how to buy bitcoin with cash

We can both agree on this:

Buying bitcoins with cash is confusing!

Luckily, today I'll show you how easy and fast it can be.

We've collected the best exchanges and listed them for you below.

Introduction

Why buy bitcoins with cash?

  • It's private and usually quick
  • One of the easiest ways to get bitcoins

Converting your cash to bitcoin can get you bitcoins within a couple of hours.

Make sure you have a Bitcoin wallet before you buy since some of the exchanges below require one.

If you don't have a wallet, read our guide on the best Bitcoin wallets.

Buying bitcoin with cash usually has very high fees. For lower fees, try one of the exchanges below and deposit using bank transfer or credit card:

  • Popular Exchanges
  • coinbase exchange logo
    Coinbase
    • High liquidity and buying limits
    • Easy way for newcomers to get bitcoins
    • "Instant Buy" option available with debit card
    BUY NOW at Coinbase's Secure Site
  • eToro exchange logo
    eToro
    • Supports Bitcoin, Ethereum & 15 other coins
    • Start trading fast; high limits
    • Your capital is at risk.
    BUY NOW at eToro's Secure Site

    This ad promotes virtual cryptocurrency investing within the EU (by eToro Europe Ltd. and eToro UK Ltd.) & USA (by eToro USA LLC); which is highly volatile, unregulated in most EU countries, no EU protections & not supervised by the EU regulatory framework. Investments are subject to market risk, including the loss of principal.

  • Coinmama exchange logo
    Coinmama
    • Works in almost all countries
    • Highest limits for buying bitcoins with a credit card
    • Reliable and trusted broker
    BUY NOW at Coinmama's Secure Site

We suggest using the exchanges listed below or doing research before buying from any exchange.

Many exchanges are simply trying to steal your personal information (like your password).

We do research on every exchange we list and are very careful not to include scam exchanges on our site.

Cash Bitcoin Exchanges

Buy Now at LocalBitcoins's Secure Site

It's possible to buy bitcoins with cash on LocalBitcoins via cash trade in-person or with cash deposit.

A quick step-by-step guide on how to buy bitcoins with cash on LocalBitcoins:

  1. Find a seller in your area who accepts cash.
  2. Select amount of coins and place an order.
  3. Receive account number from the seller.
  4. Deposit cash into the seller's account.
  5. Upload your receipt to prove you made the deposit/trade.
  6. Receive bitcoins! The coins will arrive in your LocalBitcoins wallet.

The above guide was meant to give you an idea on how LocalBitcoins works.

If you want more information, read our full guide on how to use LocalBitcoins.

LocalBitcoins is private and does not require any personal details or verification, although specific sellers may request this info.

Be sure to buy from sellers with previous trade history and positive feedback.

Local Bitcoins charges a flat 1% fee on each purchase.

Pros
  • Can be private, fast and easy
  • In-person trades require no personal information
  • Purchases of bitcoin can be made quickly via cash deposit
Cons
  • Beware of scams; always follow the rules!
  • Harder to buy large amounts of bitcoins compared to large exchanges
  • Slightly to significantly higher prices than regular exchanges; premium for higher privacy
Ease of Use
Hard
Privacy
High
Speed
Fast
Fees
Low
Reputation
Trusted
Limits
Average
Buy Now Read Review

Buy Now at LibertyX's Secure Site

LibertyX lets you buy bitcoin with cash at a number of retail stores across the United States.

You'll have to verify your identity before buying, making LibertyX less private than some of the other options.

You can buy up to $1000 worth of bitcoin and will be charged a 1% fee on all purchases.

Get this:

If you sign up with Facebook you can buy your first $1000 fee free.

Your bitcoin should arrive a few minutes after your payment is made.

Pros
  • Easy and fast way to buy bitcoins with cash
  • Low 1.5% (plus store fee) rate for cash purchase method
  • Daily $1000 limit is fairly high for a convenience service
Cons
  • Participating stores add their own variable fee
  • Some verification is required which lowers the expected privacy level of cash purchase
  • Attaching your Facebook account further degrades privacy
Ease of Use
Average
Privacy
Average
Speed
Average
Fees
Average
Reputation
Trusted
Limits
Average
Buy Now

Buy Now at Bitcoin ATMs's Secure Site

Our Bitcoin ATM map helps you find a Bitcoin ATM in your local area.

