Here at Gilded, we're on a mission to make digital currency the preferred solution for business payments.

One essential element is making it easy to deposit and withdraw funds from bank accounts. It's a daunting prospect when you consider all the legal, security, and compliance work involved in becoming an exchange.

Fortunately, we found a number of companies that can help. We reached out to Satwant of Digital Money Lab to aid us in choosing the right providers. He was gracious enough to share his findings below.


The guest post below was contributed by Satwant Phull of Digital Money Lab and The Payments Show Podcast.

One of the biggest challenges to adoption of cryptocurrency is the ease with which money can flow between the traditional (fiat) and crypto ecosystems.

Developers tasked with onboarding the next generation of individuals and organizations to crypto need to be able to convert crypto to fiat and vice versa as easily as possible. Withdrawing funds from a bank account to purchase a cryptocurrency and converting crypto holdings back into bank deposits should be a quick and barrier-free process.

To integrate with the traditional financial system, developers also face the complexity of obtaining banking licenses, hiring expensive lawyers, and complying with complex and rapidly-evolving KYC and AML requirements.

Thankfully, there is an entire segment of the cryptocurrency industry dedicated to providing "liquidity as a service" to developers, and doing so at a low cost with minimal effort.

The services that offer banking integration APIs to crypto developers are commonly called On/Off Ramp Providers, Fiat On/Off Ramps, or Liquidity Providers.

To help developers choose the best crypto on-off ramp integration, we performed an exhaustive review the top 10 providers.

There are many important variables that you need to consider before selecting which solution to integrate into your App, Exchange or Marketplace:

  1. Company Jurisdiction
  2. Size of Company
  3. Documentation / APIs
  4. Support
  5. Which Crypto Coins or Tokens
  6. Custody, Security and Safety
  7. Rates, Fees and Currency Transfer Methods
  8. Transfer Limits
  9. Security and Fraud Prevention
  10. KYC / AML ID Verification

Why Can't Everyone Use a Regular Cryptocurrency Exchange?

Using a regular Cryptocurrency exchange typically takes a day or two and is not suitable for real-time transactions.

Crypto On/Off ramp providers offer features such as the ability for customers to use Debit/Credit Cards and advanced fraud detection to increase speed and convenience. Some also offer chargeback protection to businesses.

Who Are The Main Players In This Market?

To simplify the list below, I have included only basic comparison points between providers. Please look carefully at each company’s website for full detailed information.

After you’ve scanned through this list, I will discuss each key point of differentiation to help you decide which provider’s solution would be a good fit for your business.

Banxa Crypto On/OFF Ramp API

Banxa

Based in Australia  |  Bitcoin and Ethereum  |  Transfer methods: Bank Transfers, Cards and in Australian Post Offices  |  1-3% Transfer Fees  |  Up to $500K AUD limits  |  Non Custodial  |  Standard KYC: Selfie & Photo ID

Wyre Crypto On/OFF Ramp API

Wyre

Based in USA  |  BTC, ETH, DAI, USDC  |  Transfer: ACH, Cards, Wire  |  0.2% - 0.75% Fees  |  $2,500 - $150,000 limits  |  Non Custodial & Custodial Wallet Options |  KYC: USA & Australia only

Simplex Crypto On/OFF Ramp API

Simplex

Based in Israel (EU Financial License)  |  BTC, ETH + 7 coins  |  Transfer: Cards with exceptions  |  5% or $10 Fee  |  $2,500 daily Limit  |  Non Custodial  |  KYC: Gov ID

Transak Crypto On/OFF Ramp API

Transak

Based in the UK  |  BTC, ETH, ERC-20, ZIL  |  Transfer: Bank Transfers, SEPA, UPI India + PayTM India  |  1.5% Fees  |  No limits but > $10K requires more checks  |  Non Custodial  |  KYC: ID and Address

MoonPay Crypto On/OFF Ramp API

MoonPay

Based in Malta  |  35 Coins  |  Transfer: Cards with exceptions  |  $4.99 or 4.5% Fees  |  €150 - €20,000 EUR limits  |  Non Custodial  |  KYC: Passport, Driving license

Carbon Crypto On/OFF Ramp API

Carbon

Based in USA  |  39 Coins  |  Transfer: Bank Transfers (SEPA), Cards, Digital Wallets (PayPal, Apple/Google Pay)  |  Fees $1.00 or 3.4%  |  $250 - $2,500 limits  |  Non Custodial  |  KYC: Selfie, Passport

Ramp Network Crypto On/OFF Ramp API

Ramp Network

Based in Poland | ETH, DAI, USDC | Transfer: Faster Payments, Bank Transfers, SEPA | Fee: 0%- 2.5% |  EUR 10K limits | Non Custodial | KYC: bank connection, ID if necessary

PayTrie Crypto On/OFF Ramp API

PayTrie

Based in Canada  |  DAI, USDC, BUSD, USDT  |  Transfer: Interac Request or Stablecoins  |  Fees: $2.00 or 1%  |  $2,000 limit  |  Non Custodial  |  KYC: 2 pieces of ID or Credit Check  

