Buying CryptoCurrency in Australia: Top 4 Options
Adoption of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies has been on the rise in Australia recently. That’s all thanks to the change to a more accepting approach to the asset class from the Australian government.
Previously the laws and regulations, such as those allowing double-taxation, kept Australians from adopting cryptocurrencies on any large scale. Thankfully the government made some changes to the regulations, and that’s resulted in increased interest and adoption of cryptocurrencies in Australia in 2021.
Consider Swyftx for example, which has seen its user base go from zero to more than 35,000 since launching in 2019. It’s also been reported that the exchange/broker hybrid is handling $120 million in transactions every single day.
If you’ve ever looked into buying or trading cryptocurrencies in Australia you likely know there are dozens to choose from. Some are local and only available to Australian or New Zealand residents, while others are global in scope.
At the end of the day however you need to find the broker that lets you buy crypto in Australia with the best fees, easiest verification requirements, and highest convenience. You might also be concerned with anonymity or payment modes, or the deposit and withdrawal limits.
That means you’ll need to do some research to find the best Broker in Australia for buying crypto based on your needs. Or you can let us take care of the research and you can find the option that works best for you.
And with that out of the way let’s get on and learn how to buy some crypto in Australia.
There are several features of crypto exchanges that are very important to traders. At the top of the list is fees, but there are other things of consideration such as the trading interface offered, the liquidity and spreads, and the level of customer service offered. There is one Australian broker attempting to fix all of these issues, and that’s Swyftx.
They are giving Australian crypto traders a place to go where they aren’t being robbed blind by fees, where the customer service staff is helpful, and where the trading interface allows for more intelligent trading.
The great thing about Swyftx is that it isn’t just an exchange. It also offers full brokerage services, which is a bonus for traders and crypto investors. It also makes Swyftx the perfect exchange whether you’re brand new to crypto or if you’ve got years of experience. At Swyftx you can expect low, transparent fees, excellent spreads, over 220 assets to trade, and even an SMSF savings account to help with your retirement savings.
You can just tell that traders love what Swyftx offers as the exchange has grown to over 35,000 traders since they launched in 2019.
One thing to really like about Swyftx is there flat fee of 0.6%. At first glance that might seem high compared to the exchanges offering fees of 0.2% or less, but a closer look shows where Swyftx is better than those others as they offer spreads that are as low as 0.41%. Other exchanges that have low fees can have spreads as high as 5%!
Swyftx is able to offer these ultra-low spreads thanks to their proprietary algorithm that can locate the lowest spread from across dozens of exchanges. This allows Swyftx to lower the total cost of trades (fee + spread) to as low as 1.01% in some cases. You won’t find such low total costs at many other exchanges.
And Swyftx has made it very simple to get started. You begin by clicking the large, blue “Signup” button in the upper right corner of the website. This will open the Swyftx registration page where you’ll enter your name, email address, phone number, county of residence, and a password of your own choosing.
Then check the box to agree to terms and conditions, and the box to prove you aren’t a robot by completing the captcha. Finally, click the “Create my Account” button.
One of the more troublesome parts of registering for any cryptocurrency exchange is the need to complete KYC requirements, but Swyftx has even made this part of the process so simple that 70% of their clients are able to complete it in under 2 minutes.
To complete the KYC identity verification process you’ll need to log into the account you just created then click the “Profile” link in the left sidebar and under that the “Verification” link. That will open an online form asking to verify the following information (note each is verified separately):
- Email address
- Mobile phone number
- ID document number
To verify the email click the button and an email will be sent to you where you’ll need to click a verification link. That’s sorted.
The phone verification is equally easy. Click the “Verify Now” button and a 6 digit PIN will be generated and sent to your phone via SMS. Input that code in the popup box on the website and you’ve verified your mobile phone number.
The final step is verifying your ID documents and Swyftx has simplified this by doing away with the need to scan and upload documents. Instead you’ll only be required to enter the information exactly as it appears on your ID into the web form.
Once that’s verified you’re all set. It’s very likely the entire process took you less than 2 minutes.
For deposits in AUD Swyftx offers several options:
- PayID (instant deposit method)
- POLi (instant deposit method)
- OSKO (deposit within same business day)
In an exciting development, Swyftx has announced they will soon add credit/debit card payments, becoming the first Australian platform to offer this service. Bank transfers are also possible through the OSKO network. These typically take 2-6 hours to process, although it isn’t uncommon for the bank to hold up a large first deposit for up to 24 hours. Swyftx checks for transfers at approximately 9:00am, 12:00pm, 3:00pm, 6:00pm, 8:00pm, and 10:00 pm AEDT on every business day.
Is There An Affiliate Program?
It might not be the most important part of choosing a broker, but it is nice to see an affiliate program on offer at Swyftx. With it you can earn 30% of the fees collected on all trades for the lifetime of the referred account. The affiliate program can be used casually to refer friends and family members, or it can be used more extensively.
Payouts are made on the 1st of every month, and you will always know exactly what your commission is thanks to the real-time tracking system included in the affiliate backend. One thing that is missing is marketing materials to help out with advertising and promotion.
