The Best Crypto Exchanges in The UK

By Blockchain Week Team

With so many cryptocurrency exchanges on the market, it can be hard to know what exchange is best for you.

Most exchanges will serve you just fine but let’s find out which ones have the best qualities and cheapest fees. We take a look at security, fees, deposit/withdrawal times, ease of use and more!

Read our reviews on each of the best exchanges in the UK, take a look at the key information and buy your cryptocurrency today.

eToro

eToro has a big reputation amongst brokers like Robinhood and Charles Schwab as stock brokers. Established in 2007, eToro has seen an influx of usage throughout the last years. 

It’s unique feature of Copy Trader allows users on eToro to copy top traders on their position without needing to do anything.

As a crypto exchange, eToro offers 30 crypto pairs at this moment including BTC, ETH, ADA and other top cryptocurrencies. 

eToro is financially registered with the UK FCA (Financial Conduct Authority) which means everything they do is compliant with the anti money laundering laws. 

In terms of customer support, this is where they fall short a little bit. Their support is available 24/7 but when you’re trying to access it, it can be a little tricky as there are a few hoops you might need to jump through.

You’ll need to log tickets first in order to speak to any customer service agent and they may have long response times for your requests.

Deposit methods:Paypal
Skrill
Neteller
Credit Card
Trading currenciesUSD
CryptocurrenciesBTC
ETH
LTC
XRP
EOS
DOGE
ADA
XLM
USDT
LINK
Deposit fees:$0
Withdrawal feesDependant on the Crypto
Trading fees0.75%
Pros Easy To Use
Copy Trader
Social Platform
Regulated
ConsPoor Customer Service

CEX.IO

CEX.IO launched in London in 2013, starting as a cloud mining service provider – owned by GHash.io.

But eventually due to various reasons and CEX not having any mining equipment, the mining service was stopped and CEX.io focused on solely being a cryptocurrency exchange. 

CEX.io has an extremely beginner friendly user interface to its great for anyone who is new to crypto to use.

Users can currently buy any of the 20+ coins listed on the CEX exchange with some of the lowest fees across the industry. 

Customer support wise for CEX is neither outstanding nor terrible. It’s what would you expect – which is actually good nowadays if you can get decent support. 

They are also registered with all the right regulations so doing Know Your Customer checks are necessary when creating your account.

CEX.io also has a fully functional mobile app where you can do all the normal functions like the website. Buy, sell, watch charts and even set price alerts on the change of percentage of your asset of choosing.

Deposit methods:Cryptocurrency
Credit Card
Wire Transfers Inc SEPA
Bank Transfer
Skrill
Trading currenciesUSD, GBP, EUR, RUB
CryptocurrenciesBTC
ETH
LTC
XRP
EOS
DOGE
ADA
XLM
USDT
LINK
And More
Deposit fees:SEPA: 0%
Credit Card: 2.99%
Cryptocurrency: None
Withdrawal feesGeneral Fee: 3%
Cryptocurrency: Fees vary
Trading fees0.16% – 0.25%
Pros Good user experience
ConsAverage customer service

Binance

Binance is the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange at the moment and for a very good reason. From fees, user experience, functionality, listed cryptocurrencies to buy, security and more… Binance does each of these things at a near perfect level. 

Their fees are one of the lowest, if not, the lowest in the crypto industry. When it comes to depositing and withdrawing, it’s pretty much instant. Their security is top notch and Binance also implements a Secure Asset Fund for Users of SAFU for short.

This essentially is a fund that is solely dedicated to reimburse any hacks or funds loss if it is the exchanges fault. 

If you’re a more advanced trader, you have a whole breath of options from trading futures, coin-futures, margin-trading, options and more derivatives at your fingertips.

If you’re looking to buy a cryptocurrency, chances are, it will be listed on Binance available for you to invest in. 

You can also reduce fees further with their native BNB token which is the third largest cryptocurrency at this moment. 

