Due to the lucrative price actions of cryptocurrencies in this recent bull market, there has been a large inflow of money from both retail investors and institutional investors. Many are entering the crypto markets for the first time and are therefore unaware of how you buy cryptocurrencies and what exchange to use.
This has also forced governments to review these exchanges to stop any potential illicit activities and to “protect” investors. Also, banks have started to take action since they have experienced major outflows of capital from people wanting to invest in cryptocurrencies.
When you combine the fact that governments are starting to attack certain exchanges, most notably Binance, with the fear banks have of losing customers you get a not-so-nice situation for crypto investors. Now that governments are implementing rules on cryptocurrencies and some talk very negatively about them, it has allowed banks to cut their customers off from cryptocurrencies.
Many noticed this when the crackdown on Binance led to numerous banks restricting bank transfers and payments to and from Binance. This is why there’s now a wide search for cryptocurrency-friendly banks to use for a secure bridge between cryptos and fiat. Luckily for us, there are a lot of them and we’ll take a look at a few in this article.
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The Importance of a Good Exchange
Before discussing which bank is the best for crypto it’s important to note that if you’re using the wrong exchange it might not make any difference which bank you use, you might still be without a way to withdraw or deposit. This is partially what happened in the whole Binance situation.
The Binance crackdown began because Binance didn’t have the licenses needed to operate in the jurisdictions where it was already operating. Naturally, it’s illegal to operate without the licenses needed, and, understandably, no matter which bank you are there ain’t no way it’s good to do business with an illegal entity. Yes, it maybe wasn’t that dramatic and many banks allowed you to deal with Binance, but in a more extreme case, you could be in trouble if you use the wrong exchange.
Additionally, one of the most used forms of transferring money to an exchange in Europe is via SEPA transfer, which is something that can be restricted. SEPA is an initiative by the EU and not just a technical term. This means that when regulators want, they can stop SEPA transfers to a certain business and there’s nothing your crypto-friendly bank can do about that.
As you might now understand, you need a good exchange. The safest way to ensure that you always have the opportunity to withdraw your funds is to use one of the big centralized exchanges. I understand that it’s not an option for those who prefer the privacy that comes with decentralised exchanges, but still it’s worth considering. If you’re now wondering which are the good ones then it’s your lucky day, you can find a video about the best-regulated exchanges from the Coin Bureau Youtube channel.
Stay Away from Boomers
Before getting into any individual banks, there’s one interesting thing linking most of the crypto-friendly banks. They are all digital, new, and innovative.
When searching through the internet looking for crypto-friendly banks I found loads of content. Many sites highlight the same banks as the best although many of them were not that familiar. They were also relatively new compared to the traditional banks we’re used to seeing everywhere like Barclays, HSBC, Santander, JP Morgan, and other high profile options.
There are many reasons why it’s like this and many of the reasons are similar to why people own or don’t own cryptos in the first place. For banks, in particular, cryptocurrencies are often seen as a threat since one of their primary use case is to remove the middle man, which often happens to be the bank.
You could then wonder why these digital banks want to implement cryptocurrencies? Well, we have to face the fact that fiat currency won’t go away, and will likely continue to be the form of currency used by the majority. This is why these digital banks see a way to capture big banks’ customers by being the first ones to offer a friendly view of new technology by building bridges between the old and the new.
Then why don’t big banks want to be the best in this too? This is where I would say that the more traditional reasons come in. Many of the big banks’ boards are full of older people who do not understand, nor want to understand the use case of cryptocurrencies. The amount of innovation is vastly different in a start-up bank compared to a bank that has been operating more or less the same way for centuries. Many banks were also living in hopes that cryptos would die off, but as we can see, cryptos aren’t going anywhere.
Because of all of this you should note that the banks found in this article aren’t the traditional ones you’re used to seeing. However, that should not stop you from giving them a try. It’s also worth noting that just because you’re looking for a crypto-friendly bank doesn’t mean you have to move all your businesses from one bank to another. It might just be a good idea to set up one of these more crypto-friendly banks to handle your crypto investments. You can still keep your main account somewhere else and use that for all other things than cryptocurrencies.
