Crypto ATMs: All you need to know

With the rise of Cryptocurrencies in daily use or as an asset class, we’ve recently stumbled upon Crypto ATMs. A crypto ATM is a useful tool to have at your disposal to easily exchange your crypto to cash whether at home or abroad. This guide should bring you up to speed on any questions you may have on Crypto ATMs.

Table of Contents

What is a Crypto ATM?

A crypto ATM is an internet-connected machine or terminal that allows you to purchase bitcoin, ethereum and other cryptocurrencies using a debit/credit card or cash. It creates blockchain-based transactions that deposit the cryptocurrencies in the user’s wallet. Crypto ATMs are sometimes called crypto kiosks. 

Crypto ATMs are machines/kiosks connected to the blockchain network that allow users to buy cryptocurrencies or tokens using fiat currencies like USD, EUR or any other government backed currency. Some crypto kiosks also allow users to withdraw cash or regular money by exchanging crypto from the user’s digital wallet.

Types of Crypto ATMs

There are two types of Crypto ATMs.

  1. Unidirectional
  2. Bi-directional

Unidirectional

These are crypto ATMs that only allow you to buy cryptocurrencies with deposited cash.

Bi-directional

These are crypto ATMs that allow you to exchange crypto currencies for fiat currencies as well as buy bitcoin and other altcoins or tokens (cryptocurrencies).

Parts of a Crypto ATM

A crypto ATM usually has:

  • Monitor: Usually a touchscreen
  • QR Scanner
  • Receipt Printer
  • Card receptacle
  • Cash Feeder/Dispenser if bidirectional

Why Use a Crypto ATM?

Convenience

Crypto ATMs are one of the easiest ways to buy crypto with physical cash. They are also much quicker than a crypto exchange. The exchange process usually lasts a few minutes or less. The operating instructions, large touchscreen, QR scanner and printer make the crypto atm a simple, easy-to-use machine.

Privacy

Using a crypto ATM requires less personal information disclosures than those required for banking. There is no need to open an account with the crypto ATM provider or to complete a personal identity verification. Your crypto purchase or sale is registered on the blockchain, but your personal information like house address, social security number, driver’s license are usually not required when carrying out a transaction with a crypto ATM. 

However, it is important to note that regulations concerning cryptocurrency are changing every day and some countries require crypto ATMs to collect some personal data before you can complete a transaction. Sometimes, these requirements are only needed when completing a large order.

How to Use a Crypto ATM

There are many manufacturers of crypto ATMs and their operating instructions are slightly different but this is the general mode of operation for Crypto ATMs.

How to use a Crypto ATM to buy cryptocurrencies

  1. Tap screen to wake machine.

  2. Select your transaction: BUY CRYPTO.

  3. Select how much crypto you want to buy. This option is usually shown in ranges so you select the range that corresponds to how much you want to buy.

  4. Enter destination address or scan QR code of your wallet.

  5. Insert card or cash you want to exchange for crypto.

  6. After inserting all bills, tap “BUY CRYPTO”.

  7. A transaction completion notification should show on screen showing:

    • Fiat exchanged (Regular money like USD, GBP, EUR)

    • Crypto received

    • Transaction ID

    • You should be able to print a receipt if you want to keep it for record purposes

  1. It is recommended to open your bitcoin wallet on your phone or device and check if the crypto has been delivered to your account. You can also match the transaction ID to confirm.

How to use a Crypto ATM to withdraw cash

 

  1. Tap screen to wake machine.

  2. Select your transaction: Withdraw Cash.

  3. Select how much cash you want to withdraw.

  4. Tap “SELL CRYPTO” or similar.

  5. Some crypto ATMs will ask you if you want to add a phone number to receive an SMS notification.

  6. The machine will then print a redeem ticket with a QR code. P.S KEEP THIS TICKET.

  7. You will have to send your bitcoins or crypto to the address on the QR code.

  8. Use your preferred crypto wallet to scan QR code.

  9. The transaction details should automatically show up on your wallet and you can tap “SEND”. Most wallets will need you to confirm the transaction after clicking “SEND”.

