A Beginner’s Guide to Using a Bitcoin ATM

You wake up one morning to check your Paypal only to learn that your account is closed. Apparently, there was possible fraudulent activity going on, which has now cut you off from your funds. What are you going to do? While switching over to bitcoin won’t help you now, it’s a great option for the future. It will give you constant access to your funds, and there are ATMs all over the place that you can use to buy and sell. The problem is, using a bitcoin ATM.

Is it a lot different than using the one at the bank? You would be surprised at the answer. Check out this guide to learn the ins and outs of Bitcoin trading.

What Is a Bitcoin ATM?

Before we talk about using one of these machines, we’ll get into a little more detail about what they are.

Byte Federal machines aren’t that different from the ATMs you use at a regular bank. The only thing that sets them apart is that they deal in cryptocurrency instead of cash.

There are a few things to keep in mind before you start looking for a Bitcoin ATM near me. The main thing is that all transactions are final. Due to the nature of the blockchain, you’ll be out of luck if you put in the wrong wallet address.

Less than reputable bitcoin providers might try to sell you some extras. Don’t fall into that trap. Always look up the reviews on an operator before you use their machines.

Why Use an ATM?

There are many reasons to consider using a bitcoin ATM. You don’t have to be tech-savvy to operate one. Your transactions will be complete in a flash, it’s great for those who travel a lot, and you won’t have to worry about someone getting their hands on your identity.

Easy to Operate

If you can operate an ATM at a bank, you’ll have no problems using a bitcoin machine. The process is familiar, except for a few extra steps.

For the most part, the ATM will walk you through everything you need to do to complete your transaction. All you have to do is follow the instructions on the screen.

It’s Fast

You don’t have to use an ATM to buy and sell bitcoin. You can do the entire process online. The problem is that when you go that route, it takes a lot more time for your transaction to process.

It could take days or hours for you to see the change reflected in your digital wallet. An ATM is much faster. You’ll have access to your funds in no more than ten minutes.

Since cryptocurrency is still newish, you won’t have a long line of people ahead of you at the machine either.

Perfect for Travelers

If you like traveling worldwide, bitcoin ATMs will become your saving grace. They’re available in over 60 countries, so there’s a good chance you’ll have access to one no matter where you go.

Using one also saves you from waiting in line to convert your currency. Find a machine that will allow you to sell your bitcoin and exchange your cryptocurrency for cash that you can use in your country.


When you use a bitcoin ATM, there’s no third-party company that gets between you and your digital wallet. That means your coins are safe and secure.

You’ve also got to jump through a ton of hoops at a bitcoin machine before you can even start your transaction. It makes it much harder for someone to take advantage of you.

Buying Bitcoin

Now that you know why you should head to your nearest ATM, it’s time to find out how to use one. Again, the process is pretty simple, starting with finding a reputable operator.

Find an ATM

If you live in a large city, there’s probably a bitcoin ATM somewhere in your general area. The problem is finding a reputable operator.

The best thing you can do is run a quick Google search. You should be able to find a map with all nearby ATM locations. Some of them will even provide you with ATM fees, so you know what to expect before you go.

You’ll also get a list of customer reviews that you can look at. If the provider you’re considering is sketchy in any way, the comments will tell you about it.

Set Up Your Wallet

You won’t be able to use an ATM unless you have a digital wallet. The good news is that getting one only takes a few minutes, and you have options.

Most people download a wallet app. You can use a paper wallet or hardware such as a flash drive, but they come with problems.

For example, if you accidentally toss a piece of paper with your wallet’s QR code, it’s gone. Similarly, sitting on a flash drive and breaking it is easy.

Something to keep in mind when you’re looking for wallets is that not all of them have the scannable QR code feature. If yours doesn’t, you’ll have to type in a lengthy wallet address every time you use the ATM.

Punch In Your Phone Number

When your wallet is ready to go, you can head to the ATM. The first thing the machine is going to ask you to do is to type in your phone number.

Doing so will allow you to verify your identity, which is required by law. If the machine doesn’t prompt you to put in your phone number, it will ask you to scan some form of government ID, such as your license.

Verify Yourself

After you type in your phone number, you’ll get a text message with a code. You’ll need to put it into the machine to verify that you are who you say you are.

