Uphold Review

Trade precious metals, crypto, and stocks, but with high spread fees

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Uphold

Uphold

overall rating
4.3

Our Take 

Uphold offers trading of cryptocurrencies, as well as national currencies, stocks, and even precious metals, all on one platform. Users can even trade between each asset without the need to convert their holdings to cash first (such as trading gold for Bitcoin). Uphold is available globally and supports a small number of crypto and stocks. While there are no fees for general deposits or withdrawals, this exchange charges a spread fee for every transaction, which can get expensive. Uphold is designed for new crypto investors, and doesn't offer advanced trading, charting, or order types. Active crypto traders may want to look elsewhere.

  • Pros & Cons
  • Key Takeaways
  • Specifications
Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Intuitive mobile app

  • Available globally in over 100 countries

  • Can trade several assets

  • Ability to send assets instantly to others

  • Rewards credit card available

Cons
  • High spread fees

  • Many complaints about user support

  • Limited selection of cryptocurrencies

Key Takeaways
  • Uphold is a centralized cryptocurrency exchange that allows users to buy, sell, and trade crypto, stocks, precious metals, and national currencies.
  • Uphold is headquartered in London, U.K.
  • Uphold charges spread fees for all transactions, including buying and selling cryptocurrencies, which can get very expensive.
  • Uphold is a regulated exchange, complying with the U.S. Financial Crimes Enforcement Network’s (FinCEN) Know Your Customer (KYC) and Anti-Money Laundering (AML) regulations.
Specifications
  • Year Founded 2015
  • Official Website www.Uphold.com
  • Cryptocurrencies Available 80+
  • Customer Support Email

Unlike traditional brokerage firms, cryptocurrency exchanges are not members of the Securities Investor Protection Corp. (SIPC). Therefore, unless user terms specify otherwise, investors with cryptocurrency assets commingled on a custodial cryptocurrency exchange could potentially lose their funds as unsecured creditors.

Introduction

Uphold is a cryptocurrency exchange that allows users to buy, sell, and trade supported cryptocurrency. In addition to crypto, this exchange also enables users to trade precious metals, national currencies, and stocks on its platform. Users can access 80+ crypto assets, 25+ national currencies, 50 stocks, and four different precious metals.

As a fiat onramp, Uphold allows new users to deposit national currencies (such as U.S. dollars) and use those funds to purchase crypto and other assets. Users can also trade between assets, such as crypto-to-stock trades, or precious metal-to-currency trading.

Uphold is unique because it acts as a forex, stock, and crypto exchange in one platform.

Investing in cryptocurrencies, Decentralized Finance (DeFi), and other Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) is highly risky and speculative, and the markets can be extremely volatile. Consult with a qualified professional before making any financial decisions. This article is not a recommendation by The Balance or the writer to invest in cryptocurrencies nor can the accuracy or timeliness of the information be guaranteed.

Company Overview

Uphold was launched in 2015 as a multi-asset digital money platform allowing users to exchange currencies globally on a single platform. The company is currently headquartered in New York, New York.

Uphold operates in over 180 countries around the world and the majority of U.S. states, and has completed over $4 billion in transactions since its inception. Uphold is better-suited for beginner traders, with simple charts, a simple buying process, and educational content for each crypto asset.

Cryptocurrencies That Trade on Uphold

Uphold offers a decent selection of the most popular cryptocurrencies available, including Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), Cardano (ADA), Solana (SOL), Chainlink (LINK), XRP (XRP), and Polkadot (DOT). There are over 80 cryptos supported, with more being added on occasion. View Uphold’s full list of supported crypto assets.

Trading Experience

Uphold offers a simple trading platform, only allowing you to view one asset price at a time. This differs from other exchanges which typically show you a sortable list of assets with prices, market cap, and relative change in price over the past 24 hours. This makes Uphold more of a “buy and hold” platform, and it's not designed for active crypto traders. There is no advanced charting, stop orders, or margin trading available on the platform.

Users can access a list of available crypto on the “Crypto” tab, and then select a cryptocurrency and make a trade. Crypto can be purchased by depositing funds into Uphold via a linked bank account, wire transfer, or ACH transfer without additional fees. Users can also deposit supported crypto into their Uphold digital wallet and trade it for other assets available on the platform, such as different cryptocurrencies, stocks, and precious metals.

Uphold also offers the ability to set up recurring purchases, allowing users to buy crypto in regular time increments (such as weekly or monthly). Customers can withdraw crypto assets using the withdraw option, sending crypto to a linked digital wallet, though network fees charges apply.

Available for Android and Apple, the Uphold mobile apps offer a similar experience to the web-based platform, allowing users to view their portfolio, make trades, and deposit or withdraw funds from their account.

Fees

Uphold does not charge trading commissions or deposit fees, but it does charge a spread for every trade on the platform. These spread fees can end up being relatively high, depending on the asset being traded and market activity. 

Though Uphold does provide estimated spread fees on its website, fees are not fully transparent and can vary.

Action Uphold Fee 
Debit/Credit card 0% for debit card deposits, does not accept credit card deposits 
ACH Transfer $0 deposit, $0 withdrawal 
Purchases  Spread fees (typically 0.8% - 1.2% —varies by asset and market condition)
Trades Spread fees (typically 0.8% - 1.2% —varies by asset and market condition) 

There are also spread fees for stocks, precious metals, and national currency trading, as well as individual withdrawal fees, depending on the asset. Here is a full breakdown of the Uphold fee schedule.

Security

Uphold offers decent security for users, including two-factor authentication (2FA), data server encryption, and KYC identity verification for all users.

