Changelly Review: Safe Exchange? Pros, Cons, and More!

Last updated: Dec 28, 2023
19 Min Read
AI Generated Summary
Non-custodial model for handling funds
Tokens labeled with the corresponding network for easy identification
24/7 live support
Great for privacy-minded individuals as no KYC is needed
Expensive fees for crypto purchases
Unregulated exchange with no KYC
Not easy to identify which fiat currencies are supported

When we think of crypto exchanges, we usually think of either centralised or decentralised exchanges. The former is set up like a regular company with employees and uses the order book format to match buy and sell orders, thus creating its market for assets traded on it. 

This kind of company makes money mainly through transaction fees from both retailers and institutional traders because they can facilitate large trades over-the-counter (OTC) that are separate from the market so as not to move the market price too much. 

Clients need to open an account with the exchange and deposit money into their account to place orders for making trades. These accounts are usually custodial, so you do need to trust that the exchange is not going to run away with your money. 

Records are kept by the finance department in addition to what is on the blockchain. These records are organised to show the profitability of the business.

Decentralised exchanges are a set of computer program codes, known as smart contracts, that do the buy/sell order matching. There are no employees so no overhead costs of any sort. All fees charged are on-chain fees, meaning what it costs to record the transaction on the blockchain. This depends on a few factors that are related to the usage of the blockchain. The more popular ones, like Ethereum, command higher fees than something like Solana or Tron.

These exchanges do not store any of the customer's funds, thus they are also known as non-custodial exchanges. Instead, the funds used to make the trade are deducted directly from the customer's wallet, which needs to be connected to the platform to make the trade.

But do you know there's a third kind of exchange, which is a hybrid of the two types? They are quite rare and we have managed to find one that fits the bill so far. This exchange is Changelly.

In this Changelly review, you can learn about what Changelly is and how it differs from the other two types mentioned above. We will also review how safe it is for customers and the things to take note of when using it.

By the end of the article, we hope that you will have an informed and unbiased view of what Changelly is and you can then decide for yourself on its own merits, whether it is worth your time and money to give it a try.

Changelly Review: Summary

Changelly is an exchange that's been around since 2015 and provides swap and buy functions for clients without having the funds held on their platform. The trading arm, Changelly PRO, supports KYC and custodial funds. The latest addition, Changelly Pay, is a new feature that provides merchants with a way to accept both cash and crypto payments with flexible fee arrangements. 

What is changelly?
A Look at the Changelly Interface

Key Features of Changelly:

  • Provide a wallet address that you own to receive crypto purchases.
  • No account is needed to use Changelly services except for Changelly PRO
  • DeFi feature lets you connect your web3 wallet to make swaps on decentralised exchanges.
  • Mobile app is easy to use and packed with both informative and entertaining features
  • 24/7 support for customers 
  • Crypto Profit Calculator to assess the profitability of trades
  • Changelly Pay allows merchants to accept crypto and fiat for products or services rendered.

What is Changelly?

Established in 2015, Changelly is a platform that provides exchange, purchase, and sales services to anyone without a prior need for KYC. Users provide a wallet address to receive crypto obtained through the platform. This is a non-custodial solution that's perfect for those who value their privacy in exchange for self-custody. 

The platform partners with industry-leading wallet brands such as Trezor and Ledger to offer crypto swaps directly from the user's wallet without the funds ever having to set foot on the platform to begin with. 

Serious traders have the option of signing up for Changelly PRO, which will require a KYC'ed account with the platform. Funds will also need to be deposited so that orders can be placed on their order book. They can fund their account using a combination of both fiat and crypto, although the fiat deposits will also incur a deposit fee.

Changelly Pro
Image via Changelly Pro

Trading fees charged are based on a 30-day trading volume, starting at 0.1% for both maker and taker fees. A buy order would be charged a maker fee while a sell order will get the taker fee tagged onto it.

Those who are used to dabbling in DeFi will also be able to scratch that itch with Changelly's DeFi offering. Simply connect your web3 wallet to their platform to get started. 

On the business end, Changelly offers API integration for those who want to get the latest rates in the fastest manner possible. Changelly Pay is a new feature aimed at merchants, giving them the option to accept both crypto and fiat payments for their products and services. The more people use it, the value of the crypto grows in proportion.

It's not hard to see that Changelly is building all sorts of bridges to get as many people on board the crypto gravy train as possible. It has different products to cater to the various groups so that there is practically something for everyone.

Image via Changelly

Is Changelly Safe?

