How to use Coinbase – Our Comprehensive 2018 Guide

About this guide: So, you have done your homework and want to get into the cryptocurrency markets. Coinbase is the most popular way to convert USD, EUR and GBP into cryptocurrency and to sell your cryptocurrency for cash. This makes it the perfect option for new comers coming into the market. At Coinbase you will be able to buy four of the largest cryptos: Bitcoin, Bitcoincash, Litecoin and Ethereum.

You will probably have two basic questions: How to setup a Coinbase account and how do I use Coinbase? This article will give you a straight forward answer to both these questions and we will also show you how to reduce Coinbase fees. You should know that if you want to invest in a more exotic AltCoin, then you will still need to buy Ethereum or Bitcoin on Coinbase and send this to a Cryptocurrency exchange like Binance. Terminology
AltCoin: Is simply any cryptocurrency that is not Bitcoin. AltCoin stands for ‘Alternative Coin’. As Bitcoin was the original cryptocurrency, the community refer to any other cryptocurrency as an alternative.

What Is Coinbase?


Founded in 2012, Coinbase is the worlds largest cryptocurrency exchange platform that allows customers to enter the cryptocurrency market with fiat (USD, EUR, GBP) and buy currencies like Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin and Bitcoin cash.

Coinbase has been enrolled in the prestigious Y combinator incubator in Silicon Valley and in August 2017 raised an additional $100M in series D funding at a valuation of $1.6Bn. Venture capital firm IVP, who led the latest funding round, have been early investors in businesses like Dropbox, Netflix, Twitter, Slack. Previous Coinbase funding rounds have drawn investment from from the likes of the New York Stock Exchange. With such backing it is easy to see how Coinbase has become the powerhouse it is today.

Coinbase is renowned for its regulatory compliance and friendly user interface. The security of customer funds is prioritised with user funds being insured and segregated – US customers are insured for a balance up to $250,000.

Coinbase cryptocurrency exchange logo

Coinbase Key Facts

  • Easy To Use: Coinbase is renowned for it’s easy to use interface. This makes it the perfect exchange for cryptocurrency newcomers.
  • Small Minimum Deposit: You can invest as little as €6 into cryptocurrencies on Coinbase.
  • Regulated: Coinbase is one of the few cryptocurrency exchanges to be regulated.
  • Insurance: Customer funds are insured and segregated. US customers are even insured up to a balance of $250,000.
  • Deposit Methods : Credit / debit card, bank transfer and PayPal for US customers.
  • Tradable Cryptocurrencies: Bitcoin, Ethereum, Bitcoin Cash and Litecoin.
  • Customer Support Methods: Email and FAQ’s.

Looking to invest more than $100 in cryptocurrencies using Coinbase? Good news! You will also get $10 FREE by signing up through Total Crypto!

How To Setup Your Coinbase Account?

First Step: Hit the Coinbase “sign up” button. Before making an account, ensure that you can see the padlock and “Coinbase, Inc. [US]” in the URL, so that you can be sure that you are on the real Coinbase site.

Check if on Coinbase official site

Second Step: Fill in the necessary details to create your account:

Coinbase account registration

Third Step: You will then get an email to verify your email address. Just click the “Verify Email Address” and you  will be taken back to Coinbase to complete the account creation process.

Top tip: Don’t forget to check your SPAM folder.

Coinbase verification email

Fourth Step: Choose your country and add your phone number.

Fifth Step: Fill in your personal details on the form to complete your profile.

Sixth Step: Verify your phone through SMS verification. Go to ‘Settings’  in your Coinbase account > hit the ‘Security’ button > then click ‘Verify a phone’.

Coinbase phone verification

Seventh Step: To raise your daily limits above $500 simply: Click “verify your identity”  > “Upload your ID” > upload your passport photo page or diving license.

Top tip: If you are having problems getting your passport accepted after taking a photo on a laptop webcam, just take a photo on your phone and submit it through the Coinbase app. Most people have slightly shaky hands when holding up an open passport to a webcam, which sometimes means a blurry photo and you not passing ID verification.

How To Make Your Coinbase Account As Secure As Possible?

