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Coinbase

Coinbase Review
Trader's rating 2.8
Editor's rating 4.1

Our Experience

 

When testing the direct purchasing service, provided by Coinbase, we were relatively satisfied. After entering our debit card details it was saved as a payment method. We must notе that our card was 3D-secured, which appears to be a mandatory condition. Having your card stored in the website, as opposed to having to enter the details a second time (which is the case with some websites, dealing with external payment providers) is a huge benefit.

 

Here is a preview of the order screen:

The commission charged was slightly lower than the maximum of 4%, and we had full price transparency. When compared to the 8%, charged by Bitstamp (for direct card purchases), this is obviously preferable. The rate at which we bought Bitcoin was around €14 off the current market price, at GDAX. This is quite reasonable considering the fact we are talking about a volatile asset, trading around  €6,500 at the time of purchase. We tried comparing it with the rate provided by other exchanges, but the price differences (especially since we are talking about EUR trading) were much wider.

 

Trading Accounts

 

 

Account type Initial weekly limit Leverage Fees
Standard €325 None Up to 4%

 

Coinbase is one of the leading US companies in the world of crypto currencies. It operates two separate brands. One of them is Coinbase, a more retail consumer oriented platform for buying Bitcoin with fiat currencies, much like Bitstamp. On the other hand, GDAX (Global Digital Asset Exchange) is a more advanced crypto currency trading platform. This review will be focused on Coinbase.

 

The company, security of funds

 

Company Country Regulation
Coinbase USA NY BitLicense

 

Coinbase operates out of the US, with many subsidiaries around the world. It was the third company to be awarded the New York BitLicense. The story behind this license is quite controversial. In short, the New York Department of Financial Services (NYDFS) wanted to make the Big Apple a “Bitcoin trading hub”, much how it is one of the major centers of traditional finance. The idea, dating from 2015 wasn’t met with much enthusiasm by the leading companies, as many of them preferred to avoid application. Among the dozen who did, Coinbase obtained the license in January of 2017. The entire process is apparently so time (and effort) consuming, a lot of other major players opted out of it, which makes the license borderline useless. 

 

When it comes to crypto exchanges, hacking is an important topic. That being said there haven’t been any major hacks at Coinbase, although numerous individual cases have been reported. Some involve the hackers going past the two-factor authentication barrier, which one would believe to be very secure.

 

As we mentioned above, Coinbase is the retail-oriented brand of the company. As such it accepts fiat currencies and allows an instant purchase of several coins (more on the list, later). The vast majority of user complaints against Coinbase involve the size of the commission fees which the company charges. They vary by region and payment method, but go as high as 4%.

 

In 2018, Coinbase acquired an e-money license from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), which allows it to provide payment services in the UK and issue e-money. Abiding by the FCA requirements, Coinbase will be keeping clients in segregated funds and will observe operational standards on par with the other regulated financial institutions.

 

Additionally, Coinbase is backed by a lot of investors, including major players in “traditional finance”. This is another factor which fans of the decentralized aspect of crypto currencies do not enjoy. 

 

Trading conditions

 

Trading instruments (cryptocurrencies)

Only a few coins are available at Coinbase, but they are the majors – Bitcoin, Ethereum and Litecoin. Don’t forget this is an entry-level service, which is aimed at people who are not that familiar with the world of crypto currencies. If you would like to buy less known coins (or altcoins), you could do that at another exchange, after transferring your newly acquired BTC/ETH/LTC there.

 

Weekly Limits

After verifying your e-mail, telephone, ID and credit card, at Coinbase, you can beginning purchasing coins. Our initial limit was €325 per week (via Credit Card). This may vary for you, based on your location (US clients will surely get a USD level). This level can be increased after you reach the maximum and some time has passed. This is done as a security measure and one should not feel frustrated about it.

 

Leverage

Coinbase does not offer margin trading. This is the more accepted practice, when dealing with crypto currencies. The forex brokers who offer Bitcoin trading, on the other hand mostly provide CFDs on it and margin trading is allowed. For a full comparison of trading crypto currencies on an exchange and with a forex broker read this post

 

Fees

The commission structure at Coinbase is one of its criticisms. If you decide to deposit via Credit Card, for instance, you can buy your chosen coin directly. While this may appear to be convenient, it comes at a price – for most countries the commission fee on such a purchase can go as high as 4%. 

