How to Buy Bitcoin with Cash – The Complete Guide
By: Steven Hay | Last updated: 2/20/24
Looking to buy Bitcoin with cash? In this short guide, I’m going to give you some of the best options available today.
5 Options for Buying Bitcoin with Cash
- Buy from an individual through LocalCoinSwap or Paxful
- Buy Bitcoin from a Bitcoin ATM
- Buy Bitcoin through a cash deposit at a bank
- Buy Bitcoin with cash at a convenience store or pharmacy
- Buy Bitcoin with cash through the mail
That’s how you buy Bitcoin with cash in a nutshell. If you want more information about each method, keep on reading. Here’s what I’ll cover:
- Why Buy Bitcoin With Cash?
- Bitcoin Peer-to-Peer Trading
- Buying Bitcoin With Cash in Person
- Buying Bitcoin Through a Bitcoin ATM
- Buying Bitcoin with a Cash Deposit at a Bank
- Buy Bitcoin with Cash at CVS, Walgreens, or Rite Aid Using LibertyX
- Buying Bitcoin With Cash in the Mail
- Where Can I Get Cash for Bitcoin?
Buying Bitcoin with cash has many advantages, as long as you take the necessary precautions. More on that later.
Unlike a regular Bitcoin exchange, cash purchases usually don’t require you to unnecessarily reveal information by submitting many documents to verify your identity.
This tactic is much safer, given the ever-growing risk of identity theft. Another reason for buying Bitcoin with cash is to avoid crackdowns by tax authorities.
This reason exists mostly because there’s no waiting for the arrival of bank transfers or for verification by an exchange. Deposits usually take 1 to 3 business days, while exchange verification can take 1 to 3 weeks.
Cash trades save a lot of time. When Bitcoin’s price is skyrocketing, even a few days can equate to a lot of money!
Experts previously suggested that the majority of Bitcoin’s trading volume occurs off-exchange.
This is actually a good thing; if cryptocurrency only becomes tradable with state/country approval, then it’ll be reduced to little more than a new form of fiat currency. This would go against the spirit of what Bitcoin was intended for.
Therefore, all serious Bitcoiners should gain some kind of experience with cash trading. If your local government ever cracks down on Bitcoin, it’s good to have a Plan B in place…
With countries’ ever-evolving crypto regulations on exchanges and citizens, navigating through this can be a real headache. But trading directly from person to person, outside of exchanges, is always an option. You just need to be careful (to avoid being scammed) and prepared.
Just take a look at what happened in India on December 28, 2023. India’s Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) banned the URLs of nine crypto exchanges from being accessed inside India. Binance, Bitstamp, Kucoin, Huobi, MEXC Global, Kraken, Gate.io, Bitfinex, and Bittrex were all banned. The FIU’s problem was that these nine exchanges were not following India’s anti-money laundering laws.
This caused panic for residents and citizens who held crypto in these exchanges and/or used them regularly to trade.
If you have trusted friends who own some Bitcoin they’re willing to sell, then you’re all set. To make such trusted friends, consider attending Bitcoin conferences or meetings in your area. To locate these events, search Meetup or Facebook for local Bitcoin groups.
Another thing to remember, unless you plan to meet near an ATM, make sure you bring the agreed-upon amount of cash.
Also, bring your phone or laptop to access your Bitcoin wallet. If you only bring your wallet address, you won’t be able to verify receipt of your coins. You want confirmation that the coins have successfully arrived in your personal wallet.
In the past, we used to recommend LocalBitcoins for in-person trading. However, the company closed in 2023. Therefore, LocalCoinSwap is the next best service around.
LocalCoinSwap has been running since 2018 and has grown to service most countries and regions. Over that time, the company has established a reputation for reliability and has become well-known as a go-to website for OTC trading.
The platform doesn’t require users to verify their identity, which is a bonus for users who are privacy-conscious. However, in the case of a trade dispute, fraud investigation, or to ensure account ownership, LocalCoinSwap may require an ID verification process.
LocalCoinSwap provides a complete guide to trading and using escrow on their website, along with the answers to a bunch of frequently asked questions.
To buy BTC on LocalCoinSwap:
- Visit the site and sign up.
- Click the “Buy Crypto” blue button in the top menu.
- Choose “Bitcoin – BTC” (or any other cryptocurrency you’d like) from the “Cryptocurrency” dropdown menu on the top.
- Then select your choices from the “Payment method” and “Location” dropdown menus.
- There are a number of cash purchase options to choose from, including “Cash in person,” “Cash Deposit,” and “Cash By Mail.”
A list of sellers will be displayed. It’s worth noting that there may not be a seller for in-person cash purchases in your area. If there are no sellers listed in your area, you’ll have to wait for one to appear or consider using a different method. The seller’s list will display a feedback score for each seller, including their exchange rate.
- Choose a seller with a considerable positive reputation.
- Enter your desired purchase amount, which must fall within their limits.
- Arrange the further details of your trade via messaging.
Since you can trust LocalCoinSwap to send the coins to you, there’s no reason to wait for multiple confirmations after the seller releases the coins. You can read my LocalCoinSwap review here.
Paxful was founded in 2015 and is an international peer-to-peer crypto marketplace. Similar to LocalCoinSwap, Paxful helps facilitate trades between buyers and sellers. On Paxful, the only cryptocurrencies available for trading are Bitcoin (BTC), Tether (USDT), and USD Coin (USDC).
