About Coinbase

In business since 2012 and based out of San Francisco, CA, Coinbase is a web-based digital wallet that allows you to send and receive bitcoins. The company is backed by several large venture capital firms, and claims to hold 617,000 consumer wallets, 16,000 merchants, as well as integration with U.S. banks.

Coinbase holds a C- rating with the Better Business Bureau, which is based on two closed complaints within the past three years. From a customer satisfaction standpoint, the company appears to have a mainly positive reputation, though online reviews are somewhat scarce due to the company’s newness.

By far the most common complaint we found is the amount of time it takes for Coinbase to approve your transaction.

Bitcoin valuations are volatile (e.g. they change often – similar to stocks), so you may purchase yours at one price, but after the minimum four-day waiting period has passed, find that it has significantly increased or decreased in value. However, Coinbase’s newer Instant Buy feature appears to directly address this concern.

What are Bitcoins?

In order to understand the benefit of using a “digital wallet” such as Coinbase, it’s important to first understand what bitcoins are.

Bitcoins have been in use since 2009, and represent a digital peer-to-peer payment system. Each bitcoin represents one unit of currency, and are specially encrypted to prevent theft, and to prevent the same bitcoin from being used as payment more than once. While bitcoins were initially associated with “underground” enterprises, they have more recently become accepted by larger vendors, such as the popular blogging platform Wordpress, and the dating site OkCupid.

According to Coinbase, bitcoins are the “world’s largest alternative currency,” and represent a “total market cap of approximately $10.3 billion.”

How Coinbase Works

To begin using Coinbase, you’ll first need to sign up for an account, which simply entails entering your email address and choosing a password. After verifying your email address, you’ll be redirected to your user home page, which will include a quickstart guide. This will help you buy your first bitcoin, learn how to accept bitcoin payments, and invite friends and earn a $5 bitcoin credit. On this home page, you’ll also be able to quickly view your account activity, current balance, as well as the ability to send and request money.

In order to add bitcoins to your Coinbase wallet, you’ll need to connect it to a bank account or credit card (Visa only), and verify your phone number. The number of bitcoins you can purchase each day depends on your “level”:

  • Level 1 – Verify your email address and phone number, and link your bank account. This will then give you the ability to purchase up to 10 bitcoins per day, and sell up to 50 per day.
  • Level 2 – Complete a purchase, and verify your identity. You’ll then be able to purchase and sell up to 50 bitcoins per day.

When purchasing bitcoins, Coinbase gives you two options: Regular buys and Instant Buys. Regular buys will take four business days to process, while Instant Buys will allow you to receive your bitcoins “in seconds.” Once bitcoins have been added to your account, Coinbase securely stores them, and allows you to send them out as needed, whether you’re investing, paying friends, or shopping online.

Coinbase also allows online merchants to accept bitcoins as well, as a whole section of their site is devoted to creating a payment button. Here, you’ll be able to choose your payment type (Buy Now, Donation, or Subscription), button style, and item name, amount, and description. Once you’ve filled in this information, Coinbase will generate the appropriate code so the button can be added to your website.

Coinbase implements several features to keep your bitcoins safe and secure, including AES-256 and SSL encryption, two-factor authentication, the Coinbase Bug Bounty Program, and even extensive background checks on all Coinbase employees.

Coinbase Pricing

Coinbase is free to sign up for, but will charge you a 1% fee for every bitcoin transaction you make. As an example: As of the time of this writing, one bitcoin cost $852.70, which means that Coinbase will charge $8.53 as their transaction fee. While the price of a bitcoin may initially seem very high, keep in mind that you can purchase fractions of a bitcoin (e.g. 0.1 bitcoin = $85.20).

Pros:

  • Allows you to quickly and easily purchase, send, and receive bitcoins.
  • Can be used by individuals as well as online merchants.
  • Numerous security features help ensure you’ll never have to worry about theft.
  • Free to sign up, and only 1% fee on all transactions.
  • Backed by several large venture capital firms, and is based on the U.S. dollar.

Cons:

  • Newer company, so there aren’t a whole lot of online reviews.
  • Many customers complained of the minimum four-day wait time for bitcoins to be available in your account, though their Instant Buy feature seems to directly address this.

