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ChangeNOW Review (2022)

Cryptocurrency is not regulated by the UK Financial Conduct Authority and is not subject to protection under the UK Financial Services Compensation Scheme or within the scope of jurisdiction of the UK Financial Ombudsman Service. Investing in cryptocurrency comes with risk and cryptocurrency may gain in value, or lose some or all value. Capital gains tax may be applicable to profits from cryptocurrency sales.

ChangeNOW is a non-custodial crypto trading service where you can swap hundreds of cryptocurrencies without ever making an account or providing your personal information.

But is ChangeNOW actually anonymous? Is it a safe way to buy and sell crypto?

In this ChangeNOW review, I’m going to give you a closer look at how the platform works. I’ll discuss everything from ChangeNOW’s identity verification requirements to its fees and features.

Advantages & Disadvantages

Advantages

  • Most crypto-to-crypto transactions don’t require registration or identity verification.
  • Supports hundreds of cryptocurrencies.
  • Simple, easy to use web and mobile platform.
  • No transaction limits on crypto-crypto trades.
  • Available in the UK and the EU.

Disadvantages

  • Exchange rates are not competitive, especially for fiat-to-crypto transactions (around 15%).
  • Limited information about who’s behind the company and its security features.
  • Trades can take 5 to 30 minutes to process (or longer).
  • Due to market volatility, the exchange rate you’re quoted may not be what you’re actually charged.

What is ChangeNOW?

ChangeNOW is a non-custodial crypto trading service that’s registered in Seychelles.

It was launched in 2017 and it acts primarily as a broker that routes your crypto-to-crypto trades through other trading platforms (like Huobi, KuCoin, and OKEx). With ChangeNOW, you can also buy crypto using a credit or debit card through the platform’s integration with Simplex.

Is ChangeNOW safe?

ChangeNOW claims to be safer than a traditional centralised crypto exchange because it’s non-custodial. That means that you don’t have to make a ChangeNOW account and deposit funds to the platform to trade crypto.

This could be considered more secure because you don’t have to trust ChangeNOW to keep your funds safe from hackers (or internal bad actors).

However, it’s not completely non-custodial.

This is because you still need to send your crypto to the platform and trust that they’ll send what you’ve purchased to your wallet address. It can also take an average of 5 to 30 minutes to receive your funds, which can be a bit nerve-wracking if it’s your first time using the platform.

Based on the mostly favourable reviews on ChangeNOW’s Trustpilot page (4.8* out of 6,100+ reviews), most people don’t seem to have an issue with the service.

But a lot of the positive reviews for ChangeNOW on Trustpilot are short one-line comments rather than detailed feedback. Meanwhile, most of the 1* and 2* reviews are quite comprehensive. This raises some questions about the authenticity of some of ChangeNOW’s positive reviews.

So is ChangeNOW safe?

Most people don’t seem to have a problem with the platform. However, saying that it’s completely risk-free isn’t right either. Your best bet is to proceed with caution and to start with small transactions until you can decide if you’re comfortable with using ChangeNOW.

Creating a ChangeNOW account

Since ChangeNOW is a non-custodial exchange, you don’t have to make an account to place trades. For crypto-to-crypto exchanges, you simply need to provide your transaction details and your receiving wallet address.

But ChangeNOW states that it uses an “automated risk management system to check all transactions”. If this risk management system flags your transaction, you might have to provide a scan of your photo ID.

For crypto-to-fiat transactions, you’ll usually need to complete KYC checks through ChangeNOW’s partner Simplex. As part of this process, you’ll have to provide your email address and you may need to submit a copy of your photo ID.

How Does ChangeNOW Work?

Since ChangeNOW is a non-custodial exchange service, using it is a little different from using a centralised exchange like Coinbase Pro.

The idea is that ChangeNOW acts as a non-custodial middleman between you and its partner crypto exchanges. ChangeNOW tries to find you the best exchange rate across crypto exchanges and it processes your transaction on your behalf. Once ChangeNOW swaps your coins, it sends your funds to the address you provided.

ChangeNOW also partners with Simplex so you can buy crypto using your credit or debit card. This process is slightly different as it involves purchasing crypto directly from Simplex, rather than from an exchange. But the end result is the same as you’ll end up with your coins in your wallet.

