CEX.IO review: The best crypto exchange for UK investors?

11 min Read Published: 05 Oct 2021

CEX.IO review: The best crypto exchange for UK investors?What is CEX.IO?

CEX.IO is a cryptocurrency exchange platform launched in London in 2013 which boasts over 4 million users around the world.

Run by a team of over 250 staff working in offices in the UK, the USA, Ukraine, Cyprus, and Gibraltar, CEX.IO is currently on the Financial Conduct Authority’s (FCA) Temporary Registration Scheme, which makes it legally authorised to operate in the UK. You can read more about cryptocurrency regulations in our article “How are cryptocurrencies regulated in the UK?”.

CEX.IO’s claim to fame is that it was one of the first platforms to make fiat-to-crypto transactions accessible with card payments and bank transfers, meaning that customers could use traditional money such as GBP or USD to buy, sell or trade cryptocurrency. CEX.IO is also a founding member of CryptoUK - an association whose aim is to “build cooperation between the major cryptocurrency players and regulatory authorities in the UK”.

What does CEX.IO do?

CEX.IO is an online cryptocurrency exchange platform that allows users to buy, sell, trade and store more than 80 different cryptocurrencies. It can be accessed on browser, iOS and Android devices, WebSocket, and REST API. CEX.IO has three different products available to UK customers: CEX.IO, CEX.IO Broker, and CEX.Direct. It is also planning to launch an integrated hot wallet for customers to store their keys, although a release date is yet to be confirmed.

CEX.IO’s main features

  • Available on browser, iOS, Android, WebSocket, and REST API.
  • Three products - CEX.IO, CEX.IO Broker, and CEX.Direct.
  • Online broker platform with numerous order types and advanced trading tools.
  • Digital payment system for businesses to pay with crypto assets.
  • Founding member of CryptoUK.
  • Competitive transaction fees.
  • More than 80 different cryptocurrencies available.

CEX.IO logo CEX.IO

A digital marketplace for investors that want to buy/sell cryptocurrencies, trade crypto assets, or exchange them for fiat currency. It has a bright and accessible interface, easy to navigate for beginners, and has extremely competitive transaction fees compared to similar exchanges such as Coinbase or Gemini. Users can instantly purchase cryptocurrencies using debit or credit cards, and can link to a bank account for transactions and withdrawals.

CEX.IO Broker CEX.IO Broker

​​A more advanced digital marketplace specifically designed to allow investors to benefit from the rapid up-and-down price movement of cryptocurrency. With CEX.IO Broker, users can both long and short cryptocurrencies by trading CFDs (contracts for difference) on margin with up to 2x leverage. It also offers sophisticated technical analysis and charting tools, similarly to the Pro account on Kraken. CEX.IO Broker is best suited to advanced or professional investors.

CEX Direct - Buy Bitcoin by CEX.IO LTD CEX.Direct

A digital payment system which businesses can install onto their website or mobile app to allow customers to purchase goods and services using cryptocurrency. CEX.Direct supports Visa or Mastercard credit cards. Businesses which install the CEX.Direct widget get a guaranteed commission of 1% of each successful transaction. There is a daily purchase limit of 1000 USD/EUR/GBP. Businesses can also customise the design of the widget to seamlessly suit their individual aesthetic.

CEX.IO fees

CEX.IO uses two different fee models depending on the type of transaction being carried out.

Fees for transactions

CEX.IO follows a maker-taker model for all of its transaction fees across its original CEX.IO system. Transaction fees are based on your 30-day trade volume for all coins, which is recalculated at 00:00 (GMT) each day and includes the current day’s trades. You can read more about what maker and taker fees are, and how they are calculated, in our article “Cryptocurrency: What are maker and taker fees?”.

30-Day Trade Volume 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%

Fees for withdrawals/deposits

For withdrawals and deposits, CEX.IO charges a different rate depending on the payment method across its original CEX.IO system, and there are limits on how much customers can deposit or withdraw from their accounts in a single 24-hour period. We’ve summarised the UK charges in the table below:

Payment Method VISA* Mastercard* Skrill Bank Transfer Faster Payments
Deposit Limit $20 — Unlimited $20 — Unlimited £35— £10,000 $20 — $100,000 £20 — £250,000
Withdrawal Limit $20 — $50,000 $20 — $2,500 £35 — £10,000 N/A £20 — £250,000
Deposit Fee 2.99% 2.99% 3.99% £0 £0
Withdrawal Fee Service charge: up to 3% + £2.10

Commission: up to £2.90

Service charge: up to 1.8% + £2.10

Commission: up to 1.2% + £ 2.90

1% 0.3% + £25 £0

* New customers (less than 3 months from identity verification) have a maximum daily limit of $1,000 and a maximum monthly limit of $3,000 for both deposits and withdrawals.

