In this review, we will explore Uphold, a unique digital money platform, which offers financial services to the global marketplace across multiple assets. To facilitate a world where everyone has access to financial services, Uphold offers an “anything-to-anything” trading experience that allows customers to trade directly between asset classes using integrated payments.
Using proprietary technology and e-money applications as the foundation of its platform, Uphold envisions a world where each and every business has access to reliable financial services at an affordable price.
Since its inception in 2015, New York-based multi-asset exchange Uphold has created a one-of-a-kind marketplace for trading digital and physical assets. It is widely regarded as one of the few cryptocurrency exchanges that also facilitates commodity trading. Notably, Uphold was the first verifiable financial services company to publicly disclose its reserve holdings in real time.
Uphold is dedicated to compliance in its duties as a registered money services business (MSB) of FinCEN in the United States and as an emD agent of an e-money issuer licensed by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) in the United Kingdom.
In addition, the firm maintains offices in major centres around the world, including New York, Shanghai, Braga (Portugal), Northern California, London and other smaller towns and cities.
We’ll cover everything you need to know about the history of the exchange, how to use it and more in detail in the next section of our Uphold review.
WHY PEOPLE USE UPHOLD
Uphold was founded in 2013 and launched in 2015, providing a diverse selection of cryptocurrencies and useful trading tools for investors, such as its AutoPilot.
With over 7 million customers, Uphold is a place where users can trade between cryptos and multiple asset classes. By way of explanation, an Uphold account gives you access to 50 US stocks, 60 cryptocurrencies, four precious metals and 27 national currencies.
The exchange employs proprietary security methods, including 90% of funds held in cold storage and an insurance policy that covers currency held on the platform against security breaches. In addition, a “Transparency” page displays the current status of the company’s reserves.
While Uphold’s method is easy and the website is user-friendly, more complex types of transactions require prior investment experience, and the addition of stocks and metals can further complicate the process.
On the other hand, Uphold’s “one-step trading capability” allows consumers to exchange any crypto asset for another. In addition, the exchange provides a wealth of platform-specific information and a variety of articles aimed at new investors.
Uphold could be the ideal multi-asset trading platform for anyone looking to buy precious metals, national currencies, stocks and cryptocurrencies. Moreover, unlike many of its competitors, Uphold offers carbon credit tokens, a kind of green currency.
Finally, investors can buy and sell assets and deposit and withdraw funds while investing with Uphold via the website or mobile app compatible with Android and iOS devices on Apple’s App Store and Google Play.
MAINTAIN FEATURES AND PRODUCTS
Buying and selling cryptocurrencies
When it comes to cryptocurrencies, consumers have a wide range of options to choose from, including more than 60 digital currencies. These include major digital currencies, as well as alternative currencies, emerging tokens and stable coins.
Uphold simplifies the process of buying cryptocurrencies by providing banking connections in 36 countries, seamless debit/credit card payments and connectivity with seven blockchain networks.
How to buy Crypto
Even if you don’t have an account yet, you can buy digital coins with Uphold in just 11 clicks. Nothing could be easier. To demonstrate how simple and quick it is to get started:
Step 1: Visit Uphold.com and complete the ‘Sign Up’ form;
Step 2: Complete the form with your email address and personal information;
Step 3: Create a password by clicking on the link that was emailed to you.
Buying and selling can be done by simply choosing your funding source (banks, cards or cryptocurrency wallets) and the cryptocurrency you wish to buy.
Everything else is calculated for you once you enter the amount to pay. In addition, there is a nifty equivalent feature that allows you to define the value of a crypto-to-crypto transaction in your local currency, for example, when you buy $100 USD in Bitcoin using Ethereum.
Buying and selling precious metals
Beyond cryptocurrencies, customers can use a free Uphold account to buy precious metals (such as gold, silver, platinum and palladium) and get instant liquidity in 27 different national currencies, and 0% custody fees metals can be spent with the Uphold debit card.
With Uphold, you can quickly and easily buy, hold and exchange the four precious metals mentioned above from the comfort of your home via credit or debit card. Please note that all Uphold metals are real physical metals, not made of synthetic materials.
For example, you can buy gold using any currency, from Australian dollars to Bitcoin; in general, hundreds of other trading combinations are available on the exchange.
Effectively, Uphold’s customers can buy precious metals and benefit from immediate liquidity, while saving thanks to zero custody fees. At the same time, users have the facility to spend these assets using the Uphold card.
