Cryptocurrency is fast becoming a thing around the world with countries having different rules and regulations for trading and usage. When crypto began taking roots in the United Kingdom, lots of UK investors had their bank accounts terminated with their funds frozen, merely because they used them to transfer or withdraw money to or from a cryptocurrency exchange.
Today, the relationship between banks and the budding crypto industry has taken significant strides in the right direction in the past few years. However, that doesn’t mean that all is rosy, given that not all banks can be used by crypto investors and traders. Some of these banks have banned purchases of cryptocurrencies via Debit and Credit cards.
In this article, we will provide an up-to-date list of the best crypto-friendly banks in the UK. Just before we go any further, let’s review the legal status of cryptocurrency in the United Kingdom and what you may do with your digital assets while in the country.
The legality of crypto in the UK
Cryptocurrency is not illegal in the United Kingdom, but it is regulated by the country’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) only for money laundering purposes. Except for some crypto asset providers that can receive e-licenses instead of registering with FCA, all UK crypto exchanges must be FCA registered.
The UK FCA is reasonably calm towards Bitcoin, even though the asset is not considered legal tender. As of 2020, the asset was considered property in the UK, which means it is subject to capital gains tax. Nevertheless, because cryptocurrencies are different from a traditional asset class, taxes can vary based on the entity involved.
However, in 2021, the FCA banned Binance from participating in regulated activity in the UK owing to the outcome of an operational review. The country also made giant strides to ban cryptocurrency derivatives, as they cannot be reliably valued by customers.
Since January, the FCA has required all firms offering cryptocurrency-related services to register and show they comply with anti-money laundering rules.
What can you do with crypto in the UK?
In the UK, no major high street shop accepts cryptocurrency as payment. However, there are some businesses – such as Torguars – that will let you use cryptocurrency as a form of payment for services or products.
Today, cryptocurrencies are generally held mostly for investments purposes. Most people in the UK buy and sell cryptocurrencies the majority of the time.
Top five most friendly bank accounts for crypto in the UK
Before you keep any crypto asset in the UK, you may want to know which banks permit you to fully utilise your crypto. Crypto-friendly banks, in this context, are the banks and financial institutions that allow customers/clients to purchase cryptocurrency easily by using their debit and credit cards.
Since the FCA issued a formal warning about Binance Markets Ltd in June, banning it from operating in the UK, some banks have either banned or restricted crypto activities with Binance and Kraken. Here are the top five most friendly banks for cryptocurrency users presently in the UK.
- Royal Bank of Scotland(RBS): The UK government owns the Royal Bank of Scotland. In the past few years, RBS has had a positive approach towards cryptocurrency transactions. The Bank also offers you the opportunity to buy and sell cryptocurrencies. RBS will, however, restrict payments to cryptocurrency exchanges that present the highest risk of financial harm.
- Solaris Bank: Solaris is a greatly organised bank that not only offers you cryptocurrency transactions but also crypto custody. In early 2021 the bank launched a regulated crypto custody service according to a brokerage and trading application programming interface.
- The Co-operative Bank: Debit and credit card purchases are generally allowed by the Co-Operative bank, as well as transactions to and from crypto services.
- Nationwide Bank: Nationwide offers debit and credit cards to make payments to crypto. The bank has no ban in place but said that its systems are designed to pick up any transactions felt to be suspicious or unusual for members, including payments to trading platforms such as crypto exchanges.
- Barclays: With more than £1.3 trillion in assets, Barclays is one of the oldest and largest banks in the UK. It allows you to purchase cryptocurrencies with its debit and credit cards in most cases. However, you should know that Barclays has blocked both debit and credit card payments to Binance since July only allowing customers to withdraw funds from Binance.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed by the author should not be considered as financial advice. We do not give advice on financial products.