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What is a Bitcoin ATM and how does it work?

March 31st, 2022Joey PrebysJoey Prebys

*This article was originally published on June 2, 2021, but was updated on April 8, 2023 to reflect current information.

As bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies rise in popularity among investors, new and improved ways to buy and sell it safely and conveniently have been popping up all around. In fact, you may have noticed a new machine labeled Bitcoin ATM on a recent trip to your local convenience store. What are Bitcoin ATMs exactly and how do they work?

What is a Bitcoin ATM?

Bitcoin ATMs are automated teller machines that allow you to buy and sell bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. Much like the ATMs you see at a bank, Bitcoin ATMs receive and dispense cash. However, unlike traditional ATMs, you do not need a bank account to use one. 

Bitcoin ATMs make buying and selling cryptocurrency easy and fast by converting your cash to crypto in a few simple steps. Bitcoin ATMs don't require any extensive expertise, making them an excellent choice for first-time crypto buyers and advanced users alike! You can find our ATMs in retail businesses like convenience shops, grocery stores, gas stations, and more. 

Before heading to a Bitcoin ATM:

  • You will need a crypto wallet - A crypto wallet or a digital wallet allows you to safely store and access your cryptocurrency. If you are a beginner looking to buy Bitcoin or Ethereum at the ATM, we recommend using a non-custodial wallet. If you want maximum security for your coins, try using a hardware wallet like the Trezor One. For more information on crypto wallets, check out our article "Cryptocurrency Explained: Crypto Wallets."

  • Find your closet location -  Finding your nearest CoinFlip ATM location is easy! All it takes is three steps. Head to our online ATM Finder, enter your zip code or location, and your closest Bitcoin ATM will appear along with information about the site, including hours of operation, contact information, and directions. If you are looking to sell cryptocurrency, be sure to select the "buy and sell" filter when searching for your closest location. 

How Bitcoin ATMs work

Bitcoin ATMs make converting cash to cryptocurrencies easy and fast. 

  1. Once you've arrived at the Bitcoin ATM, first, you must select the cryptocurrency you would like to buy. If you are looking to purchase some bitcoin, select bitcoin. 

  2. Accept the terms and conditions and select if you would like to buy less than $900 or more than $900 worth of crypto.

  3. Enter your name and phone number. 

  4. Scan your crypto wallet's QR code address.

  5. Insert cash. 

After you insert your cash, the total amount of bitcoin you will receive in your crypto wallet will be displayed on the screen. All transaction fees are included in the price of the cryptocurrency sold. 

For more information on buying bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies on a Bitcoin ATM, check out How to Use a Bitcoin ATM.

  1. Find your closest location that supports buys and sells by using the filter on our ATM location finder

  2. Select if you would like to sell bitcoin or litecoin.

  3. Accept the terms and conditions and select if you would like to sell less than $900 or greater than $900.

  4. Enter your name and phone number. 

  5. Select the amount you would like to sell. Depending on the machine, you will only be able to sell in increments of $20 or $100.

  6. Scan your crypto wallet's QR code address on the machine.

  7. Wait for the network confirmation and redeem your cash.

For more information on selling bitcoin at a Bitcoin ATM, check out How to Withdraw from a Bitcoin ATM.

  • Transactions below $900 do not require ID, only a name and a mobile phone number.

  • Transactions exceeding $900 require additional identification.

Most Bitcoin ATMs charge incredibly high fees - with some charging more than 20% per transaction. 

With CoinFlip, you can rest assured you are getting competitively low fees.

  • The fee for purchasing crypto from CoinFlip Bitcoin ATMs is 15.99%. On average, CoinFlip charges 30% less in fees than our leading competitors (based on data collected by CoinFlip in February 2023).

  • The fee for selling crypto across all CoinFlip Bitcoin ATMs is 4.99%.

  • The blockchain has its own fluctuating fee given to the network miners as a reward for processing transactions. You will also be charged this network fee, which is a minimum of $2.49 for all bitcoin purchases and a variable fee for other token purchases. The variable fee is determined by how busy the blockchain is.

For more on Bitcoin ATM Fees, see this article: How Much are Bitcoin ATM Fees?

(Hint: you can get a discount code sent to your inbox by subscribing to our newsletter, Sign up here.)

What is CoinFlip?

CoinFlip is a leading financial services platform focused on the digital economy. CoinFlip's vast network of Bitcoin ATMs across the United States supports the buying and selling of major cryptocurrencies with cash.

In 2020, CoinFlip launched CoinFlip Preferred, a service that provides investors a personal account manager, competitive coin pricing, and offers recurring investments. The company does not charge hidden fees, cuts typical ATM transaction fees by as much as half, and introduced 24/7 customer support, which has now become an industry standard.

Headquartered in Chicago, CoinFlip placed 60th on the 2021 Inc. 5000 list as the top-ranked cryptocurrency company, was named the 2021 #1 fastest-growing company in Chicago by Crain's, and was awarded the 2021 Silver Stevie ® Award for Customer Service. For more information about CoinFlip, please visit

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