Setting up advertisements to buy and sell Bitcoins

This guide is for those who want to be actively involved in trading Bitcoins.
If you are planning to sell Bitcoins only occasionally, or you're just starting out, please see the how to sell guide.

Why trade on LocalBitcoins?

LocalBitcoins is the pioneering and leading P2P Bitcoin trading platform, founded in 2012 and currently serving users from over 100 countries. On you can trade Bitcoins for traditional currencies through online trades, protected by an escrow service. This is also known as over-the-counter (OTC) trading.

People prefer to buy and sell Bitcoins OTC because it allows for fast transactions and more diverse payment methods. Centralized bitcoin exchanges are slow and cumbersome, trading directly with other people using the same payment provider makes the money move much faster. This creates a better user experience for the customer.

Hundreds of Bitcoin traders from all over the world already earn a living trading Bitcoins on LocalBitcoins using more than 60+ payment methods, this guide will help you become one of them.

Benefits of trading on

  • The largest P2P Bitcoin trading platform, LocalBitcoins continues growing with more than 4000 new sign ups every day.
  • Serving users from over 100 countries, LocalBitcoins gives you access to a global marketplace.
  • Quick and easy way to trade Bitcoins.
  • Escrow protection for safe trading protects both the buyer and the seller.
  • Reputation system for finding and filtering trustworthy customers.
  • Dynamic pricing system with hundreds of sources ensures your prices are always up to date.
  • API to allow you to make your own trading applications to automate trading.

Overview of the trading process

A typical trade on LocalBitcoins works like this, the example is an online sell trade where you're selling Bitcoins to a buyer. The process is similar when you are buying Bitcoins online, but for this example we're focusing on selling Bitcoins, as that's the most common type of trade.

  • First you need to create a sell Bitcoins online advertisement (called an online sell advertisement). When making the advertisement you choose a payment method, set your pricing, your limits and write your terms of the trade as a free form message.
  • Then you need to fund your wallet with Bitcoin. You need to have Bitcoin in your LocalBitcoins wallet in order for customers to be able to open trade requests from your advertisements.
  • When a buyer opens a trade with you, Bitcoin for the full amount of the trade is automatically taken from your wallet into escrow. Give the buyer payment instructions and guide the buyer through paying for the trade. You will receive email and SMS notifications when someone replies to your advertisement.
  • Once the buyer has paid and pressed the I have paid button you will receive a notification via e-mail, SMS and on the website that a trade has been paid for.
  • When you've confirmed that you have received the payment it's time for you to release the Bitcoins. This moves the Bitcoins from escrow to the buyers LocalBitcoins wallet.
  • The final step is to Leave feedback for the buyer and encourage the buyer to do the same for you. Feedback is important in order to gain reputation and make more trades.

Getting started

Before you start trading you need to consider what payment methods you are going to provide and research the payment method so that you know how it works. When you first start trading we recommend you don't choose a high risk payment method. Transfer with specific bank can be a good starting payment method, especially if there are few traders active in your country. A few sections down is more information about different payment methods and their risk level.

If you have a new account with no previous trading history, we recommend you start by replying to existing advertisements in order to buy and sell some Bitcoins. This will help you get a hang of how trading works and it will let you build some trading history which will make your account trustworthy which in turn gives your advertisements better placement in the listings.

Before you start trading

  • Just starting out? Get some trading experience, with a brand new account it will be hard to find users to reply to your advertisements. Start out by contacting other traders ads to buy and sell, this help you get your first feedbacks and trade completions. The more trades and feedback you have, the more trustworthy you are.
  • It's also a good idea to verify your account by completing both the SMS verification and ID verification. A verified account is more trustworthy for buyers and will help you get more customers.
  • Before you start trading make sure you familiarise yourself with your local legislation and that your are in compliance with any relevant laws and that you have the necessary business licenses for the jurisdiction you’re trading in.

    Legislation varies a lot from country to country and whether you are trading as an individual or as a business.
  • Research the payment method you're going to offer. Read through other traders ads of the same payment method and make some trades with them. Try to identify possible problems before you start trading. We recommend you start trading using a low risk payment method, see more about payment methods below.
  • Use payment accounts only for Bitcoin trading. Some payment providers will temporarily or permanently close your account if you receive unauthorized payments that are related to fraud. Using accounts only for Bitcoin trading protects your personal finances.