The Most Crypto-Friendly Banks
When reading through this list there are a few things to remember. All of these banks may not be available in the country of your residence and might therefore be irrelevant for you. Also, these banks are just a few of the options out there so don’t limit your search to only these. Lastly, these banks are not ranked in any particular order.
1. Ally Bank
Now that we’ve covered a few more narrowly available crypto-friendly banks, let’s move on to the first mention on our list which is a great choice for crypto users located in the US.
Ally Bank is an online bank, open 24/7, and allows crypto enthusiasts to buy and sell cryptocurrencies from exchanges. They do not natively support the purchasing of crypto directly from their services, but they won’t block your card or freeze your account when you choose to buy the dip as many banks seem to be doing these days.
Ally offers savings accounts with a 1.40% APY, which is higher than most banks offer, and customers can invest in stocks without commission fees and gain exposure to crypto through funds such as the Osprey Bitcoin Trust (OBTV) and Grayscale Bitcoin Trust (GBTC), or futures like the ProShares Bitcoin Strategy ETF (BITO).
- US bank that is FDIC insured
- Coinbase integration
- Higher APYs on fiat than most banks
- Stock, ETFs, options, bonds, mutual funds, and crypto fund investment options
- Self-directed trading robo portfolios
- 24/7 customer support and a network of ATMs across the United States
Ally is a great all-around bank that conveniently provides one platform for your day-to-day banking needs, as well as covers your investments. There are no annoying monthly fees or minimum deposits, and the platform even offers loans and retirement services.
Ally bank is one of the best choices for those looking for a full-service bank that doesn’t skimp on crypto options. While it is a bummer that they don’t have native crypto exposure, the crypto funds and Coinbase integration is the next best thing. Ally constantly ranks highly as one of the top online banks in the States, was founded in 2009, and has a well-reviewed mobile app for those who like to bank on the go.
The positive reviews indicate that customers are most impressed with the high-interest rates Ally offers compared to its competition, and how this is one of the few online banks that offer full lending, banking, trading, and investing services.
When it comes to crypto friendliness, the crypto funds offered are perfect for those who want to invest in crypto but are not interested in learning the nuances of self-custody. Anyone who is familiar with investing in stocks or mutual funds will be able to invest in the crypto funds without a hassle, and for those a little more crypto-savvy, the direct Coinbase integration should suit just fine.
2. Fidor Bank
First, let’s start with a bank that since 2014 has proceeded to be a top choice for crypto enthusiasts. Fidor is a German-based digital-only bank that currently only operates inside of Germany. However, since they are undeniably one of the most crypto-friendly banks they need to be mentioned. Fidor is also easy to set up and the fees aren’t that bad. The fees at Fidor are €5 a month, but they can be offset if you conduct more than 10 transactions per month.
In 2014 Fidor partnered with a popular German exchange called Bitcoin.de. This allowed their customers to near-instantly deposit funds to buy cryptocurrencies. Nowadays they also have a partnership with Kraken and they are Kraken’s funding providers, which makes this bank an obvious choice for those who live in Germany and use Kraken. Since they have direct partnerships with crypto exchanges it’s highly unlikely that they would suddenly freeze your crypto transactions.
Now since the previous bank is only available to German residents it’s only fair to bring up one that’s only available to UK residents. As with Fidor, Monzo is also a digital-only bank, so you need to be comfortable using your mobile device. An extremely positive benefit you get from Monzo is zero fees for card payments. There are truly no fees for card payments, not even abroad, plus, their basic account itself is free.
What makes Monzo stand out as a crypto-friendly bank is that during the Binance crisis in June/July 2021, where many banks stopped deposits to crypto exchanges, Monzo let their customers know that they will keep supporting transactions to crypto exchanges. However, there were, and still are, a few exchanges which they don’t support but that’s reasonable since as earlier mentioned it’s not good to support something illegal.
This is another digital-only bank. Revolut is considered by many review sites as the most crypto-friendly bank out there. They have over 15 million customers all over the world since they are available to customers from all major countries like the UK, the US, almost all of the EU, and many more.