Buying and selling US stocks
The fractional share service of US exchanges offers you proportional ownership. Along with this, it pays dividends declared in cash, so you can now buy valuable US companies for as little as $1.
In addition, with Uphold’s fractional share offering, even the most expensive US stocks become more affordable, as you no longer need to buy whole shares of the stock.
Similarly, if you invest just one dollar, you can get fractional ownership of a company and a proportionate share of its dividends in return for your investment.
Not only that, but as a bonus, you will earn income in the form of dividends, and you can also benefit from the potential for capital growth depending on the stock’s performance.
Other benefits that are particularly notable include:
No minimum investment amount: you can open an account and start trading in 3 minutes;
No account fees (inactivity, ticket or custody);
Low total trading costs and no minimum investment amount;
Shares can be shipped anywhere in the world at no cost;
Traders can deposit money into an equity in seconds from their bank account (Europe and US).
While trading stocks is readily available as fractional investments, exchange-traded funds (ETFs) are also available and can be used to diversify your portfolio while reducing risk.
How to buy fractional shares
Learn how to invest in US stocks using the Uphold platform. The following is an example of how quickly you can get up and running:
Step 1: Visit Uphold.com and select ‘Sign Up’;
Step 2: Enter your email address, set a password and go through an identity verification process;
Step 3: After that, your account will be activated and you can start using Uphold;
Step 4: To make a deposit, you can use any of the following methods: debit / credit / banking / cryptocurrency.
In addition, your Uphold account can be used to make payments to merchants as well as to transfer money to friends living on the other side of the world.
Together with the platform’s unique ‘Anything-to-Anything’ trading experience will make every transaction a hassle-free procedure that is completely commission-free with 0% deposit fees, 0% merchant fees and 0% withdrawal fees.
In addition, Uphold offers investors the opportunity to contribute to the fight against climate change by investing in carbon credit tokens that support certified initiatives in the world’s rainforests.
Environmental assets in Uphold include UPCO2 (the world’s first tradable carbon credit token) and Bitcoin Zer (the cleaner version of Bitcoin). Consequently, new investors looking for more than just a financial return on their investments will find that trading new environmental assets is a great option.
Fundamentally, Uphold is democratising access to environmental assets backed by tokens created by the Universal Protocol Alliance to advance cryptocurrency adoption as a whole. As a result, the fight against climate change can now be undertaken by virtually everyone.
Uphold debit card
The Uphold debit card is the world’s first multi-asset debit card that gives customers the option to pay with cryptocurrencies, metals, coins along with integrated Google Pay and Apple Pay.
Due to the Mastercard (NYSE: MA) network, the card is accepted at nearly 50 million businesses and ATMs worldwide, making payments accepted globally with no foreign transaction fees associated with using the card.
In addition, users receive both a real chip-and-PIN card and a virtual card used for online purchases. Customers can use instant access, allowing them to immediately access the asset they wish to spend, whether cryptocurrency, commodities or cash, without waiting, international transaction fees or fuss involved.
In addition, the card also operates on a rewards-based system, meaning you can receive 1% in USD for every transaction completed with the Uphold debit card that is earned in USD, in addition to 2% in the cryptocurrency used for every cryptocurrency
Finally, the Uphold debit card is only accessible in the United States and is not available in the UK and EU at this time. However, Uphold has a waiting list for the card for when it will add additional countries to the wallet in the future.
The convenience of automated trading is that it allows you to participate in the market without having to watch your computer all the time.
Clients can use dollar cost averaging to make investments; for example, using AutoPilot to plan regular trades allows them to accumulate recurring buy or sell orders and minimise the effect of price fluctuation.
As an added benefit, Uphold works together with the brave browser team to offer customers the opportunity to receive BAT tokens simply for using Brave’s private and secure browser. The more you browse, the more rewards you get.
Brave is a free, open source web browser that sets itself apart from the competition by automatically disabling online advertising and website trackers by default. Essentially, Brave provides a combination of a private search engine and a privacy browser, meaning you are protected from online threats at all times, not just when you are searching.
Users of the Brave browser receive 70% of the advertising revenue in exchange for their attention (see ads). At the same time, publishers of popular, high-quality content that encourages visitors to interact with advertising are rewarded with Basic Attention Tokens (BAT), a digital advertising currency that was created for the Brave browser.
