CEX.IO cryptocurrency platform review: Details, cost, pros, cons

CEX.IO bitcoin marketplace review

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CEX.IO is a solid cryptocurrency platform. But watch out for high fees when buying and selling bitcoin.

If you’re looking into using bitcoin to send money to someone, you will need a cryptocurrency platform.

CEX.IO might be on your list of candidates — it’s a London-based exchange founded in 2013 that lets you buy, sell and trade cryptocurrencies. In a sea of competitors, CEX.IO’s claim to fame is that it allows withdrawals to credit cards.

The question, of course, is whether CEX.IO is a good choice for buying or selling cryptocurrency. Let’s find out.

Product Name CEX.IO Cryptocurrency Exchange
Fiat Currencies USD, EUR, RUB, GBP
Cryptocurrencies BTC, DASH, ETH, XRP, ZEC
Deposit Methods Credit card, Debit card, SWIFT, SEPA, Cryptocurrency
Trading Fee Maker: 0-0.16%
Taker: 0-0.25%
Instant buy: 7%
Deposit Fees VISA & Mastercard: 3.5% + $0.25 USD, 3.5% + £0.20 GBP, 3.5% + 3.5% + €0.24 EUR, 5% + ? 15.57 RUB
Bank transfer: None
Crypto Capital: None
SEPA: None
Withdrawal Fees None

Pros

  • No commission for bank deposits and competitive fees for withdrawals.
  • Exchange rates typically within 0.5% to 2% of mid-market rate.
  • High maximum transfers with verified account

Cons

  • Supports US dollars, euros and rubles only.
  • Bitcoin-based money transfers can be complicated.
  • High fees for buying and selling bitcoin.
  • Bank withdrawals can be expensive.
Disclaimer: This information should not be interpreted as an endorsement of cryptocurrency or any specific provider, service or offering. It is not a recommendation to trade. Cryptocurrencies are speculative, complex and involve significant risks – they are highly volatile and sensitive to secondary activity. Performance is unpredictable and past performance is no guarantee of future performance. Consider your own circumstances, and obtain your own advice, before relying on this information. You should also verify the nature of any product or service (including its legal status and relevant regulatory requirements) and consult the relevant Regulators' websites before making any decision. Finder, or the author, may have holdings in the cryptocurrencies discussed.

How are CEX.IO’s exchange rates?

Exchange rates on CEX.IO are based on the platform’s market activity. Traders on CEX.IO buy and sell cryptocurrency while exchange rates simultaneously fluctuate.

Though the exchange rate can change, you’ll typically find that it’s within 0.5% to 2% of the mid-market rate — or the rate banks and transfer services use when the trade among themselves.

Overall, CEX.IO’s exchange rate is reasonable compared with other cryptocurrency exchanges. It’s more important to look at CEX.IO’s fees for buying and selling cryptocurrency, which can sometimes be high.

How much will I pay to buy or sell on CEX.IO?

Buying cryptocurrency

You first need to deposit fiat currency — government-issued money like US dollars or euros — onto CEX.IO. The exchange supports USD, EUR, GBP and RUB. Here’s what you’ll pay in USD to buy bitcoin.

OptionFee
Credit card3.5% + $0.25
Bank transferNo commission
Crypto Capital (for bitcoin)No commission

Next, you’ll need to purchase bitcoin. Buying bitcoin comes with a 7% transaction fee for the instant buy feature and 0-0.25% for trading. If you choose to deposit a fiat currency that isn’t supported by CEX.IO, keep in mind that your bank may charge you a currency conversion fee.

Sending the bitcoin to your recipient

To send cryptocurrency to someone, you transfer cryptocurrency to your recipient’s wallet.

Selling bitcoin

When your recipient sells the bitcoin, they’ll be charged a 7% transaction fee for the instant buy feature and 0-0.25% for trading. If they make withdrawals through fiat currencies not supported by CEX.IO, they could be charged currency conversion fees by their bank or payment platform of choice.

Withdrawing bitcoin as fiat currency

Now that your recipient has sold the bitcoin for fiat currency, they need to get the money from CEX.IO.

Here’s what you’ll pay per withdrawal option:

Withdrawal optionFee
Visa$3.80
Mastercard1.2% + $3.80
Bank transfer$50
Crypto Capital1%

How do I send money through CEX.IO?

A bitcoin-based money transfer involves a series of steps.

  • You use fiat currency to buy cryptocurrency.
  • You send cryptocurrency to your recipient’s wallet address.
  • Your recipient sells cryptocurrency for fiat currency.
  • Your recipient withdraws the fiat currency to their bank account or credit card.

Here’s a hypothetical money transfer through CEX.IO for sending $1,000 to someone in Germany.

$1,000 to Germany

According to the mid-market rate at the time of this writing, $1,000 is worth about 0.78 BTC.

StepResult
Deposit $1,000 onto CEX.IO via bank transfer$1,000 in funds on CEX.IO
Buy $1,000 in bitcoinReceive 0.72 BTC
Send the bitcoin to your recipient via voucherNo fee; your recipient receives 0.72 BTC
Your recipient sells the bitcoin for eurosYour recipient receives 810 euros
Your recipient withdraws the euros from CEX.IO to a Visa credit cardYour recipient pays approximately 4 euros in withdrawal fees, ending up with 806 euros

Case study analysis

  • In the case study, your $1,000 buys you 0.72 BTC. That means you lose 0.06 BTC — about $76 — from the purchase. Most of the loss comes from CEX.IO’s 7% transaction fee through the instant buy section.
  • According to the mid-market rate, 0.72 BTC is worth about 868 euros. But when your recipient sells the bitcoin, they receive 810 euros. Again, most of the loss comes from the transaction fee.
  • After all is said and done, your recipient is left with 806 euros, which is about $853. Throughout the complete money transfer, you’ve lost almost $150.

