Nuri Review (2021)
There’s currently nothing quite like Nuri.
Not only can you buy, sell, and store Bitcoin (BTC) and Ethereum (ETH), but you’ll also get a full German bank account (with IBAN and debit card) when you signup. This is available to residents in the UK, Switzerland, and EEA.
The main downside is that Nuri doesn’t offer accounts in British Pounds (GBP). This means you’ll have to send EUR via SEPA bank transfer to fund your account.
This post has been sponsored by Nuri, but I’ve produced this review myself and I have full editorial control of what is said (just like everything else on quickpenguin.net).
Nuri is a German banking platform that offers a handful of crypto investment features. This includes an easy way to buy cryptocurrencies and to earn interest on Bitcoin (BTC).
In this Nuri review, we’ll take a closer look at Nuri and the firm’s crypto-specific features. We’ll explore how the company works, its various pros and cons, and more. That way, you can determine if it’s the right place for your needs.
Let’s get straight to it.
Pros & Cons
- German-regulated bank with €100,000 in Euro deposit insurance.
- All features are available in the UK.
- Can earn interest on your Bitcoin (BTC) holdings.
- Can use Nuri with a custodial or non-custodial wallet.
- Only supports EUR deposits and withdrawals (no GBP).
- Video identity verification is required for all accounts.
- Limited supported cryptocurrencies (only BTC and ETH).
- You can get higher BTC interest rates elsewhere.
What is Nuri?
Nuri, formally known as Bitwala, is a blockchain-based financial services firm that’s based out of Berlin. It was founded in 2013 by entrepreneurs Jan Goslicki, Jörg von Minckwitz, and Benjamin Jones.
In 2021, the company rebranded as Nuri and expanded its offerings to include a slew of crypto-focused banking features. This includes interest-bearing crypto savings accounts and a more streamlined crypto purchasing process.
Goslicki, Jones, and Minckwitz initially started the company as a consultancy that worked with banks to help them understand the power of cryptocurrencies.
After struggling to gain traction with large banks, the trio launched their own platform, then called Bitwala, to help people make bank transfers on the blockchain.
The company’s mission is to “build a sustainable link between the crypto and fiat economies”. Nuri also states that it wants to help people exchange currencies of all kinds with ease, speed, and cost-efficiency.
Throughout its more than 8 years in operation, Nuri has no documented history of a successful company-wide hacking attempt.
As the firm also provides banking services, it’s required to register with the German Authorities under the German Banking Act. The company is registered under the name Nuri GmbH with registration number HRB173698B and tax number DE305362792.
As of the time of writing, Nuri states on its homepage that it has over 250,000 customers. The company also states that it offers up to €100,000 in fiat currency deposit protection for each account holder under the terms of the German Deposit Guarantee Act of 2015.
As far as trustworthiness goes, Nuri currently has a 3.4* rating (1,400+ reviews) on Trustpilot. This 3.4* rating is fairly high by cryptocurrency industry standards, with nearly 60% of reviewers giving the company 5 stars.
Most of the low rating reviews of Nuri mention issues with accounts getting locked or difficulties getting the rewards payouts promised through some of the firm’s referral bonus programs.
How Does Nuri Work?
Nuri is technically a financial services provider that offers bank accounts in conjunction with solarisBank. Like a normal bank account, you do things like make SEPA transfers or withdraw money from an ATM using a debit card.
But Nuri also has crypto-related features, Nuri functions more like a broker, by facilitating transactions between investors that want to place crypto trades (that’s you!) and crypto exchanges.
You can access Nuri via its website or by using one of its mobile apps (iOS and Android). All of Nuri’s platforms are known for being user-friendly and streamlined. Both the iOS and Android apps also get relatively high ratings on their respective app stores.
Creating an account should be a straightforward process. From start to finish, it took me about 10 minutes via the Nuri mobile app.
However, there are a number of steps to Nuri’s account creation process that you might not find elsewhere.
Like other places, you’ll need to complete identity verification. As part of this process, you need to provide a valid form of ID (like a passport or driving license). You may also need to provide proof of address, such as a bank statement or utility bill.
I also received an email after signing up asking for my tax identification number. If you don’t provide this, your account gets frozen.
On top of this…
You’ll need to complete video verification. This video verification process is completed by Nuri’s partner, IDNow, as required by the German BaFin (Federal Financial Supervisory Authority).
Not something anyone wants to bother with. But it doesn’t take long.
My account was instantly approved after this. However, it can take up to 24 hours for your account to be approved if manual verification is needed.
(Click to expand any of the images.)
Nuri account holders can buy Bitcoin (BTC) and Ethereum (ETH) using Nuri’s website or the firm’s mobile app.
The process for purchasing either of these cryptocurrencies on mobile or desktop devices is more or less the same.
To make a Bitcoin (BTC) purchase:
- Navigate to the Wealth section of your account dashboard.
