If your bank has ever flagged your account because of a crypto-related transaction, then you already understand why people are searching for a list of crypto-friendly banks.
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In the very early days of crypto, many UK investors had their bank accounts terminated and funds frozen, merely because they used it to transfer or withdraw money to or from a cryptocurrency exchange.
Thankfully, the relationship between banks and the cryptocurrency industry has gotten better in the last few years. But then, it is still best to know which banks crypto investors and traders can use freely without fearing the cops showing up at your door.
In this article, we provide an updated list of crypto-friendly banks in the UK. First, though, let’s break down the term, in case you’re lost.
What Are Crypto-Friendly Banks?
As the name suggests, crypto-friendly banks is a term that describes banks and financial institutions that freely lets customers withdraw and deposit funds from their accounts to cryptocurrency-related platforms.
A crypto-friendly bank should let you:
- Use credit and debit cards that they issue to freely buy and sell crypto.
- Complete wire transfers to cryptocurrency exchanges, and similar entities.
- Cash-out funds from your cryptocurrency investments.
Now, that we have a clear overview of how crypto-friendly banks operate, let’s go over a list of some that serve UK investors.
The Best Crypto-Friendly Banks in the UK
Barclays is one of the biggest investment banks in the UK that is particularly interested in cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology.
Even though Barclays stopped their partnership with Coinbase in August 2019, Brits can still purchase cryptocurrencies with their debit and credit cards in most cases.
In terms of cryptocurrency exchanges, we have heard of Barclays refusing deposits/withdrawals to and from some exchanges, and in some cases closing and/or freezing accounts.
Overall, though, most customers report being able to move crypto-related funds freely via their Barclays bank.
Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS)
RBS is one bank that many customers largely report having no issues with when dealing with cryptocurrency transactions.
You can use their credit or debit cards to buy crypto, and also withdraw or deposit to exchanges freely. We cannot guarantee, however, that they’d let you use just about any exchange. But if you stick with the popular ones like Coinbase and CEX.io, then there should be no hiccups.
Standard Chartered Bank
The position of Standard Chartered Bank (SCB) on this list is tricky because customers report that the bank currently does not allow the use of their debit and credit cards on cryptocurrency-related websites.
However, the bank has time and again reiterated that “crypto-assets” are here to stay. Standard Chartered Ventures (SCV), the investment arm of the bank also recently announced plans for a cryptocurrency custody and trading desk.
So, we expect that overtime, SCB will eventually let people at least use their debit cards to buy crypto.
The other good thing is that there are no complaints about customer’s bank accounts being frozen for withdrawing funds from crypto exchanges or making wire transfers.
Natwest is owned by RBS, and unsurprisingly allows credit and debit card crypto purchases. Customers also can deposit to cryptocurrency exchanges, and withdraw funds from these platforms seamlessly.
Barring one Reddit complaint of a declined transaction probably for security reasons, it appears Natwest is ideal for UK customers who deal with crypto.
Nationwide supports debit card purchases and also lets customers withdraw or deposit freely to cryptocurrency exchange platforms. So, we can describe them as crypto-friendly, barring a ban on credit card transactions.
There is also a known issue with Coinbase SEPA deposits since 2018, although you won’t experience this with other exchanges.
TSB Bank is known to allow credit and debit card crypto purchases. There are no known issues with withdrawing or depositing to cryptocurrency exchanges. Remember, though, that banks typically flag large transactions, and you may have to split transfer amounts or contact TSB in such cases.
Challenger Banks That are Crypto-Friendly
Challenger banks are small, recently created retail banks in the United Kingdom that compete directly with the longer-established banks in the country, sometimes by specializing in areas underserved by the "big four" banks, e.g. cryptocurrency and blockchain.
For cryptocurrency investors, they provide a channel for boycotting non-friendly crypto banks.
For instance, while Lloyds Bank isn’t crypto-friendly, you can freely transfer funds from Lloyds to Revolut, convert to EUR or GBP, and then deposit on any cryptocurrency exchange.
Here are some of the most popular ones that offer crypto-related services.
Xace was created as a crypto bank, a bitcoin-friendly bank, and a gaming-friendly bank.