When we evaluate the safety and security of an exchange, the key question that comes to mind for users is: will my funds be safe? This is the greatest risk facing any centralised exchange due to the custodial element of their business. Changelly does not have to worry about this because its non-custodial model ensures that funds never pass through their platform at all. In that sense, they are like the middleman between the crypto exchanges they partner with and the users who supply their own wallets to receive the crypto they bought. 

That being said, those who opt for Changelly PRO will still need to have some funds stored on the platform as funds are needed to place orders. Having to connect to a wallet each time you want to make a trade limits the kinds of trades you can place. As far as security goes on Changelly PRO, unfortunately, Changelly does not have much literature in this area. We could not find any information on things like proof of reserves, audits, or security framework, which isn't very confidence-inspiring. 

For customer-side security, users can secure their accounts with 2FA, account whitelisting, and email confirmations. 

Privacy: Is Changelly Anonymous?

To KYC or not to KYC? That is the question faced by many exchanges. There is not much middle ground here with each choice leading down very different paths. Changelly decided that the benefits of privacy outweigh the concerns of a regulated exchange (at least in the US). Their decision to uphold individual privacy helped it to gain a following of similar privacy-loving individuals to be avid users of its services. 

Users of its regular services do not have to provide any kind of ID, unless you sign up for the Changelly PRO option, where KYC is required. The closest piece of personal information some users might end up providing is an email address, which is necessary when using their crypto-exchange service. This is because Changelly might need to contact you in case the swap is unsuccessful and they have to send you a refund. 

The benefit of privacy is that users don't have to worry about their data being leaked or sold (*gasp) to third-party companies that might make use of it without their permission. It's one thing to be blasted by personalised advertising which is helpful at best and annoying at worst. Other more sinister purposes like facilitating an echo-chamber-like atmosphere with targeted messaging are a lot more worrisome. Having a law like Europe's GDPR that is designed to protect an individual's right to data privacy tells you that this is a matter of the utmost concern.

To be fair, an argument can be made that privacy-focused websites such as Changelly might encourage bad actors to make use of its platform for nefarious purposes. Despite the risk of that happening, the percentage is still much smaller than the greater good it provides to the general public.

Changelly Supported Currencies

At first glance, it seems as if the number of fiat currencies supported by Changelly amounts to only a handful of them, i.e. the major currencies like USD, EUR, GBP etc. Upon taking a closer look, I am pleasantly surprised to find that there's more than meets the eye. Changelly doesn't make it very obvious though and you'd have to do a bit of exploration to get there. However, I'm here to show you the quick way. 

In the Supported Currencies section, select the Buy Cryptocurrency button. Tokens are listed in alphabetical order and some of them have a second entry next to it labelled with “in Countries”. Choose that and you will get to see all the fiat currencies that the crypto in question can be purchased with. 

Changelly gives you the option to purchase crypto in your local currency. Image via Changelly

As you can tell, the supported fiat currencies are listed by the crypto you choose. Instead of asking “What can I buy with my local currency?”, the question posed by the platform is “What local currency is available for this crypto I want to buy?” 

I selected a few random tokens to get an idea of the number of fiat currencies available, and it's here that I found a catch. For the lesser-known cryptos, while it might appear as if you can select a non-major fiat currency, the truth is that you might get a message saying “unsupported pair” and the platform will redirect you to buy BTC. After that, swap BTC for the crypto you want. 

Not all crypto can take any local currency. Image via Changelly.

When it comes to buying BTC though, almost any fiat currency is supported although some currencies require a minimum amount for the purchase. To be on the safe side, I'd say all major currencies, i.e. USD, EUR, GBP, CAD, and AUD are supported for most crypto on the platform. Anything else beyond that is a bit of a potshot.

Crypto Support

At last count, there are about 680 cryptocurrencies supported by Changelly, from the top 100 to unknowns, which is quite a wide range. Supported tokens can be found in the Supported Currencies section at the bottom half of the webpage. What I like about the layout of the page is that the network where each token is located is labelled neatly next to the token. You can tell in one glance which network you need to use when transferring the tokens later.

68 pages of crypto listings at 10 per page. Image.via Changelly

Aside from the Buy category mentioned earlier, the other way to obtain crypto is through the Exchange section 

Simply selecting the crypto on the left column redirects you to the exchange page where you get some metrics about the token and the ability to choose which crypto you would like to swap it for. If you choose the right column, you can further specify which crypto you want to swap it for before you are redirected to the swap page. The benefit of doing so is that Changelly will also provide you with some comparison metrics, making it easier for you to make a decision. A list of other cryptos available to swap with the one you're considering is also provided. 

