Hello, I'm writing about my experiences buying ethereum in Canada, essentially converting CAD to ETH. The goal is to help beginners that are interested in getting started but don't know where to actually buy ether. There's a lot of info out there but most of it seems to be centered around USD, which doesn't always translate for CAD and our banking system. I'm by no means an expert but I figured someone might find this information helpful.
I've verified and used the following sites, so I'll be writing about them:
If you just want the gist of it, a super-quick summary of what I found:
- Coinbase: great if you just want to try things out. Fast to get ether, fast to verify, high fees.
- QuadrigaCX: great if you're looking to get more seriously into cryptocurrency. Most deposit options, lower fees.
- Kraken: great if you have a ton of money you want to transfer into cryptocurrency or if you want to play around with trading. Low fees, slow CAD deposit because wire transfer.
- Coinsquare: Fees aren't bad, low volume though.
With every one of these sites, there's usually some form of verification. This involves taking a picture of some piece of government ID (usually passport or drivers license), as well as some sort of proof of address such as a utlity bill. Some sites require you to take a selfie with some of that documentation or holding a handwritten sign. It seemed sketchy to me at first, but every place does it. Coinbase
This was the first place I tried. Their only payment methods I could find are Visa and MasterCard, of which they charge a 3.75% convenience. With reward cards you might get 1%-2% back, but this is a fairly high fee. The bright side is it's just about instantaneous.
One thing I noticed is that their sell price is about ~$5 higher than a few exchanges. For example, as I write this, it's $119.23 on coinbase. On kraken it's 113.99 for a market order.
There is a weekly $200 limit on the amount to buy. A 30 day countdown started after I spent $500 to increase the limit. I can't find what the new limit amount will be once that countdown reaches 0 though.
So far, I've been with them for over a month and I've bought $600 worth of ether. The first time I bought it only took a minute to get sent to my private address. The second time it took ~40 minutes for it to actually get sent to my private ether address, but this was due to some issues they were having, probably just a fluke. I've bought two more times since then and both times it was instant. To summarize
- Fast to verify, took a couple minutes, seemed to be completely automated
- Almost instantly sent funds via Visa/Mastercard
- Instantly got the ether I bought
- Probably the easiest to use
- Generally $5 over Kraken prices
- High fees at 3.75%. Might be able to brought lower with a good rewards card
- Low $200 weekly limit
Hoping to get lower fees, this was the second place I tried. They accept a lot more payments with a variety of fees, I'll list them out:
Electronic Funds Transfer
|Funding Type ||Daily Limits ||Time Frame ||Fee ||Verification |
|Electronic Funds Transfer ||Min $250, Max $10,000 ||5 Business Days ||5% ||required |
|Interac e-Transfer ||Min $500, Max $5,000 ||Next Business Day ||2% + $5 ||required |
|Interac Online ||Min $50, Max $2,000 ||Instant (but may be held 24 hours by security) ||1.5% (min. $5) ||required |
|Bank Wire ||Min $100,000, Max $500,000 ||2-4 Business Days ||Free ||required |
|Crypto Capital ||Min $500, Max $500,000 ||24 hours ||Free ||required |
replaced their "direct bank transfer" option, and while I think it's great since I think every bank supports it, it unfortunately has a rather high fee at 5%. I don't really see why you would use this though, if you can use Interac Online, it's faster. If you need the higher daily limit, a bank wire would be cheaper too. Interac e-Transfer
I'd go with this if your bank doesn't support Interac Online and if you don't mind the 2% fee. If you're doing a large amount, the Bank Wire would be a better choice, depending on how much your bank charges you. Interac Online
seems like the best choice for less than $2000. Unfortunately even though my bank card says "Interac" on it, and the bank is listed as supported, I can't use it for Interac Online because the card is both a debit and visa card. I've read that RBC and BMO are the only banks that support this, so it may be worth signing up with them. Bank Wire
ended up being what I used (EDIT: back then the minimum for a wire transfer was $500). I wanted to deposit a larger sum, so just paying my bank for the cost of the transfer ended up being worthwhile (about 0.5% fee). The downside is I had to go in person to a branch to send a wire transfer and it's only really worthwhile for larger transfers. Crypto Capital
seems like a 3rd party that you can wire to and then transfer that to QuadrigaCX. I don't see the appeal in using this to fund an account since you can just wire to QuadrigaCX directly.
I sent the wire transfer a few days ago, and it seems like it will take 3-5 business days for it to complete.
I'll update this post if the money somehow just disappears.
Wire transfer came through today, no problems :)
Once you do get CAD on QuadrigaCX, the fees to buy Ether are 0.5%. Combined with my wire transfer cost, I expect to only have paid a total of 1% in fees. To summarize
- Fast to verify, I was able to verify the same day I made my account
- Lots of variety in funding choices
- Lower fees compared to coinbase
- High daily fund limits
- Not as many deposit options if they don't support your bank
- 0.5% per completed trade is a little high compared to other exchanges
- Some transfer options have higher fees than coinbase for low amounts
- Some transfer options can take up to 5 days
The latest site I've tried, they have multiple tiers of verification. You can't deposit CAD until you reach tier 3 verification, which can take up to 48 hours.
Tier 1 and tier 2 were verified within the hour but tier 3 was still not verified 3 days later. When I submitted a support ticket, they were very quick to respond the next day and told me I needed to submit a Confirmation ID. Their site listed the Confirmation ID for a few countries and some criteria but it didn't seem like Canada applied to any of the criteria. Regardless, I submitted the Confirmation ID and was verified with tier 3 that same day.
The only way to deposit CAD with Kraken is through wire transfer and it seems like there's some unlisted fees based on what their banks charge them to receive a wire transfer (as well as any intermediary bank). I have not done this so I cannot tell what the costs would be.
