Coinbase now supports deposits and withdrawals natively to and from pound sterling, making it much quicker and easier for people in the UK to buy cryptocurrency through one of the world's highest-profile exchanges.
Previously, if you wanted to buy cryptocurrency on Coinbase in the UK, you had to first convert your money to Euros. Likewise, any withdrawals made from the service would come out in Europe’s single currency before being converted into sterling.
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This was problematic for a couple of reasons. Firstly, it meant that you were at the mercy of your bank’s exchange rate when you wanted to transfer money. Depending on your bank this might not have been an issue, but those with a worse exchange rate could eat into your funds.
Secondly, it made the whole process take just that little bit longer than it needed to, which could be a problem when cryptocurrency values can be as volatile as they are.
Faster Payments, literally
The new system is based on a scheme that’s literally called Faster Payments, which should give you an indication of the kinds of transfer speeds you can expect when dealing with Coinbase now.
Typically, payments sent using Faster Payments will be with the recipient almost immediately, but can take up to two hours.
“Faster payments will benefit all UK customers, enabling almost immediate transfers. This is essential for Coinbase Pro and Coinbase Prime customers in particular who will now be able to transfer funds quickly,” wrote Coinbase’s UK CEO, Zeeshan Feroz, in a blog post.
“Coinbase, Coinbase Pro and Coinbase Prime GBP support is now live for some of our existing customers, and we will continue rolling this out to all UK customers in the coming weeks.”
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The system supports transfers of up to £250,000 though, so if you want to transfer anything larger then you’ll have to use CHAPS, which unlike the free Faster Payments system, carries a small charge.
Faster Payments is a UK-based system, but Coinbase has said it hopes to roll out similar systems in other countries.
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