Uphold Review 2023: Is It Safe To Trade On Uphold Exchange?
Uphold Exchange is a well-established crypto exchange that has been around since 2013. The company provides a unique, simple-to-use trading experience allowing clients to access a wide range of financial instruments across multiple asset classes, ranging from stocks to cryptocurrencies. Though there are fewer cryptocurrencies available than on other exchanges, Uphold provides a positive experience for those wanting to simply and securely buy, hold, and sell multiple different types of assets and fiat currencies.
Uphold is a trading platform that was established back in 2015. It offers users with the ability to buy, sell, and trade multiple different traditional and crypto assets and precious metals. This Uphold review will let you know if this is the platform that is right for you, as well as recommend some alternatives. Note that on Jan 27, 2023, Uphold announced they would no longer be offering equities trading.
Uphold is refreshingly transparent about its fees and provides users with a no-frills interface. It uses a different fee structure from most other crypto exchanges, with no commissions, deposit fees, or maker-taker fees. Instead, Uphold deploys spread fees as a small premium traders will pay over the true market price.
The Spread fees might result in traders paying a higher price than what they would on major crypto exchanges, but overall, Uphold could be a good choice for investors looking to trade and invest in multiple different asset classes all on one platform.
The cryptocurrency exchange platform is easily available for beginners and provides a great interface for buying and trading crypto, as well as gold and other fiat currencies. Most of the securities offered on Uphold are regulated by the U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission. This Uphold review will provide more information about what is on offer, the trading fees, Uphold card features, customer support, and more.
Uphold currently boasts:
- 10+ million users
- 250+ Cryptocurrencies
- Available in 150 countries
Uphold Review Bottom Line:
Uphold is a popular and secure place for traders to buy, hold, sell, and invest in crypto, different fiats, and precious metals, easily and seamlessly by being able to connect the app directly to their bank accounts or bank cards.
Uphold Pros and Cons
Disclaimer: All investments or business transactions involve risk and may result in losses of funds. Crypto assets are relatively unregulated and are mainly unprotected from regulatory interference by government agencies.
Uphold Review Summary:
|Headquarters:||Larkspur, California, USA|
also registered in Vilnius, Lithuania.
|Regulation:||FinCEN- Money Services Business|
FCA- EMD Agent
|Spot Cryptocurrencies Listed:||250+|
|Fees:||Crypto- 0.9-1.2% spread per trade|
|Fiat Currency Support||45+ different fiat currencies|
|Deposit/Withdrawal Methods||Debit/credit card, Google Pay, Apple Pay, Bank Transfer, Crypto|
Uphold Ratings at a Glance
The number and types of assets offered on Uphold differ according to region, but the ratings are generally quite positive across the major platforms, receiving the following ratings:
- 3.7/5 on Forbes
- 4.2/5 on G2
- 3.2/5 on Trustpilot
- 3.5/5 from The Fool
- Coin Bureau rates them 7/10
Looking at the Google Play and App stores, they have an impressive 4.6/5 on Google on over 30k reviews, and 4.6/5 on the app store on a similar number of reviews.
This shows us that the app works great and delivers well on what it promises. The reason for the not-so-hot ratings is that though it is great for simply swapping and investing, it lacks many of the more advanced features that crypto and stock traders require.
To wrap a simple bow around Uphold, I would say it is great for those looking to simply buy and hold crypto, fiat, and precious metals, as the interface is very simple to use, it is beginner friendly, and you can get started in minutes.
Uphold is unsuitable for active traders who need a charting interface, advanced order types, or need to access more products. Professional and active traders would be better suited to use a platform like Binance for crypto, Kraken for US-based crypto traders, or a platform like Virtual Brokers or eToro for stocks.
If you want to check out the exchanges we rate the highest in their respective categories, be sure to check out our Top Exchanges 2023 article.
How Does Uphold Work?
Uphold is an online trading platform that allows users to buy, store, send, and receive money from anywhere in the world where it is supported. It works by allowing users to connect their bank accounts or credit cards to their Uphold account. Once connected, users can transfer money from their accounts or credit cards directly to their Uphold account as fiat, or directly purchase crypto or other assets.
Traders on Uphold can also sell cryptocurrencies, like Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Litecoin, as well as metals such as gold and silver. This is done through Uphold’s built-in exchange, which allows users to buy and sell these digital assets in an easy "one-click" fashion.
Uphold became popular among crypto users thanks to its ability to store digital assets securely. All funds are held in Uphold’s secure wallet, which uses advanced encryption and storage protocols to protect user funds. Uphold also offers multi-factor authentication and two-factor authentication, which adds an extra layer of security to the user’s account.
Overall, Uphold is a convenient and secure way for users to store, send, and receive money from anywhere in the world. With its built-in exchange, secure wallet, and numerous other features, Uphold makes it easy for users to manage their funds.
