UK Crypto Crackdown: Which UK Banks Let You Buy Bitcoin?

UK Crypto Crackdown: Which UK Banks Let You Buy Bitcoin?

British banks are getting tougher on customers using crypto. In the past week, two of the country’s biggest banks – Nationwide and HSBC – cracked down on using daily limits on buyers or restricting credit cards from making crypto purchases.

These two banks are not the only ones: a number of banks in the past year have become tougher. Some took a tougher stance afterwards collapse of mega digital asset exchange FTX back in November.

According to most UK high-street banks with borders, the move is to protect investors from cryptocurrency fraud. “We want to do everything we can to protect our customers and we feel that limiting payments to cryptocurrency exchanges is the best way to make sure your money stays safe,” Santander says.

So what are the current rules? Here is an overview of which banks are crypto-friendly for the retail investor.


Large main bank across the country this week so it set up new restrictions to “help protect you and try to keep your money safe.” Customers can no longer buy crypto with credit and debit cards, and there are daily limits of £5,000 ($5,965).

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HSBC this week also introduced tougher rules. Now customers cannot buy any digital assets from exchanges with credit cards. Those who bank with HSBC can buy crypto with a debit card through certain UK-regulated platforms – but not exchanges such as Coinbase.

The banking giant has said it has no interest in Bitcoin and has banned customers from buying shares in companies with Bitcoin exposure.


Lloyds allows its customers to buy crypto via UK-regulated platforms and make withdrawals from exchanges such as Coinbase – but only using debit cards.

It was one of the first banks in the UK to stop its customers from buying crypto with credit cards back in 2018.


NatWest Group CEO Alison Rose said last month that the bank had “taken a pretty hard line as a bank on crypto.”

And in 2021, the bank blocked corporate customers who trade in cryptocurrency. This means that companies such as crypto exchanges based in the UK cannot have accounts with NatWest.

But right now, according to the bank, that doesn’t mean we block cryptocurrency payments entirely, but we will limit payments to cryptocurrency exchanges that pose the highest risk of financial harm.

You can use a NatWest account to buy digital assets from exchanges such as Coinbase. Amounts are limited, according to the bank, although NatWest has not revealed exactly how much.


Barclays bank does not allow customers to buy or sell crypto through its online banking platform. However, potential investors can purchase crypto via a regulated, FCA approved broker.

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Barclays was one of the British banks that stopped customers paying to the crypto exchange Binance in 2021 according to the UK regulatory body FCA issued a warning over exchange.


High Street bank Santander announced last year that it would restrict UK customers from making large crypto transactions. As it stands, those who bank with Santander can make single transactions of £1,000, with a total limit of £3,000 in a rolling 30-day period.

A crypto trader who banks with Santander said Decrypt that his account was closed without notice after withdrawing from Coinbase.


Formerly known as TransferWise, Wise does not deal in cryptocurrencies at all. And you cannot use an account to buy digital assets from an exchange. But smart customers can receive money into their account from a platform that deals with crypto if it is regulated in the EU or UK.


You can buy cryptocurrency on major, established exchanges like Coinbase (but not Binance) with popular challenger bank Monzo, but it “may block a small number of transactions based on risk.” The bank does not say how big or small these transactions are.


Challenger bank Starling is one of the strictest: it has banned customers from all crypto-related payments. “We consider crypto activity high risk,” the bank so in November. Starling clients told Decrypt that the move was sudden.


This challenger bank is the most crypto-friendly of them all: users can buy, sell and store a variety of digital assets through the mobile banking app. And just last month, the bank launched a staking service for Ethereum, Cardano, Polkadot and Tezos.

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