Setting up an advertisement

The advertisement creation page is where you create new advertisements. You can also find this page from the post a trade link in the menu bar.

There are some options when creating an advertisement which are required, and a lot of extra options which are optional but recommended to set. Using the extra options allows you to tune your advertisement to suite your trading strategy.

You can find all of the advertisements that you have created from your dashboard, you can also find it from the dashboard link in the menu bar (from the icon that looks like a speedometer). In your dashboard you can also see all of your trades, both open and closed.

Advertisement requirements

  • You need to set a location, currency, payment method, price, limits and write a terms of trade.
  • You can create up to 5 advertisements at a time. For each Bitcoin you trade during 30 days you can create one additional advertisement.

Required options

Enter the country where you want your advertisement to appear.

Payment method
Select the payment method you want to offer from the dropdown menu. See more in the section about payment methods.

Choose which currency you're selling for. For instance, if you're selling in France you should select EUR. You can use this list to find what your currency acronym is.

Margin or Price equation
The easy way to price your advertisement is to enter a margin you want above the Bitcoin market price. To do that, enter a percentage in the margin field.

If you want more control over your price, you can use the price equation field. This will allow you to create an advanced pricing algorithm taking into account many variables. See more in our pricing guide.

Min. / Max. transaction limit
The minimum transaction limit sets the smallest amount someone can buy. If you set it to five, and you have your currency set to EUR it means that smallest trade someone can open with you will be for 5 EUR.

The maximum transaction limit sets what the biggest trade that you want to accept is. Note that if you put in a larger maximum than what you have Bitcoins for in your wallet, the actual maximum will be your wallet balance.

Terms of Trade
This is the text the buyer sees before he opens up a trade with you. It's a good idea to write instructions for the buyer on how you want the trade to proceed and if you have any specific instructions.
If you require, for example, the buyer to submit a receipt as proof of payment before you release the Bitcoins or if you need the buyer to provide an ID, this is the place to mention it. You can take a look at other traders advertisements for the payment method you want to use to get an idea of what good terms of trade contain.

Extra options

Opening hours
No-one likes it when someone doesn't reply. By setting your opening hours you can limit the time when your advertisements are shown to exactly those times when you are ready to trade. Tip: Set the times acording to your own local time, but first make sure that you have your own time zone set in your user settings.

Payment details
Enter here specific information relating to how the buyer should pay, this can be your bank account number or e-mail address (For e.g. PayPal).

Minimum volume
You can set a minium required Bitcoin trading volume before a user can open up a trade request for your advertisement. If you set this to 0.1 BTC it will require the person contacting your advertisement to have previously completed trades totalling at least that amount.

Minimum feedback
Similar to Minimum volume, the feedback minimum allows you to set a minimum required feedback percentage required to have in order to open a trade using your advertisement.

New buyer limit
This is a specific maximum transaction limit for new users. If a new buyer with no previous trading history wants to contact you, this is the largest amount they can open a trade for.

Transaction coefficient
This option works in combination with new buyer limit. If you set the previous option to 0.5 BTC and the transaction coefficient to 1.5 it will slowly raise the maximum amount that the user can purchase from you. For the first trade it will be your new buyer limit, for the following trade it will be 1.5 times the new buyer limit, or 0.75 BTC for our example.

Display reference
This shows an automatically generated reference code for the trade. It's a convenient feature to use as the buyer can enter the reference as part of the message when purchasing, allowing you to quickly match payments to trades.

Reference type
Let's you select what kind of reference to display. You can select between short, long, numbers & letters.

Payment window
How long of a time the buyer has to make payment before the trade is automatically cancelled.

Track liquidity
In case you are offering Bitcoins for sale using a payment method that only allows you to accept a certain amount a day you can use this feature to limit yourself to that. Enabling tracking liquidity lowers the maximum limit of the advertisement each time someone makes a purchase.

Identified only
By marking this checkbox you limit the advertisement so that only users who have verified their ID with LocalBitcoins are able to open a trade.

Real name required
By marketing this checkbox you limit the advertisement so that only users who have entered a real name on their account are able to open a trade. This is only availalbe for Online Sell advertisements.

