Crypto has been in the news for all the wrong reasons lately thanks to the collapse of FTX and a handful of smaller exchanges. You’d be forgiven for wondering whether the whole sector is living on borrowed time.
That question is above my pay grade. What I do know is that not all crypto exchanges are created equal. For every apparently fraudulent front like FTX, there’s a seemingly legitimate alternative like Coinmama.
I want to be clear here: You need to do your own research before choosing a home for your crypto transactions, and certainly before purchasing any coins (if you’re not already a hodler). But everything I’ve seen from Coinmama suggests it’s not an out-and-out scam like some of its now-former competitors. And it’s much more beginner-friendly than your standard crypto exchange.
What Is Coinmama?
Coinmama is a place to buy and sell cryptocurrencies online.
You can buy more than a dozen crypto coins on Coinmama, from super-popular ones like Bitcoin and lesser-known ones like Litecoin. You can only sell Bitcoin here, so it’s not the best place to offload your coins.
Coinmama charges commissions on every purchase or sale it executes. Though these fees are higher than most competitors, Coinmama makes up for it with beginner-friendly features like educational resources, hands-on support, and useful calculators. It’s also the counterparty in every transaction that occurs on the platform, so you’ll never deal with random people here.
What Sets Coinmama Apart?
Coinmama stands out for three reasons:
- Super Beginner-Friendly. Coinmama is incredibly beginner-friendly as crypto trading platforms go. It has a ton of educational resources for novices, makes it easy to buy crypto with a credit or debit card, and doesn’t overcomplicate things with advanced trading or research tools. Even if you’ve never held crypto before, you won’t feel overwhelmed here.
- No Third Parties. When you buy or sell crypto on Coinmama, you always deal with Coinmama itself, rather than anonymous third-party buyers and sellers. It’s like buying a car from the dealership instead of a random person on Craigslist.
- Strong Privacy and Data Protections. Coinmama encrypts all customer information and abides by GDPR data protection regulations, which are stricter than any U.S. data regulations except those in effect for California-based users. Its respect for customer privacy even extends to the browsing experience — this is what you see when you click “Cookie Settings” in the footer prompt.
Key Features of Coinmama
Like what you see so far? Great — time to dive into the details.
These are the core features that make Coinmama what it is.
Buying Cryptocurrency on Coinmama
Coinmama currently offers 18 different cryptocurrencies for sale, though the exact number is subject to change. The minimum purchase amount is $50 USD for all coins.
Options range from well-known stalwarts like Bitcoin (BTC) and Ethereum (ETH) and stablecoins like USDC and USDT to lesser-known (and riskier) oddballs like OMG Network (OMG) and EOS. The full lineup:
How Can You Buy Coins on Coinmama?
You can purchase your coins with a credit or debit card (Visa or Mastercard only) — a nice convenience — or via bank transfer. If your payment card or bank account information lives in a Google Pay or Apple Pay account, you can use those.
Who Are You Buying From?
Coinmama always sells coins out of its own inventory. In other words, when you buy BTC or XRP or COMP here, you’re buying directly from Coinmama, not a random person with Coinmama acting as the intermediary. Though the whole point of crypto is you don’t have to trust your counterparty or even know their identity, the anonymity is off-putting for some novices. It’s nice to know who you’re buying your coins from.
You Need an External Wallet
Importantly, Coinmama doesn’t store its customers’ coins. Unlike some competitors, it doesn’t offer hot or cold wallets. This is a modest inconvenience that’s really a net benefit because it reduces the financial consequences of a potential hack, but just bear in mind that you need to create a crypto wallet outside Coinmama before purchasing coins here. If you’re a crypto newbie, see Coinmama’s help article about setting up a wallet here.
In any case, Coinmama processes purchase transactions fast. You should receive your crypto within minutes after Coinmama confirms your payment information and wallet address.
Selling Bitcoin on Coinmama
You can only sell Bitcoin on Coinmama. Or, more accurately, to Coinmama.
If you want to sell any of the other 17 cryptocurrencies available for purchase here, you’ll need to do so on another exchange or brokerage.
The minimum BTC sale amount is $200. That’s a tiny fraction of a full Bitcoin (a few hundredths at late-2022 prices).
Locking Your Price
Coinmama locks in your Bitcoin price for 30 minutes after you initiate the sale transaction on your end. You have that long for the coins to post to the blockchain. It should be plenty if you transfer your coins as soon as you hit “sell” — but don’t forget to complete this step because Coinmama can’t do it for you.
Getting Paid in Fiat Currency
Coinmama needs your SWIFT code or IBAN number to pay you. These are long (in IBAN’s case, really long) alphanumeric codes that are essentially your bank account’s address in the world of international finance.
If you’re not sure of your SWIFT code or how to find it, WikiHow has detailed instructions. The SWIFT code structure image below also comes from WikiHow.
Coinmama allows combined purchase and sale transactions totaling up to $15,000 per day when you use the bank transfer options.
Limits for credit and debit card transactions may be lower and could be affected by your bank or card issuer’s daily transaction limits. Some banks limit debit card transactions to a few thousand dollars per day, even if you have more cash in your account.
Coinmama Fees (Commissions)
There’s no free lunch at Coinmama. All transactions incur platform commissions ranging from 0.99% to 3.9% for purchases. Sale transactions cost a flat 0.9%.
You’ll know your commission before you finalize your transaction, but Coinmama doesn’t provide much of a guide before that. It just says that prices vary based on order size, loyalty level, and market conditions.
