Best Crypto Exchange for Beginner U.S. Residents Buy and Hold or Low Fee Active Trading

6 min read


A photo to accompany a story about Binance.US vs. Coinbase Illustration by Next Advisor

This is  a great comparison of two of the largest crypto exchanges. It’s important to understand fees, security, coin storage, number of coins offered and additional features such as debit cards and rewards earning.

Coinbase and Binance.US are two well-known exchange options, but experts have consistently told us Coinbase is among the best options for most investors. And while you’ll likely pay more with Coinbase, you get what you pay for in terms of security, available coins, and more.

Coinbase is one of the oldest cryptocurrency exchanges, and has been in operation since 2012. Additionally, Coinbase is the first cryptocurrency exchange to be a publicly listed company on the Nasdaq exchange. Coinbase is among the easiest exchanges to use, with an intuitive interface, as well as a variety of options for using fiat currency to make purchases. Coinbase does charge much higher fees than Binance.US and the rewards are smaller.

Pro Tip

Consider your comfort level with trading as you evaluate cryptocurrency exchanges.

Binance may be the largest crypto exchange worldwide by volume, but since it isn’t available in the United States, you need to use Binance.US, its American partner. Binance.US is currently not available in Hawaii, Idaho, New York, Texas, or Vermont.

Coinbase is a better option for most crypto investors, thanks mainly to its ease of use and best-in-class security measures to protect your investments. Coinbase also offers more coin options, an educational hub with free crypto rewards, and a Visa rewards debit card.

Side-by-Side Comparison

Binance.US Coinbase
Good for  Active trading with low fees Ease of use for buy and hold crypto investors
Coins 80+ cryptocurrencies 150+ cryptocurrencies
Fees Tiered maker/taker model. 0.1% spot fee; Can get a 25% discount on your fee if you hold BNB 0.50% spread; Trading fee between 1.49% and 3.99% (or $0.99 to $2.99 flat fee)
Wallet storage Keep coins in Binance.US account or transfer to your own wallet Keep coins in Coinbase account, Coinbase Wallet option, or transfer to your own wallet
Security features Claims to keep assets in cold storage, two-factor authentication 98% of crypto assets held in cold storage, FDIC insurance for U.S. dollar amounts, two-factor authentication
Additional features • Staking
• Binance Academy
• Tax portal
• Wallet
• Earn
• Rewards debit card
Minimum trades $10 $2

 Pros and Cons: Binance.US vs. Coinbase

Binance.US Coinbase
Pros   • Low fees
• Trading fee discount
• Tax statement portal
• Identity verification process
• FDIC insurance on U.S. dollar amounts
• Rewards debit card
• Ability to earn rewards
• Simple interface
Cons • Not available in all states
• Limited customer services
• History of regulatory issues
• Security information not readily available
• High fees
• Not available in Hawaii
• No control over private keys when you keep coins on account

Wallet Offerings

To start, you might want to use the wallets offered by the exchanges. But getting your own crypto wallet can help keep your coins safer once you’re more comfortable with exchanges and crypto in general. So after you learn more about public vs private keys and other crypto security topics, you can look into getting your own hot or cold crypto wallet for a greater sense of ownership and in some cases greater security.

For crypto investors who are just getting started or whose investments are relatively small, you can keep your coins on the exchange with both Binance.US and Coinbase. However, Coinbase also offers different options to store your coins as your investments increase in value. For example, you can use the Coinbase Vault, which is a way to store your crypto offline. The exchange also offers the Coinbase wallet, which you can use as a browser extension or on your mobile device.

Binance.US encourages its customers to use Trust Wallet, owned by the larger Binance company. Trust Wallet supports hundreds of thousands of tokens and more than 40 blockchains, and it is decentralized so you control your private keys. While the wallet is free, you will pay transaction fees. Note that Trust Wallet has received mixed reviews from users on sites like Trustpilot and the Apple Store, so make sure to do your research before going further.

Coinbase is the winner here, as it offers more wallet choices, including the option to store cryptocurrencies in the Vault, rather than keeping them on the exchange. Since experts we’ve talked to consistently recommend Coinbase for crypto investors, its wallets are a good bet for many investors.


Coinbase is transparent about its strong security measures, including information on how to better secure your account with multi-factor authentication. U.S. dollar balances held on the Coinbase exchange are protected with FDIC insurance. However, crypto balances aren’t necessarily protected, although Coinbase claims that it will do its best to replenish funds in the event of a hack against the system.

