Honest CEX.IO Review – Hit or Miss of 2018?

Are you interested in Bitcoin and looking for a great place to buy and sell it?

You will find out everything you need to know about CEX.IO. In general, CEX.IO reviews range from horrible to excellent and we will give you an idea of where most of them are coming from. We will look at the pros and cons, and look into what you should know before deciding to use CEX.IO for your cryptocurrency trading.

CEX.IO was founded in 2013 and is based in London. This was pretty early in the game, making it one of the first Bitcoin exchanges. The founders of CEX.IO also originally operated a bitcoin mining pool called GHash.IO. While the pool was closed down in October 2016, it was well-regarded enough to still garner some trust for the platform by those who still remember it.

Sounds pretty good so far, right? Well, let’s dig into this…

Is CEX.IO Easy to Use?

The website looks professional and has a responsive web interface and user experience. The trading interface is user-friendly in theory: simple to understand and easy to use. Many people have had issues getting the withdrawal page to work.

It is very finicky and you need to click just the right things to make it work. You can trade on mobile through the CEX.IO app. Both iOS and Android are supported.

PROS:
  • IO processes a high volume of transactions. The exchange has been around for a while and is trusted by a fair amount of people.
  • The website is good, easy to navigate and get to what you need. The support pages contain a lot of information.
CONS:
  • The verification process is a bit of a pain and one of the more demanding in the industry.
  • The support is generally considered to be horrible. Luckily the website has tons of information in the support area, though some of it seems to be out of date.
  • There are many bad reviews. This is not that uncommon for trading platforms in general, but the volume of the reviews and the specific complaints made in the reviews is disturbing. The stringent verification process may play a role here.
  • The fees charged are high for the industry.

How to Register Accounts

Please note that CEX.IO has temporarily suspended the registration of new accounts. The company claims that this is due to overwhelming support requests received and they want to pause new user registrations until they can “guarantee the decent response time to each and every ticket or a verification request.”

The directions below relate how one registered before this temporary suspension took place. It is assumed that the process will be the same once registrations are allowed in the future.

You can register an account by clicking on the Register button at the top of the CEX.IO website. The Register page will ask you to provide your email address and a password. The site also recommends that you set up two-factor authentication. This means that you will need two factors of authentication to be able to access your account.

While this definitely can make your account more secure, and security is definitely important, it can be something of a headache. The two factors are your password, in addition to SMS, automated phone call or through the Google Authenticator app.

How to Verify Accounts

If you want to sell your cryptocurrency for fiat currency, you will need to verify your identity.

You might be asking yourself, “But why?”

Since CEX.IO is registered with several financial institutions, it abides by strict KYC (Know Your Customer) and anti-money laundering policies. As a result of this, you will need to undergo a fairly thorough process to prove you are who you say are.

Here’s the deal with verifying your identity with CEX.IO:

  • You will need to provide the data from an identity document: a passport, identification card or driver’s license and submit it to CEX.IO.
  • You’ll need to provide certain personal information: your gender, date of birth, first name, last name, place of birth and contact number.
  • You’ll need to provide your current residential and permanent addresses.
  • Finally, you’ll need to upload photos or scans of the documents supporting all the identity information you just entered in these previous steps. For example, a utility bill or bank statement proving your current address or a copy of your driver’s license that you submitted the information for.

Payment Methods Accepted

CEX.IO accepts Visa and Mastercard as a means to deposit for all account levels. Bank transfer and Crypto Capital transfer become available with Verified, Verified Plus and Corporate accounts. Visa and Mastercard are fairly familiar to most people. So you might be thinking…

Wait, what is Crypto Capital?

Crypto Capital is a private fiat banking platform that supports crypto blockchains. When you have a CEX.IO account and have verified your identity, you can use Crypto Capital transfer to deposit and withdraw funds.

How to Purchase Cryptocurrency

Once you have an account with CEX.IO, you can use a credit or debit card to purchase Bitcoins, Ethereum or Bitcoin Cash. You would provide the card information: cardholder name, card number, expiration date and the CVV/CVC code. Once all this information is provided, you can specify your deposit amount and deposit the fiat currency that you will use to buy the digital currency.

