Using Abra to buy bitcoin with cash

In a previous how-to guide, we showed you how to use Abra to buy bitcoin with your bank account. In this guide, we’re going to show you how to use Abra to buy bitcoin with cold, hard cash.

Cash deposits

Today, we have Abra Tellers in over 170 different cities around the world – including over 1500 locations in the Philippines alone – that are ready to help you buy bitcoin with cash. Why use cash to buy bitcoin? Cash purchases can be faster and more convenient than bank transfers. Cash is also supported anywhere there are Abra Tellers worldwide, so there’s no need to wait for Abra to add support for banks in your country before you can start buying bitcoin with your Abra wallet.

(Can’t find an Abra Teller in your city? Contact us through the Abra mobile app and let us know what city you’re in, then we’ll see if we can fast-track an Abra Teller application from your area!)

Step 1. Set your wallet currency

If you want to hold bitcoin as a currency in your Abra wallet and purchase bitcoin at the current exchange rate when you meet up with your Abra Teller, you need to make sure that your wallet currency is set to BTC. Your wallet currency defaults to your local fiat currency based on the phone number you used to sign up. You can change it to bitcoin by going into the main menu and selecting BTC from the list of currencies on the “Wallet currency” page.

Abra multi-currency bitcoin wallet - BTC XBT

If you prefer to deposit fiat currency into your Abra wallet first and convert it into bitcoin later, you can leave your currency set to your preferred fiat currency. We’ll show you how to convert fiat currency into bitcoin later in this guide.

Step 2. Find an Abra Teller

To find an Abra Teller near you, open your Abra wallet app and press the “Add money” button, then press the “Cash” button. If asked, allow the Abra app to access your current location. You will be shown a list of Abra Tellers available near you, and you can also search for Tellers in other locations using the search bar at the top of the screen to search by country, city, or postal code.

Abra Teller List - Buy bitcoin with cash

Step 3. Contact an Abra Teller

(Some Tellers in the Philippines have a fixed place of business with set hours of operation, so users do not need to contact them to arrange a time and place to buy bitcoin from these Tellers.)

When you find an Abra Teller with whom you want to do business, tap on their ad in the list or map view to bring up their profile. You can use the “Call” or “Chat” buttons to call or text their phone directly, or if they have included alternate contact details in the “Note” section of their profile then you can contact them that way instead.

Abra Teller - Buy bitcoin with cash

Once you’ve made contact, schedule a time and place to meet up with the Teller, and have your cash ready to make the purchase.

Step 4. Meet your Abra Teller

After you arrange a time and place to meet your Teller, you’ll be ready to buy bitcoin with cash. Meet your Teller at the designated time and place, then press the “QR code” button in the top corner of the Teller’s profile to show them your Abra QR code. You can also find your Abra QR code in the main menu of your Abra wallet.

Abra bitcoin wallet QR code - buy bitcoin with cash

After your Teller scans your QR code, you will receive a notification with a summary of your transaction, including how much physical cash you must give your Teller and how much digital cash you’ll receive in return. If your wallet currency is set to BTC, you will also see how much bitcoin you’ll receive and at what exchange rate. Press “OK” to return to the home screen of your Abra wallet.

Abra Teller - buy bitcoin with cash BTC XBT confirmation screen

Note: if you decide to cancel the transaction before you hand over the cash, just let your Teller know and they can cancel from their end by backing out of the transaction. You can press “OK” on the the confirmation screen to return to the home screen of your Abra wallet.

Once you’ve handed the cash over to the Teller, they will confirm receipt of the cash and complete the transaction. When the transaction is completed, you’ll receive a final notification with a summary of your transaction. Press “OK” to return to your Abra wallet home screen, where you will see your deposit reflected in your balance.

Abra bitcoin wallet - buy bitcoin with cash - BTC XBT bitcoin balance

Success! You have just completed a purchase of BTC with cash using your Abra wallet.

Step 5. Convert fiat into bitcoin (fiat wallets only)

If you decided to set your wallet currency as BTC in Step 1, then you don’t have to do this step. You’ve already got bitcoin in your wallet that you can now send to other Abra users or any bitcoin address. If you decided to keep or set your wallet currency as fiat currency, you’ll need to complete this step to convert your fiat into bitcoin.

You have two options for converting fiat currency in your Abra wallet into bitcoin:

  1. Change your wallet currency to BTC, or
  2. Withdraw your balance to an external bitcoin wallet.

If you want to change your wallet currency to BTC, follow the instructions in Step 1 at the beginning of this guide to change your wallet currency from fiat to BTC. After you select BTC as your wallet currency, press “Next” at the top of the screen and you will be shown a confirmation screen where you can choose to accept or decline the exchange rate for converting your balance.