Using Bitcoin ATMs you can buy bitcoins with cash ONLY.

The average ATM charges a fee of 5-10%, but this is what people are willing to pay to buy bitcoins privately and with no verification.

There are many Bitcoin ATM manufacturates, so each ATM is different. Some require verification, although most don't.

Pros
  • Our map makes it super easy to find a Bitcoin ATM near you
Cons
  • Bitcoin ATMs often have 5-10% fees per purchase
Buy Now

Buy Bitcoin with Cash Exchange Comparison

Exchange Fees
ID Required
Countries
localbitcoins logo LocalBitcoins 1% Sometimes Global
bitquick logo BitQuick 2% Yes USA
wall of coins logo Wall of Coins ~1% No 12 Countries
libertyx logo LibertyX 1.5-8% Yes USA

Frequently Asked Questions

If you're still a bit confused, that's okay. Buying bitcoins is hard and that's why I built this site.

The FAQ section below should answer all of your remaining questions.

Jordan TuwinerJordan Tuwiner Founder, Buy Bitcoin Worldwide

What are risks are involved buying bitcoins with cash?

Buying bitcoins with cash can be very low risk.

If making a trade in-person, it's best to meet in a public place to reduce the risk of scamming or theft.

If buying bitcoins with cash via cash deposit, use an escrow service (like LocalBitcoins or BitQuick) to ensure the seller must send you the bitcoins after receiving bitcoins.

What are the benefits and advantages?

It's easy to buy small amounts of bitcoin with cash.

It's also private, since no personal information is required in most cases, especially if trading in person or at an ATM with no verification.

Buying bitcoins with cash is also fast, as there is no verification to slow down the process.

What are the disadvantages?

It can be hard to buy large amounts of bitcoins with cash, especially with cash deposit.

Bitcoin ATMs also have limits and some require verification if more than a certain amount is purchased.


Pro Tip

Do you want to buy larger amounts of bitcoins? Try buying with a bank account and you'll save on fees, too.

Why do Local Bitcoins and Bitcoin ATMs have a higher price than other exchanges?

The average buy price on Local Bitcoins and Bitcoin ATMs is usually 5-10% higher than the average global rate.

Unlike other exchanges, which require ID verification and personal information, Local Bitcoins and Bitcoin ATMs don't require any information like this.

The 5-10% premium on LocalBitcoins and at ATMs is simply the cost people are willing to pay for privacy when buying bitcoins.

Is it risky giving up my ID in order to buy?

It depends how much you trust the exchanges.

Just like any information you give up online, there is always the risk that it can be hacked or stolen from the website you give it to.

One thing that Bitcoin exchanges have going for them is that because they are constantly under attack, they have some of the best security and protections in place to protect against the hacking of your personal info.

There is always risk with anything related to information online.

Even Yahoo was hacked and information on 1 billion accounts was stolen.

Should I leave my bitcoins on the exchange after I buy?

We really recommend storing any bitcoins you want to keep safe in a wallet you own.

Many Bitcoin exchanges have been hacked and lost customer funds. If you don't want to fall victim to these hacks then the easiest way is to store your coins in a wallet you control.

Bitcoin Cash

You can buy Bitcoin Cash using cash from most or all of the methods and dealers listed on this page.

Tutorials: How You Can Buy Bitcoins with Cash

How to Use BitQuick

bitquick home page

BitQuick is one of the best ways to buy bitcoins with cash in the United States.

It charges 2% per buy but the exchange rates are generally better than LocalBitcoins.

We will show you how to make your first purchase in the tutorial below.

You will NEED a Bitcoin wallet before you can buy from BitQuick. Don't have one? Read our guide.

