Architect (but passionate about crypto!)
I’ve been buying coins for a couple of years now, I’ve tried nearly all the popular fiat-to-crypto exchanges out there, and it takes so much time and dedication to find the service that ticks all the boxes.
I decided to finally make a complete list of platforms where I can get crypto in exchange for fiat.
FYI: As for Coinbase&Binance, although they are definitely trading-friendly, I wouldn’t want to keep my assets there, because I am very worried about all the security and centralization staff.
If you don’t want to end up in the “not your keys, not your coins” situation, you need to pay extra for withdrawing to the non-custodial wallet.
We all know how annoying this can get, so I prefer using less mainstream exchanges to get crypto transferred directly to my wallet.
These exchange fees mentioned were compared to Kraken once. I used something around $200 on each platform.
Simplex does make sure that your crypto purchases are smooth and simple. Once you go to their website, you’ll see a big inviting button “Buy Crypto” and you have no choice but to follow it. After clicking the button, the service warns you that you will be redirected to their partner’s website to finalize the purchase.
I had $200 to play around with and entered the amount in the corresponding field. The service wasn’t too transparent about the fees it collects: neither the exchange rate nor its commission fees were disclosed.
Forced to calculate the rates myself, I noted the total spent amount and what I actually received, compared it to Kraken’s rate, and turned out that the Simplex exchange rate is 16% higher than the market’s.
As for verification, it was an easy one. I only had to send a photo of my passport, no selfie needed, enter my address and phone number.
Curiously enough, Simplex didn’t even ask for my email.
Six minutes later I received the money.
However, I received slightly less than I was expecting.
My only guess is that while they were checking my documents, the exchange rate fluctuated.
Exchange fee: 17%
The interface and a really smooth buying process add few points to the service. I’ve been asked to provide an address, passport photo, and a selfie – a pretty standard KYC procedure.
While I was completing my last step, it turned out that the initial sum that I was planning on spending was higher because of the fees that they’ve added. So instead of paying $200, I had to pay $211.65.
Fifteen minutes later I received the coins in my wallet, but they were still in the pending status for 15 minutes more.
Finally, I got an email from Moonpay with an invitation to review their service at Trustpilot in exchange for a 50% fee discount for my next purchase.
Which I did.
Exchange fee: 8.7%
The pretty standard and quick buying process has one minor disadvantage: the service doesn’t freeze its exchange rate so at times of wild volatility you risk receiving a lot less than you hoped for.
I got my BTC only three minutes after the purchase, which is a lot faster than via other exchanges.
Although I was a bit suspicious about the exchange fee at the beginning – as it was unusually low, only 1.99% – I actually did get the exact amount I bargained for.
No hidden fees involved.
But the thing is, when I tried to purchase another BTC (cause it was cheaper here than on other exchanges), the difference was already 8% compared to Kraken.
So always check the fee, and maybe you can be lucky too.
Exchange fee: 1.99%
When I enter the desired amount on the service’s homepage, I didn’t see any indication of the exchange fees, just the total sum of the purchase. So I compared the price to Kraken’s, and there was a 4% difference.
And it turned out that it’s almost accurate as I, later on, found out that Mercuryo’s declared exchange fee is 3.95%.
To pass the verification I only needed to provide my passport and a selfie. But when I was about to press the “Buy” button, the price of a Bitcoin increased by $300.
At that moment, I thought there was some kind of cheating involved, but then I’ve checked the rate on other exchanges and found out that it increased as well.
I got my coins in half an hour and the whole buying process took me like 5 minutes.
Exchange fee: 4%
Once I entered the sum, the verification process followed: I uploaded my selfie with a passport and stated my address. The service asked for proof of address in the form of a bank statement or utility bills.
That was unusual as I’ve hardly ever been asked to prove my address before. Requiring this document in a bank takes time and there are also those who cannot provide it whatsoever.
Moving on, a few minutes after sending the proof of address document, I received a message saying that verification has been successfully completed.
But when I tried to make a purchase, it failed several times. Apparently, my bank didn’t give permission for these types of transactions.
