LocalBitcoins.com review: exchange rates, fees, speed | finder.com

LocalBitcoins.com – buy, sell or trade bitcoins

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If you want to make a bitcoin-based international money transfer, using LocalBitcoins.com is one of the best ways to do it.

Bitcoin isn’t usually the best medium to make an international money transfer. In fact, most of the time it’s actually slower and more expensive than other methods like forex services and even bank transfers.

A different story emerges with LocalBitcoins.com, a peer-to-peer exchange. Because you trade bitcoins with other people, you can find attractive exchange rates as long as other traders are willing to offer them. And best of all: LocalBitcoins charges very few fees, if any.

LocalBitcoins is such an effective option that you could theoretically complete an entire money transfer at no cost. Even if you don’t get a deal that good, you could realistically walk away with a low-cost money transfer that’s completed in as little as an hour.

Product Name LocalBitcoins P2P Exchange
Fiat Currencies AUD, USD, EUR, GBP, CAD, CNY & 50+ more
Cryptocurrencies BTC
Deposit Methods Cash, Credit card, Cryptocurrency, Debit card, BPAY, Flexepin, Neosurf, Neteller, M-PESA, PayPal, Perfect Money, WebMoney, Western Union, iDEAL, SEPA, Skrill, SWIFT
Trading Fee None
Deposit Fees Fees vary
Withdrawal Fees Cryptocurrency: 0.0005
PerfectMoney: 5% (USD)
Payeer: 7% (RUR) & 5% (USD)
AdvCash: 4% (RUR) & 2$ (USD)
Capitalist: 4% (RUR), 7% (USD)
Credit card: $6 + 5% (USD) & ?70 + 7% (RUR)
Yandex.Money: 5-8% (RUR), QIQI: 7% (RUR)

Pros

  • Available in more than 200 countries.
  • Can be cheaper than other bitcoin and money transfer providers.
  • No minimum or maximum transfers.
  • Many methods for fiat currency delivery.

Cons

  • May not be many sellers in some countries.
  • You'll need to handle transfer details yourself.
  • Buyers and sellers may set transfer limits.
  • Some methods are considered high risk.
Disclaimer: This information should not be interpreted as an endorsement of cryptocurrency or any specific provider, service or offering. It is not a recommendation to trade. Cryptocurrencies are speculative, complex and involve significant risks – they are highly volatile and sensitive to secondary activity. Performance is unpredictable and past performance is no guarantee of future performance. Consider your own circumstances, and obtain your own advice, before relying on this information. You should also verify the nature of any product or service (including its legal status and relevant regulatory requirements) and consult the relevant Regulators' websites before making any decision. Finder, or the author, may have holdings in the cryptocurrencies discussed.

LocalBitcoins exchange rates

Bitcoin exchange rates aren’t set by LocalBitcoins — instead, they’re set by individual buyers and sellers on the platform. Because of this, exchange rates can vary.

Buying bitcoins

When you buy bitcoin, you could theoretically get an exchange rate that matches the mid-market rate. However, this is unlikely because many users want to make at least a little profit from selling bitcoins.

More often, you’ll get an exchange rate that’s worse than the mid-market rate. The best online offers often hover around 1% above the mid-market rate. As an example, let’s say one bitcoin is worth $1,000. In that case, someone may sell a bitcoin to you for $1,010 instead.

If you’re willing to make bitcoin trades in person, you’ll often find even better exchange rates.

What is the mid-market rate?

The mid-market rate is what your money’s actually worth on the global market compared to another currency. It’s the midpoint between worldwide supply and demand for that currency — and the rate banks and transfer services use when they trade among themselves.

Use the mid-market rate as a baseline to compare against the rates provided by your bank or transfer service. With it, you’ll discover which companies offer the best rates.

Selling bitcoins

Just as people will post ads selling bitcoins, they’ll also post ads seeking bitcoins. If you have bitcoins, you may be able to sell them for better than the mid-market rate. Exchanging your bitcoins for 2% above the mid-market rate would be quite a good deal.

How much will it cost me to send money with LocalBitcoins?

Fees can be overbearing on other bitcoin platforms, but they’re relatively light on LocalBitcoins.

If you’re responding to an ad, you won’t pay a fee to buy or sell bitcoins. If you’re the one posting an ad, you’ll be charged 1% of the bitcoins traded.

When you transfer bitcoins to your recipient, there’s no fee if you transfer to their LocalBitcoins wallet. If you transfer to a third-party wallet, you will pay a fee of between 0.0001 and 0.0010 XBT.

What is bitcoin’s three-letter currency code: XBT or CBT?

In its earliest days, bitcoin’s currency code was CBT. With its growing acceptance as a legitimate currency, the International Standards Organization (ISO) has since designated bitcoin’s notation as XBT.

As bitcoin’s legitimacy (and the general public’s interest in it) increases, you’ll continue to see references to both CBT and XBT until one eventually sticks as the standard.

Buying and selling option Description
Buying and selling bitcoins (without an ad) Free
Buying and selling bitcoins (as an advertiser) 1% fee for bitcoins released from escrow
Sending bitcoins to another LocalBitcoins wallet Free
Sending bitcoins to a third-party wallet 0.0001 to 0.0010 XBT (depends on traffic in bitcoin blockchain)

How long will it take to send money with LocalBitcoins?

