Kraken Review 2024: 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.
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Written by Andy Rosen
Lead Writer/Spokesperson
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Edited by Chris Davis
Assigning Editor
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Our Take

4.3

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
0.16%-5%
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.

  • High fees for buying in USD.

Compare to Similar Brokers

NerdWallet rating 

4.8

/5
NerdWallet rating 

3.9

/5

Fees 

0% - 3.99%

varies by type of transaction; other fees may apply

Fees 

$0

per trade

Account minimum 

$0

Account minimum 

$0

Promotion 

Get $200 in crypto

when you sign up. Terms Apply.

Promotion 

None

no promotion available at this time

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Full Review

Where Kraken shines

Large selection: Kraken lets its customers buy more than 230 different cryptocurrencies, and the service offers more than 130 crypto trading pairs.

Relatively low fees: While Kraken’s rates for entry-level traders can be high, 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. When we tested the service, even a bank that was included on this list was still unable to connect to Kraken.

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

Up to 5% for debit card purchase, though fees on KrakenPro are lower.

Number of cryptocurrencies

More than 230.

Crypto-to-crypto trading pairs

More than 130.

Website transparency

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

Storage offering

Kraken doesn't insure customers' crypto, but it has a solid track record for digital security.

Staking and rewards

Kraken no longer offers staking or rewards.

Mobile app

Kraken's apps for iOS and Android have high average ratings among users.

Customer service

Kraken has 24-hour live phone and chat support.

More details about Kraken's ratings

Minimum trade: 5 out of 5 stars

The minimum trade depends on the cryptocurrency being traded. Bitcoin’s minimum, for instance, is .0001 BTC, which was worth about $3.50 at the time of publication.

Trading and transaction fees: 2.5 out of 5 stars

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

The company’s entry-level service, “Instant Buy,” is convenient, but the fee breakdown is confusing and opaque. Previously, Kraken disclosed its fees as 1.5% for most cryptocurrencies, plus a 0.5% processing fee. Now, all users can see is that Kraken will show a "displayed fee" and potentially a spread at the time of purchase. When we tested purchasing $200 of BTC with USD via debit card, this displayed fee came out to $10.59, or about 5.3%. Fees do tend to be higher with debit card purchases, but Kraken's issues with connecting with banks means this likely isn't an uncommon scenario.

However, 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. Unlike the Instant Buy option, these are among the lowest fees of all crypto platforms we review.

Number of cryptocurrencies: 5 out of 5 stars

Kraken offers more than 230 cryptocurrencies.

Crypto-to-crypto trading pairs: 5 out of 5 stars

Kraken has about 130 trading pairs.

Storage and security: 4.5 out of 5 stars

While some other exchanges have insurance to cover assets held on their platform, Kraken does not. 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.

Staking and rewards: 1 out of 5 stars

On Feb. 9, 2023, Kraken agreed to pay a $30 million settlement with the SEC over allegations surrounding its staking program. As a part of the settlement, Kraken discontinued the program for U.S. customers.

Mobile app: 5 out of 5 stars

Kraken offers multiple apps for Android and iOS. Both its basic app and the KrakenPro app — still free, but with more advanced features — have high average customer ratings.

Customer support options: 5 out of 5 stars

Kraken offers 24/7 live, multi-lingual phone support. It also has 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?

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