Today, there are plenty of crypto exchanges for Canadians that make it easy to buy bitcoin straight from your phone and computer. But it wasn’t always this easy. Ten years ago, there weren’t many exchanges, but then the bitcoin ATM came along allowing for quick and easy purchases of bitcoin. In fact, one of the very first places you could buy bitcoin was an ATM. The world’s first bitcoin ATM appeared in Vancouver, Canada in 2013. Since then, thousands more bitcoin ATMs have become available across the country. They appear mostly in convenience stores, malls and coffee shops, so they are easy to find. You may not have noticed them, but there are many of them in major Canadian cities.
Bitcoin ATMs are incredibly convenient. All you do is scan the QR code for your receiving wallet, insert the cash and you’re done. Unfortunately, bitcoin ATMs have much higher fees than crypto exchanges, so while convenient, they aren’t cheap. Of course, a bitcoin ATM may be your only option to buy bitcoin and crypto if you are under 18 years old. You do not have to verify your identity and go through a KYC process. Bitcoin ATMs are therefore ideal when you can’t use an exchange, or when you want to buy bitcoin anonymously. Since bitcoin ATMs work with cash, you can also sell bitcoin and receive cash almost instantly.
You might be wondering, how do I use a bitcoin ATM? Are they safe to use? We have put together a step-by-step guide to buying bitcoin with a bitcoin ATM in Canada.
There are several types of bitcoin ATMs but most will have the same process. We used a Localcoin ATM located in a small convenience store in Vancouver, BC. There was a warning attached to remind you that the Canadian government does not accept bitcoin payments and to be wary of scams.
Step 1: Touch the screen to start
Step 2: Select the crypto you wish to buy
Step 3: Agree to enter your phone number
Step 4: Enter phone number and SMS verification code
Step 5: Scan QR code for your wallet
Make sure to have a crypto wallet! We have covered crypto wallets available for Canadians here.
Step 6: Insert cash
Step 7: Done
What are the Bitcoin ATM fees? The fee for buying $20 of bitcoin was $2.75 which is a 13.7% fee. Bitcoin ATMs have extremely high fees, so if you are able to use a crypto exchange instead, we highly recommend you use one. A good crypto exchange will usually only charge a 0.2% buy fee, so the difference is huge. We have covered the best crypto exchanges for Canadians here.
In order to use a bitcoin ATM machine to buy bitcoin or buy altcoins, you will need to have cash. Bring as much cash you wish to convert to crypto. Keep in mind that a bitcoin ATM will charge at least 10% per transaction.
You will also need a crypto wallet. You can download a crypto wallet app, a desktop wallet for your computer, or buy a hardware wallet for ultimate security. You can read our guide to the best crypto wallets for Canadians to help you choose. Even if you have a hardware wallet like a Ledger, you can use the Ledger Live app to generate a QR code for your wallet.
When buying crypto with a bitcoin ATM you will be asked to scan the QR code for your wallet. This is because the bitcoin ATM needs to send your bitcoin somewhere. Make sure you are able to access and present this QR code when using a bitcoin ATM in Canada. Ensure that you use the correct wallet for the crypto you wish to purchase. If you want to buy bitcoin you will need to present your bitcoin wallet address. If you want to buy Ethereum you will need to present your Ethereum wallet address, and so on.
Similarly, when using a bitcoin ATM to sell crypto in Canada, you will need access to your wallet. Use your wallet to send/withdraw your crypto, then scan the QR code on the bitcoin ATM’s screen. Your crypto will be sent to the bitcoin ATM’s address and then you will receive cash from the ATM once the crypto has been received. Depending on how busy the network is, your crypto may take up to an hour to send and receive.
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Bitcoin ATM Canadian FAQ
Can I use a debit or credit card to use a bitcoin ATM?
No, bitcoin ATMs only work with cash. You can buy crypto with cash or sell crypto and receive cash.
What are bitcoin ATM fees and limits?
Fees vary depending on location and type of ATM. A Localcoin ATM charges an average of 10%, but this can be higher in high cost of living areas.
Where can I find a bitcoin ATM in Canada?
You can use www.coinatmrader.com to find a bitcoin ATM near you. You will be able to see what cryptocurrencies they offer and whether they accept buying and/or selling crypto.
We would still recommend using a proper crypto exchange because you will save a fortune on commission fees.