Coinmama Review: A Scam or the Easiest Way to Buy Bitcoins?

If you’ve been on the hunt for a quick and easy way to buy Bitcoin, chances are good that Coinmama keeps popping up on your radar.

And that’s no surprise. Coinmama has been around since 2013, when it quickly acquired a reputation for being a convenient way of quickly buying Bitcoin, mainly thanks to the fact that it was one of very few brokers offering both PayPal and Western Union as payment methods.

Soon afterwards, they started accepting credit/debit cards as well, making Coinmama one of the first Bitcoin brokers to offer this convenience at a time at which it was pretty much impossible to purchase Bitcoin with a credit card.

Thanks to their role in making Bitcoin more accessible to the general public, Coinmama has grown rapidly and is still commonly listed as one of the go to Bitcoin brokers for beginners looking to quickly get some Bitcoin.

But over the years, there have been several changes at Coinmama. So the real question is: are they still the best broker for you? Let’s find out. Here’s an in-depth look at Coinmama!

Coinmama Quick Facts

Here’s a quick list of things you’ll want to know about CoinMama before you sign up:

  • What can you buy? Bitcoin (BTC) and Ether (ETH)
  • What fiat currencies can you use? Prices are shown in USD and EUR but Coinmama accepts all currencies – just keep in mind that if you’re paying with another currency, your bank may charge an exchange fee
  • Can you trade? No, Coinmama is a broker and only sells Bitcoin and Ether
  • What payment methods can you use? Visa or Mastercard
  • What are the buy limits? Depends on verification levels
  • Does it have a wallet? No, you must have a wallet to receive purchased BTC and ETH
  • Who can signup? Residents from 217 countries and 25 states
  • What’s the best thing about it? Offers a quick and easy way to buy Bitcoin since you’re buying directly from CoinMama, allowing you to receive your purchased crypto as soon as your payment clears
  • What’s the biggest drawback? Convenience comes with the cost of high fees

The most important thing you need to know about Coinmama is that unlike cryptocurrency exchanges like Gemini or GDAX, Coinmama is a buy-only cryptocurrency broker. Because of this, you cannot sell, trade or store Bitcoin here.

So what can you do? You can quickly and conveniently buy Bitcoin and Ether with any Visa or Mastercard and receive it in the wallet of your choice.

coinmama review

What Countries are Supported?

Don’t you hate it when you take the time to read all about the various pros and cons of a Bitcoin exchange only to find that they’re not available in your area? Yea, us too.

Which is why this is the first thing we like to get out of the way. So which countries – and US states – does Coinmama support?

As of now (November 2017) – Coinmama supports 217 countries worldwide as well as 25 US states: Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Maryland, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Wisconsin.

Can I Buy Bitcoin on Coinmama Without Verification?

Up until recently, Coinmama used to allow users to buy up to $150 worth of Bitcoin without verification. As of November 2017, this isn’t true anymore.

Now, there’s verification required for all amounts. Here’s how it works now:

  • Level 1. The lowest tier of verification, you can buy up to $10,000 USD. For this level, you need one of the below form of identification:
    • A non-US international passport (double page)
    • A national ID card (both sides)
    • A driver’s license (both sides)
  • Level 2. At this level of verification, you can buy up to $50,000 USD. To upgrade to this level, you need another one of the above forms of verification required for Level 1 as well as:
    • A utility bill (paper bill or internet bills are not accepted, save for bank statements)
    • A selfie of you holding your ID
  • Level 3. The highest level of verification, which allows you to buy up to 1,000,000 USD. There aren’t many details for obtaining this level apart from mention that it requires filling a short form. You’ll have to contact for actual information.

Overall, Coinmama’s verification isn’t so strict compared to many other cryptocurrency exchanges. After all, to buy up to $10,000, you only need an ID and not the address verification or selfie that’s often required for other exchanges like Gemini and Poloniex.