Revolut is also extremely easy to use and set up, especially compared to the traditional banks that require piles of paperwork. Revolut only requires a few bits of personal information, including a selfie, and after that it’s simple to order a Visa card through the app and you’re good to go. And yes all of this is free.
The reason why Revolut is seen as such a crypto-friendly bank is because they offer the opportunity to buy cryptocurrencies with their app. A while ago they were criticized for not allowing crypto withdrawals, but that is now currently available to wallets like Ledger.
However, buying cryptos with Revolut might not be the wisest thing. Revolut has a base fee of 2.5% and an additional 0.5% if you trade over £1000. The only way to lower the fee is by upgrading to either premium or metal accounts, but that will cost you £6.99 or £12.99 while only lowering the base fee to 1.5%.
Therefore, although all the development Revolut is doing in the crypto space is extremely good, it might not be the best idea to use them for crypto trading. However, as with a few previous banks, this all shows that this is a bank that is much less likely to restrict your activity in the crypto space than many others.
Although I said earlier that as a rule of thumb older banks are less likely to be crypto-friendly, there are still exceptions. BankProv, previously known as The Provident Bank, is over 200 years old, which makes it one of the oldest in the US. BankProv is a publicly-traded company under Provident Bancorp Inc., and this itself might guarantee you some safety in general. Nowadays BankProv is advertising itself as a leader in FinTech and without knowing the history you might think it’s a startup. This is at least the feeling I got when entering their website.
Although this list has been more about personal banks this is more of a business bank. BankProv does offer personal accounts but their business opportunities are a lot better displayed.
What makes BankProv crypto-friendly is its own cryptocurrency segment. When you look at the website you’ll see cryptocurrencies as a category by itself. Here they offer API Banking along with ProvXchange Network. These guarantee instant transfers inside the network of BankProv’s clients.
API banking is also known as open banking, which means that it’s guaranteed for you to have access to your own data at all times. They also have a partnership with Anchorage Digital to offer crypto-backed loans. The latest announcement from them was to offer Ethereum backed loans. It would thus be logical to assume that a bank offering loans backed by crypto won’t stop your interactions with crypto exchanges or other crypto companies.
Although Wirex is on many lists of most crypto-friendly banks it’s actually not a bank. Still, it’s worth mentioning since as they state on their website, not being a bank allows them to do things that banks can only dream about. Wirex has its own payments card in partnership with Mastercard, and they advertise it as being more beneficial than Monzo or Revolut’s cards. Wirex has three different plans with the basic one being free. If you upgrade your plan you’ll get more crypto back, which if you use the card much, might pay for the plan price.
The reason why Wirex is mentioned on so many lists, even though they are not a bank, is that they support cryptos while offering the same traditional features banks offer. They offer a multi-currency exchange including many traditional currencies along with an extensive selection of cryptocurrencies, at least compared to their competitors. Because they are not a bank the process is near-instant.
Wirex also has its own token (WXT) which if you own you’ll get more opportunities to use DeFi along with other crypto-related features. This makes Wirex maybe more of an exchange similar to Crypto.com but it’s still worth checking out. Another popular and safe similar option would be Paypal which recently launched its crypto offerings to UK customers.
One important thing I want to emphasize again is that these banks were in no order and there are numerous other good options out there. If you do find some other bank that you feel might be crypto-friendly I recommend you to check the company news. If you see crypto-related partnerships then you should be good to go.
Many banks are becoming more crypto-friendly since they need to do that if they want to keep their customers. That’s why I wouldn’t worry too much if your bank doesn’t offer the opportunity to buy cryptos directly, as long as they have some part of their business linked to crypto-related services then you should be fine.
As I also mentioned earlier you don’t need to change all your business from one bank to another. Many of these digital banks might not offer the same deposit securities as some of the big banks and you may not be comfortable with that if you have large sums of money.
There have also been many allegations against the lack of security at these digital banks. Therefore, you can very well only change your crypto-related things to one of these banks while leaving your traditional fiat businesses in the old place. This way you guarantee the best safety combined with flexibility.
Also, as time goes by I strongly believe that even the most anti-crypto banks have to change and adapt to the changing world. This means that even the banks who now try to restrict your crypto transactions will have to change or otherwise they won’t survive.