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The Cryptocurrency Exchanges in The USA With The Lowest Fees

If you’re looking for a cost-effective crypto exchange that’s based in the US, you may want to begin your research by investigating what Coinbase Pro, Kraken, Gemini, Bittrex and Poloniex bring to the table. Though those five US-based crypto exchanges cater to very different types of crypto traders, they all offer reasonable deals to each of their target demographics. Keep reading to learn how their fee schemes compare.

Editor’s note: This article was updated to reflect Poloniex’s recent addition of support for Circle’s USDC stablecoin.  

How to Evaluate Crypto Exchange Fees

New to crypto trading? If the answer was yes, here’s a quick overview that will help you understand all the most common crypto exchange fee schemes. If you already know the basics, scroll down for more specific information.

Understanding commission fees

Each time you execute a trade, your crypto exchange charges a commission fee. This rate can range from zero all the way up to a full percentage point or more, depending on a number of factors.

Maker vs. taker

Market makers add liquidity to an exchange’s marketplace. Liquidity is good for a marketplace because it allows trades to get processed quickly. If you place a trade on a low liquidity exchange, you may have to wait a while for your order to get processed. While you’re waiting, the market could change and you could end up taking a loss. Trades on high liquidity exchanges tend to be much quicker.

There are two different ways that market makers can add to an exchange’s liquidity:

  1. By creating a buy order that’s below the current market price.
  2. By creating a sell order that’s above the current market price.

Market takers do the opposite– they remove liquidity by snatching up low buy orders and high sell orders. Exchanges usually reward market makers by offering them lower commissions.

Flat rate vs. sliding scale commissions

Another way that exchanges encourage liquidity is by rewarding frequent traders. Exchanges like frequent traders because a busy marketplace means faster trades– and more commission revenue. That’s why the more you trade, the more you can usually save when you trade.

However, not all exchanges offer sliding scale commission schemes. Some exchanges– typically those that cater to traders that only place orders every once in a while– use flat-rate fee schemes.

Deposit and withdrawal fees

Some exchanges that advertise low commission rates make up for that by charging high deposit and withdrawal fees. Be sure to find out how much you’ll pay to initiate a transfer before you sign up with a crypto exchange.

In-house token benefits

A growing number of crypto exchanges are creating their own cryptocoins. Holders of these in-house exchange cryptocoins enjoy reduced commissions, bonuses, airdrops and other benefits. Learn more about exchange tokens at the link.

Related: Exchange Coins 101: Benefits and Bonuses from In-House Tokens

Beware of so-called “zero commission” exchanges

Many crypto exchanges that advertise zero fee commission deals are actually crypto resellers. Once you place your order, they take care of the rest of the buying process for you. This “convenience” is actually very costly. The prices crypto resellers offer their customers can be anywhere from 5% to 33% more than the actual market price of whatever coin you’re trying to buy.

Related: There Is No Such Thing as Zero Fee Exchanges – An In-Depth Look

The Best Low Fee Crypto Exchanges in the USA

Coinbase Pro, Kraken, Gemini, Bittrex and Poloniex are five of the most popular low-cost crypto exchanges in the United States. Here’s a high-level look at how they compare.

Coinbase Pro (formerly GDAX) offers commission-free maker trades

  • Commission fee: Starts at 0% maker / 0.3% taker.
  • Commission discounts for high volume traders: Yes.
  • Deposit fees: Crypto deposits are free. There’s a flat $10 fee for USD deposits.
  • Withdrawal fees: Crypto withdrawals are free. There’s a flat $25 fee for USD withdrawals.
Source: Coinbase

The professional version of Coinbase– one of the most well-known US-based crypto exchanges– offers 0% commission to traders that add liquidity to its market. The starting 0.3% market taker commission fee is a bit steep, though. Another potential downside: Coinbase Pro charges more than other exchanges for USD deposits and withdrawals.

