Table of Contents
- 1 Our Takeaways
- 2 What Is Independent Reserve?
- 3 Pros & Cons
- 4 Top Features You Should Know
- 5 Is Independent Reserve Legit?
- 6 Security Measures
- 7 How Do The Fees Compare?
- 8 Supported Countries
- 9 Getting Started
- 10 The User Experience
- 11 Customer Support & Reviews
- 12 Independent Reserve Affiliate Program
- 13 Is There A Mobile App?
- 14 Independent Reserve Alternatives
- 15 Frequently Asked Questions
- 16 Our Verdict
Independent Reserve is one of the longest-serving cryptocurrency platforms in Australia and is widely known for its services that cater to high-net investors and Self-Managed Super Funds. With new and innovative cryptocurrency exchanges being established in recent years, has Independent Reserve built upon its strong reputation as a crypto services provider. How does it compare against Australia’s best cryptocurrency platforms?
In this review, we review the strengths and shortcomings of the popular crypto platform and compare it against its competitors.
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Trading Fees: 0.5%
Available Cryptos: 30
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Independent Reserve is a highly secure and reputable cryptocurrency exchange that allows users to buy up to 27 digital currencies using AUD, NZD, SGD, or USD. Due to advanced trading orders and low fees for high-net trades, the Australian-based platform is a strong option for investors who want to use their SMSF to invest in crypto.
|Core Services||Buy crypto with fiat, OTC, SMSF|
|Available Cryptocurrencies||27 including BTC, ETH, XRP, LTC, and more|
|Fiat Currencies||AUD, USD, SGD, and NZD|
|Deposit Options||Depends on country|
|Deposit Fees||Depends on fiat currency and deposit method|
|Withdrawal Fees||Depends on fiat currency and withdrawal method|
|Mobile App||Yes (iOS and Android)|
What Is Independent Reserve?
Founded in 2013, Independent Reserve has served over 200,000 individuals, over 8,000 SMSF accounts, and holds about $1 billion worth of digital assets. Since launching, Independent Reserve has expanded its crypto service offerings to investors and traders residing in New Zealand and Singapore. Independent Reserve has established itself as one of the most reputable crypto platforms in Australia and is the Official Cryptocurrency Exchange of the Sydney Swans Football Club.
Independent Reserve’s strength lies in its strong reputation as a trusted cryptocurrency provider. With no security breaches historically reported, the platform provides users with an easy way to obtain digital currencies such as Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), Ripple (XRP), Cardano (ADA), and Dogecoin (DOGE) using Australian Dollars (AUD), Singaporean Dollars (SGD), United States Dollars (USD), and New Zealand Dollars (NZD).
Independent Reserve is a member of the Australian Digital Commerce Association (ADCA) and Blockchain Australia. The company has won several awards and notable recognitions, appearing in the Deloitte Tech Fast 50 Australia, Financial Times High Growth Companies 2020, and Australian Financial Review’s Most Innovative Companies.
Pros & Cons
- Great discounts & support for OTC, SMSF, high net worth individuals and trust investments
- Built-in crypto tax calculators to make tax returns easier
- Competitive trading fees that start at 0.5% and can be reduced based on trading volume
- Easy to use and intuitive trading interface
- Dollar-Cost-Averaging tools and advanced trading limit orders
- Earn 50% affiliate commissions
- Limited selection of cryptocurrencies compared to other exchanges
- More suited to high net worth individuals
- Mobile app has limited functionality
- No live chat or direct phone support
- Knowledge base (FAQ) section hard to navigate
- The user interface is outdated
Top Features You Should Know
Instantly Buy & Sell Crypto With Fiat
The crypto buying and selling feature will appeal to beginner investors due to its simplicity and ease of use. Users who successfully verify their accounts will be able to use AUD, SGD, NZD, or USD to purchase up to 27 digital currencies including Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), Ripple (XRP), Litecoin (LTC), and many more.
Buying and selling cryptocurrency is a simple process where beginners will be able to easily digest how to buy crypto such as Ethereum. All features that are needed to make purchases are neatly presented including the four supported fiat currencies (AUD, NZD, SGD, and USD) as well as a list of the available digital assets. Purchased crypto are near-instantly transferred to the user’s wallet. Users should note that the quoted price is inclusive of the 0.5% trading fee and this is not overly transparent.
