This is a seventh review of our bitcoin ATM use series.
The following review is provided to us by Daniel C. from Santa Clara, CA. Bitcoin machine that was reviewed is located at Valley Fair Mall in Santa Clara.
Like a lot of people, I’m a newbie to the whole bitcoin idea. So when I started doing some actually research into it, I decided I needed some real BTC to play around with. Using an online service required sharing a bit more information than I really wanted to (there aren’t many companies I feel like trusting with my bank account), and person-to-person felt like a lot more effort than i cared to expend. Bitcoin ATMs sounded perfect, and after a bit of searching I found an ATM at the nearby Valley Fair mall in San Jose / Santa Clara.
The first question — how to get to it. I’m sure there are public transit options, but I drove over. As it is a mall in the south bay, it has tons of convenient parking. It’s quick to access from the freeway, and right off the main road.
Once you’re inside the mall, though, getting to the ATM itself is a bit more confusing — Coinucopia’s website doesn’t describe where it’s at in the mall, and it’s not listed on any of the mall maps, either by name or as a general ‘ATM’. I had to stop in at the mall’s information counter to ask for directions. Fortunately, they knew exactly what I was talking about ,and gave me good directions. I get the feeling I wasn’t the first person to have asked.
The ATM is located in a nook on the second floor. It’s not connected to any store, it’s just hanging out on its own by a painting. It’s reasonably private and very accessible. I’ve gone ahead and marked up a map to better show where the ATM is — hopefully this makes it a bit easier to find for you than it was for me. Due to the fact that it is just sitting in a public area, there isn’t anyone there to ask questions of if you run into trouble. Good thing it’s so easy to use!
The ATM itself is very sleek, simple, and easy to use. All you need to do is scan your QR code, insert money, and you’re good to go! There was no registration, no checking text messages, nothing. It took both my $10 and $20 bills without question (a step up from an ATM in SF that only accepted $20s).
While you can see the balance move to your wallet almost instantly, they also give you a QR code of the confirmation that they specifically say to take a photo of. At that point, you clear the screen, and it’s ready for the next transaction.
For a first experience purchasing bitcoin, I can’t imagine anything being simpler!
Now for the downside — the exchange rate. At the time I went, Coinbase had a USD / BTC exchange rate of $438.77. Coinucopia’s ATM was selling BTC at $518.48. 18% above market rate does seem a bit steep — they may have an ‘up to $5000’ limit here, but I’m assuming that if you’re going for that sort of volume, you can probably find a better rate by going through something else.
Overall, this ATM did exactly what I hoped it would. It was easy to use, in a convenient location, and looked both professional and ‘normal’. The exchange rate is a bit steep for making large purchases, but to quickly pick up a bit of bitcoin, it’s perfect.
You can find bitcoin ATM locations on our map.
Subscribe to our Twitter account to get latest news from bitcoin ATM industry @CoinATMRadar