CEX.IO Review

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CEX.IO

CEX.IO

overall rating
4.6

Our Take 

CEX.IO is a cryptocurrency exchange headquartered in London that offers buying, selling, trading, staking, and lending of cryptocurrencies. While users can instantly purchase Bitcoin and other crypto using a debit or credit card, CEX.IO takes a 7% fee for the transaction, which is higher than many competitors charge. Beginners and institutional investors can benefit from the platform’s simplified user experience, but advanced traders may want to look elsewhere to save on fees.

  • Pros & Cons
  • Key Takeaways
  • Specifications
Pros & Cons
Pros
  • 24/7 live chat support

  • Global availability

  • Margin trading for approved users (not available in the U.S.)

  • Educational info available about each crypto offered

Cons
  • Extremely high fees for instant buy option (7%)

  • Reports of users unable to withdraw funds

  • Not available in all states

Key Takeaways
  • CEX.IO was founded in 2013 and is available in most U.S. states (except New York and Virginia), as well as 174 countries around the world.
  • CEX.IO offers customer support via live chat, though responses may take up to two days.
  • Users can access margin trading with up to 100x leverage.
  • CEX.IO offers interest-bearing crypto savings accounts.
Specifications
  • Year Founded 2013
  • Official Website www.CEX.IO.com
  • Cryptocurrencies Available 100+
  • Customer Support Live chat, email, phone

Introduction

CEX.IO is a cryptocurrency exchange that allows users to buy, sell, and trade supported digital assets. This exchange also supports “staking” for a small selection of crypto, which pays out rewards for locking up crypto assets for a period of time. Over 100 cryptocurrencies are currently offered on CEX.IO. 

Investing in cryptocurrencies, Decentralized Finance (DeFi), and other Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) is highly risky and speculative, and the markets can be extremely volatile. Consult with a qualified professional before making any financial decisions. This article is not a recommendation by The Balance or the writer to invest in cryptocurrencies nor can the accuracy or timeliness of the information be guaranteed. 

Company Overview

CEX.IO was founded in 2013 by Oleksandr Lutskevych in London, originally designed as a Bitcoin mining pool and cloud mining service. It has since evolved into a regulated exchange that is available in 174 countries, as well as in 48 states in the U.S.

Users can expect a decent selection of popular crypto for buying, selling, and trading, and qualified users can trade on margin. CEX.IO also provides multiple ways to earn interest on crypto, including a savings account and staking, and it's one of the few exchanges that offer loans against your crypto investments.

Margin trading, savings accounts, and crypto loans are not currently available to U.S. residents.

Cryptocurrencies That Trade on CEX.IO

CEX.IO offers access to over 100 cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), Cardano (ADA), Solana (SOL), Rippler (XRP), and Dogecoin (DOGE). New cryptocurrencies are being added regularly, and you can find the current list of all supported assets here.

A few popular cryptocurrencies are missing from CEX.IO, including Terra (LUNA), Avalanche (AVAX), and Algorand (ALGO).

Trading Experience

CEX.IO offers a straightforward way for new users to purchase crypto using fiat currency, with prices locked in for 120-second periods. This allows users to know exactly how much crypto they will receive, without the price fluctuations of traditional crypto exchanges. Users can make these instant purchases with a credit or debit card.

The downside to this option is the high fees—CEX.IO charges a 7.0% fee. This is much higher than most exchanges and can be very expensive for those who simply want to buy and hold crypto. On the other hand, trading fees are much more reasonable, with CEX.IO employing a maker-taker fee model and charging 0.25% (or lower) for most trades.

Spot trading allows users to trade crypto pairs (such as BTC-USD) and execute market or limit orders. Margin trading allows users to borrow up to 100x their holdings to trade with leverage, and it's available on the CEX.IO Brokers platform (but is not available to U.S. residents). 

As part of the trading experience, CEX.IO offers education about each cryptocurrency available on its platform, helping educate users about the investments they are making.

Fees

CEX.IO’s Instant Buy purchase fees are higher than most popular crypto exchanges, but its trading fees are fairly low. ACH and wire transfers are free, but withdrawals for ACH charge a $25 fee plus 0.3%.

