How to regain access to Coinbase account when you lose your phone and authenticator app

  • By: Walter Dunphy ACCA
  • Date: March 22, 2023
  • Time to read: 3 min.

The Coinbase website is not very helpful when you get yourself into a situation where you have lost your device, which has your authenticator app that you need to access your account. I learned this the hard way and wasted a couple of days trying to regain access to my account.

To save you some time I will tell you how to go about regaining access to your account the quickest way possible.

Accessing your account and changing your 2 Factor Authentication – New Device

If you lose your device which holds your Google Two Factor Authentication app, unfortunately you will not be able to restore the link to your online accounts when you redownload the Google Authentication app on your new phone or device.

This happened to me personally when I lost my phone on holidays and afterwards I was really worried that the crypto I has sitting on my Coinbase account was gone forever. But thankfully after a few days of looking at options online and talking to customer support a couple of times, I eventually stumbled on the correct way to regain access.

Initially I was allowed to bypass the Google Authentication step at login for 24 hours, but this was no good for me as I need the Google Authenticator if I wanted to make any changes to the Two Factor Authentication method on my account.

After talking to a couple of support agents they eventually put me on the right path. I was instructed to go through the following steps:

You will need to go to the following page

The enter your email and password as normal, after this you will be prompted to enter the 6-digit code from your authenticator app.

You will not have this code, so you can choose ‘Try another way’.

Then you need to selection the option, updated your authenticator app. You will need to first verify your identity by uploading a photo of your driving license or passport, and a selfie.

You then may have to wait 1-3 days before you are verified then you will be given access to your account and 24 hours to updated your authenticator app.

Why I wouldn’t recommend leaving crypto on Coinbase where possible

I don’t usually store my crypto on Coinbase, only when I am either buying or selling crypto. When you have your crypto stored on Coinbase, you don’t have control of your keys, Coinase take full custody of your crypto. I am sure you have heard this phrase before – “not your keys not your crypto”.

This is one of the most important lessons to learn when you start investing in crypto. We have seen many crypto institutions go out of business during the bear market of 2022/2023 like Celsius and FTX. Although Coinbase is one of the most reputable crypto exchanges, we cannot rule out anything from happening with crypto in these times.

Many customer have lost all their crypto with no recourse, but when you have your crypto stored on a decentralised wallet and you have your seed phrase securely stored you have full custody of your crypto, and nobody will be able to touch your crypto.

Disclaimer: This blog post is for informational and educational purposes only and should not be construed as financial advice.

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