CEX.IO makes it easy to get your first Bitcoin. You can buy BTC with a credit through one of the smoothest and most beginner-friendly interfaces on the web, and get right to trading on its unique exchange.
But there’s a lot hiding beneath the surface you MUST know BEFORE buying or trading. This is the most up-to-date review of the CEX.IO Bitcoin exchange on the web for February 2019. I found a ton of misleading and outright false information regarding the exchange everywhere I looked. Read on to discover THE TRUTH about fees, verification, support, security, and everything else related to this exchange.
CEX.IO is a London-based Bitcoin broker and exchange that’s been a mainstay of the market since 2013. Its simplified buy/sell mechanism, unique trading environment (much more on this later), high community trust, and fluid UX all keep its more than 1 million strong user base coming back over and over again.
Perhaps its most unique feature is how well it balances trading features with simplicity. CEX manages to offer a range of options (margin trading, fill-or-kill orders, etc.) but still be one of the simplest and most beginner-friendly platforms on the market.
If you are looking for a fast, easy, and secure place to buy Bitcoin with a credit/debit card, you’ve found a match. But beware—fees are high and many of them are in the fine print. Also, as of February 2018, support is overburdened and USD and GBP wire withdrawals HAVE BEEN SUSPENDED. Read the full explanation from the company’s official announcement.
Despite its flaws, CEX.IO remains a strong exchange. You just need to know a few things about it before getting started.
The exchange is registered with Fincen, is very stable, and has never had security issues. If they were more transparent about cold storage and other security measures, I could give them a higher grade.
There aren’t many trading pairs and the interface is bare-bones simple. That might not be a bad thing, though. Margin trading options are also a major plus.
Buying with a credit card, fill-or-kill orders (I’ll explain later. Nobody gets hurt), and a simple buy/sell and trade interface? Can’t get much better than this.
Cex’s fees are on the high side, but you pay a premium for the convenience. Buying BTC with your credit card is NOT CHEAP, but trades are manageable.
Verification is required but it isn’t too heavy unless you want an unlimited corporate account.
Support has been overburdened as of late (2/20/18) and verification/withdrawals have been a nightmare. The company claims to have increased its workforce 300% so we’ll see if things change.
For what it is, CEX is a solid exchange. It’s simple to use and you get your BTC easily, but you pay for the convenience. If you’re looking to break into the game, it’s worth the premium. If you’re more experienced, look elsewhere.
CEX.IO was the world’s first cloud mining provider. Founded in 2013, it dates back to Bitcoin prehistory. Today, it is a multifunctional cryptocurrency exchange that allows users to seamlessly purchase Bitcoin with a credit card and trade it (28 trading pairs). It is trusted by over a million users mostly for its UX, ease of purchase, and cross-platform functionality.
It offers one of the web’s simplest buying/selling mechanisms, as well as worldwide coverage, a range of payment options, and highly regarded financial stability (strong bank relations and financial registration in UK/US).
It is not nearly as large as some of its competitors (#39 in terms of volume as of Feb. 2018). But that doesn’t stop it from having a very liquid order book and fast trade execution. All of this adds up to being perhaps the most beginner-friendly Bitcoin exchange.
However, in recent times there have been real concerns about the exchange. Aside from the fees, there are some other major support drawbacks. Also, the functionality is still rather limited.
Beginners will love CEX.IO’s buying and trading experience. Seasoned veterans might not.
MUST READ: Is CEX.IO a SCAM? | Why is Everyone so Worried About CEX?
Safety is the #1 priority of all Bitcoin investors and traders. That’s why I didn’t find it surprising that the question “is CEX.IO a scam?” was one of the most common questions around the web.
The answer is NO. CEX.IO is a legit exchange that is incorporated in the UK and has serious financial certification. It also has a massive base of satisfied users. They will not steal your money.
So what’s the big issue?
Recently, there have been accusations of CEX.IO being a scam because users have not received their withdrawals and support has been unresponsive. However, this is just typical internet panic. Support is heavily burdened and CEX.IO’s payment providers are too. This has lead to many not being able to get their money right away. Here are some threads discussing the issue:
Each time support showed up to ease everyone’s concerns. It is simply a delay and opening a ticket with support will help speed the process up. Just don’t send them 3,000 emails per day.
Is CEX.IO Safe? YES. Here’s Why….
Aside from their own preventative security measures (cold storage, anti-fraud policy), there are external factors that prove CEX.IO is a safe exchange:
All of these factors lead me to believe that CEX.IO is a safe and reputable exchange….they’re just a bit slow.
CEX.IO “Hidden Fees” Explained | What Are CEX.IO Fees for Buying With a Credit Card?
