Coinbase Review: What Aussies Should KnowLast Updated on February 1, 2024 by Kevin Groves
There are hundreds of cryptocurrency exchange sites, and Coinbase is undoubtedly one of the largest ones. It has branches all around the globe, which is why it’s no surprise that you’ve come across it as you review your options. Coinbase is often used as the standard of entry by new Australian investors, and this review will act as a comprehensive assessment to determine if it’s one of the best exchanges for Australian crypto. Find out all there is to know including its security features, fees, and deposit/withdrawal methods.
0.4% (maker) and 0.6% (taker)
Number of cryptos:
Bank transfers (via PayID), credit/debit cards
Global (including Australia)
None available at this time
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Here is a quick summary of the exchange information.
|Global (including Australia)
|Fiat currencies supported
|USD, EUR, GBP
|Bank transfers (via PayID), credit/debit cards
|Yes (up to 5.75% APY)
|0.4% (maker) and 0.6% (taker)
|Yes (Android, iOS)
The Bottom Line
After using Coinbase, we were impressed by how easy it was to use. Its minimalist interface doesn’t mean it’s limited in any way and it will be perfect for people looking to buy their first cryptocurrencies.
However, being a global platform that tries to cover a lot of bases, the features it offers to Australians are quite limited. The major disadvantage is the lack of AUD support which means that you can’t use it to buy crypto, nor withdraw AUD from your account. Apart from that, Coinbase seems to have a poor reputation in terms of its customer support. Simply put, there are better options available to buy crypto using AUD.
What we liked:
- A choice of using a simplified or advanced trading interface with TradingView charting.
- Modern mobile app for 24/7 use.
What we didn’t like:
- Has a reputation for poor customer support.
- Lack of quality features.
- No AUD support.
What Is Coinbase (and are they in Australia)?
Coinbase is a global digital currency exchange that was established in 2012. Nowadays, the hugely popular trading platform now operates in over 100 countries including Australia, and has an impressive customer base of 103+ million investors, traders, and crypto enthusiasts. According to CoinMarketCap, Coinbase Exchange is ranked #2 in the world for its trading volume, liquidity, and traffic. In Australia, Coinbase Australia Pty Ltd is a private company operating from Sydney.
Coinbase caters to a broad audience by offering a wide range of crypto products and services. These include a vast selection of digital assets to buy and sell, crypto borrowing and lending services, interest-earning wallets, and a marketplace to trade Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs). Advanced traders can trade on the derivatives markets using the separate Coinbase Pro Exchange, however, there are certain limitations to what Australians can do.
Pros & Cons
What We Think of Coinbase Australia’s Features
It has a user-friendly interface
Coinbase is a viable option if you’re either new to cryptocurrency, prefer HODL, or want a stress-free experience. Coinbase can do this by providing a clean, responsive, and minimalist interface that makes for easy navigation. This allows you to understand how to manage your account, trade digital currencies, and access all of its features and services.
Some of the features that make the Coinbase interface highly intuitive include the dark mode that can be toggled on or off, the option of choosing a simple or advanced trading interface, and the lack of complicated and distracting design elements which typically plague advanced trading platforms.
Great coin selection and is updated often
Coinbase has over 190 coins and tokens that can be bought with fiat currencies including USD, EUR, or GBP. Australian Dollars (AUD) is not a supported fiat currency, and so a currency conversion is required.
The list of supported digital currencies is respectable, however, there are crypto exchanges that offer in excess of 300 assets such as Binance Australia (380+), Swyftx (320+), and CoinSpot (370+). All the major coins such as Bitcoin and Ethereum are available, as well as a suite of popular altcoins, meme coins, and stablecoins. For the average crypto investor, Coinbase is still a viable place to invest in altcoins.
A multi-token wallet to store your coins
Storing cryptocurrencies can sometimes be confusing due to the options available, the intricacies of transferring crypto, as well as concerns regarding security—Coinbase attempts to alleviate these issues by marketing its mobile app as a multi-token wallet. The app can store all your crypto and NFTs in one place, whilst also allowing you to buy and trade. In terms of security, you can set up a biometric login to serve as an additional layer of account protection. The feature-rich app is one of the best wallets to store crypto for Australians.
You can earn interest on your crypto
Compared to the best places to earn interest on crypto, the Coinbase Earn feature is simple to use but limited in options. There are only seven digital currencies that can earn interest payments with rates ranging between 0.97% for DAI and 5.75% for ALGO. Popular currencies such as Bitcoin and Ethereum are not supported which is a downside. On top of that, the interest rates offered are not exactly the most enticing. For example, Tether (USDT) has a Return on Investment (ROI) of 1.41% Annual Percentage Yield (APY) which is a far cry from industry standard rates of between 6% and 8%.
One small advantage is that you don’t need to transfer any of the supported assets to a specific wallet, you can passively generate yields simply by holding them in your wallet.
Overall, we weren’t impressed by the Coinbase Earn feature due to its limitations. It isn’t a feature that will attract new customers but it does provide existing customers with something to work with.
