Crypto-friendly banks in the UK

Find out which UK banks and e-money providers are crypto-friendly - and which aren’t.

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Cryptocurrency has grown in popularity in the past couple of years. However, investing in cryptocurrencies is a risky business. There is extreme price volatility and little protection for your money. As a result, several UK banks don’t allow any transfer to cryptocurrency exchanges. We’ve done our research and found the UK’s most crypto-friendly banks – and the banks that continue to ban any form of crypto transaction.

Crypto is unregulated in the UK; there's no consumer protection; value can rise or fall; tax on profits may apply*.

What is a crypto-friendly bank?

A crypto-friendly bank is one that places almost no restrictions on interactions with cryptocurrency exchanges. Essentially, if you are a customer at a crypto-friendly bank, you will be able to do the following:

  • Purchase cryptocurrency using your debit card
  • Make payments to a crypto exchange
  • Withdraw money from your crypto wallet and deposit it in your current account

While certainly not all banks are crypto-friendly, the relationship between banks and cryptocurrency platforms has definitely improved over the years. Whereas crypto investors used to sometimes have funds frozen or their accounts closed when transferring money to a cryptocurrency exchange, this very rarely happens now.

Which UK banks are the most crypto-friendly?

We examined the major banks in the UK – both traditional and challenger banking brands – to see which were the most crypto-friendly.

Challenger banks and e-money providers

Monzo

Monzo says that its customer can use a range of cryptocurrency exchanges as part of their personal banking. It does caveat saying that from time to time it may block a small number of transactions based on risk, but overall it can be considered crypto-friendly.

Deposits/withdrawals to exchanges
Banned exchangesBinance
Crypto credit card purchases
Crypto debit card purchases

Verdict: Is Monzo crypto-friendly? Yes

Traditional banks

Nationwide

A building society, not a bank, Nationwide has a cautious approach towards cryptocurrency transactions. In March 2023 it banned payments from its credit cards and set a £5,000 daily limit on customers using its debit card to buy crypto. It also restricts transfers to Binance as this exchange has been banned by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).

Deposits/withdrawals to exchanges
Banned exchangesBinance
Crypto credit card purchases
Crypto debit card purchases

Verdict: Is Nationwide crypto-friendly? Mixed

Barclays

Barclays sits with several other traditional banks with its approach to cryptocurrency. Its stance is that payments aren’t allowed to certain exchanges due to the high number of scams. However, other than Binance, it’s not clear exactly which exchanges are restricted. It’s largely done on a payment by payment basis, depending on which exchange presents the highest risk at that time.

Deposits/withdrawals to exchanges
Banned exchangesBinance and “certain exchanges”
Crypto credit card purchases
Crypto debit card purchases

Verdict: Is Barclays Bank crypto-friendly? Mixed

Lloyds Bank

Lloyds Bank is relatively crypto-friendly. It allows its customers to make payments to crypto exchanges using their debit card or current account, but credit card payments are restricted. Due to the price volatility in the cryptocurrency market, buying crypto with your credit card is extremely risky. So it’s not a surprise that a lot of banks don’t allow this.

Deposits/withdrawals to exchanges
Banned exchangesBinance
Crypto credit card purchases
Crypto debit card purchases

Verdict: Is Lloyds Bank crypto-friendly? Mixed

Bank of Scotland

As part of the Lloyds Banking Group, Bank of Scotland has exactly the same attitude towards cryptocurrency exchanges as Lloyds Bank. Current accounts and debit cards can be used but credit card payments are restricted.

Deposits/withdrawals to exchanges
Banned exchangesBinance
Crypto credit card purchases
Crypto debit card purchases

Verdict: Is Bank of Scotland crypto-friendly? Mixed

NatWest & Royal Bank of Scotland

NatWest and Royal Bank of Scotland are clear in the information they provide customers. Both banks have a dedicated page on their websites answering questions on all things cryptocurrency. When it comes to whether or not they are crypto-friendly, that’s a bit of a mixed bag. They both restrict payments to cryptocurrency exchanges that present the highest financial risk. More recently, they have introduced a daily limit of £1,000 and a 30-day payment limit of £5,000 to cryptocurrency exchanges. Debit cards can be used with some exchanges, but the banks may still restrict certain purchases if there has been a high volume of scams reported relating to that exchange.

Deposits/withdrawals to exchanges
Banned exchangesBinance and exchanges that “present the highest risk of financial harm”
Crypto credit card purchases
Crypto debit card purchases

Verdict: Are NatWest and Royal Bank of Scotland crypto-friendly? Mixed

Santander

Santander has announced it will block UK customers from sending real-time payments to cryptocurrency exchanges at an unspecified point during 2023. From 15 November 2022, customer transfers to cryptocurrency exchanges will be limited to £1,000 per transaction and £3,000 in total in any rolling 30-day period. Customers will still be able to receive payouts from crypto exchanges to their Santander account.

Which UK banks aren’t crypto-friendly?

It won’t be a surprise to learn that there are quite a few UK banks that aren’t crypto-friendly. By this we mean they don’t allow their customers to directly transfer funds to a cryptocurrency exchange or allow debit cards to be used for the purchase of cryptocurrency.

Based on our research, these banks are:

  • Chase
  • First Direct
  • Metro Bank
  • Halifax
  • HSBC
  • Santander
  • Starling Bank
  • The Co-operative Bank
  • TSB Bank
  • Virgin Money

Why don’t some banks allow crypto transactions?

Cryptocurrency is considered to be a very high risk and speculative investment. The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has gone as far as to say, if you invest in cryptoassets, you should be prepared to lose all your money. There is also the fact that the crypto market is unregulated in the UK.

As a result, a lot of banks don’t want to expose their customers to potential scams or fraud by allowing them to make crypto transactions. This is why some restrict payments to cryptocurrency exchanges, while others have banned them entirely.

Bottom line

There seems to be a difference between the traditional high street banks and the challenger banks. Each bank or banking app has its own policies. Even those that are considered “crypto-friendly” will have some sort of limits in place or caveat that it may block payments if it suspects suspicious activity.

If you are interested in investing in crypto, beyond finding a crypto-friendly bank, you should also consider which crypto exchange to use. To help you out, we’ve listed our best crypto exchanges in the UK. Whether you are a beginner or an experienced trader, it’s important to find an exchange that meets your cryptocurrency needs.

*Cryptocurrencies aren't regulated in the UK and there's no protection from the Financial Ombudsman or the Financial Services Compensation Scheme. Your capital is at risk. Capital gains tax on profits may apply.

Cryptocurrencies are speculative and investing in them involves significant risks - they're highly volatile, vulnerable to hacking and sensitive to secondary activity. The value of investments can fall as well as rise and you may get back less than you invested. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. This content shouldn't be interpreted as a recommendation to invest. Before you invest, you should get advice and decide whether the potential return outweighs the risks. Finder, or the author, may have holdings in the cryptocurrencies discussed.

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2 Responses

    Default Gravatar
    BrianFebruary 3, 2023

    Is binance.com safe for investing £1000.00 ?

      AvatarFinder
      KateFebruary 3, 2023Finder

      Hi Brian,

      Firstly, cryptocurrencies aren’t regulated in the UK and there’s no protection from the Financial Ombudsman or the Financial Services Compensation Scheme. Your capital is at risk. Cryptocurrencies are speculative and investing in them involves significant risks.

      Secondly, the Financial Conduct Authority has issued a warning about Binance. The exchange offers crypto derivatives, which the UK regulator has banned from sale to consumers in the UK.

      If you want to learn more about Binance, please find our review here.

      Best,

      Kate

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