Once you do have CAD on their exchange, their fees are better than QuadrigaCX with a MakeTaker rate at 0.16%/0.26%.
I have sent ether to Kraken just for playing around with trading and I've had no problems. To summarize
- Low trading fees
- Potentially lower CAD->ETH fee than QuadrigaCX, depending on if there are wire transfer hidden costs. Lower trading fee helps
- High fund limits
- Only one way to deposit CAD and it's slow
- Unclear what the wire transfer costs are
- Little confusing verification process for tier3
Verified today and decided to try the Interac e-transfer.
Their site has been improved a significant amount and I haven't ran into these kinds of problems since.
Anyway the e-transfer itself worked perfectly, it funded my account, and I think it's my favourite way to transfer CAD into exchanges so far. Only a 2.5% fee and only takes a few minutes to be in my account. They also have wire transfer, money order, and bank order, but I think other exchanges have a much better interface.
Buying Ethereum was a bit more confusing since (as far as I can tell) you can't trade CAD to ETH directly, you have to trade CAD for BTC first, and then trade that BTC for ETH.
The interface for placing an order was confusing to me compared to Kraken or QuadrigaCX, but I figured it out. Although I was interested in seeing how many orders there were and for how much, but I wasn't able to find that.
Buying BTC has a trade fee of 0.1%, and then trading for ETH has a trade fee of 0.2%. Overall total fees for e-transfer were ~1.3%~ 2.8% now, which is great considering what other fees are and how fast it is in comparison. If you can get past the interface, e-transfer is the way to go.
|Funding Type ||Daily Limits ||Time Frame ||Fee ||Verification |
|Interac Online ||Min $100, Max $2,000 ||Instant (withheld for 3 days) ||2.5% ||not required |
|Intac e-Transfer ||Min $100, Max $3,000 ||1-3 days (withheld 0-7 days) ||5% ||required |
|Flexepin ||Min $20, Max $500 ||instant ||2.5% ||required |
|Bank draft ||Min $1000, Max $9,000 ||0-2 days (withheld 0-5 days) ||0.25% ||required |
|Money Order ||Min $100, Max $1,000 ||0-2 days (withheld 0-5 days) ||0.25% ||required |
|Wire transfer ||Min $10,000, Max $300,000 ||0-1 day (withheld 0-2 days) ||0.5% ||required |
They have this concept of withholding funds, where you basically have to keep the money on the account. You can trade with it as much as you want, but you won't be able to withdraw until after the withholding time.
- Lowish trading fees
- Some options are fast to fund
- Reasonable fund limits
- The direct way to go from CAD->ETH has higher trading fees. Have to go CAD->BTC and then BTC->ETH.
Horrible interface. Until they fix their site, some stuff is broken (unless it works in other browsers?), or if you know how to edit html. Wow! They really fixed their site and it looks great now! Only thing that bothers me is in the advanced section, it lists the CAD/BTC price in terms of bitcoin. So instead of saying $3400/bitcoin, it says 0.00029378BTC
- Fairly high withdraw fees (unfortunately I can't find them listed on their site, and I can't find it listed anywhere, but some people have reported it being far too high)
There are of course other sites to get ether, and there's always the option of getting bitcoin and exchanging it through an exchange like Kraken or Poloniex for ether. There are bitcoin ATMs scattered around as well, but I can't comment on any fees involved or how close they match exchange prices.
Other sites I checked out:
- Local Bitcoins - It looks like I'd have to find another user to trade with and prices seem far higher than the exchanges.
- Poloniex - Doesn't look like you can deposit CAD.
- Gemini - Don't see a way to deposit CAD. Also sent verification 2 days ago and have not been verified.
- Bitfinex - Can't wire transfer USD out at this moment and I don't see a way to deposit CAD.
- Coinswitch - Can't deposit CAD.
- GDAX - Can't deposit CAD.
- CEX.IO - Price quotes are signficantly higher than other exchanges, and it looks like it only does USD. Right now, their site says you can buy 1 ETH as $289.25 USD, compare that to GDAX which has them trading at $259.98 USD. You can sell on it too, but again, the price isn't favorable, sell on it for $250 USD vs selling on GDAX for $260 USD.
- QuickBT - Only small amounts of ETH, and fees seem to range between 5-9% depending on how much you buy. Only supports interac online and flexepin.
The main sites for getting CAD into the cryptocurrency space like QuadrigaCX, Coinbase, Kraken, and Coinsquare don't have a lot of altcoins. Fortunately once you have ether you can send it to another exchange and trade that for altcoins. These are my favourite ones:
- Bittrex - You can't buy ETH with CAD directly, but it has a lot of other cryptocurrencies. I used this until Binance came out. They closed accounts for people unverified or from some countries, so I'd be wary about using it.
- Binance - You also can't buy ETH with CAD directly on this one, but it's my favourite for getting into other cryptocurrency coins. Fees are also lower than bittrex if you hold their BNB coin and they add new coins much faster. Referral | Non-Referral
- Kucoin - Registration on Binance/Bittrex has been up and down lately and I've had success using this exchange. They seem to add coins even faster than Binance, but the site is a little bit slower and less polished. Still functional and good to pickup a few alts that you can't get elsewhere. Referral | Non-referral
Funnily enough, this whole experience has made me appreciate the flexibility cryptocurrency like ether has and served as a reminder to how slow and cumbersome transactions become once the banking system is involved.
EDIT: received wire transfer through QuadrigaCX, made account with coinsquare.
EDIT2: added coinsquare section
EDIT3: updated QuadrigaCX and coinsquare section, updated alternatives list
EDIT4: Added e-transfer for QuadrigaCX!
EDIT5: Cleaned up alt coins section.
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