To buy BTC on Paxful:
- Visit Paxful and sign up
- Click “Buy” in the center of the homepage
- Under the “Pay with” dropdown, look for cash-related options
- Then, enter your purchase amount in the field: “I want to spend.”
- Click the blue “Find Offers” button
After this, you’ll be taken to a screen showing search results. You can further filter these if you want.
And just like with LocalCoinSwap, you’ll want to thoroughly research each seller and check their rating, feedback, average trade speed, and more. Do your due diligence.
You can read our full Paxful review here.
I recommend that you only trade by enabling escrow. In this case, escrow means that a trusted service holds the seller’s Bitcoin.
I also recommend that you only do in-person trades in a secure location. Good choices are bank lobbies, police station foyers, and courthouses. (And maybe bring a friend or two with you as well!)
When dealing with a seller for the first time or when trading large amounts, it’s wise to choose a location with access controls, metal detectors, security cameras, and guards.
Overall, exercise common sense; although rare, there have been reported incidents of mugging and fraud.
Bitcoin ATMs (BTMs) accept cash and send Bitcoin to your wallet address in return. They are a convenient way to trade 24/7.
Although BTMs have become increasingly popular since their introduction some years ago, many regions are still without one. The best way to locate a nearby Bitcoin ATM is to use CoinATMRadar (worldwide) or CoinFlip (only in the US).
Use promo code “99BTC” to get 10% off your transaction fees at the CoinFip ATMs.
When you click on a Bitcoin ATM on this site, you will see a display with its precise location, fees, limits, and ID requirements (if any). The site will also provide the operator’s contact details. You should take note of the operator’s contact details in case there are any issues with your transaction.
When you go to the Bitcoin ATM, remember to take your wallet or address! When using a Bitcoin ATM you should treat it just like using a regular ATM, so you should be on the lookout for suspicious characters who are lying in wait.
With this method, the seller will provide their bank details, and you then visit the relevant bank and fill in a deposit form. Sellers may specify a particular bank. You then deposit cash into the seller’s account via the bank teller.
This method is more reliable and physically secure than meeting with a stranger. Specifically, the seller cannot know which bank or branch you’ll be using.
The downside is that such services are only available during banking hours and are slower than face-to-face transactions — particularly if there’s a long queue at the bank or the service is slow to verify your trade.
As with face-to-face cash trading, you should only conduct bank deposit trades via a reputable escrow service; doing so will protect you from fraud.
You can prove to the escrow service that you have made the payment by photographing or scanning your bank deposit receipt. In the event of a dispute, with proper proof, they’ll still release the seller’s coins to your Bitcoin address.
Always keep your deposit receipt. Unlike a bank transfer, it’s very hard to prove that you made a payment without it!
Although LibertyX is best known as a crypto ATM company, in 2020, they teamed up with some big retailers in the US to let people buy Bitcoin for cash in-store at 30,000 retail locations across the US.
The retailers that offer the service are Walgreens, CVS, Rite Aid, and a number of other stores. Participating stores can be located on the LibertyX website or by using the LibertyX app, which is available on Android and iOS.
There is a maximum limit of $500 per day for these in-store cash purchases. Chain retailers have a $4.95 service fee for transactions, while independent retailers set their own fees, usually between 3% and 8%.
The process goes like this:
- Download the LibertyX app and create an account
- Enter the Bitcoin address you want the Bitcoin sent to and tap “Start purchase”
- Select the retailer you will be purchasing with, and tap “Add cash now”
- The cashier will scan your barcode at the store
- Pay between $20 and $500, and your account will be credited with the Bitcoin within 10 minutes
- Tap the “Convert to Bitcoin” button in the LibertyX app
And that’s it! You will receive the corresponding amount of Bitcoin in your wallet.
As with in-person purchases, try to trade only with established users with good reputations. Choosing a reliable seller is your best protection against fraud, and escrow should always be employed.
This method involves some obvious downsides, such as slowness and the risk that your envelope may get lost or stolen en route. I recommend wrapping the bills in a couple of layers of paper so that they can’t be easily detected without opening the envelope.
In the event that your envelope never arrives or arrives empty, certain sellers may compensate you. To qualify, you may be required to film or photograph yourself, place the money within the envelope, seal it, and mail it.
For greater safety, I advise using registered mail and having the seller sign after receiving the envelope. This method creates some proof that you paid via escrow, although the amount of cash within the envelope may still be disputed.
Given the drawbacks of this method, I only recommend it for cash buyers who are too remote for other purchase methods.
If you’re looking to sell Bitcoin for cash, then the following methods will work:
If I had to choose one method out of the five I’ve covered, it would definitely be the Bitcoin ATM. BTMs offer a reliable solution for cash purchases and are usually located in central areas, which are more secure.
While buying Bitcoin with cash is faster and more anonymous than conventional methods, it’s still riskier than most of the online methods today, like buying Bitcoin with PayPal or credit cards. A slower but also safe option is using wire transfers.
If you don’t have to use cash, using an online method would probably be safer, assuming you purchase through a well-known and reputable exchange.
Do you have any experience buying or selling Bitcoin for cash? If so, please let me know in the comments section below.