Uphold Review 2021

Uphold Review 2021

Daniel Chan

October 7, 2021

Cryptocurrency

What is Uphold?

Uphold was founded in 2015, as a multi-asset digital money platform. It is a broker that makes it easy to buy crypto as well as other assets such as national fiat currencies, precious metals and equities. Their unique ‘Anything-to-Anything’ trading experience is convenient, as it enables users to trade any asset for another.

  • Web Address: www.uphold.com
  • Mobile App: Yes
  • Deposit Methods: Bank Transfer (ACH), Bank Transfer (SEPA), Debit/Credit Card, Wire Transfer, Faster Payments Service, SWIFT, Cryptocurrency
  • Deposit Fee: Free
  • Withdrawal Fee: Free 

Uphold Disclaimer: Assets available on Uphold are different per region. All investments and trading are risky and may result in the loss of capital. Cryptoassets are largely unregulated and are therefore not subject to protection.

My Overall Thoughts on Uphold

Uphold is an excellent cryptocurrency broker that has found a unique way to differentiate from competitors. Not only do they support assets besides cryptocurrency, but they enable trading between any two assets. Here are three top reasons that I like to use Uphold:

1) Uphold provides users access to a wide range of assets: over 60+ cryptocurrencies, 50 US stocks, 27 national currencies and 4 precious metals. Not only is it impressive that a cryptocurrency broker can offer traditional asset classes on the same platform, but the best part is that you can trade between any two assets. For example, you can trade your Ether (ETH) for Gold, or Tesla stock for Euros.

2) You can buy fractions of expensive US stocks, with a minimum of $1. For example, if you want to invest in Amazon, which has a price of ~$3200 at the time of writing, traditionally, you wouldn't be able to invest only $500 in Amazon. Normally you have to buy at least one share, which would be $3200. With Uphold's fractional equities service, you will gain proportional ownership and dividend entitlement. So now, you can invest in Amazon with as little as $1!

3) Uphold's platform is great for beginners, with a minimalist platform, and is a simple way for new investors to get their toes wet with forex, precious metals and stock trading. Some brokers that are specifically designed for advanced stock traders or forex traders can be overwhelming for newcomers, but Uphold makes it easy.

One downside is that Uphold's trading fees can be hard to determine. On many other crypto brokers, the fee is given as a percentage of the transaction, but on Uphold, their fees are included in the spreads. The spreads vary based on the asset and country, making it difficult to make fee comparisons with competitors. 

Uphold Disclaimer: Assets available on Uphold are different per region. All investments and trading are risky and may result in the loss of capital. Cryptoassets are largely unregulated and are therefore not subject to protection.

Key Features & Advantages of Uphold

Uphold has a lot of excellent features offered on their platform. These are some of the best features and advantages that you will find on Uphold.

Negatives and Disadvantages of Uphold

Despite Uphold's great features, there are some areas that I feel they could do better. To learn more, click on the jump links below.

What Services does Uphold offer?

Uphold provides many handy services that have made it a popular broker in 184 countries. Let's take a closer look at what Uphold offers.

User-friendly interface:  Uphold's interface is clean and simple, perfect for beginners who may be overwhelmed by a complex platform with too many options. A screenshot of the dashboard is included below, and you can see at the right of the menu is the quickest way to start trading your assets. "Anything to Anything" refers to the ability to trade any of your assets from one to another, in just seconds.

Mobile app for iOS and Android:  Uphold has a mobile app available for iOS and Android so you can look after your investments at all times. On the Google Play store, there are over 1 million downloads, with a 3.4 star rating from 17 000 reviews. The app is easy to use, you can keep an eye on all markets, your portfolio, previous transactions, and make deposits and trades wherever you are.

60+ different cryptocurrencies available:  Uphold has over 60+ different cryptocurrencies on their platform, including some of the most widely traded coins. You will be able to trade BTC, ETH, XRP, ADA, MATIC, DOGE and many more. Here is a sample of the most popular cryptocurrencies on Uphold.

Buy & Sell 50 US stocks, 27 national currencies, 4 precious metals:  Uphold is more than a cryptocurrency broker, it also gives users access to 50 US equities (eg: Amazon, Tesla, Google, Apple, Facebook), 27 national currencies (eg: USD, GBP, EUR, CHF, AUD, JPY) and 4 precious metals (gold, silver, platinum and palladium). This is a great way for crypto investors to dip their toes into forex trading and the stock market.

Fractional equities - invest in expensive US stocks for minimum $1:  On Uphold, you are able to invest in expensive US stocks with as little as $1. This is possible with Fractional equities, which gives you proportional ownership and dividend entitlement of a stock. Let's say you want to invest in Amazon, which has a price of approximately $3200 per share at the time of writing. On regular stock markets, you would have to buy a whole share, worth $3200. However, with Uphold's fractional equities, you can invest, say $500 in Amazon, which means you would own about 15% of one Amazon share. This is a welcome feature for those that are used to trading in cryptocurrency, where you don't need to buy a whole Bitcoin to invest in it.

