How to Use a Bitcoin ATM: What You Need to Know

Buying bitcoins allows you to have a sense of anonymity. While your identity won’t be completely hidden, it’s difficult to track. 

Cryptocurrency is also free from any kind of government authority. That means nobody can freeze your money or prevent you from using it in some way. 

The easiest way to buy digital currency and take advantage of these benefits is by learning how to use a bitcoin ATM. They can be difficult to come across if you don’t live in a big city, but if you can find one, they’re super convenient. 

We can help you get started. Check out this guide to learn the ins and outs of using a crypto atm.

How Does a Bitcoin ATM Work?

A bitcoin ATM works the way the name suggests. It’s a machine that allows you to buy, sell, and transfer cryptocurrency. 

Before you head to one, there are a few things that you need to know. The first is that all transactions are final. If you send the funds to the wrong person by accident, there’s no getting it back due to the nature of the blockchain

There’s also the fact that the ATMs only take cash. You won’t be able to use your credit card to complete your transaction. 

Setup Your Crypto Wallet 

Before you head to a crypto ATM, you’ll need to set up your wallet. This is where your bitcoin is stored. Think of it almost like your regular wallet where you keep your physical money. 

Getting your wallet ready to go is pretty straightforward, and you have plenty of options to choose from

Web Wallets

One of the most popular types of wallet is a web wallet. It allows you to gain access to your cryptocurrency in an internet browser.

They’re pretty portable. As long as you have an internet connection, you can use your wallet. You won’t have to download any third-party software to your phone or computer. 

On the downside, this option doesn’t give you ownership of your wallet key. It belongs to the website. 

Desktop Wallets

If you want ownership of your wallet key, you can go with a desktop wallet. It involves downloading a program to your laptop or desktop computer. 

It doesn’t do much for you in terms of mobility, and you could damage your computer if the program is attacked by a hacker. 

Mobile Wallets

Mobile wallets work a little like the desktop ones. Setting it up involves downloading an app to your phone. Whenever you need to access your funds, all you have to do is pull it up. 

You may run into some of the same security risks that you would a desktop app, but it’s not as likely. 

Paper Wallets

Paper wallets are convenient because you don’t need to have an internet connection to use them. It’s a piece of paper you print out that contains all the information you need to use a bitcoin ATM. 

Since you don’t need to access the internet to use your paper wallet, there’s pretty much no security risk involved with it. The only problem is that paper is easy to rip or lose. 

If your kids decide to use your wallet as their own personal coloring book, you’ll no longer be able to use it. 

Hardware Wallets

A hardware wallet will offer you plenty of security. It’s stored on a USB stick. When you need to access it at the ATM, you only have to plug it into the machine. 

You can also use it by hooking it up to your desktop computer at home. It does have the same limitation that paper wallets do. 

If you lose your USB, you lose your wallet. USB sticks are easy to break as well. If you step on it, your wallet is gone forever. 

Find an ATM Near You 

Now that your wallet is all set up, you’ve got the difficult task of finding an ATM in your location. Not all of them are created equal. Some of them have higher service fees than others. 

Some of them are also a little sketchier than others. 

You’ll need to do your research before you use a particular operator. Read customer reviews to find out if they’re legit. 

If you don’t live in a big city, you may have to drive a little far to get to a bitcoin ATM. You mostly find them in big convenience stores and airports. 

If you’re having trouble locating a machine, hit the web. You can pull up maps that will tell you where to go and what kind of service fees you can expect to spend. 

Buying Bitcoin 

Since most machines will only allow you to buy crypto, we’re going to go over how that’s done first. 

It’s a simple process that the machine will walk you through, but here’s what you can expect. 

Setup Your Account

When you walk up to the machine, it will prompt you to set up an account with the operator if you haven’t already. 

You’ll start the process by scanning some form of government ID. Your driver’s license will do the trick. From there, follow the rest of the prompts on the screen. 

Type in Your Wallet Information

After you get your account up and going, you’ll need to put in your wallet information. Most wallets have a QR code attached that you can scan right at the machine. 

If you forgot to set up a wallet before you went to the kiosk, you can print a paper one out. You’ll have the option to transfer the information on the paper wallet to an electronic one later.  

Insert Your Cash

Now that you’ve put in all of your information, you can type in how much cash you want to convert to cryptocurrency. The machine will then prompt you to place it in the kiosk. 

