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LocalBitcoins peer-to-peer cryptocurrency exchange – 2019 review

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Find Bitcoin buyers and sellers near you on LocalBitcoins.

  • Good for peer-to-peer Bitcoin trading with escrow and ID
  • Bad for cash payments, no-ID trading, risk of scams

Check out our full list of pros and cons or read on.

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Fiat currencies

1

Cryptocurrencies

Details

Product Name LocalBitcoins P2P Exchange
Fiat Currencies AUD, USD, EUR, GBP, CAD, CNY & 120+ more
Cryptocurrencies BTC
Deposit Methods Bank transfer (ACH)
BPAY
Cash
Credit card
Cryptocurrency
Trading Fee None
Deposit Fees Fees vary
Withdrawal Fees -

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.

Learn more about LocalBitcoins:

What fiat and cryptocurrencies are supported?

  • Supported fiat currencies: AUD, USD, EUR, GBP, CAD, CNY & 120+ more
  • Supported cryptocurrencies: 1 cryptocurrencies
  • BTC

Which payments methods are accepted?

  • Bank transfer (ACH)
  • BPAY
  • Cash
  • Credit card
  • Cryptocurrency
Go to LocalBitcoins's website

What’s it like to use LocalBitcoins?

Fees and limits

The fees below are accurate as of 11 October 2019.

Transaction type Fee
Buying and selling Free
Posting a successful advertisement 1% on completion of the trade
Transactions between LocalBitcoins wallets Free
Merchant invoicing service 0.5%
Custom work (e.g. research of external issues) EUR€200 per hour. Minimum billable amount is EUR€200.

How fast will my funds be available?

Deposits

Clock icon for transfer speed

Varies

Fiat payments. How long a payment takes depends on the payment method you and the other trader use.

Withdrawals

Clock icon for transfer speed

Upon received payment

Bitcoin release from escrow. Bitcoin sellers will typically release BTC from escrow as soon as they receive your payment.

Is LocalBitcoins safe to use?

  • Regulation. LocalBitcoins operates around the world in compliance with local laws. Traders are required to provide identification for most transactions, and reputable traders on LocalBitcoins will typically require identification from their counterparts.
  • Verification process. LocalBitcoins has different verification tiers, with all except the lowest requiring users to provide ID documents.
  • Security features. LocalBitcoins has ongoing bug bounties and only gets involved in trades between users as the escrow provider. However, scams from other LocalBitcoins users are a constant problem.

How to avoid scams on LocalBitcoins

LocalBitcoins requires buyers and sellers to verify their identity for most transactions, and it has an escrow service to help prevent scams. But even with these precautions, there are still two common scams to watch out for when using LocalBitcoins.

1. Chargeback fraud

This scam targets Bitcoin sellers.

How it works

A scammer buys Bitcoin with credit card, bank transfer, PayPal or another service with reversible payments.

After the payment is made, they claim a chargeback through the payment service.

Now the scammer has the Bitcoin and the money, while the seller has no Bitcoin and no money.

How to avoid chargeback fraud
  • Deal only with well-known buyers with a high reputation score on the platform.
  • Check the buyer’s platform trading history for any gaps. These could mean the scammer purchased or otherwise acquired a high-reputation account to perpetrate the scam.
  • Only deal with verified, identified buyers.
  • Only make small transactions to reduce the amount lost if you become a scam victim.
  • Be wary of offers that are too good to be true or even slightly too good.

Outside of cash payments, which are not allowed on LocalBitcoins listings, there are no guaranteed ways of avoiding chargeback fraud.

2. Man in the middle scams

This scam targets Bitcoin sellers.

How it works

The scammer tricks someone into unknowingly purchasing Bitcoin, which is sent to the scammer’s wallet. This type of scam has two victims. Victim A (VA) is someone who wants to buy something online. Victim B (VB) is someone who wants to sell Bitcoin on LocalBitcoins.

The scammer offers to sell something to VA. This can be anything sold online, such as a car, clothing or anything you’ll find on eBay or Amazon.

Once a price is agreed, the scammer offers to buy exactly that amount of Bitcoin from VB and presents VB’s payment details to VA.

Now VA ends up paying VB, who releases the Bitcoin to the scammer after receiving payment. Naturally, VA will typically not receive the goods they thought they were buying and will typically initiate chargeback procedures.