- Press the button to buy Bitcoin (BTC).
- Enter the amount of Bitcoin (BTC) you want to buy or the amount of Euro that you want to spend.
- Press ‘Buy’ if you’re happy.
- Check your text messages for an mTAN (mobile transaction authentication number).
- Enter this mTAN within 2 minutes to confirm your transaction.
- Once you make a purchase, your Bitcoin (BTC) should be credited instantly to your account.
Keep in mind that you need to confirm your transaction within 2 minutes of pressing the ‘Buy’ button, or you’ll need to restart the purchase process.
Nuri is a German-based banking and cryptocurrency services provider that operates within European regulations. This means that it you can only open an account if you’re a resident in the European Economic Area (EEA), Switzerland, and the United Kingdom.
You’ll also need to be a citizen of a country in the EEA, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, or one of about 70 other countries. For the full list of eligible countries of citizenship, check out Nuri’s list of supported nationalities.
Keep in mind that Nuri only provides customer support in English and German. That’s not a huge deal if you’re from the UK or Germany, but something to consider if you live elsewhere in the EU and can’t understand one of these languages.
Nuri currently only supports two cryptocurrencies: Bitcoin (BTC) and Ethereum (ETH).
However, you can only earn interest with Nuri on Bitcoin (BTC).
The Nuri platform operates in Euro, Bitcoin (BTC), and Ethereum (ETH).
You can deposit EUR into your Nuri account using a SEPA transfer. Nuri doesn’t currently support British Pounds (GBP) or any other fiat currency. It also doesn’t support SWIFT transfers, FPS transfers, or debit and credit card purchases for cryptocurrencies.
Although SEPA transfers can take 1-3 days, a transfer I made was credited within a few hours.
You can also fund your Nuri account by depositing Bitcoin (BTC) or Ethereum (ETH) into your Nuri account.
There are currently no fees to open or maintain a Nuri account.
You will be charged a trading fee whenever you buy or sell cryptocurrencies on Nuri, though.
These fees vary depending on whether you’re making a trade using your Nuri Crypto Wallet (custodial) or from your Nuri Crypto Vault (self-custodial).
The current trading fee schedule is as follows:
|Nuri Crypto Wallet Trades||Nuri Crypto Vault Trades|
|Network Fee (BTC Buy)||Free||€1|
|Network Fee (BTC Sell)||Free||Current Network Rate|
On top of this, you might find that the Bitcoin (BTC) or Ethereum (ETH) exchange rate you’re quoted is above the mid-market rate. When I checked, the Bitcoin (BTC) price I was quoted on Nuri was around 0.9% higher than the market rate on Coinbase Pro.
You can check the cryptocurrency exchange rates on Nuri by opening the Nuri mobile app and heading to the bottom of the ‘Wealth’ tab.
You can also check it by going to the bottom of this page on its website. This page doesn’t auto-refresh, so you’ll need to manually do that to get the current rate.
You then need to get the current EUR price of Bitcoin (BTC) on a cryptocurrency exchange like Coinbase Pro. You can check that here.
Then plug these two numbers into a tool like this.
You will probably be charged a network fee for sending crypto from your Nuri account, but this fee is determined by the network (not by Nuri).
Besides this, the only other fees that Nuri might charge you for are a €9.50 replacement debit card fee (for if you lose your card) and a variable high deposit fee.
This ‘high deposit fee’ applies only to customers that deposit more than €50,000 per month into their account. The rate for this is set by the European Central Bank and is updated every six weeks as part of the bank’s monetary policy. You can check the rate for this fee (it’s called a deposit facility fee) on the European Central Bank’s interest rates page.
All Nuri accounts are subject to certain deposit, withdrawal, and trading limits. As of the time of writing, these limits are:
|SEPA Deposits & Withdrawals||None|
|Crypto Deposits & Withdrawals||None|
|Daily Nuri Debit Card Withdrawals||€1,500|
|Weekly Trading Volume||€50,000|
When compared to other firms, Nuri has relatively few limits.
However, the firm’s single trade and weekly trading volume limits are important to keep in mind if you’re looking to place large trades. These limits are relatively low, so Nuri may not be best if you’re looking to regularly make large purchases.
Everyone that signs up for Nuri automatically gets access to a standard checking account with Nuri’s German-registered banking partner, solarisBank. You can access this via the Nuri website or the mobile app.
Each Nuri bank account has a German IBAN and uses Euro as its base currency. These accounts support SEPA transfers, and they can be used to make international payments. You can also establish direct debit to a Nuri account. Additionally, Euro deposits in Nuri bank accounts are insured under German law for up to €100,000.
Nuri Debit Card
In conjunction with the firm’s bank accounts, all Nuri account holders get access to a debit card.
The Nuri debit card is a Euro-denominated card that can be used anywhere that Visa is accepted. You’ll also get free ATM withdrawals around the world with this card.
