How to pay exactly zero fees when buying Bitcoin

If you buy any amount of Bitcoin on Coinbase you will get screwed by fees. It’s actually ridiculous how much they charge.

But there is a way to pay none, zero, nada fees.

Let’s get to it.

The classic way

Coinbase is the classic on-ramp for buying Bitcoin. Easy interface. Painless navigation. One-click buying Bitcoin with a credit card. It’s awesome, right?

Except for the fees.

For a measly $50 invested in Bitcoin, you already pay 2 bucks in fees.

coinbase screenshot of fees when buying 50 EUR worth of Bitcoin
It’s in EUR here, but doesn’t matter. 50 EUR invested actually only nets you 48 EUR in BTC.

And if you plan to invest more, you get screwed even more.

Let’s say you want to buy Bitcoin worth of €1000. That’s not even a whole Bitcoin. Right now that is 0.3 BTC.

You actually only get 961 EUR in Bitcoin and you pay a ridiculous 38 EUR in fees!

Blasphemy!

Salvation is at hand

There is a way around this. But it has a price. For not paying fees you have to pay the price of it not being so easy anymore.

You will have to use Coinbase Pro.

Don’t be discouraged. It’s not that hard and I am here to help.

You go to https://pro.coinbase.com and log in with the same credentials you use on classic Coinbase.

You don’t need to sign up. Once you have an account on classic Coinbase, you automatically got one on Pro as well. Click here if you’re not on Coinbase yet.

After you’ve logged in, you will see the trading platform. Looks intimidating, but you don’t actually need any of the charts, the order book, and all the shenanigans.

coinbase pro interface screenshot
The Coinbase Pro interface. You don’t need 80% on what you see here.

The important parts for you are at the edges. Top right is the link to your Wallet “MyWallet”, top left you choose the desired exchange-pair “BTC-EUR” and on the left, you will actually buy the Bitcoin. But let’s do it step-by-step. Because you need to move funds there first.

Coinbase pro screenshot of the links you need.
The only things you actually need on this interface.

Step-by-step

Weirdly enough, you first need to go back to classic Coinbase. Because you need to send funds to Coinbase. Sadly, with this approach, you won’t be able to use the credit card. And it will take longer.

You can only buy Bitcoin with zero fees via bank account. Not with the credit card!

classic coinbase depositing funds

You need to go to “Accounts” on classic Coinbase where you should see a US Dollar, or EUR wallet, or whatever currency you have.

You might be wondering why we send funds to Coinbase when we want to buy on Coinbase Pro. Moreover, some smartasses might jump on me for saying you can just deposit fiat currency directly to Coinbase Pro.

Which is true, but it is somewhat complicated. This post is designed to make it as easy as possible. Coinbase Pro and classic Coinbase “share” the wallets. The funds you have on Coinbase can be used on Pro as well. Which is why it’s easier to deposit on classic before buying with Pro.

You click on “Deposit” on your wallet and work through the bank transaction.

You might already realize something. Since it is a standard bank transaction this will probably take 1-2 days until the money is actually on Coinbase.

Well, yes. As I mentioned earlier. It’s not as quick as just buying BTC with a credit card.

However, that’s actually kind of a good thing. Gives you more time to think about this purchase. If it is a good decision right now 😉

Come back to this post, when the money is on Coinbase. See you again in 1-2 days.

Becoming pro

After the money is on classic Coinbase, go back to Pro and click on “My Wallets” on the top right. This should show, well, your wallets on Coinbase. Most of them are presumably empty.

“But I have funds on Coinbase already?”

Yes, while they share the wallets, they still differentiate between the exchanges. But you can move between them without fees. On the left-hand side of the interface, you click on “Deposit” which should open up a dropdown box to choose a currency. Which would be the fiat currency like USD, EUR, etc.

Now you will see the same shit you saw on classic Coinbase two days ago. The bank account thing.

But you did that already, so what’s this crap?

This is the way in which you could directly pay to Coinbase Pro. Except for one thing:

screenshot of the SEPA fees

TRIGGERED.

I don’t want to pay fees ffs!

Yes, I mean, 15 cents isn’t much. But still. I said zero fees. That’s why we do the classic Coinbase way. And we can access these funds by clicking on “Coinbase Wallet”

screenshot of the coinbase wallet option

Now, dark-ish grey on light grey is obviously a great idea, right? Took me some minutes to find this button when I first tried this approach.

Whoever made this interface is an idiot.

But anyway, after you’ve clicked on “Coinbase Wallet” it should show all the funds you have on classic Coinbase. In my case 50 EUR.

You type in how much money you want to move in the “Amount” field and click “Deposit EUR” (or USD). You’ll get a notification if it worked. And right afterward, you can see the money in your balances.

screenshot of wallet balance on coinbase pro
You have successfully transfered the funds from classic to Pro!

Actually trading, sort of.

You will now have to trade. Sort of, not really. You will need to go onto the market. Click “Trade” on the top left. This will bring you back to the interface we saw earlier. But as I said, you can ignore most of it.

