Nuri’s bank account (formerly Bitwala) is actually made for crypto-nerds. You can buy and sell Bitcoin & Ether, but the free (without monthly fees) bank account with a debit Visa card is also very useful for traveling. There are no fees for transactions in foreign currency and Nuri also doesn’t charge any fees for withdrawing cash, worldwide.
Nuri has started issuing Visa instead of Mastercards. This step is meant to ensure the use of Google Pay and virtual cards in the future. That aside, the terms & conditions remain unchanged.
If you already own a Nuri Mastercard, you are allowed to use it until its expiration date and get a free Visa replacement after it expired. Alternatively, you may opt to order a Nuri Visa card as a replacement now. However, this service is not free – it comes with a fee of €9.50.
Until June 30, 2021, new customers get a €20 welcome gift from the company. The money will be transferred to your account after your first Bitcoin- or Ethereum purchase with a minimum revenue of €30.
Important: You need to open your Nuri account with our partner link (you may need to deactivate your ad blocking software). Only then you are part of the promotion.
Nuri doesn’t have a banking license and is cooperating with the German Solaris Bank, which is a service platform for many finance start-ups. That’s why you’ll get a German DE-IBAN.
Pros & Cons
Here are Nuri’s pros, when thinking about traveling:
- Permanently free: You don’t have to pay any monthly or yearly fees for the account, incl. Visa. Opening the account is also free.
- Visa card included: You’ll also get a debit Visa card, with which you can pay and withdraw money worldwide. Payments and withdrawals will directly be debited from your account.
- No foreign transaction fee: Payments in foreign currencies (everything except Euro) can be made without any additional fees. The foreign currencies will be changed to Euro with Visa’s published exchange rates.
- No withdrawal fee: You can withdraw cash with the Visa worldwide without there being any fee from Nuri (or Solaris Bank). However, the ATM operator might charge a fee – these fees will not be refunded.
- Buy & sell cryptocurrencies: Besides the bank account, Nuri will also give you a wallet for cryptocurrencies. You can anytime buy and sell Bitcoin
ETH. Nuri will charge a 1% fee + a variable network-fee (e.g. €1 for buying Bitcoin). There are no further fees. It’s very cheap and comfortable, but there are other companies that are even cheaper.
- No credit check needed: Since Nuri doesn’t give you a line of credit, there is no need for credit checks or entries in any kind of register. For the moment it doesn’t matter how much money you earn or if you have good or bad credit.
- Video-Ident: Nuri promises to open your account within 5 minutes. The verification is fast and simple through Video-Ident.
- For all of Europe: Often banks don’t think outside their county’s border. A Nuri account, however, can be opened by a resident of any member of the European Economic Area, and even many other worldwide countries.
As always, there are also some cons which one should be aware of:
- No real credit card: The Visa is only a debit card. Car rental companies usually expect you to have a real credit card.
- No refund of third-party fees: The ATM operator can charge a fee for cash withdrawals. These fees will not be refunded by Nuri. Sadly, this is seems to be the case for all providers nowadays.
- Negative interest rate: If you have more than €50,000 on your bank account, Nuri will charge a fee according to the current interest rate of the European Central Bank, if this happens to be a negative interest rate. This is currently the case.
- You can only charge by bank transfer: Your Nuri account can only be charged via bank transfer. Revolut also allows charging the account using Visa & Mastercard, which is far easier (and could even get you some miles).
- No Apple & Google Pay: Currently, Nuri still doesn’t offer Apple or Google Pay.
- Start-up: The terms & conditions are very generous. While Nuri’s target audience is Cryptocurrency dealers and thus earns money when they buy & sell, you still have to ask yourself how long Nuri will be able to hold those conditions. Especially cash withdrawals have been limited after a short amount of time by other start-ups, such as N26.
Nuri isn’t as young as you would think when hearing the word start-up. Nuri, then Bitwala, already launched a prepaid credit card in 2015, with which you could pay with cryptocurrencies.
2018 the worst case happened for such a young company. Its banking partner WaveCrest lost its license to issue Visa credit cards, and so their business plan broke apart.
End of 2018, Bitwala restarted with help from the Whitelabel-bank Solaris from Berlin and has since then increased its Venture Capital.
Even if you don’t hold any cryptocurrencies, Nuri’s account is very interesting as the conditions are very generous. The unanswered question that remains is if these conditions will be able to last over time.