Over the past few years there have been dozens, if not hundreds, of Bitcoin and cryptocurrency exchange sites that have popped up. Some offer an excellent array of features and great customer service, and others are nothing more than scams disguised as legitimate exchanges that exist only to take your money.
In all the reviews we’ve read and done there have been exchanges that fall to both ends of this spectrum and today we have another cryptocurrency exchange to look at called Uphold.com.
We’ll be getting to know more about the services offered, which crypto and fiat currencies are accepted, what the trading platform is like, the fee structure and more.
Let’s get right to it.
Uphold Review: History
The exchange has been around since 2015 and less than three years later is providing its services to users in over a hundred different countries. It not only operates on U.S. dollars, but 35 other currencies as well (more on that later).
In addition, Uphold.com is a FinCEN registered MSB in the United States and CSSF for Europe, making it a perfect choice for people that want a regulated website for their exchanges.
Registration at Uphold.com
You can begin the registration process by clicking the “Sign Up” link in the upper right corner of the website. It’s a three step process that begins with entering your email, your desired password, choosing business or personal account, and providing your country of residence. Click “Next”.
In the next step you’ll provide your first and last name, your desired username, your state or province, and your date of birth. Once that’s filled in click “Next”. The next screen will tell you to confirm your account. This is done by clicking on the confirmation link in an email that was sent to the email address you provided in the first step.
Finally, the third step requires you to enter your mobile phone number and set up two-factor authentication using the Authy app. This is a mandatory step. You cannot finish the registration process without securing your account with two-factor authentication. You’ll need to enter the code from the Authy app to continue.
Once you’ve finished the three steps you’re registered. The next screen is an informational video about the Uphold platform that takes about three minutes. You can skip it if you like and simply click through to your account dashboard.
Note that to unlock all the features of Uphold.com you will need to become a verified member. This simply requires you to submit a government issued picture ID and proof of residence. Unverified members are limited to a $1,000 lifetime transaction limit. Once you reach $1,000 in transactions you are required to verify your identity to continue using Uphold.com
Once you verify you not only increase your transaction limits and create a safer user experience, you also unlock the following features:
- Ability to add or withdraw funds to and from your Uphold account using bank transfer (Note that bank transfer is not available in all countries);
- Pre-release access to new currencies and Money Cards;
- Insider tools, tips and product information before the rest of the world;
- And a growing list of exclusive benefits & rewards to come.
Uphold Review: Features
Uphold.com is somewhat unique as it provides wallets not only for cryptocurrencies, but also for fiat currencies. There are other exchanges that provide this functionality, but Uphold seems to be doing it better than most.
This makes Uphold more than just another crypto exchange site.
Uphold is prepared to be your one-stop online payment processing solution. With it you can store 36 different fiat currencies, 7 cryptocurrencies, and even gold, silver, platinum and palladium. That’s unusual and unique among cryptocurrency exchanges.
It’s especially unusual for payment processing solutions because not only can you store all these, you can also easily exchange between them with the click of a few buttons.
The only downside to this convenience is that the fees charged by Uphold tend to be a bit higher than at competing exchanges.
One other nice feature that Uphold used to have is the inclusion of a virtual MasterCard with your account. This means that even if you have nothing but cryptocurrencies in your account you could still make online purchases using this virtual MasterCard.
Unfortunately their service provider for the virtual MasterCard, WEX, discontinued their service. They are looking for another provider, but as of September 2018 they still haven’t found an alternative arrangement to offer the virtual MasterCard.
Cryptocurrency Exchanges on Uphold.com
With all the features it might be easy to forget that the exchange is first and foremost an exchange. This means you can easily convert your fiat currencies to Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), Dash (DASH), Bitcoin Cash (BCH), Bitcoin Gold (BTG), Basic Attention Token (BAT), Litecoin (LTC), and Ripple (XRP).
Or you can switch your cryptocurrency to fiat currency. And verified users can swap from one fiat currency to another as well if they like. Uphold is like your personal bank where you are able to easily move in and out of a wide variety of fiat currencies, cryptocurrencies, and precious metals.
Uphold Review: Fees
As I mentioned above, the fees at Uphold tend to be higher than at competing cryptocurrency exchanges. This is for cryptocurrency transaction fees, and is because Uphold adds their own fee to the usual network transaction fee.
In the case of fiat currencies exchanges are actually somewhat less expensive than if you did them at a traditional bank. Currently exchange fees for USD, EUR and GBP are 0.65%. Other fiat currencies have somewhat higher fees.
You can see the full list of Uphold fees here.
Uphold Review: Deposits and Withdrawals
Uphold does have fees for deposits, but only for credit and debit card deposits. There are also withdrawal fees which vary based on the withdrawal method. All these fees can be seen at the fee link provided above.
In addition to making deposits and withdrawals, you can also make wallet to wallet transfers with any other Uphold member, and these transfers are free. This is an awesome feature for cross border transfers that would typically have very high expenses when using traditional third-party solutions such as banks, Western Union and even Paypal.
Uphold Review: Customer Service
Uphold does suffer from the same customer service woes as most other cryptocurrency exchanges. There is no email address for support, and no phone number to call. Instead they have chosen to use a ticketing system.
This is so frustrating because you could get an immediate reply to your question or concern, or you could have to wait several days. And even then you might not get a suitable reply, meaning the process begins all over again.
This type of support is just too hit or miss in my opinion when you could be dealing with hundreads or even thousands of dollars worth of funds.
Uphold Review: Conclusion
Uphold is one of the less known cryptocurrency exchanges who are doing big things. The inclusion of fiat to fiat exchanges, and the fact that the exchange has already gone down the regulation path shows they are very forward thinking.
It’s unfortunate that the crpytocurrency exchange and withdrawal fees are so high, but we understand that it’s necessary for them to provide their service. On the upside, the fiat to fiat exchange rates are more than fair. Even better for those that transfer funds across borders is that exchanges from one Uphold user to another is fee-free.
The exchange platform itself is quite innovative, and I found it easy to understand. They take security seriously, but if you’re looking for anonymity this isn’t a good exchange for you. Their regulatory stance means there are ID reviews and verifications that throw privacy concerns out the window.
Those who don’t mind this regulation and lack of privacy are likely to be quite pleased with the Uphold service and security standards.