CEX.io Review and Comparison
Last updated: 25.9.18
CEX.io is one of the more popular options for buying and selling Bitcoin or any other cryptocurrency. The site offers a brokerage service that supports multiple coins and a trading platform for trading BTC, BCH, ETH and XRP. If you’re a beginner you should use the brokerage option rather than the site’s trading platform.
For a detailed review keep on reading, here’s what we’ll go over in this guide:
- CEX.io overview
- CEX.io services
- Currencies and payment methods
- Buying limits
- Supported countries
- Customer support and reviews
- CEX.io compared to other exchanges
CEX.io started out in 2013 in London as a Bitcoin exchange and cloud mining provider. At some point its mining pool, known as Ghash.io, was so big it held 42% of the total network mining power.
On January 2015 the cloud mining operations were closed and today CEX.io operates solely as a cryptocurrency exchange. CEX.io is registered with FINCEN and it applies standard KYC (know your customer) and AML (anti money laundering) policies. This means you’ll need to verify your identity before you will be able to buy cryptocurrency via the exchange.
CEX.io allows you to buy cryptocurrency using your credit card, a wire transfer or a SEPA transfer (if you live in the EU). The site supplies two ways for purchasing crypto – through a trading platform or via CEX.io’s brokerage service.
CEX.IO brokerage service
The brokerage service is a way for new users to buy cryptocurrencies through an easy (though somewhat more expensive) process. This means CEX.io will trade cryptocurrencies for you at a premium.
CEX.io brokerage transactions are based on Fill-or-Kill orders (also known as FOK). FOK orders are orders that are executed immediately and in full. This is different than placing your own order on the trading platform since different type of orders (i.e. market, limit, stop loss) will give you different type of results.
Bottom line – The brokerage service is a simplified way for beginners to get started with buying Bitcoin or any other crypto without needing to go through a complete course about trading. The downside is that for this to work CEX.io has to charge customers a premium so that they will always be able to fulfill their orders, hence the higher exchange rate (can reach up to an 8% difference).
CEX.IO has a very clear explanation on their site about how this service works, here’s a summary of it:
When you enter a trade, CEX.io calculates the price and freezes it for 120 seconds. You input the amount of money you wish to spend and you see the amount of coins you can receive. After you press the Buy/Sell Button, the system checks to see that you have enough funds available.
If the situation on the market allows the execution of your order on conditions not worse than you agreed on, the order will be filled (The order can also be filled on more favourable conditions).
If there is a sudden spike in the exchange rate, preventing the execution of the order on the agreed conditions, you will be notified. After you confirm the trade, your order is matched to other orders on the exchange, and your balance is adjusted. Sometimes the amount can be even greater than agreed on, but is never smaller.
CEX.IO trading platform
More advanced users can use CEX.io’s trading platform. The upside for using the platform is that fees are extremely lower. Just for comparison, while fees on a brokerage trade can reach up to 8%, fees on the trading platform reach 0.2% at max.
The trading platform is pretty advanced and supplies all of the features you’d expect such as market and limit order and even margin trading.
The trading platform has decent liquidity, allows cross platform trading (via a mobile app and several APIs) and also supplies you with advanced reporting.
Bottom line – if you’re an experienced trader CEX.io’s trading platform is where you should conduct your transactions (as opposed to the brokerage service).
Supported cryptocurrencies for buying via the brokerage service:
- Bitcoin (BTC)
- Ethereum (ETH)
- Ripple (XRP)
- Bitcoin Cash (BCH)
- Bitcon Gold (BTG)
- Dash (DASH)
- Stellar (XLM)
- Zcash (ZEC)
All currencies can be purchased with USD or EUR and some currencies can also be purchased with GBP.
Supported cryptocurrencies for the trading platform:
- Bitcoin (BTC)
- Ethereum (ETH)
- Ripple (XRP)
- Bitcoin Cash (BCH)
You can deposit funds to the trading platform in USD, EUR, GBP and RUB. The mentioned currencies can also be traded between themselves (e.g. BTC/XRP, ETH,BCH, etc.)
Supported payment methods:
- Credit / debit card
- Wire transfers (including SEPA)
- CryptoCapital accounts
One of the biggest complaints users have about CEX.io is the amount of fees and hidden charges the company has. For example, CEX.io can take up to an 8% fee from the amount of fiat currency you pay for a service. .
So if you buy $1000 worth of Bitcoins you’ll get only $920 worth. This means that the high exchange rate you see on CEX.io already includes the service fee within it, but no other fees will apply.