Consequently, this scam can lead to innocent Bitcoin sellers losing money and being labelled as fraudsters and even having their bank accounts cancelled.

How to avoid man in the middle scams

All the same rules as avoiding chargeback fraud apply – only deal in small amounts and only with reputable and identifiable buyers. In addition, you can do the following:

  • Where possible, ensure that the payment method incorporates ID, such as a bank account name, and that this matches the buyer’s ID.
  • Ask for photographic confirmation of the payment, such as requiring the buyer to take a photo of themselves physically making the payment.
  • Have smaller payment windows (e.g. require payment to be made within half an hour of a purchase being requested).
  • Require a detailed description, including the purpose of the payment, on the buyer’s bank transfer.

Scams are a risk on any peer-to-peer cryptocurrency trading platform, and LocalBitcoins is not any better or worse than the others in this regard.

You can reduce your chances of being scammed by being careful, but there are no guarantees and even experienced traders sometimes fall victim.

If you don’t want to worry about the risk of scams, you should look for large, reputable cryptocurrency exchanges instead.

Compare popular large cryptocurrency exchanges.

How do I create an account at LocalBitcoins?

Go to LocalBitcoins's website

What else do I need to know about LocalBitcoins?

LocalBitcoins is based in Helsinki, Finland.

It was founded in 2012 and has been a significant name in the cryptocurrency trading ecosystem since then.

In earlier years, it was best known as a no-ID cash-in-hand trading platform, but it now requires verification in most cases, and users can no longer select cash in person as a preferred payment option.

In a nutshell

Pros

  • Low fees. The platform trading fees are low or even non-existent in some cases..
  • Many traders. It’s a busy and global platform, making it easy to find trading counterparts.

Cons

  • Risk of scams. Scams are a constant risk, and users need to be vigilant.
  • Prices vary. In many markets, you’ll find a large spread between the buy and sell rates.

Compare LocalBitcoins against other exchanges

Name Product Deposit methods Fiat Currencies Supported Cryptocurrencies
Cash
Credit card
Debit card
Bank transfer (SEPA)
USD, EUR
BTC, ETH, ETC, BCH, LTC, ADA, QTUM, XRP
Buy coins like Bitcoin, Ethereum, Ripple, Litecoin and Bitcoin Cash with credit card.
Credit card
Debit card
PayPal
Wire transfer
Local Online Banking
EUR, GBP, NZD, USD, AUD, CAD, CHF, NOK, ZAR, JPY, SEK, TRY, HUF, PLN
BTC, ETH, BCH, XRP, DASH, LTC, ETC, ADA, MIOTA, XLM, EOS, NEO, TRX, ZEC, XTZ
Disclaimer: Highly volatile investment product. Your capital is at risk. 75% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider. You should consider whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money. US users have limited access to some of eToro’s features.

Copy the trades of leading cryptocurrency investors on this unique social investment platform. Non-US residents can read our review of eToro's global site here.
Bank transfer (ACH)
Bank transfer
Cryptocurrency
Debit card
Wire transfer
USD
BTC, ETH, XRP, BCH, LTC, USDT, BNB, ADA, ZRX, LINK & 10+ more
Get a US$15 bonus when you trade US$100 or more of any supported crypto. T&Cs apply.
Trade with USD on Binance.US, the American dollar onramp of the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange. Non-US residents can read our review of Binance's main exchange here.

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Frequently asked questions

Go to LocalBitcoins's website
Disclaimer: 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.

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6 Comments

  1. Default Gravatar
    Faith
    July 30, 2019

    Hi

    What happens to my localbitcoin account if someone gains access to it.

    Thank you

    • AvatarStaff
      fayemanuel
      July 31, 2019

      Hi Faith,

      Thanks for contacting Finder.

      If someone gains access to your account and uses your wallet, LocalBitcoins will have no way to recover your funds. Please review their Service Terms found on their website.

      Kind Regards,

      Faye

  2. Default Gravatar
    J
    December 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?

    • AvatarStaff
      Harold
      December 13, 2017

      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

  3. Default Gravatar
    Shahriar
    August 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

    • AvatarStaff
      Harold
      August 21, 2017

      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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