Cryptocurrency continues to gain popularity in the UK. However, the ability to buy, sell, and store cryptocurrency using your bank account can be a challenge, as traditional banks often do not offer crypto related banking services. This is where crypto-friendly banks come in. This article will review some of the best crypto-friendly banks in the UK.
What is a Crypto Friendly Bank?
A crypto-friendly bank is a bank that allows its customers to transact or hold cryptocurrency without restrictions. As such, if you are a customer of a crypto-friendly bank, it will allow you to do the following:
- Purchase cryptocurrencies using a bank transfer and debit or credit card
- Make payments to a crypto exchange platform
- Withdraw and deposit money to your crypto wallet or current account
- Buy, sell, or hold cryptocurrencies
In the past, some banks used to freeze money belonging to customers who had any interaction with cryptocurrency. However, banks have started accepting cryptocurrencies.
Is Cryptocurrency Legal in the UK?
Yes. It is legal to trade or own cryptocurrencies in the UK. Cryptocurrencies are not considered a currency, but instead are considered properties in the UK.
Proceeds from the trade of cryptocurrency are taxable in the UK. Besides, all crypto exchanges operating in the UK are required to register with the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).
Cryptocurrency Friendly Banks in UK
The following are some of the best banks for crypto in the UK you can consider.
Revolut is a fintech that allows you to buy, sell, and send cryptocurrencies in the UK. It also offers a crypto card that allows you to spend your cryptocurrency at merchants that accept Visa or Mastercard. Revolut’s Standard Plan is free, and you can buy crypto with 29 fiat currencies, including GBP and Euro. If you have a Revolut Business account, you can also buy, hold, and sell bitcoin.
The app allows you to set up an “auto-exchange” to buy cryptocurrency in the future, if the exchange rate hits the target rate you set. You can also create a recurring buy, and buy cryptocurrency at future, regularly scheduled intervals (dollar cost averaging).
It is important to be aware that Revolut’s crypto wallet is a custodial wallet, meaning you do not hold the private keys and do not have full control of your crypto. This means that Revolut has access to your cryptocurrency, and if Revolut were to be hacked or go bankrupt, your cryptocurrency could be at risk.
Monzo is the other crypto bank in the UK. It is a virtual bank that supports cryptocurrency related activities. With a Monzo account, you can buy or sell crypto on FIC-regulated crypto exchanges using your bank account or card. However, they have stated that they will constantly review crypto exchanges and may block some transactions if they consider them risky.
Its downside is that it does not offer crypto cards or crypto wallets and has banned Binance. However, you can deposit and withdraw money to exchanges.
Wirex is a crypto-friendly banking app in the UK that allows you to buy and sell cryptocurrencies. It also offers physical and virtual Wirex crypto card to spend your crypto balance and withdraw cash from ATMs. You can use it to buy, store and manage crypto and fiat currencies.
Wirex X-Account enables you to earn up to 16% interest on selected currencies such as GBP, USD, AUD, JPY, and NZD. Wirex wallet is a noncustodial wallet, meaning you are in full control of your money.
Barclays Bank does not facilitate direct purchasing or selling of cryptocurrencies via its online banking platform. Nonetheless, you are allowed to use Barclays bank account or card to transfer GBP to a FIC-regulated third-party exchange. This process enables you to engage in trading cryptocurrencies, such as bitcoin.
In 2018, Barclays partnered with Coinbase but canceled the partnership in 2019.
Also read Banks for crypto companies.
Nationwide is a building society that is crypto-friendly in the UK. A building society is a type of financial institution that is owned by its members. The institution accepts deposits and withdrawals to exchanges.
Nationwide has introduced daily payment limits for cryptocurrency purchases in the UK using your current account. The limit depends on the type of account you have: £5,000 for adult or student accounts and £100 for FlexOne accounts. Exceeding these limits will result in a declined transaction. Credit cards can no longer be used for purchasing cryptocurrencies, regardless of the cardholder type.
Lloyds Bank is another crypto-friendly bank in the UK. It allows you to make payments to a regulated crypto exchange in the UK using debit cards or a current account. However, credit card payments are restricted. It is because of the volatility of cryptocurrencies that makes it extremely risky.
Lloyds Bank allows deposits and withdrawals from exchanges. However, it does not support buying crypto from Binance in the United Kingdom.
Royal Bank of Scotland
Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) does not offer cryptocurrency wallets or accounts. However, it allows you to buy and sell cryptocurrency by connecting to an FCA-licensed cryptocurrency exchange. Some of the most popular cryptocurrency exchanges in the UK that allow you to use your RBS account include Coinbase and Kraken.
To buy or sell cryptocurrency using your RBS account, you will need to first create an account with a cryptocurrency exchange. Once you have created an account, you will need to verify your identity and fund your account with GBP from your RBS account.
NatWest allows you to use money from your account to buy bitcoin from exchanges, but with some restrictions. The bank has imposed a daily limit of £1,000 and a 30-day payment limit of £5,000 on payments to cryptocurrency exchanges. These limits are designed to help protect customers from losing life-changing sums of money.
The limits apply separately to each account, so if you have multiple accounts with NatWest, you can still buy up to £1,000 of bitcoin per day and £5,000 per month in total. However, there are no limits on payments that you can receive from an exchange. NatWest has also blocked the use of its credit and charge cards to purchase cryptocurrency.
Crypto Friendly Banks in the UK
Crypto-friendly banks and fintech companies in the UK, like Revolut, Monzo, and Barclays Bank support cryptocurrency related activities. While many banks may not offer direct crypto services like Revolut, they facilitate connections to FCA-licensed exchanges for trading.
The Financial Conduct Authority scrutinizes the operations of crypto exchanges and puts restrictions on some exchanges. Consequently, crypto-friendly banks can only work with exchanges that are licensed by FCA. For instance, crypto-friendly banks in the UK have banned their customers from trading on the Binance platform using their current accounts or cards.
Crypto Banks in UK FAQs
Is cryptocurrency legal in the UK?
Cryptocurrency is legal in the UK. The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) regulates cryptocurrency exchanges and businesses that offer cryptocurrency-related services.
Is Monzo crypto friendly?
Yes, Monzo is crypto friendly. As a Monzo customer, you can buy cryptocurrency from approved exchanges like Coinbase, as part of your personal banking. However, following the FCA’s warning, Monzo has stopped payments to Binance.
Is Binance available in the UK?
No, Binance is no longer available in the UK. It is not allowed to offer any financial services to UK residents, such as buying, selling, or storing cryptocurrency.
Does Starling Bank accept crypto?
No, Starling Bank no longer support the buying and selling of cryptocurrencies by debit card, bank transfer in GBP, or by bank transfer in other currencies. The bank says the decision was made to help protect their customers.
Does Lloyds bank allow cryptocurrency?
Yes, you can buy cryptocurrency in UK using Lloyds Bank current account or debit card. However, it does not allow cryptocurrency purchases using credit cards.