Kraken vs Coinbase

Kraken vs Coinbase

Daniel Chan

September 21, 2021

Cryptocurrency

Kraken and Coinbase are two of the best US crypto exchanges, and both have been established for a decade. You have no doubt heard of both of these platforms, but which is better for your needs? Let's have a close look at these two, comparing several aspects, and you can make up your own mind. For me, Kraken is the winner, with lower fees, Live Chat support, and great features such as forex trading, margin trading and futures contracts.

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Fiat Currencies

USD, EUR, GBP, JPY, CAD, CHF, AUD

AUD, USD, EUR, GBP, CAD, MXN, HRK, CZK & 10+ more

Number of Coins

50+

70+

Buy/Sell Fees

0.16% / 0.26%

Deposit Methods

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Bank Transfer (SEPA)

Bank Transfer (ACH)

Fedwire

PayPal

Credit Card

(not available in USA)

Debit Card

(not available in USA)

Apple Pay

SWIFT

Skrill

SOFORT/iDEAL

Cryptocurrency

Features

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User-friendly

Mobile app

Live Chat

Security

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2FA

Biometric security

ISO 27001 certified

Offline cold storage

Website

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Fiat Currencies

USD, EUR, GBP, JPY, CAD, CHF, AUD

AUD, USD, EUR, GBP, CAD, MXN, HRK, CZK & 10+ more

Number of Coins

50+

70+

Buy/Sell Fees

0.16% / 0.26%

Deposit Methods

Cell
Cell

Bank Transfer (SEPA)

Bank Transfer (ACH)

Fedwire

PayPal

Credit Card

(not available in USA)

Debit Card

(not available in USA)

Apple Pay

SWIFT

Skrill

SOFORT/iDEAL

Cryptocurrency

Features

Cell
Cell

User-friendly

Mobile app

Live Chat

Security

Cell
Cell

2FA

Biometric security

ISO 27001 certified

Offline cold storage

Website

Pros
  • Well-established, trusted and secure crypto exchange since 2011
  • Easy-to-use interface perfect for beginners
  • Advanced features not found on other user-friendly platforms, eg: futures trading, margin trading, forex trading, OTC desk
  • Over 50+ cryptocurrencies and 7 fiat currencies supported
  • Live Chat support with a real person 24/7
Cons
  • Cannot use debit or credit card in USA
  • Does not offer as many cryptocurrencies as Coinbase
Pros
  • Coinbase privately insures their own platform so your funds are safe in the event there is a hack
  • Simple and user-friendly interface
  • Only takes a few minutes to register and start trading
  • Over 70+ cryptocurrencies available
  • Extremely secure and trusted platform
Cons
  • Complicated fee structure that is higher than competitors
  • Customer service lacks live chat support - email assistance only

Kraken vs Coinbase Fees

Let's start our comparison by looking at the different fees that these two crypto exchanges charge.

Deposit Fees

When you deposit fiat currency into Kraken, a fee may be charged, depending on your chosen currency and deposit method. As an example, depositing USD with FedWire (MVB Bank) is free of charge, but depositing USD with FedWire (Synapse) costs $5. Click here to check what the applicable fees are for your deposit method.

When you purchase crypto on Coinbase, you either pay at the time of purchase, or deposit fiat currency to pre-fund your account first. If you want to deposit beforehand, there are two methods for US residents:

  • ACH Transfer - zero fees
  • Wire Transfer - $10 fee 

Trading Fees

Kraken's spot trading fees start at a low 0.16% for makers and 0.26% for takers. If you are a large-volume trader you can receive discounted fees, as per the tiered structure below.

To buy or sell crypto direct from Kraken, instead of on the market, you can use the Instant Buy/Sell feature, and the fee is 1.5% per transaction.

Coinbase has a somewhat complicated trading fee structure, comprising two components. There is a 0.50% spread fee, with an additional 'Coinbase fee' on top, which is the larger of the 'flat fee' or the 'variable fee', shown below.  