The firm provides business and personal named accounts for GBP with UK Faster payments and EUR accounts with payments via SEPA via IBANs. Xace also supports CHAPs and BACS payments and has become one of the leading choices available for those in gaming or crypto, or both.
Xace registered with the FCA as a small payment institution under the Payment Services Regulations 2017 (FRN: 911400) providing payment accounts.
- Corporate or individual named IBANs.
- European IBAN and UK accounts.
- Direct Debits and virtual debit cards
- Multiple accounts in GBP/EUR
- Push notifications and spending alerts.
Ideal for: Businesses, traders, freelancers, and other self-employed persons.
Launched in 2015, Orounda is based in Edinburgh and provides corporate firms within and outside the European Union with international bank account numbers (IBAN).
Orounda offers both SEPA and SWIFT wire solutions, and brands its service as being “crypto-friendly.” It could be an ideal payment service for those who operate a crypto business in the UK and want to accept or process customer deposits seamlessly.
- A feature-rich online banking tool,
- The option to operate additional accounts,
- Handle and process transactions from payment processors
- Internal transfers between accounts.
- Non-SEPA wire transfers.
Ideal for: Businesses
Cashaa set out to fill the banking needs of crypto-related businesses, including, exchanges, wallets, and brokers. The company merges the concept of banking and blockchain for B2B as well as for B2C propositions.
At the time of writing, Cashaa offers a personal or business current account and crypto wallet with access to over 70 currencies.
They even have their own token CAS. It is used for quicker applications, discounted onboarding fees, cheaper transaction fees, etc. Cashaa claims to be the biggest crypto-friendly challenger bank in the United Kingdom and serves clients globally.
- Multi-currency (over 70 currencies).
- Allows for seamless exchange of cryptocurrencies.
- Supports large volume transactions without moving the market.
- Payment API to get a notification on incoming transactions, etc.
- UK and EU accounts support SEPA, SWIFT, and Faster Payment transfers.
- Cashaa counts reputable crypto companies like Paxful, and Nexo among its family of clients.
Ideal for: Businesses and Individuals
Revolut started as a non-licensed financial institution in the UK, but it now operates as a full-fledged bank with over 2 million customers. Their services are available to people in the UK and Europe.
Revolut is famous for allowing individuals and businesses to deal with cryptocurrencies using their bank accounts. All three types of account (standard, premium, and metal) support crypto transactions and are available to users in the EEA region.
- UK account number.
- Supports both SWIFT and SEPA transfers.
- Analytics tool for monitoring purchases.
- Direct option for buying crypto, albeit without a send function.
- Multi-currency support (30 currencies).
- Personal or business debit card to spend funds on your account.
- Setup recurring expenses.
Ideal for: Individuals
We picked on Fidor after reading a Reddit comment where a user described it “as a bitcoin-friendly bank.” We dug a little deeper and found out that the bank offers crypto-focused banking services, and boasts leading cryptocurrency exchange, Kraken as one of its clients.
So, if you use Kraken, and want to move freely in and out of crypto, you may want to consider using Fidor.
The firm offers two main types of accounts, the Fidor ICO account, and the Fidor Exchange account. While the latter targets cryptocurrency exchanges, the Fidor ICO account serves projects looking to raise money via a coin offering.
- Corporate bank accounts for investors and exchanges.
- A Pay-as-you grow pricing model.
- EUR transaction processing.
- Fidor counts large crypto businesses like Kraken, Luno, and Bitcoin.de among its banking clients.
Ideal for: Individuals and Businesses
BCB brands itself as “an FCA regulated business payments provider in the digital assets industry,” or just a crypto-friendly bank.
The bank has aimed its sights on B2B payments, including accounts and FX/crypto market liquidity access. They have been around for a while and have been seen as the de-facto crypto bank without much competition.
BCB is focused on 3 main areas:
Banking gives customers similar features to Xace, SEPA, SWIFT, Faster payments, and named IBANs with access to multi-currency. Their markets and custody divisions are focused on trading and storing digital assets. BCB is targeting a one-stop-shop that comes at the cost of sky-high onboarding and monthly fees.
- UK and EUR accounts
- Multi-currency and foreign currency exchange.
- Cryptocurrency exchange and custody.
