How to use the Electrum receive tab

To receive bitcoin all you need to do is share one of the addresses in your wallet with the person who wants to pay you. With the receive tab Electrum tries to create a workflow for receiving bitcoin that incorporates adding a label to your address, an expected amount and saving all this in the wallet as a receive request. The fact of the matter is non of this is strictly necessary. As mentioned before, all you need to do is share any one of the addresses in your wallet with the sender. But it does help you organize things if you also label your address etc. and save the whole request in your wallet.

The label and amount you set in the receive tab are only for your own reference. They are not shared with anyone and they don’t restrict how much bitcoin someone can send you.

So here’s how to use the receive tab in electrum:

  • Switch to the “Receive” tab
  • Enter a description in the “Description” field.  This is not shared with anyone and is only for your own reference. When you receive money this description will show up on the history tab.
  • Enter an amount, if you like, in the “Requested Amount”. Remember this does not change how much bitcoin someone can send you and is only for your own reference.
  • Set request expires to never or leave it unchanged. This option doesn’t do anything meaningful for on-chain transactions (i.e. not Lightning). People can always send you bitcoin and addresses don’t expire.
  • Click on Request
  • Switch to the Address tab on the right part of the receive tab. Click on the little blue icon to copy the address to the clipboard or scan the QR code. Communicate this address to the sender.
  • At the bottom of the screen under “Incoming Payments” you can see past saved requests. Clicking on one should populate the address tab. You can also right click a request to copy other things like the description.
  • When you receive money it’ll show up on the history tab.

So that’s the Electrum Receive tab. As you can see it’s designed to hand out new addresses each time you need one. This is because address re-use is a bad idea. That is not to say you can’t do it. It’s just not recommended.

49 thoughts on “How to use the Electrum receive tab”

  1. Hey, thank you for this article. I use electrum for my Verge. However, my last request to receive coins has not come in for about week a now. I made a mistake and set the expires query to one day. Shall i go to the address area and “request payment?” Thank you.

    1. Addresses don’t expire and money can be sent to them at any time. Just leave that request be and create a new one if you need more addresses.

      1. The same thing has happened to me i sent 100$ btc to my first electrum wallet and it was set on “expires 1 day” now i cant access the BTC and there is no history? please help!!

        1. the expiry date you select there doesn’t actually do anything to stop people sending you money. you should work through this faq:

          https://bitcoinelectrum.com/frequently-asked-questions/#what-can-i-do-if-i-havent-received-bitcoins-sent-to-me

    2. Hi
      I sent coins to the address on the receive tab, but I stupid forgot to set up the request (save it) first.
      The coins were sent successfully, so the address must have been valid. Can I still expect to receive these coins?

  2. Hi, is this still the current method for Electrum wallet creation?
    The address shown in the above pic is self generated when you enter “receive” tab?
    Does this address change every time for requests?
    Does the number of addresses created over time matter and are they all linked to the account at Electrum for the life of that account?

    Cheers

    1. Regarding your first question the guide above is for getting addresses in your wallet not creating a wallet. Addresses are not wallets. Wallets have many addresses, the private keys behind them and related meta data.

      Yes to your next 2 questions

      Regarding your last question Electrum doesn’t have accounts. We call them wallets. All the addresses in a wallet are generated deterministically from your seed so they all lead to your wallet.

  3. Hello friends. I just jumped onto the bitcoin bandwagon and set up Airbitz on my iPhone and Electrum on my Mac desktop. I was able to get bitcoins into my Airbitz wallet on my phone after a few tries with a bitcoin ATM, but when I try to transfer them to my Electrum wallet on my Mac, I keep getting “invalid QR code” messages, whether I try using the QR code or a copy and paste of the address. Is there a bug in one of the two apps, or am I doin it wrong? I followed the instructions on this page for the receive on Electrum, and hit the Send icon in Airbitz, where it asks for the scan or address of the QR code/wallet for my Electrum wallet, but never works. Any suggestions? Thanks!

    1. BTW, I built the Electrum app from python3 sources which were latest as of yesterday, Jan 27, 2018, and used the latest Airbitz app for iPhone as of Jan 26th.

    2. Do the addresses in your wallet begin with ‘bc1’? If yes then you created a segwit wallet and most other wallets have trouble sending to that. Create another wallet and this time choose standard instead of segwit. Instructions for creating a wallet are here: https://bitcoinelectrum.com/creating-an-electrum-wallet/

  4. I don’t think so, but I couldn’t tell for sure (not sure if I looked at the right thing). Both Airbitz and Electrum wallet addresses looked OK to me. Switched to Jaxx and it worked, so I guess I’ll be using Jaxx instead of Electrum. Thanks for the reply.

