CEX.IO Review (2021)

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CEX.IO Review
  • Beginner Friendly
  • Payment Options
  • Speed
  • Fees
  • Functionality
4.2

Summary

Founded in 2013, CEX.IO allows you to buy Bitcoin (BTC) and a wide range of other cryptoassets using a UK bank transfer, credit or debit card, Skrill, and more.

The fees on the CEX.io exchange are competitive (max 0.25%). However, you’ll be charged at least 7% in fees if you buy a cryptocurrency using its quick and simple ‘Instant Buy’ service instead (which isn’t as competitive as other UK options that I’ve reviewed).

CEX.IO is one of the world’s longest-running crypto exchanges. It offers an array of services – including a trading terminal, crypto-backed loans, interest-bearing crypto savings accounts, and a simple (yet expensive) way to buy crypto quickly using a debit or credit card.

But is CEX.IO a decent place to buy crypto? Do its features live up to expectations?

In this CEX.IO review, I’ll take a closer look at what the company offers. I’m going to discuss what features you can get when you open an account and I’m going to do a deep dive into the platform’s fees and limits so you can decide if CEX.IO is worth your time.

Let’s get right to it.

Advantages & Disadvantages

Advantages

  • Low trading fees on its exchange (maximum 0.25%).
  • Free UK bank transfers (via Faster Payments).
  • Wide range of supported cryptocurrencies (100+ assets).
  • Access to high-yield crypto staking on 10+ cryptocurrencies.
  • Available in most countries (including the UK, EU, and most US states).

Disadvantages

  • Some features are not available to UK residents (e.g., loans).
  • High fees when using its Instant Buy service (7%+).
  • Account limits are initially quite low.

What is CEX.IO?

CEX.IO is a multinational crypto exchange and broker that was founded in 2013. It was established by Oleksandr Lutskevych and was one of the first platforms that supported fiat to crypto traders.

It was originally registered in the UK as part of a company called GHash.IO, which offered mining services. Nowadays, CEX.IO also has offices in the US, Gibraltar, Cyprus, and Ukraine. It currently has more than 4 million registered users in more than 150 countries around the globe.

CEX.IO’s mission is to “provide a gateway into the world of an open financial system”. In addition to crypto spot trading, CEX.IO now offers a range of other services, including crypto-backed loans and interest-bearing crypto savings accounts.

Is CEX.IO Safe?

Due to its international reach, CEX.IO is registered with and regulated by a number of financial regulatory bodies.

It is not fully registered with the FCA (Financial Conduct Authority) in the UK as a cryptoasset firm, but it has temporary registration that lasts until 2022.

CEX.IO is also registered as a Money Services Business (MSB) with the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) in the US. On top of this, it has a Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) license from the Gibraltar Financial Services Commission (GFSC), as well as Money Transmitter Licenses (MTLs) in 31 US states.

CEX.IO has also never experienced a platform-wide hack in all of its years of operations. This is no guarantee of future security, but it’s a good sign, nonetheless.

Is CEX.IO Trustworthy?

It might be one of the oldest crypto exchanges in operation, but is CEX.IO trustworthy?

CEX.IO currently has a 4.7* rating on Trustpilot (21,000+ reviews), which is a very high rating by crypto exchange standards. This rating is also based on a large number of reviews.

There are a number of 4* reviews that offer good insight into the positives of CEX.IO. Many reviewers say that they enjoy all of the different account funding options that are available and others mention that the CEX.IO platform is easy to navigate.

From the 1* and 2* reviews, many users say that CEX.IO’s customer support team is very slow to respond to queries. Others mentioned the very high fees that the company charges, especially for credit and debit card purchases.

Main Features

CEX.IO Exchange

CEX.IO’s primary feature is its crypto exchange. The exchange supports spot trading on dozens of cryptocurrencies and it offers customisable charting tools.

Margins trading is also available with CEX.IO through the CEX.IO Broker. This feature isn’t available in many countries, including the UK and the US. However, it hopes to expand its Broker offerings to other countries in the future.

Instant Buy

If you’re looking for a simple and convenient way to buy crypto using a credit card, you can use CEX.IO’s Instant Buy tool. This feature lets you purchase any of the platform’s supported cryptocurrencies in British Pounds (GBP), Euros (EUR), US Dollars (USD), and Rubles (RUB).

All of these orders are made as fill-or-kill (FoK) orders and your price quote is good for 120 seconds before it expires.