An NFT marketplace with popular choices
The Coinbase Non-Fungible Token (NFT) marketplace is currently in Beta but you can still buy digital artworks and collectibles with ETH or United States Dollars (USD). For an NFT marketplace that is still being developed, the collection at the time was impressive with over 244,000 pieces available. The interface is clean, and modern and has a simple design that makes it easy to sort and browse NFT collections. The interface design is so simple that we thought it lacked the functionality and flexibility that other marketplaces provide.
The Coinbase NFT marketplace is by no means inferior but if you want more options (for example, using BTC or USDT as payment), then you can consider these top-tier NFT marketplaces.
You can use Bitcoin to get a cash loan
Rather than selling your Bitcoin (and triggering a taxable capital gains event) for cash, Coinbase allows you to use BTC as collateral to take out a cash loan. The maximum you can borrow is 30% of the value of the loan, up to $100,000 USD. There are also no credit checks to worry about.
Earn as you learn
As a testament to Coinbase’s suitability for the general community and people who are new to cryptocurrencies, the Learning Rewards feature enables you to earn free digital currencies for completing online courses. Most online courses come in the form of quizzes or videos to watch and will take a minute of your time where you will be rewarded with $1 of a particular coin.
This is a unique feature that is not typically offered by many other exchanges.
Mobile app is outstanding
The highly functional and multi-purpose Coinbase app can be used on Android and iOS mobile devices. The app has been downloaded over 10 million times and has an overall rating of 4.0/5.0 based on 721k+ reviews which is decent. Having said that, we note that the rating has decreased from its previous score of 4.5/5.0 which is a poor reflection of the app’s quality. In terms of features, you can access all of Coinbase’s products and services including the ability to buy, trade, and store a wealth of digital currencies and NFTs.
If you use Coinbase Pro exchange then the standard Coinbase app won’t be helpful so you will need to download the specific app.
Despite its shortcomings, the Coinbase app still provides a convenient gateway to its products, services, and features and remains one of the best crypto apps on the Australian market.
Has Coinbase Been Hacked?
Coinbase reported that hackers stole digital currencies from 6,000 of its customers between March and May 2021. The root cause was determined to be the exploitation of the company’s SMS account recovery process which was used to gain unauthorised access to user accounts. This was initially achieved by using phishing emails to obtain sensitive information such as emails, passwords, and mobile phone numbers from its users.
So, Do We Think Coinbase Is Safe To Use?
The 2021 Coinbase hack where the digital assets of 6,000 customers were stolen is insignificant, considering that the global user base is over 103 million. Coinbase remains one of the most secure cryptocurrency exchanges and implements bank-like security measures to ensure the safety and integrity of your funds and assets.
Some of Coinbase’s security measures include the offline storage of 98% of its digital assets, noting that 95% is common in the industry, isolation of sensitive information from the internet, encryption of sensitive data using AES-256 standards that are backed up on FIPS-140 USB drives, and strong organisational processes. In addition, Coinbase uses Structured Query Language (SQL) injection filters to protect against Cross-Site Request Forgery (CSRF) attacks which is fairly unique in the industry.
Coinbase Fees & Charges (What It Will Cost You)
The fee structure of Coinbase can be a little difficult to understand. However, this is what you need to know.
Deposit and withdrawal fees
Coinbase does not charge any fees to deposit fiat or digital currencies into your Coinbase wallet. Transferring crypto from the Coinbase wallet to another wallet does not incur a fee, however, a standard blockchain charge will apply depending on the asset and network congestion.
Coinbase utilises a maker-and-taker fee model to determine the trading charges that you will incur on Coinbase Pro. Maker and taker fees start at 0.4% and 0.6%, respectively, and can be reduced to as low as 0.05% and 0.00% depending on your trading volume.
As seen in the table below, Coinbase’s maker and taker fees are more expensive than other digital currency exchanges that offer similar trading features and experiences. If value for money is important to you then you should consider an alternative. You can read our review that breaks down and ranks the best crypto margin trading platforms available to Australians.
Cryptocurrency conversions are charged a 2% spread margin, while instant buys via credit/debit cards are charged a 3.99% fee which is generally comparable to other providers.
How To Fund Your Account
Account funding methods for Australians are limited to bank transfers and they must be linked via your PayID account. Once you complete ID verification, you can instantly transfer USD, EUR, and GBP, into your account, noting that Australian Dollars (AUD) are not supported. For most Aussies, this will represent a barrier to entry as currency conversion fees will apply.
Although not a direct accounting funding method, you can use your credit card to purchase digital currencies such as Bitcoin and Ethereum.
Our Coinbase Trading Experience
Information is good
The Coinbase interface has been designed for the general public in mind and all of its features and processes such as account funding are easy to identify and complete. From our testing of the platform, the same can be said for buying digital currencies.
From either of the simple or advanced interfaces, you can bring up the buying panel for any one of Coinbase’s supported assets, enter the amount of AUD to spend (or digital asset to buy), and confirm the transaction.