Coinspot was launched in 2013, and it bills itself as Australia’s most trusted exchange. Because it’s been operating for such a long time in Australia it is extremely well known in the crypto community, and it is well respected. The exchange has remained at the forefront of the cryptocurrency revolution in Australia and is often the first broker to offer new features.
As of January 2021 users at Coinspot can enjoy all the following features:
- User-friendly interface makes it easy for all levels of cryptocurrency users.
- Easily buy and swap from a selection of more than 230 cryptocurrencies.
- Stop-Loss & Limit Orders to help you make the most of market opportunities.
- Many deposit options available like POLi payments, PayID, BPAY and cash.
- Over-the-Counter desk and support for Australian Self Managed Super Fund (SMSF) investors.
- Excellent security measures, including 2-Factor Authentication to protect from hackers and theft.
- Affiliate program that rewards 30% of commissions (for 1 year) for referred users.
Creating an Account & Login
Creating a Coinspot account is similar to what you would go through at any other crypto exchange. It begins by clicking on the white “Register” button in the upper right corner of the website. You then fill in the requested details and click the “Create Account” button.
Almost immediately after registering you’ll receive an email from Coinspot to verify the email address you used to register. Clicking on the verification link in the email completes the basic account setup and lets you log into Coinspot. However, you are not able to make any deposits or withdrawals until you verify your ID in accordance with AML regulations.
Verification at Coinspot involves proving you are who you’ve registered as by providing identification documents. Once these documents are received and processed by Coinspot (which can take up to 24 hours) you will have access to deposit up to AUD$2,000 per day, and to make withdrawals. Complete verification requires all the following:
- Full name
- Date of birth
- Phone number
- Residential address
- Scanned copy of a valid identification card or passport with proof of address
- A selfie photograph holding up an ID document
This is a standard procedure that you’ll find at nearly all the cryptocurrency exchanges.
Coinspot prides itself on its simple and transparent fee structure, which also happens to include some of the lowest fees of any of the Australian crypto exchanges.
Note that this fee structure does not include the mining fees charged if you choose to do a swap from one cryptocurrency to another, or if you choose to send your coins off the exchange after purchasing them. These mining fees differ from one cryptocurrency to the next, and can even differ based on the network traffic of the blockchain in question. That said, mining fees typically amount to less than a five-cent piece.
Another popular option to buy crypto in Australia is the CoinJar exchange that was launched in 2013. The exchange/broker is primarily focused on its Australian clients, but more recently it has also expanded and now offers its services in the U.K. as well. It also offers CoinJar for Institutions on a global basis, but that’s not really relevant to individuals, although it does indicate that CoinJar could offer its services globally in the future.
The exchange features a taker/maker fee structure where takers pay a fee that can be as low as 0.1%, but won’t exceed 0.3%. Makers do even better, with fees going from 0% up to a maximum of 0.2%.
So long as you are always buying on the bid and selling on the ask you’ll only ever pay the maker fee, which means your maximum fee at CoinJar will be quite low. However spreads can be high at times due to a lack of liquidity, so traders will need to keep this in mind.
As another hybrid exchange/broker CoinJar allows for purchasing crypto with fiat, or trading between various cryptocurrencies. Deposits can be made via bank transfer, BPAY, NPP, Blueshyft, or for those who already have some cryptocurrency any of the supported coins can be deposited as well.
CoinJar is also serious about security, using 2-factor authentication for all accounts, and securing a minimum of 90% of the digital currencies held in cold storage wallets. CoinJar is very transparent about its operations as well, which can give a sense of security for users.
In addition, they use data encryption, Transport Layer Security, periodic security audits and best practice organization security. CoinJar also utilizes advanced machine learning techniques to recognize suspicious logins, account takeovers and financial fraud.
Creating a CoinJar Account
Creating your account at CoinJar is pretty much the same as creating an account at any other cryptocurrency exchange. It begins with clicking the “Sign Up” link in the upper right corner of the website. After filling in the form you’ll receive an email with a link to click that will confirm your ownership of the email address.
This will get you access to your account and the trading platform, and if you are depositing cryptocurrency you can do so and begin trading. However if you want to make a fiat currency deposit you’ll need to verify your identity by uploading your ID documents. This is all in accordance with AML regulations.
Another benefit to verifying your account is that it will make you eligible to receive a CoinJar Swipe debit card.
CoinJar Swipe Cards
CoinJar Swipe is a debit card that's available to the Australian customers of CoinJar. It allows for a seamless exchange of cryptocurrency to fiat without waiting for several days for a bank transfer to process. It also allows for the conversion of crypto to fiat without any fees.
Funding the debit card is quite simple. Inside your account you'll see a 'Swipe Account' and if you move some cryptocurrency into this account you can then use the CoinJar Swipe card to withdraw the funds from an ATM or at any place where you would normally use a debit card. Transfers are instant and the funds are available immediately. The only downside is the $29 fee for ordering a new card.
CoinJar Rewards is a reward system that allows users of the exchange to accrue points for using CoinJar to buy, sell and trade cryptocurrencies. Points can be used to offset exchange fees, to purchase items in the CoinJar Store, or to offset the cost of ordering a new CoinJar Swipe card. Accounts must be verified to accumulate CoinJar Rewards points.