Bear in mind that only 3 daily transactions are permitted per account.

Which cryptocurrencies can you trade on CEX.IO?

CEX.IO supports more than 80 different cryptocurrencies for UK investors, including:

  • Bitcoin
  • Ethereum
  • Dash
  • Litecoin
  • Cardano
  • Dogecoin
  • Neo
  • Tether

You can find the full list of cryptocurrencies which you can buy, sell, or trade with on CEX.IO on its website.

How safe is CEX.IO?

Despite suffering a hacking incident in 2013, CEX.IO has not reported any security issues since, and employs a wide range of security measures to keep user’s assets safe, including full data encryption, offline cold storage, and two-factor authentication (2FA). User accounts must have 2FA enabled in order to withdraw their funds, and CEX.IO’s mobile app also allows customers to set up a Withdrawal Pin Code (WPC) to confirm withdrawals made via mobile phones.

In addition, CEX.IO stores customers’ assets in a split of both hot and cold wallets with separate private keys for each currency, and only a small percentage of all cryptoassets in active circulation are stored in hot wallets to further minimise the risk of interference through the internet. CEX.IO also uses strict access controls, including 24/7 surveillance, alarm systems, and secured vaults to keep users’ assets as secure as possible.

This level of security is standard across most large exchange platforms, so CEX.IO is not necessarily any more secure than its competitors, and it has previously been breached by hackers - although a long time ago, and tighter security measures have been put in place since then.

Overall, CEX.IO’s security credentials are pretty standard for a popular cryptocurrency exchange, but as usual, users should take the utmost care in keeping their public and private keys secure, and may feel safer using an offline, cold wallet to store them. You can read more about cold wallets, and why they offer the most security, in “What is a cryptocurrency wallet?”.

What do users think of CEX.IO?

CEX.IO is described as “Excellent” and is rated 4.7 out of 5 stars on Trustpilot across almost 20,000 reviews.

Its rating is extremely high compared to other cryptocurrency exchanges, such as Coinbase or Kraken, and it has a consistent track record of engaging with poor reviews - over 75% of “negative” reviews were responded to, on average within 48 hours.

Some of the reviews include praise such as “perfect” for beginners and the “best” trading platform, although there is some criticism of the cash withdrawal processing times and occasionally unresponsive customer service.

Overall though, CEX.IO has amassed thousands of overwhelmingly positive reviews, making it one of the highest-rated exchange platforms in the UK.

Alternatives to CEX.IO

If you're looking for low fees, CEX.IO really is the best cryptocurrency exchange for UK investors, although Kraken and Gemini offer similarly competitive charges at maximum 0.26% and 0.35% respectively.

Those looking for the utmost security may find that Gemini has a better track record, with no recorded breaches or hacks, while Kraken has a wider range of trading options for more advanced investors via its Intermediate and Pro accounts.

Investors keen to get involved in more niche cryptocurrencies may also find Bittrex's choice of over 300 different types more attractive than CEX.IO's comparatively limited 80 or so, although Bittrex comes with significantly higher transaction fees.

The verdict

With its simple and friendly interface, low fees, and exceptional reviews, CEX.IO is undoubtedly the best cryptocurrency exchange platforms for investors in the UK. It is suitable both for beginner and advanced investors, and even has its own payment system for businesses looking to bridge the gap between fiat and cryptocurrency.

Ultimately, however, CEX.IO’s low transaction fees are its biggest appeal and make it a good choice for investors to buy, sell and/or trade cryptocurrency with minimal charges. Alternatively, Gemini has a better track record on security and similarly low fees, so may be a better option for those concerned first and foremost about the security of their assets.

More on cryptocurrency

You can read more about cryptocurrency in our beginner's guide, our list of the best cryptocurrency exchange platforms in the UK, and our step-by-step guide on how to buy bitcoin.