The customer support suggested I wait for 24 hours and try to repeat the purchase, which I did.
And it worked!
Although I’ve used my USD account to buy crypto, for some reason the sum was deducted from my RUB account, so instead of the promised $207.98 I had to pay $222.79.
I’m still not sure why the difference turned out to be so significant even after talking to customer support. They’ve told me that my bank converted the total amount into RUB and deducted it from my USD account, so the total sum increased.
However, I do find it weird as I entered the card number linked to my USD account and no conversions were expected to occur.
Exchange fee: 13.8%
When making a purchase, I didn’t see the exchange rate, just the total exchange amount. At first, it was going pretty usual: I’m using my credit card and the sum is being deducted.
After the payment went through, I had to go through the verification procedure and that’s when things got tricky.
Indacoin does not suggest using a phone to scan or upload the documents – you must turn on your webcam and upload the docs via it.
Because of the poor lighting and low-quality of my camera, I had no chance of taking a decent picture and decided to cancel the transaction for the time being.
Luckily, I got my money back immediately as they were only temporarily frozen.
I reached out to customer support, and they told me that I failed to pass the verification, and they cannot check my documents manually.
Passing it on my own was the only option, and so I tried a dozen times more. Eventually, I did get lucky and verified my account.
Receiving money directly to my own non-custodial wallet was my main priority and I discovered you can only get this option when buying via the homepage.
But then I had to go through another verification stage – entering the phone number, etc. I couldn’t get the SMS message to any of my phone numbers, although I tried it several times during the day.
Customer support apologized and passed my issue to the tech team.
I kinda lost my patience and decided to buy crypto via Indacoin wallet and transfer the funds to my regular wallet manually. I bought 0.00407 BTC, but received 0.00472 BTC. A few more cents were deposited in Indacoin tokens, apparently, as cashback.
Having decided to withdraw the assets to my other Bitcoin wallet, I entered the whole sum and got 0.0047 BTC as a final withdraw amount (a few more Satoshi were stuck as Indacoin tokens).
But I eventually received less than that — only 0.00424 BTC – and consider this sum as a total purchasing amount.
Exchange fee: 23.6%
After I entered the required data, my credit card was charged and verification began.
I have to mention, that the KYC process is far from being flawless – the scanning service via mobile phone tends to hang and the webcam cannot read the numbers properly.
After a dozen tries, my docs were sent to the service, but the transaction didn’t go through, and I eventually had to cancel it.
After a few hours, I got an email saying that verification was successful, so I finalized the purchase.
Exchange fee: 9.17%
I did like the service’s interface, but couldn’t enter the Russian billing address (I live in Latvia, but I feel more comfortable using Russian cards because it’s not really regulated there) and had to use my Latvian address. Apparently, there’s a bug on the page that says:
Field reservationId is required
I tried to Google it, and Reddit users report a similar problem. Sadly, nobody has a clue what to do about it.
As I didn’t succeed in finalizing the purchase, for the purposes of this review, I specified the fees and rates stated on their website.
Exchange fee: 9.3%
I entered the necessary amount via the homepage and was pleasantly surprised that it shows a difference with the market average slippage. Then I got redirected to another page and had to enter the amounts all over again.
But I still didn’t manage to finalize my payment. It seems that Transak doesn’t work with Russian cards as well.
I also tried to use Revolut, but it rejected it too as they do not work with this provider. But I guess Revolut doesn’t support any cryptocurrency-related operations (only their own, which is expensive, and you can withdraw or exchange crypto there).
So just like with Sendwyre, I had to imagine that I did buy my coins with the commissions they declared.
I have a strong feeling that Transak and Sendwyre are working on the same engines because of the similar fees and transaction conditions. But who knows, I might be wrong.
Exchange fee: 9.3%
To sum it all up. I am exhausted after testing and writing all this down. But I have also discovered some platforms I will use next time (not gonna say which ones, I don't want it to look like an advertisement).
Interestingly, some of them even charge less in commission than the actual network fees, but this is another story.
To be fair, those bugs mentioned might have occurred because of the rising amount of users in the market.
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