Bitcoin for the unbanked and underbanked


You may have heard a lot of talk about Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies delivering the best method for the unbanked and underbanked to manage their money.

What does this mean? Who does this apply to? And how does it work?

The terms underbanked and unbanked, are used to regarding people for one reason or another, can’t easily access a checking account, savings account or, lines of credit; or simply prefer not to use central banking systems. Merriam Webster defines the unbanked as “A person is unbanked when he or she does not participate in the banking system and relies on the use of cash rather than checks or credit cards.” Someone is underbanked when they only have limited access to or only occasionally use traditional financial institutions.


bitcoin helps underbanked

How many people are unbanked?

Worldwide there are more than 1.7 billion people without adequate access to centralized banking. The FDIC, in the United States, estimates that 90 million or 27% of U.S. households are underbanked or unbanked completely. Cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum offer a decentralized banking option for the millions in the United States and worldwide to manage their money.

How does Bitcoin help the unbanked?

Anyone can use Bitcoin it can be bought, sold, and spent without a bank account or credit cards. There are also no transfer fees if you need to send a friend or family member money anywhere in the world. Both parties will need a Bitcoin wallet and that is it; no bank accounts needed and no need to use Western Union or a similar company and absorb large fees.

Exchanging cash to Bitcoin is a very simple process using a Bitcoin ATM.

  • First is to register with the ATM operator so you can use the Bitcoin ATM
  • Second, you need to sign-up for a Bitcoin wallet to store your funds.
    • NOTE: You’re not required to buy an entire Bitcoin (the price of which fluctuates daily). You can use cash to purchase portions of Bitcoin as small as $20, using a Bitcoin ATM.
  • Third insert your cash into the Bitcoin ATM to purchase Bitcoin

Once you have Bitcoin in your digital wallet, you can spend it at any retailer who accepts Bitcoin either online or in a brick and mortar business location. More businesses are deciding to accept Bitcoin as payment every day.
You can send Bitcoin to another person’s wallet anywhere in the world.
It’s that easy to exchange cash for Bitcoin, there are no long waiting periods to be verified and no bank accounts required with Bitcoin ATMs.

How to send Bitcoin to someone?

When you use a company to send cash to another person, they are a company and need to earn a profit. Sending cash via Paypal, Western Union, Moneygram or, others; will charge you a fee. The more you need to send the higher the cost of using that service. When sending Bitcoin to another person using your Bitcoin wallet, there is a very small miner’s fee to confirm the transaction, (miners’ fees fluctuate all the time but are currently just a few cents per transaction, regardless of the amount) but that is the only fee the sender is charged. Bitcoin ATMs do not send money to other parties. You use your Bitcoin wallet app to send and receive funds.

Using ModernTender Bitcoin ATMs:

  • To use a ModernTender Bitcoin ATM, you can enroll on our website or simply scan the back of your ID at any of our Bitcoin ATMs.
  • Then you will need a wallet app:
    • Airbitz for Apple users
    • Airbitz for Android users
    • Any Bitcoin wallet will work with our Bitcoin ATM
  • Locate the closest ModernTender Bitcoin ATM
  • Once at the Bitcoin ATM, select the “start” option and provide a bitcoin address from your wallet, either by scanning a QR code
    Enter code provided or scan the back of your ID
  • Next, insert your cash.

The Bitcoin ATM will immediately show you a QR receipt of your ModernTender transaction. Typically you will receive your fund in a matter of minutes, allow for up to an hour. ModernTender does not control the amount of time it takes to confirm transactions on the bitcoin network.