How to accept Bitcoin, for small businesses

Start with a sign


If you expect that the number of people interested in using Bitcoin is small, you might simply start by posting a sign or a note: "We Accept Bitcoin", and ask people to contact you directly in order to make a payment. Even if hardly anybody uses Bitcoin as a payment method, you're helping Bitcoin in two ways: one, by increasing awareness, and two, by making your customers more willing to accept Bitcoin as payment from others in the future, because now they know somewhere they can spend it.

Utilize a merchant solution

If you sell things on your website (goods or services), you'll want to use a Bitcoin merchant solution to accept the Bitcoins (you can usually opt to have them converted to USD or other currencies automatically with some services).

If you sell things in a brick and mortar shop, customers can pay using hardware terminals, touch screen apps or simple wallet addresses through QR Codes.

Accept Bitcoin without internetCoinkite Bitcoin Payment Buttons

Bitcoin POS Terminal Bitcoin POS Terminal

Bitcoin Mobile Checkout

Smart Phone or Tablet

You can use a wallet address with any wallet. For that it's best if you can place a QR code near your cash register to which the customers can scan with their phone and pay (use to make a QR code sign). For a more convenient solution you can use a dedicated app or webapp that generates a QR code on the fly including the amount.


Solutions for smart phones and tablets:

  • Airbitz Merchant Mode for Android and iOS
  • mobile Bitcoin Point of Sale for Thailand
  • Favicon bp.png BitcoinPay, Mobile payment terminal with EUR, USD, PLN and CZK settlements.
  • BitKassa favicon.png BitKassa accept Bitcoin on mobile phone, tablet, computer; converts to Euro/Bitcoin (any percentage)
  • BitPay Mobile Checkout
  • BitPOS Merchant POS solution for Australia
  • Blockchain Merchant for Android
  • CoinCorner blue logo.png CoinCorner - Point of Sale solution available that allows physical retailers to easily accept bitcoin and automatically convert that to fiat, removing the risk of holding bitcoins.
  • CoinGate Bitcoin Point of Sale apps for Android, iOS and Bitcoin Point of Sale web app which can be accessed from any internet enabled device directly in a web browser.
  • Coinify Bitcoin Point Of Sale
  • Coin Of Sale logo.png Coin Of Sale - device-independent Bitcoin POS payment system
  • Coinbase Point Of Sale for Android
  • BitcoinRegister.gifCoinBox Bitcoin point of sale for Android
  • Cryptopay HTML5-based bitcoin POS
  • Paxful how-to-buy-bitcoin.png Paxful Simplest Point of Sale, No Fees and a peer to peer market to buy bitcoin instantly
  • GoUrl Bitcoin Mobile Checkout
  • Rocketr.png Rocketr Sell digital products online and accept BTC, ETH, and more. Utilize their IPN/API for seamless integration into your website or app.

Point-of-Sale hardware terminal

With custom hardware you can integrate with existing registers and point-of-sales solutions (examples: Coinkite.gif Coinkite, XBTerminal, BitStraat).


When a customer makes a payment, you might simply issue a credit to their account. Ideally, you want to enter it in a way that suggests you received a payment. You could consider entering it as a "discount", but you may want to consider whether this inappropriately disguises the nature of the transaction. If on the other hand, you're giving "discounts" for Bitcoins, but then you are selling the Bitcoins for currency and then counting that as income, then chances are good that your calculation of income is making up for it. Ask your accountant.

Businesses that offer gift cards

If your business sells gift cards or gift certificates, you may find that the easiest way to accept Bitcoin is to accept it only for the purchase of gift cards, and then require the gift cards to be used for actual purchases of goods or services. This way, the accounting practices you already have in place for processing gift cards can be put to use. The accounting for Bitcoins would then be minimized to tracking sales of a single SKU.

This method is also ideal for retail food establishments and convenience stores, where the payment of Bitcoins through a mobile phone for a small daily food purchase might be cumbersome or disruptive, especially in front of a line of other customers. Bitcoins in this case would be best used to reload prepaid cards that can then be swiped at point-of-sale.

If you don't accept gift cards, but you already accept credit cards through a swipe terminal, consider the possibility that you could add a retail gift card system through the swipe terminal you already own. Many point-of-sale terminals, including ones from VeriFone®, are designed around the ability to support multiple applications on the same terminal. Gift cards are also highly profitable because of "breakage", or in other words, the fact that a significant percentage of them never get redeemed.

You could consider adding a private label gift card program from a provider who specializes in this, not just as a jumpstart to accepting Bitcoins, but as an extra boost to income. A private label gift card service provider necessarily have to handle your funds - they can simply provide a solution that keeps track of the balance on the cards on your behalf, including features that allow users to check their balances by phone or by web. Such a solution, of course, is also what makes the cards swipeable through the card reader.

Businesses that mail invoices

Does your business send out invoices to customers? Adding one line may make a huge impact for the Bitcoin economy. Perhaps you list it as a payment option just after Visa, MasterCard, and American Express, even if that means your customer must call or e-mail to make a payment.

If you have access to the programming expertise such that you can generate Bitcoin addresses programmatically, consider generating a brand new Bitcoin address for each invoice, and print it on the invoice. When a Bitcoin payment arrives, you'll automatically know where it should arrive.

Customers might wonder how much BTC they should pay in order to satisfy an invoice in full. Your invoice might suggest an amount. For example, if your invoice is for $100 and BTC's are currently worth $1.24 each, your invoice might suggest that it can be paid in full "with a payment of 80.65 BTC if paid by (date)".

You might be able to anticipate the possibility that even though a Bitcoin address can be printed on an invoice or payment stub, that they are very cumbersome for most people to type, especially being a mix of uppercase and lowercase letters. However, you should probably still do it anyway. The customer is probably going to want some paper trail for his payment. Giving him a pre-printed payment stub with a pre-printed address will satisfy that, because the customer can independently and publicly prove through Block Explorer that the payment took place.

Does your business have a website? On your invoice, consider allowing them to go to a special URL to get the address to make a Bitcoin payment just by typing in their invoice number. For example, with a form they can enter their invoice number, or just for paying invoice #60365. This way, they can see the Bitcoin address, copy and paste it directly into their Bitcoin client.

Use a brand new address for each invoice whenever possible, and use it only once. This benefits the customer as it removes any ambiguity as to which customer is making which payment and for which invoice.

Known payment systems supporting invoicing, and recurring invoice setup, Coinify

Payment companion having peer to peer encrypted invoicing using your own bitcoin address Blockonomics

Avoiding fraud

You should also consider the possible risk that fraudsters could send counterfeit invoices to your customers, and entice them to make a payment to a Bitcoin address they control, instead of you. While that isn't likely in general - it depends on how well a fraudster could find out who your customers are in the first place - it would certainly be an unpleasant situation if it ever happened. One way you could control that is, whenever possible, never let people try to type Bitcoin addresses off payment stubs - instead, force people to get the full Bitcoin address from your website via secure SSL. But, still print most of the address on the payment stub (perhaps with four or five characters starred out), so that the customer's need for a paper trail can be satisfied, so they can prove they paid if there is ever a dispute. Merchants can also use the IP address geolocation to understand the close proximity of users. There is automated solution such as FraudLabs Pro that automates the screening of Bitcoin transactions to determine risk level

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