If you’re not too confident about ‘timing’ the market, then you opt to set up recurring buys (otherwise known as Dollar Cost Averaging), where you automatically buy crypto at present intervals (daily, weekly, fortnightly, or monthly). By doing this, you steadily increase your crypto portfolio in a manner that mitigates against the market price of assets.
However, if you are more adept at reading price charts and placing market orders then the Advanced trading interface may be suitable. The interface has a large real-time charting window, order books, and a functional buy/sell panel for placing orders (market, limit, stop limit). There are even drawing tools and indicators to take advantage of.
Overall, the Advanced interface maintains a good balance between providing the tools a trader needs and completely overwhelming those who are starting to read charts. For an interface that seems to cater to novices, it would be nice to see a free demo mode stocked with virtual funds for people to practice on.
Coinbase Pro if you know how to trade
Aside from providing simplified trading interfaces that cater to the general public, Coinbase also offers the Coinbase Pro exchange that will suit more experienced traders. The Coinbase Pro exchange has a greater selection of digital currencies to trade and provides state-of-the-art real-time charting, advanced indicators and drawing tools to allow you to suitably identify trades.
One of the advantages that Coinbase provides is the significant liquidity of its trading pairs. According to CoinMarketCap, the Coinbase Pro exchange has an above-average liquidity score of 785 out of 1,000. This means that you can place large orders with minimal price slippage.
Customer Support (We Tested It)
Coinbase’s poor customer support is one of the major concerns among its users. They do have an extensive collection of resources that cover standard issues but contacting them directly is extremely difficult. Currently, you can contact the customer support team via the chatbot or by email. On average, they take around 48 – 72 hours to resolve support tickets, and in the crypto industry, that’s a long time.
The quality of their support is also in question as there have also been complaints that they don’t dig deep enough into issues. You may end up getting a general response on the first reply and have to keep following up to get the answer you’re really looking for.
What Others Have Said
Based on over 7,500 customer feedback on TrustPilot, Coinbase has an overall rating of 1.6 out of 5.0 which is poor. Of the reviews, only 13% provided positive feedback. This is one of the lowest ratings we have seen after reviewing over 100 exchanges and platforms.
It seems that they are aware of this issue as they have committed to improving their customer service by expanding their teams and introducing a LiveChat feature. There have also been cases of downtime, especially when the market is in a state of high volatility, but they are often addressed on time.
Our Coinbase Australia Verdict
Although Coinbase is a massively popular cryptocurrency exchange globally, it’s hard to see the major pros for Australians in using this platform. Despite its pros in bringing a very easy-to-use interface, a respectable list of supported assets, and a sound NFT marketplace, we think that there are too many disadvantages to making it worthwhile.
Australian Dollars are not included as one of the supported fiat currencies which means that you will unnecessarily incur currency conversion fees. Other products and services such as Bitcoin-backed loans and interest rates are either limited or stripped back compared to other platforms. Having said that, Coinbase is still a viable option if you prefer to trade in USD and where HODLing is your investing strategy.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, you are able to use Coinbase in Australia. In August 2022, Coinbase became registered with the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC) to provide digital currency services in Australia. As such, Coinbase Australia Pty Ltd now operates as a local service provider.
However, the crypto exchange is not the best option for Australians due to several limitations. These include the lack of AUD support meaning that you can’t deposit cash nor withdraw it, poor customer support, as well as the availability of alternative exchanges with better features.
You can instantly sell your Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies on Coinbase Australia into AUD before withdrawing your funds into your linked bank account. To do this, you need to ensure that your Australian bank account is linked to your PayID account. There are no fees to cash out AUD.
Coinbase Australia Alternatives & Comparisons
Coinbase is one of the largest cryptocurrency exchanges in the world that is geared toward entry-level investors. Its simple interface, tight security measures, and easy signup processes are a plus. If you’re still considering your options after this review, then you may be interested in reading about these exchanges which offer similar services.
- Swyftx: The AUSTRAC-registered brokerage platform is Australia’s best crypto exchange. The highly regarded company accepts AUD as payment for over 320 digital assets, and provides an excellent user experience, competitive trading fees, and free deposits.
- CoinJar: Offering a smaller range of digital currencies to buy than Coinbase, Coinjar is a local crypto platform that offers one of the best crypto debit cards around.
- Kraken: Kraken Australia is a great alternative if you’re looking for an all-in-one crypto exchange.
- Binance: Binance Australia is a world-class digital currency exchange that offers just about any crypto products and services you can think of. You can buy crypto with cash, trade its assortment of markets with its low maker and taker fees of 0.1%, and buy NFTs.
- Gemini: A similar exchange to Coinbase that is available worldwide including Australia that is geared toward beginners. It has slightly cheaper fees and provides direct AUD deposits and withdrawals with a bank account (unlike Coinbase).
If you want to get an understanding of Coinbase compared to other popular digital currency exchanges and platforms, then you might be interested in the below comparisons.
Warren is the co-founder of CoinCryption. He has a passion for cryptocurrency and has been involved in this space for more than 7 years. His other love is digital marketing and has over 15 years of experience.