Related: GDAX Review: Coinbase for Advanced Traders

Kraken is an all-around solid exchange that supports fiat and a wide range of altcoins

  • Commission fee: Most trade pairs start at 0.16% maker / 0.24% taker.
  • Commission discounts for high volume traders: Yes.
  • Deposit fees: Most cryptos are free. There’s a flat $5 charge for USD wire deposits.
  • Withdrawal fees: Crypto withdrawal fees vary. There’s a flat $5 charge for USD wire withdrawals.
Kraken review
Source: Kraken

Kraken– crypto thought leader Jesse Powell’s exchange– offers more altcoin support than Coinbase and better deals on USD deposits and withdrawals. Its commission fee scheme is average compared to the competition.

Related: Kraken Review: High Liquidity Markets for Advanced Traders

Gemini’s offers low commissions, but only to high volume traders

  • Commission fee: Starts at 1% maker / 1% taker.
  • Commission discounts for high volume traders: Yes.
  • Deposit fees: Crypto deposits and USD deposits are free.
  • Withdrawal fees: Gemini users can withdraw crypto assets up to 10 times per month for free. USD withdrawals are free.
Source: Gemini

Gemini’s starting commission fee is very high. However, Gemini users that move large amounts of money in a 30-day period can enjoy 0% commission trading for maker trades. Another upside of Gemini is free USD deposits and withdrawals. Gemini’s crypto withdrawal fees vary depending on the coin involved, but the 0.0005 BTC fee it applies to bitcoin withdrawals is in line with what similar exchanges charge.

Related: Gemini Review: Winklevoss Twins Seek to Legitimize Cryptocurrency

Bittrex offers free USD deposits and withdrawals, but only for residents of 20 states

  • Commission fee: 0.25% flat rate.
  • Commission discounts for high volume traders: No.
  • Deposit fees: Crypto deposits and USD deposits are free.
  • Withdrawal fees: Gemini users can withdraw crypto assets up to 10 times per month for free. USD withdrawals are free.
Bittrex review
Source: Bittrex

Formerly crypto-only, Bittrex now supports free USD deposits and withdrawals. Its 0.25% flat commission fee is on the high side of the spectrum, though. Another major downside is that USD support is only available in the following US states: Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Iowa, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Missouri, Montana, New, Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, Utah, Washington State, Wisconsin and West Virginia.

Related: Bittrex Review: Stable, Secure and Pricey

Crypto-only exchange Poloniex’s new fee schedule might make it more competitive

  • Commission fee: Starts at 0.1% maker / 0.2% taker.
  • Commission discounts for high volume traders: Yes.
  • Deposit fees: There are no crypto deposit fees. Poloniex doesn’t accept fiat deposits.
  • Withdrawal fees: Mining fees only.
Poloniex review
Source: Poloniex

Poloniex is one of the only US-based crypto exchanges that doesn’t directly support government-issued currencies. However, the exchange recently debuted USDC, which gives a way for its customers to use their USD funds to buy USDC tokens. USDC is a Circle-backed stablecoin that’s designed to match the US dollar. USDC integration and Poloniex’s new fee schedule may help it compete with HitBTC, Binance and other foreign crypto-only exchanges. 

Related: Poloniex Review: Large Basket of Coins and Wall Street Backing

Low Commission International Crypto Exchanges

If the USA-based exchanges listed above don’t appeal to you, you may want to research foreign crypto exchanges. Because US crypto regulators have created an uncertain climate for crypto businesses, many don’t allow US citizens to register. However, some of them do.

Here’s a brief overview of a few of the most popular international crypto exchanges that are available in the US.

Exchanges that support fiat currencies

CEX.io has low credit card purchase fees, but fiat withdrawals are not an option

  • Commission fee: Starts at 0.25% taker / 0.16% maker.
  • Commission discounts for high volume traders: Yes.
  • Deposit fees: Crypto and USD deposits are free.
  • Withdrawal fees: USA residents can only withdraw crypto. There are no fees for crypto withdrawals.
CEX mobile apps
Source: CEX.IO

UK-based crypto exchange CEX is convenient because it not only accepts credit cards, but also applies a low 2.99% fee to credit card payments. Its commission fees are competitive, as well. The tradeoff: USA residents can only withdraw cryptocurrencies. Also, only residents of the following states can join: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Guam, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Mississippi, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, Tennessee, Texas, U.S. Virgin Islands, Vermont, Virginia and Washington.

