Comparing and Selecting the Best Crypto Exchanges for Canadians: Our Methodology

Canadian woman is looking for the best Canadian crypto exchange Canada

To evaluate the Canadian crypto exchanges in this article, our team considered the important metrics mentioned below. The trading fees mentioned are for the lowest trading volume. When selecting the best crypto exchange in Canada, it's crucial to think about factors like deposit methods, user-friendliness, available coins, fees, app rating, security, customer support, compliance with Canadian laws and overall reputation.

What Crypto Exchanges Did We Test in Canada?

As mentioned before, we tested over 50 crypto exchanges to compile the list of the best cryptocurrency exchanges for Canadians. These are some of them:

Compliance with Canadian laws

We made sure that the crypto exchange is registered with FINTRAC and has a strong verification process, including a financial questionnaire, as mandated by Canadian regulators. For instance, while Kucoin may have numerous listed coins and low fees, it lacks FINTRAC regulation. Therefore, if your account gets hacked or the exchange faces bankruptcy like FTX, your funds won't be protected, unlike with regulated exchanges. Canadians are technically not allowed to use Kucoin due to this regulatory oversight.

Basic and Pro Trading Features

In our assessment, we took into account trading features for all exchanges, catering to both beginners and experienced traders.

  • Basic Features: These include the number of available cryptocurrencies for trading, deposit and withdrawal methods (along with any associated fees), the verification and KYC process specifically for Canadians, liquidity, and overall usability.
  • Pro Trading Features: We also considered advanced features such as different order types like stop and limit orders, charts, order book data, and other metrics that experienced traders might require.

Trading Fees

When selecting a Canadian crypto exchange, it's essential to consider several types of fees. Some exchanges offer free fiat deposits and withdrawals, while others do not.

To assess the cost of buying and selling crypto on each exchange, we conducted a test where we purchased $100 worth of bitcoin on each platform. This allowed us to calculate the amount lost to fees on each transaction.

In addition to transaction fees when buying or selling crypto with fiat or other cryptocurrencies, you'll also encounter fees for withdrawing crypto to a digital wallet. These fees cover mining costs, which involve validating your transaction and adding it to the blockchain.

Popular exchanges often charge a commission on trades, offering lower fees for more frequent and higher-volume trading. Most top Canadian crypto exchanges provide a comprehensive list of their fees on their websites for transparency.

Security and safety

We assessed the exchange's security by checking how they store digital assets in Canada, requiring a minimum of 95% in cold storage or using trusted third-party custodial services like Coinbase Custody.

We also verified if the exchange had insurance coverage, complied with Canadian regulations, and implemented security measures like wallet whitelisting, two-factor authentication, and email notifications for users.

Choose exchanges with cold storage for enhanced safety. Some, like Wealthsimple Crypto, offer insured holdings through Gemini Trust Company LLC™.

For the safest option, pick exchanges that require KYC verification during signup, ensuring privacy and security while combating fraud and money laundering.

Deposit methods for Canadians

Newton mobile app interface

When choosing a Canadian cryptocurrency app to purchase digital assets, it's essential to ensure they offer several deposit methods and accept CAD. We prioritized exchanges that allow Canadian deposits with Interac e-Transfer and charge 0% fees. Quick and cost-effective depositing of Canadian dollars is crucial for Canadian investors, and Interac e-Transfer is the preferred method as it is the fastest and most affordable option for Canadians.

While global popular exchanges like Coinbase and Binance may offer the ability to buy crypto with Canadian debit or credit cards, this often comes with high exchange rate fees (over 3%). To obtain crypto at the lowest cost possible, using a Canadian-based cryptocurrency exchange that allows Interac e-Transfers is the way to go.

Coin selection

Coinberry desktop interface

During the process of compiling the list of the best crypto brokers for Canadians, our expert team considered the coin selection offered by each exchange. While there are thousands of cryptocurrencies available, only a few Canadian exchanges list more than 100 of them for trading.

It's important to check if exchanges provide both popular coins like Bitcoin and Ethereum, as well as less popular altcoins. If you're interested in trading only Bitcoin and Ethereum, you might find them on most exchanges. However, for those looking to trade altcoins, especially for short-term profits and day trading, it's crucial to find a Canadian crypto exchange that offers a diverse selection beyond just Bitcoin and Ethereum.

Educational Materials

Not everyone who invests in crypto is well-versed in the technology and terminology so educational articles are extremely useful. We checked to see if the crypto exchange had educational information available to its Canadian users.

Spreads

Spreads are how Canadian crypto exchanges generate revenue. A spread is the difference between the price of a crypto bought and sold whereby the exchange keeps the difference. We bought $100 worth of bitcoin on each exchange and by subtracting the trading fees we were able to determine the spread of each trade. The higher the spread the more costly the trade. 

Ease of use

Bitbuy's Pro trade

It’s important to find a Canadian cryptocurrency app that makes the process of trading crypto as easy and intuitive as possible. Some reputable exchanges have advanced interfaces with charts and order books that might be suitable for seasoned investors, but anybody new to crypto might find those tools overwhelming. A simple cryptocurrency exchange platform that is beginner-friendly will give you confidence that you’re making the right moves. 