However, fees for CEX.IO’s Instant Buys are very high (at least 7%), and the exchange rate normally isn’t competitive. So, while it’s a convenient feature, it’s one of the more expensive ways to buy crypto in the UK.

Earn

CEX.IO Earn is a way to earn passive income on your crypto. It offers both interest-bearing crypto savings accounts (not available in the UK) and staking services (not available in the US) so you can accrue interest on your digital assets.

When you place funds in a CEX.IO savings account, you can earn interest in exchange for lending your coins to investors. CEX.IO offers both flexible savings (with no lock-in period) and locked savings with term lengths of 30 to 90 days.

And when you stake your coins, you’re delegating your coins for use in network services in exchange for rewards.

Not all cryptocurrencies on the platform are eligible for staking and savings. The following table shows the coins and tokens that are currently eligible for CEX.IO staking and savings rewards:

 StakingFlexible SavingsLocked Savings
Tether (USDT)
Bitcoin (BTC)
Ethereum (ETH)
USD Coin (USDC)
Cardano (ADA)
Tezos (XTZ)
Polkadot (DOT)
Solana (SOL)
Polygon (MATIC)
Cosmos (ATOM)
Zilliqa (ZIL)
TON Token (TON)
MetaHash (MHC)
Tron (TRX)
Dai (DAI)
TrueUSD (TUSD)

Loan

CEX.IO offers crypto-backed loan services to investors in eligible countries so you can get quick access to up to €100,000 without the need to liquidate your cryptoassets.

Unfortunately, this isn’t currently available in the UK, US, Germany, and the Netherlands, among other jurisdictions.

The company offers loans with terms of 7 days to 1 year and you can put up collateral in Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), and Litecoin (LTC), among other cryptocurrencies.

They require a loan to value (LTV) ratio of 30 to 60% and interest rates vary from 8 to 14%. Keep in mind that if the value of your crypto drops while your loan is open, you may go into default and lose your coins.

Supported Countries

CEX.IO is available in most countries. This includes the UK, EU, and 48 US states (excluding New York and Virginia),

What countries cannot use CEX.IO?

Although most investors can use CEX.IO, the company maintains a list of unsupported countries that you can check out.

Supported Cryptocurrencies

Investors with CEX.IO can buy and sell over 100 cryptocurrencies, which is a whole lot more than you can find at most exchanges.

Some of the major coins and tokens available on CEX.IO include:

  • Bitcoin (BTC)
  • Ethereum (ETH)
  • Binance Coin (BNB)
  • Tether (USDT)
  • Cardano (ADA)
  • Solana (SOL)
  • Ripple (XRP)
  • Polkadot (DOT)
  • Dogecoin (DOGE)
  • Shiba Inu (SHIB)
Country-specific cryptocurrency restrictions on CEX.IO

Investors in the US, Canada, China, and South Korea have access to a restricted list of cryptocurrencies. For example, US investors can only trade 15+ cryptocurrencies due to local restrictions.

Payment Methods

CEX.IO supports a wide range of payment methods for trading on its platform depending on your country of residence. UK investors have access to the following payment methods:

  • UK bank transfer (via FPS)
  • SWIFT transfer
  • SEPA transfer
  • Credit and debit card (Visa and Mastercard only)
  • Skrill
  • Epay
  • Advcash
  • Crypto transfers

Note that there are restrictions on what payment methods are available to you based on your account verification status. Check out the section on ‘Limits’ in this article for more information.

Warning: Credit and debit card payments on CEX.IO

One of CEX.IO’s most popular features is the ability to buy crypto using a credit or debit card.

However, credit and debit card payments on CEX.IO are very expensive with fees of 1.49% to 2.99% per purchase. This is on top of the trading fees you’ll pay for making purchases on the CEX.IO exchange (maximum 0.25%) or on the Instant Buy platform (7%).

Additionally, buying crypto using a credit card in the UK and in many other countries will incur a cash advance fee (this can be around 3%, but it varies depending on the terms of your card).

Luckily, CEX.IO supports British Pound (GBP) credit card purchases, so your UK-based card shouldn’t incur a foreign transaction fee.

But, if you add it all up, you could pay more than 10% in fees in addition to whatever exchange rate you get in CEX.IO when purchasing with a credit card.

CEX.IO Fees

CEX.IO charges a complex system of fees for trading and funding your account. Here’s an overview of what you can expect.