Total Crypto recommends setting up 2 Factor Authentication to keep your Coinbase account as secure as possible. First, download an authenticator app on your mobile like Authy or Google authenticator. Terminology
Two-Factor Authentication is an extra layer of security for your Coinbase account. It is designed to ensure that you are the only person who can access your account, even if someone else knows your password. An authentication app generates a 6 digit code that only your trusted devices can see. This means that someone needs your phone and password to access your account and is much more secure than simple password protection.



Then simply go to “settings” on your Coinbase account and click “security”. You should then hit the “Enable Authenticator” button.

How to enable 2 factor authentication on Coinbase

Ensure you make a note of your Authenticator secret code, then click to setup 2FA and scan the QR code on screen through your authenticator app. The QR code tells Coinbase that the phone used to scan it is a trusted device. Only codes generated on this device will let you into your Coinbase account.

Coinbase QR code

Once you scan the QR code, your authenticator app will then generate a 6 figure code. Simply enter the 2-step verification code into Coinbase to successfully setup 2 factor authentication.

Google authenticator code Coinbase exchange

You will see a 6 digit code on your authenticator app on your phone.

You have done it! Your Coinbase account has been made as secure as possible. You can now move onto the serious business of depositing and reducing fees.

How To Reduce Coinbase Fees?

Congratulations, you should have successfully setup your Coinbase account. The next step is to successfully deposit funds to your Coinbase account, then you can go ahead with the business of buying cryptocurrency.

Cheapest Way To Deposit On Coinbase

The cheapest method is to process a manual bank transfer from your bank account.

  • How Long Does it Take? Bank transfers can take up to 1 > 3 days (Europe) or 5 > 7 days (USA) to appear in your Coinbase account
  • How Much Does it Cost? For European and UK customers Coinbase charges no fees for bank transfers. However, your bank may charge additional exchange rate and / or international payment fees. If you are based in USA, Singapore, Canada or  Australia you will pay 1.49% in fees for bank transfer deposits on Coinbase. We will show non European users how to avoid this Coinbase fee shortly.
  • What If You Want To Use A Credit or Debit Card To Deposit? Coinbase will charge you 3.99% to use this method. However, you will be able to buy cryptocurrency instantly. It’s up to you if you think this is worth it.

How To Deposit On Coinbase?

  • Head over to the ‘Buy/Sell’ page on your Coinbase account.
    How to navigate to Buy/Sell on Coinbase
  • Add a payment method to your Coinbase account.
    How to add a payment method to your Coinbase account
  • Choose your deposit method: You can deposit a ‘Bank Account’ transfer – this method has lower deposit fees, but the transfer can take between 2 and 5 days to be credited to your Coinbase account. Or you can deposit instantly through a Credit/Debit card. With either method, just enter your payment details and process the transaction to fund your account. Once submitted, just sit back and wait for the credit to be applied to your account. You will get an email to telling you when your deposit has been successful.
    Adding a bank account or credit / debit card to your Coinbase account

Coinbase & GDAX Limits – For Fully Verified Customers

  •  customers may buy $50,000 worth of cryptocurrencies daily.
  •  customers may have a maximum of €30,000 in their accounts at any time.

Coinbase & GDAX Supported Payment Methods

  •  SEPA bank account or credit / debit card in Euros.
    • Note: Coinbase is working on UK bank wires to enable UK customers to transact in GBP.
  •  SEPA bank account or credit / debit card in Euros.
    • Note: Coinbase is no longer supporting linking new credit cards and some credit card issuers are blocking cryptocurrency transactions. Can’t deposit? Use a debit card or bank transfer.
  •  Debit / debit card or bank transfer.
    • Note: Coinbase is no longer supporting linking new credit cards and some credit card issuers are blocking cryptocurrency transactions. Can’t deposit? Use a debit card or bank transfer.
  •  Debit card.
    • Note: Canadian customers must pass ID verification before making cryptocurrency purchases.
  •  Bank transfers are processed by Xfers. Singapore customers unfortunately have to jump through additional steps to deposit. We go over these below:

First Step: Create an Xfer account through Coinbase by providing your phone number:

Coinbase xfer account creation

Second Step: Coinbase will send you a code through SMS and you then enter the code in the screen below:

Coinbase xfer account SMS verification

Third Step: Once you have passed phone verification, you will then see the deposit details for your new account – which is then used to buy cryptocurrency on Coinbase.