SMS required
By marking this checkbox you limit the advertisement so only users who have verified a phone number with us can open a trade.

Trusted only
Marking an ad for trusted users only allows you to create special advertisements for users whom you have trusted. See more in our FAQ.

General trading tips

  • If the buyer too is slow or non-responsive. The escrow is automatically cancelled unless the buyer presses Mark payment done within the payment window (usually 90 minutes). If this was a mistake in this case you can reopen the escrow if you want to finish the trade with this buyer.
  • Dispute the trade If there are any disagreements in the trade, you can open a dispute. After a dispute has been started you can still release the Bitcoins and finish the trade e.g. in the case the payment took longer than usual to arrive and dispute was opened prematurely.
  • Not replying to trade offers can give you negative feedback. Turn off your advertisements when you're not trading. Tip: use the opening hours feature to automatically turn on and off your ads as you are available.

Payment provider information

Below is the list of currently supported payment methods on If you are thnking about selling bitcoins with a certain payment method, check its risk level and read the topic on risk mitigation below.

If you want to see a new payment method added or have questions about the risk of a payment method, please contact LocalBitcoins support.

It's a good idea to research a payment method before you start trading with it. Familiarise yourself with the terms of service and search online for other trader's experience with the payment method.

Payment provider Description Ads
Other online payment The advertiser gives payment details in the advertisement message
Hal-cash Hal-Cash is a bank service that allows you to send money to any mobile phone, and be withdrawn instantly at an ATM of any of the financial institutions associated with the worldwide system, anytime and anywhere without needing a credit card.
Vipps Send money to anyone who has a Norwegian phone number.
Visa - Visa Debit cards, Credit cards, payment systems. Visa - Visa transfer between cards.
Mastercard - Mastercard Debit cards, Credit cards, payment systems. Mastercard - Mastercard transfer between cards.
Card to card Transfer money from card to card on-line.
Mir Debit cards, Credit cards, payment systems. Mir is a national payment system established by the Central Bank of Russia.
SBP - Fast Bank Transfer The quick payment system is a Bank of Russia service that allows individuals to make instant transfers by mobile phone number to any bank participating in SBP, as well as make payments for goods and services in retail stores and the Internet using a QR code.
Chase Quickpay Person-to-person payments through Chase's quickpay system.
Chipper Cash Chipper is a mobile cross-border money transfer platform in Africa.
OKPay OKPAY allows you to accept bank wire and cash money transfers and all e-currencies quickly and affordably. Currently OKPay advertises as irreversible payment.
Paypal Transfer money to anybody with an email address.
WebMoney Secure and immediate transactions online.
Moneybookers / Skrill The simple and secure way to send and receive money.
Neteller Instant deposits, withdrawals and payouts online.
Apple Pay Online payment method to transfer funds between two Apple Pay users.
TWINT Online payment method to transfer funds between two Twint users.
Cashier's check Checks signed by cashiers.
Venmo Send money to friends using a mobile app in US. Can be funded using a credit card.
Zelle Send money to friends and family
Dwolla Send money online using Dwolla.
Perfect Money Instant payments and confidential money transfers online.
CashU Pay online securely without bank account or credit card and fund your account using variety of methods.
Payza Send and receive money online. Fund your account with wire transfer or credit card.
Bluebird Card Card to card payments offered by American Express.
GreenDot Card Green Dot Corporation is an issuer of prepaid MasterCard and Visa cards in the United States. Card to card transfers.
Other Online Wallet Other online wallets that do not have their own category. The advertiser gives payment details in the advertisement description.
Other Online Wallet (Global) International online wallets that do not have their own category.. The advertiser gives payment details in the advertisement descirption
Other Remittance Remittance vendors not already on the list. The advertiser gives payment details in the advertisement message
Credit card Buy Bitcoins using your credit card.
Google Pay Online payment method to transfer funds between two Google Pay users.
Cash App Send money to friends using a mobile app in US. Can be funded with debit cards.
Payment provider Description Ads
National bank transfer Wire transfer within a specific country
SEPA (EU) bank transfer Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA) wire transfers. Usually recallable up to 10 days.
Transfers with specific bank Transfers to and from other customers with the same bank as you.
