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Ask CryptoVantage: Can Banks Block You From Buying Crypto?

When you look at our cryptocurrency exchange reviews, we outline the various ways in which you can buy crypto through that exchange, and this often includes debit and credit cards.

While many of these exchanges do accept both of those methods of payment, you may have discovered that you were unable to use them yourself. This is because your bank/card issuer is blocking you from doing so. But why can they do that, and is there a way around it? We will answer both of those questions in this edition of Ask CryptoVantage.

Banks are flocking to crypto.

My Bank Won’t Let Me Buy Crypto — Why?

There are three main reasons that banks block users from purchasing crypto assets with the debit or credit cards they have issued. The first reason is legality, as it is still illegal to purchase crypto in some countries. In this situation the banks are simply following the laws. This is true in a country like China.

The next reason is that some banks are concerned with bad actors, and this refers both to those undertaking illegal activities with crypto, and customers who may file chargebacks or default on a crypto purchase they make with a credit card. The volatility of crypto means that some people may purchase Bitcoin only to watch the value immediately fall, and is this situation some will try to get their money back from the bank, which is something the banks would rather not have to deal with, so they simply do not allow crypto purchases. Money laundering is an ever-present issue with digital assets, and because of that banks also choose not to allow cryptocurrency purchases.

The final reason that banks block you from buying cryptocurrencies is because they do not want to bother to put in processes to safeguard against bad actors, deal with potential scams, or take on unnecessary risks, as they do not see it as being a financially beneficial sector for them to deal with. This is something that is likely to change for many banks if the crypto sector continues to grow at the rate it has been.

Can You Work Around Being Blocked?

If your attempts to purchase crypto assets are being blocked then you may be pleased to discover there are ways around the bank blocking your transactions, though it should be noted these are not necessarily options for every person blocked from making crypto purchases.

Debit/Credit combination cards do sometimes work as is, but not all do and not every bank offers this type of card. However, you can send a bank transfer, either in the form of a wire transfer, or in Canada, an e-transfer. A bank transfer can still be blocked occasionally but it works more often than not. E-transfers are a great option for those in Canada, for example if you use the Exchange or App then you can send them Canadian dollars to fund your wallet, and then buy whatever crypto you like with those funds.

Another option is a peer-to-peer (P2P) Bitcoin or crypto exchange. With this option you generally have a few different options for payment, often including something like PayPal, but because you are buying directly from other users it can be a much slower process. The risks with P2P exchanges are not as high as they used to be and there are reliable ones which we have discussed here.

What Happens if Declined by Issuer? is one of the biggest crypto exchanges/apps so it gets a lot of attention from banks and financial regulators.

If you get the dreaded “declined by issuer” error it generally means that you’re either going to have to call your bank and OK the transaction manually or you’re going to have to try a different bank. Until then, won’t let you buy crypto.

This problem isn’t unique to and you will occasionally run into it on other crypto exchanges.

Why Do Banks Block Crypto Transactions?

As we referenced above, banks primarily block crypto transactions because they are worried about fraudulent activity.

Fortunately this is changing as more and more financial institutions are starting to offer legitimate crypto products and the industry is becoming more regulated.

What Banks Accept Bitcoin?

You won’t really find any traditional banks in the USA that accept Bitcoin. There are some financial institutions — like Goldman Sachs that let users invest in Bitcoin but it’s not quite the same as accepting Bitcoin deposits.

If you’re looking for crypto-friendly banking you might want to check out fintech companies like SoFi, Weathsimple, Cash App or Robinhood for easy exposure to Bitcoin and crypto.

Cash App is particularly good because you can buy, sell, deposit and withdraw Bitcoin.

Finally the following traditional banks are relatively easy to connect to Coinbase so they might be good options for someone looking to purchase crypto for the first time:

  • Ally Bank
  • Bank of America
  • Chase

Check if your bank works with

Frequently Asked Crypto Banking Questions

There are no banks in the USA that directly support crypto but, in our experience, we’ve had success with the following banks permitting crypto transactions:

  • Ally Bank
  • Chase
  • Bank of America

Yes. If the bank flags the transaction you’ll have to call them and manually OK the transaction or try a different bank.

No. Crypto exchanges accept a wide range of funding options including credit cards, debit cards, bank transfers, PayPal, Apple Pay, Cash App and more.

If you keep trying you’ll eventually find a method that works well for you.

Absolutely. But keep in mind that debit and credit card crypto purchases generally have a fee attached.

The bright side is that credit and debit cards are generally the fastest possible way to buy crypto.

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About the Author

Evan Jones

Evan Jones was introduced to cryptocurrency by fellow CryptoVantage contributor Keegan Francis in 2017 and was immediately intrigued by the use cases of many Ethereum-based cryptos. He bought his first hardware wallet shortly thereafter. He has a keen and vested interest in cryptos involving decentralized backend exchanges, payment processing, and power-sharing.

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