Cex.io vs Coinbase – Comparison of Fees, Security, Features

Crypto boom from 2017 has spawned a lot of new crypto exchanges. Majority of those exchanges are not the best place to buy crypto because of their low security, high fees or outright scammy intentions of their founders.

Cex.io and Coinbase are two of the older and well reputed exchanges worth of your attention. Hence, we decided to compare Coinbase vs Cex.io as two legit and safe options for buying bitcoin and altcoins.

Comparison criteria

We have set Coinbase and Cexio to go head to head in most important categories when it comes to crypto exchanges: fees, deposit and withdrawal methods, supported currencies, supported countries, trust and reputation, regulatory status, security practices and general functions and features.

So, let’s head right into the Cex vs Coinbase duel.

Coinbase vs Cex.io: General info

Coinbase was launched in 2012 in San Francisco, California. As a company operating in the United States, Coinbase is required to comply with U.S. laws and regulations, including state money transmission laws and regulations, the USA Patriot Act, the Bank Secrecy Act, and is registered with FinCEN as a Money Services Business. These laws and regulations force accountability onto Coinbase. This is something that may be lacking from some of their offshore competitors in other countries with less strict regulations. It is widely considered as one of the best crypto exchanges in the market.

Started out in 2013, CEX.io is one of the oldest Bitcoin exchanges around.  CEX.io is based out of London, England.  It started out as a Bitcoin exchange and cloud mining provider; the first Bitcoin cloud mining company. Its mining pool known as Ghash.io, was so big at some point that it held 42% of the total network mining power.

However, the cloud mining operations were closed on January 2015. Today CEX.io operates solely as a Bitcoin exchange. CEX.io is registered with FINCEN and it applies AML (anti money laundering) and KYC (know your customer) policies, which means that you’ll need to verify your identity before you will be able to purchase Bitcoins via the exchange.

Coinbase vs Cex.io: Fees

Coinbase charges around 3.99% for credit/debit card purchases and 1.49% for bank transfer purchases.

Purchase MethodCoinbase Fees
U.S. Bank Account1.49%
($0.15 minimum)
Coinbase Wallet (U.S. Dollars)1.49%
Credit Card or Debit Card3.99%

Cex.io used to charge a lot of premium and had a bad reputation when it comes to fees. However, they have since changed their fee structure and charge less:

Payment method Deposit Withdrawal
VISA2.99%Service charge:up to 3% + $ 1.20Commission:up to $ 3.80
MasterCard2.99%Service charge:up to 1.8% + $ 1.20Commission:up to 1.2% + $ 3.80
Bank transfer$ 00.3% + $ 25.00
ACH$ 0$ 0
VISA2.99%€ 0Service charge:up to 3% + € 1.50Commission:up to € 3.50
MasterCard2.99%Service charge:up to 1.8% + € 1.50Commission:up to 1.2% + € 3.50
Bank transfer€ 00.3% + € 25.00
SEPA€ 0€ 0

As for the trading fees, Cex.io charges following:

Maker Fee:0.16%
Taker Fee:0.25%

Deposit and withdrawal methods

Coinbase offers 3 payment methods: Debit card, bank account, or wire transfer. In this guide we will cover purchasing with a debit card or with a bank account.
As for withdrawal methods – you have one additional way to get your money from Coinbase by using PayPal.

On the other side, Cex.io offers similar options, with more focus on instant purchases via credit cards

  • You can use credit cards with fees of 3.5% or ACH/Swift for commission-free transfers.

Withdrawal methods

  • VISA
Service charge:up to 3% + $ 1.20
Commission:up to $ 3.80
  • Mastercard
Service charge:up to 1.8% + $ 1.20
Commission:up to 1.2% + $ 3.80
  • Swift

Commission:0.3% + $ 25.00

  • ACH – no commission

Coinbase vs Cex: Supported Coins

Currently, coins listed on its non-Pro interface include BitcoinBitcoin Cash, Ethereum, Ethereum Classic, USD Coin, XRP, Stellar, Zcash, 0x, Litecoin, and the Basic Attention Token.

CEO.IX has been expanding their offering in the last year. You can pick from Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash Ethereum, XRP, XLM, LTC, BTG, Tron, BTT, ATOM, MCH, BAT, Dash and Zcash.

Coinbase vs Cex.io: Supported countries

Coinbase serves customers in the following countries:

Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Jersey, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Malta, Monaco, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, San Marino, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom and the United States.

CEX.IO can be used by traders in more than 220 countries. However, some countries are not supported on CEX.IO and these include Afghanistan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Burundi, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Central African Republic, Côte d’Ivoire, Cuba, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Haiti, Iran, Iraq, Kenya, North Korea, Laos, Lebanon, Liberia, Libya, Nigeria, São Tomé and Príncipe, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Syria, Tanzania, Tunisia, Uganda, Vietnam, Vanuatu, Yemen and Zimbabwe.

Due to regulatory restrictions, US traders are not accepted on the CEX.IO exchange.