 

Alternatively, you can fund your account with fiat currencies, which you can then use to trade. In that case the fees are set at 1.5%, which is pretty high. However if trading is what you are looking for, the company’s other brand – GDAX (as well as many others) are alternatives.

 


Trading platform

 

Coinbase does not provide a platform, as much as it offers an interface similar to an online banking application. Here is an overview (click to zoom-in):

 

 

There is a basic chart in the top section, allowing you to switch between the three supported instruments and multiple timeframes. On the bottom you have a column with all of your wallets with the company as well as a transaction history column. Overall, it doesn’t get any simpler than this. That being the case, we must reiterate, this is only the “real-money payments” brand of the company, while a more dedicated platform is also available at GDAX.

 

Methods of payment

 

When it comes to the methods of payment available at Coinbase, they include Bank Transfer, Credit/Debit Card and PayPal (only for US clients). While we discussed the transaction fees above, it’s worth pointing out that no additional fees are charged for crypto currency transfers to other exchanges or wallets.

 

Conclusion

 

Coinbase is one of the major players in the crypto currency space. The company is focused on allowing people who are not familiar with Bitcoin and allows them an easy way of acquiring crypto currencies. While there isn’t any trading platform to speak of, the company has another brand (GDAX) which provides exactly that. We feel it would be much better for Coinbase to honestly state their trading fees are higher, but you can use your account at their other platform, in a big banner upon account cration. Here are Coinbase’s pros and cons: 

 

Pros

Cons

New York BitLicense Few altcoins available
No major hacks yet High trading fees
Accepts Bank Transfers and Credit Cards  
Easy to use interface  
Ability to transfer crpyto to wallet  

 

FXCM

FXCM Review
Trader's rating 3.9
Editor's rating 4.7

Trading Accounts

 

FXCM UK

Account type Minimum deposit  Minimum trade size Maximum leverage Average Spreads  
           
Standard $300 1000 1:30 1.5 pips + commission $4 (£3 in the UK)*   
 AciveTrader  $25 000 0.01 1:30 0.4 pips + commission $1.8 – $4 (£1.8 – £3 in the UK) *  

 

*Commission is calculated per standard lot of 100 000 base units (per side).

 

 

FXCM Australia

Account type Minimum deposit Minimum trade size Maximum leverage Spreads
Standard $50 1000 1:400 1.5 pips + commission $4 (£3 in the UK)*
AciveTrader  $25 000 0.01 1:400 0.4 pips + commission $1.8 – $4 (£1.8 – £3 in the UK) **

*Commission is calculated per standard lot of 100 000 base units (per side). 

 

FXCM offers two account types: Standard and Active Trader. For those unwilling to expose themselves to the greater risk related to trading in large volumes, micro lots are available on all account types.

 

Trading Conditions

 

Minimum initial deposit

In order to open an account with FXCM Australia, one has to invest just $50, which is a low minimum initial deposit. FXCM UK requires minimum deposit of $300, in line with the industry average. 

 

Spreads & Commission

FXCM offers competitive variable spreads, averaged 1.5 pips on EURUSD on commission-free accounts.

Active Trader account holders may benefit from tighter spreads and commission discounts, provided that they satisfy certain trading volume requirements. For further information, you may check out and compare real-time spreads of 10 leading brokers here

 

Maximum leverage

 

FXCM UK offers the highest possible under ESMA regulations spread levels to all of its clients:

30:1 leverage restriction for major currency pairs

20:1 for non-major currency pairs, gold and major indices

10:1 for commodities other than gold and non-major equity indices

5:1 for individual equities and other reference values

 

The maximum leverage offered by ASIC-regulated FXCM Australia is quite higer:

400:1 leverage for Forex trading

200:1 leverage for CFD trading

 

The Company. Security of funds

 

Company Country Regulation
FXCM LTD UK FCA
FXCM Australia Pty. Limited Australia ASIC
FXCM South Africa (PTY) Ltd (IB) South Africa FSCA


This broker takes regulation, financial transparency and investor protection very seriously. In order to maintain transparency of operations, the company provides regular press releases where anyone can see the broker's monthly execution data. Besides, the companies within the FXCM group are regulated by some of the most respected regulatory bodies in the world: FCA in UK and ASIC in Australia.