Go to BitQuick

You will see the home page. Then, click "Quick Buy"

bitquick

Enter the amount you want to spend. You can enter in dollars or BTC, the fields will update automatically.

bitquick

You should now see a list of banks with prices:

bitquick

You can pick any bank, and banks with the lowest prices will show up first.

Once you picked a bank you will be required to fill in some details. This includes your email, phone number, and Bitcoin address. You can also change the amount of Bitcoin you want to receive.

bitquick

Make sure you put in your phone number and press "SEND VERIFICATION". This will send a PIN code to your phone that you need to confirm.

Once you put in your details press "PLACE HOLD". This will lock in your order.

Now you will need to find a bank branch of the bank you chose in your area. Then you go into the bank, make a deposit, and save the receipt.

Go back into BitQuick and upload the receipt to the seller. This proves you made the deposit.

Bitcoins should arrive to the address you entered earlier within 3 hours!

Buy Bitcoins with Cash from Bitcoin ATMs

Bitcoin ATMs are another great way to purchase bitcoins with cash!

Think of a Bitcoin ATM as a cash to Bitcoin converter.

While you may have to physically drive or walk to the ATM, once you reach the ATM you can buy bitcoins instantly. You’ll need to be lucky enough to have a Bitcoin ATM in your area.

Our Bitcoin ATM map helps you find locations makes it easy to locate a Bitcoin ATM in your area.

You can do the following to check if there is a Bitcoin ATM near you:

1. Go to the Bitcoin ATM Map

2. Search by Location

In the search box in the top left, type in the name of your country or city and click enter.

coin atm radar

3. Find an ATM

Once you search, you’ll be taken to the location you entered on the map. If you see map pin markers, you’re in luck! That means there are Bitcoin ATMs in your area.

coin atm radar

4. Choose an ATM

Click on one of the map markers for more details about a specific ATM. From there, you can also click on “Read More” at the bottom for even more details.

coin atm radar


While Bitcoin ATMs make it easy to buy bitcoin with cash, there are some downsides:

Bitcoin ATMs generally sell bitcoins at a mark-up of 5-10%.

Before you buy bitcoin from an ATM, check the ATM’s price against a Bitcoin price index like our Bitcoin price page.

Also:

Some ATMs may require verification, like a picture of an ID or a finger print scan (although most don't).

LibertyX Review

Now that you know a bit about LibertyX we'll show you how to use it. Once you've downloaded the app from the Apple App Store or Google Play Store, open it and you should see a screen like this:

libertyx review

Enter the amount of bitcoins you want to buy and then press "NEXT". You should now see a screen with some options. If you want to find a store near you to buy then click "Find Store". Now you'll see a zoomed out map.

Put in your location or allow the app to see your current location. You should then see a zoomed in map with pins displayed the many locations you can buy from:

libertyx review

Now tap on a pin and then tap "SELECT THIS LOCATION":

libertyx review

You will get more information on the location, like the store's hours, fees, phone number, and instructions for buying the coins:

libertyx review

In the next step you will need to login with Facebook or make an account:

libertyx review

Once you login you will also need to link your phone number.

Once you confirm your phone number you can get your LibertyX code that you show the store!

At the store you present the code to the cashier and pay for the amount of coins you want. The cashier will then print out another code that you enter into the LibertyX app. Once you enter the code from the cashier you receive bitcoins!

Trades Near You: Mycelium Local Trader

Mycelium Local Trader is part of the Mycelium Bitcoin Wallet for Android.

If you live in a city, you're in luck:

There may be a number of sellers in your area.

Make sure you meet in a public space. Going with a friend is best, too. There have been reports of scams and robberies, so just make sure you take precautions when buying.

Once you download the app, click Buy/Sell:

local trader

Once you enter your location you should see a list of local sellers:

local trader

Click on a seller for more info:

local trader

Again, make sure you buy from sellers with good feedback! If you meet, meet in a public space and go with another person.

Peer-to-Peer Exchange Explanation

The exchanges mentioned above (LocalBitcoins and Bitquick) all work in almost the same way.

This section aims to provide more clarity on how a trade might work using one of these exchanges.