But you might be wondering…

My credit or debit card is denominated in (enter some non-USD/EUR/GBP currency here). How do I convert that?

When using a debit or credit card, the actual fiat currency your card operates in does not matter. Your bank will automatically convert the amount. CEX.IO claims that buying cryptocurrency with your credit card is the most convenient method, requiring less processing overhead and lower fees.

Once you have deposited your fiat currency and it is sitting in your account as dollars, you will then be able to buy Bitcoin, Ethereum or Bitcoin Cash using those funds. You go to Buy/Sell link on the website and choose the amount you want to purchase. Then click the Buy button.

Fees

Utilizing Visa and Mastercard to deposit costs 3.5% + $0.25 USD (or $0.24 EUR) in commissions. If you have at least verified your identity, this unlocks the capability to fund your account via Bank transfer or Crypto Capital transfer. Neither Bank transfer nor Crypto Capital charges any commissions for deposits.

The fees for withdrawing are different. The commission for withdrawing through Visa is a flat $3.80 USD (or €3.50). For Mastercard, the fee is 1.2% of the withdrawal amount + $3.80 (or €3.50). If you have a verified account, you may use Crypto Capital transfer at a commission of 2%.

There is no Bank transfer option for withdrawal of funds in USD, but if you need Euros, you can withdraw via bank transfer for a flat commission of €25.00. You can also use SEPA to get your funds into Euros at a flat commission of €10.00. Both of these methods require at least a Verified account, meaning you will have to have verified your identity.

These fees change from time to time, and different deposit and withdrawal methods come and go. Please refer to the CEX.IO website for the latest information, particularly the News and Announcements section of CEX.IO Support.

Limits

Deposit limits on CEX.IO are 1,000 USD or EUR per day and 3,000 USD or EUR per month for the Basic account. For the Verified, Verified Plus and Corporate accounts, there is no limit on deposit amounts. The Withdrawal limits mirror these deposit limits exactly.

Speed

The speed of bitcoin transfers is dependent upon how fast the transfers are confirmed on the network. There have been requests to increase the default fee for bitcoin transfers or to provide users a means of setting their own network transaction fee.

Sometimes it seems that, during large transactions, CEX.IO sends bitcoins into a pool that will never confirm them. This means that the transaction will be stuck for days or even weeks. While CEX.IO could speed up the transactions, at times they seem unwilling to do so.

Speed, when it comes to their Support, is regarded to be very slow, except perhaps for the most basic of technical questions.

Reputation

CEX.IO has a generally poor reputation among bitcoin exchanges. They have acquired pages and pages of bad reviews and their support is generally regarded as weak. They have been around for a long time, so they do gain some respect for that.

Is CEX.IO Safe?

There was a hacking incident in 2013 when the platform was very new. One user lost $7,000. There have been no similar incidents since then. Some users have claimed online that their accounts have been compromised, even with two-factor authentication set up no less.

The platform offers alerts in the form of SMS messages and email. This certainly keeps you better aware of incidents that you would be without them.

Security & Customer Support

CEX.IO’s attempts to do two-factor authentication are honorable, however poorly the actual implementation has been. Many people have found issue with getting it to allow them to reliability authenticate. Customer Support is slow and unresponsive.

So much so that, in 2017, CEX.IO suspended new registrations, saying they would resume when they could guarantee a decent response time.

Countries

CEX.IO provides services for buying and selling bitcoin to clients in 99% of the countries of the world, including 24 states of the USA. CEX.IO supports payment card withdrawals to almost every country in the world. CEX.IO announces new countries to which they support payment card withdrawals from time to time, so please check with their website for the latest information.

CEX.IO Alternatives

It’s a Bitcoin broker and web-wallet, founded in 2012. It is currently limited to trading from 32 countries, due to security concerns. Strict spending rules and selling restrictions are hallmarks of this broker.