It also has a nifty security feature that lets you lock your debit card in the mobile app at any time. This can be particularly helpful if you lose or misplace your card and want to prevent any potential fraudulent use of your funds.
With Nuri, investors can easily buy and sell Bitcoin (BTC) or Ethereum (ETH).
All purchases made on the platform are debited from your Nuri bank account. These transactions are processed as market orders, and they automatically get added to your Nuri Wallet or Vault after your transaction is complete.
You can access and use Nuri at any time. This is an advantage over some other platforms, like Coinfloor, which only process crypto trades during certain business hours. However, Nuri doesn’t support advanced order types, like limit and stop orders, which are popular among experienced investors. There’s also a €30 minimum for all Nuri trades.
Nuri Wallets & Vaults
All Nuri account holders get access to two types of Nuri-supported cryptocurrency wallets: Nuri Wallets and Nuri Vaults.
The Nuri Wallet is a type of online custodial wallet that’s managed by Solaris Digital Assets, one of Nuri’s partners. With this wallet, you get a quick and easy way to trade crypto without any network fees. The downside is that your private keys are controlled by the custodian.
The Nuri Vault is an online personal wallet operated in conjunction with BitGo. With this service, you’ll retain complete control over your private keys without the need to trust your funds to a company.
This is awesome. However, it means that you will be responsible for paying network fees when you buy cryptocurrencies using Nuri.
By default, all Nuri accounts start with a Nuri Wallet. However, you can create a Vault at any time by logging in to your account.
BTC Interest Account
Nuri also offers an interest-bearing account for Bitcoin (BTC).
This service is offered in partnership with Nuri’s partner Celsius. Celsius is a centralized finance and crypto services platform that offers a range of interest-bearing accounts and crypto-backed loans for digital assets-focused investors.
With this feature, you can move any (or all) of the Bitcoin (BTC) in your wallets to Nuri’s BTC Interest Account. Doing so sends your BTC to Celsius so the firm can lend out your crypto to institutions and investors. In exchange, you get interest payments (5% as of the time of writing), which are paid directly into your Nuri account every week.
Under this program, you can withdraw your Bitcoin (BTC) at any time. However, note that it can take up to 2 hours to process your withdrawal.
You should also keep in mind that you may have to pay a network fee to send your BTC to Celsius when you deposit funds into your BTC Interest Account. Celsius covers the network fee when you withdraw though.
While there are no fees to use the BTC Interest Account at Nuri, it does take a portion of your interest payments. They don’t mention this explicitly on their website, however, a quick comparison of Celsius’s current stated interest rates for BTC shows that Celsius offers higher interest on BTC deposited directly with them.
Because of this, you may want to explore whether you can get a higher interest rate using another platform. Other platforms, like BlockFi, also support interest payments on Ethereum (ETH) and other cryptocurrencies – which Nuri doesn’t.
Not sure that Nuri is the right choice for you?
Although there aren’t any alternatives that work exactly like Nuri, there are plenty of places where you can buy Bitcoin (BTC) and other cryptocurrencies in the UK.
One similarly easy-to-use alternative is CoinJar.
CoinJar allows you to buy about 30 different coins using GBP – through either UK bank transfer, as well as with a credit or debit card. Fees are similar (fixed 1% fee) and it has recently been granted official FCA registration. Check out my CoinJar review for more details.
Another alternative is Luno.
You can deposit GBP using a UK bank transfer or buy instantly using a credit or debit card. However, you’ll only be able to buy Bitcoin (BTC) and 5 other cryptocurrencies. Fees for buying with GBP deposited with a UK bank transfer are 1.5%. You can learn more in my Luno review.
What if your primary goal is to earn interest on your cryptoassets?
BlockFi is one option you could check out.
Although its crypto-backed loans feature isn’t available in the UK, the company does provide slightly higher interest rates on a wider variety of assets than you can find with Nuri. Check out my BlockFi review for everything you need to know.
The Bottom Line
Although Nuri is a relatively small crypto-focused company, it’s offering something quite unique to UK and EU residents.
Some of the features of Nuri that stood out to me:
- An easy-to-use and relatively low-cost way to instantly buy Bitcoin (BTC) and Ethereum (ETH)
- Easy access to a Euro-denominated bank account with a regulated German bank (registered in about 10 minutes).
- Convenient interest-bearing accounts that can earn you interest on Bitcoin (BTC).
- Option to connect a custodial or a non-custodial hot wallet to your Nuri account.
But the downside? Nuri only supports two cryptocurrencies, with no features for advanced crypto traders. On top of this, Nuri doesn’t offer accounts in British Pounds (GBP).
But if you can look past these points?
There’s a lot to love about what Nuri is trying to do. It’s simple to use and could be used as a way to bank and invest in crypto – all in one place.
Thanks for checking out this Nuri review!
Have a question about it?
Let me know in the comments section below!