How to buy crypto on ChangeNOW with a credit or debit card

To buy crypto on ChangeNOW using a credit or debit card:

  • Go to the ChangeNOW.io website or mobile app.
  • Switch to the tab that says ‘Buy/Sell Crypto’.
  • Choose your desired fiat currency (e.g., GBP).
  • Enter how much you want to spend.
  • Select your cryptocurrency (e.g., BTC).
  • Double-check the estimated exchange rate.
  • Press ‘Buy.’

Once you press ‘Buy’, you’ll be taken to a new page where you can enter more details about your transaction. From here, do the following:

  • Confirm the transaction information you’ve entered so far.
  • Enter the wallet address where you want to receive your crypto.
  • Press ‘Next’.
  • Double-check your transaction details.
  • Press ‘Confirm’.

You’ll once again be taken to a new page, but this time, you’ll head to the Simplex website. As soon as the page loads, do the following:

  • Enter your credit card information.
  • Press ‘Next’.
  • Provide your email address and any required personal information.
  • Click ‘Confirm’ to finalise your transaction.

It can take some time for your crypto to arrive in your wallet, but you should generally have your funds within about 30 minutes.

How to exchange crypto on ChangeNOW

To swap cryptocurrencies on ChangeNOW:

  • Go to the ChangeNOW.io website or mobile app.
  • Make sure you’re on the tab that says ‘Exchange Crypto’.
  • Select what crypto you want to spend (e.g., BTC).
  • Enter how much crypto you want to swap.
  • Choose what crypto you want to receive (e.g., ETH).
  • Double-check the estimated exchange rate.
  • Press ‘Exchange’.

After you press ‘Exchange’, you’ll be taken to a new page to finalise your transaction.

Once on this new page, do the following:

  • Confirm the transaction information you’ve entered so far.
  • Enter the wallet address where you want to receive your crypto.
  • Press ‘Next’.
  • Verify your transaction information again.
  • Click ‘Confirm’.

Once you click ‘Confirm’ you’ll arrive at a new page that lists your transaction information. Here, you’ll get directions for where you need to send your crypto to finalise your exchange. You must send the listed amount of crypto to the provided address or your transaction will be cancelled.

It can take about 30 minutes for your transaction to process and for your coins to arrive in your wallet.

Supported Countries

Crypto traders in most countries, including the UK and all of the EU, can use ChangeNOW.

There are only a few countries that aren’t supported by ChangeNOW, including the US. You can find a full list of prohibited countries online in ChangeNOW’s terms and conditions.

Supported Cryptocurrencies

ChangeNOW supports hundreds of cryptocurrencies. This includes major coins and tokens like:

  • Bitcoin (BTC)
  • Ethereum (ETH)
  • Tether (USDT)
  • Binance Coin (BNB)
  • Avalanche (AVAX)
  • Ripple (XRP)

Check out ChangeNOW’s full list of supported cryptoassets to learn more.

Payment Methods

There are only two payment methods available on ChangeNOW: crypto swaps and credit/debit card purchases.

For credit and debit card crypto purchases, your transaction is processed by Simplex. Keep in mind that you may get charged a cash advance or foreign transaction fee if you buy crypto using a card.

What fiat currencies are supported by ChangeNOW?

ChangeNOW supports more than 50 fiat currencies on its platform, including British Pounds (GBP), Euro (EUR), US Dollar (USD), and most other currencies used in Europe.

ChangeNOW Fees

ChangeNOW doesn’t charge any explicit fees for its crypto exchange services. It claims that network fees and all other charges are included in the rate that you’re quoted for your transaction.

The problem is that ChangeNOW’s exchange rate is bad for fiat-to-crypto trades.

At the time of writing this review, I was quoted an exchange rate of £34,444.75 for BTC when the actual market rate for BTC was around £29,758. That was nearly a 15% markup!

But what about crypto-to-crypto swaps on ChangeNOW?

The exchange rates aren’t too bad if you’re swapping one cryptocurrency for another, though it depends on the crypto in question. When I checked, I was quoted an exchange rate of 38,774.44 USDT for BTC when the actual market rate was around 39,374 USDT. Which isn’t too bad.

