Kraken Review 2022: Pros, Cons and How It Compares

While Kraken has tools, products and informational resources for beginning crypto investors, many of its offerings are targeted toward people with more experience.
Jan 3, 2022

Many or all of the products featured here are from our partners who compensate us. This may influence which products we write about and where and how the product appears on a page. However, this does not influence our evaluations. Our opinions are our own. Here is a list of our partners and here's how we make money.


The investing information provided on this page is for educational purposes only. NerdWallet does not offer advisory or brokerage services, nor does it recommend or advise investors to buy or sell particular stocks, securities or other investments.

Our Take

5.0

NerdWallet rating 

The bottom line:

More experienced crypto investors may find value in Kraken’s advanced tools and products, which carry relatively low fees.

Kraken
Kraken
Fees
0.9%-2%
varies by type of transaction; other fees may apply
Account minimum
$0
Promotion
None
no promotion available at this time

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Large selection of digital assets.

  • Low fees for advanced traders.

Cons

  • Limited options for funding accounts.

  • Not available in all U.S. states.

Compare to Similar Brokers

Coinbase
Gemini
eToro
NerdWallet rating 

5.0

/5
NerdWallet rating 

5.0

/5
NerdWallet rating 

4.0

/5

Fees

0.5% - 4.5%

varies by type of transaction; other fees may apply

Fees

0.5% - 3.99%

depending on payment method and platform

Fees

1%

for cryptocurrency

Account minimum

$2

Account minimum

$0

Account minimum

$10

Promotion

Get $5 in Bitcoin

when you make your first trade. Terms Apply.

Promotion

$20 of BTC

for new users after trading $100 or more within 30 days

Promotion

Get $10

when you buy $100 worth of crypto.

Get more smart money moves — straight to your inbox

Become a NerdWallet member, and we’ll send you tailored articles we think you’ll love.

Full Review

Where Kraken shines

Large selection: Kraken lets its customers buy more than 90 different cryptocurrencies — second only to Coinbase among exchanges reviewed by NerdWallet. And with 130 available trading pairs, it has the most of any offering we’ve looked at.

Relatively low fees: While Kraken’s rates for entry-level traders are in the middle of the pack, fees on its more advanced Kraken Pro service are among the lowest reviewed by NerdWallet.

Where Kraken falls short

Limited funding options: Kraken has limited options for U.S. customers who want to put money into their account. The platform uses a service called Trustly to allow people to connect their bank accounts, and Kraken says this method works with more than 1,000 financial institutions. But if your bank is not among those institutions, you’ll have to wire money into your account — a process that can involve calling your bank to arrange the transaction.

Not available everywhere: The exchange is not open to people in New York or Washington state.

Kraken is best for:

  • Crypto-to-crypto trading.

  • Margin trading.

  • Advanced traders.

Kraken at a glance

Minimum trade

0.0001 BTC

Trading and transaction fees

0.9% to 2%

Number of cryptocurrencies

92

Crypto-to-crypto trading pairs

130

Website transparency

On Kraken’s website, you can easily find important information, including investment minimums, supported assets and how to close an account.

Can use your own digital wallet?

Yes

Mobile app

Kraken's apps for iOS and Android have an average rating of 4.2 stars.

Customer service

Kraken has live phone support from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Eastern time, and 24-hour chat support.

More details about Kraken's ratings

Minimum trade

The minimum trade depends on the cryptocurrency being traded. Bitcoin’s minimum, for instance, is 0.0001 BTC. The minimum for Ethereum, meanwhile, is 0.004 ETH.

Trading and transaction fees

Kraken’s fees become more attractive when you use its more advanced features.

The company’s entry-level service, “Instant Buy,” charges a fee of 1.5% for most cryptocurrencies. (The price is lower, at 0.9%, for stablecoins.) In addition, users must pay a 0.5% processing fee when using ACH/online banking to purchase crypto with Instant Buy.

Meanwhile, traders on the Kraken Pro service pay no more than 0.26% using a maker-taker model. Those fees gradually fall until they hit 0% for traders whose past 30-day trade volume is over $10 million.

Number of cryptocurrencies

Kraken offers more than 90 cryptocurrencies.

Crypto-to-crypto trading pairs

Kraken has around 130 trading pairs.

Digital wallet options and security

While some other exchanges have insurance to cover assets held on their platform, Kraken says it is not eligible for deposit insurance. But the company says it has taken stringent steps to insulate customers from cyberattacks.

Notably, it says it keeps 95% of its deposits offline, with enough in reserve that people can withdraw at will.

Broadly, Kraken emphasizes that it does not consider itself a stand-in for digital wallet services, and its service allows users to use their own wallets when their assets are not being held on the platform.

Mobile app

Kraken offers multiple apps for Android and iOS. While its basic application earned 4 stars, its KrakenPro app — still free, but with more advanced features — is a 5-star product.

Customer support options

Kraken has live phone support between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. Eastern time, Monday through Friday. It also offers a 24-hour web chat option. People who “consistently trade” on Kraken get a personal account representative who “handles your questions and requests, ensuring you can focus on trading, not dealing with headaches.” The company says people who are interested in such services should contact [email protected]

Other features you should know

Kraken offers more complex trading for advanced users. This includes low-fee margin trading on crypto, which is a riskier form of investment that can potentially bring higher returns. It also offers futures trading on certain cryptocurrencies. Margin fees vary by cryptocurrency, but top out at 0.02% to open a position, with a rollover fee of 0.02% charged every four hours the position remains open.

Is Kraken right for you?

While Kraken has tools, products and informational resources for beginning crypto investors, many of its offerings are targeted toward more seasoned investors.

If you’re comfortable with a more advanced interface and are looking for access to a broad range of investment options, Kraken offers a reasonably priced experience.

How do we review cryptocurrency platforms?

NerdWallet’s comprehensive review process evaluates and ranks platforms and companies that allow U.S. customers to buy and/or sell cryptocurrency. Our aim is to provide an independent assessment of providers to help arm you with information to make sound, informed judgments on which ones will best meet your needs. We adhere to strict guidelines for editorial integrity.

We collect data directly from providers through detailed questionnaires, and conduct first-hand testing and observation through provider demonstrations. The questionnaire answers, combined with demonstrations, interviews of personnel at the providers and our specialists’ hands-on research, fuel our proprietary assessment process that scores each provider’s performance across more than 20 factors. The final output produces star ratings from poor (one star) to excellent (five stars). Ratings are rounded to the nearest half-star.

For more details about the categories considered when rating brokers and our process, read our full methodology.