Buying Bitcoins at Peer-to-Peer Exchanges

Peer-to-peer (P2P) Bitcoin exchanges are a great way to get bitcoins with cash. A P2P trade usually works something like this:

  1. A buyer and seller use a site like LocalBitcoins and agree on a price.
  2. The seller’s bitcoins are held by the site and only released to the buyer upon confirmation of payment.
  3. The buyer deposits cash into the seller’s bank account.
  4. The seller confirms payment. Usually, the buyer sends the seller a receipt to prove that cash was deposited into the seller's account.
  5. The site (LocalBitcoins or BitQuick) releases the bitcoins to the buyer.
  6. The seller got cash, and the buyer got bitcoins. The trade is complete!

The above was just an example!

Through sites like LocalBitcoins you are free to agree on other payment methods besides cash deposit.

For example:

You could arrange to meet in person and exchange cash for Bitcoin.

Yes, using LocalBitcoins you can even exchange that Starbucks gift card from Christmas a few years ago for bitcoins ;)

Why Are P2P Exchanges Good?

  • No verification is required. You don’t need to submit any personal details and there is no verification process that takes up time.
  • Cash payments are irreversible. Once cash is in someone’s bank account, the buyer of bitcoin has no way to reverse the transaction. So the seller can feel confident that he received payment for bitcoins, and release the bitcoins to the buyer.

A Note on Exchange Rates

Peer-to-peer Bitcoin exchanges offer a fast way to buy bitcoins.

However:

Peer-to-peer exchange rates may be a bit higher than the global average Bitcoin exchange rate.

People are willing to pay more to buy bitcoins both more privately and faster. The markup is usually somewhere around 5-10% on LocalBitcoins.

Check the against a Bitcoin price index like Bitcoin Average or the CoinDesk BPI.

Best Practices for In-Person Cash Trading

If you decide to meet up with another person then make sure to take some precautions.

Meet in a public area. Most trades will go through fine but a search on Google shows people getting robbed or scammed at in-person trades.

Bring a friend. If possible, try to bring along a friend or family member just so you're not alone.

These tips are not meant to scare you and there is nothing wrong with trading bitcoins. But when dealing with any amount of money or trade it's best to be safe.

LocalBitcoins Review

LocalBitcoins is a global Bitcoin exchange that gives a lot of options to its users.

From being able to use nearly any payment method to buying Bitcoins with fewer privacy restrictions, LocalBitcoins is a great place to buy Bitcoin with cash.

Before getting into the details, here are some good and bad things to know about LocalBitcoins:

Pros
  • LocalBitcoins is one of the most private ways to purchase bitcoins
  • In some countries it is the only way to buy bitcoins
  • It allows you to buy bitcoins with many payment methods
Cons
  • There are many scams and you need to use caution

limits and liquidity: How Much Are You Buying?
7

LocalBitcoins itself does not impose any limits on its users. Users are free to decide on their own prices and limits.

Pros
  • No buying or selling limits imposed by LocalBitcoins
Cons
  • Some sellers will require ID verification for larger amounts

Supported Countries

LocalBitcoins is available in nearly every country. Liquidity will depend on the amount of buyers and sellers in your area. LocalBitcoins is not available in Germany or the state of New York. LocalBitcoins left New York due to the BitLicense.

What Makes LocalBitcoins Different than Other Exchanges?

localbitcoins

The difference between Local Bitcoins and most exchanges is that with Local Bitcoins, you must physically meet up with or connect digitally to the person you are buying from or selling to.

Local Bitcoins also used to be a great way to buy and sell Bitcoins anonymously, however Local Bitcoins did roll out KYC in March of 2019 on all customers who buy and sell a certain amount of coins a year.