Fourth Step: You will be asked to upload a scan of your government issued Singapore ID.

Coinbase Singapore ID verification

Finally: Once your Singapore ID has been accepted, you can proceed to fund your third party account and start buying cryptocurrency.

  • 📈 Avaliable Cryptos: BTC, ETH, XRP, LTC, BCH, BAT, XLM, ZEC, DAI, ZRX
  • 💳 Deposit Methods: Credit/debit card, bank transfer & PayPal
  • 💲 Accepted Currencies: AUD, GBP, EUR, USD, CAD, SGD
  • 🎧 Support: Email & FAQ’s.
  • 💰 Fees: 4%

How To Reduce Coinbase Fees With GDAX?

What is GDAX? GDAX is Coinbase’s exchange and is a separate website. The first thing to know is that you can login to GDAX with your Coinbase account details (there is no need to create another account).

GDAX Benefits

  • If you are based in USA, Singapore, Canada or Australia you can avoid the 1.49% bank deposit fee by depositing on GDAX instead. Unlike Coinbase, GDAX deposits are not subject to fees (excluding those charged by your bank).
  • Wherever you are based, Coinbase will charge you another 1.49% to buy cryptocurrency on the platform. On GDAX you will pay just 0.3% to buy cryptocurrency and save yourself another 1.19% in fees. We at Total Crypto recommend you take advantage of this.

The differing fee structures on GDAX and Coinbase mean that cryptocurrency investors commonly take the following steps:

  • UK and European Customers: Usually deposit on Coinbase through a manual bank transfer. Then move their EUR balance over to GDAX (free) and buy their cryptocurrency on the GDAX platform.
  • USA, Singapore, Canada or Australia based customers: Usually setup up their account and verify on Coinbase, then deposit and buy their cryptocurrency on GDAX. Information
As Coinbase and GDAX are owned by the same company, verifying your Coinbase account also means your GDAX account is verified as well. The login details and 2FA code, will be the same for both accounts.

Start Saving Money On GDAX Now!

How To Login On GDAX?

  • First, hit the login button on the GDAX homepage.
    How to sign into GDAX cryptocurrency exchange
  • Then enter your Coinbase account details to login to your GDAX account. If you have two factor authentication enabled, use the same code you would for Coinbase.
    GDAX login screen

How To Deposit On GDAX?

If you are from USA, Singapore, Canada or Australia, you are probably going to want to deposit on GDAX rather than Coinbase to save some fees.

  • Once you are logged in just hit the bullet point icon in the top right corner and select “Accounts”.

How to deposit on Gdax

  • You will then see a list of accounts. Click the down arrow for the currency account you want to deposit into. Whenever possible, we recommend you use the same currency you bank account is in.
    GDAX accounts page
  • You will then see the bank details to make your fee free deposit on Gdax. Just process a bank transfer from your bank with the details provided by Gdax and the funds should arrive in your account in a few days.

Gdax deposit instructions

I’ve Deposited On Coinbase – How Do I Move My Funds To GDAX?

If you follow the steps above to deposit on GDAX, you will see there is a Coinbase account tab. Click on “Coinbase Account” and select the wallet you have funds in on Coinbase. Once you enter the amount you want to transfer, just click ‘deposit’ and your funds will be on GDAX instantly.

How to transfer funds from Coinbase to GDAX

How To Buy Cryptocurrency On GDAX?

Make sure you are on the trade screen. Then click the BTC/USD button; this will show you all the Bitcoin, Ethereum, Bitcoin Cash and Litecoin markets. The right option for you depends on what currency you have in your GDAX account. If you have USD, then you want to select the USD market for the cryptocurrency you want to buy.

How to select different cryptocurrency markets on GDAX

In our case we have EUROs and want to buy Bitcoin. So we have selected the BTC/EUR market. To buy at the market price, just make sure that you see ‘Market’ highlighted in white, enter the amount you want to spend and finally click ‘Place buy order’. Congratulations, you have done it and have completed your cryptocurrency purchase!