Payment Method CEX.IO Fee 
Bank Account 0% deposit fee 
USD Wallet  0.00% to 0.25% (maker-taker) 
Debit/Credit card  2.99% 
ACH Transfer 0% deposit fee, 0.3% + $25 withdrawal 
Wire Transfer  $0 deposit, $0 withdrawal 
Crypto Conversion  0.00% to 0.25% (maker-taker) 
Purchases  7.0% (debit/credit card only) 
Trades  0.00% to 0.25% (maker-taker) 

CEX.IO Trading Fees

CEX.IO offers much lower fees for trading crypto, using a maker-taker fee model. Pricing is based on a sliding scale, with discounts available as users execute more transactions (denominated in BTC).

Orders that are filled immediately are considered taker orders, and users are charged the taker fee. Orders that aren't immediately matched are placed in the order book, and they are considered maker orders and are charged a maker fee when the trade executes.

Here is a breakdown of the CEX.IO fee structure:

Trade Volume 30d, BTC Taker Maker 
≤ 5 0.25% 0.16%
≤ 30  0.23% 0.15%
≤ 50  0.21%  0.13% 
≤ 100  0.20%  0.12% 
≤ 200  0.18%  0.10% 
≤ 1000  0.15%  0.08% 
≤ 3000  0.13%  0.04% 
≤ 6000  0.11%  0.00% 
> 6000  0.10%  0.00% 

Security

CEX.IO offers users a relatively secure way to purchase Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. It requires identity verification for trading and crypto withdrawals, and it keeps most digital assets in cold storage.

Here are a few of the security features CEX.IO offers:

  • Withdrawal Confirmation: CEX.IO requires all withdrawals be confirmed via email. This email is sent to a user's email address on file and expires within 30 minutes.
  • Cold Storage: CEX.IO keeps a large percentage of all crypto balances in “cold storage”, disconnected from the internet. This includes 100% of client-owned Bitcoin and Ethereum.
  • Two-factor authentication: CEX.IO supports two-factor authentication (2FA) via Google Authenticator or SMS. This adds an extra layer of security for user accounts. 2FA is also required to be enabled for user withdrawals. 

Opening a CEX.IO Account

To sign up for CEX.IO, you can create a free account using your email address and a password. Once you verify your email address, it is recommended that you secure your account with two-factor authentication.

CEX.IO is a regulated exchange that requires identity verification in line with U.S. Know Your Customer (KYC) standards. Users will need to verify their identity with a photo ID, provide proof of residence (with something like a utility bill), and provide a Social Security number or ITIN. Users will also need to confirm their identity by taking a selfie and submitting it to CEX.IO. This is required for any fiat currency deposits and all withdrawals.

Customer Service

CEX.IO offers 24/7 live chat support via its website and mobile app. While the chat option is always available, CEX.IO states within the chat tool that responses are typically within one day, and may take up to two days. CEX.IO also offers phone support by calling +44 20 3966 1272, though business hours are not publicly listed. 

Phone support is located in London, international calling fees may apply.

CEX.IO also offers a library of help articles, as well as user education materials on each crypto within the trading platform. CEX.IO also educates users and makes company announcements through its blog.

Customer Satisfaction

CEX.IO has received a number of complaints in regards to loss of access to user funds. This is mostly due to KYC procedures, including additional requests for verification. Accounts that become “locked” cause a user's funds to be “stuck” on the CEX.IO platform, as unverified accounts cannot withdraw funds (but are allowed to deposit crypto). Several complaints have detailed losing access for months on end, with multiple interactions from the support team unable to resolve the issue.

While CEX.IO offers 24/7 live chat support, users should consider the KYC compliance issues reported by other users before signing up. Users should not deposit any funds into the platform before completing the verification process.

There are no formal rating agencies for cryptocurrency exchanges. All user reviews are self-reported and may not be 100% accurate.

Account Management

CEX.IO offers a web-based platform for users to buy, sell, and trade crypto, as well as earn interest by depositing crypto in savings accounts, or by staking it. Users can log in with a web browser to access their account, deposit or withdraw funds, or trade crypto.