LocalBitcoins vs Other Exchanges

Here is LocalBitcoins compared to some other top exchanges:

  • Popular Exchanges
  • coinbase exchange logo
    Coinbase
    • High liquidity and buying limits
    • Easy way for newcomers to get bitcoins
    • "Instant Buy" option available with debit card
    BUY NOW at Coinbase's Secure Site
  • eToro exchange logo
    eToro
    • Supports Bitcoin, Ethereum & 15 other coins
    • Start trading fast; high limits
    • Your capital is at risk.
    BUY NOW at eToro's Secure Site

    This ad promotes virtual cryptocurrency investing within the EU (by eToro Europe Ltd. and eToro UK Ltd.) & USA (by eToro USA LLC); which is highly volatile, unregulated in most EU countries, no EU protections & not supervised by the EU regulatory framework. Investments are subject to market risk, including the loss of principal.

  • Coinmama exchange logo
    Coinmama
    • Works in almost all countries
    • Highest limits for buying bitcoins with a credit card
    • Reliable and trusted broker
    BUY NOW at Coinmama's Secure Site

Payment Methods Accepted

LocalBitcoins users are free to buy and sell using any payment method. The payment methods available to buyers will depend on what's available in your location.

Pros
  • Wide range of payment methods available
Cons
  • Many payment methods should not be used; like PayPal or any reversible payment methods

privacy: Is Your Personal Info Kept Private?
6

LocalBitcoins requires email and phone verification for all users. It requires ID verification for users trading over 1000 euro.

speed: When Are Your Coins Delivered?
9

The speed at which your bitcoins are available will depend on payment method.

Pros
  • Buys made with cash deposit generally deliver bitcoins within 1 hour
Cons
  • Speed of delivery is entirely dependent on seller confirming payment, so at times it can take a while (although it is generally within 15 minutes)

Regulation and Reputation: Can You Trust LocalBitcoins?
9

LocalBitcoins was one of the first peer-to-peer Bitcoin exchanges, and the largest one today.

Pros
  • One of the oldest Bitcoin exchanges (older than Coinbase)
  • Not a scam
  • Cons
    • Even though it's trustworthy, users should not store bitcoins in the "LocalBitcoins wallet"
    • Reputation of exchange is good, but need to check reputation of each user on the exchange

    Most problems with LocalBitcoins are a result of trading with a new user or one with multiple bad feedbacks.

    Be sure to only trade with users who have a history of making trades.

    jordan tuwinerJordan Tuwiner Founder, Buy Bitcoin Worldwide

    You can view any user's feedback history by looking at their profile:

    localbitcoins

    In this case, the user has made 11 trades with three different trading partners. The user has a 100% success rate, meaning there were little or no issues with scams during his trades.

    The user above would be a good user to trade with!

    fees: Are You Paying Too Much?
    9

    LocalBitcoins charges a flat 1% fee on all trades.

    Pros
    • LocalBitcoins only takes 1%
    Cons
    • Even though fees are low, prices may be inflated depending on payment method

    Customer Support

    LocalBitcoins offers support via a support ticket system.

    Pros
    • Support is usually quick to respond to all issues
    • LocalBitcoins offers forums where you can request help from other users of the platform

    Theft, Scams, and Storage

    If you get one thing from this article let it be this:

    Don't store your bitcoins on exchanges!!!

    I've been buying bitcoins for more than three years. I've never lost any money to scams or thefts. Follow the guidelines in this article and you'll be able to do the same.

    Jordan TuwinerJordan Tuwiner Founder, Buy Bitcoin Worldwide

    Here are two examples where users got screwed by leaving bitcoins on exchanges:

    And there are many more I could list.

    If you're buying with cash from an ATM you won't have to worry about this, since ATMs always send bitcoins directly to a wallet or Bitcoin address.

    If you're buying from BitQuick or LocalBitcoins:

    Make sure to move the coins you bought to your own wallet right after you buy!

    Secure Your Coins: Get a Good Bitcoin Wallet

    Make sure you get yourself a Bitcoin wallet that will securely store your bitcoins.

    Besides storage, there are many scam exchanges out to steal your personal information and/or bitcoins.

    Following these two basic principles should help you avoid theft, scams, and any other loss of funds:

    1. Do research before buying on any exchange. Check reviews, ratings, and regulation information.
    2. Don't store coins on the exchange. Already mentioned above but worth repeating.

    Secure Bitcoin Hardware Wallets: