Luno Review (2021)
Ease of Use
Luno allows residents in more than 40 countries (including the UK) to buy, sell, and store Bitcoin (BTC) and 5 other cryptocurrencies. In the UK, you can deposit GBP using a bank transfer or instantly buy supported cryptocurrencies with a credit/debit card.
You’ll pay 1.5% in fees when you buy Bitcoin (BTC) or other cryptocurrencies with GBP deposited with a UK bank transfer. However, you’ll pay a maximum of 0.1% in fees if you use the Luno Exchange instead.
You can use Luno via a browser or a mobile app – either way, it’s all been designed with beginners in mind. If that’s you, then Luno might be a match made in heaven.
What is Luno? How does it work? Is it safe?
In this Luno review, I’m going to go through everything you need to know about this cryptocurrency platform. I’ll cover the payment methods you can use, supported cryptocurrencies, the fees you’ll be charged, and much more.
Advantages & Disadvantages
- Fees are low on the Luno Exchange (up to 0.1%).
- No hidden fees (i.e., real exchange rate).
- 41 supported countries.
- Available via web or mobile app (iOS and Android).
- Interface is simple and easy to use.
- ID verification sorted within minutes.
- Supports business accounts.
- Cheaper to buy cryptocurrencies with a credit/debit card elsewhere.
- Only supports Bitcoin (BTC) and 5 other cryptocurrencies.
- Low trading volume for GBP trading pairs on the Luno Exchange.
What Is Luno?
Luno is a cryptocurrency broker and exchange that’s headquartered in the UK. It was founded as BitX in 2013 by Timothy Strannex and Marcus Swanepoel, but it was rebranded to Luno in 2016.
- More than 5 million customers across 40+ countries.
- Processed upwards of $14 billion via their platform.
- Offices in 8 countries around the world.
- Increased trading volume to approx. $15 million per day (when I checked).
One of the founders was previously a software engineer at Google and the other worked in private equity, consumer, and investment banking before starting the company. Of the near 400 employees that now work at Luno, many have worked at global companies like Google, Amazon, and Morgan Stanley.
They’ve raised about $13.8 million in funding since launching and have recently been acquired by Digital Currency Group (DCG) – which was one of Luno’s earliest investors back in 2014. Find out more about this recent news here.
How Does Luno Work?
Luno has two sides to it.
The easier to use and beginner-friendly side is where you’re buying directly from Luno (i.e., they’re acting as a cryptocurrency broker). You can access this via a web browser, or by downloading the app onto your mobile device. This is referred to as instant buy/sell by Luno.
There’s then the Luno Exchange. This is a trading platform which allows you to submit market orders (where you buy at the best price available in the moment) and limit orders (where you can specify conditions to execute a trade).
The Luno Exchange is a little more complicated than their instant buy/sell functionality (geared towards advanced users) but has much lower fees (up to 0.1%). However, it doesn’t seem to have decent trading volume for most trading pairs right now.
A recent addition is Luno’s BTC Savings Wallet. This allows you to earn up to 4% in interest on Bitcoin (BTC) added to this special wallet. It sounds good, but few things to keep in mind:
- Interest earned is variable and not guaranteed – it could be lower or higher than 4%.
- Your Bitcoin (BTC) will be lent to a third party and isn’t insured or guaranteed.
- Luno’s lending partner is Genesis.
- Withdrawing Bitcoin (BTC) from this wallet can take up to 7 business days.
- Interest is paid monthly.
If you want guaranteed interest on Bitcoin (BTC) savings, then check out BlockFi instead. I’ve done a full BlockFi review, but the bottom line is that you can earn 6% in annual interest on the first 2.5 BTC you add.
- Set price alerts and get notified when the cryptocurrency hits a certain price.
- Setup regular purchases of supported cryptocurrencies.
- Send supported cryptocurrencies to friends/family who have Luno accounts.
- Excellent mobile app (iOS and Android) where you can access everything Luno has to offer.
Security: Is Luno Safe?
Similar to alternatives like Coinbase and Gemini, Luno store the majority of their cryptocurrency funds in multi-signature “deep freeze” wallets. The multiple keys required to access these funds are stored in different bank vaults.
“No single person ever has access to more than one key. Spending any Bitcoins from deep freeze storage requires a coordinated effort with multiple layers of encryption and security checks. Wallet backups are also stored in encrypted form.”
To facilitate instant withdrawals, Luno maintains a multi-signature wallet – with one of the two keys controlled by BitGo.
This is the high standard that you’d expect from a cryptocurrency platform like Luno.