Uphold benefits and features
The Uphold platform includes many important advantages, such as:
Supports multiple assets and cross-trades
One of the best things about Uphold is the ability to trade multiple assets. Want to swap gold for Bitcoin? no problem
Besides cryptocurrencies and precious metals, Uphold allows you to buy into various fiat currencies as well, and until recently, stock trading was supported in many jurisdictions. The discontinuation of the equities offering is quite disappointing and resulted in Uphold being significantly less competitive.
Uphold currently supports trading over 250 cryptocurrencies, including major tokens, smaller cap tokens and stablecoins. Some of the options include:
- Bitcoin (BTC)
- Ripple (XRP)
- Ethereum (ETH)
- Cardano (ADA)
- Dogecoin (DOGE)
- Chainlink (LINK)
- Litecoin (LTC)
- Solana (SOL)
Visit Uphold’s crypto page for a complete list of cryptocurrencies supported by Uphold.
Ease of Use
Signing up on Uphold is quick and very easy, for the purpose of this Uphold review, we were able to get an account opened in about 10 minutes.
All you need to do is:
- Enter your basic personal information- Email, country of residence, and nationality.
- Verify your identity- Upload a valid photo ID such as a driver’s license or passport.
- Link a bank or debit/credit card. You can get started with as little as $10 using a bank transfer or a debit or credit card.
Once you are set up, the interface on Uphold is also incredibly clean and simply laid out, making platform navigation and use a breeze.
Customizable Tile Desktop
As soon as traders create an account on Uphold, a tile desktop system can be custom-made with a simple mouse click to select a specific asset class, or suit your needs, showing you the information that is most pertinent to you.
This is quite nice as you can see markets, basic price info, and swap assets all from the same screen.
Autopilot for dollar cost averaging (DCA)
Dollar-cost averaging is the practice of dividing the total invested amount over recurring periodic purchases. It is helpful in reducing price fluctuations and in helping to mitigate risks of entering markets during the peak of a cycle. Using a DCA strategy can be beneficial in removing emotions from trading, and has been shown over time to get investors in at lower price points over time.
Uphold provides DCA with autopilot capabilities, enabling users to make continuous buying and selling orders. This is a fantastic feature that is offered on many crypto exchange platforms as it has become quite popular. It is a good approach for both trading or holding cryptoassets.
Uphold allows users to stake eligible cryptocurrencies that use a Proof-of-Stake consensus mechanism, as well as many others. There are 32 assets currently available for staking such as Ethereum, Tezos, Cardano, Solana, Avalanche, Polygon and more.
You can find a full list on the Uphold Staking Rewards page.
The amount you can earn varies drastically on the cryptocurrency, ranging between 1% for Algorand up to 13% for Cosmos at the time of writing.
Lack of Advanced Trading Features
The most critical aspect of this Uphold review is to highlight this limitation to ensure crypto traders are not wasting time singing up for exchanges that cannot meet their expectations. In contrast to many other crypto trading exchanges, Uphold offers no advanced analysis tools or charts, making this platform unsuitable for active traders.
Uphold does offer a very user and beginner-friendly trading experience for those with simple swapping and buying needs. One unique benefit is that users can trade across asset classes, so they do not need to sell out of gold, for example, to buy Bitcoin, they can directly swap one for the other.
The most advanced feature available on uphold is the ability to set up automatic dollar-cost averaging. Users looking for Earn platforms, launchpads, advanced crypto trading, bot support, copy trading, or other crypto features would be better suited to check out Binance or OKX.
Uphold utilizes sophisticated encryption technology and a multi-layered defense approach to reduce security vulnerabilities, and is committed to protecting clients’ money and personal information. Uphold ensures that all its product lines are regularly tested and inspected by professional security technicians to identify security holes and vulnerabilities that they may have. The platform is monitored 24/7, and the team claim to run regular security audits and penetration tests.
Uphold offers a bug bounty program that provides rewards to those who help report security vulnerabilities within a site.
Uphold Europe Limited is also committed to compliance and regulations as they are a FinCEN Registered Money Services Business (MSB) in the United States, and as an EMD Agent of an Electronic Money Issuer regulated by the FCA in the United Kingdom.
Uphold users can further secure their accounts by enabling two-factor authentication and using a strong password.
Security Notice ‼️ There are a worrying number of reports online from users who claim that they had their funds stolen from Uphold. Multiple users allege that their accounts were accessed by an unauthorised third party and drained, even though they had 2FA enabled. There is a class-action lawsuit ongoing against Uphold since Feb 2022. I was unable to find much about whether this may have been users who fell for a phishing attack or if there was a security breach.
There is also a long Reddit thread from users claiming Uphold is a scam and stole funds. Upon investigation, it appears users downloaded a false, malicious app from the app store that resulted in stolen funds.
