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Top cryptocurrency exchanges methodology

How we narrowed down the best cryptocurrency exchanges per coin.

We analysed the range of cryptocurrency exchanges compared on Finder in terms of cost-effectiveness, the total time to purchase each cryptocurrency and overall ease of use.

Bear in mind this isn’t an exhaustive list of all the exchanges out there. Some exchanges may be better for some situations and currencies. What’s best for you depends on your own circumstances.

Here’s how we looked at each of the three “best” categories.

Cheapest

We looked at total overall cost-effectiveness when buying each cryptocurrency with local currency, including all fees and hidden costs that may be incurred.

Cost-effectiveness was evaluated for first-time customers, so loyalty discounts, volume-based fee tiers and similar programs that a first-time user were not able to access were not considered.

We additionally looked at:

  • Trading commissions
  • Fees for different payment methods
  • Whether any deposit or withdrawal fees apply
  • Whether there’s any risk of fiat currency exchange fees

 
For exchanges, we also considered typical order book spread, and liquidity to ensure a typical purchase won’t result in unwanted slippage. For brokers, we also looked at their prices relative to current market rates, to make sure the cryptocurrency is accurately priced.

Clear pricing, where the customer can see exactly how much they’re paying in local currency, was highly regarded.

Please note that given the rapidly changing cryptocurrency exchange landscape, the number of different cryptocurrencies and exchanges, and the presence of various discounts and rewards schemes, we were not able to consider every single available option for all cryptocurrencies. We cannot guarantee that the selected exchange is the cheapest possible option.

Fastest

We looked at how long it takes a new customer, on average, to create an account, verify their identity if required and purchase at least $100 of the cryptocurrency.

The total time starts when first trying to create an account and ends when the cryptocurrency is delivered to a cryptocurrency wallet that the customer is able to access and make withdrawals from.

Where applicable, this methodology assumes the customer already has their own cryptocurrency wallet.

24/7 service, without any fixed operating hours that may cause delays, was highly regarded.

Please note that people’s experiences with exchanges may vary. For example, one exchange might take longer to verify someone with an international driver’s licence, while another might do it faster, or one exchange might have a user verification backlog while another doesn’t. As such, we cannot guarantee that the selected exchange is the single fastest possible option.

Easiest

We looked for an exchange that anyone, without any kind of technical knowledge or cryptocurrency experience, can use to easily make their first purchase.

To be eligible for this category, an exchange or specific cryptocurrency broker must provide customers with the following:

  • A wallet
  • The ability to use the exchange on both mobile and desktop without needing to install an app
  • A customer service presence

We considered the overall intuitiveness of the design on both mobile and desktop, and how easy it is to complete each step of the purchase process, including account creation, verification and buying.

Clean website design and clear pricing, where the customer knows exactly how much they’re paying in their local currency, were both highly regarded.


Disclaimer: 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.

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