Bitcoin is making strides in becoming a more accepted currency in the worldwide market. The cryptocurrency has been around now for almost 8 years, and, as such, the concerns regards the security and stability of the currency have mostly petered out.
The uptake of Bitcoins has increased and now companies and individuals around the world are turning to new ways to make the currency even more accessible in an ecosystem that is used to banks, cash, ATMs, credit cards and fiat currency.
To make Bitcoins more accessible to the average user on the street, companies have introduced Bitcoin ATMs, and, more recently, Bitcoin Payment Terminals.
What is a Bitcoin ATM?
A Bitcoin ATM is designed specifically to work like a traditional banking ATM. A Bitcoin ATM may be a one way or two way machine. These Bitcoin ATMs have been around since 2013, and there are now 541 BTC ATMs dotted across the globe.
Unidirectional Bitcoin ATMs allow customers to purchase Bitcoins from the ATM by inserting cash into the machine. Customers must have a Bitcoin wallet setup, with a QR code linked to it. This QR code is scanned against the ATM, the notes are inserted into the ATM, and then the funds are transferred in Bitcoins to the customer’s wallet.
A bi-directional ATM is one where customers can scan their Bitcoin wallet code and then exchange their Bitcoins in return for traditional currency. The Bitcoin amount requested is converted into the local currency, and then cashed out via the notes dispenser on the bi-directional ATM.
Bitcoin ATMs are handy for people who would like to purchase Bitcoins easily and are not too concerned with being totally anonymous – the Bitcoin wallet will link your location to the ATMs location, and so in theory, you will be location traceable.
The bi-directional machines are incredibly useful for those that wish to cash out their Bitcoins – not an easy task to accomplish generally.
Bitcoin ATMs are also relatively inexpensive to purchase, as compared to traditional banking ATMs. The fees netted from a machine may be a handy income for a business that deals in Bitcoins.
What is a Bitcoin Payment Terminal?
A Bitcoin Payment Terminal is more like a merchant banking point of sale terminal – you know the sort, the small machine at the counter of the shop where you can pay with your bank card and receive a receipt.
These Bitcoin Payment Terminals accept payments in Bitcoins – making them a must for any store or company that performs a lot of physical sales in store through Bitcoins. As with the ATMs, the customer scans their Bitcoin wallet QR code, and Bitcoin funds are deducted from their wallet. The funds are then either transferred to the vendors Bitcoin wallet, or directly to the vendor’s traditional bank account – converting into the regional currency along the way.
The Bitcoin Payment Terminals also offer all the functionality of the Bitcoin ATMs. Customers can easily buy Bitcoins using the terminal, or obtain traditional currency by exchanging with the vendor in conjunction with the machine.
Payment terminals offer the added bonus of being fully mobile – they can be carried easily in one hand and only require an active Wi-Fi connection to be useable anywhere.
The other benefit of the Bitcoin Payment Terminals is that they are up to 20 times less expensive than their Bitcoin ATM counterparts. This means that a business can purchase multiple machines for backups without the costs running high.
Bitcoin Payment Terminals are a relatively new invention, and they are making BTC transactions in real life that much easier.
For businesses that have a physical store front and deal in Bitcoins, or who are enthusiasts of the currency, purchasing a Bitcoin ATM or Bitcoin Payment Terminal makes an awful lot of sense.
The ATM or payment terminal will help to involve customers that as yet have no experience in using the cryptocurrency by making it an easy process, and similar to the process that they go through with regular banking. By assimilating BTC transactions into the physical world, more customers will be drawn to using the currency, and it will become a more “normal” experience.
Check out the different providers of Bitcoin ATMs and Bitcoin Payment Terminals to see which make and model would be best suited to your purposes. Bi-directional machines may have more use for your customers, although you need to remember that you’ll need to have cash on hand for customer withdrawals. Each make and model has different benefits and terms so be sure to read the fine print carefully.