Related: CEX.IO Review: Great Option for Europe but Limited US Support

Bitstamp makes up for average fees with above average features

  • Commission fee: Starts at 0.25%.
  • Commission discounts for high volume traders: Yes.
  • Deposit fees: Crypto deposits are free. USD deposits incur a 0.05% fee (minimum $7.50, max $300).
  • Withdrawal fees: Crypto withdrawals are free. USD wire withdrawals incur a 0.09% fee (minimum $15).
Bitstamp Review
Source: Bitstamp

Bitstamp is another international exchange with a US presence that accepts credit card payments. The fee for that is 5%, which is average compared to what other exchanges charge. The starting commission fee rate isn’t pricey, but it isn’t exactly cheap either. Another downside: the USD withdraw fee is somewhat steep. High volume traders do enjoy fee discounts, though.

Related: Bitstamp Review: Trusted Exchange but Few Coins

Crypto-only exchanges

HitBTC awards commission rebates to market makers

  • Commission fee:  Market makers get a 0.01% rebate. Market takers pay a flat 0.1% fee.
  • Commission discounts for high volume traders: No.
  • Deposit fees: Bitcoin deposits incur a 0.0006 BTC charge. All other deposits are free.
  • Withdrawal fees: Variable, depending on market conditions.
Source: HitBTC

HitBTC is one of the few crypto exchanges that actually pay traders to place trades. All market makers get a rebate. What’s more, market takers enjoy a low 0.1% commission rate. This makes HitBTC one of the most cost-effective ways to trade cryptos on a day-to-day basis. The fact that it doesn’t support any type of fiat currency may pose a problem for some, though. Another con: HitBTC’s corporate leaders are anonymous.

Related: HitBTC Exchange Review – A High Volume Exchange with Anonymous Leaders

Binance newcomers can use Binance Coin to get cheap commissions

  • Commission fee: All trades incur a 0.1% fee. Trades involving Binance Coin receive discounts.
  • Commission discounts for high volume traders: No.
  • Deposit fees: Binance doesn’t charge any deposit fees.
  • Withdrawal fees: Crypto withdrawal fees change depending on market conditions.
Binance review
Source: Binance

One of the best things about Binance is that first-year users pay a very low commission rate when they use the exchange’s utility token, Binance Coin, to place a trade. Any first-year trader that uses Binance Coin gets a 50% fee discount. That means beginner traders can enjoy a low 0.05% commission rate when they trade with Binance Coin. That discount diminishes as time goes on, though. Another disadvantage: Binance doesn’t support any government-issued currencies.

Related: Binance Review: Fastest Trades but No Fiat Currencies

Cryptopia supports a huge number of altcoins

  • Commission fee: 0.2% flat rate.
  • Commission discounts for high volume traders: No.
  • Deposit fees: None.
  • Withdrawal fees: Varies, depending on the cryptocoin involved.
Cryptopia Review
Source: Cryptopia

Though Cryptopia’s 0.2% flat rate is not very competitive compared to other crypto-only exchanges, it’s worth looking into if altcoin diversity is your priority. Cryptopia supports more coins than any other exchange we’ve run across thus far. This exchange’s withdrawal fees vary, but the 0.0005 BTC withdrawal fee for bitcoin is reasonable.

Related: Cryptopia Review: Hundreds of Altcoins but Small Volume

Final Thoughts

If you’re a frequent US-based crypto trader and you want to save money, Binance may be the best choice. Binance has had the luxury of less regulatory uncertainty because its located in Malta. Malta’s regulators have taken a technology-first approach to defining the rules of the road. If US regulators do a better job of clarifying laws around cryptocurrency, then more exchanges like Poloniex– the US-based version of Binance– will begin appearing.

The best US-based exchange for occasional crypto traders is a tie between Kraken and Coinbase Pro. If you intend to make deposits and withdrawals on an occasional basis, Coinbase Pro might be the ideal choice. Kraken charges less for deposits and withdrawals, but its commission rate is slightly higher.

Alex Munkachy

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