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Buying Cryptocurrency in the UK

So you want to buy some Bitcoins, Dash or other cryptocurrency? Welcome to a wonderful world of workarounds and hurdle jumping. If you have verified yourself on an exchange then now you need to get some funds on there.

UK banks won’t give accounts to cryptocurrency exchanges.

This means most exchanges don’t have Great Britain Pound (GBP) markets. The ones that do have their GBP bank accounts in foreign countries, often Germany or Poland.

Because of this it is costly for anyone in the UK to send GBP to an exchange. I use kraken.com because it is based in the UK and has Euro and GBP based markets. It has GBP and Euro bank accounts based in Germany.

If I try to send GBP from my account in the UK to the exchange’s GBP account in Germany these are the costs:

  1. Normal Current Account, Swift Transfer (£22 flat fee)
  2. Kraken (£10 receiving fee)

Cost: flat fee of £32

My current workflow is this:

  1. Normal Current Account, Bank Transfer (free)
  2. Transferwise (fee = roughly 0.5% or £5 per 1000)
  3. Euro Current Account, SEPA Transfer (£5 using online banking)
  4. Exchange (zero receiving fee with SEPA)

Cost: £5 + £5 per £1000 (so it is cheaper for amounts below £5400)

The Transferwise link above gives you a free £500 transfer from GBP to another currency, you can use it if you set up a Euro current account. I use Transferwise because UK banks will generally charge about £7 plus 3% on currency conversions = £37 per £1000 converted, instead i get a true mid-market rate and just pay a 0.5% fee.

In the UK Barclays and HSBC offer Euro current accounts, you will need to open a normal current account with them if you don’t already have one. This can be done online, but the Euro account will require you to visit a branch.

Allow 3 weeks to get Euro online banking set up and running if you don’t already bank with them.

I hope that is helpful, if you have any questions then contact me directly.