Deposit methods:Cryptocurrency
SEPA
Credit Card
Bank Transfer
Trading currenciesGBP, EUR
CryptocurrenciesOver 200+ pairs
Deposit fees:NoneCryptocurrency: None
Withdrawal feesCryptocurrency: Fees vary
Trading fees0.2%
Pros Fast deposits and withdrawals, good rates, and strong security features
ConsThe user interface might be a little complicated for beginners

Coinbase

Coinbase is one of the oldest cryptocurrency exchanges and the first exchange to go public in 2021. It’s reputation of being an investor friendly platform has spread far and wide. 

Coinbase’s goal is to make investing into cryptocurrency as simple as possible. Anyone can go onto coinbase and easily navigate through their beautifully crafted user interface, and with a few clicks of a button, you’re done buying.

However, Coinbase doesn’t have too many coin pairs available for purchase and their fees can be on the high side of the industry.

Deposit methods:Cryptocurrency
SEPA
Credit Card
Bank Transfer
3D Secure Card
Trading currenciesGBP, EUR
Cryptocurrencies30+ Pairs
Deposit fees:UK Bank Transfer: 3.99%
Cryptocurrency: None
Withdrawal feesBank: 3.99%
Cryptocurrency: Fees vary
Trading fees1.49%
Pros Well designed user experience and interface
ConsFees can be on the high side

Kraken

Kraken was founded in 2011 and has a great reputation in the United States. They are the first cryptocurrency exchange to obtain a license to allow Kraken to be a bank in the state of Wyoming. 

Kraken also takes their security extremely seriously as they have actually never been hacked before. 95% of all their deposits are kept in a cold offline wallet. The founders of Kraken have personally witnessed the infamous Mt. Gox hack so they would do everything to avoid another situation like that.

Their fees are relatively on the low side of the industry and they do allow for leverage trading if you’re interested in that.

Deposit methods:Cryptocurrency
SEPA
Credit Card
Bank Transfer
Trading currenciesGBP, EUR
CryptocurrenciesOver 40+ Pairs
Deposit fees:SEPA: 0%
Cryptocurrency: None
Withdrawal feesInterac e-Transfer: 1.5%
Wire transfer: 1.5%
Cryptocurrency: Fees vary
Trading fees0.26%
Pros Fast deposits and withdrawals, good rates, and strong security features
ConsVarying fees

What to look for in an exchange

Reputation (Security)

Like all financial investments, security is of huge importance when it comes to crypto. The reputation and security of an exchange is one of the most important metrics to look at when evaluating if an exchange is safe to use.

As a general rule in 2021, if you’re interacting with an exchange, you want to ensure they have cold, offline storage. This means that they store the majority of user funds in an offline storage where it’s not exposed to the internet and the potential of hacks. 

If an exchange does not have offline storage we do not recommend you use it. This is because you’re being exposed to potential hacks – and by the time you know an exchange has been hacked, it will be too late to do anything about it.

What we at Coin Companion look for: 

We look for at least Cold Storage for User funds, 2FA and KYC. This is the bare minimum of security for an exchange in 2021.

Trading Fees

Another important aspect to consider are the trading fees. Limiting the fees you pay for a trade can save you hundreds of dollars over the lifetime of your crypto journey.

Some exchanges have fees that are much higher than necessary. Of course, if an exchange with higher fees has greater benefits such as air tight security and great trading graphs, perhaps you are ok with paying a bit more.

Fees also comes in different forms and it’s not always as simple as a trade fee. Exchanges often like to hide fees in numerous areas to make it seem like fees are low however, once you add them all together, it can be quite steep.

Common areas for fees are deposits and withdrawals. You can also consider spreads as a fee, as they will cost you. 

Spreads are where the price you pay for a coin is higher than the market average. For example, if BTC trades for $20k on most exchanges, and your exchange trades for $21k, you are getting less bang, or crypto, for your buck.

Withdrawals are easy to include a big fee as most users don’t check the withdrawal fees until they already have cryptocurrencies on the exchange. When you withdraw, you’ll need to pay the base network fee of the crypto but exchanges like to add their fee on top of that. 

Some exchanges also offer trading fee tiers to entice users to come on to their platform. The way this works is the more volume you trade in 30 days, the lower your fees are. This is great if you do large amounts of trades.