In particular, all Brave users will be able to withdraw their share of BAT revenue from viewing ads to their Uphold wallet in the coming months. Thus, by signing up for Brave Rewards, people can accumulate Basic Attention Tokens while rewarding their favourite posts and generating BAT depending on their browsing behaviour.
Finally, buying, holding and transferring BAT across more than 30 supported currencies and withdrawing via ACH (per USD) and SEPA (per EUR) are simplified using the Uphold service.
As mentioned above, personal trading allows Uphold’s clients to buy cryptocurrencies, precious metals, US stocks, currencies and other assets all on a seamless ledger. On top of that, the firm offers a simple and straightforward trading experience on both its website and mobile phone app.
For example, the multi-asset platform has several advantages, including:
Profitable: 0% trading commissions, 0% deposit commissions and 0% withdrawal commissions.
Convenient access: Users can start trading cryptocurrencies and other assets in less than a minute after creating an account.
Fast deposits: The platform allows lightning-fast deposits in your preferred cryptocurrency from your card, bank or crypto wallet.
One-of-a-kind trading experience: Trade directly between multiple asset classes in a single step, saving time and money. For example, a transaction from Ethereum to gold takes just one transaction.
Time-saving: Combining your assets into a single account simplifies administration and paperwork, while maximising efficiency and effectiveness.
Direct investment: The “From” and “To” trading interface allows you to move across asset classes seamlessly.
Uphold Business Account
Customers can transform their business with a single Uphold Business Account or collaborate with Uphold by integrating its open API into their existing infrastructure.
Listed below are some of the benefits of having an Uphold Business account:
Fast and secure transfers: Transfer funds to your workforce or suppliers around the world in real time and with complete security. In particular, the currency you send is converted into the currency they need.
Low-cost currency conversion: Transfer money cheaply across 67 currencies and precious metals while keeping your foreign exchange risk under control.
Access to a worldwide consumer base: Receive payments from foreign customers without incurring the high costs of international transactions. You get paid in the currency you need, and your customers pay in what they want to pay.
Built-in compliance and fraud prevention: Your mind is at ease thanks to measures that integrate KYC with anti-money laundering and financial risk management.
Unrestricted access to funds: Hold money in as many currencies and commodities as needed for your business without incurring any fees.
State-of-the-art security: Uphold’s sophisticated security measures ensure that all your assets and data are protected.
Open API integration will help you automate your company’s payment processes or provide your users with access to Uphold’s full capabilities:
Automated payments: Payments to suppliers, workers and others can be made through the Uphold API in multiple currencies.
Additional payment options: Users can set up and link Uphold wallets to send money to your company.
Become an application partner: To advertise as an Uphold partner, you must list your product in the Uphold App Center.
Resources for developers
API Documentation: Build on the Uphold platform while using the uphold API, plugins and your sandbox.
Uphold Sandbox: Test the Uphold API in the sandbox and build applications that use it.
Finally, API transaction fees for Uphold are simple, with a small per-transaction fee for any business executing financial transactions through its API with two plans, the Standard Plan and the Enterprise Plan, respectively.
Standard Plan: $0.50 + 3% per transaction ($500 monthly minimum).
Enterprise Plan: Businesses often have unique requirements and economics that need specialised pricing. Therefore, organisations can contact Uphold’s team of business partners to discuss how they can best meet their needs.
PRICES AND FEES
Personal account service fees
It is worth bearing in mind that although Uphold has no withdrawal fees, deposit fees and trading commissions, it charges a spread every time you trade; therefore, it is not a free platform.
Similarly, you will be charged network fees when withdrawing to an external crypto wallet. These costs are passed on to the recipient at cost, and the amount you pay will depend on the level of congestion on the network at that time.
Personal account service fees vary by individual asset below; we will give a breakdown of the fees for each asset.
In the US and Europe, the spread on Bitcoin and Ethereum is typically 0.8% to 1.2%. In contrast, for other regions of the world, the spread on Upholds majors is typically around 1.8%.
Spreads can be considerably wider when it comes to cryptocurrencies and tokens with low liquidity, such as Dogecoin (DOGE) and others. Before trading, be sure to check the rates in Preview.
Markets can be distorted by coordinated market action, such as Wall Street bets. Consequently, in times of extreme market stress, all of the above spreads are likely to widen further.
Precious metals rates
Uphold generally charges a premium of 3% above the bid/offer price gap of its supplier.
Fiduciary currency rates
In addition, Uphold’s fiat currency spread is typically 0.2% between major national currencies such as the euro, dollar and pound.
