Bitcoin ATM Withdrawal Limits: A Quick Guide
A Bitcoin ATM can provide an easy way to access fiat cash, provided you already have some cryptocurrency to exchange and the needed wallet identifier for sale. It also offers an initial entry point into the crypto market if you want to buy.
But you will need to understand the Bitcoin ATM withdrawal limits and some of the rules and regulations surrounding Bitcoin ATMs before you sell your cryptocurrency for cash using a Bitcoin ATM.
While the world of crypto has seen much regulatory advancement, there remains a lot of ambiguity, and the rules vary depending on your jurisdiction.
What Is A Bitcoin ATM Withdrawal?
Bitcoin ATMs allow users to purchase Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies using fiat cash. These Bitcoin ATMs are known as ‘Unidirectional’ ATMs or One Way ATMs.
However, ‘Bidirectional’ or Two Way Bitcoin ATMs also allow you to sell your existing cryptocurrency in exchange for fiat cash. A Bitcoin ATM withdrawal is one where you sell your cryptocurrency in exchange for fiat using a Bidirectional Bitcoin ATM (Two Way ATM).
It’s worth remembering that regulators have not made all that many distinctions between withdrawals and purchasing regarding maximum limits. You are a little more likely to undergo stricter KYC verification procedures when selling crypto than buying, but not by much.
In any case, limits tend to be similar, if not identical, whether you are buying or selling cryptocurrency. This makes the process less complex than having two separate standards for Bitcoin ATM withdrawal limits.
What Factors Affect the Bitcoin ATM Withdrawal Limits?
Three significant criteria determine Bitcoin ATM withdrawal limits. These three primary criteria are:
- Your location/jurisdiction
- The Bitcoin ATM company
- The level of KYC you (the customer) are willing to undergo
The location/jurisdiction is arguably the most important. Regulatory authorities will mandate the maximum Bitcoin ATM withdrawal limits and the KYC procedures necessary to withdraw more than this amount. Typically, cryptocurrency companies will register with a financial enforcement agency, such as FINCEN in the USA or the FCA in the UK.
The Bitcoin ATM company can also adjust the withdrawal limit for their reasons. Even if the maximum is $10,000, they might modify it to $5,000. It is at their discretion to do so and helps them maintain more liquidity.
Finally, the level of KYC you are willing to undergo for the withdrawal will affect the maximum Bitcoin ATM withdrawal limits. You can withdraw a moderate amount with KYC identity verification (up to $10,000 in most US states).
You can withdraw over this amount, in certain instances, with ‘enhanced’ KYC identification procedures. You may have to contact the operator to find out how you can increase your Bitcoin ATM withdrawal limits.
To pass KYC verification, you will invariably have to scan a passport or driving license as an acceptable document. A One Time Passcode (OTP) sent via SMS may also be necessary.
Bitcoin ATM Withdrawal Limits Per Country
The Bitcoin ATM withdrawal limits vary from country to country. The variance is generally insignificant, though some jurisdictions have shallow Bitcoin ATM withdrawal limits that do not require identity verification.
The following are the general Bitcoin ATM withdrawal limits per country but remember that it can vary depending on the Bitcoin ATM operator and within states in more significant regions.
In terms of minimum withdrawal limits, these will be between $10-$50 and depend on the Bitcoin ATM operator. Withdrawing the minimum amount might be helpful if you want to become familiar with the process before making more significant transactions.
In the USA, you can generally withdraw up to $900 without undergoing KYC verification. You will have to undergo KYC identity verification for Bitcoin ATM withdrawal limits up to $10,000. You might be able to withdraw more than this with an ‘enhanced’ KYC procedure, but this is rarely offered.
It’s at the discretion of the Bitcoin ATM operator to do this, and it's typically not worth the hassle. Many Bitcoin ATMs in the USA will have lower limits, like $5,000 per day. And you might have to make this in two transactions. Crypto ATM operators in the USA need to register with FinCEN.
Canada has largely followed suit to the US regarding Bitcoin ATM withdrawal limits. Canada seems to have followed suit to the US in many matters relating to cryptocurrency. The most common Bitcoin ATM withdrawal limit in Canada is between $5,000 - $10,000, similar to the USA (though in a different currency).
Next to the USA, Canada is the leader in Bitcoin ATMs and general adoption. The government has largely left it up to the individual provinces to implement procedures and comply with the relevant legislation governing money laundering and financial compliance. Crypto ATM operators in Canada need to register with FINTRAC.