- SEPA, SWIFT, and Faster Payment transfers.
Which UK Banks are Not Friendly to Bitcoin?
Banks and bitcoin, can they go together? From our previous list, you can see that this ‘friendship’ is possible.
Although the banks we’ve covered so far are friendly for crypto-related transactions, the ones listed below are not. Customers report having their account frozen or flagged for trying to purchase cryptocurrencies or withdraw funds from cryptocurrency exchanges.
Lloyds Bank includes a network of banks such as Halifax, Bank of Scotland, and MBNA. Since 2018, these banks do not support buying crypto with a credit card. Debit card purchases, deposits, and withdrawals from exchanges are always a hit and miss.
Sometimes, users report smooth transactions, and in some cases the bank flagging transactions for fraud, simply because they are crypto-related.
Verdict: Thread Cautiously
Some users say they used Starling Bank for crypto-related transactions in the past with no hiccups. However, others report having their account frozen. In a Twitter response regarding crypto-related transfers, the bank said the following:
“we’ve no policy preventing cryptocurrency transactions. However, our international currency provider does not support the purchase of cryptocurrencies, some merchants may have access blocked for other reasons and our accounts don’t support cryptocurrency trading.”
Verdict: Thread Cautiously
Wells Fargo has made attempts to create an in-house cryptocurrency for its banking operations. Surprisingly, though, the bank does not support cryptocurrency-related transactions via customer accounts.
In an epic Twitter reply, Well Fargo’s account wrote:
“Thanks for reaching out to us. Unfortunately, Wells Fargo does not allow transactions involving cryptocurrency. -Josh.”
Verdict: Don’t Use
While HSBC claimed in 2018 that it lets customers buy and sell cryptocurrencies using their credit and debit cards, fresh rumors have emerged that the bank blocks cryptocurrency-related transactions.
The bank no longer supports deposits and withdrawals from exchanges, ending its stint as one of the crypto-friendly banks in the UK.
Verdict: Don’t Use
Capital One Bank
Capital One does not permit customers to use their credit cards to purchase cryptocurrencies. But if you’re fortunate enough, debit card purchases could go through on some exchanges. Customers also report difficulty withdrawing funds from exchanges, but not with deposits.
Verdict: Don’t Use
The Swedish bank Nordea found itself in the spotlight when it came out that they were forbidding all employees to invest in Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.
That meant that no one working for Nordea could spend their own private money on Bitcoin, or cryptocurrencies. This grabbed the headlines as it was seen as a move that went beyond the bank’s supposedly control over its employees.
Verdict: Don’t Use
Please note that these restrictions and support may change over time. So, we still recommend that you check out how a bank that you intend to use for a crypto transaction is currently operating. The number of banks will change over time, either due to regulation or deregulation.
Bitcoin and Banking; Will Both Ever Reconcile?
Even though it could happen soon, there are currently no banks that accept bitcoins or any cryptocurrency in its form.
They trade and transact in government-backed fiat currencies only, serving as a bridge between cryptocurrency and fiat by allowing deposits and withdrawals from crypto exchanges in the UK.
Why are banks afraid of Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies?
Banks, in general, do not like digital currencies or decentralization. Not all banks are going to accept bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, and there are a few good reasons.
The inherent volatility of cryptocurrency means that banks are very reluctant to deal with it. Banks exist to make money. They do not wish to lose the value of all their investments or that of customers losing value overnight simply because a small change in the cryptocurrency market has rendered their cash useless.
There are already strict regulations in place that deal with the handling of electronic money, and these regulations are going to be even tougher over the coming years as the world warms up to cryptocurrencies.
In most countries, including the UK, there are no clear-cut regulations on how banks should deal with cryptocurrencies. The lack of regulation makes it difficult, even for banks who are interested to do anything in that direction.
As you can see, crypto transactions are still considered highly risky and even criminal by some of the big financial institutions. On the other hand, there are a bunch of progressive banks that want to adopt new trends and support their clients with crypto operations.
We predict that traditional banks will eventually support crypto-related services, especially as more regulatory clarity becomes available. Until then, though, you can rely on the crypto-friendly banks mentioned in this article, to service your customers, make deposits, and lock-in your profits without worrying about an account freeze or ban.