You’ll get a confirmation message on the screen when you do that. You should now be able to scan your wallet.

Scan Your Wallet

If your wallet has the QR code feature, putting your information is a simple matter of holding your phone or paper up to the machine. Your address will transfer over, and you’ll be good to go.

If your wallet doesn’t have the code feature, you’ll have to type your address in yourself. If you miss a single letter or number, the network will have no idea where it needs to send your funds. That means your bitcoin will be lost in limbo somewhere.

Insert Your Currency

Choosing how much bitcoin you want to buy is simply putting your cash into the right reciprocal. It’s not much different than making a cash deposit at a bank.

The machine will do all the calculations and let you know how much bitcoin you can get for the amount of money you put in.

If you don’t tend to carry cash around with you, some machines will allow you to use a card, but they’re not as common.

Confirm the Transaction

Do one last check to ensure you put the correct dollar amount and address into the ATM. If everything looks good, you can hit the confirm button on the screen.

Your funds should be available to you within ten minutes to an hour. If it takes any longer than that, we recommend getting in contact with customer support.

Selling Bitcoin

Let’s say you want to sell bitcoin to get quick cash instead of buying it. There’s an ATM that will allow you to do that.

When you get to the machine, click on the sell option. You’ll then have to go through the same process of verifying your identity and scanning your wallet.

After you tell the ATM how much bitcoin you want to sell, it will print off a receipt you’ll need to hold on to.

Selling takes a little longer to process. The receipt will allow you to walk away from the machine and return when your cash is ready for you to pick up.

Transferring Bitcoin to Someone

One of your loved ones needs some cash for a bill they came up short on and asked you for your assistance. You can transfer the amount they need using a bitcoin ATM.

Before you get started, you’ll need to have an account with a cryptocurrency operator. Signing up will only take a few minutes, and you’ll be able to log in when you arrive at the ATM.

Type in the amount of money you want to send, followed by the recipient’s wallet information. Once you insert your cash and hit the confirm button, your loved one will receive bitcoin that they can sell for cash.

Like with any other transaction, double-check to ensure you typed in the correct wallet information before transferring the funds. If you send it to the wrong person, you won’t be able to get it back.

Are There Reasons Not to Use an ATM?

With how easy and fast it is to use a bitcoin ATM, you may be asking yourself if there’s any reason for you not to use one. There are a few setbacks that you might run into.


Bitcoin technology is still pretty new. That means the machines aren’t available everywhere yet. If you live in a large city, it’s not a problem.

You can find an ATM in most hotels and airports. However, if you live outside of an operator’s network, you’ll have to drive to find one.

While ATMs are available in several countries, there are some geographical areas where you won’t find a single machine.

Technical Issues

At the end of the day, a bitcoin ATM is a piece of technology. They can mess up from time to time.

You could run into a hardware issue that prevents you from completing your transaction. Depending on the nature of the malfunction, your security could be at risk.

The Fees

As technology advances and bitcoin ATMs become more available, you won’t have to worry much about transaction fees. Until that time comes, You’ll have to pay the operator something to use the ATM.

There are some instances where the fee isn’t too damaging. You’ll have to pay about 8% or less per transaction. It can go up as high as 30%, though.

As we said before, research is key. You can get a good idea of the fees and compare rates through a Google search.

Everything You Need to Know About Using a Bitcoin ATM

Do you find yourself worrying over losing access to your Paypal account? Are you tired of dealing with the line at your bank ATM?

It might be time for you to switch over to cryptocurrency. While you can buy bitcoin over the internet, heading to an ATM is much more efficient.

You’ll be able to complete your transaction and see the change reflected in your digital wallet within minutes. The best part? Using a bitcoin ATM is about as simple as using the one at your bank. What’s not to love?

For more tips to help you manage your cryptocurrency, visit the Finance section of our blog.

Oscar Rojas
Oscar Rojas

I'm primarily a dad and a husband, then I live. I've been a freelance writer and editor since 2014, specializing in finance, casino, sports, and esports niches. I'm an expert in checking the small print on any T&C site. You can trust me as an expert, especially when it comes to financing and gambling products.