That being said, it’s still unfortunate that the option to buy up to $150 worth of Bitcoin without verification has disappeared. Luckily, Coinmama wasn’t the only option for buying Bitcoin without verification – check out the other options here!

What are Coinmama’s Fees?

The reason that Coinmama has held its place as one of the easiest places to buy Bitcoin is because it offers a streamlined method of acquiring Bitcoin (and Ether) quickly and conveniently. You can buy within minutes with a credit or debit card and receive the crypto as soon as your payment has cleared.

And because Coinmama locks the crypto rate at the time of purchase, you’re guaranteed to receive exactly the amount of Bitcoins you ordered – regardless of any market fluctuations that can occur between the time you placed the order and the time you receive the coins.

Those are all great perks…but they come with a cost: high fees.

Here’s why: Coinmama allows users to buy Bitcoin with credit cards. The thing about such transactions is that they may be convenient for the user but they’re risky for the seller since Bitcoin transactions are irreversible while credit card transactions are pretty easy to reverse. That leaves Bitcoin sellers in a vulnerable position of sending Bitcoin that are impossible to get back even if the credit card holder successfully reversed the charge.

This is why Bitcoin brokers and exchanges that offer credit/debit cards as a payment method typically charge higher fees – it’s to provide themselves a layer of protection against fraud and chargebacks.

But even taking all that into account, Coinmama is one of the most expensive Bitcoin brokers, charging a total fee of 10.5% for each Bitcoin purchase.

Here’s the fee breakdown: Coinmama’s fee is 5.50% and is included in the rates for Bitcoin that you see on the Buy Bitcoin page:

coinmama review

On top of that are the credit card processing fees, which are an additional 5.00%. Add it up and you’re paying a 10.5% fee for every transaction.

Just to give a context of how high those fees are, CEX.IO charges a transaction fee of 3.5% + $0.25 for purchases in USD and EUR and Coinbase charges a 3.99% fee.

So sure, Coinmama may be convenient but it’s definitely not the best deal around when it comes to buying Bitcoin with a credit card.

What are the Buying Limits?

One of Coinmama’s biggest selling points is that they offer some of the highest buying limits among Bitcoin brokers that accept credit cards.

As you can see from above, the buying limits depend on your account verification level. But on top of the buying limit imposed by your account verification status, there are also a few cyclical limits:

  • Daily limit: 5,000 USD/EUR
  • Monthly limit: 20,000 USD/EUR

Daily limits last 24 hours from the moment the order is placed. Monthly limits is a moving sum of the last 30 days.

Last thing to note: Coinmama also has a minimum order fee – the lowest amount you can buy is 60 USD or its equivalent in EUR.

Is Coinmama Safe?

One of the most important things when looking to buy Bitcoin on any website is safety and security. And when it comes to Coinmama, you can rest easy.

Why? For the simple reason that Coinmama is a Bitcoin broker that neither offers trading or a wallet. That means the issue of whether your account could get hacked and drained of its funds becomes moot since you won’t be storing any fiat or cryptocurrency on Coinmama anyway.

Since you’ll be using your credit card to buy Bitcoin or Ether and have it sent to your own private wallet directly, there’s no need to worry about whether Coinmama maintains full reserves or if they offer offline, cold storage.

So when it Coinmama, the issue of security is a little different. Here are the concerns that apply to CoinMama and what you can do to secure your account:

  • Personal information. Coinmama secures their website with TrustGuard and Comodo, both of which use 256-Bit SSL encryption on all pages that contain private information.
  • 2FA. Coinmama doesn’t currently offer two-factor authentication so for maximum security, use a strong password that contains lowercase and uppercase letters as well as numbers and symbols.
  • Credit card information. Coinmama doesn’t store your credit card information.

Overall, Coinmama is a secure, legitimate service that has never yet experienced any known security breaches and offers the unique advantage of holding no user funds. The simple fact that Coinmama sells directly from its own holding makes it significantly more secure.