 

Both FCA and ASIC regulated brokers are under strict supervision and are very well controlled. To acquire a license from the UK financial watchdog, financial services providers need to maintain net tangible assests amounting to at least EUR 730 000. Australian brokers, on the other hand, must hold at  least AUD 1 000 000 to prove  their financial stability.


Besides, under the UK regulations, investors’ funds are kept in segregated bank accounts separated from the company’s operating funds and, in case of default, sums of up to GBP 50,000 are protected under the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS).
 

 

Trading platforms

 

This broker offers a selection of robust trading platforms to its clients, including the most popular MetaTrader 4, its award-winning Trading Station, and NinjaTrader. In addition, Copy trading is available through the advanced web platform ZuluTrade.

 

FXCM’s In-house award-winning platform Trading Station is available as desktop, web, and mobile versions.  Apart from its sleek design and intuitive interface, Trading Station comes equipped with Marketscope – a powerful charting package. Here are some of its key features:

 

-         -  Place and manage trades from the charts;

-          - Pre-loaded Indicators: over 30 popular indicators like MA, MACD, Bollinger Bands and RSI;

-          - Custom Indicators: over 600 custom indicators available;

 

FXCM’s Trading Station. Click to enlarge.

 

As trading robots are extremely popular among forex investors, Trading Station offers automated strategies that take the human element out of trading and what is more, you don’t need to stare at the PC screen all the time. You may easily determine key areas where your trading strategies can be improved, and gain confidence in your robots prior to applying them by using the platform’s strategy optimizer conducts excessive backtesting.

 

There are also some exclusive tools with Trading Station, like the unique order type, Good Till Date, which lets you execute at specific times; and the broker’s exclusive Real Volume indicators, which opens FXCM’s trading book of traders around the world.

 

NinjaTrader is another platform supported by FXCM. It has simplified interface and offers all of the functionalities that you can make use of if you trade on Metatrader 4 or the desktop version of Trading Station, and even more. You can also benefit from fast execution, trading from charts, creating your own trading strategies, superior back-testing options, custom indicators and alerts.

 

Those traders who stick to the good old MetaTrader 4 (MT4) will not be disappointed with FXCM, as the broker fully supports this powerful multiasset software. The platform comes equipped with an outstanding charting package, numerous built-in technical indicators, Fibonacci retracements, trend lines, support and resistance levels, and so on – pretty much everything a trader needs. Those who are handy with code may create their own automated strategies (EAs) and custom indicators in the MQL programming language.

 

Payment methods

 

Clients of FXCM may make deposits and withdrawals from and to their accounts via debit/credit card, bank wire transfer, check, and ACH (Automated Clearing House).

 

Conclusion

 

One of the biggest FX brokerages worldwide, FXCM is an excellent choice: a reliable and well-regulated broker, offering excellent trading conditions on a wide range of trading platforms. Here are, in a nutshell, the advantages and disadvantages with regard to this broker:

 

 

Pros Cons
Group of companies with multiple regulations Stocks, options, and futures are not available for trade
Tight spreads   
Low initial deposit  
A selection of trading platforms offered  
Advanced copy trading options   
Price improvement (e.g. positive slippage) is available  
   

             

 

Website: www.fxcm.com 

Headquarters:

55 Water St. FL 50, New York, NY 10041

Country: United States

Regulated by:
USA: CFTC, NFA # 0308179

US: CFTC and NFA (NFA Member# 0308179) 

UK: FCA (Firm registration #217689)

Australia: ASIC (AFSL #309763)

Hong Kong: SFC (SFC CE #AIM232)

Italy: CONSOB (#76)

Germany: BaFin (#122556)

France: Registered with the ACP, as the branch of Forex Capital Markets Ltd.

Forex
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