Uphold Disclaimer: Assets available on Uphold are different per region. All investments and trading are risky and may result in the loss of capital. Cryptoassets are largely unregulated and are therefore not subject to protection.

Trade between any two assets:  Uphold has a trading feature called "Anything to Anything" which enables users to trade between any two assets. For example, you can trade your Bitcoin (BTC) for Apple stock, or trade your Gold for Japanese Yen. This is a really handy and convenient service that isn't available at most other brokers. 

Uphold Debit card - spend your crypto, fiat, or precious metals:  Uphold has released a Debit card (currently only available in the US) that you can use to pay for goods and services using your crypto, commodities or cash. It can be used at nearly 50 million merchants and ATMs worldwide, with no foreign transaction fees. You even earn 1% Cash Back in USD on any USD-sourced purchases and 2% back in the crypto used for every purchase with the Uphold Debit card. 

AutoPilot - automated trading with scheduled transactions:  Users of Uphold can easily schedule regular transactions using AutoPilot, which enables recurring buy or sell orders to reduce the impact of price volatility. This dollar cost averaging is a way to minimise the risk in the long term.

Flexible payments - get paid by your employer in any currency:  Uphold is not only a multi-asset broker, but they can help you access financial services that aren't available through your bank. You can receive payments from your in any currency, or combination of currencies you want: for example 60% in USD, 25% Euros, 15% Bitcoin.

Instant remittances - send money instantly and free of charge:  Uphold is more than just a cryptocurrency broker, they also enable users to send money to their friends and family worldwide. The transactions are instant, free and the money can be sent in any currency from Bitcoin to USD.

Uphold Disclaimer: Assets available on Uphold are different per region. All investments and trading are risky and may result in the loss of capital. Cryptoassets are largely unregulated and are therefore not subject to protection.

What I Don't Like About Uphold

Unclear trading fees:  Many cryptocurrency brokers list their trading fees as a percentage of the transaction amount, so you know how much you are paying on each trade. Uphold, similar to eToro, doesn't charge a percentage fee, but instead include their fees within the spread (the difference between the buy and sell prices). This means you cannot tell exactly how much the fees are, and it is hard to compare between brokers.

Assets may be limited depending on your country:  There may be restrictions on what products you can access based on where you live. It is best to check what is available in your country before opening an account.

The UK and EU are the most restricted regions, where they can only access a limited range of 36 cryptocurrencies, and none of the other assets (national currencies, stocks and precious metals).

In the USA, Japan and China, you won't have access to US stocks. The other assets (national currencies, stocks and precious metals) are available for trade in these regions.

In other countries that are serviced by Uphold, you will be able to access all the assets: cryptocurrencies, US stocks, precious metals and national currencies.

No Live Chat support:  One feature I always check for with brokers is the availability of Live Chat customer support, and unfortunately Uphold doesn't impress me in this regard. The only assistance you receive is via FAQs or leaving a query by email. There is no Live Chat, not even an automated bot that can direct you to information that you might find useful.

Uphold Fees

Uphold Deposit Fees

Uphold charges 0% deposit fees.

Uphold Trading Fees

Uphold doesn't charge trading commission, but they charge a spread. This is how Uphold describes their spreads for their different assets:

Cryptocurrencies:

In the U.S. and Europe, spread is typically 0.8 to 1.2% on BTC and ETH.

  • In other parts of the world, spread on the majors is typically around 1.8%.
  • Spreads can be significantly higher for low-liquidity cryptos and tokens including XRP, ZIL, OXT, UPT, DOGE and others. See an example of spreads for some coins here.
  • Coordinated market activity such as Wall St Bets can distort markets. All the above spreads are likely to widen beyond those above during times of acute market stress.

Precious metals:

The spread is typically 3% on top of the bid-ask prices at their supplier.

Fiat currencies:

The spread is typically 0.2% between major national currencies such as EUR, USD, and GBP.

US equities:

The spread is typically 1.0%. For trading outside market hours, Uphold adds a small spread based on the stock's volatility. A clock icon will appear when the U.S. public market is closed. U.S. market hours are 9.30am to 4pm ET on business days.

Uphold vs eToro vs Coinbase Crypto Trading Fees

It is hard to compare the fees for Uphold against most other competitors because instead of charging a percentage fee, Uphold incorporates it into their spread. eToro has a similar model, only charging spreads with no commission, so I compare these two crypto brokers, but even then, it is not an easy task. I also compare the fees as best I can with Coinbase, another top crypto exchange.

The spread is the difference between the buy and sell price of a particular cryptocurrency. For example, if Bitcoin has a spread of 0.8%, it means if you buy and sell it immediately, you will lose 0.8% in fees. You can look at the fee per transaction as being half of the spread, so in this case, 0.4% fee.

Uphold's spread on BTC and ETH in the US and Europe is "typically 0.8 to 1.2%" and in other parts of the world, it is "typically around 1.8%". The spread for other coins in the UK and Europe are quite reasonable, around 1% for both buy and sell, for a total spread of 2% - 2.5%, as seen in this list.

eToro charges 0.75% spread on BTC and 1.90% for ETH. They also have a list of all their coins and the corresponding spreads with a maximum spread of 5% for Tezos (XTZ). 