Stocks in the United States Rates
Uphold’s spread is generally one percent of the total. For after-hours trading, it charges a modest spread that depends on the volatility of the stock.
In addition, Upholds pricing strategy is all-inclusive, meaning that the price displayed before you trade matches the amount you pay after you trade.
Unlike many other platforms, its price is fixed before you trade and, as a result, it does not charge any hidden costs between the Preview and Transact stages, as some of its competitors do.
Double check the price you are receiving on the Preview page before submitting your order and only confirm your transaction if you are happy with the rate and accept the trade.
In short, Uphold accepts a wide variety of fiat and cryptocurrency payment methods. In addition, creating an account and maintaining funds on Uphold is free of charge. Using cryptocurrencies or transferring money from another Uphold account to fund your account is also free of charge. As a result, there are no fees associated with any member-to-member transactions.
Merchant account service fees
Open an account and hold funds: Opening an account and storing assets with Uphold is completely free, which means that customers who have an active account are entitled to a free subscription to Uphold.
Fund an account: Your account will be funded for free if you use an existing bank, crypto or Uphold account. When funding your account with a debit/credit card or China Union Pay, you will be charged a fee of 3.99%.
Sending and receiving: Money can be sent and received between Uphold customers for free. You pay nothing to send money from one customer to another, regardless of the amount or currency you send and receive.
Convert and buy
Alternatively, when a customer buys/sells currencies, Uphold charges an exchange fee. Depending on the amount of the transaction, this is calculated as a percentage of the total. There may be a small variation between the buy and sell price quotes for the same currency pair at Uphold, as a price protection fee is included.
In the event of market volatility or other circumstances affecting the platform’s ability to settle your transaction, this small spread (usually less than 0.75%) allows Uphold to provide you with an immediate and guaranteed quote.
Currencies and commodities
The trading costs of fiat currencies, cryptocurrencies and precious metals are quite different. You can get a complete and up-to-date list of rates by visiting this page.
The cost of moving funds off the platform using cryptocurrencies is $2.99, while the cost of transferring money off the platform via bank transfer is $3.99. In addition, third-party fees may be incurred, such as bank transfer fees in certain countries or blockchain network fees in others.
HOW TO CREATE AN ACCOUNT ON UPHOLD (STEP BY STEP)
Step 1: Go to Uphold.com and click on ‘Sign up’ in the top right corner of the Uphold homepage.
Step 2: After this, create your account by entering your email address, password, country of residence and citizenship, then select create your Uphold account.
Step 3: On the next screen, after carefully reading the disclosure, click to confirm that you have read it. Then, in the next step, you will be asked to enter your phone number along with the code sent to your phone via SMS.
Step 4: Next, enter your home address, city and postcode. After entering this information, Uphold will send a confirmation email to your account.
Step 5: This will involve selecting how to use the account and choosing your employment status, employer name and job title. After checking the boxes that match your criteria, you will be taken to the Uphold dashboard screen, which gives you the option to verify your identity.
MAINTAINING CUSTOMER SERVICE
Uphold offers a comprehensive FAQ section where users can type in their questions to find an answer. Alternatively, customers can also submit a request form by entering their email address, selecting the specific area where they have a problem and giving additional details.
However, Uphold does not provide its customers with web-based telephone or chat support at this time.
For more information about the platform, see Uphold’s social pages: Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and YouTube.
IS UPHOLD SAFE?
Uphold employs robust Know Your Customer (KYC) and Anti-Money Laundering procedures to support its verification and identification processes and to detect questionable behaviour in the marketplace.
In addition, the firm is dedicated to complying with all legal and regulatory requirements in the United States, Europe and other parts of the world where it operates.
As a result, Uphold is one of the first companies dealing with digital currencies to be accredited to the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI/DSS), which is considered one of the most rigorous in the industry today. Established to ensure that all companies that handle, store or send credit card information do so securely.
In terms of overall security, Uphold has a strong track record. In November 2018, however, there was a minor security issue in which its mail service account (rather than the exchange) was hacked, which was quickly rectified.
In a subsequent tweet, Uphold said the compromised account was a third-party service and had nothing to do with the company’s own inbound mail infrastructure.
On the other hand, the hackers tricked people by sending a phishing email that said anyone could send between 0.1 and 50 BTC to a specific address and get an additional 15% in return. It is unclear whether the hackers were ultimately successful. However, as a precautionary measure during this time, Uphold decided to temporarily suspend BTC withdrawals.