Ultimately, you’re going to get burned on horrible exchange rates if you buy crypto using fiat on ChangeNOW.

But for crypto-crypto swaps? ChangeNOW’s exchange rates aren’t that bad.

Other Potential Costs & Exchange Rate Issues

If you’re sending crypto to ChangeNOW for a crypto-crypto swap, you may have to pay network fees beyond what’s quoted by the exchange. For example, if you’re swapping BTC for ETH, you’ll have to pay the cost of any network fees to send your BTC to ChangeNOW.

Also note that the exchange rate that you’re quoted with ChangeNOW isn’t necessarily what you’re going to pay in your transaction. Due to market volatility, you might end up with more or less crypto in your wallet than you were expecting.

Saying that, there is an option to lock-in the exchange rate when you’re initiating it. However, you’ll usually be quoted a higher rate if you do this.

Limits

For fiat-to-crypto transactions, ChangeNOW has the following limits:

  • Minimum Transaction Amount: $50
  • Single Transaction Limit: $20,000
  • Daily Transaction Limit. $20,000
  • Monthly Transaction Limit: $50,000

ChangeNOW doesn’t have limits on crypto-to-crypto transactions, so you can swap as much as you’d like.

Security & Insurance

ChangeNOW doesn’t provide any information about its security features. Since ChangeNOW doesn’t technically have custody of your coins when you use the platform, this perhaps isn’t as big a deal as it is with a traditional centralised exchange.

From what I can tell, ChangeNOW also doesn’t offer insurance on client funds when you place trades. They also can’t necessarily do anything to help you if your exchange gets stuck or takes a long time to process.

ChangeNOW’s terms and conditions also state that the platform has a maximum liability of €500 on all transactions, so you have limited recourse if something goes wrong with your trade.

ChangeNOW Alternatives

If you like the privacy features of ChangeNOW, but you want to avoid working with a centralised crypto trading service, consider using a peer-to-peer (P2P) platform like Bisq, instead.

Bisq order book spread in the BTCUSD market

Bisq is a fully decentralised P2P crypto platform that lets you trade hundreds of cryptocurrencies directly with other investors. Plus, unlike many other P2P websites, Bisq doesn’t require any identity verification.

Bisq Website

For a more traditional crypto trading experience that offers lower fees than what you get with ChangeNOW, CoinJar might be a better choice.

CoinJar is a user-friendly and low-cost crypto exchange and broker. Trading fees with CoinJar max out at 1% and you can even get lower fees if you use the platform’s advanced exchange service. You’ll have to complete identity verification to use CoinJar, but what you lose in privacy, you gain in transaction speed, convenience, and cost-effectiveness.

CoinJar WebsiteCoinJar Review

The Bottom Line

ChangeNOW is one of the few options out there if you want a non-custodial crypto exchange that doesn’t require identity verification or registration.

Here are some of the things that stuck out to me about ChangeNOW:

  • No Identity Verification: Most people can make crypto-crypto swaps on ChangeNOW without making an account or providing any personal information.
  • User-Friendliness: ChangeNOW’s website and mobile apps are both super user-friendly for both new and experienced traders.
  • Large Number of Supported Coins: With ChangeNOW, you can swap hundreds of different cryptocurrencies with the push of a button.
  • No Crypto-Crypto Transaction Limits: There are no transaction limits on crypto-to-crypto trades on ChangeNOW, so you can swap as much as you like on the platform.

But there were a few things that I wasn’t too jazzed about with ChangeNOW.

The biggest issue I see is in the platform’s lack of transparency around trading fees. Trading fees don’t seem too bad with ChangeNOW for crypto-crypto swaps, but they’re horrible if you want to buy crypto with a credit or debit card.

I’m also not a huge fan of ChangeNOW’s big claims about being safe and secure since they’re pretty hush-hush about the inner workings of the platform. Transactions can also be quite slow on ChangeNOW, and due to market volatility, you might end up with less crypto than you expected based on your quoted exchange rate.

However, if your primary concern is privacy in your crypto swaps, ChangeNOW is worth checking out.

ChangeNOW Website

Any Questions?

Thanks for checking out this ChangeNOW review!

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