In Europe, the Bitcoin ATM withdrawal limits tend to be the same as crypto purchases. You can withdraw around €2,000 - €3,000 from a typical ATM in Europe. The usage of Bitcoin ATMs has declined since the introduction of AML5, which needed to be implemented by nation-states by the 20th of January 2020.
It reduced limits to conduct trades that would not require KYC verification. Several companies were thus closed in 2019 and 2020 as they could not meet requirements. AML5 reduced the total withdrawal limit from €250 to €150 for transactions that did not require KYC verification. Online anonymous transactions without KYC are limited to less than €50.
As expected, the Bitcoin ATM scene in Europe is less reliable than in the USA. User reports have indicated that even in the same city from the same manufacturer, the fees and KYC identity verification requirements differed for 2 Bitcoin ATMs. Some might ask for a phone number verification, and others will not. Crypto ATM operators in Europe need to register with the governing regulatory body, such as BaFin in Germany or the AMF in France.
The Bitcoin ATM withdrawal limits for the UK are less known than in other regions. With the recent withdrawal from the European Union, there is not much of a coherent framework in place, and there is far more regulatory uncertainty, even compared to the EU.
Bitcoin ATM operators are available in the UK, but they don’t openly display how much you can withdraw or deposit. There are about 200 Bitcoin ATMs in the UK.
Given the strict regulations in the UK, you are unlikely to withdraw a large amount without having to undergo KYC identity verification. Maximum withdrawal limits are likely within the region of £3,000 - £10,000. Crypto ATM operators in the UK need to register with the FCA.
Despite its prominence, population size, and high standard of living, Australia has less than 50 Bitcoin ATMs, and you will see a limit of $10,000 with many vendors. The $10,000 limit seems standard despite the differences in currency across jurisdictions.
There is also standardization in the sense that most of these countries treat cryptocurrency as property subject to capital gains tax. Meaning you pay taxes when profits/losses are realized.
Bitcoin ATMs in Australia are centralized in just four cities: Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney, and Launceston.
Australia shows a low usage of cryptocurrency transaction volume compared to Europe, Canada, and the USA. All crypto businesses must register with the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Center (AUSTRAC) to operate.
What about Bitcoin ATM withdrawal limits in countries other than those mentioned above? The reality is that this information is not readily available for most of them. In China, the use of Bitcoin is illegal, so it stands to reason that no data is forthcoming.
But it’s not so much to do with the regulatory or legal status as it is with the strength of cryptocurrency adoption. Most Bitcoin ATMs (over 26,000) are found in the USA, with another 2,000 in Canada. Out of 31,000 Bitcoin ATMs worldwide at present, it's evident that most data will come from these two countries.
These two countries have the most developed frameworks and the largest share of Bitcoin ATMs. Most developed countries will have between 20-200. Such countries include the UK, Ireland, Switzerland, Hong Kong, Russia, Norway, etc. Third-world countries will have very few Bitcoin ATMs as there will be no market and no supporting regulatory infrastructure to promote its safe usage.
Even in the USA, which has the best platforms and reporting tools for Bitcoin ATMs, it's not foolproof. Vendors cannot report certain transactions via software linked to the ATM. It’s not an established industry with long-standing data that can be relied upon. The industry is still evolving, and local research for your specific area and requirements and preferences is always advised.
Why Are Bitcoin ATM Withdrawal Limits Necessary?
Bitcoin ATM withdrawal limits are necessary for multiple reasons. It is not peculiar to the cryptocurrency industry. Even when you visit a traditional fiat ATM, there will be a maximum amount you can withdraw. This has many benefits:
- Theft: If your card was stolen, there is a limit on how much money can be taken from your account.
- Utility: Withdrawing smaller amounts ensures that everybody can use the ATM and not run dry.
- Compliance: Smaller amounts of cash reduce the risk of money laundering and financial reporting complexity.
These factors apply equally to Bitcoin ATMs that comply with similar financial regulations. Bitcoin ATM withdrawal limits make a lot of sense. And it's not as if these limits are tiny. Moreover, they apply daily, so you can withdraw up to $900 daily in the USA.
With primary and quick KYC verification procedures, you can withdraw up to $10,000 every single day. It’s unlikely that the average customer would need more capital than this anyway. Bitcoin ATM withdrawal limits are more than enough for most consumers.
Different Types of Bitcoin ATMs
Remember to convert your BTC into cash, the Bitcoin ATM also needs to be a Two Way ATM. These ATMs are less common than the One Way Bitcoin ATMs. Two Way Bitcoin ATMs can also be called ‘Bidirectional’ while One Way Bitcoin ATMs can be called ‘Unidirectional.’