CoinDirect Crypto On/OFF Ramp API

CoinDirect

Based in Isle of Man  |  42 Coins  |  Transfer: Bank Transfer, SEPA, PayPal, Mpesa in Kenya  |  Fees: 0% - 2.99%  |  €250 EUR - €500,000 EUR limits | KYC: Selfie, ID, Address

PAXOS Wire Transfer Crypto On/OFF Ramp API

Paxos

Based in USA  |  BUSD, PAX, PAXG  |  Transfer: Wire only  |  Fees: 0* (*read details)  |   No limits KYC mandatory  |  KYC: Selfie, ID

1. Jurisdiction: Head Office vs Financial License


Of the main providers I researched for this article, the locations of their headquarters include all sorts of countries including the UK, US, Malta, Australia and others.

It won't come as a surprise to know that location is very important due to the legal and tax implications of dealing in crypto as well as traditional currencies.

What may be less obvious is where a provider's Financial License is issued, even if you know the location of their Headquarters. For example, Simplex's HQ in Israel but their Financial License has been issued in Lithuania. Therefore, they fall under the EU jurisdiction for their day to day operations.

As a Developer or Technical Person, location is important when you need support or if you run into bugs or difficulties with a provider’s solution. The last thing you want when you encounter a problem is having to wait 12 hours until someone on the opposite end of the world wakes up.

2. Size of Company

One comforting factor when deciding what provider to use for any solution (not just on/off ramps) is the size of a company.

Whilst most companies in this space do not have public accounts, the number of employees (according to LinkedIn at the time of writing) can give us a guide.

Companies like Simplex and Paxos have over 100 employees. Whereas there are some providers that have less than 10 employees. (Note: These numbers could vary significantly if all employees do not have LinkedIn profiles).

If size and scale is important when selecting a supplier for your company, I would recommend looking at sources like LinkedIn and the companies’ About Us webpage to help make your decision.

3. Documentation / APIs

Once you have decided to integrate a provider’s solution into your company’s software or platform, it is critical to have the necessary Documentation, Getting Started Guide and APIs.

The on/off ramp providers vary considerably when it comes to providing this necessary information.

Providers such as Paxos, CoinDirect and Wyre provide excellent and comprehensive documentation that provides almost everything you would need.

Some providers such as Ramp Network, PayTrie and MoonPay provide Widgets and Code on sites like Gitbook, Firebase and Github. These providers do not have an extensive set of documents on their company websites.

Lastly, there are companies like Simplex and Baxa which didn’t have any information on their company websites other than some basic FAQs.

4. Support

No matter how good an on/off ramp provider may be, at some point it is inevitable that you will run into technical difficulties or problems. An excellent Customer Support Team will help you to minimise disruption and downtime for your own customers.

I found that when I could not find answers to certain questions on the company FAQ pages for this article, the support was very good from everyone. The only company I did not hear back from was CoinDirect. However, their online Documentation was excellent for most questions. Perhaps this one instance of not getting back to me via the Contact Us form was unusual, I couldn’t say for sure.

What truly made for an excellent Support Experience was the companies that had Live Chat on their websites. Simplex, MoonPay and Ramp all have Chatbots on their websites. The response from Simplex and Ramp was excellent when I contacted them for some answers. I didn’t need to contact Ramp but the fact that they had a Chat Bot was a plus point.

Two companies have taken the Support Experience one step further. Transak and Ramp network both have Discord Communities set up which could save a lot of time in a future technical situation where time is of the essence.

5. Which Crypto Coins or Tokens?

Some providers such as Banxa in Australia only deal with Bitcoin and Ethereum. CoinDirect in the Isle of Man supports 42 coins. Transak and many others fall somewhere in between.

Paxos offers their own Tokens called PAXG (linked to underlying physical gold stored in vaults) and PAX which maintains a 1:1 parity with the US Dollar.

The fact that almost all providers accept Bitcoin and Ethereum is a good base if you are looking to integrate any of these providers into your solution or app.

Certain coins are more popular in different countries which is also a consideration. For example, Dash is very popular in South America

Faced with so much choice, one tool that may help you decide which provider to go with is https://coin360.com/ This heatmap shows the most actively used cryptocurrencies in real-time and will help you to create a shortlist of providers.

6. Custody, Security and Safety

Almost 100% of on/off ramp providers offer non-custodial solutions to store cryptocurrencies to help you keep control of crypto assets. There was only one exception to this, Paxos, but that is to do with the fact they use their own token PAXG.

Custody, Security and Safety are extremely important because:

  1. Security - we have seen over the past few years that Exchanges and high-level executives within the Crypto world have been hacked and had their assets stolen. With Non-custodial solutions you can create your own backup and security process in accordance with best practices in your company.

  2. Custody - a provider offering custodial services for your cryptocurrency assets could seize them at any time or block access to your assets. A middleman in the crypto world is no different to your existing bank having custody and control of your regular currency. This is why non-custodial providers are probably a good fit in the majority of cases.

  3. Safety - Careful backup and recovery procedures should be created to safeguard crypto assets for your business and customers. Make sure you securely store Private Keys, Recovery Phrases and implement Security Best Practices when dealing with cryptocurrency at this scale.