If it’s not already set correctly, you will need to choose the correct trading pair. Or the exchange pair. You want to trade your fiat currency versus Bitcoin. So USD vs BTC, or EUR vs BTC. Choose the corresponding pair from the dropdown in the top left.

screenshot of coinbase pro's trading pairs

If you are watching closely, you might already notice the trap here.

it's a trap meme

Because you don’t see BTC-USD, right? There is this weird BTC-USDC thing? Yep, that is Coinbase’s stablecoin. A cryptocurrency pegged against the US Dollar. Doesn’t matter to you, you just need to realize that this is NOT USD.

Dodging traps

You should type in “usd” in the search field which will bring up the actual US Dollar we love so much.

screenshot with the correct USD pairing
The Coinbase Pro pairings with the correct US Dollar.

After you’ve done that you will now see your USD balance on the left side. All you need to do now is type the amount you want to spend into the box underneath and hit “Place buy order“.

This will buy Bitcoin at the current market price. As much as possible with the fiat currency balance you have. You can see how much right above the buy Button. In this case around 0.015 BTC.

screenshot of the buy order on coinbase pro

Congratulations. You just bought Bitcoin without paying any fees!

“Fucking liar! It says 0.15 EUR Fee down there!”

Yes, well. If you place a market order you actually pay a fee. These 15 cents. There is a way to dodge these as well with limit orders. But, I wouldn’t recommend this if you are new to trading or financial markets in general.

I will go through it now, but you will be clever NOT to do limit orders. Unless you are in this market for years already.

Also, you should ask yourself if these 15 cents are worth the hassle. Especially since you might not actually get the Bitcoin right away with limit orders. Or not at that price. Or not at all. So, again. I highly recommend sticking with market orders.

But if you want to be the best there ever was, here’s how.

Hardcore deluxe pros

chess game with the king centered
The following way of doing it is only for kings.

With market orders, you just buy Bitcoin at the current market price. If Bitcoin is currently 3,000 USD, you buy at 3,000 USD. If it is 4,000 USD, you buy at 4,000 USD.

With limit orders, you decide at which price you would like to buy Bitcoin.

You tell the system it should buy $50 worth of Bitcoin once it reaches a price of say 3,500 USD per BTC. If that price is matched and your order can be filled, the system will then buy $50 worth of Bitcoin at the current price of 3,500 USD per Bitcoin.

This requires a few things though:

  • Understanding of the market movements
  • Estimation where the price will go
  • Patience

For example, if you set your order at 3,500 USD per Bitcoin, but this price isn’t reached until next week, your order won’t be filled until next week.

And on top of that, if a lot of people placed orders before you on 3,500 USD, they get served first. First come, first serve. If there aren’t enough sellers at this price range, your order might not get filled at all. Despite Bitcoin sitting at 3,500 USD.

These are the reasons, why I don’t recommend doing this if you’re new to this space. You should be able to judge how Bitcoin is moving.

The easy way of doing it the hard way

The easiest way to do this is to just set the price at the cheapest sell order. The stack of Bitcoin which is currently the cheapest seller as your price goal. This way it usually gets filled immediately.

For this, you need to learn about the order book. Which is left to the chart. Since you are buying, only the red numbers are interesting. Those are the people selling. You want to buy from them.

The orderbook for sellers. Which you want to buy from.

There three key things to see here. The price in your currency like EUR or USD. This represents all the currently open sell orders in this price range. These are the prices you could buy from. On the bottom is the cheapest.

The market size which indicates how much Bitcoin is actually in the sell position for that price. How many people put their Bitcoin to sell at that price. For example, the lowest row in the screenshot above shows 0.7110 Bitcoin available to buy at the 3170.46 EUR price.

And on the left, you see some bars. Not much on this order book, because it is very “thin” but where the market size is 11 Bitcoin, you see a bar coming out from the left. This is just the visual representation of the market size. 11 Bitcoin are on sale for 3174.98 EUR. So this bar is quite large. Most sellers sit at that price.

Ready, set, go!

Now the easiest way for you to do this would to take the lowest price (3170.46) go one decimal lower and set a buy order. In this case 3170.45!

You need to go one lower because Coinbase doesn’t allow to just market buy with a limit order. That’s what you would be doing if you chose the lowest seller. Market buying. And that’s 15 cents, duh!

You take that price, type it in the “Limit price” field on the left. Including the decimals!

And then you click on “Max” in the “Amount” field above. This would then buy the max amount of EUR or USD you have, being used to buy Bitcoin at your desired price. The amount field will be automatically calculated, how much Bitcoin this would actually net you. In my case here: 0,01577287 BTC.

screenshot of the limit order form filled out
As you can see, the Fee is 0!

You might already notice that the fee is now 0 EUR! Well done! You wouldn’t pay any fees right now if your order gets filled.

But you might have noticed that the order book moves quite a lot. Prices keep vanishing. Going up or down.

This is what I mentioned earlier. You either have to be very quick or your order just won’t get filled.

And again, for most people this is not worth the hassle to save 15 cents.

Just do the market order.

Either way, you bought Bitcoin with zero (or almost zero) fees. Well done!

If there are any questions. Follow me on Twitter! Check the sidebar on the right.

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