How’s the Customer Support?

If you’ve been buying and trading cryptocurrency for awhile, you already know that customer service isn’t anything to brag about in these parts.

And Coinmama is no exception.

Much like most other cryptocurrency websites, Coinmama offers no phone support and no live chat. So your options for support are limited to:

  • FAQ. Coinmama offers an FAQ section which is frankly only suitable for general queries. This section could definitely be beefed up to provide more helpful information to users.
  • Help Button. At the bottom corner of each page, there is a Help button that you can click on to search for information.
  • Email. If you don’t find what you’re looking for with the Help button, you can choose the Leave Us a Message option instead and email Coinmama your question or comment.

Overall, customer service leaves much to be desired. The FAQ section is bare bones and the Help button mostly reiterates what can be found on the FAQ.

As for the email, many users say they get back to you within 24 hours but in our experience – one response to a question took close to 48 hours and the question wasn’t even fully answered. They actually sent back a somewhat unrelated answer. Another question we sent went completely unanswered – no response at all.

So overall, Coinmama could really afford to get their act together when it comes to customer support because as of now, it’s simply not up to par.

Is Coinmama a Scam?

Here’s one thing that’s almost guaranteed in the crypto world: a Google search for pretty much every Bitcoin broker or exchange will return a bunch of reviews with people screaming that the site is a scam.

It’s enough to make one severely paranoid. Or just scared off from buying any cryptocurrency.

Well, until you remember that no business satisfies all their customers and that some people are prone to over-using the word ‘scam.’ Which is why there exists the curious phenomenon of nearly every Bitcoin website having been accused of being a scam.

Here’s one accusing Coinbase, a site with over 7 million users, of being a scam. Here’s another accusing Poloniex of being a scam. And yet another about Kraken being a scam.

So it’s no surprise that Coinmama has racked up its share of negative reviews as well. The complaints range from delayed purchase requests to the lack of responsiveness from customer service. And many of the complaints are valid but it doesn’t make Coinmama a scam site.

Is Coinmama perfect? Nope. But it is a legitimate, licensed and regulated site that’s been around for close to 5 years and has gained and retained its reputation as a safe, convenient and trustworthy Bitcoin broker.

So no, it’s not a scam. But it definitely has its warts and that should factor in to your decision as to whether Coinmama is worth using or not…

Is Coinmama Worth Signing Up for?

CoinMama is a one-trick pony that’s focused on doing one thing and doing it well: providing an easy, quick way for people to buy Bitcoins. And they’ve been great at what they do. The process is streamlined and as long as you have a Visa or Mastercard – you can get yourself some Bitcoins fast.

Of course, this quick convenience comes with the price of higher-than-average fees but for many users, it was well worth it for the convenience.

The thing is, it may not be worth it anymore.

A few years back, the service Coinmama provides – quick Bitcoin purchases with a credit card – was rare and there weren’t many brokers or exchanges offering it. But now there are several ways you can buy Bitcoin with a credit card and for lower fees than at Coinmama.

Another change that’s occurred is that Coinmama is no longer offering Western Union purchases, which means all user accounts must be verified.

This is a shame because in our honest opinion, one of the best perks of using Coinmama – and the feature that made the higher fees worth it – was that it gave you the option of purchasing up to $150 in Bitcoin without going through the verification process.

Now that it doesn’t offer the zero verification option anymore, there’s very little reason to pay their high fees.

So should you use Coinmama?

It depends. Our two cents is that if your country of residence allows you to use another website with cheaper credit card fees or if you have the option to use a different payment method, it’s smarter to avoid the high fees and buy Bitcoin elsewhere.

But on the other hand, if you want to quickly and easily buy Bitcoin or Ether without hassles and you don’t mind the high fees – go for it.

Despite its downsides, Coinmama is still a solid company with the only real disadvantage being its high fees. And who knows – they’ve been open to pivots and changes so maybe they’ll become more affordable in the future.

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