CEX.IO has high fees for buying BTC, but it’s the “hidden” fees that have the internet up in arms. Let’s start with some of the basic fees first before finding out why they have such high hidden costs.
If you want to buy BTC with a credit card, you will be charged a transaction fee of 7%. Example: If you buy $1,000 of BTC, you only get $930.
The exchange employs a volume-tiered, maker/taker fee schedule. Fees range anywhere from .25% for takers at most to 0% for makers at high volume. For an explanation of maker/taker fees, see this helpful article from CryptoCurrency Facts.
Margin Trading Fees
0%-2%. For the full fee schedule, please visit the fees section of CEX.IO’s website.
What Are CEX.IO’s Payment Options for US/EU Customers?
One reason beginners love this company is because of the range of currency options. CEX.IO accepts credit cards, bank wires, crypto, and fiat currency (USD,EUR,GBP,RUB). The fees for deposits and withdrawals are reasonable. Here is the fee chart from the site:
Why Does the Internet Hate CEX.IO’s “Hidden Fees”
When you go to buy BTC or trade crypto on CEX.IO, you’ll immediately notice something fishy going on: exchange rates are WAY higher than other exchanges.
I decided to quickly compare what $1,000 would buy you from CEX.IO and what it would get you on the open market (2/20/18).
On the Open Market
Buying BTC from CEX.IO costs almost 10% more than on the open market. Now say you are buying with a credit card—not only are you getting about 10% less than you should, you are also paying a 7% transaction fee. In total, you are paying ~17% vig. That’s STEEP. It depends on how much you value your convenience.
One justification for the higher prices is because the exchange needs to compensate for its “fill-or-kill” trading mechanism.
What is Fill or Kill Trading? – Fill-or-Kill (FOK) is a type of trading where the order must either be filled completely or killed. In essence, what this means is that if you agree to buy 1 BTC at a certain rate, you will definitely receive it at that rate (or a lower rate). For example, on other exchanges, you place an offer to buy at a certain price and wait for that order to be filled by the market. It might get only partially filled or not filled at all. On CEX.IO, that price is guaranteed. Here’s a great explainer video on fill or kill orders from the NY Institute of Finance.
How do CEX.IO’s Fees Compare?
CEX.IO has some heavy fees. But here’s how they stack up to competitors in other areas.
How to Buy Bitcoin on CEX.IO | Signup, Verification, Buying, and Trading BTC
NOTE: DUE TO OVERLOAD, NEW USER REGISTRATIONS HAVE BEEN SUSPENDED UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE. REGISTRATION WILL BE OPEN AGAIN SOON. (February, 2018).
Signing up at CEX.IO is relatively easy and getting verified isn’t as difficult as it is at some other exchanges. Here’s how to get started.
1) Register and Verify Your Email
2) Set up Two-Factor Authentication
3) Get Verified
Starting March, 2018 all accounts MUST BE VERIFIED in order to use CEX.IO. All current accounts that are unverified will not be able to access any of Cex.IO’s services. Verification comes in tiers and is relatively easy. Verification requirements will vary by country. A few of the normal documents are:
CEX.IO currently has different tiers with differing levels of verification, capabilities, and limits (more on this in the next section). For a full explanation, see the website’s sections on verification.
4) Deposit Funds
CEX.IO offers a range of payment options. If you already have crypto, go ahead and fund your account. You can choose from Visa/Mastercard, bank (SEPA or US bank wire), or crypto capital to deposit. Click the big green deposit button from the buy/sell tab and get to work.
5) Buy Bitcoin
It doesn’t get much easier than this. Choose the amount you want and click Buy. It’s awesome.
What Are CEX.IO’s Limits for Verified Users?
As it stands, CEX.IO currently has 4 different levels of verification, each with their own limits and capabilities. Note that as of March, 2018 Basic will no longer be available. Limits for VISA are as follows as it stands now:
For bank transfers, Verified accounts are subject to a $200,000 daily limit and $500,000 monthly limit. Verified Plus and Corporate accounts have no limits.
CEX.IO Reviews 2018 | Is CEX.IO Trustworthy?
The web can be a dark and scary place. It is anything but kind to things that it doesn’t like. That’s why I was surprised that CEX.IO held up pretty well despite a large number of complaints. In general, the community likes the ease of purchase and convenience but despises its so-called “hidden” fees. Also, support has been a whipping boy for Reddit users of all names, ages, and creeds.
Here’s a quick look at the good, the bad, and the ugly.