7. Rates, Fees and Currency Transfer Methods

The fees for converting regular currency to cryptocurrency using on/off ramp providers vary quite considerably. There is a trade off: more convenience and speed using credit/debit cards and other methods such as Digital Wallets including Apple Pay mean higher fees. Slower transfer methods such as Bank Transfers incur lower fees.

Typical fees for all providers are between 1-3%. However, with certain providers, coins and use cases, fees can range from 0% with Paxos to 4.5% with MoonPay.

Most providers accept Credit/Debit Cards, Bank Transfers (ACH and SEPA) or Wire Transfers. However, there are some caveats.

Some providers don't accept Prepaid cards or MasterCards. Some accept Credit and not Debit, or vice versa! Another factor is Digital Wallets. Some accept Paypal, Apple Pay and Google Pay and in these cases the fees are often higher as I mentioned earlier.

One interesting point of difference is that some providers offer Transfer Methods specifically focused on certain countries.

For example, Transak lets customers in India transfer funds to a provider using PayTM and UPI:

1.     PayTM is a Digital Wallet which has heavy investment from China's Alibaba Group. It enables Indian customers to shop in the PayTM Online Marketplace and store their money within the app.

2.    The Unified Payments Interface (UPI) is an instant real-time payment system developed by National Payments Corporation of India facilitating inter-bank transactions.

Another example is CoinDirect. They let customers in Kenya transfer money to a provider using Mpesa. Mpesa is a mobile phone-based money transfer and financing service, launched in 2007 by Vodafone in Kenya and Tanzania.

Australia leads the way with a number of proprietary methods to transfer money electronically. Banxa offers:

1.       PayID - Transfer via Phone Number or email address

2.       Electronic Methods - Interac eTransfer  |  Poli  |  flexipin  |  blueshift POS

3.       Physical - Pay cash at an Australian Post Office or Newsagent!

As crypto grows and technology such as Smartphones spread to every person on the planet, I would expect to see more providers in future to take the lead from Australia and Africa by allowing money transfer via email or SMS.

8. Transfer Limits

KYC (Know Your Customer) regulations, which vary by Country, determine the amount of money that can be transferred to an on/off ramp provider for conversion over a certain period of time.

Providers have a mixture of some/all of these limits:

1.       Daily, Weekly and Monthly

2.       Unverified and Verified (KYC)

The limits can vary from a few hundred per day, all the way up to unlimited with Paxos, as summarised in the early part of this article.

However, the majority of providers fall somewhere in between. Daily Limits can be around $2,000 USD and Monthly Limits in the $10,000 - $30,000 USD range. But there is no general guidance because all on/off ramp providers vary quite considerably.


9. Security and Fraud Prevention


As the Crypto market is still relatively young and developing, there is a degree of the Wild West about this new and unchartered territory.

There have been many stories over the years about exchanges being hacked, wallets being stolen and other behaviour which is much more difficult to conduct in the regular banking system (although by no means impossible if you have friends in high places).

Many on/off ramp providers such as Simplex offer AI and Machine Learning tools as part of their solution to prevent crypto purchases from going through when things don't add up. On top of this providers will insist on things like 3D Secure and other security measures that have been developed by the card payments industry to reduce fraud.

So if you plan to integrate an on/off ramp in your application, preventing fraud needs to be a top priority especially when dealing with Card Payments.


10. KYC / AML ID Verification

KYC (Know Your Customer)  |  AML (Anti Money Laundering)

The method of customer verification amongst all on/off ramp providers is very similar. Most require a combination of two of the following: Selfie with ID, Proof of Address or Government ID.

Some providers such as Carbon and MoonPay allow customers to buy $250 USD or €150 EUR daily without any KYC. Others such as Paxos will not allow any transactions unless KYC has been completed, no exceptions.

From a legal perspective it's important to understand the different KYC requirements so that you can avoid compliance issues with regulators. KYC regulations are getting tougher every year and this is an area where making a mistake could have serious consequences.

Summary

Selecting the best Crypto On/Off Ramp Provider right now involves the 10 key areas mentioned in this article:

  1. Company Jurisdiction
  2. Size of Company
  3. Documentation / APIs
  4. Support
  5. Which Crypto Coins or Tokens
  6. Custody, Security and Safety
  7. Rates, Fees and Currency Transfer Methods
  8. Transfer Limits
  9. Security and Fraud Prevention
  10. KYC / AML ID Verification

An additional set of variables to consider (if you can get the information from the providers) are their future plans for new features and additional coins and tokens to be supported.

Selecting a provider today should be based on the knowledge that even though they may be the best fit today, they should be able to deliver features that keep up with developments in the cryptocurrency and blockchain industries. You want to ensure that your customers who use your App, Exchange or Marketplace continue to enjoy a fast, convenient and easy user experience to keep them coming back for more.

Satwant Phull

Author: Satwant Phull, Host of The Payments Show Podcast

Listen: Gilded CEO on Episode 2: Stream | iTunes | TuneIn | Stitcher