Full Uphold review
This cryptocurrency broker is a good fit for: Investors who want access to cryptocurrencies, stocks, precious metals, and forex trading in a single platform.
- Excellent cryptocurrency selection
- Cross-asset trading
- Earn rewards with crypto staking
- No deposit, withdrawal, or trading fees
- Educational content
- Debit card
- Security concerns
- Variable spread
- Lackluster mobile app
Excellent cryptocurrency selection
You won't be short on digital currency options if you use Uphold. It lists over 230 cryptocurrencies, including most of the biggest ones on the market, as well as smaller altcoins and stablecoins that follow the U.S. dollar.
SEE MORE TOP CRYPTO PLATFORMS: Best Cryptocurrency Apps and Exchanges
Trade between cryptocurrencies and other assets
One of the best parts about Uphold is that it offers several types of assets and lets you trade between them. With an Uphold account, you can buy and trade:
- Precious metals, such as gold and silver
- Fiat currencies, such as the U.S. dollar and the euro
This allows you to keep an entire investment portfolio in one place. It's also quicker and more convenient to trade one type of asset for another. For example, you could use Uphold to trade your Bitcoin (BTC) for Apple stock, or vice versa, without needing to convert either one to cash first.
Earn rewards with crypto staking
Uphold offers a crypto staking program. When you stake your cryptocurrency, it's used to help validate transactions and secure the blockchain network. In return, you earn rewards on the amount you stake. Uphold supports staking of more than 10 popular cryptocurrencies, including:
- Ethereum (ETH)
- Cardano (ADA)
- Solana (SOL)
- Polkadot (DOT)
Learn more about staking:
- How Crypto Staking Works
- Best Crypto Staking Platforms
No deposit, withdrawal, or trading fees
Uphold doesn't charge deposit, withdrawal, or trading fees. It is worth noting that it charges a spread on each trade that varies based on what you're trading and market conditions. Withdrawals to external crypto wallets will also have a network fee, but that's charged by the cryptocurrency network, not Uphold.
Uphold offers valuable educational content that teaches users about crypto. It has a "cryptionary" explaining crypto terminology, a blog, and a section covering cryptocurrency news.
With many of the types of cryptocurrency it offers, Uphold also includes a page with info on what that cryptocurrency does. These pages often include sections on what the bulls and bears are saying, meaning the arguments for and against that cryptocurrency.
Crypto rewards debit card
This broker offers the Uphold Card, a debit card that lets you pay with cash, crypto, precious metals, or any other assets in your account. It's a Mastercard, so it works anywhere Mastercard is accepted. The card also earns purchase rewards. You get:
- 2% back on purchases paid with cryptocurrency
- 1% back on purchases paid with U.S. dollars
The Uphold Card isn't without its drawbacks. Most notably, there's a $9.95 fee to get the card, a $9.95 fee if you ever need a replacement card, and a $2.50 fee for U.S. ATM withdrawals. Still, it's nice to have a way to spend cash or crypto in your Uphold account.
SEE MORE CARD OPTIONS: Best Crypto Credit Cards
Low minimum deposit
You don't need a lot of money to start investing in cryptocurrency with Uphold. The minimum deposit amount is $10.
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What could be improved
There have been a number of reports regarding crypto funds stolen from Uphold clients. Multiple users allege that an unauthorized party was able to access and drain their accounts despite having two-factor authentication (2FA) active. Some lost over $20,000 worth of cryptocurrency. A class-action lawsuit was filed against Uphold on Feb. 25, 2022.
Reports like these are a big red flag. Security is one of the most important parts of any crypto exchange, so the number of people who have lost money on Uphold is a worrying trend.
Although Uphold doesn't charge trading commissions, it does charge a variable spread that can be as much or more as trading fees on other platforms. The amount of the spread depends on the asset you're buying and market conditions. It normally varies from as low as 0.2% for national currencies to 3% for precious metals.
On cryptocurrency trades, the spread is typically 0.8% to 1.2% for larger cryptocurrencies. It can be significantly higher on smaller cryptocurrencies with less liquidity.
