Things required to use a Bitcoin ATM
There are a few things you’ll need to prepare before you can get started on using a Bitcoin ATM:
A crypto wallet
The first thing you'll need before using a Bitcoin ATM is a crypto wallet. More specifically, you'll need a Bitcoin wallet. A crypto wallet is an app or a piece of software that allows you to store your crypto.
In this case, you'll need a wallet that specifically supports Bitcoin (BTC) — one that allows you to send and receive Bitcoin. It shouldn't be a challenge to find a good one as Bitcoin is virtually the most popular cryptocurrency out there. There are many different types of wallets, and they all have their advantages and disadvantages.
Related: Bitcoin wallets: A beginner's guide to storing BTC
A Bitcoin ATM near you
Once you have a wallet, you will need to find a Bitcoin ATM. Bitcoin ATMs are usually located in high-traffic areas, such as shopping malls or airports. They look like traditional ATMs, but they allow you to deposit or withdraw cash in exchange for Bitcoin.
Bitcoin ATMs are not as common as typical ATMs yet, so you might not find one easily, especially if you live in a big city. You'll have to use a live map like Bitcoin ATM Map or Coin ATM Radar to find the Bitcoin ATM location nearest to you. Aside from location, these maps also allow you to filter your search according to operator fees, type of machine and supported cryptocurrencies.
When you find a Bitcoin ATM near you, note down the address or pinpoint the location on your GPS to find it easily when you're ready to use it.
How to buy BTC at a Bitcoin ATM
Once you find a Bitcoin ATM, here's what you need to do:
Step 1: Set up an account with the ATM operator
Most Bitcoin ATMs will require you to create an account with the ATM operator before you can use the machine. This is usually done by scanning your ID or driver's license. The account creation process is usually pretty straightforward.
Step 2: Enter the necessary wallet information
You will be asked to input your wallet information at the ATM, either via a QR code or an alphanumeric key. Scan your Bitcoin wallet QR using your mobile phone. If you do not have a Bitcoin wallet, you can also opt to print a paper wallet at the kiosk, which you can later use to import your Bitcoin into a wallet.
Step 3: Insert cash
Once you have input your wallet information, you can insert the cash you want to convert into Bitcoin. The amount of money you insert and the sum of Bitcoin you'll receive in return will be visible on the screen.
Your Bitcoin wallet's address and the amount to be sent will also appear.
Step 4: Confirm the purchase
The ATM will then ask you to confirm the transaction. Confirm the details of your purchase and hit the send button. Once confirmed, the machine will dispense the corresponding amount of Bitcoin into your wallet. And that's it! You've successfully purchased Bitcoin from a Bitcoin ATM.
Remember, not all Bitcoin ATMs are the same, and the steps required to use them may vary slightly.
How to sell BTC at a Bitcoin ATM
When it comes to selling your Bitcoin, the process is pretty much the same as buying. The only difference is that you will need to select the option to sell —not buy — Bitcoin when you're at the ATM. You'll also have to ensure that the machine you're using supports the sale of Bitcoin.
Follow the steps below to sell your Bitcoin at a Bitcoin ATM:
Step 1: Find a 2-way Bitcoin ATM near you
As with buying Bitcoin, you'll need to find a Bitcoin ATM near you. Most Bitcoin ATMs support the purchase of cryptocurrency, so you'll have to find one that specifically supports crypto selling. Bitcoin ATMs that can process both buying and selling of crypto are called 2-way Bitcoin ATMs or bi-directional Bitcoin ATMs.
Step 2: Set up an account with the ATM operator
You will most likely have to create an account with the ATM operator before you can use the machine. Again, this is usually done by scanning your ID or driver's license.
Related: Bitcoin for cash: Do crypto ATMs make buying BTC easier for the mainstream?
Step 3: Prepare your wallet address to convert your Bitcoin to cash
At the ATM, you will be asked to input your wallet information. You can do this via a QR code or an alphanumeric key. If you're selling Bitcoin, you will need to provide the receiving address, so the ATM knows where to send the cash.
Step 4: Log in to your account on the Bitcoin ATM
After you input your wallet information, you will be asked to log in to your account on the Bitcoin ATM. The login process is usually pretty simple.
Step 5: Select the option to sell Bitcoin
Once you're logged in, select the option to sell Bitcoin. You will then be asked to enter the amount of Bitcoin you want to sell. The machines typically have a minimum and maximum amount that you can sell per transaction.
Step 6: Select the “withdraw cash” option and collect cash
After you enter the amount of Bitcoin you want to sell, select the option to withdraw cash. The ATM will then dispense the corresponding amount of cash, and that's it! You've now successfully sold Bitcoin at a Bitcoin ATM. Again, keep in mind that not all Bitcoin ATMs are the same, and the steps required to use them may vary slightly.
How much does a Bitcoin ATM charge?
Most Bitcoin ATMs charge a percentage of the transaction as a service fee, with a minimum amount charged per transaction. For example, Coinsource, a popular Bitcoin ATM operator in the United States, charges between 6% and 20% per transaction, with an average charge of around 11% nationwide.
There are also minimum and maximum limits per transaction. For instance, most Bitcoin ATMs have a minimum of $20 per transaction. Upper limits can range from $3000 to $9000 per day, depending on the ATM provider.
The fees charged by these ATMs comply with the regulations of the state under which they operate. So, depending on the state you're in, the fees may vary. Generally, though, Bitcoin ATM operators need to register with the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network and comply with the Bank Secrecy Act's Anti-Money Laundering provisions.
Some Bitcoin ATMs also offer the option to buy or sell Bitcoin without any service fees. However, these machines are usually hard to find. Note that even if an ATM doesn't charge any service fees, the price of Bitcoin on these machines tends to be higher than the going rate on exchanges.
This is because the ATM operator needs to make a profit as well. Therefore, it's usually not worth it to buy or sell Bitcoin on a fee-free ATM.