After you put the money into the machine, take a moment to look over all the information displayed to make sure the amount on the screen reflects how much you put in. 

Confirm

Look over your information one last time to check if the funds are going to the address associated with your wallet. Again, if you made a typo, the cryptocurrency will go to a different location, and you’ll have no way of recovering it. 

If everything seems to be in order, hit that big confirm button on the screen. You should see the digital currency reflected in your wallet within ten minutes or so. 

Selling Bitcoin

Let’s say that you need a little extra cash to pay your rent this month. You can get it by selling your bitcoin at an ATM. 

Finding a 2-Way ATM

The first struggle you have to overcome before you sell crypto is finding an ATM that will allow you to do it. As we said before, many ATMs only allow you to buy Bitcoin. Not the other way around. 

We recommend Googling ATMs in your area to find 2-way ones. If you don’t, you’ll be driving around for a while trying to locate one. 

Setup the Account

Like with buying crypto, you’ll have to set up an account at a machine that you’ve never been to before. That’s sort of business as usual.

Scan your driver’s license to get started and follow the prompts on the screen. 

Get Your Wallet Ready

Take out your wallet and scan the QR code. Since you’re selling bitcoin, you’ll need to put in an address.

If you don’t, the machine will have no way of knowing what it’s supposed to do with your funds. 

Log in to Your Account

After you put in your wallet information, you’ll need to log into your account. That process is as simple as hitting a few keys. 

Select the Selling Option

Once you log in, you’ll have the chance to tell the machine how much bitcoin you want to sell. It’s important to know that most machines have limits on how much you can take out at once. 

Some machines also have a minimum amount of bitcoin they will accept before they’ll trade it for cash. 

Withdraw the Cash

Like you did with buying bitcoin, take a final look at the machine to make sure all your information is right before you confirm the transaction. If everything seems correct, you can proceed. 

The machine will now dispense your cash as a regular bank ATM would. Keep in mind that all ATMs are different. 

In some cases, the machine will give you a receipt instead of cash. Due to how the blockchain works, you’ll have to wait for your cash to be ready. 

It never takes longer than an hour, and you’ll get a text message when you can go pick up your cash. Don’t toss the receipt in the garbage because you’ll need to scan it before you can get your money. 

Transferring Bitcoin

One of your relatives needs your help. They’re short on their bills and have asked you to transfer some funds to them. 

You can give them the money they need by using bytefederal.com to find the nearest bitcoin ATM. 

Create an Account

As usual, before you can do anything at the ATM, you’ll either need to make an account or log in to yours. Scan your driver’s license to get things going. 

Insert Your Cash

Next, you’ll put in the money that correlates to the amount of bitcoin you want to send the recipient. 

Like with selling bitcoin, there’s a minimum and maximum amount of cryptocurrency that you can send in a single transaction. 

Enter the Recipient’s Address

After inserting the cash, you’ll be able to enter the address associated with the recipient’s wallet. 

We’ll reiterate that it’s super important you make sure you get the address correct. If you make a typo, your loved one won’t receive the digital currency.

There’s one other thing you need to worry about when sending crypto to another person. 

Most machines will allow you to deal in more than bitcoin. If you send the recipient cryptocurrency that isn’t supported by their wallet, they’ll be able to see it in their account, but they won’t be able to touch it. 

Let the Recipient Know the Funds Are There 

After you tap to confirm the transfer, the recipient should receive their funds within a few minutes. 

Let them know that the currency is there so they can withdraw it for cash if need be. 

Bitcoin Fees 

There’s one thing that we left out of our explanation. Bitcoin ATM fees. 

Most machines take a small chunk out of the transaction as a service fee. A lot of the time, it’s about 6 percent or so.

Some machines will charge you a little more than that. It all depends on the operator and the location you’re in. 

Some bitcoin machines don’t include any service fees, but they’re pretty rare. 

If you want to make sure you get the best deal, look up bitcoin locations on Google. Some maps include the rates for machines in the area that you can use to make price comparisons. 

How to Use a Bitcoin ATM to Get What You Need 

As you can see, learning how to use a bitcoin ATM is pretty straightforward. You don’t have to be tech-savvy to work your way around it. 

If you’ve used a regular bank ATM before, you’ll be good to buy, sell, and transfer bitcoin to your heart’s content. 

For more tips that will help you navigate your way around the world of crypto, visit the Finance section of our blog. 

 

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