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Read 82 Coinbase Customer Reviews and Complaints

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Average Consumer Rating: 1.3
Rating Snapshot:
5 star: 5 4 star: 0 3 star: 0 2 star: 3 1 star:  74
Bottom Line: 9% would recommend it to a friend
Showing 1-11 of 82
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  • Poor, poor customer service

    • San Francisco, CA,
    • Aug 5, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    I would recommend Coinbase Pro as the best exchange for cryptocurrencies. However, if you ever have a problem and you want to contact support, good luck, you're going to need it. I just got off the phone after over four hours. I spoke to four "support specialists", the third one hung up on me, after I finally figured out how to fix my problem. She was going to send me instructions on how to do something to my Google Authenticator (she never did). The problem turned out to be that I did not have the auto time and the time zone setting turned on in my phone settings. I told her that I had found those instructions and requested that she remain on the phone with me, she instead hung up. I have had problems in the past and even their higher-up email support was unable to resolve my issues. Three problems with their platform and support was not aware of how things work.

    Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this to a friend

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  • 1 out 1 people found this review helpful

    Coinbase is a scam!

    • New Mexico,
    • May 30, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    DO NOT USE Coinbase. I deposited my money in a Coinbase account. After I made the deposit, I was informed that I would not be able to access my money for fifteen days. They say this is to prevent fraud.

    After the fifteen day waiting period, I checked my account to find my money was gone. Coinbase offers no explanation for this no would they take any steps to correct the problem. The only reply I received was one informing me that the case was closed and that no further action would be taken.

    When I tried again to get any answers the reply was the same.

    This is the most blatantly crooked organization on the mainstream web if you ask me. How they can commit thievery and still call themselves legitimate is beyond me. Next time I'll take my chances on the dark web.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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  • 1 out 1 people found this review helpful

    Don't trust Coinbase Reoccurring Transfers

    • West Hollywood, CA,
    • May 27, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    I have to say, I won't use these folks ever again. I have been loyal to Coinbase for 2 plus years. All that I can say is, NEVER do an automatic Reoccurring Transfer.

    Coinbase charged me 100 bucks more than the spot price had been all day for a Reoccurring Transfer. Then, after further review, this had happened on all 6 of the same type of transactions. I guess that they think that you won't really examine the spot price paid on these type of transactions.

    I inquired, and all that I got back was a standard communication stating that prices fluctuate and that there must have been many buyers at that moment.

    Well, you can research the price on a given day down to the minute on their own screen of history for the last 24 hours. The price charged was nowhere near the spot price for that exact minute. I have the screenshots saved to prove it.

    And, they want to join the banking industry, and be part of everyday commerce? Think of how they can screw each of us further on even the purchase of a cup of coffee.

    While they were cleared of wrongdoing, insider trading, on OX when they added it to their range of coins, I don't see how. It fluctuated from up 300 percent plus to dropping like a rock in mere minutes.

    Ugh. Disappointed. Coinbase is fairly easy to use, that is why I have hung in there. Done now. Now, just trying to get the last of my money out. AGAIN, they have it, payment cleared, just holding and using my cash.

    Hasta luego, Baby!

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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  • 2 out 2 people found this review helpful

    Coinbase is like AIDS - if you know it, you avoid it.

    • GO,
    • Apr 30, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    Stay away from the Mother of all the Frauds!

    They made a very comfortable UI to attract more users, but as you use it and put your money inside this platform, your account is frozen and all your bitcoins are gone!

    Yes, Bernie Armstrong is really a true artist of the scam.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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  • 4 out 4 people found this review helpful

    Coinbase allows deposits, but not withdraws for me.

    • Washington,
    • Feb 16, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    Coinbase took my money and will not let me withdraw. I deposited several thousand dollars to Coinbase. They confirmed this deposit with an email and I can see the money when I am logged in. I was able to use this money to buy Bitcoin and pay their (very high) fees. However, when I wanted to withdraw my Bitcoin, they hit with me a long list of verification processes. Even after completing them, my Bitcoin is still frozen. Customer Service will not answer the phone for withdrawal problems "at this time." So, my money is gone. Buyer beware!

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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  • 2 out 2 people found this review helpful

    Once the have access to your account they can (and will) withdraw funds without your permission.

    • Manitoba, Canada,
    • Feb 6, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    Keep your money. Coinbase is not where you want to invest or trust. They can and will pull money from your other accounts for no reason and if you complain? They lock you out. Money and account gone. "Coinwaste."

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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  • 5 out 6 people found this review helpful

    Coinbase a scam

    • California,
    • Jan 17, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    As the saying goes, I wish I could give less than one star. I've been totally screwed by Coinbase - twice. Once when they shut down BCH trading for weeks without notice and I watched the value of my coin plunge with no ability to sell it. A day or two is one thing. But weeks without notice while it is crashing is an entirely different animal.

    A second butt mongering (still unresolved) is being unable to move my coin out of the vault. During months of trying, I get an error message every time I try to move ETH out of my vault. I've tried calling, emailing, "chatting" (what total BS, they have no chat just a search result auto-reply) over a period of months. No one ever answers the phone ("we are not able to support this or that particular issue by phone at this time"), and no one ever replies to email. They get your money and totally ignore you if you have an issue.