Ultimately, Uphold’s number one priority is to protect customer money and personal information. Therefore, their systems maintain the most rigorous security standards across their platform, and they work hard to educate their customers on the critical role they play in keeping their data safe and secure.
Verifying your identity is important to the security of your transactions. Uphold maintains strict password restrictions and email verification in case anything suspicious is discovered, and will email you if the company identifies strange behaviour.
If your username and password are stolen or hacked, Uphold provides an optional additional layer of security by enabling 2-step verification.
Uphold implements and recommends that customers use these security measures to protect customers and their money to protect themselves and their accounts.
The following is a list of Uphold’s security measures:
Encryption: Uphold uses multi-layered protections and advanced encryption to restrict the potential breadth and depth of attacks;
Auditing and testing: Exchange systems are regularly audited and tested by security experts;
24/7 monitoring: Around the clock, the security operations centre monitors systems and takes swift action when danger is identified;
Security and privacy training: Uphold’s team is background checked by an authorised provider while periodic security and privacy training is required;
Third-party due diligence: All its service providers are subject to appropriate due diligence procedures, as due attention is paid to integrations involving sensitive data;
Bug Bounty Programme: Users can also submit a security flaw in the Upholds platform to Intigriti’s public BugBounty programme for a reward.
Using the Uphold Affiliate Program, users can earn money by promoting the cryptocurrency platform. It is possible to trade between cryptocurrencies and a variety of asset classes on Uphold, which has over 7 million users. Get paid when you refer new customers to the platform, and you will get a share of the revenue they produce.
Plus, as an Uphold affiliate, you can get a 50% revenue share on your referrals for your first three months as an affiliate.
Step 1: Simply register and complete an application for an affiliate account. Once your application has been accepted, you will have access to your collection of promotional assets.
Step 2: Promote Uphold to your target demographic and refer consumers to use the platform.
Step 3: You will earn a percentage of revenue from each customer you refer.
SUMMARISING THE PROS AND CONS
Simplicity of the user interface (UI);
Offers trading of precious metals, stocks and cryptocurrencies;
Sending money to a friend or family member is completely free;
Using a bank account to buy shares has zero commissions;
No minimum investment is required, as all assets can be bought at small fractions of their total value;
Any-to-any trading involves a one-step conversion across all asset classes;
All-inclusive pricing means there are no hidden fees or unexpected spreads;
No account, custody, ticket or inactivity fees.
High spreads on lower volume assets;
No telephone or live chat support.
All in all, there are many benefits to using Uphold that make it a viable exchange option for beginners and experienced traders alike. A variety of assets, including cryptocurrencies, gold, stocks and national currencies, are accepted as payment methods via the Uphold debit card, among other options.
Customers and businesses can feel secure on the one hand, as the platform is full of security safeguards. On the other hand, its transactions allow users to buy, sell, trade and restrict their purchases and sales using a variety of commands.
Users can also benefit from purchasing assets other than cryptocurrencies, such as stocks or fractional shares in 50 US-listed companies, four precious metals and 27 national currencies, among other things.
Customers can also automate trading by setting up a regular buy or sell order on the platform or by using Uphold’s open application programming interface (API), which allows third-party developers to create custom interfaces with the platform for their own use.
Finally, the unique digital currency platform provides “Anything-to-Anything”, indicating that customers have access to over 1,000 trading pairs through the platform.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT UPHOLD
Can I create an Uphold account in the United States?
Yes, Uphold is easily accessible to customers in the United States with just 11 clicks of a button, allowing them to quickly buy and sell, invest, transfer or send/receive over 60 cryptocurrencies, commodities, stocks and currencies.
Does Uphold have its own wallet?
Yes, Upload Wallet is a secure cloud-based digital wallet that includes a collection of cards for sending and receiving payments. These cards represent your holdings in various currencies and commodities, including Bitcoin, Ethereum, US dollars, euros, silver and gold. Each card allows you to hold and access your money securely and conveniently.
Do I need to verify my identity to buy and sell cryptocurrencies on Uphold?
No, Uphold collects your full name, date of birth and phone number when you join. As a result, the exchange is better able to protect you against scams and keep its community safe. However, when you withdraw or transfer funds to another person, your identification must be verified.
Can I use an Uphold card at the ATM?
Yes, because Uphold is a member of the Mastercard network, Uphold Cards are accepted by more than 50 million merchants and at virtually all ATMs worldwide.