Breaking News
More () »

Bitcoin kiosks going mainstream; pro’s and con’s | Money Smart

A Bitcoin kiosk allows customers to deposit cash, buy crypto and deposit them in a digital wallet.

SAN ANTONIO — You can find them in convenience stores, gas stations and restaurants. They look like ATMs, except they’re not; these new kiosks allow you to buy bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. 

There are more cryptocurrency kiosks that are popping up nationwide. According to the research site, Coin ATM Radar, there are 18,141 Bitcoin ATMs in the U.S. People are calling them Bitcoin ATMs, but they’re more like kiosks. Customers cannot check account balances, withdraw or deposit cash with the machines. Instead, the kiosks allow you to purchase cryptocurrencies by depositing cash. Other machines allow users to sell crypto for cash.

KENS 5 spotted a Bitcoin kiosk at a Shell Gas station on Fredericksburg Road. This particular machine allows customers to deposit cash, buy crypto and deposit them in a digital wallet. Machines like these are designed to be accessible and convenient.

“Something that cryptocurrencies have that the stock market doesn’t have, is 24-hour trading. If you want to purchase or sell it at 10 o’clock at night, you can do that. You can’t do that with the stock market. You have to wait for the stock exchange to open,” said Karl Eggerss, senior wealth advisor and partner of Covenant. “Certainly having more places to buy and sell, whether it's on an app, a physical kiosk, those are going to become more prevalent.”

While the machines are easier to use, there are disadvantages. People who have reviewed Bitcoin kiosks have reported technical issues and high transaction fees. A cryptocurrency compliance Firm, CipherTrace, told CBS News that fees can range between 6%-12%. If you’re interested in buying cryptocurrencies, here's another factor to think about.

“To have something fluctuate 10%, 15%, 25% in a day makes it very unreliable to use as a currency,” said Eggerss. “Some people are investing in them strictly for short-term profits. They’re taking aggressive actions. Other people are using them for longer-term as an asset, as a replacement of gold, as a replacement for some of their stock portfolio."

Kiosks are not your only option. There are multiple investing sites that allow customers to create an account and fees can be lower.