I cannot personally confirm or deny the accusations, but I can say from my own experience, I have been using Uphold for over 2 years and have never had any issues depositing or withdrawing crypto.
The Uphold Card- Crypto Debit Card
There is nothing better than earning cashback on a debit card, and with the Uphold debit card, users can earn an impressive 4% back in XRP rewards.
While this is one of the better crypto cards on the market, the one downside is the $9.95 fee to get the card, so once you have it, be sure not to lose it! There is also a 2.50 GBP/EUR fee for ATM withdrawals in the EU and UK, and 3.50 GBP outside of those zones, most crypto cards have fee-free withdrawals.
If you are in the market for a crypto debit card, be sure to check out our article on the Top Crypto Cards.
The Uphold debit Card is provided by MasterCard and allows cardholders to spend from gold to money to Bitcoin. This card can be used at more than 50 million merchants across the globe.
This card is great for travelling as there are no pesky conversion fees, and the entire card and associated accounts can be managed 100% online. Here are a few of the perks of the Uphold crypto card at a glance:
- Spend crypto, fiat, or precious metals
- Track spending with real-time analytics
- Earn cashback
- Freeze card option in the event of a misplaced or stolen card
- Regulated by the FCA
- Can connect with Google Pay and Apple Pay
Uphold also offers several services often unavailable at the bank like 0% foreign transaction fees, better forex rates for fiat swaps, and the ability to transfer funds internationally with far less hassle and red tape than traditional banks, and with lower fees.
Uphold has some of the lowest Forex fees in the world, (some as low as 0.1%)
Uphold Stocks and ETFs
Uphold used to be a fantastic platform for users who wanted to easily trade stocks, ETFs, crypto, and precious metals all in one place, it is unfortunate that Uphold had to cease its equities offering. You can read more about it in their Sunsetting Equities article.
Uphold vs Coinbase Crypto Trading Fees
It is difficult to compare Uphold fees vs Coinbase, or other crypto exchange competitors directly as instead of charging percentages with a tiered maker/taker fee model as is common, Uphold incorporates fees into their spreads.
Uphold typically charge the following spread fees:
- Crypto: 0.9-1.2% in the US, UK, and Europe. Typically around 1.8% in other countries.
- Precious metals: 2% on top of the bid-ask price
- Fiat currencies: 0.2% for major national currencies
Spreads are the differences in the purchase or sale price of a cryptocurrency. If Bitcoin has a spread of 0.9%, this would mean you could immediately get a 0.8% loss from buying or selling the item.
On average, Uphold comes out slightly cheaper than Coinbase when it comes to fees, though advanced traders who take advantage of Coinbase Pro can trade cheaper than they can on Uphold.
For each trade made on the platform, Uphold will always show you the bid-ask spread. The good thing is that they are transparent and make this fee known before executing or committing to a trade, so be sure to take a look at this figure to make sure you are happy with the fee.
The spread is variable and can fluctuate with market volatility or during times of high trading volumes.
Coinbase charges a variable spread of around 0.5% on each trade, as well as a transaction fee. The transaction fee depends on how much you're spending and what payment method you use. You can find out more about spread fees and explanations on the Uphold fees page.
Uphold Crypto Transfer Fees
As is standard with most cryptocurrency exchanges, withdrawing crypto is going to come with a network fee. This fee is not charged by Uphold but goes to network validators and miners. This fee will vary dramatically depending on the crypto asset being withdrawn. You can learn more about fees in our article on Crypto network fees.
Uphold Deposit Fees
Depositing funds to Uphold will come with the following fees:
Debit/Credit card- US debit card 3.99% credit card 2.49%
Google/Apple Pay- 2.49%
Bank Transfer ACH- free
Bank Transfer Wire (US)- $20 under 5k, $0 over 5k
Bank transfer EUR/GBP-free
Uphold Platform Availability
Uphold can be accessed via web platform or mobile app on IOS and Android.
Security Tip❗️: As there have been instances of fake Uphold apps advertised in the app stores, be sure to get the app link directly from the Uphold website. Never search for crypto apps directly from within app stores as many malicious apps appear identical to the original.
Uphold is available in over 150 countries but does not offer service to customers located in many jurisdictions, too many to list them all here. You can find this information in the Uphold Supported Jurisdictions article.
How Do I Open an Uphold Account?
Getting started with Uphold is fairly quick, so this system is ideal for those who have never done cryptocurrency trading before. Uphold features a quick account creation process that requires visiting uphold's official website.
The sign-up process is simple and requires no more than ten minutes. Once the user is at the account setup site, they can select either a personal or business-related account.
- Uphold To start, click on the “Sign Up” button in the upper right corner of the Uphold website.
From there, you’ll need to provide the following information: email address, password, country of residence, and nationality. After that, further information is required to verify your identity including uploading a government ID such as a driver's license or passport.