  5. So if I wanted to transfer my mining profits to electrum then all I need to do is generate one address and use it for as long as I like?

    1. It’s better to use a different address for every transaction:

      https://bitcoinelectrum.com/frequently-asked-questions/#why-does-electrum-give-me-a-different-address-everytime

    1. You will still get the money. The payment request will not be saved in your wallet file so when you receive the money it won’t have a label attached to it on the history tab. You can set one at that point in time if you like by right clicking on the entry on the history tab and choosing edit description.

  6. I don’t understand.

    I’m expecting bitcoins from several sources. I don’t no their names, I don’t know their address and the amounts will vary.

    Here’s one example:

    2017-10-22 19:54:29 0.00025385 BTC (0.25385 mBTC)

    Where’s that money? It’s now June and I’m still waiting.

    1. Bitcoin is not a bank and neither is electrum. You alone are responsible for your wallet.

      Having said that you need to provide more details like the address where the coins were supposed to be sent, the version of electrum you are using and your operating system.

  7. I’ve got Electrum 3.0.2 and 21 addresses. And a desktop Mac.

    None of those addresses has received any money since october 2017 when I installed the wallet.

    Should I generate more addresses? 20 or 200?

    1. Sorry to ask the obvious but you did give the senders your addresses right? That is each sender got one of the addresses? It might sound silly but some users don’t communicate the address to the sender.

      Do you have your seed words written down? If you don’t then on most wallet types you can get at them via wallet menu > seed. I also recommend making a backup of your wallet file via file menu > save copy. Once you’ve done these things update to the latest version of electrum because that version is too old. To update install the latest version just like you did 3.0.2. The official site is at electrum.org.

      Once you’ve updated hopefully the funds will show up in your wallet. If they don’t then let me know what color circle icon you see in the bottom right and what message is displayed in the status bar at the bottom left.

  8. Inquiries about wallet service

    I am writing to make some inquiries about the wallet service of your company. We are planning to start a cryptocurrency exchange business. So, we would like to know whether your company provides an enterprise level wallet service or not. Also, we are interested in knowing the price of the transactions (money transfer).

    Thank you for your help.

    1. This site is not the official electrum site. It is just an enthusiast’s site. You should probably contact ThomasV if you want to hire his company for consultation services. See the official site at electrum.org or email him thomasv at electrum dot org.

  9. I’m unable to send bitcoins from Coinbase into my electrum account. It’s says invalid address on the Coinbase website. I’ve created both legacy and segwit wallets. (There’s no “standard”). And I still can’t get it to work. Please help.

  10. hi. i copy-pasted a new receiving adress of mine and gave it to somebody before i clicked “save”. will i still get the money? it doesnt seem to receive anything.

    1. Yes. The transaction will show up on the history tab when the sender sends the money and the balance will be updated there and in the bottom left as well. Are you seeing a balance in the bottom left of the electrum window?

  11. I have a question can I recieve coins from a btm machine in my electrum wallet if I snap a pic of the QR code on my phone and scan it at the btm will I recieve the funds in my electrum wallet on my desktop

    1. That might work if you go to view menu > show addresses, switch to addresses tab, right click on an address and choose to view details and then up top in the window that appears you click on the little qr code icon on the field where the address is shown. The QR code that now appears contains just the address while the one on the receive tab has a “bitcoin:” prefix which btms might not grok.

      Alternatively you can install electrum on your phone. It has an android version available on play store. You can then call up QR codes for receive addresses on the spot.

      1. Ok so your saying it might work if I scan the qr code but if the machine says error or something I should just type the address without the btc prefix and it should send it because I suppose as long as my internet is connected at home the blockchain confirmations should still go thru and it should recieve the btc on my electrum because I have iPhone so electrum doesn’t have a app I also have one last question I have a blockchain wallet can I send and recieve btc without verifying my id or the id verification is only the buy btc using there site can I just it as a wallet because I guess that would be simpler because ios has a blockchain wallet ? Thanks for your time

        1. Yes you can use the blockchain.com wallet without verifying ID. Mycelium is also another popular wallet for ios.

        2. “I suppose as long as my internet is connected at home the blockchain confirmations should still go thru ”

          You don’t need to be online to receive bitcoin. Your computer/phone doesn’t need to be powered on either. The bitcoin blockchain (not to be confused with the site blockchain.com or their wallet) records transactions and your wallet app just catches up when you do go online.