Independent Reserve’s AutoTrader feature is unique in the market, enabling users to implement automated cryptocurrency trading strategies. It’s completely free to use and will suit both beginner and experienced traders.
AutoBuy allows users to automatically buy a cryptocurrency whenever a deposit reaches your account. The amount and desired price of the crypto can be set which provides users with control over your investments while providing a way to trade hands-free. This is known as Dollar-Cost-Averaging (DCA) and is a commonly used tool to reduce risk during periods of market volatility.
AutoBasket is a feature that will suit those looking to gain exposure to a number of crypto assets and diversify their portfolio. Instead of buying a single digital currency, the feature will simultaneously purchase multiple currencies weighing them against the market capitalization of each currency.
For example, if $100 is deposited and allocated to AutoBasket, and the current market weightings of BTC (70%), Ethereum (20%), and LTC (10%), then the feature will purchase $70 BTC, $20 ETH, and $10 LTC. Once set up, AutoBuy will automatically make the desired purchases following the deposition of the fiat currency. This trading strategy is sometimes referred to at other exchanges as ‘crypto bundles’ and is great for beginners to quickly diversify their crypto holdings.
AutoSchedule is a form of DCA trading – a handy tool that allows you to automatically buy or sell a cryptocurrency on a regular schedule. DCA optimizes your average entry price without having to watch market prices.
Crypto Tax Tools
In Australia, the Australian Tax Office (ATO) regards cryptocurrencies as property and therefore subject to taxation. If gains were made from the trading of digital assets, then these must be reported to the ATO. The obligations of users regarding cryptocurrency taxation and reporting can be confusing and more and more crypto platforms are partnering with third parties to provide their customers with an easy way to inform their tax returns.
In 2018, Independent Reserve partnered with KPMG to help users better understand their crypto tax liabilities. The Crypto Tax Estimator is a KPMG built tool that integrates with the Independent Reserve interface to allow users to automatically generate tax summary reports. An exert from an example report is shown below and provides the following details:
- A summary of the monetary gains made for the financial year, sorted by individual digital assets.
- Fiat and digital currency balances in the wallet at the end of the financial year.
- A breakdown of the deposits, withdrawals, statements, and brokerage fees incurred during the financial years trading.
- A list of individual trades during the financial year including details such as date of transaction, currency involved, quantity, and price (AUD).
Premium SMSF & OTC Trading
Investors who want to allocate a portion of their Self-Managed Super Fund (SMSF) to invest in cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin will find the Independent Reserve SMSF offerings highly appealing. In our opinion, Independent Reserve is the best platform for SMSF investors due to the uniqueness and reliability of its service offerings. Due to its premium SMSF offerings, Independent Reserve is a cheaper alternative to CoinSpot which also supports SMSF.
Independent Reserve makes investing in cryptocurrencies with a Self-Managed Super Fund easy and attractive. Along with personalized advice, Independent Reserve outlines the SMSF process in simple terms. SMSF investors will be able to take advantage of the trading fee discounts on offer for trading larger amounts. Detailed reporting in conjunction with the in-built taxation tools will assist SMSF investors in ensuring that their investments are compliant with local regulations.
Want To Know More? Cryptocurrency SMSF In Australia: A 2022 Guide
High-net-worth individuals are able to gain access to a premium support service that includes initial expert consultation, market insights, trade execution, and post-trade insights. In addition to personal support, OTC users are also able to set up limit orders and DCA tools on their trades, which based on our research, is a feature that is unique to Independent Reserve.
Is Independent Reserve Legit?
Independent Reserve (ABN 46 164 257 069) is a 100% legitimate cryptocurrency exchange that is headquartered in Sydney, Australia. The exchange is registered to provide cryptocurrency services with AUSTRAC, the government body responsible for the detection, prevention, and mitigation of organized crime in the financial sector. The platform is an audited and Gold Certified Member of Blockchain Australia as well as the Australian Digital Commerce Association (ADCA).
In October 2021, Independent Reserve became a fully licensed cryptocurrency exchange with the Monetary Authority of Singapore under the Payment Services Act. This means that Independent Reserve is one of few exchanges in Singapore that are regulated to operate as a Digital Payment Token (DPT) provider.
Independent Reserve is a safe exchange that stores digital assets in cold wallets secured in physical vaults at geographically diverse locations. Cold wallets are protected by multi-layer encryption and require multiple signatures before assets can be withdrawn.
Independent Reserve utilizes remote core servers that are securely located at two data centers. This allows the exchange to replicate data across both locations in real-time which ensures that data is not lost in the event of a hack. Independent Reserve uses a fail-over environment to maintain service in the event of a data compromise or infrastructure failure.
At the account level, users can opt to set up Two-Factor Authentication (2FA) to provide an additional layer of security against unauthorized access. Independent Reserve also employs device whitelisting as a default security measure. This means users will have extra account protection from unauthorized logins from new devices.
How Do The Fees Compare?
Fees are an important consideration for investors and traders alike who actively buy, trade, and sell digital currencies. Independent Reserve charges minor fees for depositing and withdrawing fiat currencies to and from the account wallets. Since most of them are related to the minimum amount limits, they can be easily avoided by depositing and withdrawing above each limit. Users of Independent Reserve should become familiar with the fee structures described in the following sections.
Depending on the deposit method, Independent Reserve charges minor fees for users who fund their account wallets. For example, Australian users who deposit less than AUD $100 will incur a $0.99 fee. Whilst the fees are minor and annoying, they can be avoided if an amount greater than $100 is deposited. Similar fees apply for SGD, NZD, and USD deposits if the deposit amount is too low. Transfers of cryptocurrency from an external wallet or another cryptocurrency exchange and into the Independent Reserve wallet will not incur a fee.
|AUD||Electronic funds transfer||AUD $0.99 fee for deposits of $100 or less|
|AUD||PayID/OSKO||AUD $2.50 fee for deposits under $1,000|
|SGD||FAST||SGD $2.50 processing fee for deposits under $1,000. 0.45% fee for accounts starting with 001179|
|SGD||TT||SGD $15 processing fee (no charge for OTC users)|
|NZD||Swift||NZD $15 fee for deposits under $5,000|
|USD||Swift||USD $15 fee for deposits under $5,000|
Independent Reserve trading fees start at 0.5% and can be reduced based on a 30-day trading volume. The trading fees are very competitive compared to similar crypto exchanges such as Swyftx (0.6%) and Digital Surge (0.5%). The tiered structure will suit high-net traders, however, there are cheaper exchange options available to Australian investors including Binance which offers 0.1% trading fees.
|30-DAY TRADING VOLUME (AUD)||TRADING FEE||30-DAY TRADING VOLUME (AUD)||TRADING FEE|
Similar to Independent’s Reserves deposit fees, minor withdrawal fees will be incurred if the withdrawal amount is too low. The withdrawal of AUD using electronic funds transfer will incur a $0.99 fee if the amount is less than $100. This means that the withdrawal fee incurred is at least 1%. Users can easily avoid withdrawal fees by ensuring the withdrawal amount is greater than the limit for the selected withdrawal method.
Withdrawals of cryptocurrencies to an external hard wallet or another crypto exchange will not incur a fee from Independent Reserve. However, a standard blockchain network fee will apply. Network fees will vary and are dependent on the digital asset that is withdrawn and network congestion.
|AUD||Electronic funds transfer||None|
|SGD||> SGD $200,000||SGD $20|
|Cryptocurrency||To external wallet||Standard network fee|
Crypto Tax Estimate Fees
Independent Reserve has partnered with reputable accounting firm KPMG, to provide its customers with accurate and easy to generate tax summaries. As shown in the table below, crypto tax summaries start from the base fee of $4.95 and increase depending on the number of trades completed during the financial year.
|NO. OF TRADES||CRYPTO TAX ESTIMATE FEE|
|< 20 trades||$4.95|
|< 200 trades||$29.95|
|< 1,000 trades||$59.95|
|> 1,000 trades||$199.95|
Independent Reserve supports investors and traders located in 36 countries and territories around the world including Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Japan, Canada, and France. users should note that Independent Reserve indicates that whilst an account may be opened from one of the aforementioned countries, trading activities may be restricted for users outside of Australia, New Zealand, and Singapore.
Creating & Verifying An Account
Independent Reserve’s account creation process takes a little longer than other exchanges. A valid email address, strong password, mobile number, and a photo holding up a form of ID are required for account creation and verification. In our experience, confirmation of ID verification was received a day later. Whilst this is comparatively slow compared to other exchanges where ID verification can be achieved in 5 minutes, the process was seamless with no technical issues or glitches.
Users who successfully complete the ID verification can deposit AUD, NZD, SGD, or USD funds into the account wallet using a variety of methods. Once the fiat currencies are deposited, users are then able to buy, trade, and sell a range of digital currencies such as Bitcoin and Ethereum. As shown below, the available deposit methods vary according to the country of origin.
|AUD||Electronic funds transfer||1 – 2 business days|
|AUD||PayID/OSKO||1 business day|
|SGD||TT||1 – 3 business days|
|NZD||Swift||1 – 3 business days|
|USD||Swift||1 – 3 business days|
|Cryptocurrency||QR code||Near-instant however depends on network|
The User Experience
The Independent Reserve dashboard and trading interface are clean, minimalist, and simple to use, even for investors who have no prior cryptocurrency experience. The ‘Buy/Sell’ page is clearly laid out and intuitive for beginners. The page lists all supported cryptocurrencies with buy and sell buttons to make the process easier.
The ‘Markets’ page provides simple charting for the trading pair that was selected (e.g. AUD/BTC). Whilst there are no advanced indicators and tools that are offered by advanced charting packages such as TradingView, the time frame can be adjusted. Independent Reserve’s charting is not feature-rich but it provides users with the ability to analyze price action at a basic level. For more experienced traders, the interface is likely to prove insufficient.
The ‘Trade’ page shows a basic order book and is also the place where users can utilize a variety of limit orders to apply controls and mitigate risk. An added benefit is that the estimated fees and taxes are shown which provides a level of transparency into the quoted cost of a trade. Independent Reserve supports six order types comprising market price, limit, and stop-limit for both buying and selling crypto.
Overall, the Independent Reserve interface is intuitive and easy to use however is not as refined as other platforms. The interface only shows what needs to be shown, and should be updated to include more features to provide experienced investors and traders with more visibility and flexibility in their trading.
Customer Support & Reviews
Customer support is provided via an email ticket system where a brief description of the issue can be relayed to Independent Reserve. A 24/7 live chat or direct phone support is not supported and lets Independent Reserve down in this regard. Independent Reserve provides a knowledge base of informative articles however the posts are not well organized. In our experience, this made for a difficult time finding articles of assistance, and trying keywords in the search function became the default method.
Independent Reserve has a rating of 4.2/5 on TrustPilot however the rating is only based on 44 customer reviews and is not considered a sufficient sample size. Positive customer feedback is generally related to responsive and helpful customer service, and beginners easily find their way on the platform. Negative reviews included comments relating to technical issues depositing and withdrawing cryptocurrencies, noting that these issues are fairly common among cryptocurrency exchanges.
Independent Reserve Affiliate Program
Independent Reserve users who successfully verify their account will be able to share an affiliate link to family and friends which will allow them to earn 50% commission on the trading fees of all trades conducted in the first 90 days. Commissions are paid out as soon as the trade is completed and can be tracked via the affiliate dashboard. Whilst the commission percentage is relatively high to other reputable exchanges, the 90 day period where commissions are earned means that users are encouraged to find new affiliates.
Is There A Mobile App?
The key trading features of Independent Reserve can be accessed through the iOS and Android compatible mobiles app. Users can use the app to fund their accounts with AUD, NZD, SGD, or USD in order to buy and sell a range of digital assets including Bitcoin (BTC) and Ripple (XRP).
As users are only allowed to buy and sell cryptocurrencies, the functionality of the app is limited. Features including the ability to get in touch with the OTC desk, tax estimator, and accessing AutoTrader are not supported. Essentially, the app appears to be act as a portfolio management tool rather than a one-stop-shop for Independent Reserve customers.
In terms of responsiveness and ease of use, the Independent Reserve app performs very highly. Although the app appears raw and not as pleasing to the eye compared to other exchanges such as Swyftx and Digital Surge, the app does the job of providing users with an easy way to buy and sell crypto.
Independent Reserve Alternatives
Independent Reserve is a trusted crypto platform that provides users with an easy way to use fiat currencies such as AUD, SGD, USD, and NZD to buy, trade and sell digital currencies. The platform is known for its unique OTC and SMSF services. Users who want to use an exchange with a broader set of crypto features such as staking, earn and NFTs may consider the exchange alternatives below.
- Swyftx (best Australian exchange overall). Swyftx is our best-rated cryptocurrency exchange that is available for Australian and New Zealand investors and traders. The platform has a wide variety of features including a well-designed user interface, deep liquidity, low spreads, DCA, and advanced trading tools.
- Digital Surge (best for beginners) – Digital Surge is a beginner-friendly platform that offers low trading fees (0.5%), a greater number of supported digital assets (270+), and it provides a few innovative features including in-built tax tools and the ability to pay Australian bills with Bitcoin.
- CoinSpot (Australia’s most trustworthy exchange). CoinSpot is a highly trusted and reputable Australian exchange that provides a vast selection of crypto assets to buy and trade (310+). Like Independent Reserve, the platform interface is easy to understand and master.
- Easy Crypto – The New Zealand cryptocurrency exchange has expanded its service offerings to the Australian market. Easy Crypto Australia is best known for its easy-to-use website, investors on the platform that purchase Bitcoin will have the funds sent directly to a hardware wallet.
- Binance – Binance boasts a number of services and features that will appeal to a range of crypto users, whilst still maintaining a user-friendly trading experience. Its strengths lie in its high liquidity for trading pairs, low trading fees, wide range of services, and innovative features. The platform has an impressive user base of over 10 million.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Countries Does Independent Reserve Support?
Independent Reserve is geographically focused on Australia, New Zealand, and Singapore. With USD as a supported fiat currency, users from the following countries can use Independent Reserve to buy and sell cryptocurrencies; Austria, Belgium, Canada, Cayman Islands, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greenland, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Isle Of Man, Italy, Japan, Korea, Republic Of Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Macao, Monaco, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, and the United Kingdom.
Does Independent Reserve Support US Customers?
Whilst USD is a supported fiat currency, Independent Reserve does not offer its crypto services to investors and traders located in the United States. Users residing in the US will need to find an alternative crypto exchange that is regulated and licensed to provide crypto services in their state or territory.
Is The Independent Reserve Wallet Safe?
Independent Reserve stores over $1 billion worth of digital assets in geographically located cold wallets that are protected by multi-layer encryption and multi-signature procedures. Since its establishment in 2013, the platform has not reported any security breaches that have resulted in the loss, theft, or damage of assets or funds. Independent Reserve is a secure exchange that is trusted by over 200,000 users.
Independent Reserve is a well-established Australian platform that is trusted by over 200,000 customers. Due to its low trading fees, ability to set up limit orders, in-built tax reporting tools, and personalized support, Independent Reserve is a strong option for SMSF investors and high-net traders. Beginner investors are not left behind and will find the interface easy to navigate. A range of fiat currencies can be deposited to allow novices to buy and sell a selection of digital assets at competitive rates.
Compared to its competition, Independent Reserve doesn’t appear to be a hugely innovative cryptocurrency platform. The mobile app is lackluster in features (but performs very well), the number of supported crypto is limited, and the user interface could do with an update. Despite these drawbacks, the exchange continues to be a household name and has maintained its high reputation and reliability as a crypto service provider.
Based on our review, Independent Reserve is best suited for beginner investors who want to use a local and no-fuss crypto exchange to buy and sell the more popular cryptocurrencies. The exchange is one of the best choices for SMSF and high-net investors.