Bitfinex is known to be the largest, most advanced bitcoin trading platform. However, it charges additional fees on trades less than $7.5 million (USD). Bitfinex also boasts top-flight security features. Their trading platform provides advanced charting and the client is highly customizable. The company was founded in 2012 and is headquartered in Hong Kong.

The headquarters is based in London and was established in 2013. Coinfloor uses 100% multi-signature cold storage, meaning that all client bitcoin is held on devices that are offline and held in underground vaults under the same security standards as the Bank of England. In January 2017, Coinfloor adopted a policy of no trading fees.

It was founded in 2011 and supports a vast number of digital coins, as well as fiat currencies USD (U.S. dollar), CAD (Canadian dollar), GBP (Great Britain Pound), JPY (Japanese Yen) and EUR (Euro). There is an iOS app, but no officially supported Android version.

It is a bitcoin platform founded in 2012 and based in Helsinki, Finland. This platform allows buyers and sellers to meet locally or perform local payment options very easily.

This allows the transactions to be done instantly, privately and securely. One catch is that the LB platform is not available in every country. Also, since you are dealing directly with buyers and sellers, with no intermediary, it can be considered high-risk.

What Do Reddit users think about CEX.IO

Looking at mentions of CEX.IO on Reddit’s r/Bitcoin reveals that many people complain of problems such as bank transfers taking an excessively long time. One user reported that his deposits were still not showing up after 14 days. Both of these situations seem to have been resolved eventually. Another Reddit user called for a boycott.

But wait, there’s more.

When a new user asked if anyone had ever heard of CEX.IO, the answers ranged from the company being a “pro outfit” and “they’re proven to use that they can be trusted” to “I avoid them at all costs, they’re expensive, misleading, and their system is insecure.”

The same user who advised to “avoid them” reported that his account was compromised, even though he had 2FA (two-factor authentication) with both Google authenticator and email enabled. He proclaimed their support to be useless and unresponsive. Misleading prices and a change in the amount he was charged for purchasing Bitcoin after having done so rounded out the user’s many complaints.

It gets interesting here.

One user posted there that he had withdrawn USD $34,000 from CEX.IO after selling his bitcoin and had not received it as of two months later. A Reddit user claiming to represent the company tried to sooth the situation, but did not seem to do so. The replies of other users on the thread speculated that the company was becoming insolvent.

 

7 Total Score
Final Verdict

As you can see, CEX.IO has many of the features of every other platform where you can buy and sell Bitcoin. You now know the pros and cons, how to register and verify your account, and what payment methods are accepted.

Given the information presented here at our CEX.IO review, it's clear that it certainly has its share of problems. It's unclear whether some of the problems that clients have are related directly to the company itself or due to the stringent security that comes with international money transfers.

The deposit and withdrawal limits, combined with the involvement of security policies and international authorities, mean that a myriad of possibilities exist to derail a financial transaction, many of which have no bearing on the competence or lack of quality with this broker.

We don't know whether the users leaving reviews were informed of what happened or if we can trust frustrated users to provide an impartial retelling of what actually happened. For some people, CEX.IO may be the only Bitcoin broker that operates with citizens of your country, in which case it may be your best option.

Having been around since 2013, it's amazing that some users think CEX.IO is some kind of strange fly-by-night operation that no one has ever heard of. The fact is that the platform has been around for a long time, and although it seems to be struggling in the area of providing timely and effective customer support, shows little sign of going away.

Some users are obviously very happy with their service and offerings. While it does appear that several users have had issues depositing, withdrawing, transferring to or from their banks, most, if not all of these incidents, appear to have been eventually resolved.

These types of problems occur even with financial institutions that no one questions the legitimacy of, and CEX.IO, being thinly staffed and in a growing industry, is vulnerable to these issues just like the HSBCs of the world. If you have evaluated several bitcoin brokers that meet your criteria and that take clients in your country and CEX.IO comes up on the list, they are definitely worth trying.

Ease of use
7
Fees
7.5
Security
8
Reputation
5.5
User Rating: 5 (1 votes)
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