactions under $204, Coinbase charges a fixed fee based on the amounts listed below:

Buy/Sell Amount (in USD)Fee
$1.99 to $10.99$0.99
$11 and 26.49$1.49
$26.50 to $51.99$1.99
$52 to $204$2.99
$204.01+1.49%

If you buy or sell more than $204 then a variable 1.49% rate replaces the fixed rate. The rates above are for bank account transactions but you will pay a higher 3.99% variable rate if you buy with a credit/debit card.

Hidden Conversion Fees

Coinbase is guilty of charging hidden conversion fees that don’t show up on the transaction preview when you are confirming your conversion. I made the mistake of converting BTC to DAI during a bull market run and lost almost $100 in fees.

Coinbase claims to charge $0 in fees when you convert from one crypto to another but that’s actually false. They charge you a spread of up to 2% to perform the conversion.

Here’s a detailed explaination of the process via Coinbase:

With a cryptocurrency conversion, you can accomplish in a single transaction what would otherwise require two separate transactions. For example, you could directly convert bitcoin to Ethereum (a cryptocurrency conversion), or you could sell bitcoin and then purchase Ethereum (a cryptocurrency sale followed by a cryptocurrency purchase). 

Coinbase charges a spread margin of up to two percent (2.00%) for cryptocurrency conversions. The actual spread margin charged varies due to market fluctuations in the price of cryptocurrency on Coinbase Pro between the time we quote a price and the time when the order executes. We do not charge a separate Coinbase Fee for cryptocurrency conversions. 

For US customers only: cryptocurrency conversions ending or starting with USDC are treated as cryptocurrency purchases and cryptocurrency sales respectively, and are charged a spread and Coinbase Fee as stated above for “Buy/Sell Transactions.”

Source: Coinbase Fees

Hidden fees make trading on Coinbase almost impossible unless you are either up huge on a trade or use the Coinbase Pro platform to reduce your transaction fees.

If you use Coinbase for conversion, you could pay as high as 10 to 14% on hidden conversion fees. Many Reddit users report the same finding so beware before you try to lock in profits on a trade.

Don’t convert crypto on the regular Coinbase platform to avoid hidden fees. When you are ready to sell, transfer your crypto to Coinbase Pro then sell it for USDC or DAI and pay the 0.5% maker-taker fee.

Coinbase Pro was built for crypto traders so only use regular Coinbase to buy and HODL.

Can You Avoid Paying Coinbase Fees?

Coinbase is the easiest crypto broker app for buying and selling cryptocurrency but unfortunately charges the highest fees. However, you can still use Coinbase products but save money on fees if you start using Coinbase Pro.

The difference between Coinbase and Coinbase pro is the user interface and fee structure. Coinbase is a regular crypto broker so fees are much higher. They act as the middleman and charge a higher fee to let you buy and sell with just 1 click.

On the other hand, Coinbase pro is a cryptocurrency exchange that lets you buy and sell using limit orders just like an institutional client.

Coinbase vs Coinbase Pro Fees

Coinbase offers a simple, easy to use interface for beginners while advanced users with higher trading volume should use Coinbase Pro to save money on fees.

If you switch to Coinbase Pro then you can drastically reduce your purchase fees and stack more crypto.

Here’s an example of the fees on Coinbase for a $100 USD Bitcoin purchase:

You pay 2.99% in fees and end up with 0.0019921 BTC with regular Coinbase.

Here’s an example of the fees on Coinbase Pro for a $100 USD Bitcoin purchase:

You pay 0.5% in fees and end up with 0.00197477 BTC with Coinbase Pro.

Using Coinbase Pro lowered your BTC cost basis and saved you almost 2,000 satoshis .

The good news is you can use your existing Coinbase account to access the Coinbase Pro platform. Simply login with the same username and password to access Coinbase Pro.

While both Coinbase and Coinbase Pro are seperate crypto products, you can easily transfer cryptocurrency between each platform for free.

Coinbase Pro fees are much lower but don’t come with handy features like automated reccuring buys if you prefer a passive DCA strategy. You’ll have to log into Coinbase Pro manually and place your buy/sell orders on the exchange.

Read my Coinbase vs Coinbase Pro comparison for an in-depth analysis of both platforms.

Buying/Selling Fees

Regular Coinbase uses the fee structure I discussed earlier in the article but fees may change depending on your location. All of the fees I listed above are for US residents. It’s possible that Coinbase may charge more if you live outside the United States.