Cash deposit Go to a bank / ATM and deposit cash directly to the bank account
Swish Send and receive Swedish Kroner to and from mobile phone numbers.
QIWI Send money to anyone with a Qiwi account. All you need to know is their phone number, simple easy and fast.
Mobile top-up Mobile top-up is a transfer where you add credit to the recipient's mobile number. All you need to know is their phone number.
Tinkoff Tinkoff Bank, formerly Tinkoff Credit Systems is a Russian commercial bank based in Moscow. The bank does not have branches and is considered a neobank.
Revolut An electronic money institution providing online wallet. Not the same as a traditional bank. Funds with Revolut remain safeguarded in accounts with a tier-one UK bank, as per our obligations under the e-money regulations.
M-PESA Kenya (Safaricom) Send and receive money with your mobile phone in Africa.
PayID Enables customers of different banks to make and receive real-time payments.
Ethereum altcoin Altcoins are other cryptocurrencies than Bitcoin.
Litecoin altcoin Altcoins are other cryptocurrencies than Bitcoin.
Dogecoin altcoin Altcoins are other cryptocurrencies than Bitcoin.
Stellar altcoin Altcoins are other cryptocurrencies than Bitcoin.
Ripple altcoin Altcoins are other cryptocurrencies than Bitcoin.
Verge altcoin Altcoins are other cryptocurrencies than Bitcoin.
OKB altcoin Altcoins are other cryptocurrencies than Bitcoin.
Cardano (ADA) altcoin Altcoins are other cryptocurrencies than Bitcoin.
Bitcoin Cash (BCH) altcoin Altcoins are other cryptocurrencies than Bitcoin.
Polkadot (DOT) altcoin Altcoins are other cryptocurrencies than Bitcoin.
Chainlink (Link) altcoin Altcoins are other cryptocurrencies than Bitcoin.
USD Coin (USDC) altcoin Altcoins are other cryptocurrencies than Bitcoin.
Tether (USDT) altcoin Altcoins are other cryptocurrencies than Bitcoin.
Axie Infinity (AXS) altcoin Altcoins are other cryptocurrencies than Bitcoin.
Smooth Love Potion (SLP) altcoin Altcoins are other cryptocurrencies than Bitcoin.
PagoFacil PagoFacil is a popular payment method in Argentina.
Rapipago Sending and receiving money through an ATM or Rapipago agency anywhere in Argentina.
Boleto Bancário (Boleto) Boleto Bancário, commonly known as Boleto, is Brazil’s most popular cash-based payment method that is virtually fraud-proof.
Via Baloto Baloto is one of Colombias most popular cash payment methods.
Efecty Efecty is an offline cash payment voucher option in Colombia.
Payment provider Description Ads
International Wire (SWIFT) International wire transfer with SWIFT code
MobilePay FI Easy way to send money with phone numbers, works with all Finnish banks.
IMPS Bank Transfer India IMPS bank transfers in India.
UPI Transfer Transfer money between bank accounts in India.
Interac e-transfer Canadian online transfers
Pingit Barclays mobile payments in UK.
Paym Pay your friends and family using just their mobile number.
PYC Pay your contacts - mobile payments by Natwest / Royal Bank of Scotland
Western Union Send and receive money internationally. The receiver can redeem the transfer as cash.
PostePay Italian online payments.
Moneygram Send and receive money internationally. The receiver can redeem the transfer as cash.
AirTM Airtm is a virtual wallet for sending and receiving payments around the world.
Bhim BHIM is an Indian mobile payment App.
Bunq Launched in 2015, bunq B.V. is an innovative direct bank, focused on providing banking products online using its mobile application.
Chime Chime is an American technology neobank company which provides fee-free financial services through a mobile app.
Freecharge Freecharge is a mobile payment app in India, owned by Axis Bank.
ЕРИП "Settlement" system (ERIP) The Unified Settlement Information Space (ERIP) is an electronic system created to instantly pay bills for goods or services.
GEO Pay GEO Pay is a P2P payment network deployed in one of the regions of Ukraine used for simple and fast payments without intermediaries and bank charges.
MobilePay Easy way to send money with phone numbers, works with all Danish banks.
MobilePay NO Easy way to send money with phone numbers, works with all Norwegian banks.
MTN Mobile Money MTN Mobile Money is a secure electronic service that enables MTN Mobile Money wallet holders to store funds, send and receive money, make payments and do a number of other transactions simply using their mobile phone. And it’s offered by MTN in partnership with over 10 partner banks, in a number of countries across Africa.
OneMoney OneMoney is a mobile payments solution service that allows one to send and receive money from a mobile phone at a very low cost.
Mukuru Mukuru is an online remittance company. Through our transactional Website, we offer customers in the United Kingdom or the European Union the ability to send money to 13 countries: Bangladesh, Botswana, DR Congo, Eswatini, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Nigeria, Pakistan, South Africa, Zambia, Zimbabwe.
Orange Money Orange Money is the mobile money service of Orange S.A., available in most of the group's affiliates in Africa.