Even with these security measures, Coinbase has been the target of attacks. In October 2021, Coinbase admitted that 6,000 users were impacted by a hack that took place earlier in the year. There have been other instances of scammers getting access to personal accounts, and Coinbase doesn’t protect against situations in which someone accesses your account using your username and password.

Binance.US mentions a commitment to best practices for security on its homepage, but it doesn’t provide details. The company is registered with the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) in the United States under the auspices of BAM Trading Services. While Binance has covered consumer losses due to security breaches, Binance.US does not guarantee it will do the same. Binance has faced regulatory troubles, and Binance.US is under investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission about ties to the greater company’s CEO and two trading firms that buy and sell on Binance.US. A spokesperson emailed us on behalf of Binance.US after our original 2021 review and stated that they operate separately, with Binance.US licensing trademarks, software, and wallet technology from the larger company.

We reached out to Binance.US and Coinbase for comment about these issues and for more information, and will update this review if Binance.US or Coinbase get back to us.

Experts have repeatedly pointed to Coinbase’s robust security measures as good reason for beginners to consider using it. As with any cryptocurrency exchange, your coins aren’t insured by the Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC), whether you’re on Binance.US or Coinbase.

Cryptocurrencies Available

Binance.US offers more than 80 cryptocurrencies, while Coinbase offers more than 150 cryptocurrencies.

Binance.US has a native cryptocurrency, Binance Coin (BNB), that can be used for various transactions on the Binance chain.

Coinbase has its Coinbase Pro offering that provides access to additional cryptocurrencies, as well as spot trading and a different fees structure.

Both exchanges give crypto investors access to the most commonly traded cryptocurrencies, but if you’re looking for access to a wider variety of available cryptocurrencies, Coinbase is the better choice.


While Binance.US has some of the lowest fees among crypto exchanges, it comes at a cost of less transparency about its security measures. For beginner crypto investors especially, experts say it’s probably a better bet to pay more for the added security assurance you’ll get with Coinbase.

Binance.US has a top fee of 0.10%. Plus, by holding BNB in your account, you receive a discount.

Coinbase has a flat fee based on how large the purchase is. For example, you might pay $0.99 on a transaction amount of $10 or less, but $2.99 on a transaction amount between $50 and $200. On top of the flat fee, there’s a percentage charged based on your payment method. If you use a debit card or PayPal, you’ll pay a higher percentage than if you use your bank account or Coinbase USD Wallet.

With Binance.US, you’re rewarded for trading more often. While this can be good for active traders, the benefit is likely diminished for those who follow expert guidance to buy and invest in crypto long term. When you trade more in a 30-day period, you receive lower fees. However, because Coinbase bases its fees on transaction amounts, you could pay a higher per-transaction cost, without receiving a discount for increased trading.

Staking, Credit Cards, Other Options

Binance.US offers fewer extra products and services than Coinbase. Both services offer staking, where you just need to hold the available coins in your account on the exchange. With staking, you earn interest on the amount of cryptocurrency you hold, paid out in the coin you’re staking.

Coinbase also offers additional ways to earn rewards. With Coinbase Earn, you watch videos to learn about altcoins, and you earn crypto based on each quiz you complete.

Binance.US offers an extensive body of educational content through the larger company’s Binance Academy. Coinbase also offers a library of educational information and tools, helping beginners understand how cryptocurrency works.

Both exchanges offer tools to help you with your tax reporting, and you can also consider getting a crypto portfolio tracker to help make tax time go smoothly.

With Binance.US, you can use advanced trading tools such as the ability to place limit orders, which is an order to buy or sell a stock at a specific price or better, and over-the-counter trading, which is a direct buyer-seller deal where only the parties involved know the price and volume. You can get these tools with Coinbase if you sign up for a Coinbase Pro account.

If you’re looking to earn crypto rewards for everyday purchases, Coinbase offers a Visa debit card. You can use the card as crypto or as U.S dollars, and get up to 4% back on your purchases. There is a waitlist for this rewards debit card.

Overall, Coinbase offers more products to help you manage and grow your crypto holdings than Binance.US.

How to Decide Between Binance.US and Coinbase

Coinbase is the winner here as it’s more accessible to beginning traders, offers a rewards debit card, displays clear security measures, and doesn’t have the legal issues of Binance.US.


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