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Did you know the world is now home to over 38,000 Bitcoin automated teller machines (ATMs)? Interestingly, the first ever of its kind opened in Vancouver, Canada, on October 29, 2013. That’s almost five years after Bitcoin’s (BTC) invention.

One reason Bitcoin ATMs are popular is that they provide immediate transactions. Unlike crypto exchanges, it takes them minutes to process crypto purchases and sales.

So, consider using a Bitcoin ATM if you’re one of the 46.5 million Americans who plan to buy crypto for the first time. 

We’ll teach you how to use a Bitcoin ATM in the guide below, so read on.

Look for Bitcoin ATMs Near You

While Canada was the first to have a Bitcoin ATM, the U.S. now ranks first with the highest number of installations. Canada has over 2,500 electronic kiosks, while the U.S. boasts over 33,800.

With so many installations in the U.S., you’re likely to find one or more Bitcoins ATMs near your home or office.

It’s vital to perform a preliminary search for ATMs near you to check if they support the crypto you wish to buy or sell. Doing so also allows you to determine each machine’s requirements and terms of use.

As for where to find a Bitcoin ATM, you can usually find one inside retail stores, shops, and malls. Other typical locations are restaurants and airports.

You can use your preferred browser to perform an online query for specific ATM locations. You can search for them using keywords like “Bitcoin ATM near me” or “cryptocurrency ATMs near me.” But if you search “where to buy bitcoin,” the results will likely be guides on crypto exchanges or brokers.

So long as you have your device’s location services turned on, you should get accurate results. For example, if you’re using Google, it should provide you with a list of nearby ATMs.

You can also check the rest of the results for sites offering map-based location services. These websites allow you to search for crypto ATMs using your exact address. You can also check out this guide to discover more about using these platforms.

Visit the ATM Manufacturers’ Websites

Once you find Bitcoin ATMs near you, visit their manufacturer’s website.

You want to do that to check their type of ATM, the requirements for their use, and which crypto they support. It also lets you learn about their transaction and exchange fees. Lastly, it allows you to determine the machine’s minimum and maximum transaction amounts.

Type of Bitcoin ATMs

There are two primary types of crypto ATMs: Unidirectional (one-way) and bi-directional (2-way).

Unidirectional crypto ATMs only support one-way transactions, and most often, it’s buying. With these, you can only purchase cryptocurrencies for yourself.

Bi-directional crypto ATMs support both purchases and sales. With these, you can buy and sell cryptocurrencies. Other machines even let you purchase crypto and send them to other users.

Registration Requirements

Many ATM makers require registration for first-time users with transactions exceeding the limit. The limit varies; for example, some manufacturers set it at $300, while others put it at $900.

If your transaction exceeds that, the ATM will require you to register. Registration requirements vary, but they often require a valid photo I.D. and phone number.

Crypto Wallet Requirements

All Bitcoin ATMs also require their users to have a crypto wallet.

Bitcoin or crypto wallets store the public and private keys of crypto owners. These keys are cryptographic information represented by a string of numbers.

The public key identifies the wallet’s address. You can share this with others to receive cryptocurrencies.

On the other hand, you must keep your private key secret because it unlocks your crypto holdings. It also authorizes transactions, such as buying Bitcoin and selling crypto.

Some ATM makers specify which crypto wallet their machines work with. These are often mobile wallets designed explicitly for their ATMs.

You can download an ATM-specific wallet to your smartphone before visiting the machine. Most are available on the Apple App Store (for iOS devices) and the Google Play Store (for Android devices). If you can’t find the app in either, you can usually download them from the ATM maker’s website.

Other Bitcoin ATMs let you use third-party wallets, including hardware and software. Hardware wallets are physical devices like S.D. cards, Bluetooth, and USBs. Software wallets include mobile apps and online wallets.

Supported Cryptocurrencies

There are over 21,000 cryptocurrencies today, but no ATM accepts all. Almost all support BTC, but only a percentage support other digital currencies.

So if you want to buy or sell DOGE or SOL aside from BTC, ensure the ATM supports the other two.

Transaction Fees and Exchange Rates

Transaction fees are for using the ATM and cover the machine’s operational costs. Exchange rates pertain to the value of the crypto in fiat currency (e.g., U.S. $100 = 0.0055 BTC).

Transaction fees vary widely, ranging from 4% to 20% of the transaction’s total.

For example, if you use an ATM with a 20% transaction fee to buy $100 worth of BTC, you’ll shell out an extra $20. That’s five times more than an ATM with a 4% charge. That’s why it’s imperative to check and compare these ATM charges to find which has the lowest fees.

Minimum and Maximum Transaction Amounts

Minimum transaction amounts refer to the lowest amount you can buy. Usually, it’s between $5 and $10, but some may only let you purchase a minimum of $20.

Maximum transaction limits are the highest amount you can buy after registration. These are usually set daily and range from $3,000 to over $20,000, depending on the ATM manufacturer.

Register With Your Preferred ATM

Once you’ve chosen a specific ATM, it’s time to pay it a visit and complete the registration.

One step may involve scanning your valid photo I.D. into the machine’s scanner. You may also have to pose for a selfie using the ATM’s camera.