Paysend PaySend is a global online money transfer service that offers the new solution to transfer money abroad by means of a Card2Card technology.
PhonePe PhonePe is an Indian digital wallet platform and online payment.
RIA Money Transfer Send and receive money internationally. The receiver can redeem the transfer as cash.
Serve2Serve Reloadable debit cards and transfers between them.
Walmart 2 Walmart Send and receive money between two Walmart locations. The receiver can redeem the transfer as cash.
Xoom Xoom Corporation is a digital money transfer company based in San Francisco. It provides consumer remittance services to Europe, Canada, Australia, Latin America, the Philippines and India.
Zipit ZIPIT stands for Zimswitch Instant Payment Interchange Technology. It is a solution that was developed to enable instant inter-bank funds transfers between Zimswitch member institutions.
PaySera PaySera is a virtual bank with a particularly comprehensive range of services that offers suitable banking products for both private individuals and online businesses.
Remitly Remitly is an online international money transfer service allowing people in the U.S., Canada, the Eurozone, Australia, and the U.K. to send money to over 85+ countries around the world.
MercadoPago MercadoPago is an online payment platform that makes it easy to send and receive online payments. Mercado Pago only allows payments in the local currency. That is, the account created in Colombia only accepts payments in Colombian pesos (COP) and from clients that have an account in the same country.
PIX instant payment Pix is the Brazilian instant payment. The payment method created by the Central Bank (BC) in which funds are transferred between accounts in a few seconds, at any time or day.
PicPay PicPay is a digital wallet app that enables users to send and receive money, pay bills, store loyalty cards and discount coupons, and more.
Mach Mach is the first digital account in Chile. The MACH virtual card is an alternative for people who do not have access to traditional credit cards.
MOVII Movii is a digital service that offers a wallet for storing funds and making transfers to other Movii users.
Nequi Nequi is a financial mobile banking service from Bancolombia. Through the application users can manage their money from their cell phone.
PSE PSE allows its users to make purchases and payments over the internet.
Vodafone cash Vodafone cash can be used to send and receive money, top-up airtime for self and other Vodafone numbers, pay bills (Vodafone Bills) as well as buy goods and services.
Monese Monese bank is a financial service provider from the FinTech sector offering banking services exclusively online.
Airtel Money Airtel Money is an electronic wallet service that works on smartphones and basic feature phones on the Airtel network.
Eversend Eversend is a multi-currency e-wallet that allows customers to exchange, spend and send money.
Sendwave Sendwave works by allowing you to send money from a debit card to select countries abroad.
JazzCash JazzCash, formerly known as MobiCash, is a Pakistani mobile wallet, mobile payments, and branchless banking services provider.
YAPE Yape is a mobile application created by the Banco de Crédito del Perú.
GCash GCash is mobile money or “e-money” that allows you to send or receive money with the use of your smartphone.
MBWay MB WAY is the leading Payments App in Portugal.
Bizum Bizum is a payment service launched by Spanish banks to allow users to conduct Person-to-Person ( Person-to-Person. ) payments through a smartphone.
MonCash Mon Cash is a money management service that allows registered customers to make financial transactions from their mobile phones.
N26 N26 is a German bank that works with the network from its mobile phone.
Payment provider Description Ads
EcoCash Send money to and receive money in Zimbabwe with your mobile phone.
PayTM Indian mobile payment method (Pay Through Mobile).
Lydia French mobile payment method.
Alipay Alipay is a major Chinese online payment system.
Superflash Italian debit card with an IBAN number.
AstroPay AstroPay Card is an easy and safe way to make payments online in latin american countries.
M-PESA Tanzania (Vodacom) Send and receive money with mobile phone in Africa.
advcash Advanced cash is an online wallet service that lets you send and receive money.
Cash at ATM Cash at ATM is a service some banks that lets you withdraw or deposit money from/to ATMs with a PIN code.
Easypaisa Send money to other people in Pakistan using your mobile phone.
hyperWALLET hyperWALLET is online payment solution which offers instant bank transfer funding in Canada.
Payeer Send money anywhere in the world, receiver does not need be registered.
Payoneer Payoneer is a financial services business that provides online money transfer and e-commerce payment services.
Tigo-Pesa Tanzania Send and receive money with mobile phone in Africa.
Transferwise Transfer money online internationally
WeChat WeChat Pay is a digital wallet service incorporated into WeChat, which allows users to perform mobile payments and send money between contacts.
Worldremit Send money anywhere in the world.