Coinbase has a spread of about 0.5% for purchases and sales (total 1% spread), and they also charge a fee on top. Coinbase's trading fee is 0.5% + an additional fee based on method of payment (ranging from 1.99% to 3.99%). This means that the lowest trading fees on Coinbase are 2.49% on top of 1% spread.

Comparison of fees to purchase some popular cryptocurrencies 

Cryptocurrency

Uphold (USA)

Uphold (UK)

eToro

Coinbase

BTC

0.4%

0.85%

0.375%

2.99%

ETH

0.6%

0.95%

0.95%

2.99%

ADA

1%

1%

1.45%

2.99%

COMP

0.95%

0.95%

1.95%

2.99%

Uphold Withdrawal Fees

Uphold charges 0% withdrawal fees.

Uphold Crypto Transfer Fees

When you withdraw cryptocurrency to an external wallet, you will be charged network fees. These fees are passed on at cost and may vary depending on network congestion.

Pros and Cons of Uphold

Pros
  • Over 60+ different cryptocurrencies
  • Invest in US stocks, precious metals and national currencies
  • Trade from one asset to any other asset
  • Fractional equities means you can invest in expensive stocks for as little as $1
  • Uphold Debit card allow you to spend your crypto, commodities or cash
Cons
  • Unclear trading fees
  • Stocks are not available in USA, UK, EU, Japan and China
  • No Live Chat support

Uphold Disclaimer: Assets available on Uphold are different per region. All investments and trading are risky and may result in the loss of capital. Cryptoassets are largely unregulated and are therefore not subject to protection.

Can I trade stocks on Uphold?

Uphold has 50 US stocks that are available to trade, with plans to add more in the near future. Unfortunately, it is not available in the USA, UK, EU, Japan and China. This is disappointing that US citizens cannot trade US stocks, but hopefully they allow access in the future.

Can I use Uphold in my country?

Uphold is available in many countries around the world, however, there are some exclusions. You can check this list of non-supported geographies.

Verdict

Uphold is an excellent cryptocurrency broker offering not only 60+ coins, but also a lot more. It gives users access to other investment markets such as stocks, national currencies and precious metals, with the ability to trade directly between any two assets. Not only is Uphold a broker, but they also provide financial services to their customers, such as sending money worldwide instantly and getting paid by employers in any currency - fiat or digital.

Although Uphold's crypto trading fees are unclear, as they are incorporated into the spreads, they seem reasonable. The spreads are around 2% which is lower than for most coins on eToro, which is another broker that charges zero commission. Uphold has over 60+ cryptocurrencies (only 36 available in the UK and EU), but if you are looking for a crypto exchange with a larger variety, KuCoin has a selection of over 250+ coins. If you are still looking at other options, have a read of this breakdown of top crypto exchanges.

Uphold Disclaimer: Assets available on Uphold are different per region. All investments and trading are risky and may result in the loss of capital. Cryptoassets are largely unregulated and are therefore not subject to protection.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Uphold legitimate?

Yes, Uphold is a legitimate broker that has been established since 2015. They are committed to compliance, as a FinCEN Registered Money Services Business (MSB) in the USA, and as an EMD Agent of an Electronic Money Issuer regulated by the FCA in the UK.

Is Uphold safe?

Yes, Uphold is a safe broker with state of the art security. They have routine auditing, penetration testing, sophisticated encryption, a Security Operations Centre and more, ensuring that users, their money and their information is always protected. 

Can Uphold be trusted?

Yes, Uphold is a trustworthy broker established in 2015, and registered with FinCEN as a Money Services Business in the USA, and as an EMD Agent of an Electronic Money Issuer regulated by the FCA in the UK. Uphold is very transparent, allowing you to verify their obligations, transaction flows, assets, and solvency. You can confirm their reserve holdings and ensure that your funds are safe by clicking here

Can Uphold be hacked?

Uphold is a very secure broker, with routine auditing, penetration testing, sophisticated encryption, a Security Operations Centre and more. However, even with the highest levels of security, there is a chance that Uphold can be hacked. To our knowledge, Uphold has not been hacked since its establishment in 2015.

Uphold Disclaimer: Uphold offers Cryptoasset investing within the EU/UK (by Uphold Europe Limited) USA (by Uphold HQ Inc).

Capital at risk. As with any asset, the value of cryptoassets can go up or down and there can be a substantial risk that you lose all your money buying, selling, holding or investing in cryptoassets. Your cryptoassets are not subject to protection. You should carefully consider whether trading or holding cryptoassets is suitable for you in light of your financial condition. Uphold makes no representation and assumes no liability as to the accuracy or completeness of the content of this publication, which has been prepared by our partner utilizing publicly available non-entity specific information about Uphold.

Marketplacefairness.org provides all its content for informational purposes only, and this should not be taken as financial advice to buy, trade or sell cryptocurrency or use any specific exchange. Please do not use this website as investment advice, financial advice or legal advice, and each individual's needs may vary from that of the author. This post includes affiliate links with our partners who may compensate us. 

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