App Rating from Canadian Users

We thoroughly compared and analyzed over 1000 app reviews to rate the crypto apps on this list. We focused on exchanges that consistently release updates to address bugs and remain up-to-date. Exchanges with ratings lower than 2 were excluded.

To ensure the safety of our rating for the best crypto exchanges for Canadians, we avoided exchanges with potential security risks. Additionally, we verified if the app is available for both iPhones and Androids to cater to various phone compatibilities.

Customer support

Good customer service is vital for the best crypto exchanges. Some Canadian platforms offer email support, while others have phone, email, live chat, and social media support.

When trading crypto, things can go wrong. You may get locked out, face deposit issues, or verification problems. That's why you want an exchange that takes customer issues seriously.

We checked over 40 Canadian exchanges for 24/7 support and fast replies. This influenced our rating of the best cryptocurrency trading platforms for Canadians.

Reputation

If they’ve been around long enough, most cryptocurrency exchanges in Canada will have customer reviews. We compared customer reviews on Trustpilot, Reddit and get a feel for what these crypto trading platforms are good at and what their customers like and dislike about them.

If an exchange has more bad reviews than good ones, then it’s probably best to stay away. Ask people in local communities on Facebook or Reddit.

Extra Services Provided By Exchanges

We looked into additional services provided by exchanges for Canadian users, including:

  • Staking opportunities: We explored crypto staking opportunities to see how users could earn on their crypto holdings. Fortunately, more Canadian crypto exchanges have started adding this option over time. For instance, back in 2019, none of them offered it, but now, there are increasing opportunities for staking.
  • Crypto Credit Cards: Some Canadian crypto exchanges offer crypto credit cards that provide cashback in cryptocurrencies, often in Bitcoin. However, not all crypto credit cards are available in Canada.
  • Margin Trading: We checked if margin trading was available to Canadians since it's subject to regulations, and not all exchanges offer this feature.
  • Spot (Pair) Trading: The number of cryptocurrency pairs offered by an exchange varies. We considered the availability of various pairs as it provides more trading options for users.
  • OTC Desk: Not every exchange has an OTC desk, which is crucial for investors dealing with large amounts of cryptocurrency. We took into account whether a Canadian crypto platform offered OTC services. Additionally, we compiled a separate list of the best OTC desks for Canadians looking to trade significant amounts (over $25,000 CAD) of crypto.

What’s the best way to buy crypto in Canada?

There are a few different ways to buy crypto in Canada, and the best method for you will depend on your needs and preferences. If you're looking for the simplest and easiest way to get started with buying crypto, then using a Canadian crypto exchange like Bitbuy is probably your best bet. Ultimately, it's up to you to decide which method is best for you. If you want to know more ways, check our big article on how to buy bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies in Canada.

How Crypto Exchanges Are Regulated In Canada?

While cryptocurrency laws and regulations are still being ironed out, Canada has acknowledged its growing use and has published official guidance for clarity. For example, you must disclose certain cryptocurrency transactions in your tax returns. In Canada, cryptocurrencies are regulated under securities laws and they are not considered legal tender.

What Crypto Exchanges Are Authorized in Canada in 2023?

Canada has tough regulations for crypto exchanges operating within its borders. Typically, decisions regarding the legitimacy of these exchanges fall under the purview of FINTRAC and the Ontario Securities Commission. For instance, the OSC previously prohibited Binance and ByBit for Ontario residents. As a result, these exchanges, facing stringent FINTRAC guidelines, opted to leave the Canadian market altogether. Nonetheless, some exchanges, such as Bitget and Kucoin, continue to operate in Canada without adhering to these regulations. While it's essential to weigh the associated risks and benefits. If you want to be safe, it's good to use exchanges that follow Canadian laws. Here's a list of those exchanges we recommend, from best to worst:

Which crypto exchange has the lowest fees in Canada?

There are a few different crypto exchanges that are popular in Canada, and each one has its own fee structure. Some exchanges charge higher fees for certain trades, while others have lower overall fees. You might think that Shakepay or Newton have the lowest trading fees in Canada because they are advertised as "no-fee exchanges". In fact, you pay high spreads on your crypto trading activities. After careful research, our team found out that BitBuy is the lowest trading fee cryptocurrency app in Canada with only %0.2 trading fees and free deposits

What’s the best altcoin exchange in Canada?

The most reputable exchanges with the biggest selection of altcoins for Canadians are Uphold (offering over 50 altcoins) and Newton (offering over 40 altcoins). 

Conclusion

Not all cryptocurrency exchanges are perfect, but if you keep these factors in mind, you’ll be able to find one that suits your wants and needs.

Author

Oleg is a Canadian citizen & crypto expert who has been trading since 2016. He started out with Coinbase, Kraken and Peer-to-Peer exchanges. After some time, centralized exchanges started charging crazy fees to their users.

He decided to review different crypto exchanges that operate in Canada and start a Youtube channel in order to educate Canadians on what kinds of things are going inside each one while giving them unbiased advice. On top of that, Oleg also has experience with NFT, airdrops, and crypto staking and he is constantly checking on new crypto assets.

His writing has been featured in popular Canadian media sources such as Toronto Sun and Ottawa Citizen.