Flat fee

Transaction value

Fee

$10 or less

$0.99

$10 to $25

$1.49

$25 to $50

$1.99

$50 to $200

$2.99

Variable fee

Payment Method/Payout Method

Effective Rate of Conversion Fee

US Bank Account

1.49%

Coinbase USD Wallet

1.49%

Debit Card or PayPal

3.99%

Instant Card Withdrawal

up to 1.5% (minimum $0.55)

Withdrawal Fees

When withdrawing fiat currency on Kraken, you may be charged a fee, depending on your currency and method of withdrawal. Click here to look up the fees for your withdrawal method and fiat currency.

Coinbase's withdrawal fees vary based on location and payment method. The most popular fiat withdrawal methods are: 

Bank Transfers (SEPA) - €0.15 fee
US Wire Transfer - $25 fee

Note that Coinbase does NOT support fiat withdrawals in Singapore and Australia. This help article from Coinbase explains why.

Winner - Kraken

Kraken wins when it comes to fees. You can buy crypto with your fiat from just 0.16% (using a fee-free deposit method, and then placing a maker order on the market). On Coinbase, the lowest fee you can get is 2.49% which is more than 15x the fee on Kraken.

Kraken vs Coinbase Deposit Methods

Kraken and Coinbase both accept a variety of deposit methods, accepting payment from users all over the world. Both exchanges support Bank transfer (ACH), Apple Pay, SEPA, Fedwire, SWIFT and Cryptocurrency.

Kraken also accepts Google Pay, Debit & Credit card (excludes some countries, such as USA), SEN, Bank transfer (OSKO), PayID, FPS/BACS, CHAPS and SIC.

Coinbase also accepts Debit & Credit card, PayPal and SOFORT/iDEAL. 

Winner - Kraken

This is a close one, with both exchanges supporting a number of deposit methods. Coinbase supports debit and credit cards which is not available on Kraken in the USA, but Kraken has more options overall for its customers.

Kraken vs Coinbase Features 

Kraken and Coinbase are both long-standing crypto exchanges with plenty of features on offer. I won't go into full detail of every feature available on these two platforms, but if you wanted to learn more, read my Kraken review and Coinbase review. I will mention a few features that I think may Kraken and Coinbase stand out from their competitors.

Staking is available on Kraken, which is a way of growing your cryptocurrency holdings, similar to earning interest in the bank. It is a good means of earning passive income if you plan on holding your crypto long-term. On Kraken you can even earn interest on USD and EUR which is not seen on most crypto exchanges. Interest on your staked assets are paid twice a week, and you can compound your future rewards to grow your investment even further. Have a look at the possible staking options on Kraken.

Kraken offers forex trading as another trading option for its users. Kraken has low forex trading fees, a professional trading interface, and industry-low minimum orders (just 10 units of base currency). The 9 forex trading pairs available on Kraken are shown here.

Kraken has excellent customer support, that is hard to find with large cryptocurrency exchanges. Usually you are given the runaround with a bot, or you may have to wait days for an email response. Kraken has done a great job by focusing on customer support, with its 24/7 Live Chat with a real person. If you prefer, you can also contact Kraken using phone or email ticket request.

Coinbase has a cool feature where you can earn crypto by simpling watching a short video! You receive free crypto after you watch short videos teaching you about cryptocurrency. The educational videos are only about 3 minutes each, and you earn crypto after watching each one. As an example, you can earn $3 in COMP crypto after watching one video. If you watch all 3 videos, you earn $9 of COMP.

Coinbase has released a Wallet app that you can download on your iOS or Android mobile device. According to Google Play store, there are over 1 million downloads, with a 4.3-star rating from 24K reviews. You can use your Coinbase Wallet not only to store crypto safely but also gain access to a wide range of decentralised innovation. Users can participate in airdrops and ICOs, collect NFTs, browse decentralised apps (DApps), and send crypto to anyone around the world.

Winner - Kraken

Kraken wins this section, as it has lots of features including ones that aren't mentioned here. Kraken offers futures trading, margin trading, forex trading, staking and an OTC desk.

 Coinbase isn't lacking in terms of features - it is still a great exchange, but Kraken offers more.

Kraken vs Coinbase Security

Kraken utilises robust security measures to protect users' funds and personal information. Kraken stores 95% of digital assets offline in air-gapped geographically distributed cold storage, and its servers are secured in cages with 24/7 armed surveillance. Kraken is based in the USA, so it has high standards of legal compliance as well as regulation by FinCEN. 