Some ATMs also ask for your mobile number, to which they will send a password or pin code. You must enter this into the machine.

Select Your Specific Crypto Transaction

Once you’re all registered and verified, the Bitcoin ATM will ask you what you want to do. If it’s a unidirectional machine, then your only option is to buy crypto. But if it’s bi-directional, you can choose the “Buy,” “Sell,” or “Send” cryptocurrency option.

Buy Cryptocurrencies

After choosing the “Buy” option, the ATM will ask you which crypto you want to purchase. Depending on the coins it supports, it may let you choose BTC, ETH, USDT, USDC, or BNB, to name a few.

Choose the crypto you want to buy and enter the amount you wish to purchase. Some ATMs have a physical keypad for this, while others display a number pad on the screen. Then, press or tap “Yes,” “Confirm,” or “Continue.”

The machine will ask for your wallet address (public key). To provide this, open your mobile wallet and have it generate a Q.R. code.

Position the Q.R. code directly in front of the ATM scanner. There should be a sign on the machine telling you where the scanner is.

Allow the ATM to read your Q.R. code. If successful, the machine should show a message asking you to confirm your address. Confirm to proceed.

A new message prompting you to insert cash should appear on the ATM screen. You can then start placing your bills into the machine’s receptacle (do this one at a time). Note that most Bitcoin ATMs in the U.S. only accept a minimum of $5 bills.

Most machines display the amount of money you’ve already deposited on their screens. So each time you insert a bill, the total should change.

Once you’ve inserted the correct amount, check the screen to ensure it displays the same. It should also tell you the exchange rate; for example, U.S. $1,000 = 0.055 BTC. If you’re happy with that, confirm the transaction.

The ATM should then complete the purchase and print a receipt.

Sell Cryptocurrencies

If you choose “Sell Bitcoins” or “Sell Crypto,” the ATM will ask you which crypto you want to sell. Most machines provide options labeled with the crypto’s abbreviation. Choose the correct currency you wish to sell or cash out on.

Open your mobile wallet to generate the needed Q.R. code, and scan this into the machine.

Once the ATM has read your public key, it will ask you how much crypto you want to sell. Enter the value in fiat currency, like $500 or $1,000.

After that, you should see a Q.R. code on the ATM’s display screen. Scan this using your mobile wallet. It’s the public key or address of the entity you’re selling and, thus, sending your crypto to.

Once your mobile wallet has read the Q.R. code, it will ask for confirmation. This involves using your private key to verify your ownership and authorize the sale.

It may take several minutes for the transaction to get approved. Please don’t leave the ATM during this period.

After successful authorization, the Bitcoin ATM should then dispense your money. Take that and the receipt printed out by the machine.

Send Cryptocurrencies to Other Crypto Users

To send cryptocurrencies to other crypto users, you need their public key. This could be in the form of a Q.R. code they’ve generated with their mobile wallets. You also need to confirm what cryptocurrency they want to receive.

The steps are almost the same when buying crypto for cash, except the Q.R. code you need to scan is of the recipient’s.

After inserting the cash into the receptacle, the ATM will convert it into the crypto you chose. It then sends that to the recipient’s wallet through the Q.R. code you scanned into the machine.

Please wait for the ATM to finish the process, after which it should print a receipt. Take this, and then inform the recipient you’ve sent them their crypto.

Send Crypto to Non-Crypto Users

Some ATMs offer a workaround to those who wish to send crypto to friends or family who don’t use crypto. However, the sender must still have a crypto wallet, even if the recipient doesn’t have to have one. The recipient must have access to a bi-directional ATM, though.

The exact steps vary, but it often starts with the recipient initiating a transaction via a 2-way ATM. This machine then generates a Q.R. code that the sender should have a copy of. The kiosk should also print a receipt the recipient will use later to withdraw the sent crypto in cash.

Assuming you’re the sender, save that Q.R. code in your phone’s gallery. Then, prepare some cash, and visit a 2-way ATM yourself.

At the ATM, choose the option to send crypto to other users. Next, scan the Q.R. code you received from your family or friend. Then, insert the cash, confirm the amount, and complete the transaction.

Wait for your receipt, and once printed, let the recipient know.

They can then visit the same ATM they previously initiated a transaction with. They may have to scan a code in the receipt they got earlier to withdraw the crypto you sent them in cash. Or, they may have to show it to the ATM operator, who will assist them in cashing out the crypto they received.

Buy Digital Gift Cards

Some Bitcoin ATMs are also gift card exchange kiosks. They let you purchase gift cards for brands of your choice right from the machine. You then load the digital gift card with cash.

Once loaded, you should receive a digital link for the card, either through your phone or email. From there, you can use it for your own or send it as a gift.

That’s How to Use a Bitcoin ATM

And there you have it, the complete guide teaching you how to use a Bitcoin ATM. It’ll be easy once you finish the registration part. And while registering may be tedious, it has benefits, too, such as better safety and higher limits.

So, why not start your search for the best crypto ATMs near you? That way, you can find the ones with the best exchange rates and lowest transaction fees.

For more educational reads like this, browse our most recent news articles and blog posts!

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