At the moment, it is legal to buy Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies through a bank account in the UK. However, since the use of crypto has been linked to incidence of fraud and money laundering, many banks still shy away from digital trading. Some have even banned the purchase of crypto via debit and credit cards.
To make sure that your transactions are safe, protected and anonymous, it is imperative that you put your trust in one of the Bitcoin-friendly banks in the UK.
Here at Cometoplay, we have compiled a list of the best crypto-friendly banks in the UK and included some helpful tips and tricks that will help you find just the right establishment for your needs.
What is a Crypto-Friendly Bank?
A crypto-friendly bank is used to describe a financial institution or bank that allows individuals to deposit and withdraw funds from their accounts and send them to cryptocurrency-related platforms.
In short, a crypto-friendly bank should allow you to:
- Buy and sell crypto by using credit and debit cards
- Freely perform wire transfers to cryptocurrency-related platforms and similar exchanges
- Withdraw cash from your cryptocurrency investments
The Best Crypto-Friendly Banks in the UK
Even though the UK does not currently regulate cryptocurrency, it is still listed among the bitcoin-friendly countries in the world. As such, there are plenty of high-street and challenger UK-based banks that allow crypto transactions.
These are the five best.
Revolut is a London-based digital-only bank that counts 14.5 million customers in the UK (more than any other European online bank), so it ticks all the boxes when it comes to trustworthiness and reliability.
The bank offers three types of accounts (standard, premium, and metal), all of which support crypto transactions.
Another added benefit of this bank and its state-of-the-art app is that it supports deposits and withdrawals from euro to pound (and 30 other currencies), while some cryptocurrency exchanges only permit deposits and/or withdrawals in EUR.
On top of that, Revolut gives customers a direct option to buy crypto and also comes with an in-app analytics tool that keeps you up to date on the latest developments on the market.
Nationwide, the largest building society in the world, can be described as a crypto-friendly bank in the sense that it allows cryptocurrency transactions on major platforms as well as debit card purchases.
The bank does not, however, allow credit card transactions. It also disengaged from Coinbase in 2018, and since this cryptocurrency exchange platform does not accept deposits from Nationwide accounts.
Recently Nationwide announced that it is restricting card payment to Binance, although it still permits clients to withdraw money they have with the company to their Nationwide account.
The bank stated that it was assessing its policies on crypto, meaning that it might not retain its status as a crypto-friendly bank much longer.
Orounda is an Edinburgh-based company that provides online payment solutions. The company delivers innovative technologies to ease online transactions, but more importantly, it specialises in flexible payment methods, including crypto, Forex tools and e-wallets.
Not only does Orounda offer both SEPA and SWIFT wire solutions, but it also allows clients to operate additional accounts. These features make Orounda the ideal service company for crypto businesses in the UK looking to accept and process deposits seamlessly.
Barclays, one of the biggest and oldest banks in the UK, has had an interest in crypto and blockchain technology since the start. The bank has explored the basic technology behind blockchain in order to implement it in practice, as well as support innovative blockchain companies through the bank’s fintech ecosystem.
When it comes to accepting cryptocurrencies, Barclays supports crypto transactions on debit cards to all major platforms and exchanges, expected Coinbase and Binance. The latter was banned earlier this year, although the bank has stated that their decision will not affect customers’ ability to withdraw funds from the exchange.
5. Santander UK
Like Barclays, Santander UK, the British branch of the Spanish bank, has banned payments to and from Binance following the FCA’s ban on all regulated Binance activities.
Apart from this ban, Santander UK is a bitcoin-friendly bank, even accepting payments from Coinbase, although there have been numerous complaints on social media that the bank has blocked UK customers from depositing fiat funds to this cryptocurrency exchange.
Honourable Mention: Nuri
Nuri, formerly called Bitwala, is a German-based bank offering services to EU, UK and Swiss residents. It’s possibly the best bank for cryptocurrency—anyone who invests at least 10 euros can get started. What’s more, there are no hidden fees, except a 1% trading fee and related network fees.
Best of all, the bank pays 5% interest a year on your Bitcoin, so you can just sit back and watch your investment grow.
Finally, Nuri has some cool features such as customised price alerts and price charts keeping you updated about the market 24/7, as well as secure beginner and advanced wallets and vaults for crypto storage.
UK Banks That Are No Longer Crypto-Friendly
Royal Bank of Scotland and NatWest have restricted transactions as of June 2021, capping daily spending limits to certain crypto exchanges and blocking payments from specific companies where the banks have seen a high volume of scams. Both banks still accept crypto as payment and allow clients to purchase cryptocurrencies with some merchants using the banks’ debit cards.