What we at Coin Companion look for: 

We look at the total amount of fees that come from deposit, withdrawal, trading and spreads and evaluate if those fees make sense for what the exchange offers.

Payment methods

The most common ways of paying and buying crypto nowadays through a United Kingdom exchange is with a bank transfer. It offers the fastest deposit and more often than not, there are zero fees associated with the method. 

What we at Coin Companion look for:

The exchange needs to have a fast and simple payment method that is also affordable.

Verification Process

In 2021, performing Know Your Customer is standard. Regulations are tightening up on the industry as a whole so if an exchange does not do KYC, you should steer clear.

A good KYC process should not take days and days for you to be verified and finally deposit and withdraw. In 2021, most will happen on the same day.

Some exchanges allow unverified users to deposit and even trade but if you want to withdraw, then you will need to be verified.

What we at Coin Companion look for: 

We look for a fast verification process which does not force users to wait a long time to start trading.

Geographical Restrictions

There are many exchanges which operate globally and there are also exchanges which operate solely within the UK. As always, there’s pros and cons with each option.

UK-only exchanges allow for the cryptocurrencies listed to be paired with GBP directly. This means you don’t need to do conversions of GBP to USD when buying cryptocurrencies and that makes taxes easier to calculate.

It might also be easier and faster to deposit and withdraw from a United Kingdom only exchange as they are native to the United Kingdom banking system.

On the other hand, global exchanges can offer more features, security, and coins to buy.

What we at Coin Companion look for: 

For United Kingdom cryptocurrency investors, we generally recommend one of the United Kingdom exchanges, however global exchanges such as CEX.IO are great for the UK

Exchange Rates

We touched on spreads a little bit in the Fee section but let’s dive a little more into the spreads and what we look for. 

As you know, different exchanges will have different prices of cryptocurrencies. The buy price may be higher and the sell price may be lower. This is the spread. Exchanges do this so they can make profit in addition to the trading fees or lack thereof. 

What we at Coin Companion look for: 

We generally like to look for exchanges with low and competitive spreads to the general price consensus of the market. Of course there are times when higher spreads are justified. If they charge no fees in trading, deposits and withdrawals then higher spreads are the only source of income for their service.

Understanding the Types of crypto exchanges

Centralised

Centralised Exchange or CEX refers to all the exchanges run by companies. Binance, CEX.IO, Gemini are all examples of those. With these exchanges, you are required to provide documents to verify your identity before being allowed to use them. 

You’re also trusting that the exchange won’t run away with your crypto as the popular saying goes “not your keys, not your crypto”.

Decentralised 

Decentralised exchanges or DEXes have begun to gain popularity. The most popular is Uniswap but there the amount continues grow. These exchanges are not run by any companies so you don’t store any funds on them. They essentially are a blockchain program that exchanges cryptos. 

It’s important to note that you need to connect a compatible wallet to use a DEX.

On CEXes, you will notice an orderbook where you’ll have a list of people wanting to buy or sell a Token at a certain price. When there is a price agreement, a trade is made. 

However, on DEXes, this is not the case. They don’t have a list of people at all. DEXes use a formula known as Automated Market Making or AMM. We won’t get too into the details as it’s quite complicated but just know that DEXes automatically adjust the price based on exact supply and demand. This makes for fast trades.

Trading platforms

Trading platforms focus on derivatives such as futures trading, leverages or even options. Some of these platforms are Derebit and Bybit.

Unless you are an experienced trader, we typically recommend avoiding these types of trades as they can get quite complicated and will increase your risk.

Direct trading

Direct Trading or Over The Counter (OTC) refers to buying and selling cryptocurrencies off the market order books. 

Two parties will come together and agree on a set price for a bulk of bitcoins. This is done because if a party is buying millions dollars worth of bitcoin, they don’t want to drive up the price. And Vice versa for the sellers.

Today, most reputable exchanges such as Coinbase or Binance offer OTC trading.

Brokers

Brokers refer to traditional stock broking companies who are offering cryptocurrencies now. The likes of CMC Markets. These companies are heavily regulated because they are already involved in stock trading.