There’s no transparency at all around how order size and market conditions affect pricing. With regards to loyalty level, Coinmama offers decent discounts to users in its two higher spending tiers (of three total):
|Loyalty Level||Discount to Full Commission||Required Spend Over 90 Days|
|Crypto Enthusiast||12.5%||$5,000 USD|
|Crypto Believer||25%||$18,000 USD or $50,000 lifetime|
Other Potential Fees
Coinmama doesn’t charge any other fees, but crypto transactions made on Coinmama may incur third-party bank or card issuer fees. The most common of these are:
- Cash advance fees (typically not more than 5% of the transaction amount)
- Foreign exchange fees for purchases denominated in currencies other than U.S. dollars or euros (variable)
- International transaction fees (typically not more than 3% of the transaction amount)
Security & Data Protection
Coinmama is based in Ireland, which is part of the European Union. Accordingly, it must comply with all GDPR data protection regulations, which are much stricter than data protection regulations in force in most of the rest of the world. Even if you’re not based in the E.U., Coinmama affords you the same rights as users who are.
Coinmama takes other common-sense steps to protect users’ security as well. It encrypts all personal information and never stores payment information on its servers. And because it doesn’t store customers’ coins in its own wallets, you don’t have to worry about hackers making off with your cryptocurrency here. (Though that’s a risk if you store coins purchased on Coinmama in a hot wallet somewhere else.)
Educational Resources, Tools & Support
Coinmama is regarded as one of the most beginner-friendly crypto exchanges because it makes buying and selling crypto really easy for novices.
It doesn’t stop there though. Coinmama has a ton of useful educational resources and tools, my personal favorite being its handy crypto calculators that price out coins and fiat currency in real time.
Coinmama also has a nice library of in-depth articles on beginner and intermediate crypto topics. If you’re a total novice, I’d recommend spending some time with said library before making your first purchase.
Finally, Coinmama has an AI chat feature that’s available 24/7 and human support agents available during extended business hours. User review suggest that these agents are friendly, helpful, and really know their stuff, which is all you can ask for.
Advantages of Coinmama
Coinmama has a lot of upside. It’s beginner-friendly, easy to use, and apparently secure, among other benefits.
- Fast Delivery. When you buy coins on Coinmama, you can expect to receive them within minutes. This isn’t entirely unexpected or unique, but it’s certainly reassuring.
- Extremely Beginner-Friendly. Coinmama is one of the most beginner-friendly crypto platforms I’ve ever encountered. If you’re overwhelmed by crypto at a baseline, this is a good place to start.
- Excellent Customer Support. Coinmama’s customer support team actually cares about its users. At least, that’s how it seems from the outside. Many crypto exchanges have a “you’re on your own” mentality.
- No Third Parties Involved. Coinmama is the counterparty for all purchase and sale transactions on the platform. You don’t have to worry about encountering scammers here, or even otherwise honest people you don’t know. You always know who you’re dealing with.
- Apparently Secure. Security is always a challenge in the crypto world, but Coinmama offers more reassurance than most on that front. It doesn’t store payment card or bank account information and abides by strict GDPR data protection rules, the gold standard for digital privacy worldwide.
- Coinmama Doesn’t Hold Your Coins. I could spin this as a disadvantage because it’s less convenient than exchanges that offer hot wallet storage. But in my opinion, the pros outweigh the cons, largely because it means a hack targeting Coinmama probably won’t affect your crypto holdings.
Disadvantages of Coinmama
Coinmama has a few disadvantages that bear mention. Chief among them are its limited coin selection (especially on the sell side) and its relatively high fees.
- Limited Selection of Crypto Coins. You can buy and sell only about 20 coins on Coinmama, less than many competing platforms. (Some offer 100 or more.) This is fine if you can find the coins you want here, but not great if you’re a true crypto enthusiast and want to broaden your exposure.
- Can Only Sell Bitcoin. Coinmama is a better place to buy than sell cryptocurrency. In fact, you can only sell Bitcoin here. Sure, it’s the world’s most popular coin, but it would be nice to have more options.
- Higher Fees Than Many Competitors. Coinmama is not the cheapest place to buy and sell crypto. Its commissions range as high as 3.9%, depending on your loyalty level (higher loyalty levels mean lower fees overall). In the screenshots below, you see how much Coinmama takes off the top of both purchase and sale transactions.
Is Coinmama Legit?
Yes, Coinmama appears to be legitimate and aboveboard. It encrypts all personal information provided by its customers and fully complies with GDPR data protection regulations, which are stricter than comparable regulations in most of the United States.
This doesn’t mean crypto you buy on Coinmama won’t lose value, nor that the platform will be around forever. The past year has shown us that even the strongest-seeming crypto exchanges can fail.
But Coinmama does not appear to be a scam. Its biggest downsides are relatively high fees and limited options for selling crypto. You can buy more than a dozen cryptocurrencies on Coinmama, but sell only Bitcoin, so you’ll need to find another place to offload the others.
How Coinmama Stacks Up
Not sure if Coinmama is the best choice for your crypto buying and selling needs? See how it compares to Coinbase Pro, a more advanced crypto trading platform built for serious crypto-heads. As you can see, there’s not much overlap between the two.
|Fees||0.99% to 3.9%, depending on loyalty level||Up to 0.6%, depending on volume|
|Ease of Use||Easy||Difficult|
I’m more crypto-agnostic than crypto-skeptic, but the past year has shaken my faith a bit. Some of my formerly gung-ho friends have sworn off Bitcoin and other coins entirely, while others adopt a wait-and-see posture.
Against this backdrop, it’s a relief to see apparently aboveboard crypto brokerages like Coinmama making their way. While I’m not an insider and can only go on publicly available information, everything I’ve seen suggests Coinmama is on the up and up.
Is that enough for fellow crypto skeptics? Put it this way: If you’re thinking about getting into crypto after everything that’s happened lately, you’re probably willing to go the extra mile and do your own research. So do it — verify the information I’ve provided here, reach out to Coinmama’s support team with questions, and make your own decision as to whether to open an account.