Abra bitcoin wallet - convert USD to BTC XBT - exchange US dollars for bitcoin

To accept the exchange rate and complete the conversion, press “OK” at the top of the screen. To decline the exchange rate, press the “Back” button.

Once you have accepted the exchange rate, then success! You have just completed a purchase of BTC with cash using your Abra wallet.

If you want to withdraw your balance to an external bitcoin wallet, first you’ll need to generate an address in your external bitcoin wallet. Then press the “Withdraw” button on the home screen of your Abra wallet. This will take you to the page with your options for withdrawing money from your wallet.

Press “Use bitcoin” to withdraw money to an external bitcoin wallet. You will then be asked to scan the QR code of the bitcoin address you want to withdraw your money to, along with entering the amount of money you want to withdraw to that address. The maximum amount of money you can withdraw is shown as “Balance available” on the bottom row of this screen.

Abra bitcoin wallet - withdraw bitcoin - send USD to bitcoin address

Note: your full balance will not be available for withdraw until your most recent deposit has been confirmed by the bitcoin network. Please wait up to one hour if you want to withdraw your full balance and you do not see your recent deposit show up right away.

Make sure to double-check the address you are sending to and the amount you are sending; Abra transactions cannot be reversed once they are sent. After double-checking and correcting any inaccuracies, press the “Next” button at the top of the screen. This will take you to a confirmation screen where you can confirm your transaction details one last time before sending.

Abra bitcoin wallet - confirm bitcoin withdrawal - convert USD to BTC XBT

After confirming your transaction details, press “Confirm withdrawal”. Your transaction will then be sent to the bitcoin network for processing, and will likely be confirmed within an hour or so. After your transaction is confirmed, you will be able to see the new balance show up in the external wallet you sent your bitcoin to.

Success! You have just completed a purchase of BTC with cash using your Abra wallet.

13 thoughts on “Using Abra to buy bitcoin with cash

  1. Great article! Although I would personally suggest that you use option 2 (withdraw funds as BTC to an external wallet instead of converting your entire wallet to BTC especially if you are in the habit of leaving funds in your wallet that you don’t want to be affected by the transaction). Remember BTC have a highly volatile exchange rate and while Abra gives some protection against this volatility when you are using fiat currency transactions (despite being actually BTC transactions “under the hood”) , your whole balance will be exposed when you convert your entire wallet to BTC. There is also a delay in which you can convert back your balance to fiat currency since it will be necessary to confirm the transactions in the blockchain (which can take about 30 minutes to an hour maybe).

    My personal experience with just poking around the new features is that the time it took for me to convert my wallet to BTC, withdraw funds to an external wallet then converting it back to fiat, my balance got significantly diminished due to exchange rate fluctuations inherent with BTC. That’s my personal experience but it could actually go either way (you can gain in the process if the rate is favorable) I was just unlucky I guess :p

    Great writeup of a much anticipated feature Abra team! Much appreciated!

    Go Abra!

    Joel

    1. Glad you got a chance to try it out, thanks for your feedback Joel! If you’re concerned about bitcoin price volatility and plan to withdraw your bitcoin to another wallet that you use, I share your suggestion that Option 2 is the best option. This way you can leave your wallet currency the same instead of switching back and forth, remaining protected from bitcoin price volatility while the bitcoin is in your Abra wallet.

  2. “Note: your full balance will not be available for withdraw until your most recent deposit has been confirmed by the bitcoin network. Please wait up to one hour if you want to withdraw your full balance and you do not see your recent deposit show up right away.”

    When this part of the user experience becomes easier to visualize, including the logging of bitcoin transactions and confirmations, I would love to suggest abra as a bitcoin wallet to my clients of other services.

    1. You’re right, this could be made more clear for users. We are working on surfacing more “low-level” bitcoin transaction details in the UI. Right now the only indicator is an “Available balance: xx.xx” notice while the user is waiting for confirmation. Thanks for your feedback!

    1. Hi Natalie, thanks for your interest! Abra only supports buying and selling bitcoin in the app. Once you have bitcoin, you can use it to purchase altcoins by sending the bitcoin to an altcoin exchange and trading on the exchange. Then when you’re ready to cash out you can send your money back to your Abra wallet. Hope this helps!

  3. I live in Switzerland and I cant contact the teller.His name is Luciano Muller Nicoletti and he lives in Geneva.When I press the call buton or mail buton none of them work.Can you tell me what to do.Regards Michel.

    1. Hi Michel, thank you for your interest and for reaching out here! We have not run into this bug before – can you please press the “Contact Us” button in the main menu of the Abra app and create a ticket with our Customer Support team? They will be able to help you troubleshoot this issue.

    1. Hi John, the exchange rate changes moment by moment, you can check our latest rate in the app by going to “wallet currency” in the menu and selecting “BTC”. Let me know if you run into any issues or have any other issues!

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