Exchange Trading Fees

When you place a trade on CEX.IO’s exchange, you’ll be charged fees based on the company’s maker-taker fee schedule, which is as follows:

30-Day Trading Volume (BTC Equivalent)MakerTaker
Less than 5 BTC0.16%0.25%
5 - 30 BTC0.15%0.23%
30 - 50 BTC0.13%0.21%
50 - 100 BTC0.12%0.20%
100 - 200 BTC0.10%0.18%
200 - 1000 BTC0.08%0.15%
1000 - 3000 BTC0.04%0.13%
3000 - 6000 BTC0.00%0.11%
More than 6000 BTC0.00%0.00%

Instant Buy

All Instant Buys at CEX.IO are charged a 7% fee on top of the fees that you’re already charged for using a credit or debit card (more on these next). When all’s said and done, you’ll pay between 8.49% (GBP purchases) and 9.99% (all other currencies) to make a purchase through CEX.IO’s Instant Buy platform.

This is one of the highest fees that you’ll find among major exchanges. The only other major crypto trading platform where you’ll find fees like this is Coinmama, which charges about 10.9% for credit card purchases through its Instant Buy feature.

Simply put, this isn’t great.

If you only want to use CEX.IO’s exchange, the very high Instant Buy fees on the platform may not be an issue. But there are plenty of other more affordable places to buy crypto using a debit or credit card – like CoinJar, Crypto.com, and Luno, that you can consider instead.

Deposit & Withdrawal Fees

In addition to trading and Instant Buy fees, CEX.IO also charges deposit and withdrawal fees. The fees vary based on your chosen payment method and, in some cases, what currency you’re using.

These deposit and withdrawal fees are as follows:

 Deposit FeeWithdrawal Fee
Visa Credit/Debit Card2.99% (1.49% for GBP)Service Charge: Up to 2.5% + $1.20
Commission: up to $3.80
Mastercard Credit/Debit Card2.99% (1.49% for GBP)Service Charge: Up to 1.8% + $1.20
Commission: up to 1.2% + $3.80
Bank Transfer (via FPS)FreeFree
SEPA TransferFreeFree
SWIFT TransferGBP: Free
EUR: Free
USD: Free
RUB: 0.5%
GBP: 0.3% + £25
EUR: 0.3% + €25
USD: 0.3% + $25
RUB: Not Available
Skrill3.99%1%
EpayFree1%
AdvcashFreeFree
Domestic Wire Transfer (USD)FreeNot Available
ACH Transfer (USD)Not AvailableFree

There are fees on all crypto withdrawals from CEX.IO, too. Always double-check any potential withdrawal fees before transferring funds to your external wallet.

CEX.IO Limits

CEX.IO has one of the more confusing limits systems that I’ve seen with a crypto trading platform.

The company has limits based on your account verification level. They also maintain limits on how much you can purchase using Instant Buys and they have limits on all of their various payment methods. Here’s what you need to know.

Account Limits

Investors on CEX.IO are subject to certain trading limits based on their account verification level. There are three verification levels on the platform:

  • Identity verification: Anyone that wants to trade using CEX.IO needs to complete identity verification. To do so, you need to provide your personal information as well as a copy of your photo ID and information about your country of residence. US investors also need to provide a Social Security Number.
  • Address verification: If you want access to a wider range of trading tools, transaction limits, and funding methods, you need to complete address verification. This involves uploading proof of address, either through a utility bill, bank statement, or another similar document. You can also link your social media profiles to your CEX.IO account to speed up the verification process (this is optional but the company strongly prefers that you do so).
  • Enhanced verification: CEX.IO offers an option for “enhanced verification” where you can get unlimited deposits and withdrawals as well as priority customer service. To achieve this verification level, you need to provide information about your sources of income, such as pay stubs or tax returns.

The chart below shows the differences between these three account verification levels:

 Identity VerificationAddress VerificationEnhanced Verification
Daily Deposit LimitUS$3,000US$10,000Unlimited
Daily Withdrawal LimitUS$10,000US$10,000Unlimited
Credit and Debit Card Deposits
FPS Bank Transfers (GBP)
SEPA Bank Transfers (EUR)
SWIFT Transfers
Epay Deposits
Skrill Deposits
Advcash Deposits
ACH Bank Transfers (USD)
Domestic Wire Transfers (USD)
Instant Buy
Spot Trading
Margin Trading
Crypto-backed Loans

The primary benefit of completing address verification is access to higher deposit and withdrawal limits.