You can also enable some security features on your Luno account:
- Two-Factor Authentication (2FA): A second layer of protection which means you’ll need to provide a code from Google Authenticator (or similar) to access our Luno account.
- Disable Cryptocurrency Sending: You can turn off outbound cryptocurrency transfers from your Luno wallets. To turn on transfers, you’ll need to verify you want to do this via SMS and then wait between 24 hours and 2 weeks (depending on where you’re located).
- Login Notifications: Whenever your Luno account is accessed, you’ll receive an email notification to let you know.
Luno currently fully supports 41 countries which includes the UK, Europe, Australia, and Malaysia.
Expand the section below to see the full list of countries supported by Luno.
- Bitcoin (BTC)
- Bitcoin Cash (BCH)
- Ethereum (ETH)
- Ripple (XRP)
- Litecoin (LTC)
- USD Coin (UDSC)
It costs nothing to deposit cryptocurrencies into your Luno wallets, but you will need to pay “dynamic fees” to withdraw most cryptocurrencies. This just means that Luno will pass along the network fees to you (and is what most alternatives will do too).
In the UK, you can deposit GBP with a bank transfer or instantly buy Bitcoin (BTC) and other supported cryptocurrencies with a credit/debit card.
There are no fees to deposit or withdraw GBP, but you will pay fees when you buy or sell cryptocurrency on Luno.
There are three different account levels, which are tied to how much information you want to share with Luno.
|Level||Requirements||Deposit Limit||Withdrawal Limit|
|1||Phone Number, Basic Details, Selfie Photo||£1000 (total limit)||£1000 (all time)|
|2||Proof of Identity (accepted documents)||£5000 per month||£5000 per month|
|3||Proof of Address (accepted documents)||£100000 per month||£100000 per month|
I just submitted enough information to get a level two account, but you could test it out without submitting any identification. If you want to find out more, check out this help article.
If you’re using Luno’s instant buy/sell functions, then there’s an additional limit of £8000 per transaction (but there’s no limit to the number of transactions you can make).
There are two ways that you can use Luno – and this significantly impacts how much you’ll pay in fees.
If you use Luno’s instant buy/sell functionality, you’ll pay fees of 1.5% when you buy Bitcoin (BTC) or other cryptocurrencies with GBP deposited with a UK bank transfer.
If you use a debit/credit card, then you’ll pay a fee of 3.5%. While it is more convenient to use a credit/debit card, it’s not that much quicker. My UK bank transfer credited in about 20 minutes, which really isn’t that long to wait.
When I checked, it looked like there were no hidden fees in the BTC to GBP exchange rate. In other words, it was quoting cryptocurrency prices which reflected the real market rate.
In the UK, you’re only able to buy and sell Bitcoin (BTC) or Ethereum (ETH) on the Luno Exchange. But on the plus side, you’ll pay much lower fees.
If you’re a market maker, then you’ll actually be charged 0% in fees. But even as a market taker, you’ll pay a maximum of 0.1% in fees. To find out more, check out this page.
It’s worth noting that the trading volume for GBP market pairs is quite low. When I checked, the BTC/GBP trading pair had less than $100,000 in 24hr volume.
The mobile app can be used to access everything that Luno has to offer – including the Luno Exchange.
There is an ever-growing number of places where you can buy cryptocurrency in the UK with a UK bank transfer, credit card, or debit card.
With this mobile app, you can use a debit or credit card to buy 90+ cryptocurrencies at the real exchange rate with 2.99% fees.
To learn more, check out my Crypto.com review.
One of my only issues with Crypto.com is that it’s not as intuitive or simple to use as Luno.
If that’s a priority for you, then CoinJar is a comparable alternative worth checking out.
It charges similar fees to Luno (approx. 1.5%) and has a great mobile app. However, it’ll give you access to a wider range of cryptocurrencies which you can buy.
Check out my CoinJar review to learn more.
Summary: Perfect for Beginners
“on a mission to upgrade the world to a better financial system” (Source).
The one thing that stands out about Luno is how simple, easy-to-use, and quick they’ve made it. I sent GBP using a UK bank transfer and it was credited in about 20 minutes.
The fees aren’t bad either. You’ll pay 1.5% in fees if you buy Bitcoin (BTC) or other supported cryptocurrencies GBP deposited with a UK bank transfer.
For more advanced users, there’s also the Luno Exchange – which charges much lower fees (max 0.1%). The only caveat is that the trading volume is quite low for GBP trading pairs compared to the best cryptocurrency exchanges out there.
Luno seems perfect for beginners.
Give it a shot yourself. Verification was almost instantly sorted for me.
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