Coinbase is one of the most popular cryptocurrency exchanges in the world, and is the largest in the USA. How does it fare in Australia, and can it compete with Australia’s best crypto exchanges? Let's take a close look at what it offers Aussies, and see if it's a suitable choice for you.
What is Coinbase?
Coinbase has many features that make it so popular in the US. Here is a quick snapshot of what they offer, before I go into the detailed review.
- Easy and fast sign-up and verification
- Over 160+ cryptocurrencies supported
- Registered with FinCEN and licensed in the USA
- Mobile apps available for iOS and Android
- High level of security to ensure your funds are always safe
- Insurance cover in case the exchange gets hacked
- Coinbase Earn - receive free crypto by watching short educational crypto videos
- Coinbase Pro has lower fees and more advanced functionality
- Separate wallet app to store your crypto safely off the exchange
Is Coinbase good in Australia?
Unfortunately, the simple answer to this question is NO. There are two main problems with Coinbase in Australia and they are summarised here:
Can I withdraw money from Coinbase Australia?
No, you cannot sell your cryptocurrency if you are using Coinbase in Australia, and therefore you also cannot withdraw AUD from Coinbase. If you have already bought crypto, the only way you can cash out is to send your coins to another exchange (we recommend Digital Surge) and sell it there. Digital Surge has low fees and spreads, and it is free to withdraw AUD to your bank account.
Coinbase Australia fees are too high
If you use Coinbase in Australia you can only purchase crypto directly with a debit card. The fee is 3.99% to use a debit card, plus 0.5% transaction fee. This means a total of 4.49% fee for a simple cryptocurrency purchase. Compare this to Digital Surge, Australia's #1 crypto exchange, which has trading fees of just 0.5%. You are paying almost 9x the fee when using Coinbase versus Digital Surge.
Below are our some excellent crypto exchanges that are much better choices in Australia. You will not go wrong with any of them.
Australian Alternatives to Coinbase
Reliable and Easy to Use
Coinbase is a reliable and trusted crypto exchange that has been around since 2012. It has one of the highest levels of trading volume, liquidity and traffic, and is fully licensed and regulated with FinCEN in the USA. You know it is a legitimate company that you can trust with your fiat and crypto assets.
Coinbase has a focus on being user-friendly, with a very clean interface that is easy to navigate. There is a Buy/Sell button which is easy to find so that even a newcomer to crypto is able to easily get started in the world of crypto.
Over 160+ coins available on mobile app or desktop site
There are over 160+ different coins that users can access, which is quite a decent range and includes all the popular coins you would expects, such as Bitcoin, Ethereum, Solana, Dogecoin and Cardano. You can access Coinbase through a desktop site or also through the mobile app which is extremely convenient for when you're out and about.
For those that are more experienced cryptocurrency traders, you may prefer to use Coinbase Pro. Coinbase Pro used to be called GDAX, and it's a separate exchange to Coinbase. Users can buy and sell crypto on the market as well as access detailed charts and advanced functions such as stop losses and limit orders. Coinbase Pro also charges lower fees in comparison to Coinbase.
Whether you are new to crypto or an experienced investor, there's always something new to learn. Coinbase has a cool feature called Coinbase Earn where you receive free cryptocurrency by watching an education video about a certain coin! For example, you can earn $3 in COMP token for watching each of the three short videos that are only 3 minutes each. That's a total of $9 free COMP for watching 3 videos.
Coinbase has their own wallet app so you can safely store your cryptocurrency off the exchange, for increased security. It is highly rated, 4.0 stars from 31K reviews, and has been downloaded over a million times according to Google Play. Not only can you hold your crypto in the app, you can access decentralised innovation, including buying and storing ERC-20 tokens, participating in airdrops and ICOs, collecting NFTs and browsing DApps (decentralised apps). You can even use the wallet to shop where crypto is accepted, and send your crypto to any other wallet or exchange, no matter where they are in the world.
Fees and Payment Methods
Coinbase is quite an expensive exchange when it comes to buying cryptocurrency. Australians only have the option to pay with debit card (credit cards are no longer accepted); there is no bank transfer option. With this comes a hefty 3.99% debit card fee, on top of the base 0.5% fee that Coinbase charges. This means you will lose 4.49% in fees on a single purchase of cryptocurrency.
Also, it is important to note that in Australia, you CANNOT sell your cryptocurrency on Coinbase. This means you can buy crypto, and send it to another wallet, but you cannot sell it back to AUD. If you want to know the reason, click on this Coinbase article.
For an alternative exchange that is more suitable for Aussies, check out Digital Surge, which has low fees of only 0.5%, and the important ability to sell crypto and withdraw AUD back to your bank account. According to an in-depth test, Digital Surge has the lowest fees and spread among the popular Australian exchanges.
Coinbase is a very secure platform, utilising offline cold storage of 98% of their crypto assets. Their multilayered security comprises 2FA (2-factor authentication), biometric logins, and data encryption, and their USB drives and paper backups are safely distributed around the world in secure safes.
Coinbase goes one step further, and holds crime insurance to cover any losses of funds from thefts or hacks. If you want to learn more about how Coinbase's insurance covers their users, click here.
Pros and Cons of Coinbase
Although Coinbase is hugely popular in the USA, it hasn't adapted well to Australia. Coinbase only accepts debit card payments, which means it charges a ridiculous 4.49% fee which is so much higher than the competition in Australia. Digital Surge only charges 0.5%, Swyftx charges 0.6% and even CoinSpot which is on the higher end in Australia only charges 1%.
The other huge downfall of Coinbase is that you cannot sell your cryptocurrency or withdraw AUD from the exchange. You can only use it to buy crypto and then send it to a personal wallet. If you want to sell your coins you need to choose another exchange that supports sale of crypto.
All in all, Coinbase is not a great choice for Aussie crypto investors. There are much better options which can be found here. I would suggest trying Digital Surge with low fees, low spreads and $10 free BTC bonus upon sign up. Also, take a look at my comparison table below to see some other options.
Australian Alternatives to Coinbase
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, as long as you are using a reputable crypto exchange, it is safe to buy Bitcoin. However, note that it will come with risks in terms of price fluctuation, and you should not put in more than you are willing to lose.
Yes, Coinbase is a legitimate and safe cryptocurrency exchange that has been around for a decade. They are licensed and registered in the USA and have multi-layered security measures and protocols.
Unfortunately for Australians, you cannot sell your crypto or withdraw your fiat currency from Coinbase. I suggest you choose an Australian exchange where buying, selling and withdrawing money is supported, such as Digital Surge.
Coinbase has a very user-friendly interface that is perfect for beginners. However, Australian users cannot sell their crypto or withdraw AUD from Coinbase, so I would recommend using an Australian exchange that can do all of the above. Digital Surge is a great choice and it also has an intuitive easy-to-use platform that is excellent for beginners.