To exchange Bitcoin in the UK, you need an exchange. Now, we’re not trying to insult your intelligence by phrasing it like that. The reality is, you need an exchange to buy Bitcoin. Naturally, with the industry buzzing, there’s plenty of choice out there for the average consumer. Of course, having too much choice can be as much of a curse if you don’t know what you’re looking for. Fortunately, we’re here to help. Using our team of experts, we’ve reviewed all the best Bitcoin exchanges in the UK and we’re about to tell you exactly where to find them and why they’re hot prospects.
Popular Bitcoin Exchanges in the UK
Using our decades’ worth of combined experience, we’ve combed the UK Bitcoin community and picked out the sites that stand out as impressive. By weighing up everything from the exchange’s interface and payment options to the speed of delivery and reliability, we believe we’ve come up with the definitive top five Bitcoin exchanges in the UK. So, without further ado, here are the top crypto conversion picks for all you British BTC enthusiasts out there.
When it comes to exchanges in the UK, the leading platform is not exactly an exchange. Now, we’re not going to get into semantics here, but when you visit eToro you’ll notice it’s a trading platform instead of a pure cryptocurrency exchange. This site allows you to take some GBP and invest it on Bitcoin. The main benefit of trading BTC as a commodity is that you’re not actually purchasing the underlying product. In simple terms, this means you’re speculating on the price movements of Bitcoin rather than buying any coins.hanks to this dynamic, you can execute trades a lot quicker. When you use traditional Bitcoin exchanges, there can be a delay between make a deposit, receiving some credits and then being able to use them. At eToro, you can deposit using slick payment options such as PayPal and being trading on the price of Bitcoin within a minute or so. This is why our eToro review ranks this site as a fantastic option for those that want a smooth transition into the world of BTC.
Advantages of eToro
- Faster transactions
- Plenty of payment options, including PayPal
- Regulated in the UK by the Financial Conduct Authority and by CySEC
Disadvantages of eToro
- Minimum deposit is $50
- Flat withdrawal fee of $25
As you’ll read in our Coinbase review, this is the largest Bitcoin exchange in the world, which obviously makes it a top pick in any country. However, in the UK, the US company has a stronger position than most thanks to a deal with Barclays. After negotiating with the leading UK bank, Coinbase was given permission to open a business account. This relationship came a few months after the crypto exchange was granted an e-money license by the UK’s financial watchdog.
These seals of approval not only mean that the Coinbase platform is highly regulated in the UK, but payments to and from Barclays are now a lot easier. When these benefits are combined with deposits starting at just £1, insured payments and a secure platform, it’s easy to see why Coinbase is one of the top exchanges in the UK.
Advantages of Coinbase
- Plenty of deposit options
- Low deposit limits
- Fast transactions
- Highly secure and regulated
Disadvantages of Coinbase
- Not many altcoin options
- Transaction fees can be high (up to 4.5%)
As we’ve explained in our CEX review, this site has been since 2013. Initially formed as a holding entity for GHash.io, this a UK-based exchange is now a place for those that enjoy margin trading (i.e. the difference in value between two currencies over a set period of time). When you join this site, you can speculate on a variety of currency pairs, including: BTC/EUR, BTC/USD etc.
For us, the main reason CEX is one of the stand out exchanges in the UK is its interface. Unlike many of the leading platforms, CEX is set-up for beginners. This means you can register with CEX, log in, scroll through the list of options and make payments within minutes, regardless of how experienced you are.
Advantages of CEX
- Novice-friendly interface
- Trade BTC currency pairs
- Sign up using social media accounts
Disadvantages of CEX
- Fees can be high
- Customer service is poor
Like Coinbase, Binance has become one of the largest crypto exchanges in recent months. Based in China but serving the UK, the Binance platform was actually financed by an ICO. With its roots firmly planted in the crypto arena, Binance is known is one of “the” true exchanges out there. For casual traders, the interface is bright and breezy, which means making moves is simple and enjoyable.
For those at the other end of the spectrum, it’s worth noting that Binance allows verified users to withdraw up to 100 BTC per day. For high volume traders, withdrawing large amounts of coins has always been tricky. Binance has moved to address this issue by setting the bar higher than most. Based on these facts, our Binance review rates as one of the best Bitcoin exchanges in the UK for experienced users.
Advantages of Binance
- Great payment limits for experienced traders
- Colourful and easy-to-use interface
- Dozens of altcoin options
Disadvantages of Binance
- No fiat deposit options
- Logs some personal data such as IP address
The final UK Bitcoin exchange we like is one that allows you to physically connect with fellow traders in your area. If you join LocalBitcoins, you can make deposits using your credit/debit card and bank transfer from as little as £1. Once you’ve done that, you can scroll through a list of vendors in your region, you can exchange details and complete a trade online or in person.
The great thing about this site is that you can get to know the person you’re trading with. This instantly makes you feel more secure. Additionally, as you’ll see from our LocalBitcoins review, you can often find better rates. Because LocalBitcoins.com is essentially a marketplace for buyers and sellers, everyone is competing to offer the best prices. Therefore, if you can take your time and scroll through the options, you can typically find a strong exchange rate on this platform.
Advantages of LocalBitcoins.com
- Trade with real people
- Can find solid exchange rates
- Pay online or in person
Disadvantages of LocalBitcoins.com
- Trading with individuals has certain risks
- A Bitcoin-only exchange
Bitcoin Exchange Regulations in the UK
The UK has become one of the more progressive countries when it comes to crypto and Bitcoin regulation. As you’ll have noted from our in-depth eToro review, trading platforms offering BTC options are regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) in the UK. This is the same body that regulates banks, credit card providers, loan companies and more.
At the start of 2018, the FCA announced that it was working with the Bank of England and the Treasury to formulate new guidelines on exchanges. Although the organisation won’t have any direct power on cryptocurrencies, it wants exchanges in the UK to operate under certain standards. The aim will be to protect consumers but also to attract investment from companies working in the space.
If you’re wondering how other countries have approached Bitcoin exchange regulations, read our other guides:- Bitcoin Exchanges in the US– Bitcoin Exchanges in South Africa – Bitcoin Exchanges in Australia – Bitcoin Exchanges in India
Bitcoin Payment Methods in the UK
Unlike other countries that have taken something of a negative approach to Bitcoin payments, UK banks have a fairly liberal attitude. As a general overview, you’ll be able to use the following payment methods when you join one of the top Bitcoin exchanges in the UK:
- Credit/debit card
- Wire transfer
However, within the options listed above, there are specific banks that have recently banned credit card Bitcoin payments. Although things are likely to change as regulations are put in place and the market develops, it’s currently true that the Lloyds Banking Group doesn’t allow you to use your credit card to buy Bitcoin.
In reality, this means customers of the following banks will have to use one of the alternative methods listed if they want to trade cryptocurrencies:
- Royal Bank of Scotland
Those with accounts at other banks shouldn’t have any issues when it comes to using credit cards or any other payment method at the best cryptocurrency exchanges in the UK.
Conclusion: Which UK Exchange Should You Choose?
As you can see, there are plenty of high-quality Bitcoin exchanges in the UK. In fact, what’s great is that you can pay and trade in a way that suits you. If you’re a face-to-face kind of person, LocalBitcoins is a fantastic option. If you’re more into the whole crypto exchange experience, Binance and Coinbase are perfect. However, if you’re looking for the simplest and fastest way to trade Bitcoin, the eToro social trading site stands out. Because it allows you to speculate on the price of Bitcoin rather than purchasing the underlying asset, it’s a much more novice-friendly way to enter the market. For that reason, it rightly has a place as our top Bitcoin exchange in the UK.