Is it cost-effective to transfer money through bitcoin?

Minimum transactions and available countries

When buying cryptocurrency on CEX.IO, you need to purchase a minimum of 0.01 BTC (and 0.1 for DASH, ZEC, XRP), while the maximum amount is 10. The limits are the same for selling cryptocurrency.

You can withdraw an unlimited amount in cryptocurrency — this means you can send as many bitcoin to your recipient as you’d like. The minimum transfer amount is 0.01 BTC.

For fiat currencies, there are different deposit and withdrawal limits depending on which type of account you have:

  • Basic account. Deposit maximum of $300 daily and $1,000 monthly with a withdrawal maximum of $500 daily and $2,000 monthly.
  • Verified account. Deposit maximum of $20,000 daily and $100,000 monthly with a withdrawal maximum of $50,000 daily and $300,000 monthly.
  • Verified Plus and Corporate accounts. No deposit or withdrawal limits.

Because of these rules, the amount you can send to your recipient will be limited by the type of account you have.

Available countries

CEX.IO is technically available to all countries. However, in some countries (for instance, Afghanistan, Iraq and Vietnam – see all the restricted countries on the CEX.IO website), credit card and bank-based transfers to the platform are restricted. This effectively bars many people from using CEX.IO.

What types of transfers does CEX.IO support?

  • Bank transfers
  • Credit card
  • Crypto Capital
  • Vouchers (for bitcoin transfers)
  • Withdrawals to personal cryptocurrency wallets

What to look out for

  • Cryptocurrency transfers can be complicated. Typical money transfer services handle all of the steps to send money. However, when you transfer money through cryptocurrency, you need to perform all the steps yourself.
  • Losing money on the exchange rate. When transferring through bitcoin, you’ll lose money twice on the exchange rate.
  • Facing currency conversion costs from your payment platform. You should consider exchange rates when depositing or withdrawing fiat currencies not supported by CEX.io.
  • High buy and sell fees. CEX.IO charges a 7% transaction fee when you buy bitcoin. It also charges the same fee when you sell bitcoin.
  • Opaque support center. It may be difficult to find the answer you need in CEX.IO’s help center because the search function often returns irrelevant results.

Benefits and drawbacks

BenefitsDrawbacks
Global servicesOpen to all countries (subject to government regulations)Credit card and bank-based transfers are not available in some countries
Supported currencies
US dollars, euros, Russian rublesMany currencies not supported
Withdrawal optionsBank transfer, credit card, Crypto CapitalNo cash withdrawals
Competitive feesNo commission for bank deposits; reasonable fees for withdrawalsHigh fees for buying and selling bitcoin
Competitive ratesExchange rates based on market activity — often within 0.5% to 2% of the mid-market rateExchange rates can spike from moment to moment
Transaction limits
High maximums with verified accountLow maximums with basic account
ConvenienceOnline-based platformYou complete all steps yourself
Customer service
Online ticket, email supportNo phone support; help center can be confusing
what do users say about CEX.IO?
CEX.IO continues to find itself nestled in top 10 lists of places to buy bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. Surprising, given a poor rating on Trustpilot. Most complaints are about with withdrawals — specifically longer withdrawal times than promised. We’re talking loooong: In one case, it took one online reviewer 1.5 months to get his money.
Still, CEX.IO’s support of credit card payments and relatively low fees continues to drive its popularity among crypto traders.

Next steps

To get started with CEX.IO, register for an account at the platform’s website. Consider using two-factor authentication with your account, which provides extra security.

After you’ve registered an account and confirmed your email, you can start your bitcoin transactions. Add a payment source and deposit fiat currency, then purchase your bitcoin.

Bottom line

CEX.IO is a solid platform, but be careful of the fees you’ll pay when buying and selling bitcoin.

Frequently asked questions

Image source: CEX.IO

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2 Responses

  1. Default Gravatar
    markDecember 18, 2017

    Hi, I deposited 500 euros at CEX.io via credit card. When is was available to buy BTC is was only 448 euros. Is this correct. They charged a fee on top of my credit card deposit and then deducted another 52 euros from my CEX account. Any help is welcome. Thanks.

    • Staff
      MayJanuary 3, 2018Staff

      Hi Mark,

      Thanks for your question.

      Sorry for the delay. Although I cannot do the exact math for you, there’s actually a fee of 3.5% + $0.25 when you buy BTC using your credit card on CEX.IO. Apart from that, buying bitcoin comes with a 7% transaction fee, and you may lose a bit of value on your fiat currency from the exchange rate. Fees on CEX.IO also vary depending on the transaction. So, this could explain the credit card fee you incurred and 52 euros taken from your account. Nevertheless, it’s always good to note that with crypto currencies, fees are possibly charged when you buy or sell, as to how much, that depends on the exchange platform you use and the rates they charge.

      Cheers,
      May

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