How to buy bitcoin on GDAX

I Have Bought My Crypto On GDAX Or Coinbase – What Next?

The final decision you have is whether you want to store your cryptocurrency on the exchange or off it in a wallet you control? We always store our crypto off exchanges as we don’t like trusting third parties with our money.

The safest storage solution that money can buy is a hardware wallet. These devices securely store your private keys within the hardware wallet. This means that even if your computer has a virus, your crypto should still be safe. The private key is never exposed to the outside world, so hacking attempts, phishing scams and keyloggers should all fail if you use a hardware wallet.

Trezor and Ledger are the two most popular hardware wallets available. If you are looking to see which one is best for you, we recommend checking out our Trezor Vs Ledger comparison article.

How To Withdraw Your Crypto From GDAX?

  • Login to your GDAX account, then hit the bullet point icon in the top right corner and select “Accounts”.

How to deposit on Gdax

  • You will then see a list of crypto wallets and should be able to see your cryptocurrency balances. Click the up arrow to navigate to the withdrawal screen.
    How to withdraw from GDAX cryptocurrency exchange
  • Make sure you click on the ‘Cryptocurrency Address’ withdrawal option. This enables you to send your crypto to any wallet you want. Just enter your wallet address, the amount of crypto you want to withdraw and pop in your two factor authentication code. When you hit the ‘Withdraw Funds’ button, your crypto will be off GDAX.
    GDAX cryptocurrency exchange withdrawal screen

How To Withdraw Your Crypto From Coinbase?

  • Login to your Coinbase account and hit the ‘Accounts’ tab. You should then be able to see all your Coinbase wallets and your crypto balances. Click the ‘Send’ button for the crypto you wish to withdraw.
  • You will then be given the option to enter the cryptocurrency wallet address of your choice to send your cryptocurrency to. Once you enter this and the amount you want to send, just click continue and you’re done.
    Coinbase exchange withdrawal screen

Is Coinbase Safe?

Coinbase is the world’s largest and most popular cryptocurrency exchange. A surge in interest of cryptocurrencies led to Coinbase being the #1 download on the IOS App store in December 2017.

At Total Crypto we think there are a few reasons why Coinbase is perhaps the safest exchange out there:

  • As the biggest player in the cryptocurrency market, Coinbase is heavily incentivised to ensure nothing goes wrong for its customers.
  • Funds on Coinbase are insured – up to $250,000 for US customers.
  • Unlike some of the other players in the Cryptocurrency space, Coinbase as a company are based in San Francisco and have to operate under US governmental oversight.
  • Coinbase holds all the necessary licenses and operates regulatory compliant ID checks. We think that being on the right side of government regulation is a good thing in terms of safety.
  • Coinbase has perhaps the most prestigious list of investors, including household names such as the New York Stock Exchange. We think it’s unlikely that the New York Stock Exchange would tolerate “unsafe” practices.

Coinbase Supported Cryptocurrencies

Interested in learning more about Cryptocurrencies offered on Coinbase and GDAX? Just check out out comprehensive guides on each cryptocurrency.

Coinbase Pro’s & Con’s


  • Top reputation.
  • Simple user interface.
  • Very secure.
  • Fully compliant with necessary regulation.
  • Accepts bank / debit card deposits and withdrawals.
  • Coinbase insures all digital currency held online.
  • All customer funds held in segregated custodial bank accounts. This means that if Coinbase were to go under as a business, that neither Coinbase or creditors would have any claim on these funds and they would have to be returned back to customers.


  • Very slow customer support.
  • Supports only 4 cryptocurrencies.

Coinbase Support

Read Next At - 3 Cryptocurrencies You Can Buy On Coinbase:
1) Not Sure If You Should Choose GDAX Or Coinbase? Our Comparision Guide Tells You Everything You Need To Know.

2) See our Kraken vs Coinbase comparison guide.

3) The Ultimate Guide To Bitcoin.

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DISCLAIMER: Be aware that the activity of cryptoassets mentioned in this article is unregulated. This article must not be construed as investment advice. Always do your own research.

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