April 25, 2022

Is Alto IRA Safe and Legit?

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Alto IRA lets you put alternative assets like real estate, venture capital, and crypto into your retirement account. But is it safe and legit?

Alto IRA offers unique investments in an IRA, like fine art, real estate, and crypto.

But will your assets be safe in their hands? And is Alto IRA insured?

Find out if Alto IRA is a safe place to make your investments in this guide. Plus, see what fees you can expect when using Alto IRA.

What is Alto IRA?

Alto IRA is actually two things: it's a popular IRA custodian, and the name of their flagship retirement account.

Alto IRA has two IRAs to choose from:

  • The Alto IRA: For those looking to invest in a variety of alternative assets
  • The Alto CryptoIRA: A vehicle for retirement investing in cryptocurrency

Alto IRA is based in Nashville, Tennessee, and stands out for offering non-traditional investments in their IRAs.

You can choose between traditional, SEP, and Roth IRA accounts.

Traditional and SEP IRAs incur taxes only when you take distributions from your account upon retirement. Roth IRAs, on the other hand, invest with post-tax income, but incur no taxes on gains made through investing.[1]

Is Alto IRA Safe and Legit?

Yes, Alto IRA is safe and legit.

Alto IRA takes the safety of your investments seriously. Here are some of the measures they employ to keep your money safe:[2]

  • Undirected cash is stored in accounts FDIC insured up to $250,000
  • Digital assets are stored with Coinbase in a combination of hot and cold storage
  • Digital assets with Coinbase are protected by a commercial crime policy up to $320 million
  • Digital assets with Coinbase are protected by a cybercrime policy up to $3 million
  • Two-Factor Authentication (2FA) powered by Authy or Google Authenticator

These security features are comparable to other IRA providers.

The Alto CryptoIRA's partnership with Coinbase, one of the largest crypto exchanges operating in the U.S., ensures that it's legit.

They have a 4.4 rating on Trustpilot, with over 700 reviews, publicly listed contact information, and customer support is available by phone from 8:00 - 5:00 CT Monday through Friday.

Alto IRA was the victim of a hacking attempt in July of 2021. While some users' credentials were compromised, no funds were taken. Here is a page provided by Alto in response to the event.

What Can You Invest in with Alto IRA?

Your investment choices depend on which account you choose. Here's a look at what your retirement investing might be like with both the Alto IRA account and the Alto CryptoIRA.

Alto IRA
The Alto IRA allows you to invest in a combination of traditional and alternative assets. This includes things like fine art, land, real estate, private companies, startups, venture capital, and more.

Alto IRA account holders get access to Alto IRA's list of 75+ partners, each specializing in their own unique branch of the investing world.

You can find a full list of Alto IRA's partners here, with a brief explanation of what each partner does, what their asset specialties are, their minimum investment requirements, and what the Alto IRA investment fee associated with them is.

Some of their noteworthy investment partners are:

  • DiversyFund: Invest in real estate
  • FarmTogether: Invest in farmland and agriculture
  • Grayscale: Crypto fund that offers exposure to the crypto market without direct investment in actual cryptocurrencies
  • Masterworks: Invest in fine art
  • Republic: Invest in startups

Investment minimums range from as low as $100 to as much as $250,000+. If they don't currently offer the investment you're looking for, you may be able to sponsor your own deal if you sign up for their Pro account.

Alto CryptoIRA
The Alto CryptoIRA is a crypto IRA that connects directly to Coinbase, a leading crypto trading platform.

They support a growing list of over 150 cryptocurrencies to invest in, including popular coins like Bitcoin and Ethereum, as well as lesser-known but still promising coins.

Thanks to their partnership with Coinbase, the Alto CryptoIRA can offer a broader range of cryptocurrencies than many of their competitors.

You can find a full, up-to-date list of their supported cryptocurrencies here.

There are no day or time restrictions on trading, and if you haven't traded crypto before, Alto offers a concierge service to help you figure it out.

Fees to Look Out for

Fees are, of course, an important consideration when choosing an IRA provider. Since you'll be doing business with them for many years, even small fees over time can add up to a lot of money.

Alto IRA[3]
With the Alto IRA, your account fee depends on whether you choose the Pro or Starter plan. Otherwise, the fees are the same.

  • Account fee - $25 per month for Pro; $10 per month for the Starter plan
  • $0 Custody Fees
  • Partner Investment Fee - Varies by partner, from $10 - $50
  • Private Investment Fee - Pro plan only, $75
  • Account Closure Fee - $50
  • Outbound Wire Transfer Fee - $25

The account fees cover account setup costs, account funding, e-statements, Roth conversion, tax reporting, and customer support. You can also set it up to pay yearly instead of monthly.

Alto CryptoIRA[3]
The Alto CryptoIRA does away with the monthly account fee, and only charges a simple base rate for trades.

  • $0 Account fees
  • $0 Custody Fees
  • Trading Fee - 1% per transaction
  • Account Closure Fee - $50
  • Outbound Wire Transfer Fee - $25

Not sold on Alto IRA? Review their popular competitors, like iTrustCapital, Bitcoin IRA, Choice IRA, and BitIRA to find the right fit for you.

What to Look for in an IRA

When opening an individual retirement account or IRA to make tax-advantaged investments for your retirement, it's important to do your research. Here's what to consider when choosing an IRA custodian:

Safety + Security
It's the custodian's job to keep your retirement money safe. If something happened to that money, you'd be in a pretty dire situation when the day came that you were no longer able to work.

Custodians of retirement accounts affect other things as well. Their fees, often insignificant for a single transaction, could add up to quite a sum of money when considered over a lifetime.

Investment Options
Every custodian must choose what sort of assets they offer, and ultimately those choices will be a big part of why you do or don't end up with one custodian or another.

There are gold IRAs that let you set aside gold coins and bullion, often along with other precious metals. There are Bitcoin IRAs, which let you invest in cryptocurrency.

Bottom Line

Whether or not you decide that an Alto IRA or Alto CryptoIRA account is the right choice for your self-directed retirement account, you can rest assured that they are a legitimate company operating with the aim of providing safe access to alternative investments and crypto.

That isn't to say that investing with them is without risk, as all investments carry risk. You should always try to do as much research as possible before investing in any asset, especially ones outside traditional investing trends.


  1. ^ Internal Revenue Service. Traditional and Roth IRAs, Retrieved 4/15/2022
  2. ^ Alto IRA. How are assets kept "safe" at Alto and on Coinbase?, Retrieved 4/15/2022
  3. ^ "Pricing", Alto IRA, 2022.
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Jeremy Harshman is a creative assistant at CreditDonkey, a crypto comparison and reviews website. Write to Jeremy Harshman at jeremy.harshman@creditdonkey.com. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook for our latest posts.

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