When it comes to panic, it’s best to let cooler heads prevail. So that means when people are going crazy about not getting their money, it’s best to listen to people with well reasoned arguments rather than anonymous forum users spouting hate speech. Some respectable outlets think pretty highly of CEX.IO. For example:
Positive reviews focus on how great it is for beginners and how wide the payment options are. In general, it is seen as a very reputable, beginner-friendly, and convenient exchange.
The internet? Full of trash talk and negativity? Well, I never! Negative reviews focus mainly on prices (which is funny, since nobody is forcing anyone to use this exchange) and waiting times. Customer support is seen as good in general….when it responds. Criticisms range from calling it shady to calling it an outright scam.
In general, the negatives are a bit of an overreaction. I’ve already covered why that is, so view the earlier sections to get a better understanding.
Top 3 Alternative Brokers for CEX.IO
CEX.IO doesn’t skimp on the fees. You pay dearly for convenience. Here are some alternative brokers for buying Bitcoin without cashing in your sacred family heirlooms.
It’s a base for those entering the world of crypto. It’s got coins. It’s Coinbase. Coinbase is the leading broker in the world. More than $50 billion dollars worth of crypto has been exchanged here by more than 10 million customers. If you want to get Bitcoin fast at a rate less than half of CEX.IO, this is the place. If you live somewhere that Coinbase doesn’t support, use CEX.IO. If you live anywhere else and want to buy BTC fast, choose coinbase. FEE: 3.5%. Just be sure to read our review of the Coinbase Bitcoin exchange first.
LocalBitcoins is a peer-to-peer network where users trade Bitcoin directly with each other. It requires no verification and you can buy BTC with any means of payment 100% anonymously. Technically, there is no fee because the exchange is not involved in the transaction; however, you will find higher Bitcoin prices. The upside is that you can use anything of value to buy BTC. The downside is the risk involved. Make sure to read our full review of LocalBitcoins first so you know how to trade safely.
Coinmama is an Israeli broker that allows for fast and easy Bitcoin purchases with a credit card. One plus is that you don’t need to be verified to purchase $150 or less. It is a bit more expensive than coinbase, but still less than CEX.IO. The price on Coinmama already has their 5.5% fee included and you pay a 5% processing fee for credit card purchases. Expensive, but still beats CEX.IO.
Coinbase vs. CEX.IO | Which Exchange is Best for Buying Bitcoin With a Credit Card?
Brokering Bitcoins is a competitive game. And when you’re in this racket, there’s no way to avoid being compared to the top dog. CEX.IO doesn’t escape this fate. Coinbase is the unchallenged leader in the sphere, so it’s only right to compare this European rival to its stateside equivalent. Let’s see who comes out on top for buying your first BTC.
It really comes down to what you expect from your platform. If you are a newbie looking to buy your first Bitcoin, then Coinbase is definitely the superior choice; however, if you are European, the SEPA options (and RUB options for Russians) make CEX.IO a bit more appealing. Also, CEX.IO offers some very interesting features while still maintaining its beginner-friendly design.
Verdict: Coinbase for North Americans and absolute beginners. CEX.IO for Euros and people looking for some more advanced features.
CEX.IO FAQ | Is it Legit? Can Americans Use it? Do I need Verification? And Much More
Q: Why Can’t I Withdraw USD?
A: USD and GBP payments are suspended as of now until the backlog is cleared. Please be patient.
Q: Is CEX.IO Safe?
A: Yes. The company is registered in both the UK and USA with financial institutions and has had no incidents in its history.
Q: Why is Bitcoin so Expensive?
A: Because CEX.IO works fees into its pricing in order to offset other services.
Q: Does CEX.IO Require Verification?
A: Yes. Starting in March, all accounts must be verified.
Q: Does CEX.IO Support Ripple and Bitcoin Cash?
Q: Which States is CEX.IO Available in?
Q: I Haven’t Got a Response and My Money Isn’t Showing Up. Has CEX.IO Stolen Everything From Me?
A: No. They have never had an incident like this in their history. Please be patient and open a new ticket or go at them on Bitcoin Reddit. It is just taking longer because of overload.
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Final Verdict on my CEX.IO review
CEX.IO is a reputable, secure, and trustworthy Bitcoin exchange that excels at making life easy on beginners. It’s a great (but expensive) way to buy your first Bitcoin and ease into trading. Even though it is as simple as it comes, there are also some extra features that help you learn the ropes.
In general, the high fees mean that it’s only worth it if you value convenience and simplicity. If you’re in the EU and want a fast and easy way to score some crypto without worry, it’s safe, reliable, and deposit fees aren’t too bad. If you’re somewhere else that another broker serves, maybe you should look elsewhere.