Risk level explanation

These risk levels apply only when you are selling bitcoins online as the risk comes from accepting payments that can later be charged back. When you are buying Bitcoins you are completely protected by escrow as long as you have proof of payment.

Risk level Typical payment provider features Mitigation
Low The payment method is irreversible or almost irreversible. It is safe to use this payment method, LocalBitcoins are aware of few or no issues with it.
Medium The payment is reversible and LocalBitcoins receive the occasional report of fraud.

Set first time buyer limits.

Require reputation and account history.

Check the ID of the buyer.

High It is easy for the buyer to reverse the payment, reversals can occur weeks or months after the trade. The payment provider may lock your account without a refund after receiving payments for Bitcoin. LocalBitcoins are aware of several cases of fraud or other problems with trades. Proceed with caution.

Set very low first time buyer limits.

Require high user reputation and long account history.

Use trusted listings.

Check the buyer id.

Unknown LocalBitcoins have not researched this payment method or there is little to no history with it being used for Bitcoin trading.

How to stay safe while trading Bitcoin

It's important to having good digital security, but it's especially important when you're trading Bitcoins. When you have advertisements up selling Bitcoin you also tell the world that you have Bitcoins, which can make you an attractive target to cyber criminals if you don't have your security in check.

Most common attacks are done using spear phishing techniques. That's where the attackers will first attempt to get access to other services that you use, mainly your e-mail or cell phone account. From there they will try to get access to your financial services. This is why it's very important to keep all of your online accounts secure, not just your LocalBitcoins account. By following these steps you can be sure that your account is protected from most security threats.

  • Enable Login Guard from the security settings of your account to prevent logins to your account without an e-mail confirmation. This is not enabled by default for older accounts, please make sure it is turned on.
  • Enable Two-Factor authentication on your LocalBitcoins account, this adds a second layer of security in case your password falls into the wrong hands. Make sure you do not store the backup code electronically, write them down and store the code safely. Enable it from your security settings.
  • Use a different e-mail address for your LocalBitcoins account that is not used for anything else. Don't give this address out to your customers, use a separate e-mail account for customer correspondence. Gmail accounts are good as you can protect them with two-factor authentication.
  • Review your login history & authorized browsers. From the account security settings you can view your account Login history and authorized browsers. It's a good habit to check these from time to time.
  • Be wary of any images, links and other files that customers or unknown people send you, it can be an attempt to infect your computer with malware or worse. Run periodic malware and anti-virus checks on your computer.
  • Don't use the same password on more than one site, instead use unique and randomly generated passwords. A password manager, like KeePass, allows you to do this without having to remember all your passwords. Using the same password on more than one site very dangerous, it can allow an attacker to get access to many of your accounts by knowing only one password.
  • Enable Two-Factor authentication on services that support it, Google, Facebook, Dropbox all support it.
  • Educate yourself on cyber security. Having knowledge is probably the best defence, read up on common attack techniques such as spear phishing to know how to identify potential attacks.

Verify the buyer

If you are selling Bitcoins for a payment method that is reversible you should verify that it is the buyer who is making the payment with his own account.

When you receive a new trade, take a look at the buyer's LocalBitcoins profile to gauge the reputation of the buyer. Go through the buyer's previous feedback and his trading history.

