Alto IRA Review: Fees, Pros & Cons (Is Alto Legit?)

June 24, 2022

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Want to invest in cryptocurrencies and other alternative assets and considering Alto IRA accounts for long term holding and retirement investing? 

We've got you covered in this Alto IRA review!

We've researched every aspect of Alto IRA and done all the hard work so you don't have to research them yourself.

Let's go!

Alto IRA Review - What You’ll Learn 

alto IRA logo

Review Summary

Alto IRA is an investment platform that helps regular people invest in alternative assets to help diversify and grow their retirement funds. One of those alternative assets is cryptocurrency. This review goes over everything you need to know about Alto IRA and will help you decide whether or not they’re the best choice for you. 

Overall Rating: 
4.6/5 stars

Quality

Pricing

SUPPORT

COIN SELECTION

SECURITY

Highlights of Our Review Of Alto IRA: 

  1. Alto IRA helps make investing in cryptocurrencies simple so that even regular folks can experience amazing gains. 
  2. Their crypto IRA offers more than 100 different crypto options for people to choose from and invest in.
  3. Anyone can invest using Alto IRA because their minimum investment amounts and fees are both minimal. Seriously, they offer $10 investment minimums.

What Is Alto IRA?

Alto IRA is an IRA provider that helps regular people invest for retirement in a wide range of assets using their IRAs (Individual Retirement Account).

They are well-known for offering the Alto Alternative IRA and the Alto CryptoIRA to potential investors, and we'll go over both offerings in this review.

Alto helps investors grow their retirement funds using alternative investments that aren't considered "normal" like real estate, startup companies and cryptocurrencies.

Alto gives you access to these alternative assets via third parties and does not offer these investment options themselves.

alto ira homepage

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Numerous alternative investments to choose from. Everything from crypto to real estate and fine art is fair game!
  • Low fees and low minimum investment amounts make Alto IRA an option for everyone.
  • Their flat fee structure makes investing in an Alto IRA attractive to all kinds of investors.

Cons

  • Investing in crypto with Alto IRA means you don’t have as much control and privacy. You don’t hold the crypto private keys for the coins and tokens you invest in.
  • Almost no traditional investment choices to choose from. That being said, you're probably not looking for a traditional IRA if you're reading this review.
  • Alternative investment assets are volatile and risky by default. You need to do your own research to make sure you don't have a losing retirement portfolio.

Alto IRA Fees & Pricing - How Much Does Alto IRA Cost?  

Anyone interested in making use of any type of self directed IRAs needs to know that IRA fees and pricing structures are important.

All the gains you made from your investments might be eaten by scummy companies who charge tons of different and hidden fees. 

Retirement accounts can become disastrous because of overly expensive account fees. Here's some great personal financial advice; Always read the fine print so you know every single fee you may be subject to.

Here are the fees that Alto IRA charges:

Alto Alternative IRA Fees 

alto ira pricing

Alto IRA pricing is different depending on whether you’re using a Starter or Pro account.  

  • For Starter accounts: there's a $10 per month account fee, no custody fee, $10/$50 partner investment fees, a $50 account closure fee and a $25 outbound wire transfer fee. 
  • For Pro accounts: there's a $25 month account fee, no custody fee, a $10/$50 partner investment fee, a $75 private investment fee, a $50 account closure fee and a $25 outbound wire transfer fee.
  • On both the Starter and Pro accounts: you can get the cost of two months of account fees for free if you sign up for a full year upfront.

Alto CryptoIRA Fees 

alto crypto ira pricing

Unlike Alto IRA, Alto CryptoIRA only has one payment structure.

  • You don't pay any account fees or custody fees. You do pay a 1% trade fee, a $50 account closure fee and a $25 outbound wire transfer fee.

Alto IRA Products - Overview 

Alto IRA has two main offerings for people looking for IRA accounts.

For your self directed retirement account needs, you can choose to go with the Alto IRA or the Alto Crypto IRA.

What’s The Difference Between Alto IRA and Alto CryptoIRA? 

Alto IRA and Alto CryptoIRA have some major differences.

Both offer alternative investment options to their customers but Alto IRA offers multiple different assets like real estate, startup companies, fine art and cryptocurrencies while Alto CryptoIRA only focuses on cryptocurrencies

Alto Alternative IRA  

The Alto Alternative IRA (AKA the Alto IRA) is an individual retirement account that lets people invest in a wide variety of alternative assets like:

  • Startup companies. 
  • Venture capital.
  • Private companies.
  • Private equity.
  • Real estate investments.
  • Loans.
  • Cryptocurrencies. 
  • See more here.

There are two types of tiers for you to choose from with Alto Alternative IRA which are Starter and Pro.

The main advantage of choosing Pro instead of Starter is that you can bring in your own private investments into your Alto Alternative IRA on top of investing with Alto’s list of partners. There are also pricing differences between Starter and Pro accounts.

Alto Crypto IRA 

Alto CryptoIRA lets you invest in crypto coins and tokens to fund your retirement. They have a huge list of coins and tokens for you to choose from which is a big selling point of this IRA.

Alto CryptoIRA is partnered with Coinbase and the crypto that you invest in is stored in a wallet at Coinbase. 

Coinbase will keep your crypto investments nice and safe for you but some people prefer to keep their crypto in their own storage for privacy or security concerns.

What Alternative Assets and Cryptocurrencies are Available With the Alto CryptoIRA? 

Cryptocurrencies are the hottest topic of all the alternative asset classes out there. The amount of money being made and lost with crypto is honestly insane.

While most people know about BTC, ETH and DOGE already, there's so many different kinds of cryptocurrencies out there. The sheer number of altcoins and tokens out there is insane.

alto crypto ira coins and tokens

As of this writing, you can invest in over 170 different kinds of coins and tokens inside of an Alto CryptoIRA account.

How Does Alto IRA Work?

Let’s start at the beginning and ask how a cryptocurrency IRA works.  

A cryptocurrency IRA is typically a self-directed IRA that lets you buy and hold cryptocurrency assets in your IRA. It's called "self directed" because you, the account owner, get to decide which investments you hold in your IRA. Traditional IRAs are not self directed, meaning you aren't in control of which assets or investments you hold. 

Typically, the assets you invest in with Alto are stored in a custodial wallet on an online exchange like Coinbase.

The main selling point of crypto IRAs is that the potential for long term profits is absolutely insane, so it can look like a great retirement investment.

However, because of the volatility of cryptocurrency in general, there’s also a ton of risk. A crypto IRA is nowhere near as safe as traditional IRA.

That leads us to the next selling point of crypto IRAs. 

IRAs are called "tax advantaged retirement accounts" for a reason. Traditional IRAs, ROTH IRAs, SEP IRAs and even self-directed IRAs that hold alternative investments are tax advantaged.

Your crypto IRA has all the tax advantages of a self directed IRA even though you’re investing in crypto coins and tokens. Keep in mind that the vast majority of crypto fund options still get taxed quite a bit.

The tax advantages afforded by self directed IRAs really help you save a ton of money that would have otherwise gone to the IRS.

Check out all the advantages to an Alto IRA here.

How To Start an Alto IRA Account And Get Started With Alternative Investments

Starting an Alto IRA account is incredibly simple in comparison to other providers and brokers that let you start an IRA account that holds alternative investments.

Here’s how to start an Alto IRA account:

1. Create your account

First you need to setup your account, you can get started here. The signup process is pretty easy. On the first page, you'll just need to give them your email, create a password, and click "open my account". From there, follow any prompts and fill out any information they require to get into the dashboard.

2. Choose your type of IRA

Next, you have to choose an account type from what Alto offers. They currently only offer their CryptoIRA or their Alternative Assets IRA (Alto IRA). Choose whichever account type suites your needs.

3. Put in money and make sure you have IRA funds

Transfer money into your account from a retirement account that you already have (called a rollover) or transfer money from your bank account.

4. Start investing for your retirement

Choose from one of Alto IRAs many partners to get started investing for your future. Coinbase is one of those partners! Choose your investments to hold in your account.

Is Alto IRA Secure and Insured? 

Yes, Alto IRA is secure and insured. 

One of your main concerns when choosing a self directed IRA provider or self directed IRA custodian is whether or not they're safe to invest with.

No matter what investment opportunities are offered, if a company is sketchy and uninsured, run away.

To begin with, they are subject to audit and oversight by the New Mexico Financial Institutions Division Regulation and Licensing Department. They have a close eye watching over them in case anything doesn’t seem right. 

alro ira security

Cash that’s held by Alto for use in their customers' IRAs are insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) for up to $250,000 per customer. Alto also protects themselves against potentially bad employees by maintaining fidelity bonds and crime insurance. 

Lastly, Coinbase is one of Alto IRA's partners and they secure crypto investments with hot and cold storage. Coinbase themselves are maintaining a commercial crime policy with an insurance coverage of $320 million as well as a cyber crime insurance policy that covers $3 million. 

PS: Alto doesn’t mix their funds with your funds. If they went out of business, your funds will still be there but they’ll be moved to another custodian.

Alto IRA Alternatives 

Alto IRA isn’t your only choice when it comes to alternative IRA providers

Here are a few other choices that are pretty great if you want to open an IRA account to invest in alternative assets:

iTrustCapital  

iTrustCapital is a crypto IRA broker that also offers precious metals IRAs. They’re a popular choice among investors because their platform is user-friendly, their customer service is great and their fees aren’t too high. They have a noticeably smaller list of coins and tokens that you can buy but their selection is still pretty good. 

Bitcoin IRA 

Bitcoin IRA is a Bitcoin IRA provider that offers 24/7 trading to investors who want to trade round the clock. While Bitcoin IRA is praised for their incredible customer service, the full-service Bitcoin IRA provider is known for being expensive to use. They have a minimum investment amount of $3000 and charge reasonable asset conversion fees, buying fees and selling fees.

Checkout Bitcoin IRA here.

Coin IRA 

Coin IRA is another good choice for novice investors, particularly if you want an investment advisor. They’re well-known because they provide investment advice to their customers but are pretty infamous for their minimum deposit amount of $20,000. Still, Coin IRA is a relatively old and trusted option that was made back in 2017 by the established company, Goldco (a gold IRA company). Apparently, these two sister companies split sometime in 2021 and are now independent.

Checkout Coin IRA here.

BitIRA  

Despite the similar sounding names, BitIRA is NOT the same thing as Bitcoin IRA. BitIRA is an attractive option because of their high-level of security. They offer guarded offline storage as well as robust insurance coverage. BitIRA requires a minimum deposit of $5000 and requires you to work with one of their digital currency experts, whether you like it or not.

Checkout BitIRA here.

Alto IRA Reviews From Around The Web

Alto IRA has been around since 2015 so there’s a decent amount of feedback on the company available online. 

We’ll save you some time and show you a bunch of them here. These are all from Trustpilot.com where they have a 4.4 Star rating and 898 reviewers which is considered excellent.  

  • 5 Stars “The good folks at Alto provided great service, they followed up on every aspect of my funds transfer and guided me through the setup of the new account.” ~ John
  • 5 Stars “It was simple to transfer funds from my other IRA into Alto. It took about a week, but the funds were transferred and I was notified. The use of the funds for an IRA investment was similarly straightforward.” ~ Julius
  • 4 Stars “Hard for me to tell if some of the issues where on our end or Alto's end, but process took longer than I expected. However, the customer service as outstanding and the interfaces are very well done.” ~ Michael

Alto IRA FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

Is Alto IRA legitimate?

Yes, Alto IRA is a legitimate company that provides legit services to their customers. They have a physical address in Nashville

Is Alto IRA safe?

Yes, investing using Alto IRA and Alto CryptoIRA is safe since Alto IRA is a legitimate company. However, the risks that come with investing in crypto still affect those that invest using Alto CryptoIRA. Crypto investing is not safe.

Is Alto IRA insured?

Yes, Alto IRA is insured with FDIC insurance. They are insured for upward of $300 million.

What are the fees on Alto CryptoIRA?

Alto CryptoIRA charges a 1% trade fee, a $50 account closure fee and a $25 outbound wire transfer fee.

Final Thoughts - Is Alto IRA Right For You? 

alto ira review

There are endless horrible IRA providers doing business but there are definitely a few great ones out there.

This is especially true if the self directed IRA provider in question (GoldStar Trust for example) provides non traditional assets, digital assets or odd investment opportunities in general.

Alto IRA is one of the self directed IRA providers out there that you can trust to grow your retirement savings with!  

Alto Alternative IRA and Alto CryptoIRA are great choices for new investors because of their low fees and huge selection of investment assets. They’re a great choice for beginners that want to diversify or jump into crypto!

About the author 

Sam Rexford