    It is an unbelievable scam, and I am amazed they do not fall under some regulatory agency that would have shut them down by now. I would not go near them with a 100-foot pole and I am on a mission now to spread the word on Coinbase as far and wide as I can online and on social media. They think they have you by the balls being unable to reach them.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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  • 14 out 14 people found this review helpful
    Updated review

    Update

    • Pennsylvania,
    • Jan 9, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    January 2019 - ha, I forgot I wrote this review (old review).

    Coinbase has made changes. Some improvement, some not. But they are (in my honest opinion) one of the less cluttered and easy sites to use. Limited offerings (not a real exchange), but facilitates a purchase of crypto with fiat.

    REMEMBER, these are ALL rehypothecating agencies.

    None of your funds/cryptos are truly safe from scam, "hack" or whatever the reason will be - you use the site to purchase, and TAKE IT OUT. If you don't own your keys (public number, private number - both), you don't own the crypto.

    Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this to a friend

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    • Previous review
    • Feb 8, 2017

    NO customer service

    Their customer service is non-existent.

    The payment processor is in the UK, and test debit amounts are processed as part of the registration. If using a debit card, it will be BLOCKED by the bank, and you will lose your debit card, hands down. Then you will have to deal with the bank to get your debit card back; then you will NOT be able to add it back to the Coinbase account.

    You can send them email after email to "help," and you will receive cut-and-paste answers which bear no resemblance to the original inquiry. I would use ANY other bitcoin vendor (like MultiBit?) but this. Any other, because it can't be any worse.

    Log-ins are also a problem, with verification codes not appearing promptly and passwords and logins not being recognized (exactly the same ones were used).

    If you use this vendor after my warnings; good luck! That said, the website setup is clear and nice, but they just have no staff for answers (or staff which knows anything). Very frustrating.

    (read moreread less...)

  • 5 out 5 people found this review helpful

    A total scam

    • Boston, MA,
    • Dec 28, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    When I originally set up an account, I was never informed that I would have to jump through hoops just to withdraw my money. Also, they never informed me that I need to give them my bank ID and password. No way! Here's a copy of the email they sent me during my 6 months of trying to get my money. Their response:

    It seems you are not able to access your account, because you are not receiving the 2FA verification code, since you have an old phone number under your account. Therefore, in order to be able to access your account and withdraw your balance, you must update the phone number to access your account through the account recovery process.

    Here are the steps to follow:

    1. Login normally to your Coinbase account with your username and password

    2. Once you have logged in successfully with your login credentials, click on the link "Code not working?"

    3. If you do not receive this 2-step prompt when logging in, try clearing your browser cache and/or following the above steps in your browser's "private" or "Incognito" mode.

    4. Click on "I no longer own the phone number ending in +1 xxx xxx 1234" (as an example)

    5. You will be prompted to start an Account Recovery process for your security codes.

    Please note that, while the pictures of the front and back of your ID can be uploaded from files, the photo of your face will need to be taken live by webcam. This process must be completed through the website and cannot be completed using the mobile app.

    This process may take 48-72 hours to complete. This process will only work if you are using SMS for your security codes - not an app. You will receive a confirmation that the process has been completed. Then you will start receiving your codes on your new phone. If you do not receive your codes on your new phone, or have any issues, please let us know.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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  • 4 out 4 people found this review helpful

    TOTAL FRAUD!

    • California,
    • Dec 12, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    Coinbase fraud! Delays and hold completely UNACCEPTABLE! Tragic joke. I bailed when they held my funds for two weeks, which I've come to understand is short, compared to some. Do not suffer them! Unless you like being LIED TO!

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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  • 6 out 6 people found this review helpful

    Alerted them of fraud, got back in a week or two, never tried to resolve

    • New York, NY,
    • Nov 4, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    SEC, FINRA, all government agencies should investigate!

    Even though one tells them there's fraud involved, they haven't gotten back to me for a week or two, thus holding me accountable for approximately $1000. Furthermore, even if currently reach customer service, they have no way to resolve it, as they pass it up to above, even though agreeing I am 100% right. I get a generic letter from the company subsequently with no explanation or rudimentary understanding of events, just denying trying to figure all out, as they should apologize.

    Stay away, as to this day, as of a year ago, I can't get anyone to speak to have authority to resolve the issue, let alone look into it!

    No customer service!

    No fraud intervention!

    No interest in curbing fraud and remedy!

    They DON'T CARE! SEC, FINRA, and the US Government should definitely open multiple inquiries, as they can fix a $1000 mistake of theirs on a fraud I had alerted them to, yet don't have the manpower to do so!

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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