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Coinsmart vs. Coinbase: What Works Better For Canadians in 2024

Oleg Galeev

Last updated December 27, 2023

Coinsmart and Coinbase are two popular cryptocurrency exchanges in Canada. Both exchanges offer beginner-friendly platforms, but there are differences in fees, supported currencies, payment methods, and customer support that could make one exchange a better fit for your needs than the other.

CoinSmart is now part of WonderFi and the platform is not accepting new signups. If you're looking for the best crypto experience in Canada, we recommend signing up to Bitbuy, another licensed Canadian cryptocurrency trading platform operated by the same parent company, WonderFi. With Bitbuy, you will get access to an improved experience on web and mobile, staking rewards, Private Wealth services, and an advanced trading interface. Sign up using our referral link and get free $50 when depositing $250 on your account!

Description

CoinSmart is a Toronto-based Canadian crypto exchange that offers same-day deposits in CAD, EUR and USD. CoinSmart offers crypto trading for both beginners and advanced users.

Founded in 2012, Coinbase is a US-based cryptocurrency exchange with a simple interface making it a popular choice for Canadians looking to start their crypto journey. However, more Canadians are starting using local exchanges e.g. Bitbuy. Coinbase has 56 million users and became the first cryptocurrency exchange to have an Initial Public Offering.

Coins

Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, Bitcoin Cash, Stellar, EOS, USDC, Cardano, Dogecoin, Polkadot, Shiba Inu, Chainlink, Uniswap, Solana and more

50+ including BTC, ETH, XRP, LTC

Fees

  • Interac deposit fee of 1% for deposits between $100 - $1999 
  • Free Interac deposits for deposits of $2000+
  • Free wire and bank draft deposits 
  • Withdrawal fees are 1% 
  • Various crypto withdrawal fees
  • Trading fees are 0.20% for a single trade or 0.30% for a double trade
  • Up to 6% fee for credit/debit card purchases

Extremely High
3.99% buy fee
0.50% fee per trade

Pros

  • Low trading fees
  • Free deposits over $2000
  • Suitable for beginners
  • Advanced trading options
  • Interac e-Transfer available
  • $50 bonus
  • Trade crypto to crypto (no trading pairs needed)
  • Same-day verification
  • CAD, USD, EUR deposits
  • Simple and easy interface
  • Good for beginners
  • Secure exchange with cold storage
  • The most popular coins offered
  • Users can set up automatic recurring buys
  • Learn to earn crypto program

Cons

  • There is a 1% fee for Interac deposits less than $2000
  • 1% withdrawal fee
  • High fees
  • Fewer coins than Binance
  • Complaints of bad customer support
  • No Interac e-Transfer

Account Limits

  • $100 min to $10,000 max for Interac deposits
  • $100 min to $5,000 max for credit/debit card buys
  • $10,000 bank wire min to $5M max

High limit. Purchase limit depends on account age and other factors

Methods to buy

  • Credit/debit cards
  • Interac e-Transfer
  • Bank wire
  • SEPA (for EUR)

Debit card

Security

CoinSmart is partnered with BitGo to keep customers’ crypto safe in cold storage. BitGo is insured by Lloyds of London for $100 million, so if something were to happen to CoinSmart, your funds might be insured.

CoinSmart offers two-factor authentication to help protect your account.

2FA, coins held in cold storage with multi-signature wallets, KYC verification process

Mobile and Desktop Trading

Both Coinsmart and Coinbase have mobile and desktop apps for trading cryptocurrencies. Coinsmart's mobile app has a 4.6-star rating on the App Store and a 4.2-star rating on Google Play, while Coinbase's mobile app has a 4.7-star rating on the App Store and a 4.4-star rating on Google Play. Both exchanges also offer good desktop apps for trading, with Coinsmart's having more advanced features like margin trading and staking, while Coinbase's has a more simplistic design aimed at beginners.

Coinsmart

CoinSmart has a fun look with bright colours and cartoons. It is enjoyable to use. The dashboard shows everything you need to trade including options to buy, sell, and trade. You can also view your wallets, activity and simple market information. 

To use CoinSmart’s advanced features such as limit orders, you can use their advanced trading platform, which is accessible within your user dashboard. 

CoinSmart’s iOS app has a 3.4-star rating with 309 reviews. Its Android app has a 2.6-star rating from 94 reviews. Users of the app say the app crashes, is slow, and often freezes. This is why we would recommend using their desktop version.

accessing Coinsmart app

Coinsmart App

Cool usability and design of Coinsmart cryptoexchange

Coinsmart App trading screen

Coinsmart app mobile view

Coinsmart mobile app interface

Coinsmart mobile app interface while trading

Coinsmart mobile app interface while trading

Coinbase

Coinbase app offers a clean white background with simple text. It's user-friendly and easy to navigate.

Coinbases’s app is almost identical to its desktop platform making it easy to trade crypto wherever you are. Safely store your debit card information and you can buy and sell top cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin and Ether in just a few clicks. On the Apple App Store, Coinbase has a 4.7-star rating with 1.3 million ratings. On Google Play it has a 4.3-star rating with 453,000 ratings.

