Relai

Relai Review: Best for buying Bitcoin in Switzerland?

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Overall rating of my Relai review:
4.5 ⭐⭐⭐⭐ · 🏆 Top Beginners Choice ·

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In this post I’m going to be reviewing the Swiss bitcoin platform, Relai.

Established in 2020, Relai are a young and fast growing Swiss startup that enable you to buy and sell the cryptocurrency, Bitcoin.

Their vision?

To empower you to save for a better future by making investing in Bitcoin as simple as possible.’

I like the sound of reducing complexity – particularly in the crypto space. I’m keen to see if they live up to their claim of being ‘Europe’s easiest Bitcoin investment app’ as stated on the homepage.

As always with my reviews, I’ll be going through the entire account opening process with Relai, from downloading the app to buying some Bitcoin, so you get to see the full picture.

I’ll make a few of my top Relai ‘pros and cons’ further down the page, and also share my Investing Hero reader bonus so you can save some CHF.

I’ll be writing it all ‘step by step’ in this Relai review.

Remember to check out the FAQ’s at the end of this review too, which will address a number of answers that aren’t obvious at first glance.

Ready? Let’s jump into it…

🧠 Brain fart: Consider how much of your portfolio is invested in bitcoin and cryptocurrency. It’s a risky business and you need to take care. Read more about my thoughts on risk and portfolio allocation here and here.

🎁 Reader Bonus: If you are ready to try Relai, don’t forget to use the code HERO to lower your fees by 0.5%! Enjoy!

Relai Review: Pros and Cons

Before we dive into the details on this Relai Review, let’s check out the main pros and cons.

In general – If you are looking for a simple, fast and Swiss based broker to buy Bitcoin – Relai area an excellent choice.

They are a fast growing startup, but continue to maintain a laser focus on their core value add – buying bitcoin quickly & easily. And it just works.

Others in this space are adding more coins, more complexity and more features – but Relai continues to keep things simple and enhance the customer experience. I love that.

When combined with the reader bonus code (HERO) which reduces your fees by 0.5%, they also become very competitive and great value for money. Compared to other Swiss based crypto brokers they are much cheaper – but more on that in the fee section below.

As I’ve shown below, the new account opening process was probably one of the fastest and easiest I’ve ever tested. Ever. Its very, very easy – there are no complex steps, document scans or delays in getting setup. Very impressive. There is also no account CHF opening requirement, so you can get started for free.

The unique point with Relai is they only enable you to purchase Bitcoin, which might be a limitation for some. For those looking for more options then Binance are a worthy alternative consider, so make sure you read by Binance review for the full deep dive.

🎁 Reader Bonus: If you are ready to try Relai, don’t forget to use the code HERO to lower your fees by 0.5%! Enjoy!

If you are just getting started with crypto and want to experiment buying Bitcoin, Relai are a great first step to make that happen.

ProsCons
  • Fasted ever account opening
  • Simple and easy
  • Based in CH
  • Reader bonus of 0.5% with code HERO
  • Only supports Bitcoin
  • Not suited for advanced users
  • Binance has a wider offering

How to open an account with Relai

Open up the Relai homepage to get started.

> Click here to open the homepage

Click ‘Get started’ to, er, get started:

A popup appears to scan with your smartphone:

Off to the app store we go, tap ‘Get’ to download (its only 24mb):

Open up the app and swipe through the first welcome screens…

Enter your email and create a new password, then click Next:

Keep on swiping…

Intro done, so lets tap ‘Start now’:

Now you can select your language and preferred currency and then ‘Create your wallet’:

Now you can set your pin:

And confirm it:

A couple of seconds to create the Bitcoin wallet:

…Tap allow (if you wish) to enable notifications:

Double check the terms and conditions, and then tap ‘Accept’:

And guess what? That’s it!

You’ve created an account – in about 2minutes.

Quite incredible!

Logging in for the first time

Once you’ve completed the steps above you’ll be directed to your ‘Overview’ screen, as shown below.