What's interesting is that in Europe, the majority of Bitcoin ATMs tend to be Bidirectional (buy and sell). In contrast, in the USA, most Bitcoin ATMs tend to be Unidirectional (buy only). This is related to the choice of offerings by the Bitcoin ATM manufacturers. The USA still has many Bidirectional ATMs, just not a percentage of the total available.
This could be connected to the fact that the US market has seen more attention and progress in cryptocurrency transactions. It is easier for companies to operate a one-way flow of collecting cash from customers and then wiring it to an exchange. The companies are larger and more established with lines of access. In Europe, the Bitcoin ATM operators tend to be smaller companies with less access to financial markets. It is a more decentralized market.
Most Bitcoin ATMs will offer other cryptocurrencies, typically Litecoin, Ethereum, and Bitcoin Cash. But all of them will allow you to purchase a certain amount of Bitcoin as this is the core function.
What Are the Common Bitcoin ATM Fees?
The Bitcoin ATM fees are typically between 5%-15%. On average, you will pay about 10%. This fee might seem excessive. An unfounded perception is that Bitcoin ATM manufacturing companies are ‘preying’ on consumers, but this falls apart upon closer analysis.
First, the cryptocurrency market, including the Bitcoin ATM market, is fraught with uncertainty. There is more risk which means there must be more fees to account for this risk. There won’t be any bailouts for cryptocurrency companies, unlike the financial giants in the banking industry. With increased risk comes increased fees.
Second is the fact that Bitcoin ATM companies have to hire a dedicated compliance officer and train personnel, and document KYC procedures. This is quite cost-prohibitive without the typical manufacturing costs, business expenses, insurance, maintenance, etc.
Third, is that these fees are pretty standard across the industry. You can pay between 4%-12% when purchasing crypto directly from an exchange using a debit card. And this can be nowhere near as easy or convenient as going to Bitcoin ATMs. The primary reason for these fees is a market risk that needs to be accounted for.
How Are Bitcoin ATM Fees Calculated?
This can get a little complicated, depending on the location and the ATM operator. Many Bitcoin ATMs will charge a flat fee of 8% - 12%. This is the most transparent and straightforward model. You may also be charged a network fee of $3 - $6 or so. Where possible, you need to look for Bitcoin ATMs that offer transparent fees.
Some Bitcoin ATMs can charge a premium on the cryptocurrency transaction itself. So they appear to charge a lower rate, but they can make a massive profit from your actual purchase! Make sure to check the exchange rate for your transfer. Better yet, identify a high-quality Bitcoin ATM operator and understand their fees before you visit the kiosk.
Some Bitcoin ATMs still charge more than 20% of the overall transaction, which is unacceptable to modern consumers. The fees need to be there to cover the reporting, operational, and maintenance costs of the manufacturer, but this fee is high.
The Bitcoin Network fee is paid to the miners who run the actual blockchain. Hardware miners (known as ASICS) are expensive and generate a lot of heat, and they are responsible for mining new Bitcoins and verifying transactions using their power. There is a lot of technical detail that could be gone into, but suffice to say that it's a necessary fee to maintain the ecosystem. Without Bitcoin miners, there is no Bitcoin.
Are There Any Bitcoin ATMs without Withdrawal Limits or KYC Requirements?
No. If you find any, then you’re probably going to get scammed. All crypto asset companies need to register and comply with the governing legislation. This includes maintaining a set of internal KYC policies and hiring a dedicated compliance officer, as well as the training of personnel and the enforcement of purchase and withdrawal limits.
If there are no Bitcoin ATM withdrawal limits, it means that the Bitcoin ATM operator is working illegally. If you see a Bitcoin ATM advertising no withdrawal limits, it would be foolish to use that particular kiosk. This applies regardless of your jurisdiction, as withdrawal limits are enforced in nearly every region.
How Do I Use Bitcoin ATMs with Cash?
There is a general procedure for using Bitcoin ATMs with cash. The process is relatively straightforward, and Bitcoin ATMs have come a long way in recent years. The steps would generally go as follows:
- Find your nearest Bitcoin ATM.
- Key in transaction details (cryptocurrency type, total amount, fiat currency type).
- Verify your One Time SMS passcode.
- Scan your identity document (passport, state ID, or driving license).
- Scan your cryptocurrency wallet QR code.
- Insert fiat cash into the Bitcoin ATM.
- Wait and receive your cryptocurrency.