Comparison data to help you decide on the swap. Image via Changelly

Changelly Exchange Fees & Payment Methods

Changelly utilises two types of rates when exchanging crypto on its platform: fixed and floating rates. A fixed rate is a flat fee that includes everything charged for the transaction to go through. This fee takes into account market volatility so that the user is guaranteed the amount of crypto they will get once the transaction is complete. 

A floating rate offers a breakdown of the fees involved in the transaction, including Changelly's 0.25% service fee which will also be shown.  Due to market dynamics, there is a possibility that the user may get less crypto than quoted, especially if the network fees suddenly encounter a spike during the course of the transaction.

As mentioned above, Changelly offers credit and debit card payments via general via third-party payment providers. Certain regions may also offer bank transfers and Apple/Google Pay, giving users sufficient variety in choosing the option that best fits their needs.

How to Get Started with Changelly

Changelly is not quite your ordinary run-of-the-mill centralised exchange. I would even be hard-pressed to call it an exchange because the way it operates is very different from how a typical centralized exchange operates. 

To begin, most exchanges worth their salt all require KYC to set up an account before you can do anything while Changelly has no such requirement unless you want to access their Pro services, which are for the more serious-minded. Instead of having order book and market-making capabilities, Changelly partners with 20 crypto trading platforms to obtain the best market rates for its customers.

The platform also takes the concept of non-custody of funds as far as it can by offering users the ability to specify the wallet address for sending crypto purchased on the website. They also work with well-known wallet brands like Trezor, Ledger and Exodus to allow wallet users to swap their crypto directly from the wallet without ever accessing the platform. 

Swap your crypto directly from Ledger with Changelly. Image via Ledger Live

This is a smart move as they are not on the hook for storing customer funds, thereby avoiding a whole can of worms related to the commingling of funds and such. 

Changelly Pro users though have the option to store their funds in the multi-currency wallet as these are likely used for trading on the platform.

Buying Crypto on Changelly

Crypto purchases on Changelly are a fairly straightforward affair. Anyone can purchase without having to open an account beforehand. The process is very similar to online shopping using your credit or debit card but with a slight twist. For privacy-focused individuals, you can skip this section as KYC is needed (but not from Changelly themselves).

Select the Buy tab on the Changelly homepage and select the crypto you want to purchase from the dropdown list. The correlated amount in fiat will be displayed based on the currency selected.

All major currencies are available with some minor ones too. The crypto purchase selection includes all major top 10 tokens and even some weird ones that many might not have heard of, including me.

Click the Buy button to proceed. The next page allows you to choose the payment provider you want to use to make the purchase. Note that fees vary according to the provider chosen.

Buy Crypto on Changelly
Take your pick of payment providers to buy crypto on Changelly

Specify the wallet address for the funds to be sent. Be sure that you also selected the right network that is supported by the wallet address. The incorrect network or wrong address could very well lead to loss of funds, so be extra careful as all blockchain transactions are designed to be irreversible.

There is also a checkbox that you must tick before you can proceed regarding AML/KYC policy and Changelly's terms & conditions.

Changelly review
 Triple-check that the right wallet address is entered

After clicking the Buy button, the page redirects you to the payment provider where the actual purchase and KYC bit occurs. The order in which the purchase and verification may differ depending on the provider.

If you don't have a wallet yet, Changelly offers you the opportunity to get one on the spot with the AliceBob wallet by clicking on the link underneath the wallet address field.

While there's nothing wrong or fishy about the AliceBob wallet, you might want to consider something just a little bit more secure like a cold wallet or a more well-recognized and reputable mobile wallet. That's just my two sats.

Image via Changelly

Depending on the payment provider, you may be required to complete the KYC requirements upfront before hitting the payment page or after. Once the payment goes through, the crypto will be sent directly to the wallet address previously provided. For more details about the purchase process, please check out their buying guide.

A word on fees: while Changelly itself may not charge any fees for crypto purchases, fees will still be charged by the payment providers. These fees can be significantly higher than buying crypto from a centralised exchange. However, all crypto bought on exchanges is automatically deposited on the exchanges, where they have custody of the funds. 

In comparison, all crypto bought on Changelly is directly accessed from your private wallet, where you have total custody of funds. It might be worth paying those fees after all! 

Comparing fees from different payment providers on Changelly and fees from an exchange. Image via Changelly and Kraken

Swapping Crypto on Changelly

The steps for swapping crypto on Changelly are as below: 

  1. Select the pair you want to swap with
  2. Choose the type of rate you want to use for the swap
  3. Fill in the receiving wallet address and refund address
  4. Confirm that the rates are ok
  5. Provide an email address to set up an account with Changelly (the only piece of personal information you'll ever have to give to the platform)
  6. Send the crypto you want to swap to Changelly's wallet 
  7. Changelly will send you the crypto you want after receiving your transfer to the wallet address given

As mentioned previously, users can choose between a fixed or a floating rate when making the swap.  It all boils down to what is comfortable for the user: paying for certainty in slightly higher fees and less transparency or more transparency with a possibility of cheaper/higher rates than expected. 