Buying limits

Coinbase does not clearly define limits for new users on their site. Instead, limits can vary depending on your country, account verification, buying history, and account age. To apply for higher limits you will have to verify your identity. Once you do, a fully verified US residents can transaction up to $50,000 per week, while verified customers from EU may have a maximum of $30,000 in their account at any time. You can check their limits through their account.

Depending on your account type, Cex.io limits you differently.

Basic: Basic accounts can buy up to $400 worth of bitcoins per day, and up to $2,000 per month. Basic accounts are not able to purchase via bank transfer. Verified: Verified accounts can purchase up to $10,000 worth of bitcoins per day, or up to $100,000 per month via both credit card and bank transfer.

Customer support

Coinbase customer support is handled through email, and in our personal experiences, we’ve typically received responses from support within 24-72 hours. They also have an extensive FAQ for general questions.

CEX.IO provides support almost exclusively over email. Their agents are usually quick in reacting to user queries and the service runs smoothly. The help centre and FAQ section are very extensive and helpful with a wealth of helpful information including helpful guides to subjects like margin trading.

Trust and reputation

Coinbase enjoys an excellent reputation and trust as a registered and regulated company with well-known VCs as investors, transparent team and immaculate track record (with minor, anecdotal complaints from individual customers).

Coinbase is a Bitcoin company based in San Francisco, which means that is required to comply with US laws and regulations, at both a federal and state level.  Here are some of the regulatory bodies, laws, and regulations that Coinbase complies with:

  • It complies with state money transmission laws and regulations.
  • It complies with the USA Patriot Act.
  • It complies with the Bank Secrecy Act.
  • It is registered with FinCEN as a Money Services Business.

CEX.IO is now 7 years old and has been ticking since 2013. It pivoted from their initial service – cloud mining to launch a crypto exchange. At first, they offered both services, but in recent years they have dropped cloud mining to focus on the exchange. Cex.io is registered in London and uses it as its official base. It is also important to note that CEX.io is registered as a Money Services Business with FinCEN USA as well.

Coinbase vs Cex.io: Security

Coinbase segregates customer funds from company operational funds.  These customer funds are held in custodial bank accounts.  This means they will not use funds of yours to operate their business.  They also claim, “Even if Coinbase were to becomes insolvent, the funds held in the custodial bank accounts could not be claimed by Coinbase or its creditors.  The Funds held in those accounts would be returnable to Coinbase’s customers.”

98% of customers’ cryptocurrency funds are stored in secure offline cold storage.  These cryptocurrencies are held on multiple hardware wallets and paper wallets.  The physical cryptocurrency wallets are then stored in vaults and safety deposit boxes around the world.  These measures protect customers’ funds from being lost or stolen by hackers.

The remaining portion of cryptocurrency, that is stored online, is fully insured by a syndicate of Lloyd’s of London.

CEX.IO is implementing best security practices from the industry: storing user funds in cold storages, using 2FA authentication and encrypts all data transfers. They do not, however, put too much of emphasis on their security measures in their marketing materials which is odd, since most of other exchanges like to boast about their top-notch security.

CEX has suffered at least one hacking incident, although this happened way back in 2013 when the platform was in its infancy. The vulnerability was patched at that time, and there have been no reported security incidents since that time.

Other features

Coinbase keeps expanding their overall service repertoire with new utilities like Coinbase Custody, Coinbase Staking, Coinbase Earn, Coinbase Card.

Cex.io on the other side has focused more on expanding in the same vertical by adding margin trading but also staking as a service (for XTZ).


So who wins the battle between Cex.io and Coinbase?

  • In terms of fees – Coinbase is better.
  • In terms of supported currencies – pretty much a tie since both expanded their offering with all major tokens. However, since Cex.io offers XRP as well, it edges out Coinbase in this section.
  • In terms of regulatory compliance and licensing: both are great but Coinbase holds an upper hand.
  • In terms of customer support: Both are of similar quality so it is a tie.
  • When it comes to security in the Cex vs Coinbase battle: Coinbase is slightly better as they never had any hacks in the past, unlike Cex.io that suffered couple of small hacker intrusions.
  • Customer support: another tie since both platforms use pretty much same system (email) with similar reaction time to use inquires.
  • Overall reputation: Coinbase is much better known beyond crypto so they take a W in this one.

Pros and Cons



  • Excellent Reputation
  • FDIC Insured
  • Easy to Use
  • Very Secure
  • Accepts Credit / Debit Cards


  • Slow Customer Support
  • Limited Currencies Available



  • Good Support
  • Easy to Use
  • Accepts Credit / Debit Cards
  • Easy Verification
  • Well Established


  • Higher Fees
  • Limited Currencies Available

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Rene Peters
Rene Peters

Rene Peters is editor-in-chief of CaptainAltcoin and is responsible for editorial planning and business development. After his training as an accountant, he studied diplomacy and economics and held various positions in one of the management consultancies and in couple of digital marketing agencies. He is particularly interested in the long-term implications of blockchain technology for politics, society and the economy.

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