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Wealthsimple Crypto vs. Coinbase: What Works Better For Canadians in 2024

Oleg Galeev

Last updated December 27, 2023

Wealthsimple Crypto and Coinbase are two prominent players in the world of cryptocurrency exchanges in Canada. While both platforms serve a similar purpose, they have marked differences. Wealthsimple Crypto is a Canadian platform, known for its straightforward and beginner-friendly approach, while Coinbase, with its global reach and comprehensive offerings, caters to a broader range of users, from novices to experienced traders.

Description

Wealthsimple is a Canadian trading platform that offers several popular cryptocurrencies. You can connect your bank account, move funds from different investment accounts, and buy crypto in CAD.

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

Over 30 coins, e.g. Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, EOS, Stellar, LINK, AAVE, Solana (SOL)Cardano (ADA)Polkadot (DOT), Dogecoin (DOGE), Polygon (MATIC), and a few stable coins.

 

50+ including BTC, ETH, XRP, LTC

Fees

Extremely High
3.99% buy fee
0.50% fee per trade

Pros

  • Offers 30 popular cryptocurrencies
  • Easy to use
  • Can transfer funds between investment accounts
  • Secure and trustworthy
  • You can set limit orders
  • $200M insurance
  • Free CAD bank transfers and withdrawals
  • 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

  • High trading fees
  • Cannot move crypto to a private wallet yet
  • High fees
  • Fewer coins than Binance
  • Complaints of bad customer support
  • No Interac e-Transfer

Account Limits

Low

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

Methods to buy

CAD Bank transfer

Debit card

Security

  • Coins are insured for $200 million by Gemini Trust Company LLC™
  • Fully regulated in all Canadian provinces
  • Touch/Face ID

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

Mobile and Desktop Trading

Both Wealthsimple Crypto and Coinbase have efficient and user-friendly mobile and desktop apps. The Wealthsimple app has 4.5 stars on Google Play and 4.7 stars on the Apple App Store, while Coinbase enjoys 4.1 stars on Google Play and a 4.7-star rating on the Apple App Store. The desktop versions of both platforms offer more functionalities, including educational resources, which are especially pronounced on Coinbase

Wealthsimple Crypto

Wealthsimple’s Trade app has a 4.7-star rating from 121,000 reviews on the Apple App Store, and a 4.6-star rating from 41,000 reviews on Google Play.

The app makes it easy to switch between all of your investment accounts, and see exactly how much you have in each one. The desktop trading platform is essentially the same and allows you to deposit and withdraw, buy and sell, and view charting for different cryptocurrencies. It has a simple interface making it easy for beginners. 

Wealthsimple desktop app screenshot

Wealthsimple desktop app

Wealthsimple crypto trading main screen

Wealthsimple crypto trading main screen

Wealthsimple mobile app screenshot

Wealthsimple Crypto Mobile app

Buying crypto with Wealthsimple Crypto

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

Wealthsimple Crypto requires new customers to go through the KYC process in order to trade and offer two-factor authentication. 

In your Wealthsimple account, you can use Touch ID or Face ID instead of entering a username and password each time you log in. Currently, there is no Two-factor authentication available. 

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.

When it comes to safety, both exchanges take significant precautions. Wealthsimple Crypto keeps 100% of its assets in cold storage, which aligns with the industry standard. Coinbase also maintains high security, with 98% of customer funds held in offline cold storage. It has additional security layers, such as encryption for wallets and private keys, two-factor authentication, and mandatory criminal background checks for employees.

Regulatory Compliance

Wealthsimple Crypto is insured by the Gemini Trust Company LLC™ which covers $200 million. Wealthsimple is fully regulated in Canada and has been a staple for Canadian investments since 2016. It's a fully-compliant crypto platform in Canada.

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

Wealthsimple Crypto is a registered Money Service Business in Canada and complies with FINTRAC regulations. Similarly, Coinbase, even though it's an American company, adheres to international laws and complies with Canadian regulations as a registered Money Services Business with FinCEN. Both exchanges are monitored by Canadian federal organizations, ensuring that they operate within the law.

Customer support

Wealthsimple has a comprehensive help centre on its website and within the app. It is full of articles about crypto in general as well as how to use their platform. They also have live chat support, email support and phone support, all available 24/7. Wealthsimple has good customer service and you will be able to find an answer to your question quickly. 

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.

Wealthsimple Crypto offers 24/7 support via email, phone, and live chat, while Coinbase offers live chat, email support, and recently added 24/7 phone support due to customer complaints. Despite these additions, Coinbase has been noted for long response times and poor overall service, with a low 1.6-star rating on Trustpilot.

Conclusion

Both Wealthsimple Crypto and Coinbase provide commendable services. However, for Canadians, Wealthsimple Crypto stands out as the winner due to its local presence, ease of use, excellent customer service, and no-fee structure. In contrast, Coinbase's low weekly buying limit for Canadians, limited payment methods, high fees, and inconsistent customer service make it a less preferable option.

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

If you find that neither Wealthsimple Crypto 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.