As cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin continue to grow in popularity, Bitcoin ATMs are popping up in more and more places. For those new to the world of digital currencies, these machines may seem complicated or intimidating to use. However, Bitcoin ATMs are actually quite easy to use, even for novices.
Bitcoin ATMs may be found at a variety of locations around the United States and the world, including businesses, service stations, as well as other public spaces. If you’re interested in bitcoin trading, see how bitcoin is affecting Belarus‘ medical business. In this beginner’s guide, I’ll walk through the basic steps for how to use a Bitcoin ATM to buy or sell BTC.
Finding a Bitcoin ATM Near You
The first step is to locate a Bitcoin ATM in your area. There are now over 30,000 BTC ATMs installed around the world, with new ones being added daily. The best way to find one close to your location is to use a Bitcoin ATM map service like Coin ATM Radar. This site allows you to enter your city or zip code and it will display the nearest Bitcoin ATMs on an interactive map.
Once you’ve identified a few options, you can select a specific ATM location to view details like the supported cryptocurrencies, transaction limits, fees, and opening hours. Look for one that is convenient for you to access and has favorable rates and fees.
Understanding Bitcoin ATM Transaction Types
There are two primary transaction types supported by most Bitcoin ATMs:
Buy Bitcoin – This allows you to deposit fiat currency like USD or EUR into the ATM and purchase BTC that is then sent to your crypto wallet address. So essentially, you are exchanging cash for digital coins.
Sell Bitcoin – This enables you to send BTC from your crypto wallet to the ATM’s address. Once confirmed on the blockchain, the ATM will dispense cash to complete the sale of your digital assets.
Some machines only facilitate one-way transactions (either buying or selling BTC), while others support both functions. Be sure to check the details of the specific ATM you plan to use.
Registering and Verifying Your Account
In most cases, you will need to register and verify your identity before conducting transactions on a Bitcoin ATM. This “Know Your Customer” (KYC) process is required by law and regulators in many jurisdictions.
The registration only takes a couple minutes. You’ll be prompted to enter your mobile number and scan an ID document (driver’s license, passport, etc). Some ATMs may also require you to take a selfie photo. This information is used to verify your identity and combat fraud.
Once registered, you won’t have to go through the full KYC checks again for future transactions on devices in the same operator’s network.
Buying Bitcoin on a BTC ATM
If you want to purchase BTC using the ATM, the basic process goes as follows:
- Select “Buy Bitcoin” – Follow the on-screen prompts to specify that you want to buy BTC with cash.
- Scan Your Wallet – Use the ATM’s QR code reader to scan your BTC wallet address. This is where the purchased coins will be deposited. Make sure the address is correct.
- Insert Cash – Feed your paper bills into the designated slot on the machine. Most ATMs accept larger bills like $20s, $50s, and $100s.
- Finish Transaction – Confirm the purchase details and insert cash until you’ve deposited the desired amount of money. Then finalize the transaction.
- Check Wallet – In 5-30 minutes, check your BTC wallet to verify the coins have been successfully sent from the ATM.
And that’s it – you’ve now bought Bitcoin using the automated teller!
Selling Bitcoin on a BTC ATM
If you want to cash out your Bitcoin by selling it on the ATM, follow these steps:
- Select “Sell Bitcoin” – Use the touchscreen to choose the sell BTC option.
- Scan Wallet – Scan your mobile or paper wallet’s QR code so the ATM knows where to pull the BTC from.
- Enter BTC Amount – Specify how much BTC you want to sell, in either BTC amount or equivalent fiat value.
- Insert Cash Card – Feed in your debit card or Bitcoin ATM cash card. This is where the dispensed cash will be deposited.
- Accept Rates & Fees – Review the exchange rate and fees. Then confirm you want to proceed.
- Finish Transaction – Finalize the sale and wait for the ATM to dispense cash from the slot.
- Check Balance – Log into your wallet and banking app to verify the transaction completed successfully.
And with that, you’ve sold your digital coins for old-fashioned paper money!
Tips for Novice Bitcoin ATM Users
To ensure the best experience as a first-time BTC ATM user, keep these tips in mind:
- Start small – Only buy/sell a small amount of BTC on your first try.
- Use wallet apps – For buying BTC, have a mobile BTC wallet app ready to display the QR code.
- Verify fees – Check the ATM’s fees before starting so there are no surprises.
- Enable 2FA – Two-factor authentication adds an extra layer of security on your accounts.
- Ask for help – Many ATMs have a customer service number or attendant on standby. Don’t hesitate to call them with any questions.
- Stay safe – Be aware of your surroundings when using ATMs in public spaces. Only use reputable operators.
- Check transactions – Log into your wallets after finishing to verify the transfers completed as expected.
By following this beginner’s guide and these simple tips, even total crypto novices can easily use a Bitcoin ATM! It’s a convenient way to turn your cash into crypto or vice versa. As you get more comfortable, you can conduct larger transactions and take advantage of the many BTC ATMs now available worldwide.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the common transaction fees for using a Bitcoin ATM?
The fees vary by operator and location, but often range from 5-10% above the prevailing spot BTC price when buying, and 5-10% below spot when selling. So it is generally more cost efficient than most other cash-to-crypto options.
Can I buy cryptocurrencies other than Bitcoin at ATMs?
Some Bitcoin ATMs also support buying and selling other popular cryptos like Ethereum, Litecoin, Dogecoin, and Bitcoin Cash. Check the details of the specific machine you plan to use to see which coins are enabled.
Is there a limit on how much I can transact using a BTC ATM?
Yes, most Bitcoin ATMs have daily and per-transaction buy and sell limits in the range of $250-$3000. These limits help reduce fraud risk. With verification, higher tiers may be unlocked over time.
Do I need to pre-register before using a Bitcoin ATM?
In most cases, yes. You’ll have to provide a mobile number and scan ID to register an account for KYC/AML purposes. This makes future use quicker and easier. Some operators may allow small purchases without pre-registration.
Can I send Bitcoin bought from an ATM directly to another wallet?
Yes. When completing the buying transaction, simply scan or enter the QR code or address of the external wallet where you want the purchased BTC to be sent. Direct wallet transfers are enabled.
Is it safe to use a Bitcoin ATM? Are there risks?
BTC ATMs are generally very safe as long as you use reputable operators and don’t share your PINs or wallet info. Top risks are stalled transactions, fluctuating rates, and occasional malfunctions. Start small until you get comfortable.
Do Bitcoin ATMs have cameras for security?
Most reputable BTC ATM operators have security cameras to help deter criminal activity and allow for customer support. Never enter PINs or passwords directly on the ATM – use your mobile wallet instead.
Can minors or teens under 18 use a Bitcoin ATM?
No, in most areas you must be a legal adult over 18 or 21 to use a Bitcoin ATM unassisted. Minors accompanied by a guardian may be allowed in some jurisdictions. Check your local regulations.
What should I do if a Bitcoin ATM eats my cash or BTC?
First, immediately contact the ATM operator using the posted customer support information. Provide details of the stalled transaction. Most issues can be resolved quickly once properly reported.
Are Bitcoin ATMs more expensive than other options?
Not necessarily. ATM fees are very transparent upfront. While not the cheapest way to buy/sell BTC, for convenience they can be cost competitive with online exchanges once you factor in wire fees and exchange spreads.