  10. In a few moments, you should receive a text saying that your bitcoin is on its way to the machine. This text should also notify you that another text will be sent when your money is available for withdrawal.

  11. After you have been notified that your cash is available, go to the Crypto ATM and select “REDEEM TICKET”.

  12. Scan the same QR code that was printed in step 6 in the crypto ATM.

  13. Crypto kiosk will process for a few seconds and show a transaction complete notification screen and dispense your cash from the bill dispenser.

How does a Crypto ATM work?

Crypto ATMs exchange cash for cryptocurrencies or vice versa. However, the process is slightly more complex. 

Crypto kiosks or ATMs are devices connected to the internet. Through this internet connection, Crypto ATMs are connected to the blockchain network. When you put in your destination wallet, the crypto kiosks find and look up your wallet through this blockchain network. 

When you buy crypto using Crypto ATMs, your cash (or fiat currency) is taken as cash by the kiosk or collected from your card and this money is then exchanged with the crypto ATM provider. A fee is usually added to the exchange rate for this service. After the exchange is made, the cryptocurrencies or tokens purchased are then sent to your destination address digitally and this transaction is recorded on the blockchain ledger.

When you withdraw cash from a Crypto ATM, the process is similar but slightly different. First, you will need to sell crypto at the agreed price with the crypto ATM provider from your digital wallet. The crypto ATM provider will usually give you a digital wallet address to send your crypto. This digital wallet address is often printed out as a receipt with a QR code. You can use your smartphone to scan the QR code and send your crypto tokens to that address. Most crypto kiosks will send you a text notifying you that your crypto is on the way to their address and will also notify you when you can collect your cash from any of their ATMs. This process usually occurs within minutes. You can then rescan the receipt with the QR code and the machine will dispense the cash to you.

What does a Crypto ATM look like?

We scoured the web for a royalty-free image that showcases what a crypto ATM looks like. We found this photo by Elise from Pexels. It looks like a regular ATM, just a bit more modern. It follows the theme of this decade with its massive touchscreen.

man using crypto atm

Can I deposit money into a Crypto ATM?

Yes, all Crypto ATMs allow you to deposit money in exchange for cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, Ethereum. Most Crypto ATMs accept cash or cards.

Can I withdraw money from a Crypto ATM?

It depends. Some crypto ATMs allow you to withdraw cash. These are bi-directional cryptocurrency ATMs. However, uni-directional crypto ATMs only allow you to exchange cash (fiat money) for crypto and not the other way around.

What are Crypto ATM fees like?

Like banking fees, Crypto ATM fees differ because the machines are made by different companies and their fees are based on their operating business model. Crypto ATMs charge a service fee. This service charge is usually a percentage of the transaction, not a fixed fee. 

Crypto ATM fees range from 7% – 15% with the average around 9%. Some crypto kiosks charge up to 20% – 25% depending on the manufacturer and location. CoinFlip, a crypto ATM operator states its average service charge is 6.99% + 1% fluctuating network mining fee.

Do Crypto ATMs have any deposit or withdrawal limits?

Yes, like regular ATMs, crypto ATMs have deposit and withdrawal limits.

In most countries, cryptocurrency transactions are regulated. According to Investopedia, all bitcoin ATM operators in the US must register with FinCEN (Financial Crimes Enforcement Network) and comply with anti-money laundering regulations. 

As such, most crypto ATMs have minimum and maximum deposit/withdrawal limits. These limits differ by operator and region/country. Depending on the size of your transaction, more personal information may be required from you by the crypto kiosk to complete your transaction. Common limit ranges are from $10 – $10,000

According to Coinsource, most Bitcoin ATM operators buy limits range from $5 – $20 per transaction as a minimum, and $3,000 – $9,000 per day as a maximum.

Who are the main Crypto ATM manufacturers?

The crypto ATM business is still relatively new and as such the market is filled with many new entrants. Every year, more and more startups join the marketplace. However, there are a few dominant players in the market. These are the most popular crypto ATM providers in the world as of July 2021:

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