On the page for the trade itself you will see a box showing security information of your buyer. Always view this information to get a picture of who your trading partner is, check whether the real name of his account matches the name attached to his payment. Check that the users IP address is from the same country as the payment is coming from. Below is an example of what the security information box looks like.

If you're selling using a payment method such as transfer with specific bank where the buyer's name is visible, limiting your advertisement to only users who has verified their ID with LocalBitcoins is a good idea.

Enable first time buyer limits

A large part of fraud occurs from new accounts. Setting first time buyer limits on your advertisement helps you limit the risk you expose yourself to and any potential damage from fraudulent buys. They prevent a no-reputation buyer sending high volume trade requests. Setting the limits itself discourages the fraudulent buyers to contact you. See more above in the section Setting up an advertisement.

Reversible payments

Most of online payment methods are reversible. The payment provider can take back a payment even after it has arrived to your account. For example, PayPal payments are reversible up to 180 days.

In many countries, online banking is not protected by two-factor authentication. This means that whoever gains the control of user computer, using malware or otherwise hijacked computer, can do unauthorized bank transfers. This is an issue for SWIFT, SEPA and wire transfers. Receiving money from a stolen source may lead to freezing your bank accounts for the duration of criminal investigation. The way to mitigate this risk is to check that the buyer id matches the sender bank account name.
Recommended reading: The May Scale of Money Hardness and BitCoin.

Characteristics of fraudulent activity

Scammers take advantage of the fact that Bitcoin transaction are irreversible or they try to trick you into releasing Bitcoins without sending payment. That's why it is important to never release Bitcoins from escrow until you have payment. Even if it's a regular buyer and someone you know, as once the Bitcoins have been released from escrow, there is no way for you to get them back.

With reversible payments, scammers will attempt to pay using stolen credentials or purchase proof. Requiring the buyer to have ID verified their LocalBitcoins account, and always checking that the users real name matches that of the payment information helps you stop these attempts.

In case you encounter a suspicious user you can always open a dispute for the trade and LocalBitcoins support will help you ensure a safe trade.

Quick tips on identifying scammers

  • Fraudulent buyers are often in a hurry. The more a customer asks you to hurry/rush the more suspicious you should be, real customers always have patience.
  • Fraudulent buyers often suggest doing all or part of the transaction outside escrow and then do not complete their part of the transaction.
  • Be careful about photoshopped payment evidence, don't release Bitcoins until you have confirmed that you have received the money. You are not obliged to release a trade until you can verify that you have received the buyer's payment.
  • Don't open any links that your trading partner is sending to you. If you must, use different browser than the one you are using.
  • Don't visit websites other than with the browser that you're using to trade. Use a different browser for other websites.
  • Bookmark in your browser and always use the bookmark when visiting the website. This helps you avoid accidentally visiting phishing websites, they exist and can be very convincing. Even experienced traders have fallen victim to phishing websites.
  • If you're unsure about a user, you can always contact support for help.

Trading safe as a buyer

Buying Bitcoin with online payment methods is a generally safe process protected by LocalBitcoins’ escrow service. Nonetheless, you can ensure the best BTC buying experience following the tips below:

  • Never use external communication for trade sensitive information (e.g. receiving payment details)
  • Check that the seller’s payment account details are compatible with their LocalBitcoins’ verified name
  • Upload your payment evidence to the trade chat whenever possible
  • Keep an eye on the payment time window to make sure that you complete payment and mark trade as paid before it expires
  • Never press the cancel trade button if trade is paid. In case of a disagreement with the seller, dispute the trade.


Please also read our terms of service.

  • support handles disputes based on evidence supplied by trade participants and their reputation.
  • Disputes can be started 1 hour after payment is marked complete.
  • If the buyer has fewer than 3 completed trades, the seller may open a dispute after 1 hour.
  • After the escrow has been released by the seller the trade is considered finished by and cannot be disputed.
  • When a Bitcoin seller is unresponsive, LocalBitcoins will release the Bitcoin to the buyer if the buyer can provide valid proof of payment.
  • If the buyer is unresponsive after starting a trade, the escrow will released to the seller by LocalBitcoins support.

LocalBitcoins wishes you happy trading!