However, the fee stated above is only relevant to the brokerage service. Different fees apply to the trading platform. In order to trade you’ll need to fund your CEX.io account with either a bank wire, SEPA transfer (both have no commission on CEX.io’s part) or a credit card (2.99% fee).
Also, once entering a trade you will need to pay up to a %0.2 transaction fee depending on your part in the trade (are you a taker or a maker). For margin trading there’s a 0.2% fee as well. A complete table of CEX.io fees can be found here.
There are four different account limits on CEX.io – Basic, Verified, Verified Plus and Corporate.
Basic accounts can buy up to $1000 worth of Bitcoins per day and $3000 worth of Bitcoins a month. Basic users can only use a credit card to fund their purchases.
Verified accounts can buy up to $200,000 worth of Bitcoins per day and $500,000 worth of Bitcoins a month through a bank wire transfer.
Verified plus and Corporate accounts have no limitations on the amount of Bitcoins that can be bought.
In order to become verified you’ll need to supply a government issued id and personal information about yourself. For a complete list of accounts and limits visit this page.
CEX.io has a strong worldwide support of most countries and states except for the following exceptions:
Countries not supported for credit card purchases:
Iceland, Vietnam, Afghanistan, Algeria, Bahrain, Iraq, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Nigeria, Oman, Pakistan, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and Yemen.
Countries not support for wire transfers:
Afghanistan, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Guinea-Bissau, Haiti, Iran, Iraq, Kenya, Liberia, Libya, Guinea, São Tomé and Príncipe, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Tanzania, Tunisia, Turkey, Vietnam, Yemen, Zimbabwe.
US states not supported at all:
Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Guam, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Mississippi, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, Tennessee, Texas, U.S. Virgin Islands, Vermont, Virginia, Washington
Perhaps one of the most controversial issues about CEX.io is the user reviews it gets online. TrustPilot gives CEX.io an average rating of 5.4 out of 10 stars. Reddit also had a very short and worried review about the exchange.
The short reddit review I read didn’t shed any new light on the exchange. Most people on Reddit said they didn’t have any issues with it, and the original poster just didn’t understand the identity verification process.
For the TrustPilot reviews, it seems that the majority of dissatisfied user reviews are either complaining about the hidden fees (i.e. high exchange rate), the identity verification process or the site’s customer support.
The first two issues are usually related to people not understanding the fine print, and CEX.io has made relatively clear how much will you pay for your coins. As can be seen below:
Regarding support the main thing I can say is that CEX.io is definitely making an effort to improve on this aspect. I say this mainly because of two things:
- I see their representatives continuously replying to angry commenters on 99Bitcoins and also on TrustPilot (you can take a look at the comment section below).
- While not too encouraging, the company’s TrustPilot rating used to be 3.9 and now it’s 5.4 – that’s a 38% increase which is not something to take lightly.
While I can’t say the exchange is free from support issues, I can testify as an exchange user that whenever I had an issue in the past I always received a relevant answer in a timely manner.
Here’s a short comparison of CEX.io’s brokerage service compared to other popular services around.
CEX.io VS Coinmama
While Coinmama charges a 5.9% fee on credit card purchases (almost twice CEX.io’s fees) their brokerage service is 2% cheaper when compared to CEX.io. This is due to the fact that CEX.io fees don’t include the brokerage service fees which are sort of hidden inside the exchange rate. Coinmama supports credit card purchases and a wide variety of cryptocurrencies. Read our Coinmama review here.
CEX.io VS Coinbase
Coinbase charges a 3.99% fee for credit card purchase which is higher than the 2.99% CEX.io charges. When comparing the actual cost of buying 1 Bitcoin through both companies it turns out that Coinbase is 4% cheaper than CEX.io and is probably the cheapest option than all of the compared exchanges in this post.
CEX.io VS Bitstamp
Bitstamp is a respected Bitcoin exchange that supplies both a trading platform and a brokerage service for buying Bitcoins. Buying through Bitstamp’s service will actually be cheaper by 2.5% than thorugh CEX.io’s brokerage service. Using your credit card you can purchase up to $1500 a day or $15,000 monthly.
CEX.io VS Binanace
At the time of writing, Binance is still strictly a crypto to crypto exchange so there is no way to buy coins on it with a credit card or a bank transfer. Because of this it’s basically impossible to compare the two exchanges.
Until today I have used CEX.io several times and haven’t had any issues. I think it’s a solid exchange, with the only downside being the high fees they charge for their brokerage service.
In the past year or so the exchange has leapfrogged forward and has become on of the leading exchanges around. The user interface is very intuitive and even complete newbies will manage to buy cryptocurrencies with it. You’re good to go, as long as you are aware of the fees and the verification process needed to buy more substantial amounts of Bitcoin.