Not all the exchanges available to Australian cryptocurrency enthusiasts are based in Australia. One popular exchange for buying Bitcoin and a number of other cryptocurrencies is Coinbase, a San Francisco, CA based exchange. In business since 2012, it is the largest U.S. based crypto exchange and one of the top global exchanges.
Like the first entry in our list Swyftx, Coinbase is also a hybrid exchange and broker. They also offer custodial services for institutions, a cryptocurrency payment platform, and their own stablecoin pegged to the US dollar called the USD Coin (USDC).
While Coinbase is easy to use, which is a good part of the reason it’s grown so large, it is also disliked by many long-term cryptocurrency enthusiasts for several reasons including:
Coinbase has some of the highest fees in the industry, but it gets away with that (so far) because its simple user interface makes it a good choice for those who are brand new to cryptocurrencies.
Many people think it’s worth it to trade some extra fees for a simple interface and ease of use. More experienced crypto traders and investors can sidestep the high fees by using the Coinbase Pro platform, however one downside is you can’t buy and sell crypto using fiat at Coinbase Pro.
Users do not Control Keys
Even though all of the centralized exchanges hold users private keys, this continues to be a major complaint of Coinbase users. There’s really not many ways to get around this, but users still remember the popular saying: “Not your keys, not your coins.”
Coinbase Limits User Privacy
Coinbase is definitely not a friend of privacy, and as far back as 2014 there have been reports of Coinbase tracking it’s users addresses, where they transfer coins, and how they spend coins. Users have had accounts frozen for sending to certain addresses. In 2019 Coinbase acquired a company called Neutrino.
The focus of Neutrino is analyzing blockchains in order to discover the identities behind addresses on those chains. Coinbase also recently attempted to sell its data to the Internal Reveneue Service (IRS) and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). And it was successful in winning the contract to sell its data to the Secret Service.
If privacy is important to you stay away from Coinbase, but if you’re not bothered and love the ease of use then it could be your perfect exchange.
Coinbase Deposits & Fees
Coinbase has quite a confusing fee schedule, and that might be because they are trying to hide the high cost of their fees. They also have limited options for making deposits, which can be a real downside for some users. And currently in Australia Coinbase does not support selling cryptocurrencies. All of that means you can buy easily enough, but you’ll have to move your coins elsewhere if you want to sell them.
When it comes to fees there is an entire long page on the Coinbase website to explain the fee structure. You can have a look here if you like. A more simplified version of the Australia fee structure is shown in the chart below:
Buying Crypto at Coinbase
Buying any cryptocurrencies at Coinbase begins with registering an account. That’s easy enough. From the home page click the “Sign Up” button in the upper right of the screen and then complete the simple form. Click the “Create account” button and you’re set.
Once you’ve registered Coinbase will send you an email asking you to click a link and verify the email is yours. Following that they will send you an SMS to your mobile with a PIN that needs to be entered at the Coinbase site to verify your mobile number.
This is the phone number that will be used later for 2FA codes, so be sure it’s one you will always have access to.
It’s also going to be necessary to provide Coinbase with your ID documents to complete the KYC process. And you’ll need to register a debit card to make purchases.
Once you’re logged into your account look for the blue button (BUY / SELL) at the top of the home page. Clicking it will bring up a box that allows you to BUY, SELL, or CONVERT Bitcoin and the other cryptocurrencies supported at Coinbase.
Nearly all cryptocurrency exchanges have zero protections when it comes to investor schemes or government sponsored insurance plans, however Coinbase has privately insured its client’s funds against any losses due to hacking or theft.
Coinbase has long been very upfront in letting their clients know that security is extremely important when dealing with cryptocurrencies. Coinbase themselves help this along by requiring all accounts use 2FA for the log in process.
They also hold 98% of all client funds in cold storage to limit the amount of coins a hacker might be able to reach. Of course this helps them as well, since any successful hacking attempt would be compensated by their own insurance policy.
Even with all this security and safeguards we want to warn you never to store your coins in any exchange wallet. You should always move your cryptocurrency to a non-custodial third-party wallet that only you have access to. This is the only way you’ll know the coins you’ve purchased are actually in your possession.
While Coinbase does seem to be quite trustworthy, it’s worth noting that they also have frequent site outages, when users are unable to log in and retrieve their coins. Be safe rather than sorry and transfer the crypto you buy off the exchange.
Taken all together there are several serious downsides to using Coinbase in Australia, however if you’re looking for ease of use and aren’t expecting to sell your coins anytime soon, then Coinbase can be an acceptable alternative for buying crypto in Australia.
The options above are just a few that can be used to buy crypto in Australia. There are many others, but we think these four are enough to get anyone started.
But there are many exchanges not covered here, so to be complete you might want to conduct your own research on top of what we’ve already done for you. One option we like is Binance, because it offers one of the greatest varieties of altcoins and has some other excellent features and perks.
You can access our full Binance review here.
Disclaimer: These are the writer’s opinions and should not be considered investment advice. Readers should do their own research.