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Best Places to Buy Ethereum

Review Updated Feb. 10, 2023
Emma Newbery
By: Emma Newbery

Our Cryptocurrency Expert

Jamie Matthews
Check IconFact Checked Jamie Matthews
Many or all of the products here are from our partners that compensate us. It’s how we make money. But our editorial integrity ensures our experts’ opinions aren’t influenced by compensation. Terms may apply to offers listed on this page.

Ethereum (ETH) is the second-biggest cryptocurrency by market cap and is available from almost every crypto platform. There's no single best place to buy Ethereum for everyone, though. It all depends on your investment needs and how you plan to trade. We've dug into the top cryptocurrency apps, exchanges, and brokerages to pick the best options.

Coinbase
Open Account for Coinbase

On Secure Website.

Ratings Methodology

Our Rating:

Rating image, 4.50 out of 5 stars.
4.50 stars
Circle with letter I in it. Our ratings are based on a 5 star scale. 5 stars equals Best. 4 stars equals Excellent. 3 stars equals Good. 2 stars equals Fair. 1 star equals Poor. We want your money to work harder for you. Which is why our ratings are biased toward offers that deliver versatility while cutting out-of-pocket costs.
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Bottom Line

Coinbase's easy-to-use platform and accessible resources make it a good choice for new traders. It could be more transparent about its fees, which are on the high side. Customers can stake ETH on the network, which means tying it up to earn interest and contribute to network security.

Fees:

Variable fees (Coinbase), 0%-0.60% (Coinbase Advanced Trade)

Account Minimum:

$2

Our Rating:

Rating image, 4.50 out of 5 stars.
4.50 stars
Circle with letter I in it. Our ratings are based on a 5 star scale. 5 stars equals Best. 4 stars equals Excellent. 3 stars equals Good. 2 stars equals Fair. 1 star equals Poor. We want your money to work harder for you. Which is why our ratings are biased toward offers that deliver versatility while cutting out-of-pocket costs.
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Bottom Line

A number of factors make Gemini stand out. First is its commitment to security and compliance. The second is that it allows a limited number of free withdrawals each month. Finally, it has a lend-earn product, so investors can earn passive income on their Ethereum assets.

Fees:

$0.99-$2.99 orders < $200, 1.49% for orders at least $200 (default), 0% - 0.40% (Gemini ActiveTrader)

Account Minimum:

$0

Our Rating:

Rating image, 4.50 out of 5 stars.
4.50 stars
Circle with letter I in it. Our ratings are based on a 5 star scale. 5 stars equals Best. 4 stars equals Excellent. 3 stars equals Good. 2 stars equals Fair. 1 star equals Poor. We want your money to work harder for you. Which is why our ratings are biased toward offers that deliver versatility while cutting out-of-pocket costs.
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= Excellent
= Good
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Bottom Line

Robinhood pioneered zero-commission trading in stocks and has brought the same ethos to its crypto offer. It doesn't yet have external wallet functionality, so users can't deposit or withdraw their crypto assets, but it promises this will come soon and it is a great option for those who want to keep their stocks and crypto investments in one place.

Fees:

$0 for stocks, ETFs, options, and cryptocurrencies

Account Minimum:

$0

Special Offer

Earn a $25 to $600 reward

Our Rating:

Rating image, 4.00 out of 5 stars.
4.00 stars
Circle with letter I in it. Our ratings are based on a 5 star scale. 5 stars equals Best. 4 stars equals Excellent. 3 stars equals Good. 2 stars equals Fair. 1 star equals Poor. We want your money to work harder for you. Which is why our ratings are biased toward offers that deliver versatility while cutting out-of-pocket costs.
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Bottom Line

SoFi is also a cryptocurrency broker, meaning you can trade crypto alongside other investments like stocks and ETFs. However, there's a minimum trade of 0.01 ETH, and SoFi doesn't have external wallet functionality. SoFi is committed to security and is extremely transparent about its fees and product offerings.

Fees:

$0 for stocks, 1.25% for cryptocurrencies

Account Minimum:

$1

Special Offer

Get up to $100 in crypto with a qualifying first trade

Our Rating:

Rating image, 4.00 out of 5 stars.
4.00 stars
Circle with letter I in it. Our ratings are based on a 5 star scale. 5 stars equals Best. 4 stars equals Excellent. 3 stars equals Good. 2 stars equals Fair. 1 star equals Poor. We want your money to work harder for you. Which is why our ratings are biased toward offers that deliver versatility while cutting out-of-pocket costs.
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Bottom Line

Crypto.com's user-friendly mobile app is a separate product from its main exchange. The app is available in 49 U.S. states and allows users to earn interest on Ethereum assets. However, customers need to stake Crypto.com's native coin (CRO) to make the most of the app's benefits.

