The world of finance is changing.
With lean business models and low fees, innovative startups like Uphold are replacing the traditional brick-and-mortar banks your parents, and even you, are used to.
Uphold, “the trusted, low cost and easy to use digital money platform,” accepts, converts, and stores virtually any digital money, whether fiat currency like US dollars or cryptocurrency like Bitcoin.
Uphold isn’t a bank – it can’t cash checks, for example – but it is an innovative way of digitally storing and transferring currency value. And unlike mobile wallets such as Venmo, Uphold lets you transfer money internationally, and at much better prices than retail banks.
If you’ve ever sent money abroad through a bank or money transfer service (like Western Union), you know how costly it can be. Their conversion rates are poor, and there’s usually a fee applied to each transfer.
Worse, few traditional banks and money transfer services support cryptocurrencies. If you want to exchange Bitcoin for Litecoin or XRP for example, or even exchange your cryptocurrency to US dollars, you need a third party, incurring yet more fees.
This means less money for you (or your recipient) and more for the banks and payment providers. Some services charge $20 dollars per international transfer at sub-market rates. If you regularly transfer money, or you’re a remote or migrant worker, this is a serious drain on your resources.
Uphold wants to fix this problem by offering free transfers and low-cost conversions of virtually any digital money, all in one place. Uphold supports 7 different cryptocurrencies (like Bitcoin, Litecoin and XRP) and 23 fiat currencies (like GBP and USD), so it could potentially save you $100s compared to traditional banks.
Members transfer money between them for FREE, regardless of where they are in the world. Conversions fees are as low as 0.65% on GBP, USD, and EUR, and under 1.4% on many cryptocurrencies – though Uphold does include a 0.75% Price Protection Fee to guarantee payout at advertised rates.
The need for a frictionless, global economy
Uphold couldn’t have come at a better time. The financial services market has long been overdue an upgrade – much of the infrastructure is over 60 years old. Inefficiency and
running a network of physical branches add to the cost of doing business with a conventional bank.
And when you start moving your money outside of your home country, things can get worse. The international payment system is just as inefficient, involving competing IT systems, agents, and jurisdictions. You then pay the price to compensate for a broken system.
Why is the system broken? Because it has failed to move with the times. The world is much smaller than it used to be. Globalization has led to a rise in both migrant and remote workers, and both need a fast, secure, and affordable way to manage their money.
Cheap air travel and better wages are drawing a growing number of people from developing countries to work abroad. The World Bank reports that, “Migrants are now sending earnings back to their families in developing countries at levels above US$441 billion, a figure three times the volume of official aid flows.”
That’s a huge remittance market, and Uphold is capable of allowing that money to land in the hands of family members instead of lining the pockets of Western Union.
People are also working more from home, doing business across the globe via Skype and Slack. Freelance platforms like Upwork and Fiverr are driving a new economy unrestricted by geography – the only requirements are a laptop and an internet connection.
Some predict the remote workforce will be 50% by 2020, and Uphold could open up new job opportunities abroad by making it easy to accept and convert foreign currency (or other digital money).
Integrating different assets
There is a growing demand for a better way of handling all kinds of digital value. One that is unrestricted by borders, outdated IT systems, or tedious bureaucracy.
Cryptocurrencies’ popularity has soared over the last few years, with over 13,439 venues accepting them as at 1/11/18. The jury’s out on whether they will replace fiat currency completely, but either way, people need to exchange between cryptocurrencies and fiat without friction or sky-high fees.
Uphold supports over 30 different currencies and commodities, including 7 different cryptocurrencies and four metals (gold, platinum, silver, and palladium). The sheer variety of investment instruments is rarely seen for such a user-friendly platform, and again, the fees are low (under 2% for cryptos, and between 2% and 3.95% for commodities). Uphold has over 1,000 currency pairs, so you can convert from one cryptocurrency to another without incurring multiple fees.
Of course, if you’re going to place all your assets in Uphold, you’ll want to know they’re safe. Uphold is forthright about its transparency commitments and you can see their reserves on
their transparency page. This proves they have the reserves in place to honor all withdrawals and transfers – a nice touch that should put investors’ minds at rest.
Uphold sets a new standard for handling crypto and fiat currency, and it’s been a long time overdue. While other financial “disruptors” have come close – either by reducing fees or increasing speed – few, if any, can match Uphold for its flexibility and asset support. It’s therefore an easy recommendation for anyone looking to manage different currencies or simply to send money abroad.
Sign up to Uphold today and say goodbye to expensive bank fees for good.