You can use more payment methods like a credit/debit card on regular Coinbase while Coinbase Pro only accepts ACH bank transfers and wire transfers.

Coinbase is built for retail crypto investors while Coinbase Pro is for high volume crypto traders and institutional clients.

The big difference between the two is that Coinbase Pro charges much lower fees by using a maker-taker fee model. Here’s an excerpt from the Coinbase Pro fees article for more detail:

Coinbase Pro uses a maker-taker fee model for determining its trading fees. Orders that provide liquidity (maker orders) are charged different fees than orders that take liquidity (taker orders). 

When you place an order at the market price that gets filled immediately, you are considered a taker and will pay a fee between 0.04% and 0.50%. When you place an order which is not immediately matched by an existing order, that order is placed on the order book. If another customer places an order that matches yours, you are considered the maker and will pay a fee between 0.00% and 0.50%.

Your taker fee is based on your total monthly trading volume in USD over the last 30 days.

Withdrawal Fees

Coinbase and Coinbase Pro doesn’t charge any withdrawal fees but you still have to pay a network fee. A network fee covers the fee paid to miners for confirming the transaction on the blockchain.

There is no way around this unfortunately and the fee will be determined by the activity of the network. If you want to reduce network fees to a bare minimum then use a lower cost cryptocurrency like XRP or XLM for transfers.

I often transfer BTC from Coinbase to BlockFI in order to earn interest on my Bitcoin. Other crypto brokers like Voyager do charge higher withdrawal fees, which is why I buy the majority of my crypto on Coinbase or Coinbase Pro.

Coinbase Spending Limits

Coinbase gives you personal spending limits based on your activity, country of residence, personal information, etc. This information can vary greatly from user to user so don’t be surprised to read about other people with much higher spending limits than you have.

The best way to increase your spending limit is to link your bank account and verify all of your personal information.

In my experience, credit/debit card will have the smallest spending limit with the highest fees. Linking a bank account is the best overall option and it’s also recommend by Coinbase within the app.

Conclusion

Coinbase is a simple and easy way to buy/sell crypto for beginners. The only downside is the high fees that come with every transaction. If you’re only buying small amounts of crypto at a time and want to keep things simple then stick with regular Coinbase and consider the fees a cost of doing business.

If you’re buying larger amounts of cryptocurrency then Coinbase Pro will save you a lot of money in fees. Coinbase Pro offers the same security features as the normal Coinbase platform plus your information is protected by 2FA and your crypto is stored offline in cold storage for added protection.

Coinbase has an excellent reputation with a massive 68 million users on the platform so I do recommend them even though Coinbase fees are so high.

If you only plan to buy crypto and HODL then use Coinbase or Coinbase Pro and just pay the higher fees for security and piece of mind. Don’t stress over higher fees because you don’t want to chase lower fees and put your crypto and personal information at risk.

Coinbase Alternatives: Try These Exchanges to Save on Fees

If you’re tired of paying higher fees and don’t mind using another platform then consider using these Coinbase alternatives to save on fees:


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Tarik Pierce

Tarik Pierce is the founder of InvestorTrip.com and regularly contributes articles to this website. He studied Economics at Dartmouth College and invests in a mix of dividend stocks, high CAGR tech stocks & cryptocurrencies.

This Post Has One Comment

  1. shad

    Dont feel safe having your assets on coinbase, Google search Coinbase Sim Swap Scam. Do your research and go to facebook and join the Coinbase Corruption group that had 900 members a month ago and is now up to almost 2000.

    I used to feel safe on conbase too, until they let an unrecognized device with an unrecognized IP from a location over 2000 miles from where I live and do all my business reset my password (bypassing all security) and then empty account in direct contradiction to their own written policy. As I tried dealing with them on the issue they first started off blaming me and saying the thief had my password, even though they have proof of the password reset and know that is not true. Eventually they moved on to a new lie saying my password was never reset. I have proof of the reset from them and after the 2nd and 3rd time they lied saying there wasnt one I offered them that proof which is an email from coinbase lol.

    This is how they treat everyone and its disguting! They are not going to use that insurance for 25,000 to protect you or your assets, that is to protect them. Once your funds are stolen all they do is ignore is point the finger at you and blame you, just like they did the recent 6000 victims that got hacked there where coinbase said…… The hackers had their passwords lol.

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