Once you’ve submitted your information and read Uphold’s terms of service, you’ll receive a verification email. After you’ve verified your email address, you can begin using your account.
Uphold customer support options
Uphold offers a few different options to contact support. The primary way is by visiting the Support Center, where you can find FAQs and self-help articles. If you cannot find the info you need, you can submit a request through the help site or try to get support via their official Twitter account.
There has been some negative feedback regarding poor response times, and it is also a disappointment that Uphold doesn’t offer a live chat feature or a phone number for users who need immediate help.
Features of Uphold App
Uphold's mobile app is easy to use and features a similar interface and all the same functions as the desktop version. Uphold is available as a free download from Android and iOS stores.
I really like the simplistic layout and design of the platform. It is a non-overwhelming or complex platform, suitable for those looking for simplicity.
Final thoughts on Uphold
Uphold is one of the few financial platforms offering a variety of assets in one place. The feature enables customers to exchange money from electronic assets like cryptocurrencies to national currencies and precious metals. Generally speaking, the platform has fairly reasonable fees and doesn't have much in the way of high deposit fees or withdrawal fees.
Uphold does a good job at being a multi-asset trading platform, working similarly to a Swiss Army knife in terms of being a tool that can do a lot of different things, while not specializing in any one particular niche. Uphold is like a “jack of all trades, master of none” platform.
Though Its weakness is in the fact that there is no advanced charting functionality or advanced order types, making it not suitable for active traders, and it lacks many other features found on crypto exchanges such as crypto bots, copy trading, Earn programs, trading competitions, launchpads etc. Since the discontinuation of stocks and ETFs, Uphold has also lost some advantages.
Uphold will appeal to investors who are interested in trading assets in different classes in an easy-to-use and simple-to-manage interface, but more advanced traders will probably be disappointed and prefer crypto exchanges like Binance, OKX, or I recommend Kraken for US-based users. Equity traders will likely prefer a platform like Virtual Brokers or eToro.
Frequently Asked Questions
Coinbase has a better selection of tradable crypto assets available than Uphold, but no precious metals, or as many different national currencies. On Uphold, you can trade “anything to anything” like Bitcoin for platinum which is pretty cool, something that cannot be done on Coinbase.
Yes, it accepts US consumers.
No. As of January 2023, Uphold no longer supports stock trading.
Yes. Uphold offers a secure custodial wallet letting you store your Bitcoin assets and easily trade between cryptos, local currencies, and precious metals. Uphold wallet is available for iPhone and Android, as well as online. Users are free to withdraw funds into self-custodial wallets if they choose.
Word of caution- As we have seen with the collapse of FTX, Celsius, BlockFi, and others, using custodial solutions may not be the best approach. While convenient, there are more secure options available, which is why we always recommend using a hardware wallet. You can find our top picks for hardware wallets, and read about the best steps to keep your crypto safe in our Crypto Safety 101 article.
Some wallets to consider are: Trust Wallet, the OKX Wallet, Exodus, Ledger, Trezor, NGRAVE, and a plethora of others.
Uphold is offered by most countries throughout the globe, but there may be exceptions. You can find this information in the Uphold Supported Jurisdictions article.
Despite reports of losses of funds, Uphold uses robust security measures and respects national and international legislation in the protection of users' funds.
Uphold takes the #1 most important step in crypto security, and that is that they keep the majority of funds in cold storage. They state that 70% of assets are kept in cold storage, which, to be honest, is less than I would like to see. Some exchanges, like Coinbase, keep 98% of assets in cold storage, and out of the reach of hackers. I typically like to see the percentage of assets held in cold storage to be over 90%.
Uphold undertakes regular audits and penetration tests of their site, and offers a bug bounty for any user who finds any security vulnerabilities.
In general, Uphold users enjoy low fees, but it is good to note that their spread fees can get pricey when trading low-volume cryptocurrencies or during times of peak volatility.
Most exchanges offer cheaper fees than Coinbase. Binance, KuCoin, and OKX are three that are praised for their rock-bottom fees. US-based users could also consider Kraken. Coinbase users can consider using Coinbase PRO to lower their fees.
We would not consider Uphold to be better than Coinbase. Uphold has the advantage of being able to trade in multiple fiat national currencies and precious metals, which is not possible on Coinbase, but as a crypto exchange, Coinbase outmatches Uphold in terms of reputation, security, and being highly respected in the industry.
Yes, users on Uphold can withdraw funds as fiat and cryptocurrencies.
As Uphold has millions of users, is regulated, and is reputable, we believe that Uphold is safe and is a legitimate platform. They conduct stress tests, and security audits and offer a bug bounty program to the public.
Uphold is used for traders and investors who are interested in holding crypto, precious metals, and a variety of fiat currencies all in one place.
Disclaimer: These are the writer’s opinions and should not be considered investment advice. Readers should do their own research.