When you buy and sell bitcoins, it may take time to line up the right trade partners. Further, the time it takes to complete a purchase or sale depends on how quickly you and your trade partner can send funds to LocalBitcoins (see “How do I send or receive money through LocalBitcoins?” below).

Bitcoin transactions are usually completed within 10 to 60 minutes. That means if the money transfer process goes smoothly, you could complete an entire transfer within a few hours — maybe even within one hour.

Minimum transfer fees and available countries

There’s no minimum or maximum on how much you can transfer. Limits are set by individual buyers and sellers.

LocalBitcoins has exchangers in more than 200 countries and 14,000 cities around the world. (The LocalBitcoin’s head office is actually located in Helsinki, Finland.) You can trade bitcoins in over 100 currencies.

What types of transfers does LocalBitcoins support?

You can buy and sell bitcoins using dozens of payment methods, including:

  • Cash
  • Wire transfer
  • Credit card
  • Amazon gift card
  • Google Wallet
  • PayPal
  • Square Cash
  • Venmo
  • Western Union
  • Xoom

There’s no set method you have to use — you can decide on which one you’ll use with your buyer or seller.

How do I send or receive money through LocalBitcoins?

To complete a money transfer through bitcoin, you’ll need to take these basic steps:

  • You use fiat currency — government-issued money like US dollars, euro and yen — to buy bitcoins.
  • You transfer the bitcoins to your recipient.
  • Your recipient sells the bitcoins for the fiat currency of their choice.

Here’s how to do that in four steps.

1. Find a listing that sells bitcoins.
On LocalBitcoins, you can buy bitcoins online or in person. You’ll see listings on the website’s homepage with ads — click one to see how much a trader is selling bitcoins for. You can also post your own ad.
LocalBitCoins.com money transfers

2. Transfer the funds.
When you initiate a trade, you’ll go through LocalBitcoins escrow process. This means that you send money to LocalBitcoins — not the seller. At the same time, your trade partner will send bitcoins to the platform.

When both you and the seller have sent the funds, LocalBitcoins will release the bitcoins to you and the money to your trade partner.

3. Send bitcoins to your recipient.
After you’ve purchased bitcoins, send them from your LocalBitcoins wallet to your recipient’s wallet.

4. Your recipient sells the bitcoins.
Finally, your recipient can sell the bitcoins on LocalBitcoins for the fiat currency of their choice.

What to look out for

  • Fraud. Because LocalBitcoins is a peer-to-peer service, you’ll be exchanging money and bitcoins with other people. Be wary of deals that seem too good to be true — your instincts are probably right.
  • Safety when exchanging bitcoins in person. When making in-person trades, exchange only in well-populated areas. Don’t be afraid to call off a deal if you sense that something’s wrong.
  • Unusual payment methods. Avoid exchanging money with payment methods you haven’t used before. Also be careful about selling bitcoins for gift card codes, which LocalBitcoins considers a high-risk payment option.

Benefits and drawbacks

Benefits Drawbacks
Countries 200+ countries May not be many sellers in some countries
Transfer options Transfers can be very quick Unlike dedicated money transfer platforms, you need to handle all transfer details yourself
Pickup options Recipient can receive fiat currency through many methods Some methods are considered high risk
Competitive fees Can be much cheaper than other bitcoin and general money transfer platforms Exchange rates can vary wildly
Minimum and maximum transfers No minimums or maximums set by LocalBitcoins Buyers and sellers may set limits
Convenience Offers online trades In-person trades can be cumbersome
Customer service options Quick responses to online support tickets No phone support

Next steps

To get started with LocalBitcoins, sign up for a free account online. Just enter a username, an email address and a password. Once approved, you can begin trading bitcoins with users in your area and around the world.

Frequently asked questions

Image source: LocalBitcoins

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4 Responses

  1. Default Gravatar
    JDecember 13, 2017

    I want to buy bitcoins from an account in Portugal. Can you help me? Can they be stored on this platform or what do I do with them once bought?

    • finder Customer Care
      HaroldDecember 13, 2017Staff

      Hi J,

      Thank you for your inquiry.

      Bitcoins cannot be held on the local bitcoins platform, and to explain that you will need your own wallet. You can read our guide on this page for your reference.

      I hope this information has helped.

      Cheers,
      Harold

  2. Default Gravatar
    ShahriarAugust 21, 2017

    Hello. I want to sell some coins in localbitcoins.com.
    What are the safest options to receive money. If a buyer pays me through wire transfer, money gram, WU or cash deposit, and upon receiving bitcoin if he/she cancel the transfer, will localbitcoin will able to protect me from that?
    Regards

    • finder Customer Care
      HaroldAugust 21, 2017Staff

      Hi Shahriar,

      Thank you for your inquiry.

      sending money over the platform is safe as long as you use the escrow service — LocalBitcoins will hold currency from both the buyer and seller before the funds are released.

      Keep in mind that local trades don’t have escrow by default, and you should only complete in-person trades in well-populated areas. Finally, check the feedback for a buyer or seller before initiating any transaction.

      I hope this information has helped.

      Cheers,
      Harold

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