As of June 2021, TSB announced that it would ban all cryptocurrency purchases citing “excessively high” fraud rates on exchanges.
What to Look for in Crypto-Friendly UK Banks
Ease of use
No matter how knowledgeable you are about crypto, the fact remains cryptocurrency transactions is a new technology, and many are still scared of making irreversible mistakes with their digital payments. For that reason, an intuitive and user-friendly interface is one of the first things you should look for.
Make sure that the bank lets you easily look into your portfolio and transfers between fiat and crypto balances to avoid a lot of stress and doubts when it comes to your crypto transactions.
Security should be your number one priority when looking for banks that accept bitcoin. It is of the utmost importance to determine whether the bank you are considering is secure and legitimate, which, in turn, implies that your funds remain safe.
The good news is that crypto banks usually take custody of their client’s crypto assets, ensuring that your private keys never touch the internet and thus taking security to another level. Nevertheless, it’s a good idea to look into the bank’s history with hacking as well as their security protocols, just to double-check that everything is safe and legit.
Naturally, you would want to keep transaction fees to a minimum. However, sometimes it’s worth paying higher fees if you are getting top-notch security in return. Luckily, fees at cryptocurrency-friendly banks have gotten much more reasonable over time, so you don’t risk paying too much for every translation.
Having a mobile app that provides the same features as the desktop version is a huge plus for any crypto bank. After all, who wouldn’t want to do banking on the go in this day and age?
Virtually all banks that are friendly to crypto support Ethereum and Bitcoin. However, there are tens of hundreds of cryptocurrencies available in the market. Investors are always looking to gain more exposure that does not include ETH and BTC, as well as to diversify their portfolios by investing in different kinds of cryptocurrencies.
Hence, it is important to know which tokens and coins the crypto-friendly bank is supporting.
Cryptocurrency Friendly Banks vs Traditional Banks
One of the biggest differences between traditional and bitcoin-friendly banks is their perspective on cryptocurrency. While traditional banks view crypto with distrust and even ban transactions, crypto-friendly banks are embracing this trend with open arms.
The Future of Crypto Betting
Using bitcoin for gambling seems like the obvious choice—it is secure, anonymous, convenient and fast. What’s more, given the risks involved with crypto, this currency seems to be right up a gambler’s alley.
So what does the future hold for crypto betting in the UK?
Right now, more and more gambling sites are accepting payments in crypto as an alternative to PayPal casinos and traditional bank wire/debit cards payments.
Visa and Mastercard have also announced that they will enable clients and merchants to carry out transactions in Bitcoin, thus opening a whole new area of banking and potentially generating billions in transaction value.
How does the public feel?
According to a 2021 YouGov survey 17% of online punters stated that they are likely to use bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies for gambling in the next 12 months, significantly more compared to just 11% of all British adults.
Nevertheless, doubts remain. The same survey shows that 75% of online gamblers believe they do not understand crypto, and 54% do not think it can be trusted. On top of that, 52% of regular online bettors see bitcoin as a passing trend.
This feeling is not as widespread among younger punters, though, as a third of Millennial gamblers think crypto is the future of online transactions and 13% are willing to exchange their bank account for cryptocurrency.
There is no doubt that crypto transactions come with several risks attached, causing some financial institutions to ban the use of cryptocurrency altogether.
However, more and more progressive banks have embraced this trend, allowing crypto transactions alongside traditional banking methods. And the number of bitcoin-friendly banks in the UK is only expected to go up as people, and banks, become more open to the countless benefits of crypto transactions.
What is a cryptocurrency exchange?
A cryptocurrency exchange, also known as a DCU – Digital Currency Exchange, is a digital marketplace where one can buy and trade cryptocurrencies.
To start trading in crypto, you will need to open an account on a crypto trading platform and start exchanging your money for digital assets.
Dedicated cryptocurrency exchanges, like Binance and Coinbase, allow cryptocurrency withdrawals, while some brokerages only allow clients to purchase crypto.
Why are banks afraid of crypto and bitcoin?
One of the main reasons why banks won’t accept crypto is the lack of regulation. Some countries do not accept bitcoin as legal tender and have not regulated transactions, making banks reluctant to deal with crypto.
However, more and more governments in the world are starting to impose stricter regulation in the area, such as ensuring that all institutions dealing with crypto comply with money-laundering and security protocols, which will likely result in more crypto-friendly banks in the UK and the rest of the world.