Choose the right kind of rate that works for you. Image via Changelly

In case the swap was not successful but you had already sent funds to Changelly's wallet, the Refund address is where Changelly will return the funds to you. Changelly's refund policy covers three kinds of scenarios:

Refund with ETA - this type of refund applies to fixed-rate users. Depending on the reason the transaction failed, refund times vary between 1 to 7 days. If two transactions were initiated back to back, they may end up sharing the same hash. For cases like these, the refund process is a lot more complicated as it requires manual intervention on Changelly's part. This could take up to 20 days. 

Refund without ETA - These are more problematic issues such as a transaction occurring in the middle of a hard fork, providing the wrong receiving address for a token, or an external party being involved in the transaction. Changelly will do their best to give you a refund but there's no guarantee. 

No refunds - Some errors cannot be fixed and thus, no refunds will be provided. These include sending below the minimum amount, a non-BTC token sent to a BTC Sedgwit address, or tokens transferred on the wrong network. Remember: all blockchain transactions are irreversible by design so please pay extra attention when moving funds from one address to another. 

Changelly's refund policy provides a lot more detailed information if you're interested to know more. 

Changelly Mobile App

In terms of Changelly's services offered, the mobile app has both buy and exchange functions which are pretty much their bread and butter functions. 24/7 chat support is available to help answer any questions users may have. Creating an account is optional and not having one is no impediment to accessing everything the app has to offer.

Beyond that, the app still has plenty to offer for the crypto-curious. The app's home page, known as Explore, certainly lives up to its name. There are plenty of things to attract your attention. You can read their guides on how to use their app, review their suggestions for what to research, check out the charts, catch up on news, ogle at the biggest gainers and losers, and even submit a feature request if you wish.  Most of the information is presented in a slideshow format while the news redirects you to the actual article without leaving the app. 

Simple and functional, the Changelly mobile app may keep you surprisingly entertained for a lot longer than you'd expect. I like that it is not trying to do too much yet has enough to keep your interest for longer than it takes to buy or make a swap on the app. 

Buy, Swap Crypto or be entertained on Changelly's mobile app. Image via Google Playstore

Changelly Review: Closing Thoughts

Changelly has a pretty good business model going down the non-custody path. While some may say the non-KYC bit is a bit treacherous, it is a calculated risk that I believe the Changelly team has pondered over in depth before choosing to go this route. It is clear about the target group it wants to cater to (one step above a complete beginner and privacy-minded individuals) and sets out to deliver the best of what it has to offer.

At the same time, the team recognises the importance of capturing different groups with their other offerings such as Changelly PRO and Changelly Pay. Its affiliate program and Changelly Earn lets users do the marketing for them and earn some dough on the side. With these pillars in place, Changelly has become a leading provider in their niche and looks set to grow and remain a solid company with good prospects for the future.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Changelly?

Changelly is a crypto exchange that offers exchange, swap, purchase and DeFi services to users. A great differentiator is that users store their own crypto bought from the platform, making it a non-custodial exchange, similar to a decentralised exchange  

Is Changelly Good?

It depends on what you're looking for. Changelly offers a generous variety of crypto pairs for swaps and purchases. Privacy-minded users will appreciate the lack of KYC and they can store their crypto into their wallets without having any of their funds in the platform's custody. 

How to Use Changelly to Buy Ripple

You can buy Ripple and any major cryptocurrency on Changelly from the Buy section with your credit card. In some regions, other payment methods such as bank transfer and Apple/Google Pay are also accepted.

You can also obtain Ripple by swapping other crypto for it in their Exchange section. 

Does Changelly Accept Debit Cards?

Yes, debit cards are accepted as long as they bear the Visa or Mastercard logo. 

Where is Changelly Located

The Changelly HQ is located in Malta and they have a contact office in Hong Kong.

Does Changelly Require ID?

Using Changelly does not require any kind of KYC on the platform, except for those using their Changelly PRO services. However, if buying crypto from a third-party payment provider, users are redirected to their website where ID verification is needed.

Julie-Anne Chong

Crypto enthusiast since 2020. Keen on helping others navigate the complicated, and sometimes, confusing world of crypto through easy-to-understand articles, designed for non-techies like me.

Disclaimer: These are the writer’s opinions and should not be considered investment advice. Readers should do their own research.

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