CEX.IO also offers a mobile app that mirrors the functionality of the web-based platform. Users can monitor their portfolios, review their trade history, execute trades, and deposit or withdraw funds. The mobile app also lets users enable price alerts and notifications for orders to stay informed.

How CEX.IO Compares to Other Cryptocurrency Companies

CEX.IO is a decent option for crypto investors who want access to margin trading as well as low fees for active trading. CEX.IO also follows regulatory standards and helps to keep accounts secure via KYC procedures and 2FA.

That said, CEX.IO charges very high fees for instant purchases of crypto using a credit or debit card. There are also a decent number of complaints that the KYC verification process may take a while, causing deposited funds to be stuck on the platform. Here’s how CEX.IO compares to a large crypto exchange in the U.S.

CEX.IO vs. Kraken

Both CEX.IO and Kraken offer low-fee trading of crypto, as well as access to margin trading. Both also cater to institutions with over-the-counter (OTC) trading desks and institutional investment teams. Both are also available in most places around the globe.

But while Kraken is designed for advanced traders, with multiple order types and the ability to trade futures, CEX.IO offers a simpler trading experience, as well as user education about each cryptocurrency available on the platform.

Here are a few other key differences between CEX.IO and Kraken:

  • Kraken offers video education and a podcast for learning about crypto.
  • CEX.IO offers loans against crypto assets, while Kraken does not.
  • Kraken offers margin trading to U.S. investors with over $10 million in investable assets.
  • Kraken offers whitelisting of withdrawal wallet addresses, while CEX.IO does not.

Kraken may be ideal for advanced traders who want access to advanced charting, multiple order types, and futures trading. CEX.IO is good for casual traders who want access to a good selection of crypto for reasonable fees.

Final Verdict

CEX.IO is a regulated crypto exchange that prioritizes avoiding any entanglements with governing authorities, but this may cause a headache for those trying to comply with the identity verification process. This may give users peace of mind about who's using the exchange, though, and security seems to be a priority of CEX.IO overall.

CEX.IO offers 24/7 chat support, which is rare among crypto exchanges, and it also offers more than just trading crypto. With interest-bearing crypto savings accounts, staking crypto to earn rewards, and the ability to borrow against crypto assets, CEX.IO is a good option for long-term crypto investors.

Users who simply want to purchase crypto directly with a credit or debit card will find the CEX.IO has some of the highest fees in the industry, charging a 7% fee for instant buys. But its trading fees are reasonable, and there are no extra fees for ACH or wire transfer deposits.

Overall, CEX.IO is a decent platform for crypto traders who want access to spot and margin trading with low fees, and the ability to earn interest on crypto assets.

Methodology 

The Balance is dedicated to helping those interested in cryptocurrency investing make informed and safe decisions. We are committed to providing our readers with unbiased reviews of the top cryptocurrency exchanges for investors of all levels.


Exchanges were reviewed on points including security, fees, number of cryptocurrencies available, and more. We also considered if the exchange is regulated by a proper agency or entirely decentralized. Our full cryptocurrency exchange methodology, including the data collection and review processes and weighted data points, is available for review. 

Article Sources

The Balance requires writers to use primary sources to support their work. These include white papers, government data, original reporting, and interviews with industry experts. We also reference original research from other reputable publishers where appropriate. You can learn more about the standards we follow in producing accurate, unbiased content in our editorial policy .
  1. CEX.IO. “The following countries are currently not supported by CEX.IO.” Accessed Jan. 26, 2022.

  2. CEX.IO. “Buy Bitcoin with VISA or Mastercard in USD.” Accessed Accessed Jan. 26, 2022.

  3. CEX.IO. "Deposit and Withdrawal Fees." Accessed Jan. 26, 2022.

  4. CEX.IO. "Fee Schedule." Accessed Jan. 26, 2022.

  5. FinCEN. “Information on Complying with the Customer Due Diligence (CDD) Final Rule.” Accessed Jan. 26, 2022.

  6. Kraken. "Margin Trading: Cryptocurrency." Accessed Jan. 26, 2022.