Reviewing Coinbase desktop version

Coinbase desktop interface

Coinbase main screen with features

Coinbase portfolio

Coinbase mobile app

Coinbase app interface

Made an order with Coinbase app

Coinbase app interface while trading

Security Compliance

Coinbase uses its own digital wallet for storing your cryptocurrency.

Coinbase keeps 98% of its cryptocurrency in cold storage. This makes it hard for thieves to steal crypto assets if the exchange is hacked. Cold storage is the most secure way to store cryptocurrency, so the fact that Coinbase does this is a huge plus.

In terms of security, both Coinsmart and Coinbase are considered to be safe and reliable exchanges.

Coinsmart uses cold storage for its digital assets, which means that the majority of its users' crypto holdings are kept offline, away from the internet, and in secure storage facilities. Coinsmart also requires all accounts to have two-factor authentication and employs a verification process that utilizes a database provided by data collection agencies to detect fraudulent information. Additionally, all deposits and withdrawals must be confirmed through Google Authenticator and email, respectively.

On the other hand, Coinbase also uses cold storage for the majority of its users' digital assets, and it holds 98% of its bitcoin and other assets in cold storage. Coinbase ensures the security of wallets and private keys by encrypting them, and requires employees to pass a criminal background check. However, they use SMS 2FA, which is not considered the safest method for two-factor authentication. Alternatively, users can choose to use Google Authenticator or a security key for two-factor authentication.

Both Coinsmart and Coinbase have implemented robust security measures to safeguard the funds and accounts of their users.

 However, it is important to note that no exchange is completely immune to security risks, so it is essential for users to take their own precautions as well, such as enabling two-factor authentication and keeping their login credentials secure.

Regulatory Compliance

Coinsmart is fully compliant in Canada. Not only the exchange is registered with FINTRAC but they are also granted status by Ontario Securities Commission (OSC).

Coinbase is a US-based cryptocurrency exchange, however, no restrictions for Canadians. Canadian residents can use Coinbase to their full capacity.

In Canada, both Coinsmart and Coinbase must comply with the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada (FINTRAC), which is a federal agency responsible for ensuring compliance with anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing laws.

According to Canadian legislation, crypto exchanges are classified as money services businesses (MSBs) and are required to register with FINTRAC. Both Coinsmart and Coinbase are registered as MSBs with FINTRAC, which means they have to follow strict anti-money laundering (AML) and know-your-customer (KYC) policies to prevent any illegal activities from occurring on their platforms.

Customer support

CoinSmart states that it has a 97% customer satisfaction rate and this claim is backed up by the 70% excellent customer reviews on Trustpilot. CoinSmart offers 24/7 support via email and online ticketing.

Coinbase customer support is very slow. It took them 4 days to address our request to a real person. Even though they offer 24/7 support and a live chat option, the quality of the support is bad due to a very high volume.

Coinsmart offers 24/7 customer support via live chat and support tickets on their website. A section with frequently asked questions and a knowledge base are also available to users, providing answers to common inquiries. Coinsmart claims to have a 97% customer satisfaction rate and our personal experience with their customer support was positive, with a problem being resolved within a few hours.

Coinbase has been criticized for its customer support in the past, with many users reporting long wait times for support and difficulty getting their issues resolved. However, Coinbase has recently implemented 24/7 phone support to address these concerns. On their website, they provide email and live chat support as well. However, their support team has a reputation for being unresponsive or slow to address issues, and they have a low rating of 1.5 stars on Trustpilot.

Overall, Coinsmart seems to have a better customer support experience, with quicker response times and higher customer satisfaction ratings. Coinbase has made efforts to improve their support, but still has a ways to go to catch up with Coinsmart in this area.

Conclusion

In conclusion, both Coinsmart and Coinbase are reputable and popular crypto exchanges. However, when comparing their features, fees, and customer support, Coinsmart emerges as the clear winner for Canadians.

Coinsmart offers lower fees, faster verification times, a wider selection of cryptocurrencies, and superior customer support that is available 24/7. Coinsmart ensures that they are following all the necessary Canadian laws and regulations, which guarantees their users that their funds and personal information are secure.

While Coinbase is a great exchange for beginners, it falls short for Canadians due to its high fees, limited deposit options, low account limits, and poor customer support.

Overall, if you are a Canadian looking for a trustworthy and user-friendly crypto exchange, we highly recommend Coinsmart as the better choice.

We recommend choosing Coinsmart over Coinbase for your cryptocurrency trading needs. By opting for Coinsmart through our referral link, you support us in conducting comprehensive independent analyses of crypto trading options for Canadians.

CoinSmart is now part of WonderFi and the platform is not accepting new signups. If you're looking for the best crypto experience in Canada, we recommend signing up to Bitbuy, another licensed Canadian cryptocurrency trading platform operated by the same parent company, WonderFi. With Bitbuy, you will get access to an improved experience on web and mobile, staking rewards, Private Wealth services, and an advanced trading interface. Sign up using our referral link and get free $50 when depositing $250 on your account!

If you find that neither Coinsmart nor Coinbase meets your requirements, we encourage you to explore our monthly-updated list of the best exchanges for Canadians to trade crypto. This list provides a range of alternative options that may better suit your specific needs and preferences.

 

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.