From here you can immediately buy Bitcoin, refer friends and access your profile. Lets look at that next:

Under your profile you can select various options – from language and currency to your payment method and security preferences. Take a look through and tweak away…

Note to self: Setup my recovery phrase 😳

Once done, tap ‘Overview’ to return to the dashboard.

All very simple really.

Funding the Relai account

Lets get started and fund the account. Click ‘Buy your first bitcoin’ from the dashboard:

Select an amount of CHF you wish to purchase, and tap ‘Next’

Now you can select how wish to pay, tap ‘Select your payment method’:

In this example, I’ll pay by bank transfer.

You can select Yapeal too if you prefer (check out my Yapeal review)

Enter your IBAN, and tap ‘Confirm’:

Now tap ‘Add referral code’ to reduce your fee by another 0.5%:

Enter the code HERO and tap ‘Confirm’:

Relai refferal code HERO

OK, all set! Tap ‘Confirm investment’ to move on…

Now you are presented with the details to make the transaction in your ebanking. So copy the IBAN, and login to your banking app to make the payment:

All done!

You’ll then be moved back to your dashboard, and you’ll have to wait for the payment to process – which takes about 24hours.

Relai Demo account

There isn’t a Relai demo, however considering the sub 5minute account opening process and 0 CHF opening requirement – there isn’t really any need for a demo trading platform. Simply jump right into a ‘real’ account and see if you like it.

Login & Security

Of course within the crypto world security is a top priority. The good news for Relai users is because their process is so simple, traditional risks are more limited. For example:

  • There is no personal ID/document scanning, so no personal documents/data are passed or stored with Relai.

    Why? Because as long as you trade under 1K CHF/day (or 100K/year) there is no requirement by Swiss law to have any ‘know your customer’ compliance checks – which is also why the onboarding is so fast.

  • There is no payment gateway or credit card processing, so no financial data is passed or stored with Relai.

    Why? Because all you do is copy the Relai IBAN, and then process the payment through your eBanking. Completely separate from the Relai app.

  • There is no email and password setup, so no data is stored on Relai servers.

    Why? Because Relai doesn’t ask – or need to ask – as the Bitcoin wallet remains on your device. No fancy APIs or browser plugins.

For Relai users, everything is conducted through their app on your smartphone, and the bitcoin you purchase itself isn’t stored with Reli – that sits on the Bitcoin blockchain, your device is the wallet.

So from a technical standpoint, things are literarily in your hands.

In terms of things happening behind the scenes – Relai have partnered with InCore bank, a FINMA regulated transactional bank, who in turn work with the likes of CryptoFinance AG to make the Bitcoin transactions happen.

InCore Bank are infact the first B2B bank of its kind to be approved by FINMA to trade, custody, transfer and tokenize digital assets. This regulation oversight and solid partnership behind the scenes brings a good sense of security (I don’t know why Relai aren’t more vocal about it) to know transactions are happening in Switzerland.

Relai are also a VQF member (Financial Services Standards Association) as a recognised Industry Organisation for Asset Management and supervisory authority regarding Anti-Money Laundering.

Fees & Charges

Relai are good value for money to get started with buying and selling Bitcoin in Switzerland. You won’t get ripped off.

Of course, outside of Switzerland there are cheaper alternatives such as Binance, but that’s not really an ‘apples to apples’ comparison considering Binance isn’t as beginner friendly, and offers hundreds of different coins.

The Relai fee breakdown for 2022 is as follows:

So a 2.5% basic fee, then a potential additional 1.5% saving by:

– Making it more than 100CHF per transaction,
– Setting up the recurring buy feature,
– Using the referral code HERO,

… All in, this results in a fee of just 1% – which is great, and much cheaper than the likes of Coinbase and Swissquote.

As you are transacting via a standard Swiss IBAN bank transfer, there are no nasty hidden fees, which isn’t the case with other platforms. Check out my cryptocurrency platform comparison table for more details.

The only thing that I find not totally transparent – is the mark-up (aka. ‘spread’) Relai are adding to the Bitcoin transactions. I’m sure their partners are not working for free, but its not clear if this is swallowed up in their ‘basic fee’ – so it would be nice to have some clarification on the breakdown of this in the future.