Coinbase uses multi-layered security such as 2FA (2-factor authentication), biometric logins (fingerprint & face ID), and data encryption, with USB drives and paper backups distributed geographically in safes and vaults around the world. All Coinbase employees are required to pass a criminal background check, and their hard drives are encrypted. Coinbase stores 98% of its digital assets offline in cold storage, and even has crime insurance cover to protect digital assets in the event of a cybersecurity breach. For more information about Coinbase's insurance cover, click here

Winner - Coinbase

Kraken and Coinbase are both extremely secure crypto exchanges, but Coinbase wins by a narrow margin. Coinbase stores more of its digital assets offline (98% compared to Kraken's 95%) and has crime insurance cover so users don't need to worry about losing their crypto even if the exchange is hacked.

Verdict - Kraken

Comparing two of the best cryptocurrency exchanges in the USA was interesting. I thought it would be a closer match-up but in my opinion, Kraken wins this one decisively.

Kraken wins across several aspects, with lower fees, more features (such as forex trading, margin trading, futures contracts, staking and more) and 24/7 Live Chat customer support.

Coinbase is still a great choice for a crypto exchange, it has unbeatable multi-layered security, combined with crime insurance cover, so you can trade with peace of mind. It also offers about 20 more cryptocurrencies than Kraken, so if there is a coin you can't find on Kraken, it may be worth checking if it is available on Coinbase.

Overall Winner - Kraken

Lower fees, packed with features, and invaluable Live Chat support means Kraken is the winner in this comparison.

Still Researching?

If you want to learn more before taking the jump into either of these two crypto exchanges, my reviews on Kraken (here) and Coinbase (here) have detailed information on each. If you are reading this in the USA, you may find my article on the best US based crypto exchanges interesting. For a quick snapshot of the top crypto exchanges, I included a table below.

Comparison Table of the Best Crypto Exchanges in the USA

eToro
Gemini
Coinbase
Coinmama
Kraken
Crypto Exchange
Crypto Exchange
eToro
Gemini
Coinbase
Coinmama
Kraken
Fiat Currencies
Fiat Currencies
USD
USD, AUD, CAD, EUR, GBP, SGD, HKD
USD, EUR, GBP, CAD, MXN, HRK, CZK, DKK & 10+ more
USD, EUR, AUD, CAD, GBP, JPY
USD, EUR, GBP, JPY, CAD, CHF, AUD
Cryptocurrencies
Cryptocurrencies
BTC, ETH, BCH, XRP, DASH, LTC, ETC, ADA & 5+ more
BTC, ETH, BCH, DOGE, LTC, ZEC, ZRX, MKR, BAT, AAVE & 40+ more
BTC, ETH, ADA, DOGE, SOL, DOT & 70+ more
BTC, BCH, ETH, DOGE, ADA, LTC, XRP, XTZ, LINK, UNI
BTC, ETH, XRP, BCH, EOS, LTC, ADA, XLM, BAT, ETC & 40+ more
Deposit Methods
Deposit Methods
Wire transfer, Online banking
Bank transfer (ACH), Debit card, Wire Transfer, Cryptocurrency
Bank transfer (ACH), Credit card, Debit card, Fedwire, PayPal, Apple Pay, Cryptocurrency
Credit card, Debit card, Fedwire, Apple Pay, Google Pay
Bank transfer (ACH), Fedwire, SWIFT, Apple Pay, Google Pay, SEN, Cryptocurrency
Trading Fees
Trading Fees
Fees included in the spread
From 0.25% (maker) and 0.35% (taker)
0.5% + flat fee ($0.99 - $2.99) OR variable fee (1.49% - 3.99%)
2.86% - 3.90% (depending on loyalty level)
From 0.16% (maker) and 0.26% (taker)

Marketplacefairness.org provides all its content for informational purposes only, and this should not be taken as financial advice to buy, trade or sell cryptocurrency or use any specific exchange. Please do not use this website as investment advice, financial advice or legal advice, and each individual's needs may vary from that of the author. This post includes affiliate links with our partners who may compensate us. 

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