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What’s the Cheapest Way to Get Crypto?

By Evan Jones09/08/2023

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Much like when you’re looking to buy stocks or more traditional investment vehicles, when you go to buy crypto, there are ways to do so that are more capital efficient than others. What is meant by that is that there are some ways to buy digital assets that simply cost less than others.

Buying with a credit card is definitely the fastest way to buy crypto assets, but is also the most expensive way to do so when you consider the fees charged by your bank, the credit card company, and the payment processor. In this guide, we’ll discuss the fees you’re going to run into, and the cheapest way to buy cryptocurrencies when taking them into account.

Fees to Consider When Buying Digital Assets

Below we’re going to describe the variety of fees which may be levied on your crypto purchase at various stages.

Deposit Fees

Deposit fees are fees that you pay when you transfer cryptocurrencies or fiat to a cryptocurrency exchange or platform. The majority of crypto exchanges charge you nothing for deposits, especially crypto deposits, so if you’re in fact using a platform that charges for crypto deposits, you should look for an alternative. The platform should be trying to incentivize new deposits by having zero fees.

Platforms like Binance, Coinbase, and KuCoin charge users no deposit fees on crypto with fees on fiat for only some deposit methods. Your best bet is to use one of these platforms, and pick the option that has no fees for fiat deposits, such as SEPA bank transfers for European Union users.

Trading Fees (Maker and Taker, Spread)

Maker and Taker Fees

Maker and taker fees are trading fees on cryptocurrency exchange platforms, though some platforms use a spread instead (more on this in a moment). They’re charged when you make trades. Which fee you’ll be charged depends on the factors outlined below.

Maker fees are applied to users that create trades for which there is no current buyer. These types of traders provide liquidity to the exchange by placing an order to be matched in the future. Maker fees need to be paid when orders are filled. When makers place orders, those orders do not fill immediately. They go on the order book, therefore adding liquidity to the exchange.

In contrast, taker fees are applied to orders that remove liquidity from the order book. This can be in the form of a market order (buy or sell at best available price on book) or a limit order that is filled immediately (placing a limit order for a price that already exists in the book). In either of these cases, you’re charged the taker fee percentage.

Maker fees tend to be lower than taker fees, but many exchanges have shifted towards charging the same fee for both types of trades.

Spreads

Spreads are similar to maker or taker fees except that spreads are often marketed as not being a fee. It’s generally referred to as a bid-ask spread. Spreads are the difference between the highest price that a buyer will pay for an asset and the lowest price that a seller is willing to accept. There are quite a few exchanges and platforms that charge spreads rather than maker or taker fees, and they market themselves as having no trading fees. 

While it’s true that these platforms technically have no trading fees, by charging a spread you’re still paying something extra for the transaction. The mechanics of a bid-ask spread often mean you’re actually paying somewhere between 1-2% in fees, and it’s often built into the price you see, making it less obvious that there’s an extra percentage in cost. This is much higher than a maker or taker fee that’s often 0.25% or less.

Withdrawal Fees

Withdrawal fees are fees that you pay when you want to transfer cryptocurrencies or fiat from one crypto platform to an external source. External sources can be a PayPal account, bank account, another exchange, or your external crypto wallet. These fees are important because withdrawing your digital assets to an external wallet is a recommended practice to prevent issues like those that left assets on FTX Exchange are facing.

For crypto assets, there are many exchanges that have a set number of free withdrawals per month, but what you want to find at minimum is a platform that only charges the network fee for a withdrawal at most. This means you’re not paying anything extra than you would be if you were sending to yourself from another one of your own accounts.

For fiat assets, many platforms charge you a percentage of the withdrawal of a flat fee. You want to avoid either of these options, especially the former if you’re withdrawing a large sum. Like with deposit fees, you want to find a platform that has an option for fiat withdrawals that has no fees for your local currency. This isn’t always easy to find, but it’s worth looking into any platform that does have this option.

By reducing your withdrawal fees, you’ll end up with the most crypto for the least money when taking all the various fees into account for your crypto purchases. 

The Cheapest Method to Buy Crypto

Taking all of the information above into account, there is a fairly clear way to buy crypto in the cheapest manner. 

First, you need to deposit fiat into a cryptocurrency exchange platform that has a method for your local currency that has no deposit fees. For example, if you’re in Canada, it’s likely best to find an exchange that accepts e-Transfers and charges no fees for depositing that way (such as Crypto.com). 

Next, you’ll want a platform that uses maker and taker fee structures for trades rather than a spread. Some platforms use both depending on whether you make the trade using a spot market or through their more convenient “Buy Crypto” option (the latter generally being a spread). Making the trade using a spot market will ensure you get the most crypto out of the trade and don’t lose as much to fees.

Finally, you’ll want to withdraw the crypto from a platform that has either no fees for withdrawals, or solely charges you the network fee. If they have a layer-2 option such as the Lightning Network for Bitcoin or Polygon for Ethereum, then those are even better options for withdrawals.

Overall, you’re looking to pay the least fees between your initial deposit of fiat, buying crypto with that fiat, and then withdrawing the crypto to an external source. This will be the cheapest way to get crypto.

Article tags

cryptocurrency
guide
Evan Jones

Author

Evan entered the crypto scene in 2017, attracted to the many disruptive possibilities that blockchain could have on current world systems. He has a keen interest in decentralized services, payment processing, and viable NFT use cases such as event ticketing. He spends his days writing with his dog Kobe under his feet, if not on his lap.

Further reading

How to Buy Crypto with a Credit Card image
How to Buy Crypto with a Credit Card12/20/2022
How to Buy Crypto in the USA image
How to Buy Crypto in the USA06/05/2024
What’s the Most User-Friendly Way to Store Crypto? image
What’s the Most User-Friendly Way to Store Crypto?02/23/2023
What Happens if I Send Crypto to the Wrong Wallet? image
What Happens if I Send Crypto to the Wrong Wallet?04/27/2023

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