How to Use a Bitcoin ATM

In 2022, around 1 billion people in the world used cryptocurrencies. It’s projected that by 2025, the global blockchain market will grow by $39.17 billion!

It’s clear that crypto is here to stay, and it may become a mainstream currency in the near future. In fact, many companies have already set up Bitcoin ATMs, which make transactions easier and more convenient.

Curious about these contraptions? They may just change your life and make you a Bitcoin tycoon.

Read on to see what a Bitcoin ATM is and how to use a Bitcoin ATM like a pro.

What Is a Bitcoin ATM?


First of all, let’s see what a Bitcoin ATM is. These are also known as Bitcoin teller machines (BTMs).

A Bitcoin ATM looks like a regular ATM in that it’s a physical kiosk. The first one was installed on October 29, 2013, in Vancouver. It didn’t last long, as it had operating errors and had to be shut down in 2015.

The next Bitcoin ATM was installed in Bratislava, Slovakia, on December 8, 2013. And then, the US got our own first Bitcoin ATM in Albuquerque, NM, on February 18, 2014. This was also short-lived, as it was shut down after just a month.

But as you might’ve guessed, operators worked out the kinks in the last decade. And as a result, you’ll find Bitcoin ATMs aplenty in the world.

At these kiosks, you can buy and sell Bitcoins; many of them also allow you to buy/sell other cryptocurrencies, such as Ethereum and Dogecoin. For the sake of convenience, you can even buy gift cards and other things at these ATMs.

Most Bitcoin ATMs are bi-directional, meaning you can buy and sell on them. However, there are unidirectional machines, which only allow you to do one or the other.

Nowadays, most people make crypto transactions online. However, Bitcoin ATMs offer some advantages, such as:

  • Faster transaction times
  • Ease of use
  • Use of cash
  • Better security
  • No customer account requirements
  • No bank account requirements

Where to Find a Bitcoin ATM

Currently, there are around 28,000 Bitcoin ATMs in the world, and most of them are located in the US. Lucky you! But how can you find one near you?

Thankfully, it’s very easy to locate nearby Bitcoin ATMs. Just do a quick Google search on “Bitcoin ATM near me,” and you’ll get instant results. You can click on maps to get a physical representation of which kiosks are local and easiest to get to.

Some of these sites also have the handy “get directions” button. So you won’t have to grab the address and input it into Google Maps yourself.

Click here for more information if you’re interested.

How to Use a Bitcoin ATM

You’ve located a Bitcoin ATM near you, but you should learn how to use it before you head out. That way, you can make a transaction smoothly and confidently.

Regardless of whether you’re buying or selling Bitcoins, you’ll need to provide the machine with your phone number or government-issued ID for identity verification. This means that the transactions aren’t 100% anonymous (they used to be, but laws now require that Bitcoin ATMs have anti-money laundering measures like this).

Once you give the machine your phone number, you’ll get a verification code through text. Put the code into the ATM, and then you’re ready to make a transaction!

Cryptocurrency/Bitcoin Wallets

Before we get into how to buy and sell Bitcoins from an ATM, let’s briefly cover cryptocurrency/Bitcoin wallets.

These digital wallets hold your cryptocurrencies, whether that’s Bitcoins, Ether, Dogecoins, etc. When you perform transactions, this is where your cryptos are withdrawn and deposited, much like a real wallet with cash.

While it’s possible to buy/sell cryptos without a digital wallet, it’s highly recommended that you sign up for one first. This makes your transactions more secure, and it’ll be harder for someone to steal your Bitcoins.

There are three types of crypto wallets: software, hardware, and paper. They can also be hot (connected to the internet) or cold (disconnected from the internet). There are various benefits and drawbacks to each type, so it’s beneficial to have more than one.

How to Buy Bitcoin From an ATM

On the screen, tap the option for buying Bitcoin. If you’re using a unidirectional kiosk, then that’ll be the only option available.

Get your smartphone out and open your crypto wallet app. There should be an option to find your wallet QR code. Once you bring it up, let the ATM scan your QR code.

Next, you’ll give the kiosk fiat currency in the amount you want to buy. You can use the cash you have lying around your house, or you can insert your debit or credit card.

The Bitcoin ATM will count up the amount you’ve deposited, show you the total, and the equivalent in Bitcoins. If you’re happy with this, then you can press either “buy” or “confirm.”

Because it usually takes six network confirmations to complete a purchase, it can take anywhere between 10 minutes to an hour for completion. So don’t drive yourself crazy checking your Bitcoin wallet; give it at least an hour, and you’ll see the Bitcoins in there.

If you don’t have a Bitcoin wallet, many machines will print out a QR code for you as a paper wallet. This is convenient, but make sure to guard that piece of paper with your life; if you lose it, then you’ll lose your Bitcoins, and whoever finds it can claim them. You should transfer that amount to a proper crypto wallet ASAP.

Another option is to use an address on a Bitcoin exchange, which will be a URL instead of a QR code. Again, you’ll want to transfer the Bitcoins to a proper wallet promptly to keep your coins secure.

How to Sell Bitcoin on an ATM


To sell Bitcoin at an ATM, tap the option on the screen.

Do note that you must have a crypto wallet to sell at an ATM. Open your Bitcoin wallet app and scan the QR code when it comes up. You can also type in the Bitcoin exchange address.

Next, you’ll need to verify your identity. You can use your phone number or government-issued ID, as we’ve mentioned before, but some high-tech Bitcoin ATMs can also take your picture or scan your fingerprints.

When the kiosk has verified your identity, you can then punch in how much you wish to sell. The machine will then confirm the transaction, which can take some time to complete. Some Bitcoin ATMs will dispense cash to you right away, while others will wait for the confirmation to be done.

Some Important Things You Should Know

It’s straightforward to use a Bitcoin ATM. However, some things catch newbies off-guard, so here are some important things to note.


You won’t get to use the Bitcoin ATMs for free. They usually charge high transaction fees, averaging 10% or more (some upwards of 25%!), but usually between 7% and 12%.

In this case, a traditional cryptocurrency exchange is more worth it, as they charge anywhere between 1% to 4%.

Transaction Limits


If you’re hoping to be a Bitcoin whale by using ATMs alone, then think again. To be a whale, you need to make huge transactions, but Bitcoin ATMs won’t allow this.

Generally, you’ll be limited to $10,000 per transaction. To move large amounts of money, you must either make multiple transactions or turn to a traditional exchange.

No Insurance

The convenience of Bitcoin ATMs is that they allow you to withdraw and deposit cryptocurrencies to and from your own wallet. This can put you more in control, but the cost is that there’s no insurance for loss or theft.

This is all the more reason not to use paper wallets. Be prepared and set up a Bitcoin wallet before you give these ATMs a try.

Start Buying and Selling Bitcoins Through ATMs


Now you know how to use a Bitcoin ATM, as well as find one that’s near you.

While you can buy and sell cryptos through online exchanges, Bitcoin ATMs have their advantages. Not only can you deal with cash, but you can also complete a secure transaction in minutes. Plus, if someone’s birthday is coming up, you can buy a gift card at many kiosks.

So if you’ve wanted to jump into the world of cryptocurrencies, then there’s no better time to do it than now. Find a Bitcoin ATM near you and make an investment!

Check out the rest of our blog page for more helpful tips on finances.