Here are some security features Uphold offers:

  • Two-factor authentication: Uphold requires two-factor authentication with third-party apps, such as Google Authenticator. This helps protect against account hacking.
  • Cold storage: Uphold keeps around 90% of all crypto balances in “cold storage,” which are servers that are not connected to the internet. This keeps most crypto assets offline and away from would-be hackers.
  • Encryption: Uphold utilizes data encryption for all platform activity, as well as storage of private keys to protect user assets and personal information. It uses TLS encryption for web-based activity and encrypts all emails in transit. Plus, the platform employs role-based access for employees and keeps important application credential information secured and away from the main database.

Opening an Uphold Account

To sign up for an Uphold account, you’ll need to first provide a valid email address and password. Uphold will then send you a link via email to verify your email address. After you’ve done so, Uphold will ask for some personal information, including your full name, address, and Social Security number. You can then deposit fiat funds or crypto and begin trading.

But before you can withdraw funds or send money to others on Uphold, you will need to verify your identity by uploading a picture of your government-issued photo ID. You will also need to provide proof of residence (such as a utility bill) and take a live selfie to complete your identity verification.

If you fail to pass identity verification, any deposited funds cannot be withdrawn. It is recommended that you complete identity verification before depositing any funds.

Customer Service

Uphold only offers email support and some customer service help on Twitter. It also has an extensive FAQ and support center on its website, but users cannot contact Uphold customer service via live chat or phone. 

Customers who need assistance can fill out a support request form and wait for an email response from the support team. Uphold also publishes a blog, but it has limited information and educational materials. However, the platform does offer its Cryptionary, a resource that defines cryptocurrency terms and phrases for new users.

Uphold’s basic customer service support is standard for the industry, but more and more exchanges are starting to offer live chat and email support.

Customer Satisfaction

Uphold has poor customer reviews overall on consumer review website Trustpilot, with many complaints about locked accounts, the inability to complete identity verification, and difficulty transferring funds off the platform. As with most crypto exchanges, it is important to complete identity verification before depositing any funds on to Uphold. 

There are no formal rating agencies for cryptocurrency exchanges. All user reviews are self-reported and may be anecdotal.

Account Management

Uphold is a web-based platform and mobile app that allows users to buy, sell, and trade crypto, as well as national currencies, stock, and precious metals. Users can log in using a web browser to view their portfolio, deposit or withdraw funds, or make trades. Customers also have the option to trade between assets, such as Bitcoin to gold, or Tesla stock to euro, making Uphold a unique platform for asset trading.

Uphold also offers a simple mobile app for trading as well, allowing users to view their portfolio, create a watchlist, deposit funds, make trades, and withdraw or transfer funds as desired. Both apps allow single or recurring purchases.

How Uphold Compares to Other Cryptocurrency Companies

Uphold may be one of the best places for beginners to get started with cryptocurrency. With a simple-to-use platform, wide selection of cryptocurrencies, and focus on security, users can trade with ease. Uphold also supports some of the most popular cryptocurrencies on the market, with new assets being added occasionally. 

However, Uphold doesn’t offer as many cryptocurrencies as some other exchanges. Here’s how Uphold compares to another large, U.S.-based crypto exchange, Gemini.

Uphold vs. Gemini

Uphold and Gemini offer access to Bitcoin and other popular cryptocurrencies, as well as built-in digital wallets. Both offer a rewards credit card, charge higher fees for trading crypto, and have a limited selection of crypto compared to other large exchanges.

But while Gemini is strictly a crypto exchange, Uphold offers a wide range of assets, including crypto, national currencies, stocks, and even precious metals.

Here are a few other major differences between Uphold and Gemini:

  • Uphold is available in 180+ countries, while Gemini is only available in just over 60.
  • Gemini offers a white-glove service for institutional investors, including over-the-counter (OTC) trading.
  • Uphold allows users to swap between assets, such as trading stocks for crypto.
  • Gemini offers insurance on assets held in its hot wallet, while Uphold only insures against theft of cold storage assets.

Both Uphold and Gemini make it easy for new investors to purchase crypto. While Gemini offers a secure way to buy and store Bitcoin for beginner and institutional investors alike, Uphold offers cross-asset trading and no trading commissions on crypto and other assets.

Final Verdict

Uphold offers a way for new investors to get started with crypto trading, making it easy to deposit funds and buy crypto right away. It also caters to investors who want access to trading other assets, such as precious metals and individual stocks. Uphold is unique among exchanges in that it allows users to directly trade across asset classes without having to convert to cash first.

Uphold fees can be high, especially when trading certain cryptocurrencies with lower liquidity, or during times of high network congestion. The spread fees can be over 1.8%, and funding your account with a credit or debit card tacks on another 3.99% fee.

Uphold also has a large number of poor user reviews, mostly due to KYC identity verification and fund withdrawal issues. This may be concerning for some users and highlights the importance of passing all KYC verifications before depositing funds to a crypto exchange.

Overall, Uphold is a decent option for beginners who want to trade crypto and other assets on the same platform.

Methodology 

The Balance is dedicated to helping those interested in cryptocurrency investing make informed and safe decisions. We are committed to providing our readers with unbiased reviews of the top cryptocurrency exchanges for investors of all levels.


Exchanges were reviewed on points including security, fees, number of cryptocurrencies available, and more. We also considered if the exchange is regulated by a proper agency or entirely decentralized. Our full cryptocurrency exchange methodology, including the data collection and review processes and weighted data points, is available for review.