Lackluster mobile app
Uphold offers mobile apps for Apple and Android devices, but they both have received mixed reviews. The average ratings are under 4 stars for each of them, and there are numerous complaints about outages, Uphold restricting accounts, and poor response times to customer service requests.
Alternatives to consider
If you want a crypto exchange known for high security standards: Gemini is one of the safest places we've found for buying and selling cryptocurrency. The exchange has a great reputation and several quality protections in place. It keeps most crypto funds offline in cold storage, and it has a digital asset insurance policy.
If you want rock-bottom trading fees: It's hard to do much better than Binance.US, where commissions on its advanced trading platform cost a maximum of 0.1%. You can also get a 25% discount if you pay those fees using the exchange's native cryptocurrency, BNB (BNB).
How Uphold works
Uphold is a broker that lets you buy, sell, and trade cryptocurrency, precious metals, fiat currencies, and U.S. equities.
What makes Uphold unique is its cross-asset trading. You can trade between any of the assets it offers, meaning you could trade a cryptocurrency for a stock, or a precious metal for a foreign currency.
In addition to trading, Uphold offers several other financial services, including:
- A debit card called the Uphold Card that lets you pay with any of the assets in your account and earn rewards on your spending.
- Instant fee-free payments to friends and family worldwide.
- Receiving payments from an employer in any currency or combination of currencies you want.
- Withdrawals to bank accounts in over 30 countries or to private crypto wallets.
- A staking program to earn rewards on your cryptocurrency balances.
- Integration with Brave, a free browser that allows you to earn Brave Rewards paid in the Basic Attention Token (BAT) cryptocurrency.
Uphold charges 0% deposit fees, 0% withdrawal fees, and no trading fees. Instead of trading fees, it charges a spread based on the type of asset you're trading. Here's the typical spread Uphold charges U.S. investors for each of the assets it offers:
TYPE OF ASSETSPREADCryptocurrencies0.8%-1.2% (can be significantly higher for low-liquidity cryptos and tokens)Precious metals3.0% on top of the bid-ask prices at Uphold's supplierMajor fiat currencies0.2%U.S. equities1.0%Data source: Uphold
Spreads can vary based on market conditions. Uphold's cryptocurrency spread, in particular, depends heavily on what you're trading. Larger cryptos, such as Bitcoin and Ethereum, normally fall into that 0.8% to 1.2% range. Smaller cryptos could cost more.
Uphold mentions that spreads can be significantly higher with the following cryptocurrencies:
- XRP (XRP)
- Dogecoin (DOGE)
- Zilliqa (ZIL)
- Orchid (OXT)
- Universal Protocol Token (UPT)
Uphold offers over 230 cryptocurrencies, which gives it one of the deeper lineups among cryptocurrency exchanges.
One of the reasons Uphold is popular is because it offers cryptocurrencies that most other U.S. exchanges don't. The biggest example is XRP, the native cryptocurrency of Ripple. It was delisted by quite a few exchanges due to an SEC lawsuit. Tron (TRX) is another major cryptocurrency offered by Uphold that isn't widely available.
Is your cryptocurrency safe with Uphold?
Uphold checks all the boxes in terms of security features, but customer reviews are mixed. A law firm has also filed a class action against Uphold for failure to correctly implement essential security protections.
To start, here's a rundown of Uphold's most important security features:
- Two-factor authentication (2FA) is enabled by default on all accounts
- About 90% of crypto funds are kept offline in cold storage
- It runs a bug bounty program
- All employees go through mandatory background checks
Despite those safety features, there have been many reports of Uphold customers who claim their accounts were hacked, even after correctly setting up 2FA. A class action filed by Kronenberger Rosenfeld alleges that third parties were able to reset 2FA on several users' accounts without their permission. These hackers then withdrew all those users' cryptocurrency.
In fairness, every crypto exchange receives its share of complaints, and Uphold has plenty of satisfied customers. But these account hacks are worth looking into if you're thinking about buying and storing cryptocurrency on Uphold.
Uphold is right for you if:
- You're looking for a user-friendly platform to invest in cryptocurrencies, stocks, and other assets.
- You'd like to be able to spend your crypto online and in stores using a debit card.
- You want to earn rewards on your crypto by staking it.