I have never bought bitcoins face to face. Don't have iphone/ipad and therefore I would need answers on the following question:

What do I need to have on my cell phone in order to provide seller my bitcoin address AND to be able to check whether or not he/she really sent bitcoins to me before we say BYE to each other. I would like to avoid requesting to rewrite bitcoin address from physical paper because mistakes could occur. In this question I am asking how to provide him my bitcoin address in easiest and most useful possible way, and I am also asking how to check that I really got my bitcoins. I have old Samsung cellphone and probably (at least i hope so) its not everything about QR code - my cellphone doesn't support it.

Assuming that I don't want to bring my laptop with me (additional safety reasons as I don't know with who I am dealing - you never know what kind of person he/she is), assuming that I don't have iphone/ipad and assuming I don't want to use public computer, is there any fifth (fourth is usage of cellphone) way how to do this?

I checked the following two links but neither of them helped:

How to check if user sent me the BTC?

How do I buy Bitcoins safely face-to-face?

  • You could use something that has a built-in escrow system, like localbitcoins.
    – Nick ODell
    May 14, 2015 at 16:03

2 Answers 2


Does your cellphone have a web browser? There's many good web wallets (such as https://greenaddress.it/en/) which would allow you to simply open it in a web browser. If you don't have QR code capabilities, then your only resort is to have him/her write your bitcoin address, character by character. Once (s)he's sent the bitcoins, your web wallet will alert you that it's arrived and you're good to go. You must of course have an internet connection on your phone.

PS: if it's a large amount of money you're transferring, you should probably wait 10 mins or so to get at least 1 confirmation.


Writing out the address is maybe not as bad as you think: a Bitcoin address includes a checksum, so if the seller accidentally types it incorrectly, they will be notified that they have typed an invalid address, and they can just try again. You don't need to worry that a typo will result in sending Bitcoins somewhere else. The chances of a random typo resulting in another valid address are about 1 in 4 billion.

Another option would be to print out a QR code for your address on a piece of paper. The seller can scan the code to get your address. But it would be a good idea to have the address written out as well, in case the seller is sending coins from a device or program that doesn't support scanning QR codes.

As for checking whether the coins were sent, there are a number of free services where you can enter an address and it will send you an email when coins are received by that address. This could be an option if your phone can receive email, or if your phone carrier provides an email-to-text gateway (e.g. emails send to [email protected] are relayed as text messages to your phone). Here are a couple of services that claim to do this (I didn't try them). If possible you should test them out in advance, by sending a transaction to yourself.

See also the question Where can I get email notifications on any transactions to/from an address I do not control? (notwithstanding the title, the services mentioned there also work fine for addresses which you do control).

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