That’s it. It’s pretty straightforward to buy Bitcoin with cash from a Bitcoin ATM. Note that the steps above can change depending on your total transaction amount, the location, and the Bitcoin ATM operator. You might not even need to fill in steps 4 and 5 if you only purchase a small amount of Bitcoin for cash.
If you want to withdraw fiat cash and sell your cryptocurrency, then the process will be the same, except in reverse. You will be given a QR code on the screen, and you have to send the cryptocurrency to this address.
You will have to wait between 10 minutes to an hour, depending on network congestion and the protocol of the ATM provider. Some Bitcoin ATMs will dispense cash after one network confirmation, while others will require six verifications, which takes far longer to complete.
You are also more likely to be asked for SMS verification if selling cryptocurrency instead of buying.
What are the Penalties for Ignoring Bitcoin ATM Withdrawal Limits?
Customers have no choice except to adhere to the Bitcoin ATM withdrawal limits. If you don’t submit the proper identity documents, then you can’t proceed to the next stage of the transaction.
On the other hand, significant penalties for businesses that fail to comply with the governing rules and regulations.
In practically all countries, Bitcoin ATM operators will have to register with a financial department of some kind. This department is responsible for enforcing a given piece of legislation related to money laundering and financial compliance. In the USA, it is FINCEN. In the UK, it is the FCA, and in Canada, it is FINTRAC.
Registration with these organizations is mandatory to continue doing business. Failure to register means that operations must be ceased, otherwise resulting in fines and imprisonment.
In the USA, the home of Bitcoin ATMs, the rules vary (a little) state by state. In some states, you will need to get a money transmitter license. If you don’t get one, you can’t operate. Failure to obtain this license is an imprisonable offense.
This is separate from registering as a Money Services Business (MSB). In the US, every Bitcoin ATM operator is considered an MSB that has to assist FINCEN to enforce the Bank Secrecy Act.
Are Bitcoin ATM Withdrawals Subject to Taxation?
Absolutely. You are selling your cryptocurrency in exchange for fiat cash. If you purchase your cryptocurrency for a lower amount than you sold it, those realized gains are taxable. Cryptocurrency is treated as property by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). On the other hand, if you sell it for less than you bought, you can write this off your overall tax burden.
The same is true if you don’t withdraw your cryptocurrency and pay for an item, such as a car or a house. This is also a taxable event reported as capital gains tax. If you purchased Bitcoin for $4,000 back in 2017 and sold it now for $64,000 in 2021, capital gains tax will apply to your $60,000 profit.
It's still worth investing, making lucrative profits, and simply paying the tax on it rather than not jumping in at all.
On the other hand, purchasing cryptocurrency from Bitcoin ATMs is not taxable. You only get taxed when you cash out on the asset, in this case, a property as defined by the IRS. You note the purchasing price and tax are only an issue when you sell.
So you don’t have to worry about the tax issue until years later, provided you hold on to the crypto asset for that period.
How Can I Avoid Bitcoin ATM Withdrawal Limits?
There are ways around Bitcoin ATM withdrawal limits, but you might want to consider why you would like to circumvent them in the first place.
The limits are pretty significant to begin with, and KYC verification is a fact of life with traditional banks and the soon-to-be regulated crypto industry.
It increases safety and adoption at the expense of speed. This tradeoff is seen in all commercial activity, where growth needs safeguards. Still, there are ways around it, such as:
1. Contact the vendor directly to increase your level of KYC to withdraw a more significant amount.
2. Finding a nearby Bitcoin ATM operator that offers the maximum available limits.
Gone are the days when you could meet someone in person without KYC verification. Even sites like LocalBitcoins are now conducting KYC verification on all users, though this site was historically used to meet person to person anonymously for a crypto exchange.
Ultimately, it makes a lot more sense to get on board with verification, similar to banks and general businesses, and reap the rewards of cryptocurrency.
There’s no natural way around the minimum limits, which can go as low as $5, though $20 - $50 is more common. With the potential fees, getting the minimum amount does not make as much financial sense. Some Bitcoin ATMs will charge a 10% fee and a $2 - $6 flat network fee, which causes minimal withdrawals untenable.
It might be a helpful option if you want to conduct a test transaction with a smaller amount before making a more substantial investment.
Bitcoin ATMs & Withdrawal Limits
Bitcoin ATM withdrawal limits are necessary and reasonable, up to $10,000 per day in most regions. Thanks to new types of Bitcoin ATMs, complying with the requirements is stress-free, and you can often complete a transaction within less than 10 minutes. It’s a small price to pay to gain exposure to a new asset class with impressive profit potential.
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