Fees:

0.04%-0.40% maker/taker fee

Account Minimum:

Varies based on cryptocurrency

Our Rating:

Rating image, 4.00 out of 5 stars.
4.00 stars
Circle with letter I in it. Our ratings are based on a 5 star scale. 5 stars equals Best. 4 stars equals Excellent. 3 stars equals Good. 2 stars equals Fair. 1 star equals Poor. We want your money to work harder for you. Which is why our ratings are biased toward offers that deliver versatility while cutting out-of-pocket costs.
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Bottom Line

The Binance.US site has a good mix of essentials for crypto investors, including a solid list of available cryptos, low fees, and an easy-to-use app.

Fees:

0.0%-0.1% maker/taker fee

Account Minimum:

$10

TIP

The right crypto investing mindset

Investing in crypto can be extremely risky. We think investors should approach these assets like any other technological investment — with a long-term mindset and the expectation of ups and downs. The Fool realizes there may be opportunities for investors. We do actively recommend select cryptocurrencies to our community. But we encourage everyone to be well versed prior to investing to understand the potential risks and rewards.

What is Ethereum?

Ethereum was the first cryptocurrency to introduce smart contracts. A smart contract is a tiny piece of code that lives on the blockchain, and it's the technology behind the decentralized finance (DeFi) industry. A large proportion of decentralized applications are built on the Ethereum ecosystem, although Ethereum now has a lot of competitors that want to take some of its market share.

Where can you buy Ethereum?

You can buy Ethereum from almost any cryptocurrency platform. You can even buy Ethereum from some Bitcoin ATMs in the U.S. Let's look at the differences between apps, exchanges and brokers.

  • Cryptocurrency brokers: Several traditional stock brokers offer a limited selection of cryptocurrencies alongside their other products. These are a great option for people who want to add Ethereum to their investment portfolio without opening a new crypto exchange account. Be aware that most crypto brokers don't offer external wallets where you can withdraw and deposit your crypto assets.
  • Cryptocurrency exchanges: These are the most common way to buy and sell cryptocurrencies, and plenty of exchanges offer lots of ways to deposit fiat currency (such as U.S. dollars), reasonable fees, and a sizable list of tradable coins. On the downside, these exchanges may not meet the same level of regulations as stock brokers.
  • Cryptocurrency apps: Most cryptocurrency brokers and exchanges also have mobile apps to make it easy to trade on the go. You can also buy Ethereum using payment apps such as Venmo and Paypal.

What to look for when buying Ethereum

Buying Ethereum for the first time can be a little daunting. But there are a lot of excellent products out there, it's just a question of finding the right platform for you.

Here are some key questions to help you find the best place to buy Ethereum.

1. What fees will you have to pay?

Broadly speaking, there are three types of fees to watch out for:

  • Deposit fees
  • Trading fees
  • Withdrawal fees

We'll break these down in more detail below. Just be aware that fees are rarely standard across the various trading platforms. For example, you might find a cryptocurrency exchange that offers free trading but charges you a lot of money to withdraw your funds.

Don't be afraid to open a couple of accounts and experiment. But don't deposit any money until you're comfortable with the fee structure.

2. How will the platform secure your assets?

Cryptocurrency investment is an exciting world, but unfortunately it has attracted its fair share of bad actors. And as it's a pretty new industry, it's taken a while -- and some high profile hacks -- for major cryptocurrency exchanges to implement the levels of security you find in banks and other financial institutions.

If a crypto exchange or broker is not transparent about its security systems, this should be a major red flag. Sometimes you'll read that a company doesn't want to disclose these details for security reasons, but that's misleading. There's plenty of information a trading platform can reveal without compromising its systems.

3. Are there any sign-up bonuses?

Various platforms offer sign-up bonuses for new investors. You might find a platform that gives you a small bonus when you start, or one that offers a bonus when you make a certain amount of trades or deposit a certain amount of money. While these are tempting, don't let them drive your decision-making. It may be a great tie breaker, but there's no point in signing up for the wrong exchange just because you want the bonus.

4. Is it available in my country or state?

Some cryptocurrency exchanges can't operate in the U.S., and only a handful are licensed to operate in every state. For example, New York has some of the strictest crypto exchange regulation and will actively pursue rule breakers. As such, it's good to check that the exchange you want to use is allowed to operate where you live.

5. Does it have all the features you need?

If you're buying Ethereum for the first time, you'll want an easy-to-use platform with plenty of educational resources. If you prefer mobile apps to web browsers, look for an exchange with a good app.

Other useful features include:

  • The ability to set up automatic monthly transfers
  • Good customer service
  • An external wallet

We'll talk about wallets in more detail shortly. If you're an active Ethereum trader, you might also want advanced features such as limit orders and good charting tools.

6. Can I stake or earn interest on my Ethereum?

Ethereum is currently in the process of a major upgrade to a new system to make it more scalable, more sustainable, and more secure. One part of the upgrade is to change the way it validates transactions. Without going into technical detail, it will move from an energy-intensive proof-of-work model to what's called a proof-of-stake system.

This means that people can stake their ETH tokens to earn rewards -- and you can already support the transition to the new network if you're willing to tie up your ETH tokens. As a long-term investor, this is a great way to earn passive income from your Ethereum investment.