However, you can’t make bank transfers until you verify your address, either, so you’ll be stuck paying higher fees for transactions using credit cards and other more expensive payment methods.

Instant Buy Limits

All CEX.IO account holders have access to the company’s Instant Buy platform. However, this platform has both minimum and maximum purchase amounts that vary based on your chosen fiat currency that you can see in the table below.

 Minimum PurchaseMaximum Purchase
British Pounds (GBP)£20£7,500
Euro (EUR)€20€10,000
US Dollars (USD)$20$10,000
Rubles (RUB)1,500₽600,000₽

Payment Method Limits

Each payment method available on CEX.IO has maximum and minimum withdrawal limits. These limits vary based on your account verification level and are as follows:

 Daily Deposit LimitDaily Withdrawal Limit
Visa Credit/Debit Card$20 – Unlimited$20 – $50,000
Mastercard Credit/Debit Card$20 – Unlimited$20 – $2,500
Bank Transfer (via FPS)$20 – $250,000$20 – $250,000
SEPA Transfer$20 – Unlimited$20 – Unlimited
SWIFT Transfer£300 – Unlimited
€300 – Unlimited
$5,000 – Unlimited
500,0000₽ – Unlimited
£300 – Unlimited
€300 – Unlimited
$5,000 – Unlimited
₽ Withdrawals Unavailable
Skrill£35 – £10,000
€35 – €10,000
$35 – $10,000
£35 – £10,000
€35 – €10,000
$35 – $10,000
Epay$20 – $10,000$20 – $10,000
Advcash€20 – €49,999
$20 – $49,999
€20 – €49,999
$20 – $49,999
Domestic Wire Transfer (USD)$5,000 – $100,000Not Available
ACH Transfer (USD)Not Available$5,000 – $100,000

These limits are quite broad. When I asked CEX.io about this, I was told that it sets limits based on your behavioural patterns and its partners’ (e.g., payment processors) requirements. But the good news is that: “as a client continues using our products, and we know more information about them, have more history with them, the limits increase”.

There are 2 other things you need to know too:

  • New Customer Restrictions: In the fine print of its payment limits page, CEX.IO states “New customers (under 3 months from the identity verification) have a maximum daily limit of $1,000 and a maximum monthly limit of $3,000”. I was surprised by how low these initial limits were, but I’ve confirmed directly with CEX.io that this is correct.
  • Crypto Transfer Limits: There are maximum and minimum withdrawal limits on all crypto transfers on CEX.IO. Double-check these limits before making a transfer.

CEX.IO Alternatives

There are plenty of other crypto exchanges out there that offer similar features to CEX.IO but without the high fees or complex account verification limits.

For instance, CoinJar lets you purchase more than 40 cryptocurrencies using a UK bank transfer or a credit/debit card.

Fees for crypto trades on CoinJar are competitive, too, as credit and debit card purchases are charged a flat rate of 2%. Plus, CoinJar’s identity verification process is quick and simple – so you can normally start trading within 10 minutes of opening an account.

CoinJar WebsiteCoinJar Review

Alternatively, if you’re interested in earning interest on your crypto or you want advanced trading features, check out Gemini.

Gemini is a US-based crypto exchange that supports more than 50 cryptocurrencies on its Instant Buy and ActiveTrader platforms. You can also earn interest on most coins and tokens through the Gemini Earn program. Fees for Gemini’s Instant Buy are high for small transactions, but they’re still cheaper than with CEX.IO. You can also get cheaper trades with ActiveTrader.

Gemini WebsiteGemini Review

The Bottom Line

CEX.IO is a well-established crypto exchange that supports more than 100 cryptocurrencies and has low fees on its exchange (max 0.25%).

But it’s difficult to ignore some downsides:

  • The company’s fees for credit card payments through its Instant Buy feature are high. You normally expect to pay more for crypto purchases through a debit or credit card, but fees of more than 7% aren’t competitive.
  • You cannot deposit GBP with a UK bank transfer (via Faster Payments) unless you verify your address. You don’t need to do this (in the majority of other places I’ve reviewed) to access this payment method.
  • CEX.IO’s fee and limit schedule is a bit confusing. How much you’ll be limited to buying, selling, depositing, and withdrawing won’t be clear until you sign up.

Still want to check out CEX.IO?

Head over to their website to learn more.

CEX.IO WebsiteUK Alternatives

Any Questions?

Thanks for checking out this CEX.IO review!

Got a question about CEX.IO that I didn’t answer?

Let me know in the comments section below!

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