Kraken Review 2023 | Bankrate

Kraken is a solid cryptocurrency exchange that finds a way to serve both new and experienced traders well. You’ll find some of the lowest trading fees in the industry that decline the more frequently you trade. These low trading costs don’t come at the expense of other areas, however. Customer support is available 24/7, including on the phone, a rarity in the crypto world. Kraken also offers a wide selection of educational resources that will help traders new to crypto learn about the industry, while more experienced traders can take a deep dive into topics such as security or trading strategies.

If you’re looking to trade more than crypto, you might consider broader investment apps like Robinhood or Webull, but those only offer the most popular coins. Other crypto platforms that keep costs low include Binance.US and Coinbase’s Advanced Trade tier.

Kraken at a glance

Category Kraken
Minimum balance: None, but there’s a $1 deposit minimum and trade minimums vary by cryptocurrency
Securities tradable: More than 200 cryptocurrencies
Cost per trade:
  • Fees start at 0.16 percent
  • No deposit fee on most cryptocurrencies
  • Withdrawal fees vary by cryptocurrency
Customer service: 24/7 live chat, email, phone support
Mobile app: The Kraken mobile app is available on the Apple App Store and Google Play Store

Pros: Where Kraken stands out

Low trading fees

Kraken’s trading fees come in near the low end of the industry, with some fees starting at just 0.16 percent. Costs for active traders decline from there and can even be eliminated entirely if you’re trading really large amounts based on your average 30-day trading volume.

Like other cryptocurrency exchanges, Kraken uses a maker-taker model which rewards those who add liquidity to the market (makers) and charges slightly more to those who remove liquidity (takers). Here’s how the fees break down based on monthly trading volume.

30-day volume (USD) Maker Taker
$0 – $50,000 0.16 percent 0.26 percent
$50,001 – $100,000 0.14 percent 0.24 percent
$100,001 – $250,000 0.12 percent 0.22 percent
$250,001 – $500,000 0.10 percent 0.20 percent
$500,001 – $1 million 0.08 percent 0.18 percent
$1,000,001 – $2.5 million 0.06 percent 0.16 percent
$2,500,001 – $5 million 0.04 percent 0.14 percent
$5,000,001 – $10 million 0.02 percent 0.12 percent
$10 million and up 0.00 percent 0.10 percent

Trades placed through Kraken’s instant buy feature come with additional processing fees and do not count toward your 30-day trading volume.

Customer service

Kraken sets itself apart from other exchanges by offering one of the best customer service experiences in the industry. You’ll be able to reach one of the hundreds of trained specialists Kraken employs 24 hours a day, 7 days a week through its live chat feature. You’ll even be able to get questions answered on major holidays.

Kraken also recently expanded phone support to be available 24/7, so you won’t have to worry about only being able to reach someone during the work week or during normal business hours. Phone support is extremely rare in the crypto world, so the fact that Kraken offers it is a major bonus. Some questions just can’t be answered easily through chat or email and having the ability to talk with a specialist is important, especially for an area as new as cryptocurrency.

You’ll also have access to Kraken’s support library which can help with more basic questions like account setup and how to get started trading.

Cryptocurrency availability

Kraken offers enough cryptocurrencies to satisfy even the most demanding traders. With more than 200 cryptocurrencies available, it is among the industry leaders, though it falls short of Crypto.com’s offering of more than 250 coins. Kraken will get you all the most popular coins such as Bitcoin, Ethereum, Cardano and Solana, as well as more obscure ones.

Kraken far outpaces the number of cryptocurrencies available through more popular financial apps like Robinhood and Webull, though those do offer trading in additional securities like stocks and ETFs. Kraken should meet the needs of most crypto traders, whether they’re new or more experienced.

Educational material

Kraken is also one of the few crypto exchanges that make an attempt to educate traders on what it is they’re trading. Through its crypto guides, Kraken provides information on how to buy and sell many different cryptocurrencies and also explains the theory and origin of different coins. Not sure what Dogecoin is? Kraken has a guide for you.

While the guides are fairly basic, they’re better than nothing, which is what most of the other exchanges offer. Considering how most traders are new to cryptocurrency and the significant risks involved with trading them, more exchanges should look to educate users about what they’re getting involved with.

Kraken also offers videos on topics related to crypto such as security issues and futures trading. You’ll also get access to webinars with crypto experts to help you better understand the industry and where it’s headed next.

Cons: Where Kraken could improve

Instant buy fees

If you’re looking to use Kraken’s instant buy feature, you should prepare yourself to pay considerably higher prices. Fees start at 0.9 percent for stablecoins and jump to 1.5 percent for any other crypto. On top of that fee, you’ll pay another 3.75 percent if the purchase is made using a debit or credit card, or 0.5 percent if it’s made through an ACH transfer.

You’re better off transferring cash into your account and waiting a few days for it to clear. Fees are a killer when it comes to investment returns.

Restrictions in some states

Kraken does not currently offer services to residents of New York or Washington state. The company says it wants to provide services to all U.S. residents, but the costs to maintain regulatory compliance are too high in some areas. Other exchanges, including Binance.US and Crypto.com, also have restrictions in some jurisdictions, so it may be difficult to find one that operates in all of the U.S. states.

Trading platform and mobile app

Kraken’s trading platform and mobile app handle the basics just fine, but you might be disappointed if you’re looking for more advanced features. You’ll be able to check prices on dozens of cryptocurrencies, create watchlists and set up alerts. More experienced traders may appreciate additional charting tools or research.

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