Another way to earn interest on your crypto assets is to participate in a lend-earn program. Essentially, a platform will lend out your Ethereum and pay you some of the interest on the loan. Both staking and crypto lend-earn products carry risk, but if you want to earn passive income on your ETH, look for platforms with these functions.

7. Does it have a wide selection of cryptocurrencies?

If you only want to buy Ethereum or Bitcoin (BTC), you won't need an exchange with lots of tokens. However, if you see buying Ethereum as the first step on a longer crypto-trading journey, a long list of altcoins is a bonus. It's worth understanding an exchange's policy on adding new coins too -- does it try to filter out potential scams or is it looking to list as many coins as possible?

Check out our cryptocurrency exchange reviews for more options.

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What are the fees to buy Ethereum?

Different cryptocurrency platforms charge different fees, and sadly there isn't a lot of consistency in how those fees are calculated. With that in mind, watch out for the following.

1. Deposit fees

Fees vary depending on whether you want to deposit money by credit or debit card, bank transfer, or another method. A number of platforms let you deposit money for free if you use a bank transfer. Fees for credit card payments are usually 3% to 5%. If you have existing crypto assets on another platform, you'll normally be able to deposit them for free.

2. Trading fees

Trading fees can eat into your profits and come in several guises. You may be charged a set fee or a percentage of the trade. Several exchanges offer reduced fees if you pay using that exchange's native currency. Sometimes the fee is built into the rate you're offered, which is the least transparent -- it may look as if there is no trading fee, but you'll get less Ethereum for your dollars.

3. Withdrawal fees

The final fee to pay attention to is withdrawal fees. These vary from platform to platform and crypto to crypto. Some exchanges give a certain number of free withdrawals each month. Most platforms list their fees for each cryptocurrency and they can vary from a fraction of a cent to $100 or more. It's sometimes worth converting your assets into a cheaper crypto before you make a withdrawal.

Where is it safe to buy Ethereum?

It's safe to buy Ethereum from most major cryptocurrency exchanges. However, there are various potential risks to be aware of when you buy Ethereum. These include:

  • The cryptocurrency app, exchange, or brokerage itself: Top-notch cryptocurrency exchanges keep the majority of assets in what's called "cold storage." This means it is offline and difficult to hack. Unlike money in your bank account, your crypto assets aren't protected by FDIC insurance, so it's great if the platform has its own third-party insurance. Also look for independent security audits and participation in bug bounty programs.
  • Your computer/phone security systems: Having an account with the most secure crypto platform in the world won't help if you have malware on your computer or use the same password for multiple accounts. Make sure your virus protection is up to date and enable two-factor authentication on your crypto accounts.
  • The risks involved in cryptocurrency investment: Ethereum is one of the biggest cryptocurrencies we know of, which makes it a safer bet than smaller coins. However, investors need to be prepared for the volatility that is part and parcel of these high-risk investments. On top of that, there's a small chance Ethereum could fail completely or the bottom could fall out of this industry. That's why it's important to only invest money you can afford to lose and ensure your crypto investment only makes up a small percentage of your overall portfolio.
  • Where you store your crypto assets: Many long-term crypto investors use an external wallet -- often a hardware wallet that's kept offline -- to store their assets. This may not be the right option for beginner investors, but it's worth considering as the value of your crypto portfolio grows. A crypto wallet gives you complete control over your coins.

Safely buying and trading Ethereum has never been easier. There are many great brokers, exchanges, and apps out there to suit the needs of all kinds of investors. Once you've explored the options and picked a platform, it's just a matter of depositing money and converting it into ETH.

RELATED: Are you outside the United States? Check out The Ascent's Luno review. Luno caters to crypto investors outside the U.S.

Offer Best For Commissions Next Steps
Coinbase Offer Image

Coinbase

Rating image, 4.50 out of 5 stars.
Rating image, 4.50 out of 5 stars.

Best for overall cryptocurrency selection

Variable fees (Coinbase), 0%-0.60% (Coinbase Advanced Trade)

Gemini Exchange Offer Image

Gemini Exchange

Rating image, 4.50 out of 5 stars.
Rating image, 4.50 out of 5 stars.

Best for security

$0.99-$2.99 orders < $200, 1.49% for orders at least $200 (default), 0% - 0.40% (Gemini ActiveTrader)

Robinhood Offer Image

Robinhood

Rating image, 4.50 out of 5 stars.
Rating image, 4.50 out of 5 stars.

Best for commission-free trades

$0 for stocks, ETFs, options, and cryptocurrencies

SoFi Active Investing Offer Image

SoFi Active Investing

Rating image, 4.00 out of 5 stars.
Rating image, 4.00 out of 5 stars.

Best for transparency

$0 for stocks, 1.25% for cryptocurrencies

Crypto.com Offer Image

Crypto.com

Rating image, 4.00 out of 5 stars.
Rating image, 4.00 out of 5 stars.

Best for mobile app

0.04%-0.40% maker/taker fee

Binance.US Offer Image

Binance.US

Rating image, 4.00 out of 5 stars.
Rating image, 4.00 out of 5 stars.

Best for low fees

0.0%-0.1% maker/taker fee

Our Cryptocurrency Experts