How to Use a Bitcoin ATM: A Beginner’s Guide

How did you first hear about bitcoin? Maybe you saw a story on the news and did some research. Perhaps a friend or family member told you about it, and you were intrigued. You might have even seen a Bitcoin ATM or kiosk in your local mall or grocery store and decided to check it out. 

No matter how you heard about bitcoin, you probably realize by now that bitcoin is here to stay. However, the steps involved in making your first purchase can appear to be daunting. But don’t worry! Learning how to use a Bitcoin ATM is a simple and speedy process. You’ll be on the way to purchasing bitcoin in no time!

In this blog post, we will explain the basics of Bitcoin ATMs and kiosks and help you find your nearest location. Most of all, we will give you the confidence to make your first bitcoin purchase and join the financial system of the future!

What is a Bitcoin ATM?

Bitcoin ATMs and kiosks are much like the standard ATMs you see every day. When you deposit cash into a traditional ATM, you use your debit card to access your account. However, at a Coinstar® Bitcoin ATM, no such debit card is required.

Bitcoin ATMs and kiosks work very much the same way with a few simple differences. At a Coinstar Bitcoin ATM, you’ll be asked to provide your valid phone number before making a purchase. It’s best to create your Coinme account before arriving at the Bitcoin ATM! This saves you time at the grocery store, so you don’t have to fumble around and verify your ID at the machine like other Bitcoin ATMs.

Much like a traditional ATM, you will insert cash bills into the machine, but instead of having U.S dollars deposited to your bank account, a Bitcoin ATM will automatically exchange that money for the equivalent amount of bitcoin (or crypto). 

When using a bitcoin machine, like a Coinstar Bitcoin ATM for example, you will receive a redemption code in order to deposit bitcoin directly into your digital wallet (which operates much like your bank account, but for storing digital currency like bitcoin.) Remember to keep your voucher and redemption code safe until you redeem it online. More on that later.

How do I use a Bitcoin ATM?

Using a Bitcoin ATM or kiosk is quite simple and often offers the easiest and most secure way to purchase bitcoin for cash. The screen itself typically provides a step-by-step tutorial, but for this blog, we will show you how simple it is using a Coinstar Bitcoin ATM, powered by Coinme.

Step 1: Getting started!

When you approach the machine, you simply hit get started and select the option that says “Buy Bitcoin.”  This will kickstart the process and ensure you have all the elements necessary to buy bitcoin.

Play Video about Buy Bitcoin at a Coinstar Bitcoin ATM video thumbnail. Click to play.

Step 2: Follow the steps on screen.

After you review the terms and conditions, you are directed to enter your phone number. This part of the process ensures your security and links your phone number to the bitcoin purchase so no one else can gain access to your bitcoin.

Step 3: Check the exchange rate.

After you complete the important security steps, you will see on the screen the exchange rate for your bitcoin purchase. The bitcoin exchange rates change frequently, so if you visit a Bitcoin ATM or kiosk on different days, you may notice different exchange rates.

Step 4: Insert your cash and verify your purchase.

After assessing the exchange rate and deciding how much bitcoin you want to buy, you can enter your dollar bills into the bill receiver. Once you have inserted all your bills, you can verify the amount entered and hit the buy bitcoin button on the lower, right-hand side of the screen. Note, most machines will not be able to return any inserted bills, only insert the amount you wish to purchase!

Step 5: Don't forget your voucher to redeem in your Coinme wallet.

Once you have finished your purchase, the kiosk will print out your receipt. This is important to keep safe and secure, as it includes your bitcoin redemption code. You need this code to finalize your bitcoin purchase. As we mentioned above, you will need to visit and enter that code along with your phone number to have your bitcoin deposited into your digital wallet. Do not share this code with anyone.

When is my bitcoin purchase available?

Instantly! After you have finished purchasing your bitcoin at the kiosk, the process of redeeming the voucher is simple and fast. Once you have your receipt, you can visit and begin the redemption process. 

After you have entered in the needed information and verified your ID, you will be directed to create your very own Coinme wallet. Verifying your ID will only need to be done once! From there you will have your very own log in credentials to your personal account. Follow the step-by-step guide on your laptop or cell phone. The entire process is simple, secure, and should only take a few moments. We recommend using the Coinme mobile app for iOS or Android for the easiest set up experience! After that process is complete, you will be able to redeem your bitcoin balance in your Coinme wallet instantly!

If you already have a Coinme account, log in to your Coinme wallet and click on the tab that says “Redeem.” Enter your phone number and the redemption code you received at the kiosk. You can then return to the main account page, and your balance will reflect the purchase you just made.

Are Bitcoin ATMs safe?

While this does vary based on the company operating the machine, customer safety is a primary area of focus for Coinme. We take multiple steps to ensure the security of your account including Bitcoin ATM and kiosk locations and service and support from our team.

We’re proud that each and every one of the Coinstar Bitcoin ATM locations are easy to find from the comfort of local grocery stores all around the country. 

We have a dedicated team of developers and engineers continually looking at all aspects of security, from the kiosk to your wallet, providing a safe and secure user experience for all of our customers. Our support team is also available everyday to provide assistance from 7 am to 6 pm PST.

Are Bitcoin ATMs legal?

Bitcoin ATMs and kiosks are legal to use, however, there are levels of regulations on both the federal and state level for  companies to operate legally in the United States.

The primary federal law is the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) and operators like Coinme need to register with the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network or FinCEN and have Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and Know Your Customer (KYC) programs in place. State-level regulation varies from state to state, but typically, operators must register for money transmitter license (MTL) or as a money service business (MSB).

Coinme is proud to have been the first licensed Bitcoin ATM company in the United States and as part of our commitment to safety and security, all customers must submit their ID’s through our KYC verification process. The purpose of this program is to help prevent money laundering and other financial crimes and it adds an extra layer of security by ensuring no one but you can gain access to your account.

How do I find a Bitcoin ATM near me?

Bitcoin ATMs and kiosks have grown in popularity in recent years, making it easier than ever to find a location close to you. While there are websites like CoinATMRadar that show you ATMs based on your location, not all ATMs and kiosks listed are licensed and operating legally. 

Coinme is the first licensed Bitcoin ATM company in the United States and thanks to our collaboration with Coinstar we now operate the largest bitcoin kiosk network in the United States with over 10,000 locations in 49 states!

To find the nearest location to you, visit and enter your location into the search bar. You will find the closest location to you and can even click further to receive detailed directions via Google Maps. 

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Congrats! You’re now ready to use a Bitcoin ATM or kiosk!

You now have the knowledge and confidence to make your first purchase at a Bitcoin ATM or kiosk!

Hopefully, you will share your knowledge with others so your friends and family will also be able to join the financial system of the future, safely and securely.

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