Customer Support

To be honest due to the simplicity of the app, I’ve had very little need for customer support! Typical problems don’t sit with Relai (e.g. bank/bitcoin transfer, login issues etc) and so far I simply haven’t needed it. I’ve run a few anonymous tests however, and my responses have been prompt and addressed quickly.

You can access support via the app, which consists of either a helpdesk/FAQ (which is quite small and I hope they expand it) or standard email.

They also support multi language and have a live chat function – but currently no phone support.

Additional Resources

There isn’t a huge amount of additional content, however they are steadily and consistently communicating and building this up. What I like with Relai is the customer focus – and they are investing in building and growing an active community around the product.

They are very active on social media, have telegram channels (in both German and English) and some regular blogging activity.

In addition they are putting out podcasts, and like other platforms have a focus on educating the audience on the topics around Bitcoin and cryptocurrency.

Background info on Relai

Relai are a fast growing startup having only been founded in 2020 by Julian Liniger & Adem Bilican, and have quickly grown to support over 10,000 customers to buy and sell Bitcoin in Switzerland, and increasingly Europe.

They employ a team of 12, and have a significant backing from various VC firms having recently secured a further 2.5M CHF series A funding round to further grow and expand the business.

While they don’t have a walk in office, the company is registered at Langstrasse 136, 8004 Zürich.

Relai referral code

You can use the Relai referral code of HERO to reduce your fees by an additional 0.5%.

Closing thoughts

For beginners entering the world of Bitcoin, Relai are an excellent choice to consider. Their customer onboarding process is extremely fast, easy and painless. The fees, when combined with making transactions over 100 CHF and using the referral code HERO make it great value for money, and very competitive with the bigger more established exchanges.

It’s also great to have a platform that is founded and based in Switzerland – it brings a good level of trust and security when you make bank transactions, and it’s cool to know you are supporting an upcoming Swiss start-up.

Of course, for those looking to buy more than just Bitcoin (e.g. Ethereum or various other alt coins) you’ll have to look elsewhere to something like Binance or BitPanda. Remember, you can compare many other platforms on my big comparison table for a greater overview.

Thanks for taking to the time to read to the end, and I hope you enjoyed this Relai review.

🎁 Reader Bonus: If you are ready to try Relai, don’t forget to use the code HERO to lower your fees by 0.5%! Enjoy!

Relai FAQ

How do I open a Relai account?

You can open a Relai account very quickly by following the steps in this Relai review. It is very easy and you can be up and running in under 5minutes.

Is Relai safe?

Relai holds very little customer data and transactions are handed outside of Relai (e.g. via your eBanking) which makes the app quite safe. As always it is important to follow security steps and use cold storage – and never share your private key.

What is the minimum deposit with Relai?

The minimum deposit with Relai is 0 CHF. You can open the account for free.

How do I buy Bitcoins on Relai?

To buy bitcoin on Relai, simply click the blue plus sign from within the app and select ‘Buy Bitcoin’. You can pay via bank transfer or Yapeal.

How do I transfer money to Relai?

To transfer money to Relai you can simply use the process within the app and make a regular bank transfer via their IBAN.

Is Relai a bank?

No, Relai is not a bank. They enable the transaction of Bitcoin.

Is Relai cheaper than Coinbase?

Yes, Relai is cheaper than Coinbase and the fee can be as low as 1%.

Can I use Relai in Switzerland?

Yes, you can use Relai in Switzlerand. Opening an account is quick and easy, just follow my guide if you get stuck.

Is Relai legal in Switzerland?

Yes, Relai is legal in Switzerland. Relai was founded here, and is a registered and regulated Swiss business.

Is Relai legit?

Yes, Relai is legit. You can buy and sell Bitcoin quickly and easily with no problems.

Is Relai a scam?

No, Relai is not a scam. They are a licenced and regulated business serving thousands of customers in Switzerland and across Europe.

Relai referral code – HERO

The Relai referral code HERO can be used to reduce your fees by 0.5%.