Kraken vs. Coinbase: Which Should You Choose?

  Kraken Coinbase
Bank account  $4 to $35 1.49%
Wallet Free 1.49% 
Debit/credit cards 3.75% + €0.25 3.99%
ACH transfer 1.7% + $0.10 Free 
Wire transfer Free to $10 deposit, $4 to $35 withdrawal $10 deposit, $25 withdrawal 
Crypto conversion 0.09% to 0.015% 0.50% to 2%
Purchases $5 0% to 0.50% 
Trades 0% to 0.05% based on rolling 30-day volume $0.50
Extra fees  None $0.99 to $2.99 based on the amount

Kraken vs. Coinbase: Ease of Use

The user experience for Kraken and Coinbase ranks high. They both provide a reliable experience on desktops and mobile devices. Kraken’s stringent security measures are a bonus for large sum investors, but the added precautions can be trying for users who want to start trading quickly. 

Coinbase offers a quick startup process and keeps trading features and funding options simple, allowing inexperienced investors to trade right away. Coinbase enables new users to start trading up to $9,000 with only a phone number verification.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What Are Kraken and Coinbase?

Kraken and Coinbase are two of the most trusted cryptocurrency exchanges on the market. Kraken is one of the earliest exchanges, founded in 2011, with its home base in San Francisco, California.

Founded in 2012, Coinbase is also one of the oldest crypto exchanges. It was the first platform to offer an easy-to-use investor model for allowing users to buy and sell Bitcoin and remains a favorite among U.S. investors.

How Do Kraken and Coinbase Work?

Both cryptocurrency exchange platforms allow users to invest in various altcoins. However, setting up, verifying, and adding funds to your Coinbase account is much easier for U.S.-based traders versus Kraken’s more restrictive measures. 

On Coinbase, users create an account, confirm an email address, and set up the two-step authentication process, if desired. Next, you need to prove your identity using an approved form of identification. Once that’s complete, you can add your payment method and start trading. 

Although setting up your account on Kraken is similar to the Coinbase process, verification and transferring funds are more complex. Kraken offers Starter, Express, Intermediate, and Pro verification levels and says applying for Intermediate or Pro levels is akin to “opening a bank account.” New fiat deposits require a 72-hour withdrawal hold, and the mobile app isn’t available in the U.S. 

Is Kraken or Coinbase Good for Beginners?

Both exchanges offer learning tools, such as tutorials and how-to guides, which are helpful to new investors. Moreover, novices can start trading on Coinbase or Kraken without much experience. However, with fewer transaction types and a pared-down mobile app, Coinbase rates a little higher on user experience because of their easy signup and funding processes—perfect for beginners who have zero crypto trading knowledge.

Who Should Use Kraken or Coinbase?

Both Kraken and Coinbase are suitable for beginners, offering simple platforms and user-friendly interfaces. Kraken’s low fee structure and robust security features make it a terrific platform for high- or low-volume users who don’t mind the added transaction steps. But, U.S. users have limited funding options and don’t have access to the mobile app, making Kraken a better choice for international users. 

With widely available apps, hot wallet features, and funding options that include PayPal and debit cards, Coinbase users tolerate high fees for a more convenient way to fund their account and make withdrawals. The Coinbase platform is a better choice than Kraken for U.S. traders who value user experience over cost.

How We Evaluated Kraken vs. Coinbase

We compared Kraken and Coinbase side-by-side to uncover the overall cost of trading on the platform, including deposit and withdrawal fees, while considering supported fiat currencies. For both platforms, we looked at multi-layer security options and past incidences of security breaches. We also reviewed transaction types and how options differ for people living in different locations. Furthermore, we explored the quantity and popularity of supported cryptocurrencies while giving points for advanced features, such as offering a digital wallet or market watch tools.