  12. I cant quite seem to figure this out, hopefully you might can help.
    I have a wallet (electrum) and when I use the “summary” option, it says income to be 22 BTC. However, when i view just one of the addresses on the wallet on Blockcypher it shows to have received and sent 25 BTC. When viewing the address on Blockchain.info it shows the same address to have received and sent 31 BTC.
    Just not understanding how im seeing these numbers.
    Thanks for your time.

  13. Sorry I went to use bitcoin Atm to fund my bitcoin wallet address, when I get there the machine Couldn’t scanned my phone so I client on new address.. the machine issue me a new address but didn’t find the bitcoin in my old address. Pleas what will I do ?

    1. I don’t quite understand what you’re saying but if you’re worried about old addresses disappearing or expiring then rest assured that all receive addresses electrum hands out belong to your wallet, they never expire and coins sent to them in the past or future will show up in your wallet. In the android version you can view all the addresses by tapping receive and then requests. If the coins have been sent to any of these addresses your electrum balance will reflect that. Do make sure that the ATM actually sent the coins in the first place.

  14. I copied a receive address from this tab, then I sent coin to it, but I never saved it. THEN after the coin should have arrived ( the next day) the tab at the top with the receive address was backlit with red. NOW though, I clcikced something and THAT address refreshed to a new one and I don’t have my bitcoin. I did savce a copy of the address. How do I recover my bitcoin?

    1. you don’t have to click on save to receive coins. see the faq about this problem:

      https://bitcoinelectrum.com/frequently-asked-questions/#what-can-i-do-if-i-havent-received-bitcoins-sent-to-me

  15. here is my bat file, so i put the receiving address that i made into and and ran the file but it gives me error. then when i put address i use for nicehash it works. am i doing something wrong or is it certain address you have to use just for ether?

    etx GPU_FORCE_64BIT_PTR 0
    setx GPU_MAX_HEAP_SIZE 100
    setx GPU_USE_SYNC_OBJECTS 1
    setx GPU_MAX_ALLOC_PERCENT 100
    setx GPU_SINGLE_ALLOC_PERCENT 100
    PhoenixMiner.exe -coin eth -pool eth.2miners.com:2020 -wal my electrum address.FLORIG_ID
    pause

    1. see the following faq:

      https://bitcoinelectrum.com/frequently-asked-questions/#why-am-i-being-told-my-address-is-an-invalid-bitcoin-address

      this software you are using may not support bech32 addresses.

  16. I have bitcoins in my stored in coinbase. How would I set up Electrum so that I could move those bitcoinds from Coinbase to Electrum? Should I do a standard wallet or something else? And what else would I need to do?

    1. yeah a standard wallet, then grab a receive address using the receive tab and initiate a withdrawal to that address in coinbase. then wait a couple of hours for coinbase to send the coins because they do it in batches.

  17. Hi, I have my electrum wallet for a while now but got a new laptop. Now I logged in in my previously made wallet using my seeds but I can’t see my receiving address anymore in the tab ‘receive’. What could be the cause of that? I am supposed to have the latest version.

    1. if the balance is correct then you shouldn’t worry about it. as i’ve mentioned in the article above electrum will hand out a different address everytime.

      there’s more info here if you’re interested:https://bitcoinelectrum.com/frequently-asked-questions/#why-does-electrum-give-me-a-different-address-everytime

  18. When I copy the receive address in Electrum, it preceeds the address with bitcoin: and follows it with a time limitation. When I tried to pate this into coinbase, It made me edit these characters out. Is this normal? Is this optimal?

    1. what version of electrum do you have and what operating system are you using? if you copy it via the small blue button on the address field in the PC/Mac version then you won’t have this problem. if you scan the QR code then you may.

  19. I really want to make my seed better. I want to randomly select my own words with dice/dictionary. Electrum lets me add words to the end but only on their Segwit technology, which I was warned NOT to use for compatibility reasons.
    Suggestions?

    1. You can always extend the seed by clicking on the options button and choosing to extend the seed.

      It’s not safe to make your own seed.

      1. Why is it not safe? Would it be because users may use words ‘familiar’ to them like a holiday destination or a pets name or something similar or what is the reasoning behind your response? Adding random words and making the seed longer should only improve security. Or not?

        1. people aren’t good at coming up with random phrases. making your own seed is not safe. extending a seed with custom words/characters is ok since you are not relying solely on human generated phrases.

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